Friday, December 30, 2011

Campbell's First Christmas

Campbell's first Christmas was a great one, if I do say so myself! It was a very busy few days, but so much fun! We started out our Christmas celebrations with David's mom and dad, his brother (Pat), Pat's girlfriend (Jodi), and Mama, David's grandmother. Sadly, I didn't get any pictures that day, but we had a great time. Pat and Jodi are on vacation in Thailand, so we had to get our Christmas in a little early with them.

On Christmas Eve, we always visit with my dad and stepmom. This is Campbell playing with the squeaky block set from my stepsister and her family. My sweet girl is sporting her "My First Christmas" onesie! We had a nice time visiting with Dad and Theresa and Allison and Larry (my sister and brother-in-law, the guy in the background there looking very serious). We also attended our church's Christmas Eve service which is always one of my favorite parts of Christmas. Unfortunately, I missed Allison's solo because a certain little person (pictured below) did a big poop that went straight up the back of her adorable onesie!
When we got home, we had to get things ready for Santa's first visit to our house! Granny (my mom) sent Campbell a Christmas Eve present, which was a record-a-story of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, read by my Mom. I'll admit that I definitely teared up while listening to my mom read the story to Campbell, especially the last page, when she told her how much she loves my baby girl. David saved the night by reminding me that Santa needs cookies and milk...I had completely forgotten that! I also put out a couple of carrots for the reindeer, too!
Christmas morning was so much fun, even though Campbell isn't old enough to understand what's going on, or coordinated enough to open gifts. I do think she could sense the excitement of the day, and I could tell that she was enjoying herself. I absolutely love the picture below. David is going through her stocking with her, and even though you can barely see her face in the photo, you can see that her eyes and mouth are wide open. It's almost like she's saying, "Oh, wow! How did Santa know I wanted this?!" And it's just a teether....but she does love it!
She got a couple of "big" toys from Santa, along with some bath toys and sensory balls. In the next picture, she's opening one of her presents from us...which is a portable booster seat/high chair. She seems to enjoy it, and I like it, too. She fits in it much better than either the Bumpbo (which is too small now for her chunky thighs) or her high chair (which is still too big for her). It'll also be nice to be able to take it with us when we're going to family or friends' homes at mealtimes.

After church on Christmas morning, we headed over to Mama's house for lunch with the rest of the Klingenfus family. We were missing a few folks this year (Pat and Jodi were in Thailand; Daniel and MaryBeth were in St. Louis with her family), so it wasn't quite the same, but it was very nice nonetheless. While we were there, Shirley snapped this picture of our sweet family, which I just love. We'll have to get this one framed.
After lunch at Mama's, we came home for a quick nap to recharge, then headed to Mom and Chet's house for our last Christmas hurrah. We ate some more and had a nice time with Mom, Chet, Allison, Larry, and my aunt, uncle, and cousin. Miss Priss was showered with gifts, one of which was an absolutely adorable pink armchair! Campbell loves it, as you can see! (It's got a cat's face embroidered on the back...those two big black dots are eyes.)
Christmas with our sweet girl was absolutely wonderful, and we're definitely looking forward to many more!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

6 Months!

 Could someone please tell me how this happened? How is it that it feels like I've blinked and my baby girl is already half a year old? Just tonight I was thinking that I can barely remember what those newborn days were like. I'm going to have to get the photo album out and take a little walk down memory lane!
Campbell Adair
6 Months
19lbs., 14oz and 26 1/4" long

Sleeping Patterns: Campbell is still doing a great job of sleeping through the night. I don't think she's woken in the night at all in the last 6 or 8 weeks. At least, if she does, she's very quiet about it and I don't hear her through the monitor. She generally goes to bed at about 8pm and wakes up sometime between 5am and 6am. A couple of mornings this month, she slept until 7:00 or 7:30 (on weekends!) and it was wonderful! I'm not sure how I ended up with such an earlybird for a daughter, but she definitely is worth the early mornings. She's still not a great napper, at least for me. I think she naps fairly well for Gayle, but we struggle when she's at home. She'll take a great nap if I hold her, but usually, if I put her in her crib, she'll go through a cycle of play/fuss/cry. I comfort her, lay her back down, and we repeat the cycle. A couple of Saturdays ago, she fought her nap for an hour and a half. I'm not a fan of the cry-it-out method, so that's not really an option at this point. We'll figure it out!

Eating Habits: We've finally started solid foods! I actually started offering solids to her two or three weeks ago, but it's only been in the last week that she's seemed to be truly eating. I'm very interested in baby-led weaning, and we've been following that plan for the most part. It's absolutely amazing to see how good she is at manipulating food and getting it into her mouth. Our sweet girl loves to eat, and I love to watch her eat! I like the concept of baby-led weaning because it lets Campbell be the one in control of her feedings. I really want her to have a good, healthy relationship with food, and I feel like this plan will help to accomplish that goal. She decides which foods she likes, and she decides when and how much to eat. I understand that not everyone agrees with our plan to skip purees, but I think it's going to work well with us. I've tried spoon feeding her a couple of times, and honestly, baby-led weaning seems to be a lot easier and less stressful! Even with the solid food, she's still getting most of her calories and nutrition from breastmilk. She's nursing about 6 times per day, and I'm guessing that she takes somwhere around 5 ounces at each feeding.

New Foods: So far, she's had sweet potatoes, apples, bananas, cucumber, carrots, pears, peas, broccoli, ham, and chicken. Without a doubt, she enjoys sweet potatoes, bananas, and ham the most! She seems to dislike the green veggies, but we'll keep trying. I know it's not unusual for babies to reject a food several times before they finally eat it.

New Discoveries: It's been a big month for Campbell, developmentally speaking. She's discovered her feet and toes, so that keeps her occupied for quite a while! She's also sitting up on her own now, and it's opened up a whole new perspective on things for her.

My Accomplishments: Being able to sit up indepedently is definitely her biggest accomplishment this month! My poor girl was getting so very tired of laying down and sitting with support, so I'm really excited about this for her! And maybe it's a bit selfish, but it makes things so much easier on us as parents, too! Now I don't have to lug that infant carrier around anymore. She can also sit up in the grocery cart now, and she loves it!

Places She Went: Just the other night, Campbell went Christmas caroling with us through our tiny little town. She had a great time, but it was pretty chilly, so we cut our time short. David went on with the group to finish up, but Campbell and I went to the car to warm up and to have a snack (well, she had a snack, anyway!). I'm still really enjoying the Moby wrap and the ring sling...I can't imagine being without them. I think my favorite is the Moby, and it's mostly because I feel much more comfortable about my ability to hold her correctly in it. It's also nice and warm this time of year. We're now able to do the hip carry with the ring sling, and I think Campbell enjoys the view that comes along with it.

Special Friends: Santa Claus! Last Friday afternoon, I met up with my coworkers for lunch at The Cheesecake Factory at the Mall. I took Campbell with me, and after our lunch, she and I paid a visit to Santa. So many people told me that she would have a bad reaction, but she didn't. She sat right in his lap and grinned like a possum! It was precious, and made a great Christmas card photo! Almost as soon as I picked her up from his lap, she spit up. Santa was lucky he didn't get it!

Baby Babbles: I'm not sure that she's really learned any "new" babbles. She's still blowing raspberries and "talking" a lot. Just in the last few days she's started to really squeal...LOUDLY. Tonight I told her she sounded like a little screech owl!

Just for the fun of it, here are a few pictures I've taken over the last week. Clockwise from the top left: Campbell in her stroller on the way to visit Santa; reading Radical over Daddy's shoulder on Sunday morning; her "faux hawk" after bathtime; her first ride in the grocery cart (outside of the carseat).

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Nothing In Particular...

I am seriously horrible about blogging. Back when I started the food blog a few years ago, I blogged several times a week. Now I'm lucky to get a post up once a month. I can't blame it all on being busy with Campbell (even though I am!), though. I just get irritated with Blogger. They've changed things around, and unless I'm just too dumb to figure it out, you have to upload every picture individually now. That's a hassle. Another problem is that I just can't think of anything terribly interesting to blog about. We're just living life around here...nothing too exciting is going on. We're going to work every day and enjoying our time with Campbell once we get home. And when she goes to bed, I crash on the couch asleep. We're living a wild life, I'm telling you! But I wouldn't trade a minute of it for anything.
Since I don't have anything terribly profound or interesting to update you on, I just thought I'd share some of my favorite photos from the last several weeks.
I took this picture today at church while we were decorating for Christmas. One of the little girls from church found this headband and thought Campbell needed it. She's a cutie, huh?

 I just love this picture. My girl is absolutely one of the most goodnatured, laid-back babies I've ever met. I know I might be a little biased, but I do hear that a lot about her. She's always happy and smiling!
 I think this is one of my very favorite pictures of all time. A couple of weeks ago, I needed to get in the shower to get ready for church. David was reading in bed, so I plopped Campbell down with him. They were too cute, so I took a quick picture with my phone...and it's perfect!
 This is the way my kid sleeps every night of her life. I hear other people talk about how their kids are all over their cribs at night. Not ours. We put her down like this, and in the morning, she's in exactly the same spot, usually smiling, laughing, and kicking her legs like there's no tomorrow!
 The vast majority of my pictures of Campbell are of her asleep. She's just so much easier to photograph that way! This was her one morning before I dropped her off at her sitter's, and of course, I couldn't resist snapping a picture. Most mornings she falls back to sleep on the way to the sitters, and she usually doesn't wake up until we're in Ms. Gayle's house. Each morning, I take the opportunity to quietly pray over her. I still struggle with leaving her with the sitter, and I so wish I could be a stay at home mom, so those quiet moments in prayer are what gets me through each day.
And this is Campbell with her sitter, Ms. Gayle. We had a rough start, but I think things are going much better. We're still figuring each other out, but I think she genuinely loves Campbell, and that goes a long way in helping me to feel a bit better. One day last week, when I got to Ms. Gayle's house to feed her for lunch, she had Campbell in the chair with her, and they were just chattering away. It was precious, and I had to snap a picture!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Five Months!

Miss Campbell is now five months old! I feel like I say this every time, but I can't get over how fast she's growing, learning, and developing. It's seriously amazing. It seems like every day she's doing something new. It's so exciting to be her mom! :)
Campbell Adair
Five Months
19lbs., 1oz and 26 1/4" long

Sleep: Campbell is ready for bed by 8pm pretty much every night. We've got a good routine going now. She gets a good bath and hairwashing every other night. On alternate nights she just kind of gets a wipe down. I don't want to dry her skin out. After bathtime or the wipe down, she gets her "sleepy lotion" which is the Johnson & Johnson bedtime lotion. (That stuff is amazing!) Then, either David or I read Campbell her bedtime story. After storytime, Campbell and I settle into the glider for one last nursing session before bed. She usually falls asleep while I'm nursing her, then once she's good and asleep, I transfer her to the Pack 'N Play. Yes, she's been in the Pack 'N Play in our room since we brought her home from the hospital. But tonight, we've put her in her crib. I know it'll be harder on me than her. I am fully aware that it's completely irrational, but I feel horrible about putting her in the crib tonight.

Eating Habits: Campbell is still exclusively breastfed. She's still eating about every 2 1/2 to 3 hours. I'm still nursing her at Ms. Gayle's right before I leave, then I go feed her at lunchtime. In addition to those feedings, she generally takes about 8 ounces while I'm gone.
I'm struggling with deciding whether or not I should offer her some rice cereal. I know that babies really only need breastmilk for their first 6 months, but she's beginning to show an interest in our food. Tonight, as David and I were eating pizza, every time I would bring my slice of pizza to my mouth. Campbell leaned forward with her mouth open. I think the little girl is letting me know that she's ready for more. I really am interested in doing baby-led weaning, where you skip the purees and mashed up stuff altogether and move straight to finger foods. I have a book on order from Amazon, and it should be here Monday. I'm looking forward to reading through it, and maybe it will help me to decide on the cereal thing.

New Discoveries: She's now able to touch the floor from her jumperoo, so she's in heaven. She'll jump for 20 or 30 minutes. She doesn't really play with the toys on the jumperoo as much as she just enjoys the jumping. She's got to have strong legs!

Accomplishments: Last month, her favorite thing was to be pulled to sitting. This month, she's decided that sitting isn't enough...after she's pulled to sitting, she wants to be pulled to standing. She's also blowing raspberries all the time, and she's giving us laughs much  more regularly.

Places She's Gone: Campbell went on her first hayride and experienced her first bonfire this month! We had a great time, and you can see pictures of that adventure here.

New Friends: Campbell has one new friend this month...Carson Chrystine Dailey! Our friends, Jason and Carrie, welcomed their third little girl into the world at the end of October, and last weekend, Campbell got to meet her. I know they'll have tons of fun playing together in the future!

New Babbles: Campbell seems like she "talks" in fits and starts. A few weeks ago, she was babbling nonstop. Just tonight David I were commenting on the fact that she hasn't been talking quite as much lately. Instead, she's been blowing raspberries. I wonder if it's because the blowing raspberries is a new skill, and she's just fascinated by it? Maybe once the new wears off of it, she'll go back to talking more.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Campbell's First Bonfire

Even though it's officially fall, it seems that Mother Nature hasn't gotten the Kentucky at least. We've had a string of unseasonably warm days this November. On Sunday afternoon, Campbell and I headed to Mom and Chet's house after church for a family bonfire. Poor David had to miss out because a guy was coming to pick up the bull. Boo!
We generally spend Sunday afternoons with Mom, Chet, my sister Allison, and my brother-in-law Larry. Mom and Chet fix lunch for us, and then we laze around for the afternoon. We're usually watching TV (football this time of year), playing on our iPhones, or looking at Facebook. We chit chat the whole time, but we've always got something electronic in front of us. This past Sunday it was so nice to be outside enjoying God's magnificent creation...and each other's company. Here are some pictures from a (practically) perfect bonfire!

Me and Campbell on our way up to the picnic site. I still call it a hayride, even though there's no hay in sight. Campbell doesn't know the difference!  
 Aunt Allison, Uncle Larry, and my parents' dog, Lucy.
 Not long after we got to the picnic site, Mom and Campbell took off for a little adventure along the edge of the woods. They played pat-a-cake and I'm pretty sure Mom told her what a good little girl I always was. :)
 Campbell is so lucky to have such a wonderful Granny!

 They look like they're having a good time, don't they?
 Allison and Larry went on a 4-wheeler ride around the farm. Allison loves driving the 4-wheeler. Poor Larry had more than a littel cow manure on his clothes when they got back.
 Campbell enjoyed spending time with Pop Pop...even though she had to be in just the right humor.
 Campbell and Aunt Allison had lots of fun, too. And Aunt Allison got her first diaper-changing experience.
 Campbell was so sleepy for the first part of the bonfire, but just wouldn't take a nap. There was way too much excitement going on for that! I was finally able to nurse her to sleep and she got a nice little nap. The sun was in her face, but I used a handy-dandy paper plate as a sun shade.
 And what bonfire is complete without s'mores?! Uncle Larry has perfected his technique and made some beautiful s'mores.
And as much as these two played in the fire, it's a wonder they didn't pee the bed that night!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Four Months!

It's been way over a month since I last posted, but as with most things around here, blogging has just kind of fallen by the wayside since I went back to work. It's really hard to find balance. Harder than I thought it would be.
Anyway, my sweet baby girl turned 4 months old over 2 weeks ago. I thought I'd better update before she turns 5 months old! She's wearing 6 - 9 month clothes, and she can fit into a few 12 month things. Yikes! I can't believe how much she's growing.
Sleep: Campbell is ready for bed a lot earlier now...usually by 8:30 at the latest. She's still a good sleeper, waking only once a night to eat. Every now and then, she sleeps all night long.

Eating Habits: Campbell still doesn't have much of a pattern at Ms. Gayle's yet. She's been taking about 8 ounces over the course of the day. I usually am able to feed her on my lunch break. At home, she's eating every 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

New Discoveries: Some of my coworkers gave Campbell a taggie blanket, and she absolutely LOVES it. She is fascinated by the ribbons.

Accomplishments: She's finally given me a few real laughs! She can also grab things and hold onto them, and she's sitting with support. She's got awesome head control.

Places She's Gone: Campbell had a big month! She went to her very first football game at Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia. She did great...she slept through the vast majority of it. She also got to go with us to Lake Cumberland for a few days. I had to be there for three days in late September for meetings, and she and David were able to go with me. He watched her while I was in meetings.

New Friends: It was a big month for friends, too! Campbell finally got to meet her friend, Kate Sexton! They had such a good time playing at Kate's house. I hope they'll have many more play dates in the future. She also met a lot of my coworkers at Lake Cumberland. We also went to David's work picnic and she met some of his coworkers' children who are similar ages: Briley and Remington.

New Babbles: Campbell still loves to talk, and she's still loud! She's blowing bubbles and raspberries now.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Difference a Year Makes...'s just amazing the difference 365 days can make. One year ago today, my life was different. It was definitely a bittersweet day. One year ago today, after dreading this day for weeks, I woke up to the due date we were given for our first baby, the one we lost at around 10 weeks. The day had loomed over me like a huge, dark cloud, and it had finally arrived. David and I woke up and started to get ready to go to my Dad's retirement party, and I decided to take a pregnancy test. I knew that it was going to be negative, as they all had been for the previous four or five months. I figured that the day was already terrible enough, and I'd rather get all of the crappiness (is that a word?) out of the way at once. You can imagine my surprise when I got this:
I really, really didn't believe that I was pregnant. In fact, this is only one of the many pregnancy tests I took over the course of the week until I got in at my OB's office. I just knew that one of the days, it would tell me that I wasn't pregnant anymore. It seems like a lifetime ago that I got that test. I will always, always be thankful that I got this news on what I expected to be one of the worst days of my life. September 18, 2010 was still a tough day, even with this good news, because I couldn't help but think about what might have been.
For the last few days, as I realized September 18 was approaching, I've been thinking a lot about that little life that was with us for 10 weeks. I can't say that I've been sad, exactly...I can't really describe the emotion I've felt. I'll always wonder what that baby would have been like. Was it a boy or a girl? Would it have looked like me or David? There are so many what ifs, and they'd slowly kill me, if I let them. Over the last year, I've decided that I don't need to know why we lost our first baby. For a long time, I didn't feel like I had a "right" to grieve that loss, but now I realize that that child is a part of my story, and I loved (and still do love) him or her, and I have every right to feel grief over losing him or her. It's no longer a grief, exactly...I guess you'd just say it's a rememberance accompanied by a little bit of longing.
Today, one year later, God has blessed us with this sweet, sweet girl:
She is truly the most amazing thing that's ever happened to me. It's strange to know that if we hadn't lost our first baby, that this precious girl wouldn't be here...and I can't imagine a life without her. Perhaps our first baby gave me a glimpse at the amount of love I could have for another tiny person.
Any way I look at it, on this night one year later, I know, without a doubt, that I am blessed beyond measure.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Three Months!

My sweet girl is three months old now! We weighed and measured her yesterday morning...she weighs 16.5 pounds and is 25 inches long. What a big, big girl! The vast majority of the clothes we've got right now are 0-3 months, and they're pretty much too small. Well, anything smaller than 3 months is out of the question, and the 3 month stuff is tight! She's got a few 6 month things, and those are quite comfortable for now. I just can't believe how big she's gotten! Here's what she looks like right now:

Sleep: When she sleeps, she's such a good sleeper. She just isn't much on napping. She'll nap forever if we're holding her or she's laying on our chests, but a nap in the crib, cradle, or pack 'n play is very rare. Her final bedtime at night is between 10 and 10:30, and from there, she'll sleep until around 3am. If I can catch her around that time and she's stirring, but not completely awake, she'll go right back down after I feed her and stay asleep until 5:30 or 6:00. If she's already awake, it's a struggle to get her back to sleep. David usually ends up going to the couch with her to sleep until I get ready for work, then I take her and he goes back to bed. It works okay, but I'm looking forward to both of us being able to sleep in the same bed all night again.
Eating Habits: When we're both at home, Campbell eats about every 2 1/2 hours, just like clockwork. The babysitter's is a different story. I think she tries to wait for me. Most days, she'll just take one bottle (if I'm able to go feed her during my lunch break). If I can't nurse her at lunch she'll take two bottles...generally a total of 7oz for the day (during the time she's at the sitter's).
New Discoveries: She's becoming so much more aware of the world around her, and it's so much fun to watch! We have a set of 3 rattley bugs that attach to her car seat handle, and she's just mesmerized by them. When I'm grocery shopping, she "talks" to the bugs the whole time! She also went swimming on the hottest day of the year! She did great...I really thought she'd scream the whole time, but she was completely content and relaxed the whole time.
Accomplishments: During tummy time, she raises her chest up while she's supported by her arms. She loves to look at books while she's doing tummy time! She's also really started to enjoy standing on our laps while we hold her. Her very favorite activity now is to be pulled to sitting from her back. She holds her head level with her body the whole time, and just smiles and laughs! She also loves to look at herself in the mirror. A couple of weeks ago, I was nursing her in the dressing room at Target, and we couldn't get anything done because she was talking to herself in the mirror!
Places She's Gone: We had a play date at the park with the Dailey's and the Chilton's. We took her to David's great aunt's funeral in Charlestown, Indiana, and she did great. She hardly made a peep during the entire service (granted, she was asleep for a lot of it, but still...). She's also gone to the airport pick up her Orr grandparents, and to drop off her Granny and Pop Pop.
New Friends: Ms. Gayle, her babysitter. She's been going to Ms. Gayle's house for 6 days now and I guess it's going well. I still hate taking her to the sitter, and honestly, I hope sometime it works out that I can stay home with her. I just don't have a whole lot of peace about this whole leaving her with a sitter thing. Everyone says it gets better...we'll see.
New Babbles: Campbell "talks" all the time! She doesn't have an inside voice, and she especially enjoys talking during church. She's been saying "guh," "ah-goo," and "ah-ooh" for awhile now.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Babies Don't Keep

I have exactly nine days left until I go back to work. Nine more short days where my only task is to be a mother to my baby girl. In nine days, I have to give over at least 40 hours a week of her life over to another person's care. I may have the opportunity to do some work from home, but even then, I will be distracted from caring for her. So, for the next nine days, this is my mantra:

Babies Don't Keep

Ruth Hulburt Hamilton

Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,

Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,

Hang out the washing, make up the bed,

Sew on a button and butter the bread.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?

She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I've grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,

Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.

Dishes are waiting and bills are past due,

Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo.

The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew,

And out in the yard there's a hullabaloo.

But I'm playing Kanga, and this is my Roo.

Look! Aren't her eyes the most wonderful hue?

Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait 'till tomorrow

But children grow up, as I've learned from my sorrow.

So quiet down, cobwebs! Dust, go to sleep!

I'm rocking my baby, and babies don't keep.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Two Months!

I'm a few days late with the two month post, but we've had other things that needed to get done (eating, playing, sleeping, etc.) first! It's so hard to believe that little Miss Priss is already two months old! Isn't she the cutest?
We've had a really good month. I'd say that in the time frame from 1 month to 2 months, we've settled into a pretty good routine. I think that now, I feel like I've got a pretty good handle on things and don't feel clueless nearly as much. I think David would disagree with me, but I don't think I'm as hypervigilant about everything as I was a month ago. Yes, I still check numerous times a day to make sure she's breathing, but I think that's pretty normal.
I'm amazed at how much Campbell has changed over the last month. She's so much more alert and active now, and she's really beginning to truly interact with us. She can smile socially now, and she coos like crazy! She says "ah-goo" and "oooh" and a few other sounds, too. When I hold an object about 6-8 inches above her and move it from side to side, she can follow it 180 degrees. When someone is holding her and she sees someone else in the room, she will follow them with her eyes. She holds her head up great, and doesn't like it if she can't see what's going on around her. She also able to put her hands together and get her hands in her mouth purposely. Finger chewing is one of her favorite passtimes! One of her favorite toys is her Baby Einstein floor gym. She loves that thing, and as I type this, she's very nearly worked her way in a circle around the mat by kicking her feet (and chewing her fingers the whole time). What a busy little girl!
She's growing like a weed! At her 2 month appointment, she weighed in at 12 lbs, 12 oz and was 24 1/4" long! What a big, big girl! I was dreading that appointment because I knew she'd be getting 2 shots and an oral vaccine. It wasn't just her reaction to the shots I was dreading, but also the possibility of fever afterwards. She did cry for a bit after the shots, but I nursed her as soon as they were done, and she calmed down quickly. She got two pink camoflage band-aids for her bravery. :) And, the best part of all was that she never ran a fever or got fussy. She's such a trooper! Now we don't have to go back to the doctor for 2 months, which will be nice.
It seems like every week I put away more and more clothes because they've gotten too little. Just this morning, I tried a few 6 month outfits on her to see how long it would be until they fit. Um...they fit NOW! Yikes! I really didn't think she'd be in them so soon! She's now wearing a size 2 diaper, and has been for several weeks. Saturday night we went to a surprise party for our friend Jessi, and when I was nursing Campbell in Jessi's daughter Olivia's room, I saw her diaper stacker. Olivia, who is nearly 2 is just wearing a size 3 diaper. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw that. I mentioned it to Jessi and another friend, and they reassured me that all of their girls wore a size 3 diaper for a really long time. Let's hope so!
The only other news of note, I guess, is that I go back to work in about 2 1/2 weeks. I'm dreading it. Absolutely dreading it. We've found a private sitter for Campbell, and I feel good about having her stay with Miss Gail (who came to us highly recommended by several people), but it's hard. This whole idea of having her stay with someone who's not family is kind of strange to both David and I. David's mom stayed home from work after he was born, and my grandparents watched my sister and I when my parents were at work. We don't expect any of our parents to stay home and watch Campbell full-time, because she's our responsibility. I would just really like to be able to be with her. This may sound horrible, and before I say it, let me say that I love Campbell more than absolutely anything in the world. She is simply amazing, and I would never trade her for anything. But sometimes I find myself thinking that we shouldn't have had kids unless one of us could stay at home with her all the time. I know kids have gone to sitters for ages and ages and turn out fine, but I really feel like the best situation would be for me to be at home with her. I just want to protect her and make sure she gets the best care possible, and it's hard for me to think that someone else can do that. Unfortunately, that's not possible for us right now, so I'm going to try to make the best of it.
Right now, our days consist of eating, playing, sleeping, and trying to get a few things done around the house. It's been a big adjustment to not be able to get any job done from start to finish in one fell swoop, but I'm getting used to it. The house isn't as neat and tidy as it was BC (Before Campbell), but we manage. The way I see it, the dishes, the dust, and the laundry will be around forever, but I only have these 12 weeks with her one time, so that's were I'm going to focus my attention. So off I go to play with my sweet girl while the laundry lays around in the baskets!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Borrowed Prayer for My Daughter

About once every two weeks or so, I come up with some kind of brilliant plan to either improve my parenting (which usually fails) or simplify baby care (which also usually fails). Earlier in the week, I decided that I would go back to trying to nurse Campbell in the bed during the middle of the night, rather than getting her out of the Pack 'N Play, tiptoeing into her room, getting the My Brest Friend on, nursing her, then tiptoeing back to our room and depositing her back into the Pack 'N Play. Before we put her to bed that night, I put the Boppy by our bed (which I hate as a nursing pillow, by the way) and went to sleep thinking that the middle of the night feeding would go super-smoothly. At about 2am, Campbell woke up hungry, so I nursed her back to sleep and laid her back in the Pack 'N Play. As I mentally high-fived myself for an easy nighttime feeding, I heard it. The unmistakable gurgling of one of her super-poops. Once I knew she was done, I undid the incredibly noisy velcro of her swaddle wrap, which woke her up completely. Bright eyed and bushy tailed, she looked and me and gave me a gummy grin. While those grins melt my heart, they're not exactly what I want to see at 2:40am. As I unsnapped her onesie and removed her diaper, I realized that not only had the poop gone up her back and through her onesie, but also through the swaddle wrap and her sheets. Yuck. I'd been defeated by the poop and had no choice but to wake up David to help me. I just couldn't change the sheets and her by myself. He was super-groggy, but I really just needed him to be awake enough to not roll over her or let her fall off the bed as I laid her in our bed long enough to change her sheets. Once I'd changed the sheets on her bed and reswaddled her, I settled in to nurse her to sleep again. I was pretty well exhausted, but as I looked at her, I thought, "There is absolutely nothing else I'd rather be doing." I was just overcome with love for that sweet little girl who relies on David and me for everything. The love I felt for her then is just something I can't really describe. I'm so very thankful to have her in my life, and I can't imagine anything being more fulfilling than being her mom.
That very early morning adventure reminded me of something I'd read while I was pregnant. It's Tina Fey's "A Prayer for My Daughter," from her book Bossypants. It's irreverent and offbeat, and even though it's got some foul language, I agree with every word of it. Here it is:

"First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie the Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.

May she be Beautiful, but not Damaged, for it's the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach's eye, not the Beauty.

When the Crystal Meth is offered, may she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half and stick with Beer.

Guide her, protect her when crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called "Hell Drop", "Tower of Torture", or "The Death Spiral Rock 'N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith," and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.

Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes and not have to wear high heels. What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I'm asking You, because if I knew, I'd be doing it, Dammit.

May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of Her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need not lie with Drummers.

Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen. Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, for childhood is short - a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day - and Adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait.

O Lord, break the Internet forever, that she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers and the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.

And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, for I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.

And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50am., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back. "My mother did this for me once," she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby's neck. "My mother did this for me." And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I'll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes. Amen."

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

One Month!

Our little girl is already a month old...and I just can't believe it. I was just telling David the other night that it's so hard to believe that she's only been here for a month. It just doesn't seem possible, because in a lot of ways, I feel like I've known her forever! I often wonder what life was about before she came. I've been looking at the pictures from the day she was born, and it's amazing how much she's already changed! Here's what she looks like at one month:
What a cutie! I know I'm more than a little biased, but I just think she's a gorgeous, precious, perfect little girl. I couldn't have asked for anything more. I know that God tailor-made her for David and I. She's a good sleeper, a good eater, and a laid-back baby with a wonderful temperament. Sure, she has her fussy times, but don't we all? (I know I do!) I've learned so much over the last month!
* There must be some truth to that whole maternal instinct thing. As a person who didn't have much experience with babies, I've found that a lot of "mothering" comes naturally.
* I will probably never be on time for much of anything again for quite some time...and I'm okay with that.
* I can do a lot more with one hand than I ever thought possible.
* It's incredible just how much poop can come out of one tiny person!
* I'm still in amazement that the milk my body makes is all the nourishment this sweet little girl needs...and she seems to be thriving!
* Things I thought I'd be self-conscious about don't really bother me, because I know it's what my baby needs. (Nursing in public is a prominent example here.)
* Help from family and friends can make all the difference in the world!
* David is the baby whisperer! If I can't get Campbell to sleep, he can. If I can't get her to burp, he can. And he's a great diaper changer!
* Flexibility is one of the most important things to embrace when you have a baby.
* Campbell really likes to be held and carried over your shoulder.
* I know Campbell is my daughter. She loves to eat, loves to sleep, and is a little impatient!
* A real smile from her can make all the stress of the day completely worth it!

On Saturday afternoon, David and I took Miss Campbell to get her one month pictures taken. What an adventure that was! As with most things, she was a really good sport, tolerating clothes changes, flashing lights, and being moved around a lot...but when she was done, she let us know! We got some adorable pictures and had a really tough time choosing which ones to buy. Here's a sneak peek at some of her pictures:

Such a sweet face! I'm so glad we got a few with her bright eyes open!

I love this one. The photographer said, "She just needs a little pair of sunglasses!"

I think she looks quite a bit like I did in some of my baby pictures in this pose.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Operation Stealth Swaddle

I may be taking a huge risk in saying this, but our little girl is a champion sleeper. I'd heard horror stories about babies who refuse to sleep, so I was trying to mentally prepare myself for getting up about every hour and a half or so with her every night. We were very surprised and pleased, though, when she turned out to love her sleep as much as her Mommy does! As all newborns do, she slept pretty much constantly in her first week or two of life; I had to regularly wake her up for feedings, which was no easy task. But what amazed us as much as anything was the fact that the kiddo could sleep through her incredible startle reflex. We'd have her laying in her cradle or the Pack 'N Play, and the poor child would jump out of her skin...but she'd never wake up. When we brought her home from the hospital, we put her in her swaddle wrap at night, but after seeing her sleep through the startle reflex during the day, we decided that we'd leave off the swaddle wrap and just put her to bed in her sleep sack. Big mistake. Huge. She got used to being out of the swaddle wrap and hated being put in it. Then, at about 2 1/2 weeks, she started to wake up during her startles, and my poor little girl just looked terrified every time. And she would only get about 20 minutes of sleep at a time. The only time she could sleep without waking up from the startle was if someone was holding her (because she wouldn't tolerate the swaddle wrap). So...I found myself dozing on the couch for several nights with her sleeping on my chest. She slept like a champ, of course, but I didn't get much sleep at all because I was terrified that she'd smother. After a couple of nights, I knew we couldn't keep on doing that. I was frazzled and just didn't know what to do to help my little girl get some good sleep. At the end of my rope, I took her in her room, we laid down on a blanket on the floor, and we prayed. I asked for wisdom in how to help her sleep in a way that let me sleep so that I could be a good mom to her. I felt so much better after that conversation with God, and about 30 minutes later, it came to me...swaddle her while she's asleep! That afternoon, when it was time for a nap, I rocked her to sleep, then once she was asleep, put her in the swaddle. Success! We did the same thing that night, and those 3 1/2 hours of uninterrupted sleep in my own bed were amazing. So now, we swaddle before every nap and before bedtime. When we started, she had to be sleeping pretty heavily. Now, I can put her in the swaddle wrap when she's still drowsy, but not completely asleep, and it makes for a much happier Mommy, Daddy, and baby. And the best thing is, the swaddle doesn't even have to be great. See?
That's what's known as the "ugly swaddle." You can see that we didin't quite get the bottom tucked in, and the wrap isn't quite high enough around her shoulders, but it doesn't matter. It gets the job done. But this kiddo can break out of any swaddle you put her in, whether it's the ugly swaddle, or a really good swaddle. Here's the evidence:

That was one of my best swaddles...and she broke out of it in no time. But for some reason, if she can get to sleep in it, even if one or both of her arms come out, the startle reflex doesn't bother her. David and I just crack up at her Houdini tricks. We call her the Swaddle Buster. And she always puts her arm(s) up like that when she breaks out. If you listen to Dave Ramsey's talk show, you've heard the clip he plays when people call in to tell him that they're debt free. I think it's a clip from Braveheart, and it's Mel Gibson yelling "FREEDOM"! We think that's what's going on in Campbell's mind when she gets out of the swaddle.

It's my understanding that the startle reflex lasts until 4-6 months. Our swaddle wrap only holds up to a 14lb. baby, and I know we can't use it once she starts to roll over. I'm hoping that she grows out of the startle reflex before then!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Our Birth Plan

When I posted Campbell's birth story, I mentioned that I'd include our birth plan. I kind of forgot about doing that, but something reminded me of it today. We didn't get everything we outlined in our birth plan, but I expected it to not go 100% according to plan. I also have to say that I didn't come up with this plan by myself. The majority of it was from a birth plan that Angela, our Empowered Birth instructor, provided to us in class. I did make a few changes and asked Angela to look over them beforehand. Ultimately, this was the birth plan that Dr. Basham signed and we submitted to the hospital before and after my admission.

O. Family Birth Preferences

We would like to make the following requests to help our birth be as natural and personal as possible, assuming a normal, healthy labor and delivery. We understand that the unexpected might require certain medical interventions that may affect some or all of our requests. If that should happen, we ask that any problems be explained and our quesitons answered, so that we can give our informed consent.

Primary OB/GYN: J. Khristen Basham, M.D./ Heath Brown, M.D. (East End OB/GYN)

Patient/Mother: Erin O.

Attendants: David O. (Husband/Father); Cathy L. (Erin's mother)

First Stage of Labor:

  • Once admitted tot he hospital, we would like a heparine or saline lock. We prefer to stay hydrated by drinking clear fluids instead of an IV for as long as possible. (Dr. Basham amended the birth plan to say that I could not have fluids by mouth during labor...that was the only change she made.)

  • As long as baby and mom are doing fine, we'd like to request intermittent, rather than continuous fetal monitoring. Maintaining mobility (walking, rocking, up to bathroom, etc.) will be essential to coping with the labor without pain medication.

  • Please do not offer pain medications. We plan on using a variety of alternative techniques, including squatting, use of a birth ball, warm shower, relaxation, freedom of movement, and others as needed. We will request pain medication should it become necessary.

  • If possible, we would like to be assigned a nurse who enjoys working with women who desire to have a natural, unmedicated childbirth.

Second Stage of Labor:

  • We would like the pushing stage to be allowed to progress free of stringent time limits, as long as there are no serious concerns. We would like to wait to push until Erin feels the urge to do so.

  • Episiotomy: We would like to discuss the options before an incision is made, and we would appreciate assistance with pushing so that the perineum can stretch.

  • We would like a squatting/birth bar available if possible.

Third Stage of Labor:

  • We would like to delay clamping of the umbilical cord until it stops pulsating.

  • We prefer that the baby be given to us immediately after birth, putting of any procedures that aren't urgent.

  • We would like to try breastfeeding within the first hour after birth, and plan to breastfeed exclusively. No other supplements (bottles, pacifiers, etc.) should be given.

Baby Care:

  • We prefer minimal separation of mother and baby. We would like baby to "room in" with us 24/7, with baby only taken to the nursery when absolutely necessary.

  • If the baby must be taken away to receive medical treatment, one of us would like to accompany the baby at all times.

Physician Approval:

Saturday, June 25, 2011

An Adventure

I can't believe my little girl is two weeks old! (Actually, she's two weeks and one day old now!) Yesterday was David's birthday, and I hadn't gotten him a gift yet, so I decided that Campbell and I would take a trip out into the big, wide world. I needed to take back our little boy outfits, too, so I had planned that we'd go to Babies R Us, Kohl's and the Oxmoor Mall to Motherhood Maternity to get some nursing bras...all of those stores are within just a couple of miles from each other, but they're about 40 minutes from our house. I remember thinking (before Campbell was here) "How hard could it be to go shopping with a baby?" HA! I know now!
I started getting us ready at about 8am yesterday morning, beginning with Campbell's bath. She is such a good baby. Baths don't phase her a bit...I can even usually get several smiles out of her during them (whether or not they're real smiles I'm not sure, but I love them just the same!). I nursed her after her bath while she was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, then laid her down to nap while I got my shower. I've learned that showers are no longer a leisurely event...I'm usually in a mad rush to get through them, because I'm terrified that she'll either stop breathing or cry while I'm in there. I don't think I've shaved my legs since my Mom went home after our first week, because it just takes too long. Anyway, after I got my shower and got myself ready, I packed up the diaper bag (packing several changes of clothes with me), made sure I had all of my receipts, and nursed Campbell again so she'd be happy and content for the car ride. Usually she'll go 2 or 3 hours between feedings, so we left the house at a little around 11am. We got to Babies R Us around noon, and Miss Campbell had a meltdown in the parking lot. I got her carseat from the car into a shopping cart when I realized that I'd left my return items in the car. I went back to get them and she started squalling! (I'm guessing she gets her lack of patience from me.) A very nice young mother with a little girl (probably about 6 months old) had pulled in right next to us, and she offered to help me get all of my things gathered up...what a help she was! After we got everything together, I couldn't get Campbell to calm down with all of the usual tricks (sucking on my finger, singing the two lullabyes I can remember from my childhood, etc.) so I decided to abandon the mission momentarily to feed her again. So we unloaded everything back into the car, and I climbed into the back seat to nurse her. Luckily I had remembered to throw My Brest Friend into the car with us, so I put on the pillow and the nursing cover and she got some lunch. After her belly was full, we didn't have much trouble in Babies R Us, but we sure didn't waste any time getting our business taken care of there. I returned our little boy outfits and picked up a manual breast pump for nights like last week with Miss Campbell decides to sleep for a 5 hour stretch and can't be woken up. After the meltdown at BRU, and the fact that I was sweating like crazy (I have noticed since having her that I am burning up all.the.time), I decided that we'd nix the trip to Motherhood Maternity (I've gotten by 2 weeks without a nursing bra...surely I can get by for another week or two without them) and go to the Kohl's that's closer to our house.
When we got to Kohl's I drug the stroller out of the trunk and worked for a few minutes to get the thing open. I definitely should have practiced at home before we left! I got her car seat situated in the stroller and on the way into the store Campbell let loose one of her already famous poops. We went straight to the bathroom, where, wouldn't you know was closed for cleaning. She was quickly becoming Miss Cranky Pants (and I can't blame her, with a dirty diaper, a Mom who had no clue what she was doing, and being carted around the country at two weeks old) so I just asked the cleaning guy if I could come in long enough to change her diaper. We got the diaper changed (with a casualty to the adorable gray and pink striped pants, due to a leaky diaper) and headed out to pick up a few things for David's birthday. About 5 steps out into the store, she started to cry again. Usually she doesn't cry for long, so I thought she'd stop in a minute or so...but I was wrong. She's just not a cryer, so since her diaper was clean, I guessed she must be hungry. I'd left the My Brest Friend in the car, but I did have my nursing cover, so I headed back to the restroom, where there was a bench. The bathroom was still closed for cleaning, so I found a chair tucked back into a corner, got out my nursing cover, and got ready to feed the little girl. Just as I was unhooking my nursing tank (well concealed by the cover), a Kohl's employee asked me to move to the restroom. It had finally opened up again, so I obliged...even though I'd already gotten her out of the carseat and gotten myself half-undressed. At least the employee was nice enough to push the stroller into the bathroom for me. Another woman who was headed to the restroom heard the employee ask me to go to the restroom, and that got her all upset. She said, "You're just feeding your baby! It's no different than if you were giving that baby a bottle!" I wanted to say, "Lady, I agree completely, but my nerves are shot and I'll just go in here and sit in the (now clean) bathroom." But I didn't. I just kind of smiled and said, "Oh, it's no big deal." Nursing that wild baby without my nursing pillow (and being covered with the nursing cover) was pretty uncomfortable, but we got the job done! But I'm telling you, I was roasting by the time she was done...I was ready to strip down to my tank top. We didn't spend a whole lot of time browsing for clothes for was more of a quick glance to be sure the size was a Medium, then throw it in the stroller. That's what gift receipts are for, right?! After paying for our purchases, we high-tailed it out of there...and that's when I realized that I didn't have a clue how to fold up the stroller! I fumbled around in the parking lot for about 5 minutes with it and briefly entertained the idea of just leaving it in the parking lot...that's how frazzled I was. I was about 2 seconds away from calling my good friend Leslie to get her to talk me through folding it up when I found the magic button to fold the stroller. As I picked it up to put it in the trunk, the back wheels fell off! I was so frustrated that I just tossed them into the trunk and was thankful that they didn't fall off while I had Campbell in it.
Four hours after we left the house, we were back home safe and sound. I thought to myself about how, a month or so ago, that whole trip would have taken me an hour and a half at the most. Oh, how things have changed! As difficult as the trip was, I'm glad we did it. I was surprised at myself several times over the patience with Campbell as she cried in the store, my willingness to nurse in public, the fact that I didn't absolutely melt down. It was definitely a learning experience for me, and I figure future trips will go a little more smoothly each time. I'm sure that, before long, I won't think twice about packing her up and taking her somewhere.
Now, just because my baby girl is so darn cute, I'll leave you with a picture. I got this look several times yesterday on our shopping trip...and I can just imagine her saying, "Really, Mom? I've had enough. Let's go back home...this is crazy."

Monday, June 20, 2011

Campbell Adair's Birth Story

I suppose the best place to start with Campbell's birth story is Wednesday, June 8th, at my 41 week appointment with Dr. Brown. Dr. Brown isn't my primary OB, but Dr. Basham was out of the office and she wanted me to be seen before I got too far past 41 weeks. On the previous Friday, I had seen Dr. Basham, and after an internal exam, said that she didn't think I'd make it to June 8th without a baby. However, at that appointment, we did set an induction date for Saturday, June 11th just in case. She also told me that she felt certain that I wouldn't need to be induced. I was honestly more than a little disappointed that June 8th rolled around and I was still pregnant. (My due date was June 2nd.) At my appointment that morning, Dr. Brown told David and I that he was much less optimistic about my progress than Dr. Basham was, and he wanted to move up my induction date from the morning of the 11th to Friday, the 10th at 11pm. I was so frustrated and disappointed that I didn't really ask any questions. I came home from the appointment and just cried. I had prepared for a natural, intervention-free childbirth, and those dreams just seemed to be crushed. I wallowed for a day or so, mourning what I saw as the loss of my dream of a natural childbirth, but on the next day, Thursday, I rallied.

I was woken up Thursday morning at about 6am with contractions that were pretty close to about 7 minutes apart. They weren't terribly intense, but they were strong enough to rouse me from sleep. I guess you could say that I could "ignore" them and continue with my regular routine, but I knew that they were there. After a couple of trips to the restroom, I also realized that I was experiencing what's known as "bloody show," a sign of labor. The contractions and the bloody show were so encouraging to me...but I still wanted to be sure that I advocated for myself in the meantime, just in case it was a false alarm and I had to be induced. Throughout our Empowered Birth classes, one of my goals was to become a better advocate for myself. I have a tendency to never second-guess or question my doctors, but I knew that if there was a time for me to do so, it was now. I knew that the only way I would be okay with an induction was if I had done everything I could to keep it from happening. I called Dr. Basham's office to talk with her about Dr. Brown's decision to move the date/time, but she wasn't in the office. I did take the opportunity to ask a nurse to read Dr. Brown's orders for the induction. He'd ordered pitocin to be administered at 11pm on Friday night. When I heard that, I was ANGRY. During my internal exam, he told me that I had very little dilation and effacement. Based on what I'd learned in our childbirth classes, I knew that if that was the case, chances of a successful induction (meaning one that results in a vaginal birth rather than a c-section) were pretty low. I also knew that it meant that I was a good candidate for cervical ripeners first, before any administration of pitocin. That would be my best chance for a vaginal birth. I decided to call Angela, our Empowered Birth instructor, to talk with her about a plan of action. She was GREAT. She encouraged me to leave a message to talk with Dr. Basham (who wouldn't be in until Friday morning) and to try to get an appointment with her on Friday morning for another internal exam and second opinion. She was also very encouraged about my contractions and bloody show and gave me some hope about avoiding an induction. I also talked with my friend Leslie, who gave me lots of encouragement as well. Armed with Angela's suggestions and increased self-confidence, I called Dr. Basham's office back and told them that I wanted to talk with Dr. Basham when she got to the office. They wanted to push me off onto a nurse again, but I insisted on leaving a message for Dr. Basham. The nurse sounded a little perturbed when I insisted, and she said, "Well, what do you want to talk to her about?" I told her that I wanted to know if she knew that Dr. Brown moved the induction date, why he wanted to start pitocin immediately, why he wouldn't consider cervical ripeners, and why there was such a discrepancy about their assessments of my progress. After I made that call, I felt so much better about things. I knew that even if I did have to go in for the induction, I'd taken a stand for myself and my baby.

Throughout all of this, I was still having contractions, but nothing regular, and nothing incredibly intense. I called David to let him know that I was feeling encouraged about beating Dr. Brown's timeline. I also received an email from my cousin Lindsey, who offered me even more encouragement and support about a possible induction. She even sent me a link to some natural methods of labor induction, which I tried and I believe helped move things along! I didn't get a lot done at home that Thursday, because I was so preoccupied with whether or not I was in early labor. Late in the afternoon, my aunt called me to see if we wanted to go out for dinner with her, and I agreed. As soon as I hung up the phone, I started to wonder if it was a good idea. I started feeling really nauseous, but decided not to back out. She, David, and I went to a local Mexican restaurant (because I thought some spicy food would help) and had a nice dinner. I had pretty regular contractions throughout the meal, but again, nothing incredibly intense.

After David and I got home, we settled in on the couch to watch the NBA finals, and at around 9pm, I asked him to start timing the contractions. We timed them for a little over an hour, but there was never any pattern...but I was reassured that by this time, I'd been having contractions for about 15 hours. I just prayed that they would begin to intensify and settle into a pattern so that we could avoid the induction which had been scheduled for the next night. After the game, we went to bed, but I didn't last long there. I just couldn't lay still for the contractions any longer. I had to get up and move around when they came, and they were coming about every 10 minutes. I wanted David to sleep, because I knew that he would need his energy one way or the other for the next day. I settled in on the couch for awhile, getting up to walk around during each contraction. Soon, the couch wasn't comfortable anymore, so I went and laid on the floor in Campbell's room. That wasn't comfortable between contractions, so I moved to the glider. That was actually a nice place to be during and between contractions for a little while. The rocking motion was comforting and soothing, and it gave me a rhythm to concentrate on. I guess I wandered around the house from about 11pm until 4:30am, working through the contractions on my own without much trouble. But at about 4:30, they started to really get intense. I had to be standing during them, and I started to vocalize softly throughout them. At 5am, I went in to our bedroom and woke David up, telling him that I needed help getting through the contractions. He was up and out of the bed in an instant! I think he felt pretty useless, but he was such a great support. For another 2 or 3 hours, the contractions were intense enough that I had to brace myself against the bar, sway, and vocalize throughout them, and David applied counterpressure to my lower back. Sometime around 8am, he went and got the birth ball, and I leaned over it for several contractions. Not long after that, my Mom called, and David asked her to come over. We'd been timing contractions for hours, and there was still no recognizable pattern. They were anywere from 4 minutes, 30 seconds apart to 15 minutes apart. Even though we planned to wait to go to the hospital until contractions were a minute long, 5 minutes apart, for 1 hour, I think David knew we'd be going to the hospital soon. I think I was in denial. I just didn't want to go to the hospital and be sent home. Not long after Mom got here, I went to the restroom and noticed that I'd passed a small bit of tissue, and that scared me to death. After talking to Mom and David, I decided to call Dr. Basham's office to see if they recommended that we head to the hospital. When I talked with one of the nurses there, she told me that they weren't all that concerned with a pattern of contractions, but rather how many I was having in an hour. When I told them I was having anywhere from 5 to 9 per hour, she told me that she'd call me right back. In less than 5 minutes, she returned my call, saying that Dr. Basham wanted us to head to the hospital. It was about 10am by this time, and I'd been having contractions for about 16 hours. They were really beginning to intensify, and I just couldn't sit down during a contraction. I felt so much pressure in my lower abdomen and back, and couldn't imagine how I'd sit in a car during the 40-minute trip.

Luckily, I made it through the car ride without too much discomfort, and we got checked in to the hospital without any trouble. We got to our labor/delivery/recovery room at about 11:15 and met Michelle, my nurse. I was so glad that she told me that she enjoyed working with women who wanted a natural, intervention-free birth. I gave her our birth plan (which I'll post sometime soon), and kind of held my breath as she read it. I was waiting for her to give me the side-eye or be skeptical about it. When she finished reading, she said, "Well, this is totally doable. Lots of times we get birth plans and we say 'This one's ending in a section,' but your birth plan is totally reasonable. It looks good." I breathed a sigh of relief then!

Once I was settled into the bed, she got me hooked up to a fetal heart monitor. My main concern with the monitor was that I wouldn't be able to move around, and I think I must have asked her this about 12 times. She told me that they wanted me to just lay in the bed for a few minutes to get a baseline reading, and then if everything looked okay, she would take it off and just put it on as needed for a reading. She also did an internal exam, which I was apprehensive about. I was terrified that she would say that I was only 3 cm dilated or something equally as disappointing. She asked what my last internal exam showed, and I told her that Dr. Basham said 2cm the week before, but a two days before, Dr. Brown said, "Maybe 1cm." During the exam, she got a funny look on her face and said, "What did the doctor say?" And when I repeated the 1cm line Dr. Brown fed me, she kind of laughed and said, "Well, you're about 6 cm now!" I could have hugged her! What a relief to know that I'd made that much progress...and was almost into transition! After the exam, Michelle asked me a ton of questions related to my health, etc. During this "interview" (for lack of a better word), Gretchen, another L&D nurse came in and said, "Hey, Michelle, you've gotten a few variables on the monitor in the last few minutes." I didn't really know what that meant, but Michelle explained to me that it meant that Campbell's heart rate had decelerated a couple of times. Michelle explained that this might change our birth plan a bit. She told me that a lot of times, it indicates that the baby had passed meconium due to some kind of distress. She started talking about having Dr. Basham break my water to move things along quicker. I so wanted to avoid having my water broken by the doctor...and to my amazement, just a few seconds after Michelle started talking about having Dr. Basham break my water, I felt a really warm gush, and I was pretty sure that I hadn't wet myself. I said, "Michelle, I just felt something...maybe my water broke!" She went to get some kind of paper that distinguishes amniotic fluid from urine to be sure...and sure enough, my water had broken on its own! She also gave us the good news that there was no meconium in the amniotic fluid. Because of the heart decelerations, she wanted me to lay in bed for a bit longer, just to determine whether or not they would continue. Those were by far some of the worst contractions. I was so glad that Michelle let me lay on my side, instead of flat on my back, because I really don't think I could have endured that. During those contractions, I held on to the bed rails and vocalized while my Mom and aunt applied counterpressure to my lower back and David held my hand. Between contractions, Michelle asked me to rate my pain on a scale of 0 - 10, with 0 being no pain, and a 10 being the most excruciating pain I could handle. I think I pretty consistently rated my pain at about a 4. I think I'm pretty much a wuss, and I don't think I handle pain all that well, but labor pain is a funny thing. It's amazing that once the contraction ends, the pain subsides completely and totally, and I think that's why I always rated it as a 4. If the pain had been constant, I definitely would have rated it a 10, but because I knew that it would go away and I'd get a break, it was completely tolerable.

After a bit, Michelle decided that Campbell's heart rate looked okay and gave me the go-ahead to move around, but with the monitor on. We decided to try using the birth ball, and I'm so glad we did! I sat on the birth ball next to the bed and leaned over the edge of the bed during contractions. During each contraction, I swayed on the ball and vocalized while Mom and Paula applied counterpressure and David held my hand and talked me through them. The three of them were amazing! It made all the difference in the world to have them all there. Mom and Paula were great at counterpressure, and I'm pretty sure it's because Mom knew where the pain was (from her experience with my sister and me!). David was so supportive through each contraction, letting me know when it was almost over and encouraging me to keep up the good work. By this time, the contractions were really starting to hurt, but still nothing I couldn't tolerate. During each and every contraction, I told myself two things. The first was that each contraction would only last a minute or so, and I kept reminding myself that I could do anything for a minute. The second reminder to myself was that there was a precious baby on the other side of all of this pain.

After laboring on the birth ball for awhile, Michelle asked to do another internal exam. I was honestly a little disappointed when it revealed that I was still at 6cm after a couple of hours of laboring. She told me that I had what was called a "forebag," meaning that when my water broke, it didn't break completely, but pretty much just "sprung a leak" and Campbell's head was acting as a cork to keep it from rupturing completely. She told me that Dr. Basham could come and finish rupturing the amniotic sac to speed labor along, or I could just let it resolve on its own. She was so good about explaining everything to me between contractions and helped us work through the pros and cons. She explained that once the forebag was gone, the contractions would intensify and come closer together, but that this also meant I would deliver my baby sooner. Since my water had already broken on its own, I knew I was "on the clock" and didn't see any real reason to wait longer. I gave her the go ahead to ask Dr. Basham to come in and break my water, and she said that she didn't think it would be long before Dr. Basham was available. While Michelle was gone, I started to have a little crisis of self-confidence. I looked and Mom and said, "I don't know if I can do it if the contractions get stronger. I'm scared." She, Paula, and David all gathered around me and assured me that I could deliver her. It helped so much to know that they believed I could do it, so feeling much better, we waited for Dr. Basham. It seemed like it was taking forever for her to come in, and finally Michelle came back to let us know that there had been an emergency that Dr. Basham had to attend to, but would be with us soon. At some point during all of this waiting, my sister, Allison came in to the delivery room to be another support person, and I'm so glad she did!

Finally, Dr. Basham came in and broke my water with the amniohook. I was amazed at the amount of fluid that came with the rupture. I think I said, "Oh my gosh, that's incredible! How can there be that much fluid in there?!" She told me that she thought my labor would speed up considerably and that we would have a baby "sooner rather than later." I was so excited and scared at the same time. I knew that with one more centimeter of dilation I would be in transition, which is the shortest but toughest part of labor, and I tried to prepare myself. When the contractions started coming stronger, I was able to get on my knees and lean over the head of the bed, which had been raised. That was such a relief to be in that position. During those contractions, I continued to vocalize with my eyes closed, Mom and Paula applied counterpressure, and David kept on holding my hands and talking to me. At one point, I said, "I just want to push my feet up against something!" And my sweet little sister jumped to the foot of the bed and let me push against her hands during each contractions. I don't know why, but that helped so much. After each contraction, I would open my eyes and say, "That was a mean one." And they would tell me what a great job I'd done. I think that constant encouragment was what helped me get through. I don't know how long I was in transition, but it didn't seem to take all that long.

I felt a lot of relief when Michelle told me that I was at 10 centimeters and was ready to push. One of the things in my birth plan was that I wanted to wait to push until I felt the urge to do so...and at that point, I didn't. There was a huge flurry of activity in the room, and when I turned around from my position of hanging over the head of the bed, there were a ton of people in the room, a table full of surgical instruments, and very bright lights on overhead. I'm not sure how it happened, but they all talked me in to trying to push. They got a squatting bar for me, which I requested in our birth plan. I tried squatting and pushing, and that was HORRIBLE. I think it was a combination of not feeling like I had to push and being too darn short for the bar. Dr. Basham suggested bracing my feet against the bar, hooking a sheet over the bar, and pulling on the sheet while I pushed. I tried that for a couple of contractions, and that's where I would say I kind of lost control and focus over the whole thing. It just didn't feel right to be pushing, and the position was uncomfortable. I'm pretty sure I screamed like pregnant women scream on sitcoms when they're in labor...only it wasn't funny. It was frustrating and terrifying. Apparently during my pushing episodes, Campbell's heart rate decelerated significantly and she did pass meconium. Dr. Basham put her hand on my calf, looked at me over her glasses, and said calmly and quietly, "Erin, you have got so much energy, but I need you to focus that energy right now. Your baby has to be born RIGHT NOW. You've got to push and get her out." I still didn't feel like I needed to push, but I took her comment to mean that if I couldn't push her out, I'd be delivering Campbell by c-section anyway. One of the nurses said, "When the contraction comes, take a deep breath like you're going to swim a long way under water and just push as hard as you can!" When I felt the contraction coming, I said a prayer to ask for strength and comfort, then took a deep breath and pushed. It felt like I pushed forever, and then I opened my eyes and there she was! She wasn't crying, and Dr. Basham was working furiously. Campbell had been born with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck, and I heard Dr. Basham say, "Hurry, Dad!" I looked down to see David cutting the cord, then they whisked her away to a warmer where two neonatologists were waiting to look her over. I hadn't heard anyone say whether or not she was a boy or a girl, so I asked. I guess I was too caught up in pushing to hear Dr. Basham say, "It's a beautiful baby girl!" but everyone else heard it! I remember looking at my mom and asking why she wasn't crying. Soon after that, she did start to cry, and everyone said she was fine. I really thought I would be shocked that we'd had a girl, but I think I was just so relieved that she was okay that it didn't matter! It seemed like an eternity before they handed her to me, but it must have only been a few minutes. I thought I knew what love was before that moment, but nothing compares to the incredible love I felt for Campbell when I first held her. It's a love so strong it nearly hurts. When they told us she weighed 8lbs., 11 oz., I was sh0cked and SO glad that no one had estimated her weight! On more than one occasion, Dr. Brown told me that an 8 pound baby would "buy me a c-section." We proved him wrong again!

I'm still kind of in shock that I delivered this beautiful baby girl, and honestly, pretty proud of myself that I did it with no medication! I really didn't think I had it in me. The first medication I got was the lidocaine I asked for when I saw Dr. Basham coming at me with what looked like one of my father-in-law's fish hooks to repair a couple of third-degree tears. I told her that these would be the first stitches I'd ever had, and she said, "Well, you've made your first stitches count!" Recovery has been pretty easy over all, and I can't complain about anything. While we didn't get everything we'd outlined in our birth plan, I couldn't have asked for a better experience. I look back over it all and I can see how things could have gone down a very different path, and I count myself lucky. Michelle, our nurse, was a great advocate and support during labor and delivery, and I told her that I would vote her Nurse of the Year if I could. I know that things would have turned out differently if it hadn't been for her. I remember hearing her advocate to Dr. Basham for me, and I will be eternally grateful to her for that.

The whole experience was amazing, exhilirating, empowering, and exhausting. I can't say that I want to do it again anytime soon, but I am so happy that I delivered our little girl without medication. The nurses commented more than once about how alert she was compared to most babies born in a medicated birth, and I think it helped us establish breastfeeding pretty easily. While we were in recovery, Campbell did the "breast crawl" and it was amazing. She crawled to my breast and latched on completely independently...something I'd seen in a video, but never imagined I would see my own baby do.

We're settling into a routine at home now ( least as much of a routine as you can get with a newborn), and things are going well. She's regained her birth weight (and then some!), and she sleeps pretty well. We've had a few little meltdowns (she and I both!), but I think that's to be expected as we adjust to this new phase of life. But overall, I'm enjoying every moment I have with her because I know it'll go by all to quickly!

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