Thursday, April 30, 2015

Visits from family and friends

It's definitely been hard to find the time to blog between feedings, diaper changes, visitors, taking care of myself, and finding time to nap. I know things will settle down soon though! I've been meaning to do a post with pictures from the first meeting with all the people near and dear to our hearts. 

My mom and brother in law were the first two to meet him. They were in the waiting room when he was born. Jeremy's mom had a cold so unfortunately she wasn't able to be there those first few hours. 
Here is my mom, Grammy, meeting Nolan for the first time. 
This is another cute one of them together.
Uncle Jonathan and Aunt Riley!
Love this one too!
I unfortunately forgot a picture with my old coworkers and friends Morgan and Kara. They were actually the first friends to meet him Thursday afternoon, and I was so disappointed I forgot a picture with them! They brought me a bundt cake which was a delicious treat after a long labor.

Brian and Ashley came next. 
Brian is Jeremy's childhood friend and Ashley was my friend since college. They are getting married this October! We are responsible for introducing them, and we couldn't be more excited to see them get married this fall! 

Our friends Kat and Mike also came!
Those were all our hospital visitors!

Jeremy's mom, Janine and her boyfriend, Terry were next. She had been watching our dogs so this was Sydney and Sofie's first time meeting Nolan. 
Jeremy, his mom, and our pups 
Here is Terry holding Nolan.
Next Jeremy's sister, Aunt Jessica, flew in from Chicago. We enjoyed spending time with her over the weekend! She is loving having a nephew to snuggle with! We wish she lived closer.
Here are two of his aunts together! 
Jessica and Jeremy 
Grandma and a proud Dad!
Group shot 
Here is Jeremy's dad meeting his first grandson.
First time grandparents!
On Sunday, my old coworkers came to meet him. Caitlin is on the left and Ashlie and her daughter, Rilynn came to meet Nolan. This was his first time making a friend, and he loved it!
Too cute!
Our friend, Amanda, and her daughter Clara came on Monday morning. Amanda brought us tons of fruit and breakfast foods like muffins, croissants, and iced raisin bread! So yummy!
My old coworker, Kristan brought us a delicious anniversary dinner on Monday night! Her baked ziti was so good and she also brought a Caesar salad, bread, and beautiful flowers.
On Tuesday, my friend, Brittney, dropped off a meal and met Nolan. After dinner, our friends and neighbors, Cathleen and Chris came over to meet him too. Neglected to get a picture of both these visits. Cat and Chris also came back with a delicious dinner on Wednesday night. She remembered I loved fetticine Alfredo and made that! So good! We have a lot of fun with them and I am excited we have friends in the neighborhood. 

We have been blown away by the generosity, love, and support of our family and friends. It's been amazing to have all these meals so I can focus on my recovery and nursing the baby. We've also received tons of flowers, cards, snack boxes, and other sweet, thoughtful gifts. I want to take a minute and thank all of you for making this transition with a baby super smooth. Love you all! That wraps up our first week of visitors. 

We have lots more coming from out of town including my dad, best friend from college, my brother, sister in law, and nephews, my other brother and his fiancé as well as my best friend from high school. All their flights are booked! We also have more local friends coming next week. So much excitement! I love sharing our bundle of joy with our family and friends! More soon!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Nolan's first few hours

That moment I heard him cry and he was placed on my chest is something I will never forget. Nolan, you made me a Mommy, and I couldn't feel luckier. Jeremy and I both teared up when we saw you for the first time. Just knowing you were here and healthy was a huge relief. I spent the past ten months worrying and wishing for a healthy baby and here he was.

We spent our first hour together skin to skin and breastfeeding while my doctor took care of the after birth procedures. My mom and brother came in and saw him even before his bath. I couldn't wait to text everyone and let them know he was here! 

After an hour of bonding with him pre bath, the nurse took him over to his little warmer and ran some tests, weighed him, measured him, and did some paper work. Here are some pictures of that process.
Getting weighed! 7lbs 8oz 
First bath!
Clearly he loved his first bath experience. At least we know his lungs work well!
And here he is all cleaned up and in our post partum room.
This was our room for the two nights following the delivery. The one chair pulled out, and Jeremy slept on that. He was sweet and didn't go home at all.
Just hanging out!
And Dad is asleep. 
During our stay Nolan had lots of tests done. One of them being this hearing test. Doesn't he look cool with those headphones on?
Here is his first visit with the pediatrician. 
Cute footprints! I'll skip posting the picture from just before the circumcision. I think that pretty much recaps his first few hours! 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Nolan's Birth Story Part 2

Part 1 left off when we were about to start the induction. My doctor decided to use a balloon to stretch my cervix and a pill insert called cytotec. I was only one cm and 30% effaced when I got there. Basically that meant I had a long way to go before the baby would be born. The doctor warned me he probably wouldn't  be born until the next day. We had a long day and night ahead of us. Once the balloon and pill was put in, I felt crampy and started having mild contractions. I was still pretty comfortable during this part. I was still able to walk and eat at this point which was nice. The dr checked in after four hours, and I was only 2cm. Slowly but surely wins the race though right?

Then the next waiting period began. This one lasting even longer. She said would be back around midnight to start the pitocin. This was at about 4pm Tuesday afternoon. I did get an occasional check by the nurses, and they were always checking my vitals and watching my monitors. As nervous as I was about all these unfamiliar drugs that were starting labor, I had to remind myself that getting the baby out was safest. I wish I knew what natural labor contractions felt like so I could compare to these pitocin induced intense contractions. Maybe with baby number two. 

There was a lot of staring at the clock hoping it was time for a visit from the doctor. I wanted reassurance that the pain was making progress for me and getting me closer to getting the baby delivered. My biggest fear during the early labor stage was that I would go through all these hours of contractions and end up in the operating room with a c section because I wasn't progressing. I was fine with slow progress as long as I was responding. 

At 11:45pm Tuesday night, the doctor started pitocin. They had said the first 1-3 hours wasn't too terrible but that it would progressively get stronger contractions that were very close together. 12am to 3am wasn't awful. By 3:30am I was starting to reach a breaking point where the pain was getting serious, and I decided to go ahead and get the epidural. Within about 10 minutes, I was still having the same contractions that were 2 minutes apart but I couldn't feel them. At this point, I thought the epidural was a good choice, and I was able to feel comfortable for about two hours. It was nice to have a break as I was 19 hours into the induction at this point. 

Around 7am the epidural wore off. Not sure if it wasn't properly administered or what. The contractions were really intense, and I was so ready for this baby to be here. I ended up getting a second epidural to correct the first one but that didn't work either. So although I got one, I still feel like I had a partial natural birth experience. 
Here I am at 9 cm dilated and trying to smile. The active stage of my labor went pretty quickly. I went from 5cm to 10cm to pushing in only three hours which is apparently quick for a first baby. The pressure got so strong that I was ready to push. The nurses and Jeremy were helping me through that part but my doctor was currently delivering another patient. They asked me to wait through a few contractions before pushing so the doctor could get there.

I had wanted to watch the birth with a mirror. I know some people probably think that's weird but I think the whole process is truly amazing and wanted to see it. I could see his full head of dark hair even before he arrived. After a few more pushes and about 10 minutes, Nolan was born at 10:47am. When I heard that first cry, it made me cry. He was finally here! They immediately put him on me for some skin to skin time and his first breastfeeding session. Jeremy and I both continued to tear up as we watched our son lay on my chest just minutes old. The nurses put a hat on him, dried him off with some towels, and put a few blankets over him to keep him warm. All that hard labor was over, and now I could relax and enjoy him. 
My doctor took care of delivering the placenta, we donated his cord blood to research, and I got stitched up. I honestly don't even remember that all happening because I was so focused on bonding with Nolan. Here are some pictures from during the birth and just after.
First family photo moments after he was born!
With one of our nurses, Hannah.
Love this one! 

So that's my birth story. It wasn't what I originally pictured but I was thankful I was able to have a vaginal delivery and that my baby and I were healthy. Sometimes it's hard not to wonder what could have been but at the end of the day, what matters is that the baby is here and healthy. As painful as it was, I would already do it again in heartbeat because it's pain with a purpose. Pain that resulted in the best gift I could have asked for. Welcome to the world Nolan Reid.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Nolan's Birth Story Part 1

I decided to break the story into two parts because it was a lot to tell in one post! I'll finish the second part soon.

All pregnancy, I had tried to prepare myself for an unpredictable labor and delivery. I pictured when and how it would start, I imagined how it would feel, and I tried my best to get ready for childbirth. I was glad I went into the birth flexible and with an open mind because let's just say, from the start things did not go as planned. Here it goes! It's a long story just so you know.

On Tuesday April 21st, I had my weekly doctors appointment. I couldn't get an appointment with my primary OB doctor that day so I went with one of the other doctors I enjoyed meeting during my prenatal appointments. At 9:40am I had an ultrasound followed by the doctor visit. I didn't have Jeremy take off for this appointment because I was wanting him to save his days off for after the baby came. He went to most ultrasounds except this one because I assumed it would be quick and easy. 

After the ultrasound, I waited to be seen by the doctor until about 10:20am. When the knock on the door came, my heart started racing. I always seem to get a little nervous just before a doctor gives me results. Well the next thing she said was, "we need to talk." My heart kept racing and immediately I started wondering what was wrong. Her next statement was, "you're going to have a baby today or tomorrow." Enter suprised, shock, panic mode here. Of course my big question was why? She went on to explain that the ultrasound measurements indicated the baby was suffering from something called "IUGR" or inter unterine growth restriction. His head was measuring close to 40 weeks but his body was measuring a few weeks behind indicating that he was no longer getting what he needed being inside. The safest option in the doctors opinion was that we induce me and get this baby growing better again on the outside.

Jeremy was at work so I sent him a text saying, please head to the hospital. His surprised response. "Seriously?" Yes it was happening, and I was glad the car seat and my hospital bag were in the car. My doctors office and the hospital parking decks are connected so I simply went to my car myself, got my bag, and walked myself to check in at labor and delivery. I will admit I cried on the way to the car. I was partially scared something was wrong with the baby, in shock that I was about to have a baby, and excited that the day was here. Such a range of emotions but the wait was over, and this baby was coming soon.

At about 11am on Tuesday, I checked in at Labor and Delivery, got changed into my hospital gown, met my nurse, and by that time Jeremy had arrived. They told me the doctor would be in after lunch to start the induction. Here are some pictures from the L&D room. 
All settled in and ready to get this started!
Getting a meal in before the craziness begins!
There was a baby heart rate monitor and a contraction monitor strapped to my belly and my IV was put in place.
Ready to go!
My mom visited while we were waiting.
Contraction monitor. If you look closely you can she the humps on the green line. Those indiciate the contractions and the spacing between them.
I'm going to end part 1 here! Part two coming soon about the induction, labor, and delivery!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Happy Birthday Nolan Reid!

Jeremy and I are absolutely thrilled to announce the birth of our first baby! As many of you know, we had a difficult time getting pregnant which made this moment even more bittersweet. Nolan Reid Ciak was born at 10:47am on April 22, 2015. It was actually his due date! He weighed 7 pounds 8 ounces and is 20 inches long. Perfectly healthy little guy, and we couldn't be more in love!

I'm sure many of you are wondering about the birth story. As I had mentioned in previous posts, I had a birth plan in mind that I would go into labor naturally when my body and baby felt was the right time. I'm glad I was flexible because much of my original thoughts about the birth didn't happen at all but it was beautiful regardless. I will do a separate post shortly with all the details. It was a bit dramatic and I will say my labor was 24 hours long. Some points were more taxing than others but it was definitely difficult! More details soon!

Until then here are a few of my favorite pictures from our first day together. 
First family photo just minutes old! They placed him on my chest skin to skin right away for the first hour so we could bond and breastfeed. I honestly don't even remember paying any attention to the birth of the placenta or getting stitched up because I was so engaged and infatuated with this perfect little baby! 
With one of our nurses, Hannah. All the nurses were wonderful at Piedmont, and they did a great job checking on me and keeping me as calm and comfortable as possible. I give these labor and delivery nurses a lot of credit for dealing with ladies in labor for a living. 
Another of my favorite first family picture
Couldn't ask for a more perfect baby. We are so lucky to be his parents!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Original due date

Well today is my original due date based on my IUI and the day we got pregnant. It seems the doctors made a good choice in bumping it back based on the ultrasound measurements. I know my due date isn't quite here yet but it's hard not to think today might be the day. I always had a feeling that since the pregnancy started off slowly with low hormone levels that I might be overdue. Yet I always told myself once I hit the 37 week point that it really could happen at any time. Here we are two days from my actual due date still anxiously awaiting the arrival of our little guy. 

People had told me that the end of the third trimester can feel slow. I definitely find that accurate and as if time is standing still sometimes. I'm caught in this limbo stage of wanting to enjoy the last few days of pregnancy but also wanting to meet our baby and experience the whole process. It feels almost like I'm preparing for a marathon but I don't know which day the race is and when I need to be ready to go. That's what has made this last few days mentally tough on me. Physically I'm still relatively comfortable and can usually find a position that works. It's more the mental aspect of waiting for his arrival that's been a bit challenging for me.

I've never been the greatest at dealings with situations that cause anxiety or nervousness. I'm a planner and like to know when something is going to happen. Most big events in your life have a set day and time. You have the anticipation and the butterflies in your stomach right before but you know when to be prepared. With having a baby, sure you have a due date but there is no way of knowing which day the labor will start. It's up to the baby! He's clearly cozy and happy in there and not quite ready to join us. I know he will be well worth the wait! 

There aren't really any updates to report. I still have occasional tightening which happens randomly through out the day. Sometimes I will think labor is about to start and then the contraction just goes away. I guess these are the practice contractions I had heard about. I'll get some weird pains here and there and a cramp like feeling in my side when walking but other than that it doesn't feel like today will be the day.

I have an ultrasound tomorrow morning to check his weight and fluid levels. I'm also curious if I've started up dilate at all and if things are getting closer to happening. I'll post updates after my appointment! 

Friday, April 17, 2015

5 days!

Zero weeks left!? 40 weeks seemed like such a long time but I'm almost there! This came up on my Facebook page today, and I thought it was funny. 
I am definitely ready but trying to enjoy these last moments of quiet time and sleeping in. I've had a few contractions here and there but nothing consistent or painful yet. Still just waiting! 

The other night we went out to a restaurant called Scalini's for eggplant parm. Their website claims it helps induce labor. It didn't seem to work for me unfortunately but it was worth a try. They had a little book you sign, and if you have the baby with in 48 hours you get a free onesie. So much for that! 

It looks like we will be getting another weekend just the two of us! More updates soon. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

39 weeks!

How far along? 39 weeks
Total weight gain: 37 pounds (I didn't really gain this week. Towards the end your amniotic fluid starts to drop, and it's normal if weight gain slows down the last week or two.)
Maternity clothes? yup and my options are limited! 
Stretch marks? I don't think so! 
Sleep: some nights are better than others but overall I wake up a lot and have trouble falling asleep.
Miss anything? Being able to bend over easily. Shaving my legs and putting on shoes has gotten pretty challenging lately!
Movement: His movements have definitely slowed down now that his head is engaged in my pelvis. He definitely feels squished in there but I can usually still get him to move or kick sometimes. The movements sometimes cause a bit of pain or pressure now that he is so big. 
Best moment this week: a little girl in the grocery store asking if there was a boy or girl in my belly. It was pretty adorable. I'm going to miss those questions and comments.
Food cravings: just about anything! I feel hungry often and love to have snacks. Ice cream has been my go to treat lately too.
Anything making you queasy or sick? Nope but my stomach did feel a bit unsettled the past few days. I think it's probably just being nervous about the labor and delivery. 
Gender: BOY!!
Labor Signs: yes finally a little bit! While
I was at the doctor yesterday my stomach tightened up, and I asked if that was a contraction, and he said yes. They aren't painful yet but at least something seems to be starting!
Symptoms: heartburn, shortness of breath from him crowding my lungs (he's still pretty high up), occasional contractions, pressure when walking for long periods of time 
Belly button in or out? It pretty much just looks like it doesn't exist anymore. Kind of flat but a bit popped out. 
Wedding rings on or off? I had taken them off one day last week when it was hot but I got them back on. They are a bit tight but okay.
Mood: anxious, impatient, and very excited all at the same time. 
Looking forward to: holding our little guy! Any day now! 
Could this be the last weekly picture!? 
Baby Ciak is the size of a...
Still hard to believe I have a small pumpkin sized baby in my stomach. It definitely feels like I do! 
All finished! 

There were days when I wondered if I would go into labor early and be able to carry a baby until full term. I'm so thankful my body has handled pregnancy well and that the baby has been able to fully develop inside. I hope that means he will be super healthy when he comes out. 

Yesterday at my weekly appointment things were still looking pretty good. My blood pressure was a little higher than usual but still in the normal range. My belly measured at 38 cm (it should be one cm for each week pregnant so I'm right about where I need to be), pee check was good, and his heartbeat was a healthy 145 beats per minute. I was wondering if that might be the last time I hear his heartbeat with the Doppler. 

They did an internal check again this week too. I made a little progress since last week but still no dilation. The doctor felt a small contraction while I was there, and he said my cervix is starting to soften. Baby steps in the right direction I hope! Yesterday I just felt a little different and am hoping some of the weird things that are happening are early signs of labor starting. We will see! I'm trying to rest and relax as much as possible these last few days. 

If I don't have the baby before next Tuesday, I have an ultrasound scheduled to check his weight and fluid levels. From that appointment on April 21st, we would make decisions about a possible induction. It could be today or it could be up to 12 more days but regardless this baby will be here very soon! 

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