Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Confessions Of A Co-Sleeping Mom

I have co-slept with all three kiddos, and probably will co-sleep with future children if we have them.

When I first became a mother I had ZERO intentions of co-sleeping. Honestly I became a mother before I created a social media account so I didn't even know it was a thingy. With Cameron, my husband work night shift his entire babyhood and because I was a first time mom I thought if I didn't get more that 7 hours of sleep a night I was going to DIE (thats hilarious to me now as I can take on just about anything with a solid 4 hours). I discovered that he slept longer when he was in bed with me, so from about 6 months until, ahem, 7 years old he was in our bed.
Cameron and I in his crib he hardly ever slept in.

Our second bambino was born and initially he slept in a crib right next to our bed. I was worried about being so exhausted from chasing a toddler around that I wouldn't be able to co-sleep safely (which is a BIG deal to me). So as we adjusted to a family of 4, he spent some time in his own crib but as he grew bigger I eventually brought him into the bed with us. It was what felt right, natural, and instinctual. Tony was still working nights until Dominic was over 1, so every night it was just me, me and my boys.

Both boys slept with us until Cameron was 7, and lets just say Dominic's favorite place to sleep is still in his daddy's arms. But it was during my pregnancy with Nova that sleeping was becoming something of a nightmare. It was the 4 of us PLUS A DOG. Something had to give because turning over in bed started to become something of an Olympic sport and it was hard enough without having 6 inches of personal space. We decided to have the boys sleep in their own beds, in their own rooms or else they would lose electronic privileges. Cameron took to it right away and actually he cannot stand anyone in his sleeping space now. And obviously this tactic didn't work to well with Dominic, considering what I said above.

When I was pregnant with Nova I knew I wanted to co-sleep right from the start. I also knew that safety was top priority and I could do both. I bought a DockAtot bed which had high reviews for safety and a Owlet baby monitor which would alarm if babys vitals changed due to any type of airway obstruction. Almost $500 later (I know, I know) I felt so good about co-sleeping with our newest addition.

Nova has slept next to me since night 1, and although she still wakes to nurse 2-3 times/ night, its quick and easy (I highly suggest anyone with a newborn to learn the side-lying position for breastfeeding) and it feels like the most natural thing. I know co-sleeping isnt for everyone but it works for us and its one of the most treasured memories I will have of my children.
Our first night home, just over 24 hours old here.

Its funny the reactions I have received when I tell people I co-sleep. From the people who think I am trying to kill my baby all the way to other end where people will tell me stories of their co-sleeping. Some people cannot believe that N still wakes up 2-3 times a night and then go on to tell me about making their baby cry it out, which I simply say I am not willing to do that EVER. Its funny talking about co-sleeping with friends who do the same, because its almost like we have to have a secret conversation because of the fear of someone threatening CPS, lol.

But Honestly I think the reason I love co-sleeping so much is because I'm a lazy mom. There I said it. Now I have a sleeping baby I have to get to.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Nova's birth | part 2

Our third child was born with one big push and as soon as her head was out I knew our baby wasn't very big. As soon as her body was born it was instinctual to reach down and grab her. At first glance I couldn't tell if it was a boy or girl because her cord was in the way but then my Dr lifted her leg up a little and that's when I could tell. I couldn't believe it! I was certain we were having another boy. Every time I pictured the baby it was a boy, I dreamed it was a boy.

She was so alert from the moment she took her first breath and she looked right into my eyes. It was if her birth was happening in slow motion and it was just the two of us. It was definitely the most "present" birth I have experienced, maybe because I felt like a bystander in this birth because my body was in control and knew exactly what it was doing and I was just hanging on for dear life haha. It all happened so fast.

We named our third child, a baby girl, Nova which means "new".

Nova latched on perfectly shortly after birth while everyone kept saying how alert she was. Bright eyed and bushy tailed.

Cameron and Dominic came to meet their new baby sister shortly after she was born. They brought two bears, a brown one if it was a boy or a pink one for a girl. It will always be etched in my mind the moment they walked in. It was the air was knocked out of both of them. They were speechless and again it seemed time was going in slow motion.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Nova's birth | part 1

During my early pregnancy days I dreamed of the birth I wanted. I pictured in my mind laboring at home for as long as possible, not going to the hospital until I was good and ready, and having a super easy and smooth birth once I arrived. I even prepared myself for going past my due date and the date January 26th kept running across my mind (our due date was 1/21). 

As my complicated pregnancy grew bigger and bigger I had a feeling at some point one of the maternal fetal medicine doctors or my own physician would bring up induction. I had already been told that having an ANA antibody alone increase the risk for stillbirth, and having super high levels of HCG like I did even more increased that risk. At about 27 weeks I had a MFM appointment and the doctor talked about a possible induction at 37 weeks if our baby developed IUGR, which was a real concern with my issues. At our 36 week appointment our baby was in the 20th something percentile for growth and IUGR has to be 10th percentile or less, so we were good on that. But because of there still being risks she told me it would be ideal for me to be delivered at 39 weeks. My heart sank a little.

When I seen my OB again, I asked him what he thought about me not having to be induced, but just to continue having the NSTs and BPPs every few days. And he looked me right in the eye and said "it's up to you, but is it worth the risk?". I knew right then I was probably going to be induced because he was right. I had complications that could hurt my baby, and baby's safety came first before my birth desires.

I had been having lots and lots of contractions the last few weeks of pregnancy and a few times I thought it was go time for sure. But then as time went on, the contractions would space out and eventually go away. I was hopeful that labor would start on its own as it did with my first, but it never really did. So at 39 weeks and 2 days we headed to the hospital.

When we arrived, I walked into my birth room which was the same room I deliver the boys in. I requested that room just because of that. My Nurse was Carrie, who is also one of my best friends. She had decorated the room pink and blue and all over the walls were messages from my coworkers. How could I hold the tears back?!?

My water was broken shortly after arrival and it was mecomium, and right then I knew that this induction was definitely a good idea. Mecomium can be a sign that baby is in distress. The contractions started becoming uncomfortable about 11am and that is when we decided to call our birth photographer from Holt, I wanted to give he a good heads up because Dominic's birth happened so quick at the end, and also because it was icy that day. She arrived at around 1pm.

The contractions were so intense, even though it had been 6 years since my last birth it all came back so quick to my memory. We took a few walks in the hall as being upright was my favorite position. We walked to the end of the hall and looked out the window for a while, watching everyone scurrying around while time pretty much stood still for us. I thought how being in labor is really special, as your in between two worlds it seems.

Rocking while hanging onto Tony felt the best. I spent some time on the birth ball and hanging out on the toilet. I stayed fully clothed for the majority of my labor because that is most comfortable for me (especially in front of a camera). Carrie respected the fact that I didn't want to me monitored much, so I spent a lot of time moving around.

This birth was different then my first and second. As I labored I could actually feel the baby move down. I started to feel pressure when I was sitting on the toilet and Carrie asked if she could check me. I hesitated, mostly because I was worried there would be no change. I remembering looking at the clock and it said 2:19pm. She checked me and I was 4. Which seemed like a really small number for the pain I was in. The labor and delivery nurse in me was saying "this is going to go fast", but the women-in-excruciating-pain kept saying "this is going to take all day". Well let's just say that when the deep, low pressure came, it didn't stop and all of a sudden it was baby time before I knew it. At the end my body was pushing and I was not ready. I HATE the pushing stage of birth. Everything was happening so fast and it seemed to be like my body had a mind of its own. My doctor came in for delivery and everyone for ready. I asked my doctor if it was ok I didn't push and he said it was fine (my body was literally pushing the baby out without my help, talk about intense). 

After that contraction I could hear the baby's heart rate was low. Which is normal when baby is getting "the big squeeze " at the end. DR Farhat then looked at me and said I should probably push because the baby's heart rate was in the 60s, which is really low. I glanced up at the screen to see and it was the type of tracing that as a nurse makes me a little nervous. I decided right then that I was going to push the next contraction and not stop until baby was born, no matter how much I hated pushing....

Friday, July 14, 2017

My pregnancy with Nova | the scary stuff

 I went into my pregnancy with Nova with a little fear because I have a positive antibody that increases my risk of having a miscarriage/loss. I was also on a medication to control heart palpitations which I was told that i should continue throughout my pregnancy even though it does have a chance of IUGR or inter-uterine growth restriction (where the baby doesn't grow properly, is smaller).

At about 18 weeks I accepted the quad screening which ended up coming back with a high chance of the baby having Down's Syndrome. That was a hard phone call. The baby looked great on the ultrasound we had the week prior but my physician thought we needed to do the Panorama test (which is the same as the Materniti21 test to look for chromosome abnormalities. I had the blood testing done the next day and we started the week long wait. It was a hard week, full of worries and anxieties. In my heart I knew my baby was ok but my head also knew that there is a real chance that our baby would have DS. I would love our baby no different but every expectant parent wants their child to be born healthy. 1 week later I go the phone call to let me know that 1. our baby had normal chromosomes, and 2. if we wanted to know the gender of our baby. We decided early in the pregnancy that with this baby we wanted to wait until birth to find out gender, no I said no.

The reason our quad screen came back abnormal was because I had super-duper high levels of HCG. Which could mean twins but we had already had our anatomy the week prior so we knew it wasn't twins. My physician wanted me to meet with Maternal Fetal Medicine about this since really high levels of HCG can still complicate a pregnancy.

I met with Dr. Green in Ann Arbor at about 26 weeks after a very through and looooooong ultrasound. Because we didn't know the gender of our baby I had to keep my eyes shut during a good part of the ultrasound so I missed a lot actually. Dr Green (who is such a sweet and kind physician) explained to me that when there are high levels of HCG it can mean the placenta may not be the best placenta and at times this can cause IUGR. The plan was to measure the baby and placenta every 5-6 weeks until delivery. We met two other times where it was discovered that our baby was on the smaller side at about 15th percentile, which IUGR is 10th percentile. Beside being tiny our baby was doing great and we had a VERY active little one growing. I had to have non stress tests and ultrasound 2-3 times a week. During some of the tests our little baby was not passing so some days there was repeat ultrasounds and extended monitoring.

Friday, June 9, 2017

My pregnancy with Nova | Telling the world

   I told a select few people shortly after we found out. My sisters, some coworkers, and a couple other family members. We waited until about 12 weeks to tell the rest of the world and we met up with a local photographer for a announcement shoot. I couldn't have asked to have these turn out any better than what they did!

My pregnancy with Nova | Finding out

I really want to dive back into the blogging world because my intention was to use this blog as a journal and someday a book for my family. So I think documenting my pregnancy with Nova is a good reason to jumpstart my blogging.

We found out that our third child was on its way on Friday May 13th, 2016. After pretty much giving up trying after 2.5 years of unexplained infertility, to say I was shocked was an understatement!

   I came home from work that night after working a 12 hour shift and during my shower I noticed that my breast were a little tender. But whatever, they had been tender several times during the infertility months and I was never pregnant. My period was due in about 6 days so I chalked it up to that but decided to pee on a pregnancy test strip which are the ones that the dr offices use. They are super cheap so i bought probably 100 over the last few years because I was testing so much. I had done this routine several times while TTC that it wasn't  anything. I didn't even get a hope of excitement about the test  whatsoever. After taking the test I jumped in the shower and decided to check it after I got out. About 5 minutes later my husband was in the bathroom and I got out of the shower and picked up the teeny tiny test and looked at it and I thought I could see the faintest of the faintest lines. I have looked at these dang tests several hundred times and they never had any lines whatsoever so when I seen this I shrieked and asked Tony if he seen any thing. And his response was "nope". 

   I told Tony that I swear I see something and I swear it a line! By this time it was 11pm and I had ZERO more tests. Go figure right!?! After having cupboards full of them over the last years, here I am *maybe* pregnant and had no way to tell for sure. I told Tony I was going to meijers to get a more expensive and accurate test and he couldn't believe that i couldn't wait until the morning. How could I?!? I *might* really be pregnant!

  I drove WAY to fast to meijers but the whole time I felt numb. Could this be true? Am I pregnant? No, I'm not. Yes, I am. I tried not to get my hopes up but there was a line. Like I said earlier, I have looked at those dang test for years with nothing. At meijers I bought two test, a First Response early result test which detects pregnancy hormone up to 6 days early, and one of the digits ones that say +YES or -NO. With these test I knew I would have my answer tonight.

  When I got home Tony was sleeping so I woke him up and decided to just take the digital test. That would make it easy with a yes/no answer and I would save the other if it said -NO. In case you have never taken a digital test, once you pee on it a timer starts and it takes about 3 minutes for an answer. So for the 3 minutes your staring at a timer like this...
And then this happened.


The breath was instantly sucked out of me and I felt like for a moment I could explode. I remember looking at Tony and saying "OH MY GOD IM PREGNANT". 

I ended up taking the othe test.
It was faint but it was definitely positive!

Sleeping was hard that night. After spending the previous several months just trying to accept that we were only going to have 2 children and I was actually accepting that into my heart, our whole world changed in a matter of an hour. I went from not even suspecting to full blown pregnant in an hour. 

I wish I could say that I was super excited and bliss and free of worry, but anxiety quickly snuck it's ugly head in. The next several days I was on cloud nine but that would change in a matter of seconds and I would be having an anxiety attack. The anxiety mostly consisted of my fear of living through PPD and postpartum OCD again. And also I had just been worked up for having lupus due to a positive Antinuclear antibody which put this pregnancy at risk from the beginning. I even stopped my doctor in the hallway at work and told him I was pregnant and he told me to start taking baby aspirin right away.

 The anxiety faded away over the next several months thanks to the feel-good pregnancy hormones and I was looking forward to getting far enough along to feel comfortable telling our family and friends. It's just amazing that after all the perfect timing, tests, surgeries, medications, and supplements to get pregnant it just happened on its own when the universe decided it was time.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

OMG I'm blogging

So yeah, it's been a LONG time. Like just shy of two years. I'm not sure exactly what happened. Well we bought a house and moved in the fall of 2015 so maybe that's where I fell off with all the busyness that comes along with picking up your life and taking it somewhere new.

But wow.  A lot has happened. 

In fact I don't think it would be fair to document all the big changes by summing them up in one blog post. Since the point of this blog is to use it as a journal to produce a book for myself and my family.