Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Why Elizabeth?

Evelyn. Elizabeth. Marin. Adelaide. Eloise. Madison. Charlotte. Eleanor. Mae.

Names leading the way throughout the process of naming our girl. Names are far from easy to give. Names have meaning. They identify someone. And usually, there is no changing the name once it has been given.

The question we were asked more than any other once Elizabeth arrived was “why Elizabeth?”

Elizabeth wasn’t even on our radar 3 years ago when we first started trying for babies. In fact, I never even imagined I would have a girl. I spent most of those years narrowing down the list of boy names, certain boys were in our future. And we are pretty set on a boy name if one ever comes our way:) But girls. We spent most of her gestational life mulling over names. It had to be just right.

We had some criteria to help us narrow down the search:

1. Traditional & easy to pronounce & spell (our last name dictated this point)
2. Has nickname potential but we like the given, full name
3. Can stand the test of time…not childish or juvenile
4. Has meaning
5. Not a family name

In the end, Elizabeth was Alex’s choice. When he first shared it with me I prayed for months that I would either come to like it more than the names I picked out or that he would change his mind. Obviously the Lord changed my mind because the couple of months leading up to her birth she was Elizabeth to me. The thing I loved most about the name Elizabeth was how much Alex loved it. And he had his reasons. For these reasons she was given her name…

1. The meaning. Elizabeth means “God’s Promise,” “My God is bountiful/generous,” “God is my oath.” Paired with the meaning of Mae “Gift of God”, from this book, we have a daughter whose name essentially means “God’s Generous gift” which of course she absolutely is!

2. Barrenness. Since we walked this road we felt it fitting that her name be representative of that. Not a requirement just a reason we liked Elizabeth. For biblical Elizabeth was barren just as we were.

3. It fit the criteria above :)

4. Has British ties:) Definitely not necessary but we love that it has a tie to a country we love.

So Elizabeth Mae is not a family name. It’s just a name we happened upon and now happen to love.

I love hearing how parents come to name their kiddos…any criteria you have in naming babies?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

2 months in

Someone please explain how my baby went from this:

to this:

Or here’s maybe a better comparison:

I know every parent says it, but I really can’t believe how quickly the time has flown by. We’ve loved watching her grow and seeing her personality sprout. She’s a pretty good baby but definitely sensitive and spirited. She notices every little sound and movement and at the same time wants what she wants when she wants it! I can’t wait to see how her personality evolves!

Today we went in for her 2-month check up complete with shots. She was quite the trouper! She illustrated her sensitive spirit quite well…she started screaming as the needle hit her thigh:) I’m pretty sure it was harder for daddy…I’ve already nicked her will the nail clippers!

Weight: 12 lb. 11 oz. up from 7 lb. 11 oz. at birth. (91%)

Length: 23 1/4 “ up from 19 1/4 “ (82%)

Swinging, moving, being held, BATH TIME (finally!) We finally broke down and bought a swing and she LOVES it:) She would right…the only thing we really didn’t think we would need!

Being overtired (who doesn’t)

Sleep: Been sleeping through the night since 6 weeks old…between 6-8 hours; hope this sticks around though I’m sure it won’t. We did nothing to help this along, she just did it on her own one night. Scared momma silly!

We finally unearthed some of our baby pictures and I’m happy to say that everyone who says she looks like her daddy is spot on. The minute I saw Alex’s baby pictures I was amazed at how much they look alike. See for yourself:

Crazy huh?

She’s only inherited 2 things from her mother…her chunky thighs and chubby cheeks:) Momma’s truly sorry Elizabeth!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Life in 2.5 hour increments

That’s what happens when you have kids. If someone wanted to know how life changes once you have kids, this is it. You start planning your days in 2.5 hour increments…if you are lucky that is.

Over the past 8 weeks, I’ve learned a thing or two about our days and about myself. Our days FLY by. Seriously. Once things start spreading out a bit I know there may be times I long for these days…but right now, the day is gone before I know it. Between 8 am and 8 pm, there’s only 5 2.5 hour blocks.

   {8-10:30, 10:30-1, 1-3:30, 3:30-6, 6-8:30}

That’s our day in a line of numbers.

Within every one of those blocks 45-90 minutes is spent feeding Elizabeth and either playing with her or making sure she’s somewhat content before naptime. That is if she decides sleeping is a good thing. Most days, thankfully, it is.

For myself, I’ve learned that I’m far more proficient with this kind of set-up. Maybe I should live every day in 2.5 hour increments! I’ve learned how long it takes to get ready (30 min. max), to clean the bathrooms (20 min.), do laundry (10-15 min., 2x/day), make a meal and eat (15 min.), feed and entertain the baby (45-60 min.) and before I know it our 2.5 hour increment is up. That’s if everything goes to plan. Most often it doesn’t.

If there are errands to run, I leave either after she’s had awake time or right after she eats if I’m out for awhile. I can usually get quite a few things done.
But they all must be lumped together. And go as quickly as possible. I feel like I move a mile a minute around here to get as much done as I can, when I can.

I feel pretty blessed that Elizabeth for the most part is a good baby. She has her days, I have my days…but for the past 2 weeks she’s been on a pretty steady schedule which has helped. So what have I learned about myself…8 weeks in and I’ve learned I do better in blocks of time and I MUST get up before she does.

The past 2 weeks she’s been sleeping from 8/8:30 pm to 3:45/4:30 am and then back to bed until 7:30/8. I am a morning person and I love my time alone. Getting up before she does ensures I will eat breakfast, drink coffee, read my Bible, and get dressed so we can go for a walk. Showering comes later. Our day goes so much better if this happens. On days I sleep in I feel so behind. So usually I’m up around 6:30 and in bed by 10:30. That means on an average night I get around 7 hours of broken up sleep. Not bad.

Today is obviously a good day, since I had time to write this. But now all the clean clothing from our trip out of town is still in the basket. I’m sure there’s 20 minutes somewhere in one of those blocks in which it can get put away and if not, it can wait. Tomorrow has 5 blocks of its own. And there’s my whistle letting me know the next round has started…she’s awake!

Can anyone relate?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

National Breastfeeding Week

(*I know some guys read the blog, this will be TMI*)

This week is National Breastfeeding week and though I’m not sure I qualify given we’ve only been doing this for 7 short weeks, I thought I would share some things that helped me.

I knew before Elizabeth was born that I wanted to try to breastfeed. Given my PCOS, there was a chance it wouldn’t work or that I would have oversupply issues. But I had a couple of reasons above and beyond how great it is for baby, for why I wanted to try: 1) It’s cheaper than formula, 2) I might lose weight faster and easier. May sound vain or contrite, but it’s the truth. In fact our instructor at our class reassured us that those reasons are great ones, not vain ones:)

Right after she was born I wanted to try breastfeeding immediately. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to try for an hour and a half after she arrived; they made me eat first. Didn’t matter, she knew just what to do when it came time. Although it was painful. Anyone that says it isn’t is just plain lucky. Because she was born at a hospital without lactation consultants on staff, the nurses are trained and they have a rotating LC that comes in. I asked every day I was there to see one and I left without seeing one. My only con of the hospital I delivered in. She seemed to be doing just fine, diaper wise, but it HURT. To the point that I cringed when it came time to feed her.

We checked out on Sunday and Monday morning I called a local lactation consultant group and made an appointment for that morning. Before I did that I sent out an SOS email to my friend Jackie who’s a bona fide Lactation Consultant. It was pretty late at night but she emailed me back so many helpful things even though she was miles away. They helped get me though that night until our appointment the next morning. So Monday morning I ventured out with Elizabeth alone. I was nervous, but we made it…thank goodness for valet parking at the hospital! While I was there they weighed her before and after feedings, watched her latch, and gave me some great pointers. Seems I was doing almost everything right, I just wasn’t confident enough. You really have to go for it:) And I left feeling much more confident, less sore, and ready to go.

The following weeks had a few challenges but for the most part, BF has come easily for Elizabeth and I. I have some oversupply issues and a slightly overactive letdown, but there are simple fixes for those. Breastfeeding does not come easily for everyone; I’ve read some great stories of perseverance here, here, here and here. Knowing it’s difficult for others definitely helped me keep my expectations in check. At the end of the day, it’s been such a great thing for me and Elizabeth and I feel really blessed that’s it has worked so well thus far!

But if you’re willing to give it a go, here are some things I found helpful.

1) Get educated beforehand.

Before we had Elizabeth, Alex and I took a breastfeeding class. Yes, my husband came along. After a good friend mentioned how helpful it was that her husband was there, Alex was signed up faster than he could say no! It was so helpful. Even if they were telling me things I already knew, I can’t tell you how nice it was, the days after Elizabeth was home, that Alex could “help” problem solve when I was sleep deprived and hurting.

2) Get
help even if you don’t need it.

Breastfeeding has been an interesting journey in that no one in my family has ever done it. But I have had plenty of friends who I can turn to for help and great lactation consultants. #1 thing, ask those around you who have done it AND find help. I think everyone should see a LC either in the hospital or right after. So helpful and really encouraging. Even if nothing is going wrong, it’s a great confidence boost! If you know the day you are giving birth, schedule your appointment ahead of time.

3) Have some sort of manual available to you

If only breastfeeding came with a manual, or even the baby! But of course, like so many things, it’s instinct and learn on the job for the most part. That being said, I happened to have checked out Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding two days before giving birth. That book was well worn by the time its due date came around. So helpful to have something on hand. Another great book is “Nursing Mothers Companion”. Check one out, buy one, or check out; great online resource for all things breastfeeding.

4) Stock up on breastfeeding items

Especially nipple cream. Lanisoh lanonlin or Motherlove, either one, just make sure you have it on hand. The hospital has some as well and they have all sorts of other various things; cold sticky things that ease soreness (hydrogel pads), nipple shields, and breast shells. Other great things for afterwards, nursing pads (disposable or reusable) & a breast pump.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Birth Story Part 2

(ps…this is long)

You are one of His good and perfect gifts to us Elizabeth. Truly. And here is the rest of the story, with plenty of details just for you. 

The experience of your birth from start to finish was incredibly surreal; we had no plan, instead we drank deeply every minute, experiencing it whole.

It was just an ordinary night at our house. We had went about our day, I remember going for a really long walk, hoping you would come soon. And for dinner, because I was craving spicy food, we ate the best enchiladas ever. And afterwards we did what we usually did…watched some tv in each others company. And after some time, while I was falling asleep on the couch I felt a pop in my tummy. I thought you kicked me. But when I stood up, there was no denying it. I knew. Deep in my heart, I knew. You were coming soon.

This wasn’t the ideal timing…Daddy had a busy Friday…he was not prepared. You were 2 weeks and 1 day early. I looked at Daddy and said “I think my water broke” to which he replied “No it didn’t.” But that night, as we stood in the bathroom, eyes gazing at what was before us, our hearts and minds slowly comprehended reality. There was water everywhere, just like in the movies and there was no stopping it. You were coming. And at 11 pm on the eave of your birth, we called the Doctor, showered, gathered our things, and went to the hospital. We called and woke up Grandma and Grandpa Winter to tell them the news and Grandma Krueger, and Nana and Papa. They were all very excited that you were on your way! The whole way to the hospital we just kept saying “I can’t believe this is really happening.” For someone who was falling asleep, I was wide awake now.

We watched the stars shimmer in the dark night as we pulled into the parking lot and checked ourselves in. We knew right where to go since we had been to the Maternal Fetal Center before. It all seemed so surreal since I was not in labor; or so I thought. They checked me over and I was 4cm, 80% effaced. What?

Mommy didn’t have any contractions up until that point…in fact, I felt really normal and definitely did not feel like I was in labor. On Monday, just 3 days before, I was checked and told there wasn’t any progress. On Tuesday, at daddy’s softball game, his friend said I looked ready to pop. On Thursday, I did! Within the next 30-45 minutes contractions began and they continued 3-5 minutes apart for the next few hours. They were no big deal.  When we checked in they gave me a gigantic pad, think wet swiffer pad, because there was so much fluid and I remember wanting to see if it was super noticable in my pants so I climbed on top the tub to look in the little mirror. The nurse outside our room about fell over watching me do that! In case you were wondering, you couldn’t really tell and until this day I have no idea why I did that!
DSC_0032We tried staying put in our room but we were antsy we walked the halls, joked with the nurses, and finally settled into our room, laughing that only infomercials were on tv. We tried to sleep, Daddy succeeded which was good because I really liked the silence. I was focused on meeting you. The nurses left us alone for the most part  and it was in the silence that we watched the

day dawn, beautiful golden hues painted across the sky, signaling the day of your birth. 
DSC_0034It was now around 4 am and they came in and checked on my progress;  6-7 cm.  This spurred us on, things were progressing and with it the intensity of the contractions grew. Daddy was the best coach and labor partner…he knew just what to do and say to keep me going. The other thing that helped was in the silence my phone quietly played the music for worship, creating a background of praise. But what really kept us going was that my doctor was coming on call at 7 am that morning. We were so blessed to hear that news; we weren’t sure considering it was a weekend!

And as the hours passed by inching closer to 7 am, the pain grew stronger, contractions still every 2-4 minutes apart but I was still a 7. And we found out that mommy’s doctor was running late. The nurses were worried that my bag of water had reattached and that was the reason for the stalling, though that was not the case. It was around this time that I grew weary. I just wanted to see my Doctor…we thought for sure your entrance was at hand. But for whatever reason things began to slow down. Contractions grew further apart. And when Dr. Flom came in the room, relief flooded me. She would know just what to do. Little did I know there were still 6 more hours left. At this point we had been laboring for 8 hours.

I was so happy that we had taken our birthing class. When the options for pain came at us we knew just what to expect, what our options were, and our decisions going forward got easier because of it. When we checked in 8 hours prior, we knew we wanted to go as naturally as possible for as long as possible. And because of that I was allowed to stay in my own clothes all the way through delivery. Best decision. But by 9:30 am, mommy was tired, hungry and the Doctor wanted to get things moving. I could tell she was getting antsy, wanting to get you out. You had been in the birth canal for quite some time. At this point with labor stalled and the contractions getting incredibly intense but growing further apart,  pitocin seemed like a logical next step. After much deliberation between the two of us we agreed with the Doctor and on it I went.  The intensity that followed was the worst of what I had felt thus far. I was freezing cold and began feeling nauseous. I felt the worst pain all along when I was sitting in bed and every time they checked me I grimaced knowing what was in store. So with the pitocin drip in, staying in bed was a reality I didn’t like. I tried the birthing ball, which I loved all along, but the monitors just wouldn’t stay on. With the pain so intense, we quickly decided to try a little pain relief so that I could rest. Up until this point I had slept only an hour total maybe.  So we gave the systemic drugs a try to allow mommy to rest; I was so tired. It helped me rest but after two tries, the pain was growing more intense. And yet, things weren’t going fast enough.

The pitocin kept increasing as my contractions continued to grow further apart…they needed them to speed up. And slowly they did. By 11 am things were really intense. All of my contractions were in my upper thighs and the only thing that helped was intense counter pressure from daddy. I’m sure his arms were exhausted by the time you arrived but he never once complained. Neither did I. For you were on your way. And Elizabeth, around 11:30 am I decided to get an epidural. And what do you know, in less than 10 minutes I progressed to a 10. We were ready to push!

It was now around 12:15pm, the day of your birth and the epidural gave me such relief. I’m now definitely an advocate. You see, up until then, I had been silent 90% of the time, just focusing on breathing through,  meeting you. I’m sure Daddy was very happy to have a conversation with me after 12 long hours of labor! And conversation we had. It seemed our room turned into a party with all the nurses and the doctor in there. Everyone was bustling about as you labored down on your own. After an hour, it was time to really push. I couldn’t feel my contractions right away but as the hour drew to a close I could tell when they were coming. And during this time we learned, due to daddy’s curiosity, just how amazing God made our bodies. Did you know Elizabeth that while you were in the womb you breathed through the umbilical cord with certain valves to your lungs closed. And the minute you pass through the birth canal, some valves close and others open allowing your lungs to provide you with breath. That is the work of God, His fingers are all over that!

With the epidural, I was totally present during pushing. The nurses were trying to guess your name based on a few clues from Daddy and I…they were stumped but Dr. Flom guessed it without even batting an eye. You were named before you came, in those last moments. Elizabeth Mae.

And as the minutes drew to a close, I could sense your entrance into the world, I could take it all in, fully. And as the final pushes drew near, everyone cheering you on, I felt your life flow out of me and then you were on my chest, covered in vernix and beautiful. And daddy’s mouth went straight to praise, thanking Him for you, as the tears flowed from our eyes. You were here. You were perfect. You were ours.
DSC_0061 (2)And Elizabeth, that moment, was awe inspiring. I cannot even explain the emotions…we are blessed. You changed our lives forever. You make us better. You, Elizabeth, are our miracle. And we love you through and through.

And just moments later, they took you, weighed you, wiped you off. I think they were a little worried about you after such a long time heading on out…but after you were all cleaned up they gave you to daddy for skin to skin. They were still working on getting mommy all fixed up…it was incredible to watch you meet your daddy. And ever since the two of you have had a special bond…he loves you so completely.
We thank Him for you Elizabeth Mae, our girl, we love you so much! I wouldn’t change a thing about your birth…no regrets, no I wish we would haves. What would be the point, we only wanted to meet you.