Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Hannah is 10 months!

Wow, double digits!  I can't believe my tiny baby will be one in two months.  Hannah got two more teeth this month for a total of six.  She has also gotten very busy playing.  She likes to check out all of her toys and can roll and pivot to get where she wants to go - everywhere but straight ahead!  She is getting very good at clapping and will do it when we sing the "Clap, clap, clap your hands" song.  She is also starting to wave and vocalizes a lot.

She really likes to turn things over to look at the underside and check out the screw holes and battery compartments.  She seems to find that way more interesting than the actual toy.

We had a busy month getting ready for Christmas.  Hannah made her performance debut at the St. Lucia pageant at IKEA along with her classmates from the Swedish School.  We didn't get any great shots of the pageant but here is one of her in her gingerbread girl outfit.

Of course, Christmas was the big event this month.  I will be doing a separate Christmas post but we had a great time at my sister's house.  Hannah was tired on Christmas Eve (her 10-month birthday) but still had fun looking at her presents.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Hannah is 9 months!

I feel like this month was a big one for Hannah.  She has become so much more engaged, and very deliberate in her actions.  We got her a play yard so she can roll around safely and she loves being in there.  We have put up a mirror for peek-a-boo, and used the bars from her baby gym to hang toys overhead. When she gets cranky we just put her down amongst her toys and she is usually happy again.  Her biggest frustration is when something is out of reach - she hasn't figured out that crawling is an option yet.  Penny the cat is her best friend (at least as far as she is concerned!) and they are getting more comfortable together.  Hannah loves it when Penny is close enough to touch! 

We continue to work on crib sleeping.  Hannah is now sleeping pretty well in her crib with an occasional waking around 10 PM for milk, sometimes another one later on just for soothing, milk again around either 2 or 4 AM and then it can get a little tricky until morning.  One night I got her back down after a 4 AM feed and she slept in her crib until 7 - that was a big milestone for us!

Even though Halloween was basically canceled due to power outages from the freak snow storm (Hannah was a champ through 28 hours of no heat, including some 56 degree diaper changes) we had a little celebration at home with Abuelita, Uncle John, Aunt Angela, and cousin Sara the bee.

Hannah also celebrated her first Thanksgiving - with a plate of sweet potatoes, squash, green beans, and a little turkey. 

She enjoyed the day even though there was a shortage of naps.  She also did really well Black Friday shopping, although she got a bit tuckered at the end.

Hannah got three more teeth this month (those uppers were brutal!) and I think she just started working on some more.  Next month she hits double digits - yikes!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Hannah is 8 months!

Oh gosh this month really flew by!  I don't have too much share, but as you can see Hannah did, as I predicted, cut her first tooth.  The second one is very, very, close behind.  That little thing is so cute and very sharp!

Hannah continues to explore solids - she has tried a number of fruits and veggies, plus Greek yogurt.  Peas are her favorite.  In a addition to purees, she is trying some finger foods - roasted carrots and parsnips and steamed peas.  She seems to like them although she doesn't get a whole lot into her mouth.  Hannah is also experimenting with drinking water out of an open cup.

We started music class and Hannah really loves it.  Her favorite part is the autoharp that Miss Gen plays at the beginning of class. Hannah is fascinated by it and often smiles and even giggles during class.  She also likes sitting on the drum while we sing and play.

We also started Swedish class this week.  Hannah is too little for a lot of the activities but it's great for her to hear the language and soon enough she will be walking and better able to join in.

We did the obligatory pumpkin patch visit last weekend and it was a lot of fun.  I had to hold her not because she can't sit, but because Hannah tried to eat the grass, leaves, and pumpkin stems!  We had a good time and Hannah saw a lot of new sights.

Physically, Hannah has become a champion roller, very strong and push-ups, and finally found her toes. 

We are working on transitioning to the crib for nighttime and it's going OK, if you consider 45 or 90-minute stretches in the evening and maybe as long as 3 hours overnight OK...but she's getting it.  The crib is a safe and pleasant place to sleep and there is no need to worry.  She still winds up in our bed in the wee hours and I enjoy the snuggles.

Can't wait to see what the next month brings!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Hannah is 7 months!

Isn't she adorable?  We are more smitten every day!  I predicted this would be a big month, and I was right - Hannah had a lot of firsts this month.

Hannah had food for the first time - avocado.  She thought it was...interesting.  Since that first bite she has had banana, oatmeal, prunes, pears, and squash.  Unfortunately she seems to be sensitive to bananas - she got a rash on her face and threw up several hours later the two times she tried it.  It's too bad since she seemed to like them the best of all the foods she has tried.

A week later Hannah took her first flight, to see her Auntie Kat.  She was a real trooper on the plane despite having trouble napping.

It was good practice for us to take a short flight - those seats are pretty cramped for three people even when one is small.  I think when we go to Sweden next summer we will get her her own seat.  I can't imagine an 8 hour overnight flight with an 18-month old on my lap.

Auntie Kat was so happy to see Hannah!

Hannah enjoyed her time in North Carolina despite getting very little sleep.  There were so many new things to look at and she didn't want to miss anything.  She saw her first waterfall and and was really interested in it.

Hannah watched her first football game (our one exception to our general no TV policy, and it won't be every week) and celebrated her dad's birthday in her Eagle's onesie.  She cheered the first touchdown of the season and started learning about all the regulations.

Last weekend we started music class.  Hannah was fascinated by the autoharp at the beginning.

Later in the class there was some interaction with the other babies, which Hannah really could use.  It was a very stimulating class and Hannah took a good nap that afternoon!

Physically, Hannah continues to get stronger at sitting while showing no interest in rolling over.  She can now sit for a good while with just something behind her to catch should she decide to lie back.

Out to lunch in NC.
Ready for bed!
This morning we saw two teeth just below the surface!   I'm pretty sure they will be out next month.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hannah is 6 months!

Where oh where has the time gone?  I cannot believe my tiny baby is six months old already.  We were talking about her winter wardrobe and I was wondering aloud what size shirts she will wearing, and Steve pointed out she will be one in the winter.  It did not even occur to me.

Hannah hasn't hit any huge milestones this month.  She continues to improve on a lot of her skills, and is sitting well with support.  She has started sitting in her high chair and watching us at meal times so that she can get used to sitting in it and be familiar with what we do at the table.  Her neck is strong but she doesn't like to use her legs.  We are working on that in the jumperoo and doorway jumper.  She has rolled exactly.once more - today.  Rolling does not seem to be a high priority.  Hannah has definitely started some early teething, drooling and gnawing on things, but no signs of any actual teeth yet.  She can grab onto just about anything and bring it to her mouth, but only sometimes actively reaches for toys.  She is still sleeping pretty well (with some exceptions) and has started going to bed at 7:30, minutes after I get home.  I haven't missed bed time yet but I'm sure it's coming and it will be sad.

We had fancy visitors from Sweden again this month.  My mom and Caroline got to spend some more time with Hannah and my dad got to meet her for the first time.  Hannah thought her morfar was hilarious.

The next month should be an exciting one.  We are starting solids soon, and have signed up for a weekly music class.  Hannah will take her first flight on an airplane to visit her Auntie Kat.  And maybe, just maybe we see a tooth!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I have to rave about QuestionMoms...

You probably haven't noticed the blue button in my right sidebar, but it's been there for a while.  I signed up for this site through another blogger just to check it out.  I have done survey sites before and most of them either have super-long surveys (20 minutes to get a dollar, or worse, a raffle entry) or the topics just don't interest me (just because I have painted my house does not mean I want to evaluate the marketing of 5 different paint companies.)  QuestionMoms pay $1 per survey but they are nice and short and best of all, they are geared towards moms and towards you in particular based on your profile.  I am up to $17 in my account and I have gotten to look at all kinds of interesting new baby products.  I also did a phone interview follow-up for a $20 Amazon gift card!

They will start you out by paying you to fill out your profile, and bloggers, there is a separate "Power Profile" for you as well.

What are you waiting for?  Sign up to participate with QuestionMoms

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hannah is 5 months!

Time continues to fly by.  I really try to soak in the time I have with her while celebrating all of the little milestones.  One night last week she fell asleep on my chest and I literally wanted time to stop.  I thought my heart was going to explode with joy.  I have had a couple of parents this week tell me it gets better and better so I'm trying to not wish her to be a baby forever, even though I know that's not possible in any case!

Hannah decided to celebrate her 5-month birthday one day early by rolling over from tummy to back after practicing with her Abuelita.  We were not home, of course, and she refused to repeat her trick today.  But, it's a milestone we have been waiting for!

She has also gotten pretty good at holding her toys, and bringing them to her mouth.  She sometimes leans forward from a supported seated position to reach for something.  She is super smiley and chatty, especially in the morning.  Her cooing is so adorable.  Sleep is still going well, most nights she goes to bed around 9 and wakes once to eat, and is up for the day around 7, although that varies.  One day last week she slept until 9:15!  I missed seeing her in the morning but that is some good sleeping.  If we throw her off her schedule by taking her out somewhere she adjusts by taking extra naps the next day or sleeping in.  I can't complain.

Friday night we got our niece's jumperoo (thank you!) and decided to try it out Saturday afternoon.  I figured it would be a bit big but we put Hannah in it anyway.  It was a pretty funny sight:

She looked so little suspended off the floor!  We put a box underneath so her feet can reach but her torso isn't really that stable, either.  We figured we should just try again in a couple of weeks when she is 4 months adjusted age, since these are meant for 4 months and up.  She won't be tall enough for a while, though!
Three more days and my family from Sweden comes to visit!  We are all very excited.  Hannah has been keeping up with everyone via Skype but it will be so much better to see each other in person.  Our nanny has the week off so I will be home with Hannah Tuesday and Wednesday and they arrive Wednesday afternoon.  My mom is watching Hannah Thursday and Friday and I bet they will have a great time!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My little girl knows what she wants!

One of the things I have been worrying about lately is transitioning Hannah out of her swing.  She started sleeping part of the night in it pretty early on (she was too small for it at first) and for the past 5 or so weeks since I went back to work she has slept most of the night in it, in our room.  I have been fretting about getting her used to sleeping on her back on a non-moving surface, when the swing is so cozy and relaxing.  (This would be in the co-sleeper, never mind the crib in her room, which I am very much not ready for.)  Honestly, I didn't want to go through the rough nights while she adjusts to the co-sleeper so I have been putting it off.

Well, last night I put Hannah to bed in the swing at 9:20 like every night.  By 9:50 she was crying.  She never does this.  Most nights she sleeps straight through 5:30 if not 6 or even 7.  Once or twice she has been up as early as 12 or 1 but it is very rare.  I walked her around, she snuggled into my neck (God I love when she does that!) and I put her back in the swing.  She cried.  I took her out and nursed her again.  Put her back and she cried.  By now it's after 11 and I need to get to bed myself.  I call Steve upstairs, and ask him to work his magic walking-around powers on her while I get ready for bed.  I'm thinking this is going to be a long night.  A few minutes later he comes downstairs, and announces that she is asleep - in the co-sleeper.  Again, I'm thinking it's going to be a long night.  There is no way she is going to last in there.

I finally go to sleep around 11:30 and when my alarm goes off at 6 I'm amazed to see Hannah snoozing away right next to me.  She eats and goes right back to sleep until after I leave at 7:30.  Nanny reports that she is refusing the swing for naps today, and sleeping in the crib.  I guess that's that!  Her mind is made up and she's not changing it.  Much like her parents, I'm afraid.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Hannah is 4 months!

Another month gone by.  I feel like she changes so much every day.  She is awake and alert more, and more interactive with smiling and cooing and reaching for toys.  She is sleeping pretty well, 9 PM to 4 or 5 AM most nights, although some nights she has woken up once or twice to eat before going right back to bed.  Her overall good sleep makes life as a working mom manageable.

I work from home on Fridays so we can spend a little more quality time together.  And also so I can wear ripped jeans.

We had a wonderful first father's day.

Steve loved his gift, which made up for the fact that they did not offer us a footprint at the hospital.

Our little girl continues to blossom. 

And she brings a joy into my heart that I did not know was possible.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Hannah's 3 1/2 month pedi appointment

As of this past Friay, my little nugget weighs 12 lbs, 7 oz!  That's in the 40th percentile for a full-term 3-month old!  She is still not on the charts for height and head circumference.  She is short and chubby like mommy!  The doctor is very pleased with her development.  She has a little bit of a head lag when pulled into a seated position, which is normal for her age.  She props herself up nicely on her elbows when placed on her belly and is starting to swat at toys.  She has a great smile and has giggled a couple of times.  Pedi says vowel sounds are next, and grasping toys.  I love seeing these little milestones.

She got her PC vaccine to protect against pneumonia, meningitis, and other bad stuff.  Like last time she has had a rough 24 hours.  She woke up three times in the night, and then spent much of the day crying and even refused to nurse a couple of times (she did take a bottle.)  We finally gave her some Tylenol and she settled down.  She was a little screamy the next couple of days and now seems to have settled into a nice growth spurt!

And a pic, because why not?  This was taken on the 5th, before the heat wave fried the peonies.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Hannah is 3 months!

OK, so it was Tuesday, but at least we got pictures taken on the right day.  Now that I am officially a working mom I just slapped the sticker on the onesie she was wearing and snapped a few shots and went to bed. 

Hannah is starting to get all smiley and even cuter than before.  Ms. Jenn who is watching Hannah while I am at work said that she even got a giggle out of her by playing the piano and singing.  I told Steve he should try it. 
Sleep is getting better - she still wakes one or two times a night but can go for long stretches, sometimes as much as 6 hours without eating.  I hate to say it but I think her getting bottles during the day is getting her used to bigger meals and going longer between them.

Other happenings this month:

Hannah met mommy's friends from way back when - we had a fun bachelorette weekend for Liz (far right) and it included a sleepover at my house.

I celebrated my first mother's day, with a dinner cooked by Steve's brother and a photo book thoughtfully put together by Steve.

Hannah met her Auntie Kat, who made a pair of gorgeous deerskin moccasins for her.  She is a very blessed little girl surrounded by so much love! 

And of course, I went back to work on Monday.  So far Hannah does not seem to mind.

I cannot believe my baby girl is three months already!  Time sure flies.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

First day back at work...

Overall it went better than expected. Hannah decided to back to her up-at-night ways so I got about 5 1/2 hours of sleep. But the morning routine went smoothly, Steve and I both got showers while Hannah relaxed in the swing. We did have a little drama - our nanny let us know at 6:45 that she had cut herself badly making lunch and had to go to the emergency room. I called my mother-in-law and luckily she was able to come so that Steve could go to work.

I made my train at 7:54 and there were no delays. I had a light schedule but I did run the staff meeting and a major client meeting. I pumped at 9:30, 1:00, and 4:30 and got the 3 1/2 oz Hannah drinks each time. It turned out she ate around those same times. My homemade hands-free pumping bra worked great and I was able to type e-mails and eat lunch while I pumped.

My new office is small but private. Our office manager did a great job getting it set up for me. I purchased a small refrigerator, which makes it easy to store my milk, and pump parts between sessions. I can also store my lunch right next to me! After the 4:30 session I steamed the pump parts in he microwave using a special Medela bag and set them out to dry. I'm so glad I bought a second pump so that I don't have to bring everything back and forth - just the bottles and cooler packs. (I could use bags but they are about 50 cents each, and I need six per day. I do have some stashed in the office for emergencies.)

I got home at 7:25 and even though Hannah had just eaten she was happy to nurse for a good long while after I pumped, put the milk away, went to the bathroom, and washed up. Steve heated dinner as I was starving. Hannah got some jammies and I cleaned up the bottles from the day and made new ones. My goal was bed by 9 and I went upstairs at 9:15.

Overall it felt good to be back at work. I suspect I have some tired days ahead and not every day will be a good one. I am grateful to work from home on Fridays - Hannah-time is going to be very limited during the week. I am also happy to have a long weeked ahead to recuperate!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Hannah's 2/3 month appointment

We are super off with the pediatrician visits because Hannah went for the first time when she was almost 2 weeks old, and wasn't even full term at that point.  So yesterday we went for her "3 month" appointment at 11 weeks actual age, 5 1/2 weeks adjusted age, and she got her 2 month shots.   This stuff is hard to keep straight!

The pedi liked her overall "perkiness" and said she has a strong neck and is very close to rolling over - on track for her actual age!  She is beginning to smile socially which is on track for her adjusted age.  She weighed in at 10 lbs 8.5 oz (10th percentile for actual age) and measured 20.5" (5th percentile.)  She is growing super fast and should keep climbing up that chart.

We chose to do the Pentacel shot, which is DTaP, Polio, and HIB all in one injection - saves her two sticks.  Our pedi likes to space out vaccines so she will get the meningitis vaccine next month and then be ready for two her 4 month shots at the sppointment after that.  We are skipping the Rotavirus vaccine after consulting with the pedi.

Hannah took the injection like a champ - one shriek and a couple of whimpers and that was that.  She slept on the way home, and ate right away when we got there.  Then it all fell apart.  She had a short and unsettled nap followed by a lot of crying.  Real crying, with tears.  I walked her all over the house but she was just so sad.  She screamed her way through the next diaper change, which was lengthy as the result of a mid-change poopsplosion.  She screamed horribly when I tried to button her onesie (I think it was too close to her thigh) so she she spent the rest of the afternoon in her diaper cover and an unbuttoned onesie.  Steve found me rocking her like that when he got home at 6:30.  She had fallen asleep against my chest out of exhaustion and would whine a little every once in a while.  She skipped an afternoon feeding so I had to pump, and that never happens.  She finally ate and fell asleep around 9, and other than eating a couple of extra times in the late evening she seems back to normal.  I hope so, because I hate seeing her sad or in pain!

I'm thinking Steve can take the next appointment...

Monday, May 9, 2011

Weight Watchers week 2 = success!

So I didn't post about week 1 because I only lost 0.8 lbs and I was disappointed.  I thought maybe the plan was too easy, and it wouldn't work for me.  I did stick with it and this week it paid off - I lost 4.6 lbs for a total loss of 5.4 lbs!  Four more and I am at my pre-pregnancy weight, and I plan to keep on going.  One nice thing about breastfeeding is that they give you about 2,000 calories a day so I can eat three normal (healthy) meals plus a couple of snacks and even have room for a small treat.  It's so different from the last time (in 2001-2002) when I got about 1,250 calories a day and really struggled to get through the day.

I like routine so it's easy for me to have a few options for breakfast (egg sandwich, kefir with high-fiber cereal, or cheese toast) have a turkey sandwich with baby carrots and/or grape tomatoes for lunch, and have a reasonable portion of whatever we are having for dinner.  (Turkey burgers have become a recent favorite.)

Hopefully my goal of fitting into some of my clothes by the time I go back to work will be achieved!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

My mom is awesome!

I have been meaning to write this post ever since my mom and sister left, and of course it is hard to find the time.  I thought today would be appropriate, even though it's not Mother's Day in Sweden yet.  My mom did so much to make my life easier during the week they were here.  Anyone who knows her, know that she is a) very sweet and b) a tireless workhorse.  Both of those qualities were out in full force.  I am sure this list is not comprehensive, but just to give you an idea, here are some of the things she did when she was here:

-Took Hannah overnight several nights so I could get some sleep.
-Cooked several meals, often also doing the dishes, and made enough for us to freeze.
-Fixed a skirt for me.
-Watched Hannah so that I could reorganize my closet.
-Reorganized Hannah's closet while I held her and gave instructions. (Side note: Hannah has 35 hats!)
-Watched Hannah so I could do a little gardening.
-Watched Hannah so I could run a couple of errands.
-Helped me give Hannah a bath (so much easier with two sets of hands!)
-Went through my pantry, reorganized and got rid of expired stuff.
-Unloaded the dishwasher.

And last but not least, kept me company, which made the days a lot more fun.

All of these little things made life so much easier.  I miss my mom!

(And a special shout-out to Caroline for always setting the table and bringing me about a million things while I was nursing!)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Weight Watchers starts today...

Because if I don't lose 10 lbs, my wardrobe is going to be very limited when I go back to work in exactly four weeks.  And I would rather not be wearing maternity clothes!  They gave me a ton of points because I am breastfeeding, and under the new program I can eat as much fruit as I want.  I feel motivated and ready to go, let's hope I see some results!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Hannah is 2 months!

The last month has been a busy one, and I haven't blogged as much as I would have like because Hannah likes to be held ALL day.  I put her in her bassinet or vibrating chair so I can get something to eat or drink or go to the bathroom, but mostly I just hold her.  When Steve comes home he takes over except when she is eating, which is frequently in the evening.  Some of the things that have happened in the last month:

-We got rid of the apnea monitor last week.  Yay!

-Hannah started wearing cloth diapers, and I love it.  She also helped set a world record by participating in The Great Cloth Diaper Change yesterday.

-We took our first longer car trip to see Uncle John and Aunt Angela and cousin Sara.  It went pretty well, just a little screaming on the way back.  Hannah does not care for red lights.

-Hannah was examined by a pediatric cardiologist and was declared to have an "innocent heart murmur" - no big deal.  She was such a good girl during the appointment.  She had an EKG and an ultrasound done.  Holding still was the hardest part!

-Hannah met her mormor (my mom) and Aunt Caroline for the first time.  They came all the way from Sweden to see her!

-We ditched the nipple shield.

-She started wearing 0-3 month clothes and actually outgrew some of the newborn items.  I think she is just under 9 lbs.

-Last but not least, we found our nanny!  She seems truly wonderful and we think she will take excellent care of Hannah when I return to work in (gulp!) a month.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Today is my due date...

And my little girl seems to be waking up a bit!  Her awake times are longer, and she's a bit crankier.  Today I wore or held her all day.  Nighttime sleep is hit or miss, she will do OK one night and keep us up all night the next.  I'm starting to worry a bit about sleep once I go back to work - she will be 6 weeks adjusted age and could very well be up every few hours.  On the other hand, nights might be the only time I see her - I will be out of the house 7:30 AM to at least 7:30 PM every day except Friday, when I will work from home.  I hope we can make it work.

It's odd that my leave is just supposed to be starting but it's half over!  I'm trying to focus on the weeks I have left rather than those that have passed.  I still have mixed feelings about the birth - I am hoping my due date passing will help me feel like things are how they are supposed to be.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Solved - the case of the missing cord stump

Hannah lost her cord stump in the NICU. And by lost, I mean that we opened up her swaddle one day and it was gone. We searched the blanket and the crib all over but it was just gone. Steve was disappointed but I was partially relieved because I thought it was kind of gross and I wasn't sure I wanted to keep it.

Fast forward about 4 weeks to yesterday. I'm getting in the car to go to the chiropractor (my hip is killing me) and what do I see on the passenger seat? Yup, the cord stump. How or got there I have no idea. Presumably it hitched a ride on our clothes or my purse. Steve is now determined to keep it, and I can't really argue. It seemed motivated to come home with us.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hannah is one month!

And she is still pretty sleepy!

She is eating well and seems to be getting a little bigger.  The newborn clothes are not quite as enormous on her!  I spoke to the nurse at the infant apnea clinic today and it looks like we have three more weeks on the monitor.  It's a pain but also reassuring.  Since she is not supposed to be out and about yet I am trying to focus on just being with her every day and soaking it in.  I know that this time will be over soon and I won't have it back.  It's not how I planned to spend my maternity leave but I'm trying to make the most of it.

One thing I would like to have is a solid chunk of sleep.  Hannah eats around midnight, 3 AM, 6 AM, and 9 AM.  We are not on a formal schedule but she seems to wake up around those times, give or take 20 minutes.  Sometimes it takes her 45 minutes to eat.  Even though I go to bed at 9 or 10 and don't up until her 9 AM feeding I'm pretty tired in the morning.  So on Saturday I'm going to pump and Steve is going to handle the midnight feeding (he is usually up anyway) while I try to sleep for 5-6 hours in a row.  I am really looking forward to it!  I am finally feeling OK with the occasional bottle since nursing is going so well.

I think that is all the Hannah news for now!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Maternitique review

Just a few short weeks ago, I was complaining about my feet.  The kind folks at Maternitique saw my desperation and offered to send me some products to review.  Of course, I accepted.  The products arrived quickly and a few days later, Hannah did too.  I forgot all about Maternitique, but my feet stayed swollen and itchy for a week or so.  We got home, and I saw those lovely foot products and knew there was still time to give them a try!

Maternitique's mission is Maternity Evolved, Naturally™.  They "choose products designed for modern women that combine the best of science and traditional wellness" and avoid toxins like phthalates.  I think this is great because I have a secret penchant for high-end beauty products, and during pregnancy and now breastfeeding I am trying extra hard to keep toxins out of my body.  Not only does Maternitique use eco-friendly packaging and office supplies, their office is wind-powered!  The other thing I love about Maternitique is that they are charitably inclined and support the midwifery model of care, a matter close to my own heart.

I was sent the Belli Foot Relief Cream and The Spoiled Mama Soothing Aloe Leg Gel.  Both would make a great treat for yourself or any pregnant woman you know. 

The Belli Foot Relief Cream has three ingredients I already know and love: peppermint to cool and refresh,  tea tree oil to prevent fungal infections and shea butter, which is probably the best moisturizer in the world.
The cream is rich and silky, and absorbs well.  It left my feet feeling nice and fresh and very moisturized, but not greasy. This would be a great cream to use for a foot massage!  The tube is a generous 6.7 oz and is going to last a long time.

The Soothing Aloe Leg Gel smells fantastic immediately on opening the bottle - it has peppermint oil and spearmint leaf.  Maternitique recommends chilling in for use in the summer, which sounds heavenly.  It goes on really light, not sticky at all.  And the smell wakes you up a bit, too!  I will use this in the summer, pregnant or not - it would be great for bringing along to the beach.  I was sent the 4 oz bottle, it is also available in an 8 oz size.

So far I really like what I have seen from Maternitique - great products to pamper yourself with, and you can feel good about shopping there, too!

Disclaimer: I was sent the products mentioned free of charge.  I was not paid to write this review and all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Brief Hannah update

I haven't been blogging because there isn't too much to say, for which I am grateful!  Hannah is getting into a little routine and I am starting to identify her trends.  This week is my first home alone with her and it's going well.  We usually have little bit of a rough night followed by a slow start in the morning.  She eats at noon and two and then sleeps until six.  Not a bad schedule!

We went to the pediatrician today and she weighs 5 lbs 14 oz.  That is up 6 oz from a week ago and 3 oz from her birth weight.  The pediatrician was very pleased and doesn't need to see her again for a month!  I am proud of myself for taking her all by myself, monitor and all.  (Although when I was leaving there was a triplet mom in the waiting room, she was pushing a double stroller plus a single and I have no idea how she was doing it!)  She handled it well except for a screaming fit on the way home.  I have one pack of preemie diapers left and then she should be big enough for the newborn size.  The next milestone is 8 lbs at which point she will be able to fit into her cloth diapers, finally.

Hannah is very popular and is getting presents almost daily.  She has received everything from dresses and books to a diaper cake and handmade sweaters.  I am busy keeping up with the thank-you notes.  People have been so generous.  We have also been well-fed the last couple of weeks - friends, family, and neighbors have been bringing us all kinds of goodies.

This picture is already outdated but I really like it:

On my to-do list: taking some pictures suitable for a formal birth announcement and doing some infant massage per my midwife's recommendation.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Baby Hannah's birth story!

Our little lady decided to join us on the early side! Here is what happened (gory details and all!)

On Thursday, 2/24/11 I was 34 weeks and 3 days pregnant.  I had to get up early for a work meeting, we also had a visitor from Sweden who was going to take the train into the city with me. Around 6:20 I had showered and was sitting on the toilet in my robe, putting lotion on my leg, when I felt a warm gush of fluid. It was clear and definitely not pee! Steve had been sleeping downstairs due to my horrible snoring, so I went to wake him up and tell him I thought my water had broken. His first words were "Did you call Jessica?" - our midwife. I agreed that was probably a good idea and called. She agreed that it did sound like my water, but it wasn't necessarily so. She recommended that I go in to see her backup OB. I called and left a message and planned to call back at 8. I e-mailed work and told them to reschedule or cover my meetings for the day. I contemplated a NICU stay and cried just a little.

Per Jessica's instruction I laid down for a few minutes to see if the leaking would continue when I got up while Steve took our guest to the train station. The leaking did continue so I thought I better get ready to go and possibly not come back. I shaved my legs for the benefit of the medical staff, got dressed and put on one of the jumbo pads I had bought for post-partum. I bought a phone card online for calling my parents overseas and Jessica called to check on me a little after 7. By then I had soaked 3 pads and she decided to call the emergency number of the OB. She called me back pretty soon to say they would see me at 8:30. I packed the smallest hospital bag ever - nursing bra and nursing gown, toiletries and hairbrush, a pair of cozy socks, slippers, camera and charger, cell phone charger, and a little baby snow suit I hadn't been sure we would get any use out of in April.

Steve got home and I told him the plan - he had enough time to shower and dress, and we both ate breakfast. I knew that it could be a long day. My back started hurting during breakfast and I didn't feel much like eating, but I knew I had to. I also started feeling like going to the bathroom a lot. Steve found the time to unload the dishwasher and feed the cats. Right before we left we tossed a box of granola bars in the bag and Steve grabbed the car seat from the attic. Luckily we had left the base installed since my nephew Noah's visit a few weeks ago.

I remember on the way to the doctor's office feeling really irritated at the traffic and generally uncomfortable. I wanted my birthing tub!  I remember telling Steve that if they put me on pitocin it was game over for a natural birth. We got there around 8:40 and I shuffled into the office. They were expecting us and while we didn't have to wait long they did ask us to have a seat. I couldn't do it so I stood over a chair, leaning. The receptionist said that it looked like labor to her!

We went into the office and Tina, the midwife, put me on a contraction monitor and the baby on a heart monitor. The heartrate was steady in the low 140s and I could see some blips on the contraction monitor but nothing big. I felt uncomfortable on the table but it was nothing I couldn't deal with. After maybe 10 minutes Tina said that she had seen what she needed to and took me off the monitors. She wanted to do a pelvic exam as well so I got undressed and put on a sheet. She put a speculum in and took a look - declaring "I'd say you are about 5 cm. I can see the baby's head. Happy birthday!" I was in complete disbelief but Steve said he saw the head too, with dark hair on it. Tina told me to get dressed and get ready to head across the street to have a baby. Steve teared up a little. I was still in shock. Tina called Jessica who said she would try to get there soon. Jessica also said that I was a pro and that it was going to be an easy delivery - I thought she was just trying to make me feel better!

We got in the car and literally drove across the street. There was some traffic and it felt like forever trying to cross. Tina had told us where to go and we pulled into a 15-minute parking spot. We walked in, slowly, and then Steve went to move the car. I gave my name and they were expecting me. I was pacing and there was a guy on his cell phone driving me crazy with his talking.  I just left our stuff in the reception area and went into the nearby room they showed me. My nurse introduced herself as Carolyn and I think I asked her to repeat it twice. I changed into a gown in the bathroom but left my socks on. I was hooked up to the monitors for 20 min mandatory monitoring and given an IV of fluids and penicillin since I had not had my Group B Strep test yet. Luckily I could be on my side rather than my back but it was pretty uncomfortable. When Steve got back I had him get a pillow for between my knees and then he started filling out the admission paperwork and calling our families, who were all in shock.  A couple of people called back and I found the ringing phone annoying.

The nurse was pretty good about getting me off the monitors and on to the wireless system. She also disconnected me from the IV and just left the hep lock in. I immediately started pacing the room.  Carolyn asked if I wanted some clear fluids and I requested apple juice.  I think Steve went to get it.  I knew I wanted to keep my energy up.  I tried the birthing ball but it kept rolling into a cabinet and it was annoying me.  I had to sign a bunch of forms and didn't even read them.  I was getting nauseous with the contractions and kept going into the bathroom.  At 11:15 I threw up the apple juice and Steve declared I was in transition.  I told him to shut up as I thought I still had a long way to go.  I kept pacing and sitting on the toilet and Dahlyt, our midwife's assistant, showed up while I was leaning in the bathroom doorway.  She put some very firm pressure on my lower back and it felt great.  I kept wandering into the bathroom because I felt like I had to either puke or go to the bathroom - kind of a flu-like feeling.  People kept asking me what I wanted and I kept saying I didn't know.  Eventually I asked Steve to get me a pillow for my back because I was pretty settled in on the toilet.  Dahlyt would put cold compresses on my face and neck during the contractions which felt really good.  She asked if I wanted to get in the shower but I didn't really want to move.  In between contractions I tried to close my eyes and really relax.  I was definitely dreading the next one!

At 11:30 our midwife, Jessica arrived.  She came into the bathroom, too.  It was quite a party in there!  The nurse would pop her head in when a monitor came off but otherwise left us alone.  At 11:45 Steve tells me I cried out in pain for the first time.  I can't say I recall.  Right before noon I started grunting and bearing down with some of the contractions.  Jessica asked if they felt like baby pushes, and I said I didn't know, and that possibly my bowels were just turning inside out...  She said she wanted to check me and when she did the baby's head was right there.  She said she wanted me off the toilet and we decided I could kneel by the bed.  Jessica asked Steve if he was ready to help catch the baby.  She put down a pillow with a Chux pad on top and I was ready to go.  At that point the doctor came in, took one look, and said "I don't like this whole...floor thing."  (We laugh about this now, but seriously, I would have loved to push in that position!)  I had to get on the bed but he said I could push on all fours if I wanted.  Once I was on the bed I felt fine on my back and didn't want to move.  I think I looked at Jessica at one point and said, "I need you to help me."

Some time around that point...

I started pushing with the contractions but was kind of holding back, and screaming out loud.  Dahlyt said that I could scream as much as I wanted but it might be helpful to direct that energy downward.  It was a good reminder.  The doctor said something about not wanting me to push too long because of the prematurity issue, which made me anxious.  I had planned to be a slow pusher and I really didn't want forceps or a vacuum used.  The nurse brought in a large mirror so we could see what was going on.  Steve and Jessica switched places so that he was holding my hand and she was holding my leg.  The doctor started stretching me out which burned like crazy, and telling me to push his fingers out.  I started pushing harder and Steve said afterwards he could see the head a couple of times.  I had my eyes squeezed closed and I screamed, "It hurts!" a couple of times.  I started to hold back and Dahlyt encouraged me to push through the pain.  I did because I wanted her out!  Steve said he could see the head and I was so close and I gave one last really long hard push and she was out, at 12:23 PM.  They placed her on my chest and the doctor said, "Mommy was right - it's a girl!"

She was warm and wet and looked so small and sweet.  She started making a little cry which was a relief.  She had a very pointy head!  They let the cord pulse for about a minute (I had wanted to let it pulse until it stopped) and then Steve cut it.  A team of doctors - I had not even noticed them coming in the room - took her behind a curtain to evaluate her.  Steve stayed right there with her.  The OB asked if we had a name picked out and I said we had been thinking about Hannah.  Steve said she was definitely Hannah.  It was settled!  They announced her weight, 5 lbs 11 oz, and that was also a relief.  They put her on my belly again, all wrapped up, before they took her upstairs.  Steve went with her.

Fresh out of the oven
First family photo

I would have been sad that she left had I not been high on adrenaline.  I felt great and was chatting with everyone still in the room.  The OB gave the cord a tug but the placenta wasn't coming out.  Jessica wasn't worried but the OB wanted it out within 30 minutes.  They gave me another IV, with pitocin, to help it along and Jessica gave me some Angelica drops.  The OB was concerned because he felt the cord detaching when he pulled on it - I almost told him not to pull on it then!  The minutes ticked by and the OB explained that if the placenta didn't come out, we had two options - he could reach in and get it, which would be painful but fast, or get me into the OR, put me under, and then remove it.  I said that after giving birth without drugs, there was no way I was being put under.  With just a few minutes to spare, the nurse massaged my belly hard while the doctor reached in for the placenta.  It came out exactly 30 minutes after the birth. The doctor gave me a local anesthetic and I had two stitches for a small tear.

After he was done, I started shaking and the nurse put some warm blankets on me.  Jessica said it was just the hormones leaving my body.  The nurse got me into some mesh panties and into a wheelchair.  I was wheeled down the hall, IV coming along for the ride.  Jessica and Dahlyt brought our things.  I was shown into a private room, which was nice.  I settled into the bed while the IV finished and I was disconnected once again.   My nurse came by and introduced herself and showed me my "supplies" for post-partum.  All of a sudden I was very anxious to get upstairs.  I asked what had to happen before I could go, and the nurse suggested I eat and pee - sometimes swelling can cause issues in that department.  A tray was ordered and delivered within the hour.  I scarfed my food and finally felt ready to use the bathroom.  It wasn't as bad as I feared.  I put on some socks and got into the wheelchair.  Jessica wheeled me upstairs and Dahlyt came along too.  When we got up to the NICU Steve was changing Hannah's diaper and I started to cry when I saw her.  I felt good knowing he had been holding her for the whole time.  As soon as she was changed I got to hold her, finally.

Our ride was just beginning, but that is how it all started!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Did I mention we are home?

No?  Sorry, I was too busy snuggling with my little nugget.  She has an apnea monitor in case she stops breathing (a common thing with preemies, they usually start breathing again on their own) and we made it through the first night without incident.  This evening I am proud to announce that she took her entire feeding by breast for the first time!  We are not allowed to wear her out too much yet but I am very pleased.

Outfits are limited because of the monitor cords - we need to get to her chest quickly to fix a lead if it comes off, and the cords need somewhere to stick out.  Pants are out.  Gowns are too restrictive in the chest unless they have snaps.  We are pretty much limited to snapping footed sleepers and we only have a few items in newborn, which are too big but not ridiculously so.

We sit and snuggle a lot to make up for lost time in the NICU and to try to recreate the third trimester that she is missing out on.  I look forward to every day with her!

Breaking jail!

Home as a family!