Monday, April 30, 2018

Pre-baby splurges

We made a couple of indulgent purchases for ourselves right before the baby arrived, since we figured that we'd be spending more time at home for the foreseeable future. We stepped things up in two specific categories, both of which directly related to being new parents:

new coffee grinder

Caffeine - we'd been using a 20 year old coffee grinder that we inherited from my parents over a decade ago. It had finally gotten to the point where it needed to be held together while in use, because otherwise it popped apart and spewed coffee everywhere. It took us six months of debate to finally pull the trigger on a really nice (and very expensive) coffee grinder (the Baratza Virtuoso), but I have no regrets. Our coffee tastes better, the grinding is quieter, and it's much easier to use and clean. We've been putting it through its paces since we went on parental leave and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we get many years of use out of it.

new bedding

"Sleep" (it's probably more accurate just to say "bed" since these days we spend a whole lot of time in bed but NOT sleeping) - when it comes to sheets I like having just one really nice set that we use every day (plus a set of flannel sheets that we'll use if it gets really cold in the winter). It takes up less storage space, and I don't mind just washing them every Sunday and putting them straight back on the bed (no folding!). I'm a little crazy about sheets and I tend to read a million reviews before purchasing. I want to feel like I'm sleeping in a hotel, and I want them to be crisp and heavy, nothing sateen. I splurged on a set of Parachute's percale bedding a little over two years ago, and we really liked the sheets. They had a good texture and held up well to daily use, but two weeks before the baby was born they finally gave in and the fitted sheet ripped right through. I considered just repurchasing the same ones, but decided to give Matteo a try instead. They have a showroom in Los Angeles, so we made a trip over there to check the sheets out in person before committing. We ended up getting lucky and we were able to find the exact bedding I wanted in the showroom, which meant we got 50% off (and I think there was some additional discount? I was extremely pregnant and not super aware of the math, but it ended up being so much cheaper than I expected). If you love heavy hotel bedding, I highly recommend Matteo's Nap line. I can't speak to their longevity yet but they are thicker than the Parachute fabric and I'm sure they'll last at least as long. And yes, we did discuss how insane it was to purchase new white bedding with a dog and a baby, but I really, really love a stark white bed and we decided to just go with it and see how bad it got. A few weeks in and we're doing fine, although I have stepped up the washing to twice a week for the time being (this is definitely necessary because we're in bed at least 14 hours per day, it feels like, and I've given up and now eat some meals in bed too). I have to say that having really great bedding makes the long, sleepless nights and the bleary eyed breastfeeding sessions feel much better.

And yes, that is the SNOO next to our bed, and yes, I will definitely be posting a review once I have a better sense of how it's working for us. Technically, this is our biggest indulgent purchase (although we got it on a big holiday sale and I have high hopes that we can sell it once she outgrows it). We've been using it since we brought her home and I *think* that it helps her sleep longer, but at this point we're all still adjusting to life and every single day is different, so it's hard to really say how big a difference it makes. But I'll update! I know I scoured the internet for reviews when I was trying to decide if we should purchase.

P.S. NOT a splurge but the accidental best purchase we made is this lightweight Gladom side table from Ikea - it's super simple, looks decent, weighs almost nothing and you can pull the top off and use it as a tray (which I do if I'm sitting on the larger couch). We got one for the nursery and one week after Adrian was born we realized it was so indispensable that we ordered a second. They are both in constant use, and we move them all over the house. I never start a nursing session without one.

ikea side table

living room set up

P.P.S. - It hurts my heart a little to have all these cell phone photos on the blog and this morning I alllllmost broke down and got out my real camera because I miss having real pictures, but the process for getting actual photos up is so much longer (my phone uploads directly to Flickr for me whereas getting photos off the DSLR is a four step process that requires loading Photoshop on my ancient computer). Perfect is the enemy of good, right?

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.