Thursday, April 26, 2018

Welcome, Adrian Elaine!

This little girl is just over two weeks now, but it feels like she's always been here.


I went off work the day before she was due, but she decided to take her time arriving. I was fine (and appreciating all the extra naps) until I hit 40 weeks and 4 days and I suddenly woke up feeling like I was going to crawl out of my skin. My doctor had already made an appointment for an induction at 41 weeks and 1 day, and I finally just gave in and accepted that nothing was going to happen before then. We used the extra time to see friends, mostly just trying to keep me distracted.

I was surprised by how disappointed I felt when I realized I might not go into labor naturally. We'd done zero labor prep (no classes, no reading, nothing) and I was feeling really unprepared and I had no birth plan other than knowing I was going to go for an epidural, but somehow the idea of being induced made me feel like I'd be leaving something unfinished. I'd made it through this entire pregnancy, and I wanted that moment when I would suddenly realize I was going into labor. But I made it to 40 weeks and 6 days with absolutely zero signs of labor approaching so I was increasingly resigned to the induction.

Well, at exactly 41 weeks I woke up to a painful contraction. By mid-morning I knew I was for sure in labor. I held out for as long as I could at home, but in the early afternoon I told D that I needed to go to the hospital. I couldn't tell if my contractions were six minutes apart or three minutes apart (it turns out they were three minutes apart but every other one was super strong), but they were getting increasingly hard to handle and it felt like they were ramping up quickly. At the hospital they hooked me up for the standard 20 minutes of monitoring, confirmed that I was 4.5 cm dilated and they went ahead and admitted me (probably partly because I was already a week overdue). Within 30 minutes of being admitted, I had an epidural placed and when they checked me again (about 45 minutes after my first check) I was 7.5 cm dilated. At this point, things suddenly started moving really quickly - the nurse got me an oxygen mask and asked me to put it on and started to say something about the baby and then the doctor on call came in and introduced himself and told us that the baby wasn't handling the contractions well and her heart rate had gone way down. He strongly recommended that we do a c-section right away, especially because of the umbilical cord (they'd found out that I had an SUA at our 20 week anatomy scan so we'd been doing extra monitoring during the third trimester). He was willing to let me try laboring a little longer but he felt 90% certain that we'd end up doing an emergency c-section. All of this feels really blurry but Dustin and I both interrupted him and just told him to take her out, whatever they needed to do. I remember feeling panicked, thinking that I'd carried her for so long and there was no way I was going to fuck it up at the very last minute. Since I already had the epidural placed they wheeled me straight into the OR. We had been in the hospital for maybe an hour.

I hadn't done any reading about c-sections so I was surprised when they strapped my arms down and I started to panic. Between the arm restraints and the oxygen mask and not being able to move my legs I was feeling really claustrophobic and I was terrified that I'd throw up and I wouldn't be able to take the mask off. They kindly found me a nasal canula to use instead of the oxygen mask which made it a million times better. Everything felt like it was moving at warp speed. They had the baby out in mere minutes and the NICU team started evaluating her and D was able to go back and forth between us and show me pictures and videos. It took another 20 minutes to close me back up, which felt like an eternity but I was able to relax as soon as they told us that the baby was okay and then the doctors started talking about their weekend plans and I remember thinking that I was probably not going to die because they would definitely not be chatting casually if anything was wrong.

Once the surgery was finished they brought Adrian over to me so I could hold her and then they wheeled us both into the recovery room. Everything had happened so quickly that I was in a bit of shock. We hadn't even had time to tell our families that we'd been admitted to the hospital. I was having a hard time believing that this was the baby who I'd been carrying all these months. She had a full head of jet black hair and the longest fingers and toes. I remember feeling overwhelmed and happy but I didn't have that instant sense of recognition that some people talk about. She was just this sweet, adorable stranger that we were suddenly in charge of. Over the next few days we slowly got to know her and fall in love with her. It feels like the craziest thing, creating a human being, bringing her home. Even at two weeks in we're still constantly turning to each other in disbelief. We have a baby, an actual BABY, who is going to become a tiny person and then an adult. I want everything to speed up and slow down at the same time. I love listening to the little noises she makes and we're already noticing how she changes from day to day. This is going to be such a crazy ride, guys.

Adrian, 2 days and 2 weeks
{two days vs. two weeks}

P.S. - I'll probably post about c-section recovery once I'm a little further along. Unsurprisingly, I hadn't prepared myself for a c-section so I had no idea what the recovery was going to entail. I'm incredibly lucky in that I also hadn't spent any time preparing for a vaginal birth (apparently I was just hoping this baby would magically appear?), so I didn't have any major disappointment that it worked out this way, but dealing with the recovery is more intense than I anticipated.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Around here

I have lots of thoughts about pregnancy, and how strange and sweet and scary it is but I have zero time to write about them. So here are some photos, and then a few thoughts at the bottom, which are probably pretty scattered.

painting in progress

tiny clothes





Things I want to write about: body image during pregnancy, anxiety during pregnancy, the annoyance of nearly constant contractions that apparently don't mean anything, the fact that I've been so busy at work that I forgot to sign up for any of the classes our doctor asked us to sign up for and now it's too late and I feel like I'm already a bad parent, how our house basically hasn't been clean since my first trimester, that I seem to have lost my ability to read for pleasure because my brain is all over the place all the time but not the least bit foggy (thank god) just thinking about a million different things.

What I can write about:

- We painted the nursery! We decided on green pretty early on but then spent over a month painting more and more swatches on the wall while we tried to figure out the perfect shade and tone. I would like to say that the one we finally selected is absolutely the best thing ever but actually it was more just that we finally realized we had to make a decision, any decision. We have since second guessed it a million times but there is no way that we are taping up all that woodwork again, so I have decided I love it. (I do think it looks good, honestly - more pics once we have everything else in place in 3 years or so)

- I've been overwhelmed by all the love from our family and friends. It's been so amazing celebrating with everyone over the last month or so and I feel so grateful for the people we have in our lives. I had the most beautiful family baby shower (a joint one with my cousin - we are due less than a week a part, which is so much fun!) and then last weekend Emily hosted a gorgeous lunch with some of my dearest girlfriends. I tend to get really uncomfortable with being the guest of honor, but both of these parties were so thoughtful and felt just right (still can't get over the fact that Em made my favorite cookies, which are a huge pain and a true labor of love).

- I have been taking photos pretty much every week, which is so weird for me, but it's fun to look back. The one above is from 35 weeks. At this point, I'm not even sure how much my belly is changing. It doesn't seem noticeable bigger week to week lately. Maybe something crazy is going to happen during these last few weeks, though.

- Starting last week I feel like going to the hospital is my second job. I'm there 2 - 3 times a week for non-stress tests, growth scans, and regular old appointments. We had a complication (an SUA which seems to not be causing any problems, fingers crossed!), so there is a good reason for all the extra screening, and I'm so grateful that they are keeping a close eye on her, but man, it is a lot of appointments.

- I am on some kind of crazy fruit bender. Basically all I want to eat is blueberries this week, but last week it was oranges. I honestly haven't had much in the way of cravings* or aversions, but I think I'm going to bankrupt us with this produce habit.

 * Except for wanting Caesar salad ALL THE TIME throughout the entire pregnancy, which is hard because most good versions have raw egg and I've been trying to be good about following the rules even though it kills me to give up runny egg yolks. I can't tell you how many restaurants have gotten phone calls from me asking about their dressing ingredients. In a pinch, I'll make it at home using Brianna's Asiago Caesar, which is the best bottled version I've found.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Christmas 2017

It was a pretty emotional holiday season this year. A lot was the same - we had the gingerbread house party, I baked a million cookies, we decorated the house.

cookie assembly line

christmas cookies 2017

christmas cookies 2017

christmas gifts

gingerbread house party 2017

holiday mantle

yule log 2017!

Yayoi Kasuma

But a lot was different too. I'm pregnant, and it felt extra special during this season. Something about pairing the holidays with this fleeting period in my life felt big. I mean, yes, it was a little sad to skip all the festive cocktails, and I had to buy a couple of holiday maternity dresses that I'll never wear again, but I was extra aware of how short this time is, and it felt crazy to think that this is the last year it will be just the two of us.

My sister moved back down right before the holidays and the best part of the season was getting to spend a ton of time with her family. My niece and nephew light up our lives, and being able to see them for casual hang outs or to have them stay with us for a few days is so, so sweet. I'm not sure how we survived apart for the last three years.

And yet, it was the first year without my stepmom, the first year where we didn't go to my dad's house and sit around the tree. It's been the hardest part of the pregnancy, knowing that I can't tell them this news, wishing we could all be together again. I waited a long time to announce to our families and friends, because telling people really highlighted the fact that I was missing two of the most important people. I take comfort in our time with family, and knowing that my dad and Claudia would have been thrilled. I'm in this crazy space of feeling happy and excited and broken all at once. I navigate it as best I can.

A few more prosaic notes about the holidays this year -

I made a lot of cookies. This year I did my usual almond crescents, melomakarona, and gingerbread, and then added in my favorite rosemary butter cookies and some peppermint pinwheels (which are so cute and tasty, but I only make them every few years because I forget just how annoying they are - the dough always wants to crack and rolling the layers up sucks, and usually one roll looks perfect and the other one is all wonky and sad). As usual, I packaged them up using boxes from Papermart and then printed some labels for them (I just buy some full sheet labels and cut them up after printing). The little decorations are from my stash of wrapping supplies. We made the laser cut snowflakes a few years ago, and the mini ornaments are from Ikea.

Emily and I were able to make our yule logs together this year and it was so much fun. Also a little exhausting. We followed my notes from last year and it went pretty smoothly.

We didn't exchange any gifts but we did get a few things for the kids, and we bought a bunch of lottery scratchers as a Christmas Eve activity (buying scratchers in bulk really proves how terrible an investment it is - we've done this two years in a row and have never come close to making our money back but it's fun).

The week after Christmas D and I waited in line for five hours (!!!) to get tickets to Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirrors show. I'm normally incredibly impatient about lines but I can do it if I'm mentally prepared. It helped that the Broad is so close to Grand Central Market, so I took a couple walk breaks to grab good coffee and finally got breakfast sandwiches at Eggslut (which I've always refused to do because the line is usually 40 minutes long, but when it's a choice between waiting in one line or waiting in another it's less frustrating). The show was really fun, and I think the baby will appreciate that we documented her first (?) time in a room of adorable stuffed phalluses.

I'll be back with more posts soon, although they might be about pregnancy for the time being. I'm not sure what else I would write about, since I've more or less stopped cooking, and I'm currently just re-reading the complete collection of Miss Marple mysteries.