Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Sofia's Birth Story


When I became pregnant for the second time I was determined to “rewrite” Diego’s traumatic birth story. It had taken years for me to be able to talk about it without fighting back tears. I had felt so out of control during the experience because I had unfortunately placed all my faith in modern medicine to keep me from experiencing pain and had given up on myself and my body’s ability to do something it was specifically designed to do. I had decided that the next time I would place my trust in myself, and my body, and listen to its rhythms and cues in order to have the positive birth experience I had been unable to have the first time. This is the story of how I got nothing and everything I wanted with Sofia’s birth.
I woke up on the morning of Tuesday, September 3 (6 days after my due date) with the kind of headache that makes you certain you slept wrong. It tapered off through the morning but I was still feeling a little “off” and was taking it easy. Diego watched entirely too much television while I lay on the couch, trying to rest as much as possible with a giant belly and a rambunctious three year old.
Mike came home from the office to check on us around 5:00, just as I was getting Diego and I popsicles. After he left I stood in the kitchen and ate my popsicle. As I was eating it, I thought to myself, “I bet this will get Sofia moving in there.” Only the more I waited, the more I realized I couldn’t specifically remember the last time I had felt her move at all.

I drank some cold juice, and felt nothing. I went into the bedroom to lie on the bed and felt nothing. I moved onto my side, nothing. I tried to annoy her by pushing on where I knew her bottom was in my belly…nothing. This continued for the next 45 minutes with me becoming increasingly alarmed and in tears, constantly repeating out loud, “come on little girl, just let me know you’re okay.” Even though he would be off work in ten minutes, at 5:50 I texted Mike and told him he needed to come home right then. I’ve never been more appreciative that his office is right outside our front door.
When he got home I told him what I was feeling and that I thought we needed to go get her checked because something was wrong. We tried calling our OB/GYN in Santa Barbara where we were planning on delivering but the office was already closed. I didn’t feel comfortable making the 30 minute drive to Cottage Hospital and decided we needed to go to the closest ER.

When we got to the Labor and Delivery wing they hooked me up to the monitor and I held my breath waiting to hear her heartbeat. On the third try we heard it, loud and rhythmic. The nurse said, “It’s okay, you can cry.” But the tears of relief had already overtaken both of us.
After a few minutes on the monitor it was clear that I was having some contractions, only I had assumed that they were brought on by the stress of the situation. The nurse checked my cervix and pointed out that I was barely dilated but it was beginning to soften. The question of whether we were going to be able to leave and go to Santa Barbara if this was early labor hung in the air as the nurse began asking me to roll to my side, then the other. She pointed out that the baby didn’t seem to like it, but her tone didn’t seem super concerned.

The on call OB came in and told me that it seemed that I may be in labor, but that the baby might be in distress since her heart rate had dropped significantly when I had moved to my side. While Diego sat in a chair watching videos on my Nook, Mike began calling his family in Santa Barbara to see about getting Diego picked up in case we were staying. The OB continued that they would continue to monitor me but if she at any point felt like the baby was really in distress she would need to get her out as soon as possible and so she would need to get my consent now on a few things in case there wasn’t time for it later. There were IV’s inserted, lab work drawn, and I told Mike we should consider calling someone closer to come get Diego as the nurse asked me again to roll to one side, then the other. Before I could finish rolling back to center the door opened and the OB told us, “That’s it, I’m done, we need to go now and get her out.”
The next few minutes were a terrifying blur as they began wheeling me out to prep for surgery. The nurse told Mike after our neighbors met him and Diego in the lobby he could come back up and they would let him know where I was. It felt like less than an hour from when I had texted Mike to come home and I was about to go alone to be cut open by a stranger. My body shook uncontrollably and my eyes were filled with tears as they wheeled me into the operating room and moved me onto the table. The only relief I got was when, just before starting, the OB told them they could let Mike in, and he came to sit beside me. Mike was allowed to stand and watch them pull her out and everyone started commenting on how big she was…and the hair. I could only concentrate on the fact that I had not heard her cry. (Why wasn’t she crying, why is no one talking about the fact that she’s not crying?) Then I heard it, and again the tears fell as minutes later they brought her over and I saw her for the first time.


We held her for a moment and then Mike went with her to the NICU so they could continue to monitor her. I lay on the table, once again alone, regardless of the room bustling with people. I thought to myself how different this was from everything I had imagined for her birth. I thought about the Birth Wishes I had put so much care and thought into which were sitting in the hospital bag in the car. None of this was on that paper. I wanted to deliver her naturally, being present and aware of the experience. I wanted the time she entered the world to be intimate for Mike and I, having her brought immediately to my chest, where we could lie skin to skin and bond while we waited for the placenta to be delivered and cord to stop pulsing so that Mike could cut the cord… not the hurried chance he had been given to cut off what remained before they were whisked out of the room.
While I was in the recovery room, and until they brought her back to me in our post-partum room after 1:00 am, Birth Wish after Wish continued to be sacrificed: They performed every standard newborn procedure we had wished to delay, fed her formula, and gave her a first bath. By the time she came to me, I had no idea what to expect, and was solely clinging to the one thing left that I had been unsuccessful with the last time and wanted more than anything else, to breastfeed my baby. I remember Mike telling me as he handed her to me in the bed, “she’s hungry.” It was exactly what I needed to hear and I immediately brought her to my chest. When she eagerly latched on and began to drink I was overwhelmed with the realization that everything that had happened that day had brought us to that very moment and was therefore exactly what we needed.  She was my ultimate Birth Wish.


The last full day in the hospital Mike drove to Santa Barbara and picked up Diego so he could come meet his sister. We had been worried and Mike felt so guilty about the way he had left him there in the lobby with our friends and then his Tia had taken him home with them with very little explanation of what was happening. Of course neither of us will ever forget the joy on his face coming into the room to meet his sister for the very first time. 


That night Mike took Diego home and Sofia and I spent our last night in the hospital together. We were lucky and the floor was busy so for the most part we were left alone by the nurses. With everything that has happened this year I had a hard time feeling like I had bonded with her while being pregnant. It’s hard to focus on the life growing inside you when everything around you seems like it’s falling apart. I couldn’t picture what she would look like without realizing that the image I had of her in the arms of her Nana might never be the same, so instead I remained distant from any image of her. But that night in the darkened room, as we snuggled and she nursed and she looked in my eyes I fell in love. It was exactly what I needed.

The OB told us that her cord had been wrapped tightly twice around her ankle, and it was likely that her blood supply was being cut off every time I lay on my side. With an initial APGAR score of only a four, and the amount of meconium in the uterus it was assumed that she had been in distress for quite some time. If I had not acted on my feeling and had instead went to bed she probably would not have made it through the night.
 
My goal for Sofia’s birth had been to trust myself and my body and that is exactly what I did.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Insta-Friday

Linking up with Life Rearranged for Insta-Friday


It's finally cooling off around here and actually is beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.
This is demonstrated by my newly 3 year old Baby Bear all bundled up on his way to the car in the morning. Gotta love the little faux Uggs.
 (and the apparent Pirate theme, wait... when is there NOT a pirate theme around here?)


We finally got the tree up and decorated (notice the pirate theme), Papa Bear is definitely a "get all the decorations up in one night" kinda guy, wheras I always have plans for other things I want to do and add to the decor that are in various stages of completion. But Nana is coming in a week, so I'd better get on that!


Papa Bear and Baby Bear get to put the star on top.


There is a street in our area  full of historic houses that transforms into "Christmas Tree Lane" every year with really spectacular decorations. We always go multiple times each season. We already went twice last weekend.


The house above is one of my two favorites on the street, the one below is a big hit each year. They build a big model train display in the front yard with tunnels, bridges, etc.


The boys watching the trains.


Baby Bear wanted to bring his skateboard on a walk to the grocery store.
On the way home he told me, "Mommy, you can just carry it for me." Thanks.


Giving Daddy kisses at dinner.


More Christmas lights. These are in the front yard at Grandma & Grandpa's house.
Every day he tells me, "Grandma's house is SO Christmas".



Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Lucky

I am lucky for so many reasons...

I am lucky to have the most amazing little boy who brings me greater joy than I could have ever imagined.
I am lucky to live in Southern California close enough to make it worthwhile for us to be Annual Passholders at Disneyland.
I am lucky to have amazingly creative and talented friends.

This is the combination of these things:


Being blessed with amazing friends led me to Stephanie of Intuitive Images Photography. After only a few hours in the park together I am going to just start refering to her as one of my amazing and talented friends in hopes that she will hang out with me more often and take more pictures like these. ;)

But honestly, Stephanie is such a pro and I cannot recommend her enough. I was a huge fan before I even met her. She has a great eye and knows just how to capture a moment and bring it to life again in print. Her attention to detail, color, and lighting are spot on and she does it all while making you feel comfortable and at ease. (Even when you are dealing with a toddler on one of the busiest days I have ever seen at the Magic Kingdom!)

If you are anywhere near Orange County, do yourself a favor and book a session with her now!

PS: I totally paid Stephanie to hang out with me and take these pictures (and I'll do it again, too), and she only knows I'm writing about her because I asked if I could.  

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Teal and Navy

Yesterday the Baby Bear was wearing this little hooded one-piece from Baby Gap.


I bought the 18-24 month knowing full well my little man wears a 2T. I can't help myself, I am smitten. Even though my husband makes fun of me, I can't help how much I love it on my Baby Bear (even though it barely covers his ankles and wrists).

I realized that what made me buy it and what makes me unable to put it in the "too small" bin is that the color combination is perfection to me, and the "feel" of it sums up what I crave design wise for our home. The soft brushed teal paired with the crisp navy stripes. The casual comfort of the one piece, perfect for throwing on after a day at the beach or pool. The slight nautical detail in the trimmed lettering.

As usual, I went to Pinterest with the intention of finding some inspiration pictures to go along with this "newfound" realization.

Turns out I already knew what I wanted...

Below are images that I found spread across my inspiration boards:

Grace's lovely kitchen









  





a little red accent never hurt anyone...

Apparently I already had a matching outfit picked out for myself too:

Now the fun part will be taking this inspiration and incorporating it into what we already have. Or maybe shopping for something else for the Baby Bear to wear home from the beach.


Note: These images are from my boards on Pinterest. I try to do my best to have my pins link back to the original image, so if you would like a source you can probably find it there.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Yummy Cookies

So, we had a pretty rainy weekend here. Baby Bear and I made some cookies on Sunday from a recipe I saw on The Pleated Poppy blog. I wouldn't bother re-writing the recipe, but hers was a tad confusing to me, so I will attempt to fix a couple things here. I think the cookie base is super yummy. The oats really add a heft to the cookies that keep them thick and I personally like the crunchiness that they maintain even the next day. You could experiment with many different yummy add-ins with this recipe. I went with some Dark Chocolate Chips for ours, and Guittard Mint and Semisweet Mini Chips for the ones I took to work (I wanted a little green for St. Patricks Day).



Here is my version of the recipe base:

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup of oatmeal
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp  kosher salt
1 cup butter flavored crisco
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
Chocolate Chips/Nuts/Candy - use your imaginaton!

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine flour, oatmeal, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Set aside
Beat crisco, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla in a large mixer until creamy.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Approximately a cup at a time, add dry ingredients slowly with mixer on low.
Fold in chocolate/ white chocolate/ butterscotch chips/ etc by hand.
Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
Bake for approx. 11 minutes or until the edges begin to brown.
Remove from oven and let cool for about a minute before moving to cooling rack.


These are delicious hot from the oven, and just as good later when stored in an airtight container. I doubled the recipe and even after making a bunch for work and some for us I had enough to freeze in portions to keep on hand to cook up when a craving hits! Give 'em a try.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Which season is this again??

We have been enjoying the strangest weather lately here on the West Coast. Last week we saw temps in the high 50's on a Wednesday, and the low 80's by the weekend. The forecast for the next three days looks like this:


Daylight Saving Time begins early Sunday morning (don't forget to reset your clocks before bed!) and that extra hour of daylight always makes me think of Summer, yet the first day of Spring isn't for another 11 days. So, technically it's still Winter around here. Yet it's almost 80 degrees... and I'm wearing flip flops.

But I didn't finally write another post after neglecting my blog for far too long to chat about the weather...

With the coming of Spring it seems we are experiencing another Baby Boom of sorts. Many of the Bloggers I follow are expecting little ones this year including Jeannett at Life Rearranged, the lovely Grace over at Grace Happens, Dana of House*tweaking fame, Kirsten at 6th Street Design School, and just this week Katie from Bower Power announced they are having baby #2! So excited for all of them!

With the anticipation of new babies comes another kind of anticipation too... one can only expect these ladies will put together some amazing nurseries. Grace has already posted some pictures of the beautiful space she is creating for her little girl.


From Grace Happens
One of my other favorite thing about expected babies is Baby Showers. A dear friend of ours is expecting a little boy at the end of this month, and we put together a "Dream Team" of gals to shower her with love, food, friends, and gifts recently. Here are a few details from the day.






My little so grown up Baby Bear mostly hung out with the men outside and played choo choos.


I was in charge of making the cupcakes. I made Chocolate with Mint Frosting, and Lemon with a Citrus Cream Cheese Frosting.



It was a beautiful day and memories were made that will last forever.