Tuesday, November 30, 2010

stroller walk

Annabel took her first stroller walk on Saturday. Here is a picture of her all cute and cozy. We just went across the street to the co-op market so I could get some vitamins. Gabe, Annabel and I got to the door and I said, "ok, you want to stay with her while I run in?".

Now why would I say that? Because I thought temporarily she was a dog, poor girl. Whenever we've both gone to the co-op it's usually with the dog and one of us has to stay outside with him. I quickly realized my error and in we went, as a little family :)
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Saturday, November 27, 2010

photo album link

Here is a photo album link. We'll be adding to it lots in the coming days:

Some little things we're learning about Annabel:
She loves being swaddled. She is sleepy during the day and up all night. She likes to nurse pretty much continuously all night. All of her newborn clothes are too big - she's 6 lbs. 2 oz. at the moment. She makes the most adorable noises when we burp her - little coos and purrs and squawks.

What I've learned about Gabe:
He might be a soothsayer or the baby whisperer or something. He can calm her so quickly. He is taking such wonderful care of me and our baby and it's making me fall in love with him all over again.

What I've learned about myself:
A one hour nap from 8-9 a.m. can leave me feeling totally refreshed. I'm doing just fine on two hours of sleep a day (so far), though I'm hoping this increases soon. I'm learning that breast milk can be prolific - no one told me I'd get a shirt wringing-wet within minutes. And, most importantly, I'm learning that I absolutely love being a mama to this sweet precious girl.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Annabel Eden: A birth story

I went to sleep Sunday night thinking the full moon brought no due date magic. I woke up in the middle of the night feeling restless and crampy, which is strange since I'd been sleeping so well. I laid awake for an hour and around 3 a.m. realized these achy cramps were coming in waves. Oh! In a rare embrace of technology I bought an iphone app to time them and they were anywhere from 7 to 10 minutes apart. I tried to nap in between and around 7 a.m. got out of bed - it was our baby's birthday! (Well, maybe.) I called the birth center to give them a heads up and they advised lots of rest. They said most first time moms have 24 hour labors so I would probably be pushing her out that night. 

I kept my chiropractor and massage appt. and was able to relax during contractions. I sent Gabe off to finish up some work for the afternoon, and I just took it easy and listened to lots of Hypnobabies. By the time he got back things were getting more intense and I wasn't sure if I should keep resting or start to walk and bounce and try to move her into a good position and get the show on the road. Gabe got home around 5:30, I think, and helped me get through contractions. The night is sort of a blur, though I do remember clearly puking violently into our trashcan and nearly passing out when Gabe tried to help me do a belly lift during a contraction. I knew, though, that some women throw up at transition, so I held out some hope that when we arrived at the birth center at 5 a.m. that I would be checked and they would say 'oh wow, get ready to push!'. I had three contractions getting from the car door to the birth center door.  They checked and said I was still in early labor and needed to rest in order to prepare for active labor. So far I'd been feeling very active. Apparently the baby was still posterior so they thought most of the work of the contractions were trying to rotate her. Ugh.

I took something to sleep in between contractions and during each one I'd come out of sleep and punch Gabe awake so that he could rub my back (I was having back labor too). He'd fall asleep halfway through and I'd tell him to wake up and help me. I felt bad waking him up but really I was having trouble going it alone by this point. Eventually I got into the tub and tried to get her to rotate by sort of squatting and leaning forward. More blurs. I know I was checked twice and made very little progress. I was about 36 hours into labor and seemingly stalled at 5 cm. Exhaustion was a real worry at this point as I had had very little food and not enough water and some of my contractions were right on top of each other without a break. (Turns out after seeing hospital monitors I was having up to three contractions in a row - they guess it's because my body was trying everything it had to get her into a good position.) I decided at this point to transfer to the hospital to get pitocin and an epidural for some relief. I cried and felt disappointed but I also was happy that there was to be some change.

I arrived at the hospital around 4:30 or 5 and got tied up to a bizillion things and into a hospital gown. The epidural part was hard since I had to curl my back and relax despite contractions which was next to impossible but somehow I managed. I will say here that even though Hypnobabies didn't make me have a pain-free labor, there were some tools I used that allowed me not to lose control or calm at any point, so I'm really glad I did it. The pain of contraction + epidural needle while keeping muscles relaxed was one of those times. So anyway, not much changed with the epidural, so they upped the medication. I mentioned I was feeling kind of hot and nauseous and could I get a washrag, and next thing I know there are people in my face, and then an oxygen mask. The medication had made my blood pressure plummet, and the baby's heart dropped in response. Everything was good within 30 seconds but that was pretty frickin scary. It was also the point where I got frustrated at myself for being in the hospital and subjecting the baby to all this, but honestly I didn't dwell on it. I had made an informed decision and had to go with it. 

The next couple hours I was able to rest up. It wasn't some lovely epi heaven that I have heard but it made things so much better. I started having to breathe through contractions again but didn't want any changes.. I wanted to be able to feel as much as possible in order to push. I had a minimal dose of pitocin (less than a teaspoon total and things were progressing great). Around 11 I let them know I was feeling a bit pushy. I asked my midwife how long it would take and she said it really depends. She said a woman could push a baby out in 45 minutes but that is rare with first time moms and with epidurals.  I tried to relax and rest up for the energy needed soon.  Then all of a sudden I sent Gabe out for help because I knew I was pushing involuntarily. They came in and baby was descending. This next part was so amazing. The contractions spaced out and I could talk in between. It was go time!  I pushed a few times and wasn't sure I was doing it right. The midwife then had me feel her head for motivation. What?! Crazy amazing. After all the nine months, and after the couple days of labor we were actually going to have a baby! The unavoidable reality that said baby was about to arrive out of my vagina was a bit daunting, too. But really at that point what can you do? I pushed with everything I had, mainly because it was really tough work and I knew I wasn't going to want to be doing it a few hours from then. My memory of her being born is not very visual because I had my eyes closed and was very focused. But I remember Gabe watching everything and giving me the play by play, punctuated by many 'oh my god's and 'that's amazing'.  Apparently baby girl came out spinning with her arm by her head, a pause where the midwife told me to just breathe, and then she came slipping out with one last push. She had a short cord so I couldn't really pull her up and see her face. But I heard her cry and saw her shiny body and when she looked up she had a gorgeous tiny face and beautiful open eyes. I couldn't even believe this creature had been inside me this whole time. She arrived just after midnight, after 45 minutes of pushing. 

Annabel Eden is named after our mothers (Anne & Edie) and we love how feminine and slightly southern the name sounds. There are so many nickname possibilities too. While pregnant we called her Bananabel or Bananabelly. We left the hospital the next day and she is doing great. She is super beautiful, and it's not just our new parents' bias... 

I'm recovering well, though I have to admit that was a pretty intense 46 hour ride.  Nothing like what I had expected or hoped for, but perfect in its own way. The birth center staff told me it looks like the long labor was due to her position and that if I have a second I really should not delay getting to the birth center because that baby will probably come quickly. In my book anything under 30 hours would feel quick :)

The best part of having Annabel so far is watching Gabe be a daddy. He changes her and dresses her and sings her made up songs. He is a champion burper, great at swaddling and the way she looks at him is amazing.  He has told her he loves her a thousand times already and is absolutely smitten.  We both are so in love with her - swooning over each little noise and expression and cute little body part. (How could a fingernail be so tiny?)

We're taking lots of pictures and I think I'll share the Picasa link on here rather than post on the blog all the time. I need to find the link but will post it by tomorrow. Here are a few early moments...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Introducing our little girl!

Miss Annabel Eden Cantor has arrived!  She was born just after midnight on November 24, 2010. She is 6 pounds, 10 oz. and 19 inches long. I'll post my birth story as soon as I get a bit of time. It was an interesting adventure. 

For now, here's a picture of the little lady about 11 hours old after her first bath. She is so alert and beautiful and we are so in love with her!


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Due date!

No sign of little girl. I am not surprised a bit. My little Sagittarian now. I'm feeling really good lately, sleeping well, and nesting like nobody's business.

Oh, and expanding, check it out:

I lifted up my shirt and my husband said 'holy crap, watch where you point that thing'.  I do feel a lot bigger in the middle area. And she still moves like crazy in there. 

My sister stopped by today on her way to SC. Here I am exactly 40 weeks pregnant and she's exactly 20 weeks. Won't this be a great picture to show them later?  

Nothing too much to report... I can't wait to post my birth story & pics of our baby girl!

puppies falling asleep...

I know this may be the equivalent of watching paint dry for some, but in case you have a minute and a half and want to watch a puppy falling asleep, I've got just the video for you.

p.s. Obviously no baby yet or I'd be taking videos of her :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

checking in...

I'm going to try to update a bit more often, as I can see it's about that time when people are wondering about baby girl's earthly debut. I had my check up on Tuesday and everything looks great. They estimate by feel that she's about 6 lbs. with plenty of fluid. I'm 131.5 pounds with lots of extra fluid :)

She has finally rotated a bit; however, she is now completely and directly posterior. They say this isn't bad, that perhaps she needs to spin that way first to get in good position. Plus, she could wait to rotate until labor so I have decided to keep doing my exercises, visualization and just let it go. No sense worrying about anything.

This morning I completely finished all my work, so now I just get to nest and play. I've felt much more relaxed the past couple days. I think it is because of the job, but also I have had NO back pain. I think this is a first since  way back in the first trimester. I've also been sleeping remarkably well. I still get up lots of times to pee, but I fall right back asleep. And it occurred to me that I used to always have problems falling asleep - it would take me about an hour. Now, no lie, I push play on my hypnobabies track and then just pass out.  I'm not quite sure if it's general exhaustion by the end of the day, or I'm just so conditioned to relax when I hear the hypnobabies stuff. In either case it is really nice to wake up feeling rested.

Baby girl has been busy kicking the crap out of her mama. I've been talking to her a lot more - she seems more of a person now that I can see her through my skin and since I know I'll be meeting her shortly.  Mainly I talk to her about how she can feel safe to come out whenever she's ready. That we're ready. That she has two loving parents who can't wait to hold her and meet her and take care of her. I wonder out loud to her about what she looks like. I logically think she'll have a bit of blond hair (both Gabe and I were blonds when young believe it or not) but I usually picture her with dark hair. I talk to her about the weather in November in North Carolina. I'll tell you about it too - it's awesome!  I wore sandals today, and not just because my feet are swollen a bit. The mornings are crisp and cool, and in the evenings the leaves are crunchy and outside smells like campfires. I'm excited to be able to have nice stroller walks with her on the sunny, warmer days throughout winter, but also have that cozy, cold and dark winter feeling when we're snuggled in at night.

As far as labor signs, I don't know what to say. I've had crampiness and contractions and pressure for weeks now so I think that's the norm. No big changes. The full moon is on Sunday, my due date, and my prenatal vitamins run out that day, too. In general, though, I don't feel anything is very imminent. Given family history I've come to expect babies that take their time getting here...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

39 weeks

She's almost here!  I'm starting to dream about her at night. After such a productive weekend I'm also becoming more relaxed instead of being so frantic-nesty.  We finished the nursery last night, with pictures to come. Lots of house projects are done or near completion. I finished work last Friday. I have a couple more days of pretty important errands to run, and then after that she can come any time. (Yes, I totally realize I have not much control over this.)  

She is definitely getting bigger. After a few weeks of no weight gain or belly changes, I think I'm noticing a difference the past couple days. She's pushing out more. I freaked out a little in the car today. I felt her normal pushes and wiggles and looked down to see this (keep in mind my back is flat - I'm not turned at all): 

Gabe turned from driving to see and also was in a bit of shock. I think she's trying to bust out of there sometimes. I'm taking evening primrose oil, red leaf raspberry tea, doing inversions, pelvic tilts and exercises on the birthing ball. Also practicing Hypnobabies diligently. Hopefully will have birthing bag ready within a couple days. Wondering if I'll ever feel ready, but at this point it's probably ready or not here she comes pretty soon.

Gabe and I are trying to consciously enjoy the quiet mornings, the ability to go out whenever we'd like with little preparation and full nights of sleep.  Today we went to our favorite NC restaurant Cypress on the Hill  for their first Sunday brunch. It was so good we ordered 3 entrees between us. So. Good. Easily the best eggs benedict I've ever had (I've had that a lot, too). 

Here's this week's belly picture. I've just taken a belly wrap off I usually wear so I'm not sure if any belly droppage is adequately represented. All I know is I pee about 3 times an hour so I'm pretty sure her head is now resting fully on my bladder. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010

38 weeks!

Home stretch. The average baby is about 6.8 pounds and 19.5 inches. Baby girl is getting squished because her movements are so different. I feel limbs and sometimes see them. One morning before I got up I felt her whole body move in there. I will find out for sure at my check-up tomorrow, but I think she's still in that same position. She needs to rotate a bit for an ideal birth position.

I'm feeling pretty huge and awkward. I've had contractions and crampiness all week, though it's let up the past couple days. So today I cleaned all day. Cleaned-toilets-twice sort of clean. I am currently trying to avoid a meltdown because my sour cream apple streusel cake did not turn out like I wanted, just like my molasses spiced cookies did not turn out how I wanted. I don't know why but this seems really important. The combination of hormones & darkness at 5 p.m. has done me in.

Here is my belly pic for 38 weeks:

These are the clothes I slept in, then cleaned in all day. I almost threw up on them twice (but threw up in my mouth instead). Then I sneezed in the kitchen and peed myself a bit. But since the cake wasn't quite done I curled up in front of the warm oven and dozed until the timer went off.  Ah, the beauty of pregnancy  :)  

It's definitely time for a shower and sleep....

Maternity Pictures

I know I'm overdue a day for my 38 week update. Ignore that momentarily while I tell you that our maternity pictures are back and they are fabulous!

If you want to check them out, here's the info:

Please visit http://www.collages.net, and fill in the following information:
Username: Alysa Maternity Pictures
Password: 22183

Our wonderful friends at LunahZon are responsible for capturing this moment in time in the most beautiful way. I CANNOT wait until they take our newborn photos :)


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