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Tips and Tricks - Labor and delivery

Last Tuesday I asked for questions regarding pregnancy and or having a newborn so that I could link up for Tips and Tricks Tuesdays.

I got a couple of questions about labor/delivery so I will address a few things that I think are important.

1. Take a class or not take a class? That is the question.

Early in pregnancy people started asking me if Luke and I were going to take a birthing class. Up until that point I didn't know that classes were something that real people took, I thought it just happened in TV shows for story-lines sake. Upon further investigation I realized that these classes were long and would be several nights or one full Saturday. Luke and I had no desire to take a class and I didn't feel like it was necessary. For whatever reason I was never worried or anxious about labor. I figured the baby had to come out of me one way or another, and I had a Dr. that I trusted to get it out of me, so it didn't seem necessary to go through a class. Now that I am on the other side of giving birth I can say that I am very glad we did not take the birthing class. It seems like there was no reason for us, that we should have taken it. The Dr. and labor and delivery nurse did all the counting for us and explained everything as it was happening. Now, every circumstance is different. Some people enjoy the classes and learn a lot and some don't. But if you don't want to take a class, don't take it. I do not regret not taking it.

2. Epidural; it's your friend, if you want it

I never questioned getting an epidural. Natural childbirth just did not seem like my cup of tea so I knew I would be getting an epidural. I had heard horror stories about the huge needle that goes in your back for your epidural however, when my time came, I had been having contractions ranging anywhere from 5-10 minutes apart for the past 24+ hours. I would have taken a needle through my EYE to get those bad boys to stop. The epidural man came and explained the process to me and then had me lean forward so he could stick the needle in my back. I figured I would get scared at this moment but I never did, I just wanted my contractions to stop. Luke watched the needle go in my back and said it was awful looking and couldn't believe that I didn't flinch. He had no idea the pain that I had been in prior to the ginormious needle going in my back. I know some people are bothered by being numb after the delivery process is over, but that didn't bother me. I was just sitting up in bed holding my baby talking to family members. There was no reason for me to be walking around at that point. I had no complications with my epidural and it is something I will do next time. If you want it get it, if you don't want it, don't get it.

3. Not everybody looks cute during delivery

I had preconceived notions in my head of looking all cute for labor. Hair washed and dried and straightened looking picture perfect, earrings in, lip gloss on, and I even had a super cute purple and pink hospital gown that I planned to wear during labor.
And then one fateful Tuesday night Luke and I found ourselves going 90-to-nothing on the highway trying to get to the hospital as fast as possible before I had our baby on the side of the road for God and all his people to see. CUTE WENT OUT THE DOOR. I didn't plan on having Eli that Tuesday night, so when I got home from work I took off all my makeup, didn't wash my hair, and definitely didn't put on any jewelry. I didn't have time to get cute and I had NO desire to get cute. Contractions hurt. I was a bit embarrassed at first at how awful I looked in pics, I was used to seeing girls looking picture perfect in the hospital bed holding their new baby. And then I remembered I had just pushed a baby out of my body, I'm not supposed to look perfect. So now I proudly have this pictue framed in our house.
Yes I look tired and large and swollen, but I also look happy and full of joy that my baby boy was finally here. It's a moment I will remember forever and it is worthy of being framed. I call this my keeping-me-humble picture. I also make sure to keep this picture FAR away from my wedding pics. No need to compare the two.

4. Get some new clothes to wear in the hospital

This one may sound a bit weird, but stick with me here. A couple of weeks before Eli arrived my mother in law took me to a maternity store and bought me some pi's and comfy clothes to wear in the hospital. Before that shopping trip I had never given much thought as to what I would wear in the hospital. Fast forward 2 weeks later to the hospital. I was exhausted and worn out from days of contractions and no sleep followed by delivery and still no sleep. I didn't feel like myself and I didn't look like myself, and I knew I would be having guests coming in and out wanting to see Eli, so it sure felt nice to put on some new clothes and feel a teeny tiny bit cute. I know I didn't look cute, but it was nice to have something new to put on. Maybe this sounds superficial, but sometimes I'm superficial. I loved having new pi's to wear in the hospital and I would suggest it to all girls. Get some new pi's along with some nursing tanks. It will make you feel good when the rest of you doesn't feel good.

5. Do not send Facebook messages to your nurses. You are hormonal and you are not BFF's with them. Stop thinking that.

This needs no explanation.

So there are some tips about labor that I wanted to share. Well I don't really know if they are tips. They might be just some ramblings. I'm a pretty open book so if you have any other questions regarding labor feel free to ask me. Unless it requires me to relive the embarrassment of thinking my nurses were my new BFF's. Those questions will be left unanswered.


Going Back

I knew it would happen. I knew that that the days would fly by and a date that seemed SO far away would arrive here in a flash.

After 12 weeks at home, on June 6th my maternity leave ends and I will return to work. Leaving my baby boy, for more than 3 hours for the very first time.

I've always known that I wanted to stay home with my kids when I had them. And then almost a year ago I got pregnant and reality hit.

Reality included a job that I loved and wasn't sure I was ready to leave, a working environment that I enjoy, and people that I am blessed to work with. I realized that these things aren't always easy to come by and I would get nervous thinking about leaving such good circumstances.

Also, reality included those pesky little annoyances called budgets and bills. The worst kind of reality.

Throughout my whole pregnancy I struggled with the decision of what to do once Eli got here. Staying home with my baby was always at the forefront of my heart, but right behind that were so many questions to consider and beyond the questions was the fact that we are at a season of our lives where living on one salary just did not seem like an option.

Knowing that going back to work full time would be so hard for me, Luke and I began to pray for a part time job for me. It seemed like it would be the best option for our family at this time.

And I am happy to say that I was able to move to a part time job at the university I work at, working 20 hours a week.

I am SO thankful to have a good job to return to, and SO thankful that it worked out for me to go part time, however it is going to be SO hard for me to leave Eli.

In fact, it just might be the hardest thing I have ever done. My heart aches every single time I think about not being with my baby boy all day long.

But in the middle of the heartache I also have peace. I know that Eli will be ok. And I will be ok. I know that this is best for our family right now and that I am blessed to be able to work part time, and thankful that it all worked out. From me being given the option of a part time job all the way to finding part time childcare, the Lord provided.

I always imagined that I would be staying home full time when I had my first child, but I know life doesn't always happen how we imagine or how we think it should.

And while it is sometimes hard, I'm glad I'm not the one that is in control of my life. Luke and I have always prayed that God would guide our steps and lead us in the direction that is best for us, opening doors that need to be opened and closing those that need to be closed.

He has always been faithful and this time is no exception.

Monday we begin a new season in our lives, and while it will take a bit of adjusting at first, including lots of tears from me, I am filled with peace, and for that I am thankful.


Still Us

If you've hard it once you've heard it a million times; a baby changes your life completely.

I heard this SO many times before Eli arrived, in fact I heard it many times before I was even pregnant, I heard it so much that it started to get really annoying.

But it is totally true. Once that baby enters your life everything is completely different.

Despite the fact that everything is different I feel like Luke and I are adjusting pretty well.

Those first few weeks were hard, I was crying A LOT and Luke wanted to know why I was crying. When he would ask why I was crying so much I would say " I doooooon'tttttt knooooooowwww" in between lots of sobs and tears. He wouldn't understand how I could be crying and crying but not know WHY I was crying and crying.

Oh men.

It was hard, almost impossible to explain to him that I didn't know why I was crying either but my body was revolting against me.

And on the same hand I didn't understand how Luke didn't instinctively know how to fold up a dirty diaper as tiny as possible to make sure that no smell leaked out.

I have given him MANY tutorials on how to fold a diaper. And I don't even know how I know how to fold a diaper. It just came naturally.

We are almost 3 months in and while there have been some bumps along the road, for the most part we have adapted pretty well to this new parents thing.

We still go out to eat, although it does take planning around feedings. I have learned to always have a diaper bag ready to go, full of extra outfits, socks, my hooter hider, a blanket, and LOTS of diapers and wipes.

We still have quiet time together, we still have fun together, still laugh together and still argue together.

We've had our disagreements about various baby things, we've learned together and fell in love with our baby boy together.

We definitely weren't expecting this season of our life at this time, but as always God knows what is best for us and it has all fit together like a puzzle.

I say all of this because when that newborn baby first came into our lives a short couple of months ago I wasn't sure if we would ever be "us" again.

And we are definitely us. In fact the other day we had a wonderful conversation in true "Tree" fashion.

I asked Luke what the most beautiful thing was that he had even seen.

CLEARLY it was a loaded question, I thought FOR SURE he would said the most beautiful thing he had ever seen was his wife carrying his child for 9 long months, enduring heartburn, headaches, nausea and WEIGHT GAIN, all leading up to the birth of this beautiful baby that had grown in his her belly, starting as a tiny tadpole and growing into a real live human.

I mean obviously that should be the most beautiful thing he has ever seen.

I was waiting for his sweet, tear jerking response, as he thought about it, when he looked at me and said, "probably a valley in New Mexico I once saw while standing at the top of a mountain."

He was completely serious.

Of course I questioned him, thinking maybe he just wasn't thinking clearly and had somehow forgot about watching a HUMAN come out of my body, but no, he remembered that event, he just thought that valley was really amazing.

We are definitely still us.

So all of this to say, yes having a baby changes your life completely, but for every person it is different. It's all about figuring it out and growing during this time. And learning. You learn a lot during these early days.

For instance I learned that for some people, a valley in New Mexico trumps a pushing a baby out of your body.

News to me.



Since having Eli I feel like I've hit a bit of a writing slump.

I love blogging because I love writing. I've always had a blog of some sort and I am always formulating blog posts in my head.

But lately they haven't been coming together as easily as they did in the past. I think I'm still learning how to balance everything with the addition of Eli to our lives.

Last week, one of my twitter friends Meagan asked me to link up to her weekly post Tips and Tricks from Moms. I love the idea of moms sharing tips with one another, and I want to link up with some tips and tricks that I have learned since bringing Eli home from the hospital 11 weeks ago, but my mind has been drawing a blank.

So I thought I might open the question up to friends who read this blog.

It seems that I have several new mommies and expectant mothers who read right now, so I thought I would open this post up and ask, does anybody have any questions about pregnancy, delivery, new baby, etc etc?

I by no means feel like I have this mom thing figured out, but I do like to hear tips from other moms so I thought it might be fun to share some of mine, if anybody had specific questions.

So if you have a question let me know!

I hope to be back to normal blogging soon!!


May Events

A couple of weeks ago Luke told me that he had a conference to go to in mid-May so he would be gone for around 3 days.

I knew that I would want to make plans for those 3 days that he would be gone. Being alone all day long and all night long did not sound fun to me.

The first night he was gone I had a slumber party at my house complete with college friends and sweet babies.

We ate dinner, talked, watched the Thunder game, ate cookies, played with babies and talked some more. It was so fun to have a sleepover with girlfriends. It felt like college all over again, it the addition of 2 babies. Slumber parties with friends are few and far between post marriage and babies so they are fun when they happen!

I love getting these two together and taking their picture. It will be fun to watch them grow together.
Jodi and I with our babies:
My friend Tambra drove up from Houston and met Eli for the first time:

The day after our slumber party I headed home to spend the night with my family and watch my baby sister graduate. I seriously can't believe she is a high school graduate. I am getting old!!

Haley and Eli:
Our family (minus Luke)
Luke is back home now and we are back to our normal routine. I had a good time while he was gone but I'm glad he is back! We missed him!


Eli is 2 Months!

Our sweet baby boy is 2 months old!!! It has been two very fast months. Every day he is growing more alert and more fun. I can remember what life was like before Eli but it seems like it was pretty boring (although it wasn't at the time).

There definitely wasn't the excitement of sitting and staring at a baby trying to get him to smile. That can provide endless hours of entertainment. Seriously.

I could get all sappy right here and talk about how I never knew what this kind of love felt like until he was born - but I will save that for another day. But seriously sometimes I just look at him and cry because I can't believe that he is our baby.

He had his 2 month shots last week and it was so sad, he had a shot in each leg and just cried and cried.

At the dr he weighed 9 lbs and 8 ounces and was 21 inches long. He is still our tiny guy. I've been so worried that he isn't as big as other babies his age but the dr. assured me that he is gaining weight and that is all that matter. He has gained 3 lbs since he was born.

Eli, here is what you have been up to this month:

- You are still eating every 3 hours during the day

- Most nights you are sleeping 8 hours, you still have nights here and there where you wake up at 4:00 and want to eat but for the most part you are sleeping all night. Momma LOVES THIS.

- You recently found your hands and you love them. You are always sticking them in your mouth.

- Sometime in the last month you started smiling SO BIG and doing this little "laugh".
We usually spend the time after your morning feeding (sometime between 6:30 and 7:00) just sitting together and cooing and "talking" together and making lots of eye contact. You smile and laugh the whole time.
- You fell in LOVE with your swing and love to just sit in it and look around. Sometimes I feel guilty for putting you in it but you love sitting in it.
- You still wear newborn size diapers but I put 1's on you sometimes.

- You are in 0-3 months clothes

- You are such a good baby. You are so content and calm most of the time

- You do get fussy some nights between 6 and 9ish. Not sure what causes it and there isn't much we have figured out to do to ease your fussiness but usually by 10:00 you are OK again.

- You are learning to put yourself to sleep. You never cry when we put you down in bed, but sometimes you fuss for a bit and then eventually fall asleep (after us going in and putting your pacifier in your mouth several times)

- You still sleep in a cradle by our bed. I'm not sure when we will move you to your crib. I NEVER in a million years thought we would have kept you in our room this long, but alas, I am THAT mom.

- You love your play mat and have lots of funny conversation with the octopus hanging above your head

- You have started to love bath time. It has become one of my favorite parts of the day is to give you a bath.

- You love your daddy and he is crazy about you, he was gone for 3 days last week and wanted me to text him pictures of you all throughout the day.
We love you baby Eli and are thankful to be your parents and so excited to watch you grow and learn!


Mother's Day 2011

Obviously this year was my very first Mother's Day. It is still so very crazy to me that I am a mom and I participate in things like "Mother's Day".

Our day was pretty normal. Luke got up for church and wished me a "Happy Mother's Day" before he left and then Eli and I went about our normal routine.

I got Eli ready for church and he wore his little hat that my mom made him for the first time. I love a little baby boy in hats. Girls have frilly bows and headbands so the boys have to make up for it somewhere.....hats!

After church we came home, rested, and Luke let me watch what I wanted on TV since it was my special day.

During non-football season time (is that the correct way to say HEAVEN?) I usually get to watch what I want, but Luke usually mocks my choice of shows. I'm not real sure what he has against the Real Housewives as I think they are endearing, but he makes comments the whole time.

So Sunday in honor of Mother's Day my TV viewing was comment free.

Later we went and ate pizza (ALWAYS my choice when I get to choose). I've been craving vegetables lately (not real sure what that is all about, it's WEIRD) so I got a veggie pizza. It was super yummy.

Some pictures from the day with my sweet baby:

My handsome boy dressed and ready for church:

It was an amazing first mother's day!

Today (Monday the 9th) we had Eli's 2 month appointment and he got his 2 month shots. I've been keeping track of questions to ask the Dr on my phone so during the appointment I whipped out my phone and began rattling off my questions. Luke looked at my like I had 2 heads. I thought it was VERY smart. I would rather ask the Dr these questions instead of scaring myself silly on webmd.

I thought they were very normal questions such as:

"When he goes #2 it is very loud, is that normal?"

Luke's face when I asked that question was priceless. He of course thought that it was both hilarious and ridiculous, but a mom needs to know!

And for the record it is normal.

It was hard to watch Eli get his shots, he cried a lot. But he sure looks super cute sporting his hot pink band aids!

Smiling at his daddy:
Dad isn't a fan of the pink band aids.

I need to take pictures of him in his cute "2 Months" sticker and do his 2 month post.

And I've already started working on my questions for our 4 month appointment.


Weekend Fun!

Friday morning I joined several other million people and woke up bright and early for the royal wedding. Before this point I hadn't allowed myself to get sucked up into the royal wedding obsession. After watching the royal wedding? Consider me completely obsessed. I woke up at 3:30 and watched it all morning. It was so magical and I truly think Prince William and Kate are in love and happy (something I doubted before). Eli slept on my chest the whole time I watched the wedding. Getting up and watching it with my sleeping baby is something I will remember forever!

After the wedding I did the 3rd installment of my Couch to 5K (boo) and then came back and got so excited because I received Eli's newborn pictures in the mail! I can't wait to get these framed and hung up.
Later that day Lindsey and Katie came over to eat some lunch and hang out and talk (about the royal wedding amongst other important issues). I am so thankful for all the new friendships I have formed over the past couple of years. Friday night we hung out with friends at their house and ate dinner together. It was a full day!

Saturday night Luke and I had a date night scheduled! I was helping with an event at work before I left on maternity leave and this weekend was that event. So Luke and I were able to go and enjoy the event.

My mom and sister came to keep Eli for us. I snapped this picture of my mom reading my nephew and Eli a book before we left. I think they had a pretty good night together:

Luke and I had a great night. It was fun to get away together and I really enjoyed seeing everyone from work and the fruition of all their hard work. I was so proud to be apart of a great team!

Here we are ready for our night on the town!

We sure did miss our little guy and watched videos of him on Luke's phone on the way home. We are pathetic....but how could you not miss this sweet face??

Today (Sunday) it is rainy and cold. Only 44 degrees on the first day of May!! We are having a lazy day, waiting for warm weather!