Wednesday, August 26

The Birth Story

With a smooth labor and delivery with no complications--there aren't too many exciting details (all thanks be to God) so I thought I would tell the story by pictures. Here goes..

On Monday, August 17th, I woke up around 6:30 a.m. or so to a persistent pain that I thought could be contractions. I was somewhat in disbelief after having had false labor previously and after hearing stories about women who thought they were in labor and it was just mother nature calling if you know what I mean. All the while though I was emailing my POWs just to confirm what I thought I was feeling. Thanks ladies.

Anyway, I had planned to go into the office Monday for at least a half-day to tie up loose ends like put on my "away" voicemail recording, etc. Charm City Daddy kept telling me I was crazy for even thinking of it, particularly after I had taken Thursday and Friday off b/c I wasn't feeling like myself and was worried that if I did too much activity Charm City Baby wouldn't wait for her daddy to get home from his business trip on Saturday.
By 9:30 a.m. I had resigned to the fact that I may not make it in to the office as the contractions were coming every 5 minutes (sometimes less). I thought, "So I'll be a little late getting in" I decided I should "walk it off" to take my mind off of the pain and so I decide to get dressed. Just as I lift my left leg, my water breaks.

I knew what it was as soon as it happened and calmly looked up at CCD (who was still in the bed telling me I wasn't in labor) and said, "water just broke." His response? "No it didn't!" I rush to the bathroom. He continues, (this time smiling in excitement) "No it didn't, babe!?!"
I smile and tell him to call the doctor as I had been timing them on my iPod app Labor Mate(VERY handy btw). Then I emailed him the "contraction summary log" (gotta love technology). The doctor says, if water is broken I must come to the hospital. Then things start to get funny.

I immediately decide I'm going through with my shower, bed making and normal morning routine as I know could be in the hospital for a while--and who wants to come home with a new baby and unmade bed, anyway?

In a frenzy, CCD starts a marathon of wardrobe changes (about 4). The man was so nervous he couldn't decide what to wear for the birth of his child. Cracked me up. Then to his credit he grabbed the Flip Mino camcorder I gifted him at the baby shower and got recording---me in the SHOWER!! I kid you not. Then he recorded the Au Pair's reaction to the fact that I was in labor and it was time to go to the hospital..priceless.

We took our time pulling everything together and about an 45 minutes later, the au pair and I had packed up the car and we were standing outside waiting for CCD! Where is he? ContractionS (plural) later he finally emerges from the house in his final outfit and the camcorder with a BIG smile. I couldn't get upset.

In the very short 10 minute (6 mile) ride to the hospital, CCD managed to call,text, and email a few hundred people. In the meantime I wanted him to focus on the road and avoid the potholes. HELLO!

Here he is talking to his mom...

And here's the au pair riding along in the backseat peeking over the soon-to-be-occupied car seat...

We pulled right up to the valet at Labor & Delivery at about 10:30 a.m., checked-in and then had a few minutes of down time to get some last minute bump pictures in the lobby.

Soon after the photo, I was admitted after a quick check with the doctor confirmed that I was 2 cm dialated, my water had broken "membranes were ruptured" or something like that and therefore confined to bed until baby arrived. I was wheeled to our private l&d room at about 11:00 a.m....

My contractions continued to intensify.
One minute I'd be like this...

Then 2-3 minutes later I'd be like THIS...

(that was my "don't talk to me, don't touch me" face.)

My mom (dad had a business trip in Chicago) and brother also joined the party...

(notice the blankets as CCD kept the room thermostat super cold as to "cut back on germs.")

Then everyone abandoned me and had lunch in the hospital cafeteria-- I had ice chips and a few more of these (contractions, that is) in solitude...

(Topline is baby's heart rate. Steady. Second line shows my contractions. Not so steady.

It's all good b/c by 1 p.m. (and 3 cm) I got a nice little narcotic shot of stadol to "take the edge off the pain" and by 4 p.m. (and 6 cm) my epidural was administered. B.L.I.S.S.

This is when I felt up to Facebooking and emailing, and did.
At almost 7:30 p.m. the doctor checked me and I was about 9 cm. They checked me again at 8:15 or so and I had reach the full 10 cm and they said I could push "whenever I was ready."

Of course I was ready! I blew through about 5 contractions motivated to meet my little girl and avoid the "conehead" baby delivery.
Charm CityDaddy kept me smiling during the pushing because he pushed too! "C'mon babe, We're about to bring a baby up in this world! PUSH! PUSH! PUSH!" His face turned red and everything. I wanted to laugh, but had to concentrate.
At 8:43 p.m. Miss Olivia Grace made her entrance...

And at that moment all three of us, mom, dad and baby were crying.
Daddy was immediately up in her grill from the get-go (and has been there ever since)...

Then the celebratory pics began...

CCD refused to let me put my makeup on. boooo!

Then we got silly with the poses and champagne!

Over the next couple of days we argued over who we thought she most looked like. CCD won.

But she has my feet!

By Wednesday, it was time to go.

Her first car ride...
We were welcomed home to a clean house full of roses, big "It's a Girl!" balloons in the front yard, a happy dog, and a fried chicken dinner. Thanks Mom!

Saturday, August 22


You must have known something was up when you didn't hear from me...

She's heeeeeeere!
Ladies and gentlemen, the reason I created this blog and our guest of honor:

Miss Olivia Grace

Birthday Day: Monday, August 17, 2009 (7 days early)
Time: 8:43 p.m.
Weight: 7 lbs. 5 oz.
Length: 20 inches

And yes I was one of "those people" that announced her arrival on my facebook status within an hour of her delivery. BUT, I draw the line at twitter (which I actually thought about).

Stay tuned for the birth story in pictures!

Saturday, August 15

Help is Here!

Yesterday, after months of applications, interviews, emails, and skype sessions---our au pair arrived!

You can tell how hot it was by my greasy shine

You can also see that little Olivia has NOT arrived yet! Since we have no baby--YET--- we spent the afternoon shopping and had a nice dinner while Charm City Daddy was out of town. I couldn't convince her to do a mani/pedi with me (imagine that!).

She is great by the way. She brought Columbian children's sing-a-long DVD's and CD's as well as bilingual flash cards for Olivia. I can't wait to sing along myself!

So, Charm City Daddy has returned home from his trip. The au pair is here. I am ready to get this show on the road! You hear that Charm City Baby? Let's DO this.

Wednesday, August 12

Baby Travel Gear

Both Charm City Baby and I (and au pair) will be making our first trip to New Orleans this October for a wedding. Charm City Daddy has been to NOLA before.

In addition to giving me "traveling-with-a-baby-on-an-airplane-anxiety, " the trip has also prompted me to look around at little travel doodads, gadgets and gear that make traveling with baby easier. Not buying. Just looking. We're already overwhelmed with baby gear as it is.

Our hotel has a crib for our room, but browsing the internet I saw this little creation by Phil and Ted for travelers and burst into a full out belly laugh...

Is this even humane?

There are no words. Well, maybe one...Straitjacket?

Monday, August 10

Appointment Update: 38 weeks

Good. Gracious. It's hot.

It topped out at a very humid 95 degrees with a heat index over 100 today. Yow-zah!

I broke into a sweat a good 5-6 times today-- in the middle of meetings, getting in and out of my car, sitting at a suprise "cake break" thrown by my office colleagues for me (btw they gave me a this beautiful charm bracelet --how sweet!).

But anyway..onto the appointment update!

Today I was extremely interested in the doctor's "best guess" of whether or not I will make it through the week and particularly this weekend since Charm City Daddy has a business meeting in Boston for three long days at the end of the week! Ahhh!

According to the doc, I am 50% effaced and ZERO centimeters dialated and will probably sail through the week and weekend, if I manage to keep cool and kick up my feet.

Sounds simple, eh? Well its very hard for me to do. Relax? Where? Not at home! I do laundry every 5 seconds b/c I get paranoid that the laundry will get backed up and I will go into labor.

And me not go to work? I love my job. Plus today, we hosted one of those exciting, Senator-sponsored, health care town hall meetings and being a media spokesperson--well, its kind of hard to stay away.

So--barring there are no more media events--I am still contemplating perhaps taking half-days or just working from home for the remaining days of the pregnancy. We'll see.

Besides, I'm relaxed enough. Charm City Daddy just treated us to one last babymoon--a lovely spa weekend at the Georgetown Ritz Carlton in DC. And for the second time in a row--they upgraded us to the presidential suite! It's only a 45 minute door-to-door drive for us, but it really feels like a destination when we go to Georgetown.

While in Georgetown we had an incredible northern Italian dinner at Cafe Milano with a couple (also 6 months pregnant) who live in the DC area. We also had brunch at Peacock Cafe which is basically next door to Cafe Milano. I recommend both places.

So, we've done it all and I'm ready to have the baby---just as soon as the Au Pair arrives this Friday--oh and Charm City Daddy gets home from his work trip. Sigh.

Guess I will have to be a little more patient.

Friday, August 7

Disposable or Cloth Diapers? Part 2

Remember my panic about choosing a cloth diapering system?

Well, after much research and lots of advice (and gifts) from many good friends and family members, I think Charm City Daddy and I have finally come to a decision.

Here's the plan...

For the first 4-6 weeks, we are going disposable. And we are going with these...

Then, hopefully Charm City Baby will have some size to her so we can dive right into these adjustable "one sizers"...

And occasionally diving into these when traveling (because they take up less space)

And when we need back-ups...we are also prepared with these, which go over the traditional pre-folds with snappis. Cute isn't it?

and of course...we'll go back to disposables when all else fails, is dirty, or we're frustrated. I have a good amount of all of these diapers neatly arranged in the changing dresser (and closet)--it looks a little schizophrenic.
So! Are you laughing at me yet? I know my mom is . Hi mom. I'm laughing with you.
Basically, I have not ruled anything out and didn't make a decision at all. I am willing to try anything and everything once. Ha!
Charm City Daddy and I have practiced on our little 'Cat in the Hat' doll and have found the pre-fold to really be our favorite to assemble on baby. We'll have to see what happens when we have a live, squirming person with varying degrees of wetness that need to be addressed.
I have also researched a diaper service based out of the DC Metro area which actually makes only one stop in Baltimore a week, on Fridays. They of course deliver you pre-folds only, give you a pail, and a few covers, but you have to hold on to the dirty diapers for a week! I don't know about that. But again--I haven't ruled them out because Baltimore City recently went to one-day a week trash pick-up. Gross. If these pocket diapers turn out to be too much to assemble after laundry and take apart after use--I can easily see us going to pre-folds with doublers when needed.
And to au pair has no idea what she is in for (unless she is reading this from Columbia--hola)! Hey! She'll be here a week from today!

As always...I'll let you know how this "plan" (and all of its parts) goes.

Tuesday, August 4

A Woman's Crown and Glory...

(taken with my blackberry)

With all of the granddaughters in our family so far (pictured above with Charm City Daddy)--you'd think we have this hair thing down. But they all have different textures of hair and require different treatments.

Before I even knew Charm City Baby even had hair (yay!) I've been obsessing about how I am going to keep her hair done. This from a person who has done an interview about her various hairstyles in nationally televised pageants. Yes, I've been repeatedly teased--even at the office.

I think it's also partly a "black mama" thing. I know Olivia's hair is going to be kinky b/c she is, after all, my child.

I've practiced on my patient little neice--whose hair I predict may be closest to Olivia's texture. Bless her heart. My sister has trained her to get accustomed to the hours it takes to get your hair done as a black woman. What can I say? Part of it is because of our hair, part of it is because of the general social scene of the salon experience. It's expected.

In fact, my neice now goes to her own beauty shop (for kiddies of course) for her own 3-hour appointments and she's not even 3 years old yet! She comes back with some of the neatest creations in braids too.

So, I've started to look at products to help me with my quest for perfect baby locks (age appropriate of course).

This company's product seems like it works WITH not against the natural tendencies of baby hair. I like that.

Then there's also this one...

I don't know anyone that uses these products--but I am curious to hear what works for other moms there.

What baby hair care products have you heard about? What works for you?

Appointment Update: Full Term 37 weeks

After all of the excitement of last week, there is absolutely nothing to report on the labor progress this week. Baa!

Here's the rundown: My blood pressure is normal. I gained 1 pound since last week. Baby is strong, in position, and sitting pretty for another week or so.

Charm City Daddy and I did, however, attend a 2 1/2 hour Breastfeeding Class lastnight. At first he resisted and worried he'd be the only guy--but he wasn't. ALL of the other dads were there and part of the course was catered to daddy participation in breastfeeding.

Specifically Dad's were instructed on how to:

  • wake the baby with skin-to-skin contact for feedings (yes, daddies go bare chested too! lol)
  • burp the baby in 3 different positions (all the guys had little baby dolls).
  • help mom get baby in the proper latch position.
  • encourage mom during feeding.
  • finger feed the baby (with syringe) if supplementing becomes necessary.

It was very informative and allowed me to ask more questions about the type of pump I am considering purchasing or renting--although I'm no closer to a decision. Our pediatrician recommends that I use the hospital pump in the first few weeks to a month because of its industrial strength and value. My hospital uses the commercial-hospital grade of the AMEDA pump.

They apparently work faster than the Medela pumps and more suction adjustment range. The hospital doesn't discriminate though--they also sell Medela pumps in their little mommy boutique, too. Have you seen the new freestyle? It looks really fancy--aka pricey.

I've held out on purchasing the pump until now b/c my pediatrician told me that if the baby was born premature, most insurance companies would cover the cost of a breast pump. Now that I am officially full term--I think I've missed that opportunity. Shucks.

I guess it's time to suck it up. Ooh. Bad joke.

Monday, August 3

Bags Packed...and Packed Again.

While I wait for this baby to arrive, I've been doing all sorts of little things like:

  • loading up my iPod with Rockabye lullabies (we LOVE these)

  • loading up my iPod with music I may (or may not) want to hear before, during, after delivery.

  • putting together an arrival gift for the au pair

  • reading Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp

  • reading up on breastfeeding

  • doing laundry over and over again (super paranoid about it backing up like never before)

  • and finally...packing and repacking my hospital bag

After consultation with other mommy friends, family, doula/nurse instructors from our childbirth and breastfeeding classes here's what I'm bringing...

For the labor/delivery bag (a small backpack):

  • babybook

  • a magazine for me

  • iPod

  • breathmints/candy

  • cozy socks

  • nursing cream

  • massage aids

  • toothbrush

  • a touch of makeup

For the recovery room:

  • my HPmini netbook (yes! I just may blog from the hospital bed-lol)

  • toiletries

  • nursing gown

  • nursing bra/pads

  • thank you notes

  • my going home outfit

  • baby's going home outfit/optional hospital pic outfit

  • postpartum support girdle

Some other things:

  • I decided against bringing my boppy to the hospital after our breastfeeding nurse advised against it.

  • I am also bringing my DSLR

  • Charm City Daddy is bringing his Flip Mino camcorder in his bag. Yes, he has a bag too, and in it he has been advised to bring Champagne! :)

What did I forget? What else would you suggest? I am really trying to bring as little as possible. If it doesn't fit in these two bags, I don't want it.