Thursday, June 27, 2013

I'm Big on Little Rock: Maternity Leave Edition

Ryan is having to do some traveling with his new job, so as soon as we were settled at home with Riley, we (over)loaded up the Pilot and headed down to my hometown of Little Rock.  I was excited to spend a few weeks with the 'rents - something I haven't done since I landed my big kid job six years ago.  We're in Little Rock for a week and a half before we shove out for the Emerald Coast.  We've been here since Sunday, and it's been wonderful!

The best part is that we haven't even done that much.  We've met my mom for lunch at her work, done a very little shopping (like Target for diapers and Babies R Us for a Rock 'n' Play - LIFESAVER), and been to the pool a few times.  But it's so nice because all I really have to do is hold Riley, feed Alli, and keep up with my own laundry.  I also try to pick up around the house if I get a chance, but no one is too upset if I don't.

Riley has had a new sleep cycle since we've been here - like not sleeping.  She naps fine during the day, but her night time routine has been no bueno.  She will NOT sleep in her pack and play right now.   I was at my wit's end until I read about the Rock 'n' Play - she'd been sleeping in her bouncy chair.  Last night she slept from 10:30PM until 3:00AM!  Woohoo!!  I think that's the most consecutive sleep I've had in months!

Mom and Dad did an awesome job setting up the game room for Alli with the Xbox, a recliner, and a coloring station.  She's had a fun time hanging out up there, and it's made my life much easier.  And I've really enjoyed having my brother around to talk to all day.  I think we're going to meet my parents for lunch tomorrow, and then get Riley out to meet Ryan's dad this weekend.  I also have a smidge of shopping to do before beach time (I cannot believe it's time for that yet!!).

Friday, June 21, 2013

Camping Out

No, we aren't camping out with Riley yet (or ever - I do NOT like eating or going to the bathroom outside.  Ryan can take the girls whenever he wants, and I'll visit the campsite).  I'm actually talking about all of the awesome camps Alli has already been involved in this summer.  We were very intentional about the timing of Riley's birthdate (as intentional as we could be, of course) so that I could have at least some of the summer off with both girls.  Riley timed her arrival perfectly, so I will have 100% of Alli's summer home.  But I knew with a newborn we would probably be spending a lot of time indoors, and there would very likely be things that Alli wanted to do that we wouldn't be able to do (movies, water parks, etc).

So this spring, I spent a lot of time looking into summer camps that Alli could attend periodically throughout the summer to make sure she was out of the house, around other kids, and having a good time.  With me usually at work and summer camps running from hours like 9AM-11AM, Alli hasn't gotten to do camps in the past very much, so it was a great opportunity for her and I hope she'll have fond memories of it.

The first camp on the agenda was horse camp at her barn, which happily coincided with the first week school was out AND Riley's arrival.  Riley was born on Monday, and camp started that Tuesday and was 8:30-3:30 until Friday.  It was absolutely awesome timing, because it meant Alli was around for Riley's birth, but didn't have to hang out at the hospital all day for the next two days.  I didn't get to go watch like I would have otherwise, but her trainer sent me tons of pictures.  The kids spent the mornings riding, and the afternoons swimming, doing crafts, watching demonstrations (farrier, vet, chiropractor), and playing games.  Alli also achieved two huge milestones at camp - she jumped and she cantered!

Alli is on Dice (the black and white pinto) 

The week after horse camp, we had soccer camp with Steve Oliver.  Alli has really taken to soccer, and I was excited for her to get some more coaching.  The camp was 5:30-7 Monday through Friday of last week, so Ryan, Riley and I went to sit in the shade and watch her.  I got some judgey stares from other mamas for having my ten day old out in the heat, but I just replied to their comments with "She's part of the family" and "My car is right there if she gets hot!"  Seriously, people, I have two kids.  The world can't totally stop just for one of them!!  Alli had a great time and learned a lot.  She is signed up for another soccer camp at the end of the summer that is part of pre-season prep.

And then this week, she's been going to Vacation Bible School at our church from 9-11:30.  Monday morning I got both girls ready and drove them there myself - my biggest accomplishment since I actually had Riley.  And we were only ten minutes late (again)!!  Alli has really enjoyed VBS, and she comes home bubbling over with information and singing at the top of her lungs.

We're also very fortunate that my sister is in town and works a flexible schedule, as she has come over to visit and even taken Alli to the Rogers Aquatic Center twice.  We've gone to our neighborhood pool a few times too.  There's a great covered area where Riley can chill in the shade while Alli swims and Mama gets some sun.  We'll be beach-ready before you know it!!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Riley - Two Week Check-up

Sorry for the baby barrage - it's pretty much all I do or think about these days, so it's only fair that the blog reflect that!!

Today was Riley's two week checkup, and the whole point of the exam was to make sure that she had at least gained back her birth weight.  Then "above and beyond" goal was for her to gain an ounce per day from her last checkup (thirteen days ago).  Ryan and I cheated a little bit and weighed her a few nights ago, and she was at 8 lbs, 12 oz so we knew she'd at least beaten the primary goal of getting back to birth weight.  But today at the doctor, Riley Rachelle was an impressive 9 lbs, 3.5 oz - that's 18.5 oz in thirteen days! Dr. Ball gave us an A+ for weight gain!!

He said this means several things - one, my supply is there and two, Riley is good at getting what she needs.  And thirdly, this means we can start pushing her towards a schedule that works for us at night.  He said by the time he sees her next, she needs to be getting up only once at night, most likely around 2AM.  Since we are currently doing about every 2 hours at night (10PM, 12AM, 2AM...etc), I am so happy to hear that there's a light at the end of the tunnel and it's not that far away!!  Mama needs some sleep!!  It's also nice to be cleared by the doctor to push her into a schedule that works better for us as opposed to feeding on demand.

We also got to ask a few more questions about her acne (it's all over her face and it makes me so sad!) which he said would clear up on its own and not to worry about.  And I got to ask him about her going to the beach.  He said she'd be perfectly fine to spend some time on the beach, as long as we kept her shaded, cool, and covered (of course).  That was nice to have doctor approval for going to Destin in about three weeks and to know that I didn't need to spend the whole week watching the beach from the balcony.

So all in all a great doctor's visit for Riley Roo, topped off by a smile for Mama.  Melt. My. Heart.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Whew.  I can't believe it's mid-June already.  My baby girl is 2.5 weeks old!!  If I blink, she'll be going to kindergarten!  Ahh!!

I'm getting a lot of "How are things going?  How are you doing?  How are you managing?" texts and calls lately, and my favorite response is "We're adjusting."  There's really just no better way to put it.  Saying "Everything is peachy!!" would be a lie, and saying "Some days I cry at least five times." might scare someone.  So I think the word "adjusting" adequately expresses the positive and negative things that come with adding a new little baby to the family.

Positive and negative, you say?  Yes.  There are negative things.  I won't sugar coat it for you.  I'm exhausted.  I'm literally a walking zombie some mornings.  I didn't want to get back on drinking coffee so soon (trying to keep my breastmilk as decaf as possible), but that lasted all of two days.  I have to do the majority of my daily tasks one-handed, and when your eight year old loves waffles and needs a ponytail and some sunscreen, that's no small feat.  Also, every time something is "wrong" - baby acne, yellow spit up, crying for more than a few minutes - there's this panicky feeling that sweeps through me, and the doubt in the back of my mind gets louder - "Are you sure you're cut out for this??  Will she ever stop?  Should I call the pediatrician?  What were you thinking?"

Listen, kids.  Parenting one child is rough.  Are you paying them enough attention?  How many days has it been since they had a vegetable?  Do you have them involved in enough activities?  And are you still making time for yourself?  My mom warned me that two kids was more of an exponential relationship than a linear one, but I didn't really believe her until about a week ago Monday when Riley was a week old, everyone was back home or at work, and it was just me and the girls.  You want to talk about overwhelmed.

And there are days when I cry five times.  The first time it's "I love her so much, and I only have 10 weeks left to be with her.  I can't go back to work."  Then it's "I'm not paying any attention to Alli.  She's going to have the worst summer ever."  Followed by "I've lost my identity.  I need to get out of the house, go back to work, talk to a grown up."  I am trying to be as open as possible about my emotional roller coaster because I don't want to feel guilty about it.  I love Riley, and I am so happy she's here.  But hell, people, this is hard.  And not just physically, but emotionally too.  And not all of it is the 1.5 hours of sleep at a time, either.

But then we have a morning like this one.

Or I load them both up and get to a riding lesson (only 10 minutes late) or Vacation Bible School.  Or I have my first successful pumping session, which symbolizes a few hours of "me time" at a later date.  Or I get a little face like this one.

And I remember that one time not so long ago Alli was that age, and now she's nine going on nineteen, and I can't carry her anymore, and one day in the not so distant future I am going to be totally uncool to be seen with in public (but then I'll be cool again when she's in her 20s, I just know it).  I mean, Ryan met Alli here:

And came home three months later to her here:

So I know it goes by really fast.  Really really really fast.  Chicken legs to Michelin man thighs in 3 months.  But when it's 2AM and you haven't slept well since December thanks to pregnancy, it can be hard to remember.  But yes, to answer your question - we're all adjusting.  If it's a really good day, I'll throw "well" on the end of it.  But most of the time, it's an hour by hour (or minute by minute) kind of thing.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Riley's Birth Story

A week ago Monday morning, I woke up feeling the same as every other morning the past month - optimistic and hopeful that Riley would make her big debut that day.  And every day at about 10AM, I give up that hope.  I know that every pregnancy and labor is different, but my only other experience is with Alli.  With Al, my water broke around 9AM, followed by my first contractions.  I delivered her at 8:38 that same night.  So I couldn't help but expect Riley to follow suit, especially given I had zero contractions and was only 2cm dilated at that point.

So anyway, this Monday I hopped (okay, groaned and rolled) out of bed and made my way to the bathroom.  It was around 7:30AM, and I thought I might have felt my water break.  It wasn't much, but I thought to myself excitedly Maybe today's the day!!  Not that I hadn't thought it several other mornings...but I was pretty anxious to go into labor without an induction, and at 40 weeks and 2 days, time was running out.  So Ryan got up shortly after I did, and I told him that my water might have broken, but I wanted to keep an eye on it.  He went on to work and I laid back down.  Around 8:30AM, I got up again and took a few steps towards the bathroom - but there was no mistaking.  My water had broken!!  I decided to go ahead and make breakfast for Alli and I before I let anyone know.  I knew as soon as I got to the hospital, there'd be no eating.  So I whipped up blueberry muffins and then called Ryan to let him know.  About that time, the contractions started.  They were very mild and hard to time, but they were definitely something.  So I texted my mom and told her I was going to go to the hospital to get checked for my water breaking.  I told her not to head up before I got confirmation, but she said "Your water broke.  You're having contractions.  I'm on my way."

So Lindsey came over to sit with Alli at our house, and Ryan and I headed to the ER.  They tested me for amniotic fluid, which came back positive.  Woohoo - it was baby day!!  Then they began the admission process.  I had one great ER nurse and one that was awful.  She couldn't get my IV in, and when I told her I was woozy about needles, she kept talking about valves and veins.  She also kept telling the other nurse that Riley's heart rate was dropping during my contractions, which the better nurse assured me was normal and because her heart rate came back up afterwards, everything was fine.  Then bad nurse forgot to take my blood, which I found out later had to happen before I got an epidural.  Pretty sure it was her mission in life to make labor and delivery as painful as possible for me - as if I needed help.

Anyway, the labor and delivery nurses came down and wheeled me into my room.  Ryan and I didn't take a hospital tour before delivery, so we were pleasantly surprised to see a huge room with a couch, table and chairs, and a rocking chair.  I was going to labor, deliver, and recover in the same room.  We waited a while on the epidural before we all figured out that they were waiting on bloodwork that hadn't actually been drawn yet.  Talk about frustrated!  My contractions were really picking up at that time.  Finally the bloodwork was complete, but the nurse said that my platelets were low and she wasn't sure if they could even give me an epidural.  I got pretty worried at that time, but the anesthesiologist came in and said they were just high enough that he would feel comfortable proceeding.  He sent in another anesthesiologist to actually put it in, and that's where the story gets painful.  He could not get the epidural in - he tried about five times.  I was in a lot of pain, with tears streaming down my face.  Finally, 45 minutes later, he got it done and I felt the relief.  About that time, my mom, sister, and Alli showed up.   As the epidural kicked in, I had fun chatting with all of them (and my mother in law who showed up a little later).  They checked me again, and I was only 4cm, so I figured we were in for a long haul.

But then, just about 2 hours later, my mom, Alli and mother-in-law went out to get some snacks and the nurses came in to check me.  The student nurse checked first and looked up at the other nurse - "I think she's complete."  The other nurse checked and agreed.  Lindsey hustled out of the room to tell the grandmothers and big sister.  Alli poked her head in one more time to tell me she loved me, and then it was go time!

At that time, Riley was still a little high, so while the room started getting prepped for delivery (think runway lights and a table full of frightening looking tools), they had me push through contractions to get her in position to call the doctor.  Her heart rate started dropping a little, but as soon as my doctor came in, she was fine.  He left again, waiting on her to get into a better position, and the nurse and I worked on getting her lower.  At one point, the nurse commented "She has a head full of hair!!"  And then we pushed one more time, and she said "If I tell you to stop, stop.  She's really close."  So I took a deep breath and pushed while she counted - she only made it to 4 (we'd been going to 10) when she said "Stop! STOP!!" and then called Dr. Hurt in.  He got suited up and we pushed one more time - and baby Riley was born!!

They immediately laid her on my chest and I was SHOCKED at her long dark hair!  Seriously, if they hadn't put her on my chest immediately, I would have thought they had pulled a baby swap on me.  But she was so so gorgeous and so perfect that I couldn't believe it - that's the second time I've had that experience, and there's nothing less special about it the second time.  Ryan cut the cord and then followed the nurse over to where they were cleaning up Riley.  While the doctor worked on me, Ryan was snapping pictures and helping to clean her up - totally not fair.

She weighed in at a whopping 8 lbs, 6 oz. and was 21 inches long - a whole pound and 3/4 inch bigger than her sister.  We've joked that those 6 oz must be hair.  I think my mom almost had a heart attack waiting - Ryan was so caught up in everything that he completely forgot to text her that everyone was okay!  But finally in Alli came to meet her little sissy for the first time, followed by both of her grandmas and her aunt.  Seeing them together for the first time was such a wonderful feeling that I won't forget - and seeing Ryan become a daddy all over again was wonderful too.  It made me so happy that he was able to be a complete part of this pregnancy and birth.  He has proven to me again (as if I needed a reminder) of what a wonderful husband, daddy, and man he is.

Sorry this post is so late - I can't believe she's already eight days old!  We've been adjusting here at home and trying to get as much sleep as possible, so I'll update again when I have a chance.  I'd forgotten what a full time job mothering a newborn is.  I consider it a victory when I brush my teeth and hair - and a shower?  That's heaven on earth.  But I seriously wouldn't trade it.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Pregnancy Update - 40 Weeks

How far along: 40 weeks - Are we going to have to go to a daily update now?

Size of baby: According to The Bump, Miss Riley is the size of a jackfruit, weighing 6.2 to 9.2 pounds and measuring 18.9 to 20.9 inches long.  I've never seen a jackfruit to my knowledge, FYI.

Maternity clothes: PJ pants, Ryan's shirts, and a Piko when I have to look nice.  Which is almost never.  I'm dressed up above for Alli's 2nd grade awards ceremony.  I thought I'd do my hair for her on her last day of school.

Gender: Obviously a very patient girl who is very happy where she is right now.

Movement:  Still crazy at night and pretty calm during the day.  I had an NST this week because of my blood pressure and my being concerned about her movement that day.  Turns out, all she needed was a little goading from the monitors being hooked up to her.  She passed with flying colors.

Sleep: Sleep has been fine.  We've had storms and rain the past few nights, and that hasn't hurt anything.

Symptoms: Heartburn, swelling, back pain.  I was a little crampy last night, so let's hope that means something is happening!

What I miss: Fluidly getting up and down.  Every time I roll over it's a three point turn.  I need help out of chairs, couches, and off the floor.  And coffee.  And wine.  Still.

Cravings: Sweets - Riley's additional "birthday cake" is almost gone.  She's going to miss it like she missed last week's if she doesn't get a move on!

Food aversions: Not much.  I love it all.

Best moment this week: Alli's 2nd grade awards ceremony and knowing Riley was fine after the NST.

What I am looking forward to: Riley's arrival.  The doctor won't let me go much past 41 weeks, which is this coming Thursday, so at least we know we'll have her within a week's time.  I really don't want to be induced though, so I am really hoping that she decides to debut soon!!