Weekend Update – Out and About

Happy Monday, friends! In an effort to get back to a semi-regular blogging schedule, I’m re-instituting Weekend Update posts. Eventually, I’d love to get back to Manic Monday training recaps, but since I’m still recovering from childbirth, this is what we’ve got. Enjoy!

Saturday
On Saturday morning, we decided to get up and at ’em early to go out to breakfast. The first week and change at home, we were quite happy to simply sit in the house and stare at our baby. But cabin fever began to set in a bit and we realized that we need to leave the house sometimes. We’ve definitely gone out for stuff like doctor appointments and groceries, but doing something just for fun felt really good. We’re lucky to have a great breakfast spot not five minutes from our house, so it was a really “safe” first attempt at eating out with a baby.

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Within five minutes she started fussing, but I was able to nurse her right there in our booth, after which she passed out in my lap for the remainder of our meal. I had some next-level Grand Marnier and vanilla bean french toast that was basically the equivalent of an entire baguette, while Ben had a big fat omelet and home fries. And of course, lots of coffee for both of us. #newparents

The rest of the morning was spent giving Vera a sponge bath, feeding, napping, and watching Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. In the afternoon, we headed over to my in-laws so Ben could put a new muffler on the truck, and then we stayed for supper, which was very much appreciated. Any time we can get a meal cooked for us is a big help right now. We ended up being at my in-laws’ for almost 8 hours, by the end of which I was absolutely fried and more than ready to be home. I fed Vera, took a shower, and went straight to bed.

Sunday
Sunday was another early morning for me. I like to be up early with Vera to give Ben a chance to get a few more hours of uninterrupted sleep. I fed her and put her in the Rock n Play to nap while I made coffee and breakfast and cleaned up the kitchen a bit.

Ben was up for the day around 9:30, and we hung out for a while, sipping coffee, watching Coco, and snuggling the baby. In the early afternoon, we decided we should get out of the house and do something productive, so we made a meal plan and grocery list for the week, then headed off to the store.

It was dreary sort of day, so we decided to just surrender to inertia and spent the rest of the day watching YouTube videos, blogging, eating, and other miscellany. We had leftovers for dinner, thanks to my in-laws, and not having to cook for a third night in a row was such a luxury.

Vera was a bit gassy and fussy, so it was a later night than I would have liked. Once she went down though, she slept for one 3 hour chunk and then another 2.5 hour chunk immediately following, which felt like such a win. But then of course, she was up for the day at 5:30 am. Happy Monday to me!

Have you gone out to breakfast recently? What did you have?

 

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Post-Partum Update: The First Two Weeks

Hi, friends! Sorry I disappeared there for a bit, but with a newborn to care for, blogging is a bit less of a priority at the moment. As she gets bigger and we can go longer stretches between feedings, I hope to get back on a more regular Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule. But for now, I’ll just be popping in where I can. As promised, I will be doing regular(ish) updates on how I’m healing and adapting post-baby. Let’s dive right in, shall we?

Physical Stuff
My delivery was fairly straightforward, and I only had minor tearing, so physically I’ve been feeling remarkably good. I’m honestly WAY less sore than I expected to be. There’s also been a lot less bleeding than I anticipated, which is a nice surprise. I’ve been feeling so good, in fact, that it’s easy to forget the grueling physical trial I just went through and overdo it. I have to keep reminding myself that I need to take it easy and rest.

For the first 5 or 6 days, my feet and ankles were still VERY swollen from being pumped full of IV fluids during labor. Thankfully, they’re now back to normal, but it was a very uncomfortable few days, and even my Crocs were too tight!

My pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel is slowly improving. I’m honestly disappointed with how numb my fingers still are. I really had hoped that having the baby would bring immediate relief, but not so much. Still, some improvement is better than none. But my fingers are also still just swollen enough that I haven’t been able to get my rings back on, which makes me sad.

I made the mistake of hopping on the bathroom scale at 5 days postpartum and seeing that I’d only lost 6 of the 30 pounds I gained. My immediate reaction was shock and disbelief. Seriously? After getting the baby, placenta, and amniotic fluid out I only lost 6 freaking pounds?? And then I gave myself a strong reality check. Five days postpartum is nothing. I have all the time in the world to lose baby weight, and that’s so not my focus right now. I REALLY don’t want to obsess over numbers, and it’s way too early to worry about that anyway, so I’m planning to avoid the scale entirely until I’m at least 6 weeks out, and go from there.

Breastfeeding
I am so, so happy to report that breastfeeding seems to be going well. We are blessed in that the Mother-Baby nurses at UVM Medical Center are all well-versed in breastfeeding, and we saw not one, but TWO lactation consultants while we were at the hospital. We also had a follow up home visit on our first Sunday at home and Vera was already up from her birth weight, which is fairly rare; breastfed babies usually lose weight in the first week or so while mom and baby figure stuff out.

I was very sore the first few days, but once my milk came in it got much better. Vera has a good latch and good suck and I have an abundant supply, so it’s going as well as it possibly could. It’s endlessly amazing to me that my body can produce food for my baby! As a very well-endowed woman, I’ve always had such mixed feelings about my breasts, and it’s so nice to feel like they have a purpose other than as sexual objects.

Also, I have already become pretty fearless about pulling out a breast and feeding wherever and whenever necessary, which is pretty freeing. If I can BF in front of my dad and father in law, I can do it anywhere, haha! The process of giving birth really broke down the remainder of my modesty, which as a theatre person, was pretty low to begin with!

Emotional Stuff
Thankfully, my emotions/hormones haven’t been running too, too wild. The first few nights home from the hospital were very difficult. I basically went without more than an hour or two of sleep per night from Monday through Friday, and between the hormones and exhaustion, I had a couple of small meltdowns. Thankfully, Ben has the patience and calm of a saint, so he was able to continue caring for Vera while I pulled my stuff together.

I’m definitely more prone to crying now than I was during pregnancy. I played Billy Joel’s “Lullabye (Goodnight My Angel)” for Vera before going to bed recently and I started to cry thinking about how I used to listen to that song with my parents when I was little. Also, we’ve been watching season six of Game of Thrones, and I’m finding I’m a lot less tolerant of violence than I used to be, particularly when children are involved. I spent a lot of time with my eyes averted from the screen.

Relationship Stuff
Bringing a baby into a relationship will undeniably change things, and I think most expecting parents worry about how things will be between them once the baby arrives. Ben and I weren’t worried at all, and so far, we’re proving ourselves right.

If anything, we have become infinitely more appreciative of each other since bringing Vera home. Every day, multiple times a day, we verbally express our love and appreciation for each other. Ben is an amazing partner and dad. He does the majority of diaper changes, and is a swaddling champ. He has taken over a lot of the household stuff so that I can sit and rest and feed the baby as needed.

Watching him interact with our baby girl with so much love, kindness, and patience is almost overwhelming sometimes. I feel so lucky to have him for a partner and co-parent.

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Kitties
I was very curious/nervous about how the kitties would react when we brought Vera home. Before leaving the hospital, we had my in-laws drop off the hat Vera wore immediately after she was born, so that they could smell her scent and get used to it a bit.

Thus far, the cats have been cautiously curious about her, Rocket more so than Creemee. Rocket spends a lot of time sleeping by my side when I’m nursing or cuddling Vera, and will stare intently at us and meow if she starts crying. He also will sleep by my feet at night. Creemee will approach her bassinet and sniff her, but has taken to sleeping outside our bedroom. I think she finds the constant up and down at night with feeding and changing disruptive.

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Miscellaneous
My sister helped organize a Meal Train website for us, so we’ve been receiving semi-regular deliveries of delicious food from friends and family. This is a HUGE help, as Vera is still very needy, and naps infinitely better while being held, so it can be difficult for one or both of us to get in the kitchen and make food. To say that we are grateful for our wonderful support network would be an understatement. We are also incredibly lucky to have my in-laws living only 15 or so minutes away. They’ve stopped by several times with food, drinks, and gifts for Vera, including a set of Beatrix Potter books, which we LOVE!

Care to share any quick and easy recipes for busy new parents?

 

Welcome to the World, Vera Katherine!

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I know most of you already got the news via Instagram, but for those who don’t follow me, here it is!

We welcomed baby Vera at 1:07 pm on July 3, 2018. Even though I was a week past due, she only weighed 6 pounds, 11 ounces, and was 19.25 inches long. We are absolutely, over-the-moon in love with our little peanut.

I don’t plan to do a full “birth story” type post, as that’s a little too personal for me to feel comfortable sharing, but here are the highlights that I anticipate people are curious about:

  • I went in for my 41 week check up and due to low levels of amniotic fluid, we decided to move forward with induction
  • Start to finish, the entire ordeal lasted just shy of 24 hours
  • I had an epidural after 14 hours of unmedicated labor
  • Vera was born hale and hearty with no complications

We are all adjusting fairly well to life as a family of three. Sleep is hit or miss, but Vera is eating like a champ and Ben and I are taking care of each other as much as we are taking care of her, which I think will give us a strong base moving forward.

As promised, going forward will my posts about motherhood will be focused on my postpartum recovery and return to normal activity rather than posting details about Vera’s development. While I’m excited to eventually return to running and CrossFit, these sleepy newborn days are very much my pace right now. I’m happy to do nothing at all but gaze at her sweet face and snuggle her for hours on end.

Thank you all for your kind words and support!

40 Week Pregnancy Update

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Well, I honestly never expected to be writing this post. Despite knowing full well that most first-time moms deliver well past their due date, I assumed I’d have a baby by now! As I publish this week 40 recap, I’m already at 41 weeks pregnant (I’ve been publishing these posts as a retrospective once the week has finished)!

As Tom Petty said, “The waaaaaiiting is the hardest part.” For the most part, I think we’re doing a good job of staying busy and not just twiddling our thumbs waiting for me to go into labor, but it’s difficult not to think about it pretty much all the time. It doesn’t help that family and friends call and text daily to check in on Babywatch 2018. I know everyone is excited, but it’s like, come on guys, you’d know if something was happening; I’d tell you, and this isn’t helping my anxiety over not knowing when labor will start.

Continuing from last week’s theme, we’re keeping the house ship shape, cooking, baking, and staying busy. We remembered to pick up fish food and filters for the fish tank, picked up Rocket’s prescription food, bought (used) sun hats for Baby Girl, and dropped off our water test (which thankfully came back positive!). We had dinner at the Farmer’s Market, had a full moon “Baby Come Out!” bonfire and party, went swimming and went to a one year old’s birthday party. I also went to yoga and the chiropractor, and we had our 40 week prenatal appointment.

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Still no dilation or contractions, so we talked about next steps. We tentatively scheduled an induction for July 6, which would be 2 days before I hit 42 weeks. There is a possible nurse’s strike due to start sometime in early- to mid-July, so my midwifery team wanted to get us in before that might affect us. **Full disclosure, Ben and I both support this nurse’s strike, the timing is just scary for us. Hence scheduling our induction a bit early. 

We also scheduled some 41 week tests to check up on baby and make sure she’s OK in there until we reach induction or natural labor. They’ll do a non-stress test to check her heart rate and movements, and an ultrasound to double-check fluid levels and make sure the placenta is hanging in there. There was a time when I was staunchly anti-induction, but at this point I’m so ready to meet this baby and not be pregnant anymore that I don’t really care how it happens. Being induced would put an end to the uncertainty and the waiting, so if that’s how it goes, so be it.

On the “let’s get this baby out” front, I’ve been bouncing around on an exercise ball frequently, taking lots of walks, eating lots of spicy foods, and spending time in a forward-lying position as much as possible because our midwives think Baby Girl is currently sunny-side up (face front), which is not an ideal birth position. Thankfully, she’s head down and moving into my pelvis, but ideally she would rotate prior to birth. I’ve been doing lots of cat/cow breathing and leaning forward on my exercise ball.

Any predictions for delivery date? Maybe we should start a pool…

Friday Free-For-All 06/29/18

Friday Free-For-All

Our well water is finally safe to drink! The initial water test before we bought the house came back as no good, so the seller shocked the well. But because the well cap was still open, bacteria was likely still getting in, and a second test was still no good. We closed the well cap and then let it go for a while because inertia. We’ve been buying bottled water for drinking since we moved in, which has been kind of expensive and less than ideal. Two weeks ago Ben did a really thorough chlorine treatment, and our third water test this week came back with “Acceptable for human consumption”! Hooray! Just in time for us to bring a baby home. Nothing like waiting until the last minute, eh?

It’s supposed to be brutally hot this weekend. Like, in the mid- to upper-nineties, and I am SO not here for it. Our house usually stays pretty cool, but that’s still quite warm, especially for a preggo, and especially for a preggo who was already heat-sensitive to begin with. Is it bad that I’m hoping to go into labor just so we can be at the hospital with air conditioning? If not, we may need to find a swimming hole. That is, if I can fit into my bathing suit…

We recently started feeding both cats prescription food. Rocket has been on a special diet since his urinary blockage back in the winter. Because it’s more expensive than regular food, we were continuing to feed Creemee the “normal” stuff. But she would regularly try to steal Rocket’s prescription food, while he would try to eat hers, so we had to constantly watch them during meal times, which was getting old, fast. We checked in with our vet, and since there’s no harm in eating the food if a cat doesn’t need it, we’re just feeding them both the same kibble, and life is a lot simpler now. Both cats are happier and eating better, and we don’t have to constantly police who’s eating what. Sure, it will be more expensive in the long run, but I think our time is worth it. Speaking of cats…

Our cats have been catching mice in the house like gangbusters. I think we’re now up to a grand total of six adult and three baby mice that have been either caught (and subsequently removed by me or Ben) or killed by our kitties since we moved in. While I’m glad that the cats are doing their job, it’s kind of gross. We need to do some reconnaissance to see if we can find where the mice are coming in and block up the hole. It can be pretty damn difficult to make your home completely mouse-proof, but the evidence seems to suggest we could do a better job. Considering that we live in the middle of a gigantic field, mice are always going to be a challenge for us.

Cat owners, do your cats do a good job of pest control?

 

 

39 Week Pregnancy Update

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It’s so strange; I had a feeling all along that I would go into labor early, and yet here I am hanging out at 39+ weeks with no baby! I know a lot of first-time moms go late, but for whatever reason, I assumed I would go early. Still though, I’m not complaining. I’ve had two glorious, work- and baby-free weeks to run errands, do fun stuff, and relax. God only knows when I’ll have down time like this again, so I’m just trying to enjoy it. I’ve also been sleeping pretty well, so hopefully I’ll be well-rested whenever labor kicks in.

We’re trying to keep the house as clean and well-stocked as possible in the event that Baby Girl makes sudden moves. Ben made four loaves of bread, and I made a few crockpot freezer meals. I even remembered to special order Rocket’s prescription food, which was almost gone, and stock up on kitty litter and other grocery basics. The co-op in Burlington offers an extra 10% off bulk foods on Thursdays, so I grabbed a ton of rice, spices, grits, and popcorn (one of my favorite snacks that I’ve eaten SO MUCH during pregnancy).

Ben finished the school year this week, so we are both officially in “waiting for baby” mode. It feels kind of like we’re on vacation. We’re spending tons of time together, doing lots of stuff around the house and generally having as much fun as we can while living under the shadow of impending and unknown baby arrival. We are only meal planning and grocery shopping a few days at a time, rather than a full week, because we don’t want to have a fridge full of perishables if we end up stuck at the hospital for more than a few days. And I’ve started loading my hospital bags into the car whenever we’re going to be away from home for a bit, cause you just never know!

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Trying to walk baby out

We had some lovely visits with friends this week. I feel super spoiled that my friends Lizzie and Megan drove all the way out to the boonies to spend time with us on Thursday. Lizzie brought her adorable dog Nora, and we hung out for a while, basking in the sun in our yard. On Friday we had lunch at Burger Barn with our friend Merlin (yes, that’s his REAL name!), which is always a treat. Merlin is currently a stay-at-home house husband, so I’m sure he and I will be spending lots of time together once Baby Girl is born. And Ben’s older sister and her boyfriend were up from DC for the weekend, so we got to spend some time with family as well. It’s been great to have quality time with people, as I know that the first few weeks with out little one will be hectic.

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The Nutty Goat: caramelized onions, goat cheese, candied walnuts, and bacon

Do you ever buy bulk foods? Such a great deal!

 

Friday Free-For-All – 06/22/18

Friday Free-For-All

Still no baby! I know you’re all anxiously awaiting news (or maybe not, I don’t know), but I promise you can’t possibly be more anxious than Ben and I are! My family started a baby pool, and my dad thinks tomorrow is the day, but I’m less convinced. I still haven’t had a single early labor sign. I don’t know how much I will want to share on various social media outlets, but Instagram is probably a good bet if you want up-to-date info. I doubt I’ll be blogging from the hospital!

Honda AC is finally fixed! This took a bit longer than expected because our mechanic had to order a new compressor. I had to get up early on Monday morning to drop the car off at the shop, and the repair took almost the whole day but HOORAY! We have functioning AC just in time for a string of VERY hot weather. Woot!

I baked this week for the first time in FOREVER. Baking used to be one of my favorite hobbies, but our Burlington apartment’s oven was so tiny I rarely used it. And living with my in-laws, it just felt like too much work, using someone else’s stuff and taking over someone else’s kitchen for hours at a time. But on Tuesday, I made two batches of rhubarb oat bars, and my oh my are they delicious! We have a HUGE patch of rhubarb in our yard, so I think this recipe will be a go-to for years to come.

We’re getting a piano! This is a luxury that Ben and I have often dreamed of for our family, but which seemed financially and practically out of reach. Then out of the blue this week, my dad texted to ask if we wanted his grandmother’s spinet piano. It had belonged to his sister’s youngest son (the only one in the family who played), but after Hayden moved out of his dad’s house, it went “up for grabs.” Considering that this belonged to my badass, long-lived great grandmother that we are thinking of naming our daughter after, we jumped at the chance to have one of her possessions! We are grateful to have something so nice, and which can be a great activity for our kids for years to come.

Have you ever baked with rhubarb? Got any recipes for me?