Sunday, July 31, 2011

2 Weeks Old.

On Friday, Elliott turned 2 weeks old, which while it doesn't warrant cake and presents, it is a pretty big deal to us.  He's happy, healthy, and still a really sweet little boy.

The biggest issue we've had here is that sometimes, he sleeps through nighttime feedings, and because he doesn't wake up, he doesn't cry and wake us up either!  I've taken to setting an alarm after feedings so I wake him up in the appropriate amount of time.

He's also had tons of visitors over the last two weeks.  My parents have visited twice, aside from actually being around when he was born, and are expected again later today.  Jason's mom took the week off work to help me out when Jason returned to work, and his dad drove down with her the first day to visit.  My godparents have visited twice (they really wanted to hold him and didn't feel like they could when he was in the ICN).  Aside from that, friends and other family have come by the hospital or house to shower him and us with love, gifts, and food.

I feel awesome too, which I did not expect.  I can be a very emotional person who has crazy hormones, but I guess things are working in my favor.  I love taking care of him, although I feel at times as though I'm playing "house," since things are still kind of novel.  He definitely recognizes my voice, and he is learning to focus on our faces and other things in his line of sight.  On the off-chance that he both looks at me AND smiles, I feel like the Grinch when his heart grows three sizes.  It's a fantastic feeling.

Despite my joy in motherhood, I'm actually not dreading my return to work either.  I turned in all of my course materials on Thursday (to be duplicated), and I completed two weeks of lessons during the "long wait," so I can just enjoy my little one entirely until the week before school starts.  It's not full time, just MWF for about a total of 5 hours (including my commute).  I'm also gearing up to start my Ph.D. program applications for Fall 2012 admission.  Oddly enough, getting pregnant and having Elliott has made me more committed to continuing my education.  First, I want to be able to work to my full potential and get a great job to help provide for him.  However, I also recently read that most boys pursue the same level of education that their mothers achieved.  I'm not saying Elliott should get a Ph.D. in American Studies, but at least I'll model the importance of learning and striving for the top of his potential.  I just hope he always enjoys learning and growing intellectually.  I think that is crucial for a happy, well-rounded person.

On a non-baby-related note, I'm currently reading Bill Bryson's book A Short History of Nearly Everything, which is actually a science text.  He discusses, well, nearly everything major in science.  I've been learning about the vastness of space (you can't comprehend how vast), the theory of relativity (I actually sort of get it now), and the finer points of the atom.  This ties into my "lifelong learning" initiative.  I'm not a person who is inclined towards science, but it has always fascinated me, especially the field of geology.  Understanding the major breakthroughs and theories that make up our world is crucial to me.  So, if you feel like your understanding of science is lacking, or you had terrible teachers who made things difficult, this book is a great read.  Bryson is always humorous and has a colorful writing style that makes even the driest topic most engaging.  I'm using feedings to get a little reading in. I want to interact with Elliott, but he usually has his eyes closed anyway.  I'll relay the more fascinating tidbits to him from time to time, especially when Jason's not around for me to tell.  :)

- J & M.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The First Few Days

Elliott is now 6 days old, and life is quite interesting.

We are doing really well, actually.  We're getting sleep (in short fits and spurts) and managing to maintain the house.  No, we're not hard-core cleaning, but just keeping things neat and sanitary.  We've also made it a priority to shower and take a little time for ourselves.  Elliott is a very easy-going little guy too, which helps.  He sleeps well, eats well, and is really healthy.  He has already gained back a lot of weight, and is currently at 7 pounds 6 ounces.  The goal is to be back at birth weight by 2 weeks, but the home nurse (who visited today) said he'll be well beyond that at this rate.

We had a pediatrician appointment yesterday (which was frustrating because it took a really long time and he had to eat late) and a home nurse visit today.  Our insurance covers one home nurse visit, so we took advantage of that.  Both said that he was doing well, and they also inquired how we were doing.  The home nurse was pleased with the things we're doing, and was even surprised to see us logging his feedings and diaper changes.  Those are really some of the best indications of his health at this point, so we keep a close eye on them.  We actually got some "training" with this with Barney, as the vet uses the same criteria to gauge an animal's health.  We knew Barney was sick a year and a half ago because he wasn't eating well.  It just requires some observation.

So, life here is good.  Barney is adapting well and has been extra snuggly with us at night.  Time for dinner (for all of us!).  I'll leave you with some adorable pictures:

Monday, July 18, 2011

Elliott Zachary has arrived!

Our little one has finally arrived!

Elliott Zachary Yinger, boy wonder.

Quick stats:

Elliott Zachary
Born: Friday, July 15, 2011
Time: 9:05 am
Weight: 7 lbs, 9.5 oz.
Length: 21 inches.

Birth story (may not be for those on the fence about child birth...)

As you know, we were over due.  One week after our due date, we had to go into the doctors and to the hospital for a series of "overdue" tests.  We had an appointment for a non-stress test, ultrasound (to check fluids), and OBGYN on Thursday, the final appointment being the ultrasound.  Our midwife, or at least one of the ones in our practice, said the full moon would bring the baby, because she has seen the hospital just go crazy with babies on the nights around full moons.  Right, I thought.  Once you hit a certain point, you begin to think you will be pregnant forever.  Between the appointment and the tests, Jason and I went for lunch.  I had pizza and root beer, but if I knew what my day had in store, I would have chosen something better for you!

The non-stress test went well (he moved 14 times in 20 minutes), but at the ultrasound, the tech thought our fluids looked low.  She went and checked with the doctor, who told her to admit us to the hospital and send us upstairs to Labor and Delivery.  Ready or not, it was time to have our little boy!  About 30 minutes later, we were in our room and settled.  I needed an IV for fluids and Pitocin (although the stress of a surprise induction was already putting me into contractions), but that was our first bump in the road. They had trouble finding a vein for the IV line, which resulted in 6 sticks and the anesthesiologist inserting the successful line.  He was brought in because after 2 unsuccessful sticks, the nurses thought it would be nice to bring in the most acclaimed needle-inserter in the department.  He was even nice enough to numb me before each stick (one of those lidocaine sticks resulted in a blown vein too!).  He was a really nice guy and a very skilled doctor (and since I was getting an epidural, it let me get to know him and feel comfortable with him).  My nurse for this shift, Jenna, was AWESOME and when she left, I was actually pretty sad.  She was really keeping me up.  However, one of my favorite midwives came in, so I felt a little better.

The parents and siblings all mobilized quickly and were in Philly with us by about 8 PM.  If you don't already know, J and I are from South Central PA, so it's pretty impressive that six adults went from getting the news to being there for the long haul in 5 hours.  While my parents and sister were in the room visiting, my contractions went from very mild (more like gas pains after a big meal) to unbearable.  They left and let me breathe through my pain for a while.  I knew I was only 3 centimeters too, so I had a lot of pain to go before pushing.  After 45 minutes or so, J reminded me that because it was the night shift, I might have trouble getting my epidural if the doctors were occupied with a C-section (which was entirely possible; it was crazy busy on the L&D floor).  He went out to see if Daniel (the anesthesiologist) was available, and thankfully, he was.  The epidural, which I feared as much as I looked forward to it, was so easy.  Daniel and the doctor overseeing him were pros who made the pain med experience pain free.  I was feeling better and sleepy soon.  I knew that I needed to sleep well because I had a big job in front of me.

The next 6 hours or so were just really me, J, and Sarah (my sister and labor buddy) chatting and sleeping.  I laugh so much when the three of us are together, so my spirits were high.  The doctors came in and checked me every couple of hours and I was making awesome progress (about 2 centimeters every check).  They also re-took blood (from my more cooperative veins that don't allow IV's) for labs that came back abnormal (it turned out to be lab error, but better safe than sorry).  I slept a little here and there and my mom visited again at one point as well.  Jill, J's mom, wanted to, but just about the time my mom left so Jill could come in, my contractions were getting really strong.

About 4 AM, Elliott's heartbeat spiked and stayed high, prompting concern from our doctors and midwives.  Sure enough, I had a fever, which lead the medical team to the conclusion that the amniotic fluid, which we thought was intact, was infected because it had broken at some unknown time.  Oddly enough, when his heart beat went up, I wasn't initially concerned because his heart monitor had trouble staying on him.  I was 9 centimeters, so they really encouraged me to prepare for labor soon and lay off my epidural button so I could feel contractions better (I actually used very little epidural in the end, but they wanted my pushing to be effective and efficient).  At 7 AM, the doctor checked me and I was ready to go: 10 centimeters and truly effaced.

Because of the infected fluid, the doctors were only going to allow me to push for about 2 hours before taking me in for an emergency c-section, which I did not want.  So, as long as my pushing was super effective, they would find a way for me to deliver vaginally.  I pushed really well, so around 8:30 AM, I was told they would use a vacuum to assist him out and avoid a C-section.  Hooray!  However, because of our condition, I would not be able to hold him right away and he would spend some time in the ICN (Intensive Care Nursery).  Oh well.  It's for his health.  Soon, there were (no exaggeration) 2 doctors, one midwife, 3 nurses (including Jenna, who had come back for a new shift!), and 2 pediatricians in the room (not to mention Sarah and J), ready to spring into action.  I pushed until 9:05 AM when they pulled him out via the vacuum.  He cried right away and looked awesome.  They took him to be checked and I finished the delivery with ease.  Sarah and I cried, and J cut the cord, and everything else happened smoothly.

His APGAR scores were 8 & 9 (for color), as his extremities were a little grey at first.  He was so good looking that they did let me hold him for a while and let his grandparents and uncle meet him before taking him upstairs to the ICN.  He has now been there for three days, and he should be able to come home Monday.

Me and my "bunny." (It's the year of the Rabbit!)

I couldn't have done it without the support of my family, especially Sarah and J, who were awesome during the pushing.  Sarah kept a tight hold of my hand, got me water, and kept my hair out of my face, while J helped hold a leg back and hold my hand.  Nurse Jenna was also amazing and without her, my midwife, and Dr. Wu (who was the doctor that told us to expect Elliott), I would have almost definitely had a C-Section.  We're thrilled things went so well, considering the circumstances, and I'm proud of myself for actually doing it.  I'm home now, trying unsuccessfully to sleep, and I hope I can bring my "bunny bunny" home in the morning.

If you made it to the end, thanks!  If you skipped ahead to find out the exciting conclusion, I don't blame you.

Pirate baby!
 - J & M.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Due Date.

Well, our due date has arrived, but Elliott has not.

We had a doctor's appointment this morning, and while my body is ready to give birth, the baby is taking his time.  Our nurse practitioner feels like he will be here soon, but had us schedule two ultrasounds / non-stress tests, our next appointment, and an induction date.  The last part is just so we have an appointment (it's a very busy practice), and she really doesn't think it will be necessary.  After 40 weeks, the NST / ultrasounds are necessary just to make sure things are still hospitable for Elliott.  Again, we're hoping none are necessary and that he'll be here before Monday.  I also had my membranes stripped (or at least nurse practitioner doesn't think its good to be too rough, because there is potential for the waters to break accidentally during the stripping).  This might help things progress.  It also might not.  It wasn't too uncomfortable (definitely not painful), so if it has to happen again, so be it.

As anyone can imagine, I am more than ready to be done.  Last night I couldn't get comfortable, I was hot, and I was kinda sad that I still didn't have my little guy on the outside.  We had the air down to 67 degrees and I still felt like the room was full of hot air.  Blech.  This heat wave can end anytime as well.

I have been walking as much as possible to get things moving as well.  Because of the heat, I can't walk outside (by the time I wake up at 9 or 10, it's already in the 80s), so Carolyn took me to the mall so I could walk for about an hour yesterday.

I'm attempting to get things done for school, but my focus right now stinks.  I can't seem to finish any task, fun or otherwise.  I'll be in the middle of a granny square, go to the bathroom and forget that I was even crocheting.  Oh the joys of being pregnant.

Any rapid-fire updates (labor, delivery, etc.) will be on Facebook.  I'm hoping the next post is my birth story, but only Elliott can tell.

- J & M.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

4th of July.

The summary of the weekend was not waiting for the baby to arrive.  Jason had the entire weekend off, which was awesome.  We tried to keep ourselves as busy as possible and hope that Elliott would "interrupt" our plans, but alas.  We are still here: Mama, Daddy, and B, with Elliott on the inside.  Barney is spending this post laying on top of the baby.

On Friday, we had a doctor's appointment (which we hope is the last, but only Elliott knows for sure), so we went into the city and had lunch with Jenny at a little pizza place in the Italian Market.  I really had a craving for thin-crust, greasy cheese pizza, and this totally satisfied.  I know, I know...not really what would be classified as "healthy," but I eat pretty well most of the time.  Anyway, at the doctor's, they found that I'm 1 cm dialated and he's making good progress towards coming out.  It didn't really get my hopes up all that much (I could stay at that for days), but at least something was happening.  We made an appointment for the 7th (our due date) and hopefully we won't have to go.  We also went shopping afterwards for some last minute essentials, comfy post-pardum clothes, and food.  As an added surprise, the country club across the street had a beautiful fireworks display that night!  We had no idea where all the noise was coming from (and scaring the beejeezus out of Barney), but we walked into the front courtyard and there were our neighbors watching the fireworks.  It was nice, but I wish I had remembered to bring my camera down.

Saturday initially was shaping up to be pretty mundane.  I was starting to fear that we would literally sit around waiting for the baby to show up.  Fortunately, Dave called and said he was having a small get-together to watch fireworks from his roof-deck.  It was nice to see people and just sit around in a new setting.  We debated taking our car into the city or perhaps taking regional rail, but we ended up just driving in (just in case...).  Of course, no baby, but better safe than sorry.

We had plans all along for Sunday, which did help make the weekend a little more "normal 4th of July." My great-uncle Eddie has a bungalow in North Wildwood (NJ), and my dad's family was spending the weekend there.  My parents, sister, her friend Becky, and assorted aunts, cousins, and uncles would be in attendance.  We were invited for the weekend a while ago, but knew that wouldn't be possible.  However, once it became evident this past week that Elliott wasn't coming, we asked if we could visit for the day.  They were happy to have us!  When we got up, it looked pretty overcast and rainy.  Oh well.  My mom suggested that if the weather was sub-par, we could go to Cape May or Ocean City to shop.  Fine with me.  Well, as we pulled into North Wildwood, the sun came out and it ended up being a beautiful beach day.  It was so relaxing to sit on the beach, stand in the surf, and walk up and down the beach with my mom.  I feel pretty good about my pregnant body, so I felt good about walking around in my bathing suit.  That's a nerve-wracking feeling for anyone, but pregnancy adds both a strange confidence and self-awareness about ones body, so I wasn't sure if I'd even take off my cover up.  I left my shorts on, but I was also trying to avoid getting burned anywhere that would be especially painful when I was in labor.  We spent a couple hours at the beach, then had a steak dinner back at the house and started watching a movie.  I felt kinda icky, so Jason and I left around 9:30 (well before the movie was over).  The day had us wiped, so it was nice to come home to our cool apartment.

Monday was a lazy day.  I watched my favorite musical (1776, in honor of the holiday) and just did little things around the house.  We got hoagies for dinner and Rita's as a treat later in the evening.  We were invited to a party in the city, but the idea of driving into Philadelphia and parking on the city's special day seemed daunting, to say the least.  By the way: Did you  know that Rita's has strawberry custard now?  I didn't have any this trip (I didn't see it until I was already devouring my mint-chocolate gelati), but I think it would be delicious with the Alex's Lemonade water ice.  You can also get it swirled with vanilla.  Mmmm.

Anyway, today, we go back to normal.  Jason goes to work, I hang around the house waiting for Elliott to let me know he wants out.  I plan on crocheting and doing course prep, but I may just take a lot of naps and clean the bathroom.  I feel kinda crampy and achy today, so maybe that's a good sign.  I know my life will change so much when he gets here, but I am so bored with just being around the apartment.

We will keep you updated!  You made it to the end of this really long post.  Here are some firework pictures from the 2nd:

- J & M.