Thursday, March 31, 2016

Samantha's Birth Story

On March 11th, I had my 40 week prenatal appointment. It cracked me up when the nurse told me "You're 40 weeks and three days along, okay?". I (not) jokingly responded with "I'm painfully aware."  I was due for a NST (non stress test), which monitors baby's movement and contractions, and a biophysical profile, which is an ultrasound to check on baby's activity, fluid levels etc. My OB was also going to check on dilation and effacement, to see if I'd made any progress since my last appointment. My sister in law came along to keep me company, which was great and very much needed! As far as dilation and effacement went, I was still just a fingertip dilated and still only about 80% effaced like I was at my last appointment. And unless I was laughing, Samantha wasn't very active during the NST. I felt a couple twinges, that I wouldn't have really called contractions, but they were just barely popping up on the paper. Everything looked okay on the ultrasound, but she was again not very active, just sucking on her fingers. One of the things the doctors want to see is the baby practice breathing, which she didn't during the ultrasound. 

After this was all done, the doctor came in and said that I am to go to the hospital tomorrow at 4 PM and I said HANG ON. What? Why?? He said that because her activity wasn't where he'd like it to be, he wanted to induce me the next day. Um - could you not have just initially said that?! I had made it pretty clear a month or so prior, that I did NOT want an induction unless absolutely medically necessary. I tried to argue with him (as kindly as possible), asking lots of questions, which led to him finally explaining everything I mentioned above. Basically, I didn't have much choice in the matter and my gut told me I needed to just leave it in fate's hands and trust my doctor's judgement. After he gave me my paperwork and left the room, I had a meltdown. My biggest fear with the induction was that it wouldn't work and lead to a c-section. If you know me, you know I'm terrified of surgery and the thought of a c-section scared the living crap out of me. And especially after having such laid back and relaxed midwives during my pregnancy with Vince, it had been a bit nerve-wracking that I'd felt more like a chart than a pregnant woman with my OB. 

Thanks to my sister in law, I calmed down, took a deep breath and we decided to go run a couple of errands. I was having some light contractions and they seemed to have a pattern, but I could walk, talk and drive through them, so I didn't pay them much mind. When we got back home, we decided to order some Olive Garden for dinner and I took some time to make a couple of phone calls, to let family know what was going on. I was starting to lose bits of my plug, which excited me, but there was no "show", like there was with Vincent, so I didn't get my hopes up. While eating dinner, the contractions picked up a little and they were getting hard to talk through. I put Vincent to bed and hopped in the shower afterward. I decided to try and go to bed early, since I knew I'd likely not be getting much sleep for a while after that! 

Well, I never went to 11:30, I started having some ass kicking contractions. I had to moan through them. I started timing them. First 8 minutes apart, then 6, then 4, then 2, lasting about a minute or more. After about half an hour of these, I woke up my mom and husband and told them that we needed to go to the hospital. My sister in law immediately came over to stay with Vincent. By the time we left the house, the contractions had been two minutes apart, lasting a minute for over an hour. We got to the hospital just after 1AM. I was admitted immediately. My nurse checked me and I was 5cm dilated!! Woohoo! I was in so much pain, that I asked for the epidural pretty quickly, since I knew I was progressing fast and it takes a while for them to actually get it ready. The only way I was able to get through the contractions without losing control was to moan or weirdly breathe through them, grab onto either Mike or my mom's hand and stare them dead in the eye. Later they both told me that I looked like I wanted their death! xD

Nurse waited to finish placing my IV, because I was in the middle of a contraction!

These were the only photos my mom was able to get of me in labor, because of how quickly everything happened!
A little while later, I had the nurse check me again as we were getting closer to time for the epidural. I was 8cm dilated. Knowing I was most definitely in transition with the contractions helped me a little, because I knew it couldn't get worse than that. Shortly after, my nurse had me sit up and face Mike, who was sitting in the chair next to the bed, because the lady administering the epidural was outside. I had a very strong contraction and had to hyperventilate through it. Mom and Mike told me to breathe slowly and I found myself telling them "STOP. TELLING ME. HOW. THE MOTHERF*** TO BREEEEATHE." and I screamed. The nurses came running in and out of nowhere, I felt this wickedly strong urge to push. My nurse told me not to push, but to lie back; my doctor was almost there. I told her that I couldn't help it - my body was pushing on its own!! She checked me again and sure enough - Samantha was crowning!! At that point it was clear that my doctor was not going to make it in time and the nurses would have to deliver her and my plans to get the epidural flew right out the window. I freaked out badly. 

My nurse was an angel sent from heaven! She got right up in my face and said "Hey! Stay in control. You are doing this. Your body is doing this. I am right here and we can do this together!" I needed to hear that coming from her SO badly. I guess it was different hearing it from her, because she was my nurse, I felt she had everything under control and she had authority. (I wish so badly we had taken a photo with her - I absolutely adored her and am so thankful for her!) There were probably about 6 nurses total in my room and around my bed during the delivery. One was holding an oxygen mask up to my face and I remember mom asking if I wanted my glasses off. I said NO, otherwise I wouldn't be able to focus on anything! They had me lying completely flat on my back as well and didn't want for me to be in any other position, because they'd lose the heartbeat on the monitor. It was SO hard for me to push in that position - I wanted so badly to squat or be on my hands and knees, but it just wasn't possible at that point. It is honestly really hard to say exactly what time anything happened, because it was all so fast. Mike and my mom weren't watching the clock either, so it's really all just a guesstimate! But my mom is guessing I pushed about 10 times before she was born.

We arrived at the hospital just after one and Samantha Ruth Neergaard entered the world 1.5 hours later at 2:39 AM! She weighed 6lbs 8oz, was 19 inches long and her head circumference was 34cm! The nurses whisked her off pretty quickly - it was all extremely chaotic, since my doctor wasn't there. I remember stopping the nurse who was about to cut the cord and telling her to let Mike do it. It seemed like forever before I was able to hold her, but I knew they were trying to properly suction her out and make sure she was okay first. I was MUCH more aware of birthing the placenta this time around, since I had no epidural. Because of my history after Vincent's birth and having lots of clots left, I was given pitocin and the nurse reached in to pull out clots, while pushing on my abdomen very hard. It was SO painful, but I knew it was necessary to help avoid another infection and D&C. It was beyond me how much came out after the placenta!! Meanwhile, my doctor walks in and says "Okay, are we ready?", then hears Samantha cry, looks over and goes "Oh..." xD I was in so much pain, but internally, I was laughing hard! It was absolutely priceless. So he basically arrived just in time to stitch me up, shake my and Mike's hands and tell us congratulations. I can't help but chuckle every time I think about it! I had a second degree tear, which I really didn't notice getting during pushing. (As a matter of fact, I don't really remember feeling the ring of fire either) I received a numbing shot before getting stitched up, which helped tremendously with the pain and I hardly felt getting the stitches.

Samantha was crying something FIERCE during most of the process, until Mike was able to hold her. It amazed me how loud and demanding her cry was!! I remember Vincent's being so tiny and polite. Not Samantha's. Her's screamed "HELLOOOO HERE I AM! FEED ME." As soon as she was placed in my arms for the first time, it was beyond clear to me that she wanted to nurse. She latched immediately! xD Well hi, nice to meet you too! Here's some dinner! I was given some pretty hefty pain medication afterward, which nearly knocked me out as I was trying to use the restroom - I had to lean forward and touch the floor to get the blood to rush back to my head! Once I was finally able to use the bathroom, I was taken upstairs to the maternity ward, where we stayed until we were discharged on Sunday.

Samantha's weight dropped down to just a smidge under 6lbs by the next day, so they kept us another day, to try and get her weight back up. They were going to have me supplement with formula, so while my mom tried to get her to take the bottle, I pumped to make up for the formula feeding. I was able to pump enough to give her the breast milk instead of the formula! It turned out that the reason of the significant weight loss was because of a bad latch. Which made sense, because I was cracking and bleeding and nursing was SO painful - completely different from how it was with Vincent. When trying to give her a bottle or a pacifier, she would gag and spit it out immediately. She wasn't latching deep enough when she nursed either. After a couple of good, solid meetings with the lactation consultant, some bottle feedings and pump sessions, we were able to fix the latch issue and she jumped back up to 6lbs 2oz!

Sally, one of my favorite nurses during our hospital stay - she was so incredibly sweet and helpful with Samantha and very emotionally supportive. She was able to get Samantha to finally take her bottle and helped me find a good way to keep her awake through feedings. Despite having other patients to tend to and other things to do as well, she always took lots of time with us and made sure we were well taken care of! :)

Here are a few more photos of our hospital stay:

Proud daddy! <3

First time she took a binky, which was a huge deal after having issues with gagging!

Vincent meeting his baby sister for the first time! <3

Proud big brother!

She kept leaning forward while I gave her kisses - it was so, so sweet!

We were finally able to go home on Sunday at around noon. It was wonderful to be back home with Mike and Vincent again! It was SO hard to be away from Vincent for so long, even though Mike and our family brought him to the hospital several times to visit. I had never been away from him for so long and it was hard on both of us. But, I will say that I had fantastic experience at the hospital where I delivered and I loved each and every one of my nurses!! Since I've been home, I've gotten two calls from the nursing staff to check up on me and answer any questions I may have. I've felt so cared for through this whole process and if we decide to have another baby down the road, I am most definitely going to deliver there again!! 

Finally home! Exhausted; but home! :D

The first two weeks back have been going great! I have been so thankful for my mom, who has been an incredible help to me, especially with Mike having to go straight back to work the day after we were discharged from the hospital. I am also beyond thankful for my sister in law, who cared for Vincent the majority of my hospital stay and has done everything in her power to provide help and support these past several weeks. I unfortunately ended up having to have another D&C about a week postpartum, like I did after Vincent was born and she stayed with me at the hospital, while my mom was at home with the kids. I know it sounds very cliche to say, but I am so incredibly blessed to have such a loving and caring family and sweet babies! My heart is truly full. 

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

L'Oreal Paris Extraordinary Oil VoxBox Review

Time for another Influenster VoxBox Review! And what perfect timing for this one; my postpartum hair was a bit of a mess last time and I imagine it may begin to become that way this time around as well! It became very dry and brittle and this is exactly what this shampoo is supposed to help prevent. 

First off, I was very pleased by the scent of the shampoo and conditioner! I felt that it got my hair very clean and did not take long to rinse out. I always wash my hair twice, since I do not wash it horribly often, mainly to prevent it from becoming so dry and brittle. (Also because, admittedly, with a two year old and a newborn, often there is just no time!! ;D) The conditioner really did condition my hair well; it was quick and easy to brush through before drying. Before drying, I applied a bit of the oil and wrapped my hair back up in a towel for a couple of minutes. After drying, I applied more, before straightening my hair. I was pleasantly surprised that the oil really didn't leave an oily residue!! Usually after I use oil, I have to rinse off or wash my hands before I grab my straightener, but I didn't have to with this one. Another big plus, is that after using all three products, my hair didn't have any static. With a lot of shampoos and conditioners I've tried, I've noticed that my hair not only felt like it didn't get completely clean, but it was also had a TON of static, which I can't stand. 

All in all, I was super happy with everything! I have only used the products once so far, so I can't report any positive or negative long term results, but I am definitely going to use it all up and decide if I want to switch products! I also plan on purchasing the transforming oil-in-cream, using the coupon that Influenster included in the box. :)

Disclaimer: I received this product complimentary from Influenster for testing and reviewing purposes. 

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Sunday, March 20, 2016

Samantha - One Week Old!

Samantha Ruth is finally here!! We are so, so in love with her and happy to be home and together as a family of four! There have been a couple small bumps in the road, but aside from that, this first week has gone AMAZINGLY well. I seriously couldn't wish for a sweeter, more cooperative toddler and easy baby!! (Knocking on wood BIG time haha!!) As with Vincent, I will do my best to do monthly updates for Samantha from here on out, although they might be a little bit late! It's definitely harder to find spare time with two kiddos.

Height/Weight: We saw the pediatrician on Wednesday (5 days old) to check on her weight, since she had a significant loss at the hospital. She was 6lbs 8oz at birth, dropped down to a smidge under 6 and is now back up to 6lbs 5oz! :D She goes back on the 28th for her 2 week well exam.

Daily: She is actually awake a good chunk of the day! Which probably explains why she sleeps as well as she does at night. Her routine is pretty simple. Eat, diaper change, awake time, eat, sleep and repeat. During awake time, we do tummy time on the mat in the living room and she enjoys watching her big brother play. I've been doing everything I can to include Vincent in her activities, so that he feels he is being helpful; he will bring me her diapers and wipes, her burp cloth and even puts her binky in her mouth! And that's a BIG deal for Vincent, since we are currently partway into the process of weaning him from his own binky. The older Samantha gets, the more she will be able to interact with Vincent and the more they can play and learn together.

Sleep: Holy moly. This girl knows how to sleep. I realize she is still a newborn and it could all change very quickly, but I have to set alarms throughout the night to wake her for feedings! She is awake a pretty decent amount of time during the day - she sort of just naps wherever and whenever right now. I keep her out in the living area as much as possible, so she gets used to her brother being a noisy Ned and learns to sleep through noise. She goes down in her bassinet at night around 10 or 11 and sleeps there until we are up for the day. 

Eating: Breastfeeding is going a lot better! During the first 24 hours, Samantha had a latch issue, which caused me to crack and bleed. Her latch was just not deep enough, because she'd gag if anything got too close to the back of her throat. When we tried to give her a bottle or a pacifier, she'd gag. Since we kept encouraging her to use the pacifier, per recommendation of one of her nurses at the hospital, her latch has actually improved!! Unless she is clusterfeeding, which she so far has only done during the day, she eats every 2-3 hours during the daytime and eats about every 4 hours at night. I feed her on demand, unless she hits the 3 hour mark during the day or the 4 hour mark during the night, in which case I wake her to eat. She burps REALLY well - I sit her up and she burps on her own almost every time. But she drinks fast, so I have to sit her up to burp often, otherwise she projectile vomits. 

Sizes: She is soooo teeny!! <3 She is swimming in newborn clothes. I am certain she'd fit in preemie perfectly, but we didn't want to bother buying that size, since she would grow out of it very quickly. It's hard to keep socks on her, because the smallest ones we have fall right off, except for the super long ones! We have a huge stash of newborn diapers, but may end up having to buy more in the end. I never would have thought she'd be this small, since I carried her much bigger than Vincent! I expected her to be at least half a pound heavier - not a whole pound less! I love how itty bitty she is. I kind of wish she would stay this size forever!

  • First car ride on the way home from the hospital
  • First kiss from big brother!

  • First ride in the baby carrier and first time out on a walk!

  • First smile (look at this photo - there's no way that's a gas smile!! :D)

  • Umbilical cord came off on March 15th. It amazed me how early it came off, especially since Vincent's came off so late!

  • Lifted up head on her own. Yes, you read that correctly. This girl is STRONG. Vincent didn't start lifting his head on his own until somewhere between 1 and 2 months. Samantha started lifting hers in the hospital!! It blows my mind.

That's it for this week! I so much look forward to continuing with monthly updates! :) 

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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

40 Weeks Pregnant - Baby #2!

How far along?: 40 weeks pregnant - it's my due date!!
Total weight gain/measurements: 178.4lbs (+38.6 lbs), belly 46.5 inches around
Maternity clothes: I can't tell you how much time I spend staring at my clothes before finally deciding on something to wear anymore, because hardly anything fits over my belly! xD 
Stretch marks? I've definitely gotten a few new ones this pregnancy, but it's hard to tell exactly when they pop up, because of the way they blend in with my old ones.
Sleep: It depends on the night! Some nights the sleep is just about non-existent and other nights I sleep like a log. I still wake up feeling hungover (totally not cool lol!!), but at least it was sleep!! 
Best moment this week: Two awesome things this week: Saturday, mom and I went to go get mani/pedis, which was exactly what the Dr. ordered!! My feet have felt a million times better since, despite the swelling. And Vincent's 2nd birthday was yesterday, so we took him to Chuck E Cheese's! Mike and I aren't sure if he had more fun or if we did! :D It's also been beyond wonderful in general to get so much time with Mike this past week, since he was off. It's the first time we've ever been able to really relax and enjoy several straight days of each other's company since Vince was born, without traveling!
Miss anything? Sleep and being able to walk without being in pain xD
Movement: She has been a little less active this week, which has worried me, but every time I find myself freaking out, she starts doing insane somersaults! I think it might just be a matter of her being tired and running out of room. On Thursday, I'll be having a NST at my appointment (if I am still pregnant by then), so that will definitely give me peace of mind.
Food Cravings: Ice cream. It's funny, I realized the other day that I never really mentioned a huge craving I've had, particularly during this last trimester of pregnancy! I have been LOVING strawberry cheesecake master shakes from Sonic! They are SOOOO good.
Anything making you queasy or sick? I've had a couple bouts of nausea this past week, particularly in the evening, but there's nothing specific I can think of that could've caused it. Other than that nothing!
Gender: Girl
Labor signs: Doc ended up checking me at my appointment last Thursday and I am 1cm dilated and 80% effaced. So there's not too much happening. I think I was 80% effaced and just under 2cm dilated with Vince at 40 weeks. On the night of the 3rd, I was having some pretty intense contractions, but they ended up stopping at around 2AM. They were strange - only lasting 30-45 seconds, but 2.5-3 minutes apart. I'm thinking I might not have had quite enough water that day, which would explain why they were so intense and stopped.
Symptoms: Same as last week; loads of braxton hicks contractions, fatigue, extreme nesting syndrome, swollen feet and back pain.
Belly button in or out? Out!
Happy or moody most of the time: Eh. To be completely honest, I've been a little moody this week, despite my best efforts. Because of there being no work and Mike getting the time off, unfortunately we won't be able to afford for him to take any more days off after Samantha gets here like we'd planned. It was SO wonderful to get to spend all that extra time with him, but I did do just about everything in my power to try and throw myself into labor this past week and it emotionally and physically took it out of me. He is back at work today, so I am waving the white flag and putting my feet up! Not in defeat, but because I know it is absolutely not worth stressing over and she will come when she is ready! :) And I am completely okay with that. I am a bit worried that I'll go into labor and not be able to reach him or that he will miss the birth, but I know somehow, it will all work itself out! As long as everyone is healthy, we are both happy! :)
Looking forward to: Meeting our baby girl! :D 

Here's a 40 week comparison photo! I didn't realize until putting these side by side how much bigger I am this time around!!

1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40
(Hoping I won't have to add a 41 to this in a week! xD)
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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

39 Weeks Pregnant - Baby #2!

How far along?: 39 weeks pregnant
Total weight gain/measurements: 177.4lbs (+37.6 lbs), belly 46 inches around
Maternity clothes: At this point, my clothing options are pretty limited! It's hard to find any shirt, even maternity, that will cover my belly at all times lol! And yoga pants and a single pair of maternity jeans are all that still fit me as far as pants go.
Stretch marks? A couple new ones here and there, but the majority of them are from last pregnancy.
Sleep: Some nights are awful, others are okay. It's nearly impossible to get decent sleep at this point, but I guess it's not a bad thing that it's helping me adjust to the newborn stage!
Best moment this week: Celebrating Vincent's 2nd birthday! :D We had his party on Sunday, so that it wouldn't be too close to my due date and we could focus solely on him. It was wonderful and we all had a blast! 
Miss anything? Sleep and being able to walk without being in pain xD
Movement: She is still very active, but her movements are becoming more and more restricted the bigger she gets!
Food Cravings: Cereal and Olive Garden
Anything making you queasy or sick? I will occasionally get that sharp pain in the middle of my back and right above my bump, that always makes me queasy. I haven't gotten sick in quite a while though!
Gender: Girl
Labor signs: Braxton hicks are getting to be quite a bit more intense and frequent. I notice them the most in the late evening. I am also 100% certain she is at at least a -1 station. Her head is SO low and I am constantly experiencing lightening crotch (it is seriously the best way to describe it!). I feel constant pressure and it feels like she is going to fall out! 
Symptoms: LOADS of braxton hicks contractions, fatigue, extreme nesting syndrome, swollen feet and back pain
Belly button in or out? Out!
Happy or moody most of the time: Happy :)
Looking forward to: Meeting our baby girl!! After Vincent's party, it hit me that we are absolutely in the home stretch right now. Now all my focus is directed towards enjoying my last bit of time with Vincent as an only child and getting through this last little bit of pregnancy, whether that be a few days, a week or a couple of weeks! (Also, lots of OCD cleaning lol!) :) We will see - I'm so excited!

1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40

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