Friday, December 23, 2011

"It's almost Christmas Eve!!!"

I don't know where Holden figured out this phrase, but he keeps saying it with delight: "It's almost Christmas Eve." In other Holiday Cheer news, when asked why we celebrate Christmas his response is: "Is Jesus' birthday."

As of this minute, he is walking around around the house saying: "Merry Chrismas Daddy." I love that little guy.

Zoë is rockin' the casbah as a baby.

She is serious so easy (comparatively speaking.) Granted, outside of my parents I haven't made the trek with boy kiddos without help, but the nights and days at home are immeasurably easier with her than they were with Little Bits. I think it's because she's such a good nurser AND I am not pumping every two hours to bottle feed... plus she sleeps consistently at night with a good 4 hour stretch (last couple of nights it was 5 1/2 and 6 hours). And yes, I know you're not 'supposed' to let a newborn sleep more than four hours, but she is over 9 lbs and had gained her birth-weight plus almost an entire pound by the 2 weeks mark... this baby is getting plenty of nourishment (and I am just supplemental pumping to make sure I remain BESSIE the MILKBEAST).

Holden as an almost 3-yr old plus Zoë as a newborn (post VBAC) is soooo much easier than being a brand new mom with Holden as a newborn post cesarean. I seriously kind of feel like a functioning member of society... as opposed to an angst ridden hermit.

Just in time for the holidays!!!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Of course it's a GREEN Christmas...


Many of you probably saw the link on Facebook, but my Monthly article for Make & Takes was featured on Thursday. You can check it out HERE. It showcases some green ideas you can still implement, like my favorite way to wrap presents (presents for my sis-and-bro-in-law below), and also touches on the GREAT CHRISTMAS TREE DEBATE.

Additionally, I thought I'd include a couple of pictures of Holden at the BReakfast with Santa event at Discovery Gateway. Last year Santa kind of freaked him out. This year he ran up to him, kept following him around and asked a few times if he wanted to eat with us. I keep trying to refer to him as "The Spirit of Santa" (yes I believe). But I don't want him to be devastated when he learns the guy doesn't actually come down the chimney and deliver presents. That said, I told Holden at one point that Santa doesn't actually come down our chimney, but he was emphatic that he did. I didn't force the issue or the debate. (I mean seriously, what kind of a crazy person would try to debate with a two year old?!?!? Remind me I said that, how easily I forget!)

But I was honest (though I was always raised to believe if you DON'T believe in the Spirit of Santa, he DOESN'T bring you presents--which is a good compromise I think). Truthfully I'm really glad Holden believes in the magic... it makes it easier for me. Hey, the kid is going to believe what he's going to believe - and I am thankful for it!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Week Ago Today...

Zoë Suite Mangum
joined our family. (Yes, no hypen.)
21 hours of labor that lead to
8 pounds 6 ounces and 20 inches of perfection

Birth Story Details to come....

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Baby on the Way

It's Tuesday morning and I've been up since before four. (This happens to me a few nights a week. Maybe it's practice for late-night/early-morning nursing?) Danny and Holden tucked me in last night at nine -- I had a bad case of 42 WEEKS PREGNANT!

Part of me is wondering how I've lasted this long. This morning my skin feels tight and puffy, like I've been on an international flight to Tokyo or something -- seated in coach.

I keep getting friendly texts: "Any baby yet?" or my favorite "How's your cervix?" (Favorable, as far as we can tell... thank you for asking.) I get the feeling I'm not the only person anxious for this kid to make their debut on the outside.

My sister said that when people ask her if I've had my baby yet, she responds "What baby? I don't even think she's pregnant -- she just got fat." But it does kind of feel that way. With the advances in modern medicine, who really waits this long outside of women living in Ghana and those crazy hippies that eat their own placenta after L&D?

But I guess I do. And as much as I was riding the "whoa-is-me misery pregnancy train" last night, I am honestly so thankful for this extra time for my body to get ready for tomorrow's 7:30 am induction (unless by some miracle Baby Z decides today is the big day).

Yesterday the hospital called and the poor guy on the other end said he was calling about my "surgery on Wednesday."

"Oh you've misunderstood," I corrected him. "I'm not have surgery. I'm having a baby." Talk about killing the messenger.

"I'm so sorry," he said. But I just kind of laughed and told him I was "planning on a physiological process (aided by induction.)" He kind of laughed too... possibly thinking "Maybe she doesn't need surgery....but just to be committed."

While I'd be lying if I didn't admit to being nervous about being induced -- I'm in a such a better place this time around. As far as we can tell, all indications are that my body is really preparing for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). I won't go into details -- but my "Bishop's Score" is teetering between 8 & 9 which is a good indication induction will be successful (apparently it's also an indication one could go into labor at anytime, but hospital policy dictates induction at 42 weeks (and I feel like I'm already getting 42-weeks and 5 days since their going by the ultrasound instead of my last menstrual cycle). So yes, actually, that would make me just 2 days shy of 43 weeks... isn't that CRAZY?

I had a Non Stress Test yesterday... the baby looked perfect. Plenty of fluid still, heart rate normal, moving around and having the right number of 'accelerations." It was reassuring.

That said, a few last words for Baby Z in utero.

Hi Baby,

I am excited to meet you. You've been so busy in there. I feel you moving and communicating, and I hope you know you are already so loved. We have had so many scares with you -- it's kind of ironic that yesterday you passed your NST with flying colors. It was like all of the sudden you were telling us: "Hey, I'm fine... in fact I'm better than fine. I could stay in here a few more weeks."

But the truth is Z - we really want you to join us. (And not just because Mommy's getting a bit uncomfortable -- UNDERSTATEMENT). We know you're already a part of our family; and it feels like life is on hold until you get here. Yes, there's always plenty to do (I mean, yes, I could get another spray tan, or clean out some junk drawers, or take up knitting--scratch that last one)...but we need you here.

I can't fully describe it -- but now that it's so close for you to join us, it just seems like our family is missing someone.

I promise to love and cherish you.
I promise to protect you.
I promise to do everything I can to get you here smoothly... but you're going to have to cooperate too Baby Z. It's time to come.

I don't know how else to express that to you. I do believe we chose how we come into this world (your brother did not get the chance to hang out as long as you, obviously). I was younger and I thought I was prepared, and I did my best... but at the same time I feel like I failed him. But I know differently this time, Baby Z. I've tried so hard to balance the safest and best outcome for both of us... but we have to work together.

As your mother, and someone who loves and cares about you, already more than you already know, I am pleading with you to help me do this the best way possible tomorrow. Yes, I am scared. And I wish my faith was more powerful -- powerful enough to protect us both... and maybe it is. But I had to learn with your brother that I am not in control -- and I am still learning that lesson but I am trying.

Thank you for coming into our family. I am so excited to see you face to face. Hopefully it won't be too long...

Your loving mother

Thursday, December 1, 2011

30 Days of Thanksgiving: (12/1/11): Still Pushing Along (but wish I was actually "pushing!")

I guess since I didn't get all 30 days accounted for in November, there's no harm in continuing into December, eh?

OK, the biggest thing that I am thankful for right now is that everything in the pregnancy has mellowed out; and Baby Z looks fine and all indications are healthy at this point. It's kind of crazy to think by my lunar cycle calculations I am 42 weeks tomorrow... that is a long time for being pregnant (in case you didn't know).

Thankfully, I've got a very involved Midwife, and the staff at the U is taking great care of me. As I've mentioned before, we're using the Early Ultrasound Dating as the due date for this baby; so by those calculations, December 7 is the cut off date for Baby Z to cook any longer (that would be the 42 week mark). I swear this kid is going to born with inch long fingernails... and who knows how big?!?!? Though truthfully I don't feel like I have a 9 or 10 pound baby inside me.

As far as gender, I've had two dreams it's a girl, but I'm still leaning towards a boy... I don't really know why. Maybe because 90% of the medical staff refers to Baby Z as a boy? Maybe because that's just what I know?

Anyway, here are some great things about Baby Z and this pregnancy:
  • No longer posterior. Huzzah! One less thing to worry about.
  • 80% effaced and dilated to a 2.
  • Amniotic Fluid levels are normal -- still.
Funny thing about the fluid. There was so much worry with the Polyhydramnios and all the extra fluid; but I'm thinking it was just my body's way of preparing for a 10 month pregnancy. Anything measuring "5" and over is apparently considered normal fluid levels at this point, and I measured 11 today and 15 on Monday. With that kind of drop, I fear if I would've started out normal, I may have been too low by this point and most likely have been induced weeks ago (and probably ended up in the OR again).

So see, everything happens for a reason...

Which is why I'm practicing my patience (though it is soooo hard! I am so anxious and excited for this baby to get here! UGH!!!!) But I really want to give my body every chance with this labor and delivery... maybe this is too much information, but I got my membranes stripped today to see if my body was in fact ready and just needing a little help. Seemed a lot more 'natural' than pitocin. It felt like an appropriate decision. Hopefully something good comes from it.

As always, your prayers and positive energy are greatly appreciated.

Come on Baby Z... let's get an exit strategy going SOON!