Leo’s Birth Story

IMG_6050

It’s taken me awhile but I’m finally ready to share the details of Leo’s birthday. I still can’t believe this is the same little baby who lived in my belly these last several months! I love reading birth stories so I decided to share mine here.

Some back story. Originally I was given a due date of June 8th but both my family doctor and obstetrician flipped it a couple of times, going back and forth between the 6th and 10th as well. I stuck to June 8th as the date because it was in the middle of the two and I knew it was really just a guess anyway.

I spent a lot of time preparing myself to give birth. I said a lot of affirmations (my favourite was “the pain has a purpose”) and tried to stay as active and busy as possible to keep myself from overthinking everything. I tried to trust that my body could do the work and I just wanted to go into my labour and delivery with an open mind. I know there are so many depends in these situations and many things would be out of my control. I have yet to talk to anyone whose experience went according to “plan”. In terms of pain medication, I wanted to try to go without anything but certainly wouldn’t deny myself if I felt I had reached my limits. I often said that this was a “game day” decision and my husband encouraged me to do what I felt was right for us.

I gave June 8th as my last day of work because I wanted to avoid sitting at home for weeks on end in case I went overdue. I was also feeling pretty well and so I saw no reason not to continue. The last couple of weeks before I was done were stressful though. The dog got terribly sick and required a couple of vet visits and being up with him often for several nights made the cold I’d been dealing with rebound into something AWFUL. I literally couldn’t breathe for a week, which made sleeping impossible, which made everything worse. I couldn’t take anything for it and was petrified I’d go into labour in this condition. It took several days for me to start feeling better and baby prep was at a bit of a standstill because of it.

I got my membranes swept on the Monday before my due date. My mucous plug had started to come out a few days prior. The doctor was very excited to tell me that I was already 3 cm. dilated and 75% thinned out at that appointment and I was super encouraged by that because discomfort had been minimal. After the sweep I had some cramping and then contractions on the Tuesday and Wednesday nights that were strong enough to wake me up but they’d always go away and I’d wake up the next morning with no action.

Thursday, June 8th, my last day of work came. It was bittersweet and I was sent off with lots of well wishes. I left feeling emotional and mostly in disbelief that my maternity leave had come. Tom got me a beautiful bouquet of peonies to celebrate the occasion and we went out to dinner and ran some errands. We went to bed around 10 pm and I was awoken around midnight by contractions.

IMG_5955

Now, this had been my normal the last couple of nights so I wasn’t overly concerned but I did eventually notice that the contractions were coming in intervals. I downloaded an app to track them at around 1 am and warned Tom around 3 am that I thought this was the real deal. I used our bathtub and a heating pad for relief. Once the contractions were about 3 minutes apart we grabbed our bag and headed out. It was around 8 am and I’d already been labouring since midnight.

A couple of comical moments: we were waiting for the elevator and a neighbour joined us. I was in the middle of a contraction and Tom explained that I was in labour. The guy proceeded to jump in with us anyway and took his sweet time riding the elevator down to the main floor while I was hunched over in pain, delaying our trip down to the parkade. I considered punching him. Then we ran into construction near the hospital and had to detour. By the time we got in, they hurried me through and I was so grateful.

IMG_6037

Once at labour and delivery I had to wait behind two other women to get checked. I was contracting very often now and waiting was torture. When I was finally checked I was told I was around 7 cm. dilated. The staff were excited and so were we. It seemed the baby was closer than we thought. The resident did ask if I wanted an epidural at this point and said that I would have to decide quickly as I was already so far along. I felt I was managing ok at this point and declined. After I got into my room I overheard some staff outside discussing my progress and I felt so excited. I was on my way to meeting my baby soon and so far didn’t feel the need for intervention of any kind.

By this point, the only way I felt comfortable during contractions was either on the birthing ball or standing, leaned over while Tom pressed on my lower back. The poor guy, I’m sure his hands are still numb. We walked and were upright pretty much the whole time. I was admitted at 9 am and laboured until about 2:30 pm when I was checked again. The contractions were super strong, right on top of each other and I was sweaty, shaky and nauseous. It felt like I was in transition. I started to question having the energy to push because that last hour especially had really drained my energy.

When I was checked they told me I hadn’t progressed. At all. I was still around 7 cm. after labouring from 9 am to 2:30 pm. I was devastated. Beyond this, they told me that all of my contractions with no progress were starting to affect the baby and his heart rate wasn’t recovering as quickly after each one. They said that I would need medication to speed things up and progress my labour faster. She left to give us a minute to discuss the epidural.

I was so frustrated at this development that I started to cry as soon as she left because I knew in my heart that I needed the help. I’d been labouring over fourteen hours already on two hours sleep and with little else to fuel me. My contractions were already so intense that I couldn’t imagine dealing with several more hours of stronger ones, plus pushing the baby out. I had reached my limit. The nurse came back in, and I told her I would get the epidural.

I had a spinal tap when I was four years old. Because of this I still hate needles and the thought of one in my back terrifies me. I was dreading this part of things and it was even worse than I imagined. It took him three tries to get the epidural in and it was so uncomfortable. I was contracting the entire time and was petrified about moving too much. It was stressful to say the least, but once it was placed, almost instant relief. I was finally able to lie down, rest and recharge for the work ahead. I could still feel my now amped up contractions through the epidural so I can’t imagine how they would have felt without it. This quickly affirmed my decision. My nurse also pointedly told me, “I’ve had two epidurals. You don’t get a hero cookie for going without.” I loved her for that.

I laboured for a couple additional hours after the epidural. Then I was checked and told I was fully dilated around 5:30 pm. Hallelujah! The baby started moving down quickly and more staff started coming in to assist. There was still concern about his heart rate and even mention of a c-section should things get really dire so I knew I needed to get in the game and push him out quickly.

Pushing was a wonderful experience. I was shaky but I had feeling in spite of the epidural and I felt very alert and in control. The team was also incredible and very positive and encouraging while I pushed. The pressure was intense, particularly when his head was coming out. Tommy had been unsure of whether he would watch the baby come out but when the time came he held my leg and watched the whole time. It was motivating to see his reactions also. He was so excited and that gave me the energy I needed.

I only pushed for a few minutes and the baby flew out quickly. I had been so scared to get the head and shoulders out but it happened so fast and before I knew it he was on my chest, wailing and wide eyed.

Leo Thomas Erwin
June 9, 2017
5:56 pm
6 lb. 9 oz.
18.5 in.

I couldn’t believe he was ours. He had so much hair and the biggest hands. After he was out, my placenta was delivered with a quick push. I had some tearing and that was stitched up while I held Leo on my chest skin to skin. I barely felt a thing.

IMG_5968

Our parents arrived soon after, just before we were moved to the mother baby unit. I was starving and we begged my in-laws to bring some food. I was pushed to our new room in a wheelchair, shoving pizza into my mouth, and feeling like I was on top of the world. We spent two nights in the hospital which felt so long. We weren’t sleeping there and couldn’t wait to be home. Breastfeeding is going well, which I’m so grateful for. This boy eats constantly and still has his days and nights mixed up but he is the sweetest thing in the world.

IMG_5963

Thank you so much for all of your support and well wishes, it truly means the world to us. Also, a special thank you to my husband. I knew he would be the perfect “coach” and he truly was. I could not have made it through this experience without him.

What a blessing to have a healthy baby! We don’t take it for granted for a second how fortunate we are to have this little guy join our family.

 

Standard

Cloth Diapering: Our Setup

IMG_5922

Super excited to be sharing our cloth diaper setup today. This is something I’ve been looking into pretty much since I found out I was pregnant and I love hearing other’s experiences and tips so I thought I would share what we plan to use for our baby.

Cloth diapering is a somewhat controversial topic and I’ve definitely received much skepticism and discouraging opinions on it. I understand that cloth won’t work for everyone but for us it feels feasible to at least give it a try. In the condo we have main floor laundry so I don’t think an extra load every other day or so is a big deal. If we were using disposables we’d be taking a load of garbage down to the main floor and then across our building to the dumpster room every day which is way more of a production than a load of laundry inside our suite, in my opinion.  I’ll be honest that cost savings is my biggest motivator. We stand to save easily a couple thousand dollars cloth diapering from birth to potty trained and even more if we use that same cloth diaper stash on more than one child.

The amount of research I did before deciding on what brand to go with was outrageous. I probably seriously considered at least four brands and every type before deciding on Planet Baby’s All-In-Two package. I liked that the company is Canadian and they sell on Amazon so I was able to read a lot of reviews from verified purchasers on there. I know that some people like to try a mix of styles and brands but my goal was to choose well from the beginning and really get comfortable with one style rather than have a mix of items and potentially only a few that I liked. The diapers look and feel great, so I’m excited to see how they work.

IMG_5924

What sold me on Planet Baby:

  • Ability to purchase a full diaper package
  • Reasonable price (plus free shipping and coupon codes)
  • Cute prints
  • Bamboo inserts
  • The features: double leg gussets, snaps, one size (fits 8-35 lbs.)
  • Close to disposables for ease of use

IMG_5923

A list of everything we have to get started:

From Planet Baby:

IMG_5920

From Well.ca:

IMG_5919

Miscellaneous:

  • Coconut Oil (in lieu of traditional diaper rash cream)
  • Cloth Wipes
  • Spray Bottle (to spray cloth wipes)
  • Dryer Balls
  • Country Save Liquid Detergent

IMG_5925

We are going to wait at least a couple of weeks after the baby is born until the meconium passes and we get our bearings before we start using cloth. It will also depend on how well they fit him as a newborn.

In terms of prepping, I just prepped the diaper covers by washing and drying once. For all of the inserts, I washed them three times, dried once and then repeated this process, with everything on high heat. This is necessary to maximize the absorbency of natural fiber inserts and prevent leaks. You also have to be careful to avoid the softeners, fragrances and dyes in traditional detergents and fabric softeners with cloth diapers. I chose Country Save detergent, because it came highly recommended for cloth diapers in many of my readings and I can get it from the London Drugs in our neighborhood. We’ve also switched from dryer sheets to dryer balls to avoid extra chemicals.

IMG_5921

That’s all I have so far. This is going to be a learning experience for us so I’m excited to get started and will let you know how we make out!

Standard

Recent Obsessions #13

IMG_5414

Chrissy Teigen’s Dutch Baby.  I’ve made this a couple of times now and am always impressed by how easy it is to make and how beautiful it looks. I served it with berries for our anniversary breakfast and it was fab. I think a cinnamon sugar sprinkle would be good too.

Sanuk Yoga Sling Sandals. I’ve had these for awhile now and they are still one of my most practical shoe purchases ever. I’m especially enjoying how comfy they are at 9 months pregnant.

Riverdale. Oh my gosh, I haven’t loved a show this much in such a long time. I’m so sad that I have to wait for more episodes. I also just finished The Keepers and really enjoyed it.

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Pearl. I’ve been a longtime devotee of Hourglass’s Ambient Light but my go-to, Luminous Light is a bit dark on my pale winter skin. This pearl shade from Becca is gorgeous and adds a beautiful glow with no color. The formula is super soft and blends great.

Milky Way. Especially the Koko ice cream sandwiches.

The Body Shop Glow Revealing Vitamin C Peel. As I’ve mentioned many times, my pregnancy skin has been a mess. I seem to need way more exfoliation to avoid breakouts. I kept seeing these peels being promoted and out of desperation, grabbed one on promo. After one use, I noticed a huge difference and was shocked at how much dead skin this removes. You only need to rub it on your face for 20 seconds so I’m hoping this is something I can keep up even after baby arrives.

Epicure’s Oh Canada Dry Glaze.  Now that it’s grilling season, we were able to reorder some summer Epicure favourites. We’ve been loving this glaze on chicken and we also enjoyed it on ribs last summer. Super easy to throw together, too.

What are you obsessed with lately?

 

Standard

The Third Trimester

tom-me

Now that I’m full term I thought I’d better share this post before I give birth!

At the beginning of my third trimester I made a quilt for the baby. It was my first one, and I had no idea what I was doing but it does look like a usable blanket which is all I could ask for considering my level of expertise (read: none). The solid gray squares are from Tommy’s old uniform shirts, which I love.

IMG_5232

We started and completed our prenatal classes with Sally at the YMCA and both of us learned so, so much. Maybe too much. Every week I felt like I left with so much helpful information. We also took Sally’s hospital tour and there’s something about visualizing where I’m giving birth that puts me at ease. The facilities are much nicer than I’d anticipated and I feel good about delivering there.

I dealt with more aches and pains in my third trimester which resulted in my trying prenatal massage. I found it uncomfortable but I feel like just lying on my belly for an hour in the special pillow was worth it. I miss sleeping on my stomach so much. I also saw my chiropractor a couple of times, which always helps.

Tommy and I took a quick trip to Minot at the end of March. We knew we wanted to get one in before the baby came but I found out that my work travel insurance wouldn’t cover me for much longer in my pregnancy and we had to throw together a plan fast. We stayed for two nights and even knocked some big items off of our baby shopping list. It was a fun little getaway and something I’m so glad we prioritized. Target, I miss you so.

FullSizeRender

I met my obstetrician, and have been seeing him regularly. All of my tests and stats have been good throughout my pregnancy and I’m so grateful for that. With his OK, I started drinking raspberry leaf tea around 35 weeks and started having occasional contractions around this time as well. Eek.

Sleep and my energy levels in general have been weird. I’ve never been much of a side sleeper and having that as my only option has really affected my sleep this last while. I’ve gone through a weird phase of crashing and sleeping all day every Sunday, and also dealt with bouts of insomnia from 3-5 am. I either have great energy and want to do everything or feel like a total zombie.

We finished the majority of our baby shopping in early May but I keep thinking of small things to add. Is this ever done? I’m guessing not. There has been lots of nesting these days, reorganizing the condo, and doing donation runs to make more space. I also planted a pot for our balcony, because why not when I have all summer to enjoy it?

IMG_5880

The baby dropped at 36 weeks and I got a cold that I couldn’t shake. I felt really uncomfortable for a bit and was scared I’d feel that way for the rest of the time but he seems to have settled in his new spot, although my cold has been hanging on for-ev-er. I’ve been praying that I can get healthy before I have to deliver and in truth, I know that I just need to slow the heck down.

Number one craving these days: ice cream. Typical.

IMG_5566

I’ve been reading a ton of information about childbirth in particular. I’m really big on affirmations and have some that I remind myself to focus on when I’m feeling anxious about the coming event. One of the hardest parts of this whole thing is definitely the lack of control. I have to sit back and wait for this baby to decide when he is ready to be born and as a planner, I’ve found it challenging to just sit back and trust the process. I feel like a ticking time bomb these days. I’ve had some random episodes of anxiety about connecting with the baby, getting everything done and trying not to take to heart the constant opinions one can hear as a pregnant woman.

In terms of what’s left to do, our hospital bag is packed but we still need to install our car seat. I also have a long list of cleaning items I want to tackle but all of that will probably just come down to when he actually arrives. Washing floors at 38 weeks pregnant sounds like fun, no?

Oh, and one more sweet thing: I received my first Mother’s Day card, signed from the baby. So surreal, this experience.

IMG_5621

Wish us luck! We can’t wait to meet our little guy.

 

 

Standard