Saturday, February 25, 2012

Christmas in February :: Adobe Elements

I didn't get anything for Christmas this past year from Alex because I couldn't figure out what I wanted. I downloaded the trial for Adobe Elements back in December and used it one time in the 30 days that I had the trial. What a fail on my part. Anyway, I couldn't pull the trigger on actually buying it because I kept thinking of other things I might want for christmas.

Well, I finally decided to just go for it. I want to edit photos. I want to group photos. I can't do that (easily) with any other program so I need to buy one. I already know photoshop and elements is the cheaper version so I did it, I just bought it.

I didn't realize however that I need to wait for my order to be processed. Why?? I already have it downloaded from the trial, all I need is the license code to put in to access it. I wish they would just email that to me because I actually have some free time and want to edit some photos! Of course I can't. So i'm writing with some frustration that I can't do what I want to do after finally buying my long overdue christmas gift.

I hope I don't regret the purchase (i probably won't) and hopefully it won't take long to get the order processed and get the code. Though who knows when i'll have time to sit down and edit! This all just means that the photo quality on this here blog should increase exponentially, haha just kidding! It might but let's not hold our breath!

Here's a cute picture of Scarlett to end the post!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Scarlett :: 1 Month

Guess who is 1 month old!
Big girl! Ignore the spit up on her pants, lol.

I was going to post this last friday when she turned 4 weeks but didn't have time this past weekend or even Monday the 20th when she actually was 1 month, so I took the pictures today! Still counts, right?

Length- 21 3/4" (20 1/2" at birth)
Weight- 10 lbs 3 oz  (7 lbs 5 oz at birth)

Eating- This girl is a champion eater. Look at how much she's gained since birth! She eats on demand every 2-3 hours day and night. For all the issues we had breastfeeding in the beginning (see this post), she's basically a pro now. We've also gotten pretty good at using the hooter hider, I don't know what it's actually called, it's that thing you wear when you're in public so people can't see your boobs. Who would've thought that takes practice to use!

Sleeping- Scarlett does not really have much of a sleep schedule at this point. Which we are totally fine with. She does have more alert times during the day and not too many at night which is all the progress we can ask for at this point. We are trying to adjust one of her 'alert times' though to earlier in the evening instead of from 9pm - 12am at night. Most of the sleeping she's done in the past 4 weeks have been while being held. I looove holding her while she's sleeping. Alex has been soaking up his paternity leave by holding her as much as possible. I don't believe you can spoil a newborn with too much holding, so I do it every chance I get. She often sleeps on my chest or spooning at night in bed after feeding. I'm working on staying awake long enough to put her down in her bassinet but honestly, it's difficult when I fall asleep waiting. I'm a very very light sleeper, so I find no issue with this. Feel free to berate me in the comments section.

Activity/Skills- She's been holding her head up pretty good since Day 1. I joke that it's because I spent the last 6 weeks of her life in utero pushing on her head to make sure it was still her head. I'm pretty sure I strengthened her neck because most of the time she would push back! Regardless, she does great when we're holding her upright as you can see in some of the pictures. She is also working on tummy time and is getting better every day. She makes a lot more eye contact with us now as well. She definitely knows who mommy and daddy are! We haven't gotten any real smiles yet, just the fake ones, but we still enjoy those.

Other Thoughts-
Diapers.. We're doing cloth, yes we are! But we haven't officially started yet. Scarlett's little thighs are too thin still and the diaper is not tight enough not to leak. Last week we did a trial run and she ended up peeing through onto our comforter and sheets which I then proceeded to change at 3am. So we bought another pack of size 1 diapers. So far we've spent $100 on diapers. I hope this is our last pack we have to buy because the couple of cloth diapers I did get to use went awesome!

Exhaustion.. I don't want to make it sound like it's easy, but I don't find myself to be exhausted at this point. Is it because I get those small blocks of sleep at night and that's enough? I don't know. I just don't feel tired, at all. I hope this continues. This week Alex started back to work. Now I understand how difficult it is to get things done during the day when there aren't two people there to hold her.

Love.. We are totally in love with this little girl. She is amazing. We stare at her constantly and just can't get enough of her. We can't wait to see how she grows but at the same time we want to freeze these moments in time. I told Alex the other day that we need to really try to remember how great the first month of her life was and how awesome it was that we got to spend it all together.

Thank you to Amy and the rest of the Lewis and Carmichael family for the stickers and headbands!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

What they don't tell you about breastfeeding

There are a couple of things that I wish I had known prior to giving birth. I wanted to share one of them in hopes of helping others who may go through it in the future and to commiserate with those who may have gone through it themselves. If you don't want to read about boobs and nipples and the like, I don't suggest reading any further. You've been warned!

Breastfeeding is difficult. Let me rephrase, breastfeeding was difficult for me.

I gave birth and thought it's going to be all natural and that baby is just going to know what to do and how to do it. I had heard that it's going to hurt at first and that I would get past that. I spent the first several feedings in pain as my nipples got used to being pulled forcefully into a baby's mouth numerous times a day. I took the breastfeeding class, so I knew the basics. But here's what I didn't know.

I didn't know it would take weeks before things would be normal and we would get the hang of it. Babies eat 8-12 times a day. I dreaded the next feeding because my nipples hurt so bad. Scarlett would not open her mouth to save her life sometimes. The lactation consultant at the hospital basically showed me how to position her and then 'time it' correctly so I could shove my boob into her mouth at precisely the right moment to get it to work. Of course it worked when she did it, but doing it alone or with the help of Alex was continuously frustrating. Scarlett liked to put her tongue to the roof of her mouth to block the 'shoving' as well, so we spent lots of time trying to time it just right. We were both learning I guess. I wish the lactation consultant would've said "this is normal" and "it just takes time for you to learn together" or "keep working on it and you will get it". I didn't feel super supported by her, just that 'this is how you time it and it will work' when in reality it took a lot of tries to get it to 'work'.

The one thing I did was I kept going. One feeding at a time. I couldn't not feed my baby and if it took me being in pain and me being frustrated to get food in her tiny tummy then I would do it. I would sacrifice my comfort for her. And I did. I just kept thinking about how people said it would get easier. There was no timeline associated with when it would actually get easier but people were saying a couple weeks. I had been following the January birth board on when I started reading support posts about how other people were also having issues. That made me feel better. Before reading those I spent so much time researching how to get her to open her mouth wider and watching videos on youtube of what the proper latch looked like so I could be sure I had it. All that to pass the time until it 'got easier'. Each day was a struggle. Each day I reminded myself that it was supposed to get easier. I think that helped.

I had a wicked case (or what i consider wicked) of a cracked nipple that wouldn't heal in one boob and mastitis in the other. The cracked nipple was fixed by pumping that side only for two days. For some reason, pumping must've kept the crack open enough to heal itself. That was amazing when it was finally healed. I had a fever that started on Wednesday and lasted through the night into Thursday. I knew I had a clogged duct and spent lots of time massaging it, but when it turns into a fever, you know that you have Mastitis and have to go on antibiotics. I spent a couple days on ibuprofen for the fever and felt brand new when it finally broke. The antibiotics cured the mastitis and things went back to normal in a week.

As of mid week last week, things had finally gotten easier. Though her latch isn't perfect, she can get attached herself without having to 'time and shove' which is a huge relief, especially during middle of the night feedings when I'm too tired to pay attention. I finally thought 'it's here, the time of easier is here, they said it would come and it has'. No more sore nipples, no more latch issues. Sure things aren't always perfect but they are 1000% times better than they were a couple weeks ago.

I look forward to it getting even easier as she gets older and figures out what's going on. All the struggle and pain and discomfort was totally worth it to have a portable food source for her. The convenience alone is great but has the added bonus of me not being able to be away from her for more than 2 hours until I start pumping for when I go back to work. And even then, I will only be pumping for the days I have to work, not much extra.

So the message I want to convey through this post is: It's true. It does get easier. It was worth it to me to stick it out for a few weeks to see if that were true. I wanted to make it work and it did. Though people told me that it would hurt they didn't tell me how difficult it could be. Probably because it's different for everyone. But it would've helped to know that it's possible that it's going to be really hard. I hope knowing that helps someone else. I also want to thank my husband, my mom and my sister Jess for the support they gave me during the tough times. I wanted to give up a lot and they kept me going. It's really important to have a good support system. I might not have made it through without them.

(I am in no way stating that breast is better then formula. Nothing negative to those who cannot breastfeed or those who choose not to breastfeed. I just wanted to share my experience in hopes that it may help others going through something similar and to prepare future moms for something people may not share with them.)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Loving :: F21 Edition

Just wanted to pop a couple things on here that I'm loving from Forever 21 right now.  I finally feel like I can shop for normal clothing again and it's a great feeling. Now all I have to do is pull the trigger! I didn't link them but they are all currently on the F21 site which is where I recommend shopping, the store is cool and all but they have tons more to choose from online!

 I've been wanting a blazer or two. This one and the one below would be perfect!

 A leatherette bomber jacket in dusty pink? Yes, please.

 A flowy feminine peach top. Peach and coral are in this spring, people.

 This just looks all kinds of comfortable.. and stylish, no?

 Loving. But the brown shoes with the black belt on the skirt must've been overlooked by their stylists. They should photoshop the fix. Makes me want those shoes too, but in black obviously.

I guess I'm into flowy right now. Pretty appropriate postpartum until I can get this tummy back in working order!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Scarlett's Birth Story {part 2}

I'll just dive right into part two, okay? Okay.

(Read Part 1: click here)


The surgery nurse came to get us a little after 6pm. I can't explain how surreal it was walking to an operating room, let alone walking to an operating room where our daughter would soon be born. I tried to soak up the last minutes of my pregnancy during that final waddle down different hallways until we arrived. Alex had to sit outside in the hallway while I went in and got the spinal anesthesia. I don't know what he was thinking out there, probably the same thing I was thinking in the OR, this is crazy. I walk in and they instruct me to sit up on the operating table. The room is very clean and bright. There are maybe 10 people in there, prepping/doing whatever their job in there is. It looked so cold but it didn't feel cold that I can remember. Anyway, I sit on the table and hunch over so they have good access to my spine. I get the shot of whatever numbing agent they used (didn't hurt) and then they put in the spinal shot (didn't feel it). All of a sudden, my legs get very warm. I can still move them at this point, so I lay down. My blood pressure then dropped a little too low and made me nauseous. I tell them. They put something smelly over my nose (probably so I don't ralph) and put some medicine in my IV. Then I get oxygen in my nose. That was kind of neat because I don't think I've ever had that before. Mmm fresh oxygen. Anyway, they put up the curtain and get me all prepped (i'm assuming, since I can't see anything) and then they finally bring Alex in.

Scarlett Elyse Brubaker

He sits at my head. He has the camera. I told him to take a picture of me laying there but he wouldn't. Maybe I looked scary? My arms were stretched out to the sides and he held my left one (the one closest to him). We waited and talked a little bit about how we were about to meet our daughter. We listened to Dr. Rapp talking/explaining a couple things to the resident who was observing. They have such normal conversations during surgery. I heard her ask where he was from.. it was out of state. The next thing we know, Dr. Rapp is holding up our baby girl above the curtain so that we can see her. Alex and I shared a look where we knew exactly what each other was thinking, we couldn't believe it. We made a baby and she was here. Alex said she was crying. I don't remember that she was. They whisked her over to the corner where they weighed her and measured her and got all the gunk out of her airways. I laid there while they finished up whatever they were doing to me, staring into the corner of the room where Alex was. I watched him cut the umbilical cord. Alex brought her over for a second so that I could kiss her tiny cheek. She was perfect! It didn't take long before I was all closed up and ready to roll to recovery. Alex and Scarlett weren't far behind.

Look at that cutie!

We spent the next hour or so in recovery where they monitored me and the baby. We waited for feeling to come back to my legs. I couldn't believe how heavy they felt and how no matter how I tried I couldn't move them. Every couple of minutes, the blood pressure cuff would inflate, they would press on my stomach to make sure my uterus was contracting down and every couple of minutes the nurses would touch different parts of my legs to see if I could feel it. Scarlett was over on the right hand side of me now being monitored. For what, I'm not exactly sure. That is also where they gave her the vitamin K shot and put that stuff on her eyes, but i didn't even notice when I held her for the first time maybe 15 minutes later when I could sit up a little more. One thing I did was touch my stomach area and I thought, holy crap! I'm not pregnant anymore! I can feel my rib cage!

Tiny perfection!

When I could start to feel more in my legs and they were done assessing Scarlett we could finally move to couplet care and the room we'd be in for the next 3 days. After being rolled there, they transferred me to the bed since I still couldn't move my legs and continued to monitor my blood pressure and testing the feeling in my legs. By this time it was about 8:30pm. I held Scarlett while Alex went to get our parents from the waiting room. They were quite worried at this point since we told them we thought we'd be done an hour sooner than it was. They all spent some time holding their new granddaughter. Alex took pictures. We texted friends and family to share the news. Our baby had arrived and we were settled into our room!

Our little family of three!
I was a little cloudy from the pain meds they had my dosed on (morphine) and soon I was off of that. I feel like I don't remember everything clearly though due to the meds. The pain at that point wasn't too bad  and the worse part would come later when I would try percoset, which made me sick. There is nothing worse than ralphing after a csection. Just imagine how many of your stomach muscles it takes.. that right there was the worst pain I felt. I got sick two different times. Not fun. The night was spent nursing and being checked every hour. We watched the nurse give Scarlett her first bath. She got her first Hep B vaccine and didn't cry and also got her heel pricked for genetic testing and didn't wince. What a strong little girl. I bet she was missing her little water world, but we told her before the csection happened to get ready for the shock of a lifetime. I also just want to say that all the nurses and aides we had during our stay were awesome. My favorite nurse was a night nurse named Jen, she was there two nights. She had a good sense of humor. But all the nurses were very helpful and nice. Woman's and Babies rocks!

The rest of the time in the hospital was filled with relaxation and visitors. We were adjusting to the new little one that would now be depending on us for everything she needs. We kept talking about how crazy it was that she was finally here and that we actually got to take her home after all of this. The nights were pretty sleepless but we weren't exhausted. I was up and moving around in no time. The nurses and staff were pretty impressed that I was recovering so quickly. I couldn't just lay in bed for 3 days though, it was nice to have the option of moving around the room.

Stats from her Bassinet. Check out that head size!

We had Scarlett on Friday, January 20th, 2012 at 6:30pm. She weighed 7 lbs 5 oz and was 20.5" long. We got to go home on Monday the 23rd, my original due date. And we've been loving being parents ever since! My recovery has been great, I was able to stop the ibuprofen a couple days after arriving home. The thing that hurt the worst was laughing, who would've thought! I had to have Alex turn off an episode of Parks and Recreation because I was in so much pain!

Overall, I had a great experience. I'm not disappointed that I didn't get to experience natural labor and I look forward to that for our next pregnancy if our next baby isn't breech. I feel like we were extremely prepared for the csection mentally which helped. I was prepared for the worst in terms of recovery for myself and it ended up going better than I thought it could've. I think I got lucky. I will say that we're not as exhausted as people told us we would be. We're quite lucky that Alex has so many weeks off work to be home during this amazing time. We still look at Scarlett and find it nutso that we made a baby and I grew it for us with my body. She is so beautiful. We can't wait to see what her life holds. We plan to do everything in our power to make sure she is happy.

Ahh, life. You are too sweet.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Scarlett's Birth Story {part 1}

After a 2 week hiatus to heal after having little baby Scarlett, I'm back. I figured I'd just go right into her birth story since that's usually the thing I want to read/hear about when someone has a baby. I'll start at the beginning, hence the 'part 1' in the title.


We spent Thursday night relaxing with each other, talking about what it would be like if we did end up having a baby the next day. We didn't have anything special for dinner, Alex just whipped up something easy and delicious. This was also the last good sleep we were going to get for a while and we took advantage of it.

The last photo of me pregnant. 39 weeks 4 days.

We spent the morning prepping and packing in case we wouldn't be coming home that day. Everything was cleaned and in order. I wasn't allowed to eat but did get to enjoy a small 8 oz glass of water.. yumm! We arrived at Women's and Babies hospital at 11:30am which is conveniently only 10 minutes from our house.  We went to Triage to get checked in. The ECV was scheduled for 12:00pm. After check-in, we were taken to a small room where I was hooked up to the monitors for the baby's heartrate and my (non-existent) contractions. They needed to monitor for 30 minutes. Feels like we waited 45!

The ultrasound tech came in to do the final scan to determine whether the ECV was even possible. She was very nice and even tried to show us Scarlett's face, it was pretty smushed in there at this point. We wait another 15-20 minutes as the Doctor reviews the scans. A nurse returns and tells us that the ECV will not be possible and we'd be having a csection. We were prepared for this. Honestly, I think we were both hoping for it at that point.. we were so prepared to have a baby that day, going home would've been disappointing.

Trying to wait patiently.

Okay, okay.. I guess this is the last picture of me pregnant!
So we were on our way to Day Surgery Waiting so that I could get prepped for surgery. This included getting blood drawn, getting an IV and 2 bags of fluid in me since I hadn't eaten since 8pm the night before at it was now after 1pm. We sat in an even tinier room watching TV waiting for the csection which was scheduled for 4pm. Alex headed out to have lunch while he still could while I got my IV and blood taken. Sidebar: The nurse there asked me if he came from work because he was dressed in khaki's and a button down tucked in. I told her no, that he just likes to dress nicely. Meanwhile, I sat arrived for the day in sweatpants and slippers. When he got back we were informed that our Doctor was running behind schedule and our csection would be pushed to 5:30pm. We called our parents and let them know. We tried to gauge what time we thought we would be done and back in couplet care.

Doctor Rapp's initials so they know who is supposed to cut me!
Alex in his scrubs, ready to meet our baby girl.
We met with different doctors during our wait, the anesthesiologist, the surgery nurse, a resident who would be observing, and Dr Rapp who would be doing the surgery. Everyone was super nice and Alex and I were ready to get things moving. Alex got his scrub jumpsuit on. 5:30 came and went. Soon it was 6:00pm and we were wondering if they would ever come get us so we could have a baby. A little after 6:00 the surgery nurse arrived.. luckily too because we were getting very anxious.

Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow!