Thursday, March 26, 2009

My Birth Plan & How It Went

So I know I said I'd post this, like, 5 months ago. *grins* But better late than never. With friends Carolyn and Emily thinking about their own plans, I decided I'd copy down what I printed and gave to the nurses at the hospital, and what I liked, didn't or would change next time.

Here's what I had gone over with Jonathan, and brought with me in triplicate to the hospital. My nurses had one in there, one was for J to reference, and they sent one to the nursery once she was born. Also, at J's suggestion I put asterisks by the items that were my "hills to die on" - i.e. items I did not want to budge on. Really good since a husband can be overwhelmed at the list. I also tried to keep my items as concise as possible (1 page total) in items/wording so that it would be easy for the nurses/doctors to reference. Highly recommend that format! Don't be wordy!
Birth Plan

LABOR – I’d Like:
· My husband Jonathan to be allowed to stay with me at all times
· To wear my own clothes during labor and delivery
· To take pictures during labor and delivery
· To stay hydrated by drinking clear fluids instead of having an IV
· To walk and move around as I choose

As long as the baby and I are doing fine, I'd like:
· Intermittent rather than continuous electronic fetal monitoring
· To be allowed to progress free of stringent time limits (i.e. Failure to Progress)

When it's time to push, I'd like to:
· To be coached on when to push and for how long so the perineum can stretch (and perineal massage if offered)
· Whatever position feels right at the time (semi recline, side-lying, squatting, hands/knees)
· **To risk a tear rather than have an episiotomy**


I'd like to try the following pain-management techniques:
· Bath/shower
· Massage
· I prefer Systemic medication to an epidural


If I have a c-section, I'd like:
· My partner present at all times during the operation
· The baby given to my partner as soon as it's dried (as long as it's in good health)
· To breastfeed my baby in the recovery room


Post-Delivery Care – I Prefer:
· Not to get Pitocin or pulling of cord to help deliver the placenta

Baby Care – I Want:
· All newborn procedures to take place in my or my husband’s presence
· To hold my baby right away, delaying any nursery procedures for an hour to give baby a chance to nurse (we will hold baby for APGAR)
· To breastfeed as soon as possible
· **To wait until the umbilical cord stops pulsating before it's clamped and cut**
· My partner to stay with the baby at all times if I can't be there
· Nothing offered to my baby at any point (formula, water, etc)
· **NO Hepatitis Vaccination for the baby**
· **No Silver Nitrate in baby’s eyes**/ Prefer No Antibiotic Ointment Drops in eyes
· Me to give the baby the first bath
· **24-hour rooming-in with my baby**

I plan to: Breastfeed exclusively

Now, the nurses I ended up delivering with were amazing at making sure everything was followed. I even remember right before delivery the nurse telling the doctor, "She doesn't want an episotomy" and also her telling the doctor I didn't want pitocin for the placenta delivery. I wasn't always concentrated on what they were doing when I was in the throwes of a contraction.

Labor: The only part of this I would change would be to ask for no hep-loc. I could care less about it, except that it was a big hassle to have on my hand when I was trying to labor! Especially during the pushing stage, which was 3 hours for me, and I would grip Jonathan or the bed's rail, I hit that thing more times than I can count. When they finally took it out they said, "I doubt this would have worked, it's so badly pulled out/crooked now." So that's why I don't want it. I have no problem if it weren't such a hindrance/irritant to my whole labor process.

Pain relief: Ha, no massage or bath taken. Had baths been available I would have used it, but I didn't need to say that. Massage was not anything I wanted during labor.

Post-Delivery: Actually, the doctor did pull on the cord gently, and I noticed and didn't care. I was so relieved to have the baby out, and I could feel the pressure of the placenta in, that I just wanted it out. I did not care about the tugging. So I'd leave that out, but still not want pitocin.

That's it. Everything else went just as I asked for it. I was so happy about it!

One interesting thing I've noticed is that some books and friends talk about the birthing environment being one of peace, tranquility, and such. Some even talk about candles, soft lighting, and music. I have never though this sounded do-able for me, but now I don't know. I think maybe it would work with a home birth, but doing that in a hospital still wouldn't seem to change how I'd view it all. Not sure. Have any of you done this? Now, laboring at home like I did (15 hours) I could create my own environment. Jonathan and I watched football, I took multiple baths, we played chess at Starbucks, took a mile+ walk, used my heating blanket, and watched Expelled (got tired of all the concentration required by listening to it and laboring). I guess it seems like people want the environment to distract from labor contractions, whereas I wanted it for the boring in-between contraction stage. But when it got serious, at the hospital, all I wanted was some sleep or a mild distraction when I wasn't contracting.

Of course, every labor/delivery is different, so please give me your thoughts and experiences! I love talking about it and like to learn what I can from each person's story!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Black Forest Latte Recipe!

I don't know if any of you have heard of or enjoyed a drink like this. But when I visited my friend Susi in Seattle a year ago, one of the local coffee houses we were visiting on a daily basis served these (was it Forza, Susi?).

Anyway, no coffee shop I've been to in GA combines cherry and mocha flavor, so I decided to see if I could re-create this drink. I created a tasty one, yet I still want to experiment further with using the DaVinci Black Cherry syrup I got from World Market, rather than marachino juice.

Any of you with your own espresso machines, who enjoy the cherry/chocolate combination, give this one a try and tell me what you think.

Black Forest Latte
· 3-4 shots espresso (1 shot = 1 oz)
· 2 tablespoons mocha syrup or powder
· 3/4 cup hot, frothed milk
· 2 tablespoon maraschino cherry juice
· Whipped cream (optional)

1. In a large mug, stir mocha and cherry juice into hot espresso.
2. Pour frothed milk into mug, stirring gently. (If not using whip cream, make sure froth is added after steamed milk has been poured in and stirred. Do not stir after adding froth, to keep it pretty.)
3. Garnish with whipped cream and shaved chocolate or red sprinkles (to hint of the flavors underneath).

Friday, March 20, 2009

Deployment #3 Underway

Day #3 of Deployment #3 here. I miss Jonathan like crazy right now. The first few days (weeks?) it's always a true emotional and spiritual battle for perspective. Shoot, without a baby it's a battle to even want to get up in the morning! This being my 3rd deployment, I know how to do it well, though. And we have known God's grace from weeks ago, when he let us off the hook for the 100 day deployment and took us back to the 70 we're used to. So I don't feel jolted into an emergency mode, where only just now am I crying out to Him. No, every single day for the past few weeks, Jonathan and I have had our quiet times together rather than apart, and we have been nourished and filled by the words of the Psalms. Our prayers have released some of the burden of our souls, even when we were just told to press on.

God has lavished such a grace by giving me Elyana Ruth. When I came home from dropping Jonathan off, usually going into that now-empty house, with all the memories of us and his stuff lying around, that's the very worst part. But this time, I carried her in and held her close. She receives my hugs and kisses, and she innocently coos and grins at me. It is a sweet balm to have her love and be able to spend mine on her. It's much more of a blessing than I ever imagined. Plus, it's impossible to read the Psalms about God hearing our requests, granting our hearts desires, and making us glad in His salvation, and not look straight at Elyana Ruth and think, "This is a testimony of this very thing."

My days consist of playing with Elyana and working. So I have decided to add in a special evening walk outside together, and meeting with others with deployed spouses and their little ones. We have one event every weekday next week. I don't usually make it so busy, but for a first week that's ok.

Elyana has had a really rough time since J left with keeping to any sort of schedule. I'm gently trying to ease her back into it. It's just sleep and eating have both been hard to get back into a rhythm of.

Now time for some pictures of our last few days together!

Here is our traditional, right-before-he-leaves family picture. Three of us this time!

Jonathan and me on our traditional last-Starbucks date...

Us three at Red Lobster, a new place for dinner, but the last time we ate out. We hadn't eaten here since I had morning sickness, but had a real seafood craving. We relived some great memories. And I successfully nursed Elyana at the table, so successfully that an older lady walked by and saw us with an empty carseat, and asked, "Where's the baby?" I laughed and pointed at my nursing cover. :) I was nervous about trying to be discreet, but I guess I was!

Jonathan wanted to feed Elyana one last time.

I don't know how we managed these smiles when our hearts were breaking.

Jonathan makes me a Build-a-Bear for every deployment. We made one in '04, two in '08, and now here's my fourth one. He made Elyana one too. She was awake and happy for it all, which we were thrilled at.

Here was the little pink/white super-soft bear, Cuddles, that Jonathan and Elyana chose.

This is our beautiful baby!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Life has been full around here! Our March so far has been one of incredible family times just enjoying every day as a gift from God. I feel like we've done so many things, and each day has been so full, surely March must be almost over - and yet it's not halfway through!

Elyana is growing like a weed - really! In height/weight obviously, but most noticably in development (actual numbers next week)! Here's the gist, bullet-point style!
  • She now smiles multiple times a day, mostly and specifically at us! When she's done nursing and spending time with us, she will catch our faces in her vision and give us the biggest smile and start "ooh" and "ahh" noises. It melts our hearts!!! She will go on like this for up to 10 minutes, and we never get enough of it!
  • She holds her head up extremely well - and loves to look over my shoulder at everything that's going on (no more cradle-hold for her, not interesting enough). Jonathan even tried to see if she would like the bumbo seat and could sit in it, and sure enough she can! Just for a few minutes, but she is good at it.
  • She now hiccups only about once a day (as opposed to 3-4 times those first few weeks).
  • She also can get distracted when nursing with noises around her (as if there must be something exciting going on, so she tries to "look" around).
  • She really loves being naked! I mean, loves it! Changing the diaper and her outfit are sure to bring smiles and coos! And she loves baby powder on her bum!
  • She loves to be in the bath with just her head supported, so she can float and kick around. I call her my little mermaid. I cannot wait to get her a baby pool to get sun-warmed water to have her "swim" in with me in the summer.
  • She loves having books read to her and seeing the pictures. So far we've been reading the complete Beatrix Potter series, It's Time To Sleep (yep, Lisi, we both love this one, it's become her night-night book!), Brown Bear Brown Bear, Go Dog Go and Guess How Much I Love You. We are now remembering all of our favorites as kids and adding them to an wish list. So fun! I am eagerly awaiting the used book sale we have in our area come April.

I've got one picture below of Jonathan reading to her one of his favorites as a kid. And I realized I never linked to or posted some of the professional shots we got when Elyana was 10 days old... So I've got some of them on here, courtesy of Alicia McDonald.

Elyana has been an amazingly predictable eater. Every 3 hours in the day, and a 4 and 4 or either a 4 and 5 hour session at night. We have desired a schedule with her, and especially with my needing to start consistent work after 6 weeks, this seemed to be the time to start. So on this past Saturday we started seeing how she would do with a sleep-eat-wake schedule like On Becoming Baby Wise outlines. Sure enough, it was wonderful for us three. I have no desire for her to sleep through the night though!!! I look forward to and love our nighttime nursing sessions, as they are so cozy and peaceful with her all drowsy (just different than the daytime ones, when she's waking up to stay up and as I said, distracted at times). I would miss being apart from her for 8 hours! I know a lot of people have very strong anti-Babywise ideas, and I respect that, but both Jonathan and I have read both pros and cons and are just taking some of the BW ideas as a guideline for how Elyana's days will go. Believe me, if she wants to eat at a 2 hour timeframe rather than a 3 for a time during the day, I will let her! Or if I sense she needs some comfort-nursing, I will do that as well! I do not ignore hunger cues, and if they come earlier than I expect, I just feed her and assume she might be having a growth spurt. A schedule is meant to serve us 3, but not to dictate how our lives go. Especially with this being my first, I want to learn what her needs are (concerning sleep and eating) and then meet them and guide the schedule to that purpose.

Prior to starting the "schedule" I wouldn't put her in her crib during the day, because I was letting her fall asleep "here and there" which would result in an hour catnap at best! I was getting in very little anything (household chores, work, dinner) since when she is awake I hold her 95% of the time. Now giving us specific times of "This is playtime" and "This is naptime" has been so good! She never cries when she's put down to nap - which is always the same thing: swaddled in her crib with her white noise on. This gives me 1 1/2 hour sessions in the day where I know I can work or do household chores - what a relief and blessing this is to count on! It also lets me devote myself to her 100% when she's awake, because I know that is "our" time.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Good Stuff!

So, it's been a while since the last post. I've got some amazing news!

When Jonathan and I learned he might have to go a month early and stay deployed for 100 days, we asked our parents to pray we'd be spared. Then we learned he had to go, and honestly I was just going to accept it. My dad sent out an email to us basically saying, "It's not over yet, I'm not through praying." His attitude of faith encouraged me to keep praying too... I shared that with J and every day we'd have our quiet time together and pray that the Lord might spare us that length of separation, and be merciful. We acknowledged we might not understand why we should be separated that long, and we'd accept that as His will if He didn't change things...

Well, I really did not expect a change. But believe it or not, by a mix-up with J's rank, he does not have to go 100 days! He's back to the regular 70 day deployment!!! I am so amazed and humbled to say the least. He is still leaving in the end of this month, but we're back to the length we're used to. I have to say the Lord has been so very gracious in this answer to our request. If any of you prayed, even just for peace, thank you!!!

I've got some beautiful pictures from our time in Vegas. I took a good bit of pictures, since I really wanted to make those memories stay with us. We really had a wonderful time, and I am so grateful Elyana and I made the trip! So enjoy....

Us at a park/pond we found in Vegas... There were ducks, geese, and birds to feed. We had a mini-picnic and walked around, enjoying the breezy weather and sunset. This is the first and only time so far I've put Elyana in the wrap facing forward. Since she can't hold her head up for very long periods, it's not ideal for her, but it gives a way for her to see everything, and for Jonathan to see her, rather than when she's heart-to-heart with me, and she falls asleep easily and only I get to see that pretty face!

This was me taking Elyana on our daily Starbucks trips while our hotel room was cleaned. I'd go, get the fresh brewed coffee, and read a book while she slept on me. She really seemed to love those time in the wrap. See how content she looks? I think she loves the closeness with me!
Jonathan spent a lot of time playing with her and holding her in the hotel. She was so interactive with him. I love watching it! She will smile and coo and make cute little noises at him. When he catches her eye, she definitely recognizes him.

Another hotel moment... Cuddle time!

The Saturday Jonathan had off, so we went to Hoover Dam and got the tour. It was really a wonderful time! I had gone with my family in '04, but it was in August so it had been 100 degrees plus! This was very different, it was almost chilly! Carrying my baby in a wrap was so much easier than a stroller, I was loving using it (can you tell?)!

This was yesterday morning, as Jonathan & I bundled her up for a stroller ride in the trails in the woods. He got the mail, and here was a present for her! Look at that smile! (Susi, she's wearing your coat/bunting, it's perfect!)

This was tonight, when he got home from work. She now fits in Mary's outfit and looks a doll! She was recognizing Jonathan and going, "Aaaah." So adorable!