Nothing particularly monumental happened development-wise this month. Lily is more expressive and has more smiles- from gummy grins to little smirks as well as happy squeals. Her smiles are are usually on her terms and can only sometimes be coaxed (we do coax them), she even smiled at herself in the mirror a couple days ago! She does sleep 5-7 hour stretches at night more nights than not now which is nice (would be extra nice if I went to bed at 8 or 9 as well). She also stays awake longer (more often awake 2 hours, asleep 1 during the day instead of vice versa) and has even skipped a couple naps altogether now and then. She is getting stronger and bigger at more than 11 lbs. now and wearing her 3-6 month clothes. It has been such a treat to get to spend these days (months!) off of work hanging out with this chill and snuggly girl!
she smiles bigger than this but this is as much as I could capture
being rocked to sleep for naps during the day
long walks in the Ergo
the swinging car seat
just laying around
the still or the rocking car seat
passing gas and those difficult poops
when her bow falls down over her eyes
New this month:
size 1 diapers
cloth diapers for most of the time
more head control
more oohing and aahing and other apparent attempts at verbal communication
more waves in her hair
more length to the car seat straps
For a while this month her every 3 hour day-time routine was to wake up (or just start crying without waking up), eat, burp and spit up, hang out happily for a while (with some more spitting up), yawn, sneeze twice, smile, get fussy after a while, yawn more, get stuck in the carrier, sleep, wake up, eat... She definitely had the being a one-month-old thing down to a science.
At her 2 month appointment she weighed 10 lb, 3 oz (more than 2.5 her birth weight) and was 22", putting her up into the 20's for percentile instead of just making it onto the charts. If her job is to look cute and to get bigger, she should get a raise for her excellent performance.
Watching: us- looking at our faces and even watching us move about the room, also watching anything highly contrasting or colorful
Listening to: mostly Christmas music and Drake
Favorites: sleeping, eating, stretching, un-swaddling, making faces, eating, pretending to eat, getting a good burp or fart out
New this month:
pretty much everything
belly button (sans cord since her second week)
baths (sans squawking!)
layers of skin
newborn (instead of preemie) diapers and clothes
grabbing at fingers and blankets
At her one month appointment she weighed in at 6lbs 12oz and was 19.75" long and is making her way onto the charts. She is quite the cuddly sweet little girl and we're looking forward to seeing more smiles from her!
So, all that about not being induced on the 2nd and getting back on the work schedule...scratch that! I started writing this from my bed in L&D on the morning of the December 2 while waiting for them to come start an IV in me and check me. I have had some (understatement) interruptions and finally am finishing this lengthy post now. This is the story of how Lily Charkie was born!
Her due date was December 23 but they had been doing frequent monitoring since she was estimated to be small for her age (IUGR) starting at 29 weeks (now 37 weeks). So why would they choose to induce me early when they knew she was small? Basically, the doctors decided it would be best because of some signs that show she may have had to work extra hard to get the blood supply etc. that she needs in utero, causing her to be small.
Medical terminology ahead to explain those signs: at my NST/bio Tuesday after work the doctor had her growth re-measured (per abdominal circumference) since he thought it was strange for her to be 9th then 3rd then all of a sudden 11th %tile and I don't know the weight/%tile estimate from that day but he said it was almost a month behind and looked smaller than last week actually (possibly human error but still), there was also what could have been a late decel on the NST, also my SBP was up to nearly 130 and had been slowly trending up the last weeks (usually was in the 100-110s), also there had been a couple times previously that they saw borderline brain sparing effect, and then today they looked at the dopplers of my uterine arteries and the dopplers showed notches. I had never heard of the uterine artery thing before but apparently sometimes even if those blood vessels work fine when your not pregnant they don't necessarily adapt well to supplying a uterus during pregnancy and you can tell by the notches in the Doppler (if you're still following, feel free to google scholarly articles r/t "umbilical artery Doppler and IUGR" with me). Another reason to not wait was that I had already gotten steroid shots a while back to boost her lung surfactant development so she'd be more prepared whenever she arrived.
In L&D, hooked up to Pitocin was the perfect time to wonder at how unprepared I was- I didn't have the hospital bag in the car, I had come to the hospital to work overnight, go to a quick routine appointment, and then go home and shower and spend the next 4 days off setting up the pack-n-play, watching labor tip videos on youtube, sleeping, and eating a bunch. That wouldn't have been very spontaneous though so as it was was probably better for me :)
Hooked up to Pitocin was also the perfect time to just rest and doze since I had worked all night while the drip worked its magic on my uterine muscle. Zeke was there putting the final touches on a final paper for one of his grad classes as I napped and we just took it easy while we could! The contractions didn't bother me much but it wasn't the easiest to sleep when I kept thinking about what the next day or so would all hold!
Around 7pm was shift change. I was 3 cm dilated and my nurse took the time to explain the process of getting an epidural just in case I should later decide that I do want it (thanks, no thanks). Being on bed rest gave me the opportunity to get the full patient experience: bed pans, annoyingly large hospital gowns, plastic pillows, wanting but not wanting to use the call light and/or asking for more ice chips, just wanting to sleep but them doing an assessment, having monitors and an IV drip hooked up at all times... At 9:28 my mom texted me "looks like a 12-3 birthday" and I couldn't have imagined differently based on how I was feeling at the time.
I come from a family of mothers who give birth quickly, a trait I am now very thankful for! Knowing this means I probably should've called my nurse and my husband (at class presenting that final paper) as soon as I felt the contractions change from simply uncomfortable to actually painful. Even so, it wouldn't have changed the outcome since minutes after the change there were about 15 people in the room watching the monitor and guiding me through pushes. Even though I hadn't used my call light, my nurse and the resident decided to check on me just then (a little after 10pm?) and were thinking about calling my doctor to see if he wanted them to check my cervix again or what. While they were at the bedside I was feeling like I might have to use the bedpan again along with the pain with the contractions that stuck around between the contractions. They didn't end up having to check my cervix or get the bedpan because her head was visibly crowning and those feelings were just the urge to push! They asked if I could just breathe through the contractions and not push yet: sure, I didn't see why not haha oh wait nope nope nope it was inevitable. One set of pushing- ouch! Are we sure I should be doing this before Zeke's here? Is anything coming? No?!?! Second set- ouchhhh, ok! I could tell that was her head! Phew! Third set- the rest! Woah! I just had a baby!
That was 10:28, an hour before I was wondering when the next morning she might arrive. They cut the cord, assessed her over at the incubator (apparently the pediatrician got there at some point along with the rest of the swarm of whoever was on staff- my own OB stopped by after the fact and said hi more or less), I passed the placenta (fourth push- I was glad I had learned about the fourth stage of labor or that would've been an unpleasant surprise), and they stitched up where I tore (the hospitalist guiding the resident through it, gotta learn on some patient!).
Then there was the fuzzy period of disbelief and wonder and surprise and who knows what else while waiting to hold her, waiting for them to finish the stitches, and waiting for Zeke to arrive. It made the time once Zeke got there and I got to hold her a seem clear in comparison. She was splotchy but perfectly beautiful, totally her own unique being, with a name but never have had been called by it, tiny and new! 18.5" long and only 4 lb, 14 oz. but wonderfully healthy with APGARs of 9 and 9 and a head full of beautiful dark hair, and us becoming a thing that is the three of us not simply a couple anymore.
I can't really relate to (nor want to relate to) those horror stories of long, drawn-out, excruciatingly painful labors where even epidurals barely help. One more thing of many to be thankful for! And for being so small and on the early side she could've had so many different health issues but we went to postpartum that night with her, she didn't need fluids or to be under lights or anything. That first 36+ hours with her in the hospital were full of snuggles, feedings, assessments (temperature and blood sugar for her, blood pressure for me), tests (hearing test, car seat apnea monitoring), visits from doctors, lactation consultants, nurses, and some friends. They did monitor her blood sugars for the first 24 hours so there was some extra pressure to get her to eat plenty. Most feeding attempts were successful but some were more frustrating: spending an hour trying to wake her enough to eat before they re-checked her sugar but just tiring her more and her not eating until later. The only other "issues" were a slightly elevated bilirubin level and a touch of jaundice in her face that cleared up on its own and a hip click that they will follow up on at 6 weeks to see if it's actually a problem.
We are so thankful to be able to hold Lily Charkie in our arms and have her home with us. So thankful for all the support we've received- from baby showers before to meals and visits and preemie clothes now and the reassuring and encouraging words of experienced parents to the countless prayers from so many. Thankful for insurance, for maternity leave, and for flexibility in Zeke's work schedule right now. Thankful for poopy diapers and for her just wanting to be held. Thankful for a safe comfortable place to live and for an even more-so place to move to shortly. Thankful that even though we welcome our daughter into a fallen world with some pretty messed up stuff going on that she is held in the sovereign hand of God and we're thankful for the hope that she will be a reflection of the light of life to the world!
...weeks pregnant! I can still see my toes, my ankles are typically their usual size, and in most ways I've been feeling physically pretty normal but am thinking I may have felt my first Braxton Hicks yesterday!
I've honestly been enjoying being pregnant-emotional lability aside-getting to feel her squirms and kicks, watching her progress with an exciting goal ahead, and starting to join the world of moms (who tend to be pretty cool people).
Other perks include:
-not having to lift/push/pull patients at work (though sometimes it's just as annoying to find someone else to help)
-shopping for things that other people buy (a lot of amazon and pinterest action and a lot a lot of huge blessings from family and friends, we feel very supported!)
-not worrying if your stomach is sticking out too much in that shirt (it is and it's fine)
-doors opened and seats given by kind strangers (though usually it takes me half a second to realize why they're being so courteous)
-getting to eat food a lot (yum)
At 35 weeks though it may be that I only have 2 more weeks of being pregnant. For the last six weeks on Tuesdays and Fridays I've been going for a weekly ultrasound and twice-weekly non-stress tests (NST) on top of my normal doctor's appointments to monitor her health since she is measuring smaller than normal. At 32 weeks she was estimated to be <3rd %tile size-wise but all the weekly/twice-weekly testing has been normal and showing that she's healthy. Despite her still looking healthy, with IUGR babies it's typically best to deliver around 37 weeks if she's still small. That's about two weeks from now!
That leaves us at one more doctor's appointment and NST, one more growth ultrasound and NST, another NST, and then going into the hospital. Also in that time is 8 shifts of work for Alissa, possibly a tour of the mother/baby area of the hospital (yes, I work there, no, I've never been to that area), many shifts of work for Zeke, a couple classes, a couple Sundays... And if at the next ultrasound she measures way bigger then we'll start a new countdown and when things change we'll be flexible but here's to the next couple weeks and then the start of postpartum life for our little girl!
Oh and happy 6 months anniversary to Zeke and I and then beginning of January we'll be moving to a condo (we are that couple mentioned at the end of this lovely announcement from our dear friend)! Feeling pretty thankful even though it's gonna get busy the next couple months!
This summer (though it's technically not over until September 23) was different. How do you measure, measure a summer? This year it was not in lightning bugs caught, not in weeks spent in Iowa or at camp or service projects or mission trips, not in mountains climbed or trails explored, not in times gone camping or nights slept in the hammock in the backyard, and not even in the number of times I got sunburnt. I mowed no grass, I rode no horses, I ran no races, I'm pretty sure I didn't even write a single postcard. Fail?
Nope! This summer may have been the most significant yet for me. I have nurtured an active tiny baby girl through most of the second trimester! Though I don't know much about being a mom I know enough to know that this is probably the easiest part of raising a child ever (Avoid alcohol and raw eggs? Get plenty of sleep? Wear comfy clothes? Check, check, and check. Baby grows.) Along with the relative ease and health I've had so far, I am so grateful for my supportive husband, my great job, our lovely church, our cozy apartment, our working car, and all the many other things we've been so blessed with during this summer!
Though it may appear that I've barely grown for being 24 weeks (it is even harder to show in scrubs!) it has certainly been a summer of growth. Here's to further fun this fall and a wonderful winter welcoming the wee one into the world!