A Boy Named Finn

A few weeks ago, our lives changed forever. David and I welcomed our baby boy, Finn Ryan to the world the morning of May 19, 2016. I’ve been devouring every moment he’s been here for the past month or so. I am already seeing changes in his little face and his demeanor and I realize that I don’t want to forget a single moment of our time together. I am taking eight weeks off from work and it’s already going by too fast. I’m already feeling nostalgic for the two days we spent in the hospital getting to know our little guy and the first few moments we spent with him in our home. I never want to forget the moment Juneau met his little brother and how gentle he became when he realized there was a new member of our pack.

I’ve also had my moments of frustration, no doubt fueled by exhaustion and hormones. No amount of advice or mental preparedness can get you ready for the physical and emotional changes that happen in the first few days postpartum. Thankfully, I have a wonderful mother who spent the first week of Finn’s life with us. Plus, I have a wonderfully supportive husband who has taken to being a father quite well.

In hopes that I don’t ever forget the first few moment’s of Finn’s life, I want to tell the story of his birth. I can honestly say I’ve never done anything so terrifying, so painful, and so incredible before and I doubt I ever will again.

Finn’s Birth Story

On Wednesday evening, David and I were sitting on the couch looking up flights to Denver. (We are headed out that way at the end of June to visit my sisters, their men, and my niece!) All of sudden, I felt like I had peed my pants. I ran to the bathroom and thought I had lost control of my bladder. I wasn’t convinced my water had broken even though I was just three days shy of my due date. Statistics say that only 10 percent of women’s water break prior to going into labor so I didn’t believe I would be in the minority. I changed my pajama pants and went back to the couch. About an hour later, I started Google-ing “what does it feel like when your water breaks?” and realized I should probably call the doctor.

I called my OB around 9:30pm and he told me to head to the hospital so they could check to see if I my water had broken. I hung up with him, had David pack up our stuff, hugged Juneau, and we got in the car to go. I don’t think I said two words on the ride to the hospital. I was nervous that they would send me home, and I was even more nervous they would they would have to admit me.

Immediately after we arrived, we met the sweetest nurse named Gabby. She and David starting chatting and I sat on the table silently. She tested to see if my water broke, and the test came back inconclusive! She called in the doctor, and he ran another test, and finally he told me that, indeed, I was going to be admitted.

I had told Gabby that I wanted to do this thing as naturally as possible, but the doctor had other plans. He told me I was an infection risk so they wanted to start labor as soon as possible. I was contracting, but nothing serious. I convinced him to give me a few hours to get my labor started and he agreed. That was around 11pm.

For the next two hours, I paced the hallways of the labor and delivery unit of the hospital to get things going. I sent David to the room to get some sleep knowing I would need him well rested in the next few hours. (Cute story: Gabby noticed my tattoo on my foot that says “eleven” so she put us in room 11. She was the cutest!)

Unfortunately, at 1am, my contractions hadn’t progressed enough for the doctor’s liking, so I was induced with Pitocin. I was strapped to monitors and had to stay in bed, exactly the opposite of how I wanted to deliver my baby.

I was able to get about two hours of sleep before the medicine really kicked in and my contractions started to hurt. I woke David up and told him I needed him. The contractions were strong and about a minute apart so Gabby didn’t increase the pitocin again. I ended up getting about half as much as a typical dose from what I understood.

Around 7am my contractions got so bad I couldn’t sit in bed any longer. I wanted to get into the tub, but since I was connected to the monitor, Gabby had to get the portable one. It seemed like every minute I was contracting lasted forever, and the minute in between flew by. I got in the tub and started to feel like I had to push. It was beginning to get unbearable. I was so headstrong and did not want to get more drugs, but the induction had pushed me over the edge.

It was about the same time when Gabby’s shift ended and we were greeted by a new nurse, Danielle. I begged David for an epidural, but I had prepped him well and told him that no matter what I say, he wasn’t allowed to let me get one. It must have been something I said or the way I looked at him, but he finally realized I was serious. Ten minutes later the anesthesiologist was brought in.

I never thought I would say this, but I couldn’t be happier with my choice to get an epidural. When the doctor walked in, I was emotional and irrational. I yelled at him to “hurry up” with the drugs. As soon as the medicine started working, I was relaxed, calm, and excited for the first time since labor had begun. It even helped me dilate quicker and I was ready to push.

The “pushing” process began around 8:15am. The doctor came in and told me that Danielle would be helping through the next few hours while he performed a c-section. Danielle was phenomenal and so supportive. David was even better – he held my leg and fed me apple juice through the entire thing. Around 10:15am, the doctor came back in to see my progress. I was further along then he thought I would be and he admitted he still hadn’t performed the c-section! Danielle was so confused and we all laughed about it. She reassured me that she was prepared to catch the baby if she needed to.

A half hour later, Danielle checked in with the doctor, but he still had about a 30 minutes to go in surgery. She told me to stop pushing for the time being, but the baby’s heartbeat started to slow a bit so instead of waiting, they paged another doctor from clinic to come to our room. The doctor they sent in had just started with the clinic that week! But she was absolutely amazing. From the moment she walked in the room she was calm and excited for us.

Finn Ryan was born at 11:17am. He weighed 8lbs 6oz and was 20 3/4 inches long. He laid on my chest crying for about an hour after he was born while David and I cried with each other and stared at our beautiful boy.

Parenthood is daunting, but somehow we’ve gotten through a month and we are still enjoying ourselves!

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Pregnancy Update: 37 Weeks

How Far Along: 37 weeks

What is Baby G Up To?: Baby G is the size of a winter melon. Whatever that is…. Doctor says Baby G is the perfect size for this stage of pregnancy. Baby has definitely shifted downward – I can tell because I can breath better, but I have to use the bathroom a lot more. Baby is a little wiggly still, but is running out of room.

How I’m Feeling: I’m feeling ready. My feet and knuckles have started to swell and are quite painful. I have prepared our house as much as possible. I’m finishing up the last odds and ends at work. Baby can come anytime!

What I’m Wearing: Anything that fits!

What’s On My Mind Lately: The last few days I’ve been focused on triggering labor. I’ve tried just about everything they say will onset labor, including the infamous lemon cupcakes that swears put 150 Charlottesville women into labor. I’ve eaten an entire pineapple, taken Juneau on several long walks each night, eaten spicy food, even done squats. It is making a small difference – from last week’s appointment to this week’s Baby G has moved down into a good position. I’m just excited at this point.

What I’m Craving: Nothing, really!

What I’m Looking Forward To: Meeting baby!

Best Moment of the Week: Yesterday David and I had the 37 week checkup and our doctor was so excited for us. She told us we were going to be a fun couple during labor! That meant a lot! We got some good news and left feeling hopeful that we will meet our baby within the next few weeks!

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Pregnancy Update: 36 Weeks

How Far Along: 36 weeks

What is Baby G Up To?: Baby G is the size of a papaya. At our last appointment, Baby G was in the head down position and measuring a little small. Baby is still moving quite a bit, but I can tell it’s getting a little tight in there! From here on out, Baby G will putting on some weight, but is fully developed and ready for the world!

How I’m Feeling: Around the turn of the 35th week, I started feeling uncomfortable all the time. Prior, I was uncomfortable in certain positions, but now, even sitting on the couch feels like a job. Also around that time, I started feeling some Braxton Hicks contractions which is totally bizarre. The best way I can describe them to non-moms is a tightening and repositioning of your stomach with a side of menstrual cramps.

What I’m Wearing: Still hanging out in light dresses and oversized shirts. It’s about to get a little hot here in Virginia.

What’s On My Mind Lately: Hormones had me down and out most of the day yesterday. I watched Marley and Me and bawled my eyes out while Juneau sat loyally at my feet. I lost it last week when I realized David and I hadn’t had taco night in a while, something I promised to him in our wedding vows. I’ve been reading a ton about labor signs and feeling anxious that it literally could happen any day. When I passed the 35+5 mark, I realized that I would be pregnant longer than my sister was. Natalie was a bit early, which made me cry realizing that Baby G will probably be late. Basically, I’m not much fun these days. No sleep + discomfort + hormones = a snappy and emotional Erica.

What I’m Craving: Sweets. I finally have a sweet tooth with just four weeks left in the pregnancy. Guess it’s better late than never!

What I’m Looking Forward To: The month of May. I told Baby G that once May hits, we will be ready to have a baby here!

Best Moment of the Week: My mom came down to visit last week and we visited my cousins up in DC. Despite having to walk most of the day, I think my swollen feet held up pretty well. It was so nice to get out of town for a bit, see some family, and do something different other than prep our apartment for Baby G’s arrival. The next day, my mother-in-law through us a baby shower and Baby G was spoiled again! Yesterday, David, Juneau, and I met up with the same photographer who took our engagement photos for a maternity photo shoot. We went to the same place our engagement photos were taken just a little over a year ago.

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Pregnancy Update: 34 Weeks

How Far Along: 34 weeks

What is Baby G Up To?: Baby G is the size of a butternut squash, so basically huge. Baby G is still moving a great deal, but I can tell it’s getting tight in there because the movements tend to be poking out of my stomach in weird ways. People always talk about the baby kicking, but the repositioning and wiggling around are even crazier! Baby G is a big hiccup-er as well.

How I’m Feeling: Still feeling exhausted, but I’m trying to enjoy the last few weeks of “freedom”. As much as I’m looking forward to meeting Baby G and to not be pregnant, I realize that the days of just David, Juneau and I are quickly coming to a close. It’s been the three of us for the past five years, and we’ve gone on some crazy adventures together. It’s going to be quite the adjustment to have Baby G become part of our little team. So yes, I’m feeling nostalgic.

What I’m Wearing: Emily sent me a bunch of her maternity clothes, and I gotta say, they came right at the perfect time. I was getting so bored with the same old things circulating through my closet. I think the hardest part is having to find maternity work clothes. All I want to do is wear maxi dresses and oversized t-shirts.

What’s On My Mind Lately: Pregnancy has been a long journey and my mindset has changed with the trimesters. In the first trimester, I was just trying to feel human. In the early second trimester, I was feeling overwhelmed with the thought of being pregnant. A growing belly? No wine? Those thoughts turned to absolute fear in regards to labor in the early third trimester. Our birthing classes didn’t help. I was having nightmares about labor pains and absolutely grilled my sister about every feeling. But lately, I have been thinking about being a mom.

There was a couple in my birthing class that was so prepared for everything. They knew all the best brands, the best gadgets, the best sleeping aids. The mom had been taking water aerobics and yoga throughout her pregnancy. Every question they asked, she knew the answer to. They even drove a mini-van! Already! The baby wasn’t even here yet! They were clearly parents before ever having a baby. I started crying because I will never be that person. I just don’t work that way. And then I realized I’m going to be parenting my baby alongside of Super Moms like her. More tears.

Then David said something that made me feel better: yes, we are going to become parents, but that’s not the only thing we are going to be. I still want my career, and my creativity, and to travel and David still wants a truck, and to go fishing on the weekends. Yes, our lives are going to be different, but I know by looking at the women in my family that it’s possible to be a mom and to be Erica as well.

What I’m Craving: Still on my unsweet iced tea kick! The caffeine is saving me!

What I’m Looking Forward To: This weekend my mom is flying down and we are heading to DC on Saturday to visit my cousins. On Sunday we will be back in Charlottesville because David’s mom is throwing me a baby shower.

Best Moment of the Week: I have a few: first, David and I were able to tour the hospital we are going to deliver in. I had never spent much time in the hospital, and I was floored at how gorgeous it is. Everything was so accessible and everyone was so friendly. While we were there, we were able to visit David’s newest cousin who was born that same day!

Later in the week, my co-workers through me a baby shower. It was so sweet of everyone to come to celebrate Baby G!

On Sunday evening, my neighbors knocked on the door. There are four generations of people living together and they are the sweetest people in the world! The great-grandmother had handmade Baby G a blanket and they were so excited to give it to us. In the card they wrote “we have 124 years of collective parenting experience, so don’t hesitate to ask for help!” It was exactly the spark I needed to get through these last few weeks! I am so grateful.

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Pregnancy Update: 32 Weeks

How Far Along: 32 weeks

What is Baby G Up To?: Baby G is now the size of an acorn squash. Baby is getting bigger and running out of room. I constantly feel pressure from limbs kicking me underneath my rib cage and I’ve developed a lean in my chair at work because sitting straight up and down is nearly impossible. Apparently, Baby G will not grow in length anymore, but just add pounds of fat until making the big arrival.

How I’m Feeling: Huge. Is that an emotion? Well, it should be for pregnant women. That’s my go-to answer whenever I’m asked how I’m feeling. I feel huge, and that is effecting everything else in my life: how much I eat, what I wear, how I sit/lay, how fast I walk, etc. I’ve read and heard from multiple sources that the 32 week point is right around the time women are “over” their pregnancy. The only thing keeping me going is knowing that each day I’m closer to meeting Baby G!

What I’m Wearing: Anything loose fitting and flowy. My heartburn/indigestion has made me uncomfortable the past few weeks and the doctor said wearing tight clothes doesn’t help. I’m also looking forward to a package of Emily’s hand-me-down maternity clothes that should be coming this week! I feel like I’ve worn the same thing every day for the past 8 months! I can’t wait to change it up a little.

What’s On My Mind Lately: I’m trying really hard to stay positive, but 8 weeks still seems so far away.

What I’m Craving: I’m back on my unsweetened iced tea kick. I downed four glasses before my meal even arrived the other night at dinner!

What I’m Looking Forward To: The next few weeks to fly by 🙂

Best Moment of the Week: I thoroughly enjoy complete strangers asking about my baby bump. People can be so sweet! I ran into several women who smiled at me, asked me what I was having, and told me I looked so cute. It’s the little things that mean the most!

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