Five on Friday (6)

Happy Friday! This is my first Five on Friday post since Caleb was born… yay!

ONE. So, I haven’t watched The Bachelor in YEARS but I decided to watch it this season and now I’m an addict. I can’t wait until next season already (when is it?). I’m pretty ticked that he kicked Kaitlyn off though. I was rooting for her. I’m NOT a Whitney fan (she seems so phony and like she just says/does what she thinks he wants), so now I’m rooting for Becca by default. I really like Chris though; he actually seems genuine. Who are you rooting for?

TWO. Speaking of TV, I’ve been watching a good amount of it since I’m currently out on maternity leave and don’t have a lot of energy for much else; this mama thing is exhausting! Jerry and I have been watching Prison Break on Netflix and are currently on season two. It’s a bit confusing at times but I really like it. Also? Lincoln isn’t too bad to look at. Has anyone else ever watched it?

THREE. I need to vent and spread the word about H&R Block. SO… they filed my 2012 taxes and then I decided never to go back there because their fees were insane. Well, I just got a letter from the state the other day that I owed them money. Long story short, H&R Block filled something out wrong, despite me giving them the correct paperwork. I called them up and had a meeting with the guy who did my taxes that year and told him they should pay this. I explained that 1. it was their fault so I shouldn’t be responsible. 2. I know nothing about taxes which is why I hire and pay a professional. 3. I’m out on maternity leave and have a newborn baby. His response was that since I didn’t pay for a “peace of mind” warranty, they could do nothing but pay the interest. I told him again and again that this was ridiculous and that I shouldn’t have had to buy a warranty to ensure that the professionals I hired were going to do their job correctly. I even met with the manager, and despite my reasoning (and crying), they said they couldn’t do anything else because I didn’t buy the warranty. WTF?! Rest assured I will be telling everyone I know about this horrendous service.

FOUR. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I am totally impressed by Shutterfly! I ordered 464 prints of the baby, and quite a few (around 40) arrived with heads cut off. When I emailed them to ask about this, they wrote me back and told me how to crop photos on there AND gave me a credit on my account of 464 free prints… my whole order, not just the handful that came back bad! Now THAT is good service! I’m going back and fixing up all the bad prints, plus my next few hundred will also be free… score!

FIVE. I had my 6 week post-partum checkup yesterday and have been cleared for exercise! I’m starting back with the calorie counting and intense exercise today, and will hopefully be training for a fall half-marathon too. I need to re-lose a good amount of pregnancy weight because I gained too much and I am really looking forward to feeling and looking good again. If you’re a new blog reader, the short version is that I lost 118 pounds from 2012 to 2014 through exercising and calorie counting on MyFitnessPal (where I met Jerry). Then, I got pregnant and obviously gained weight. I need to re-lose about 50-60 pounds to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. Then, when I get back down to my lowest weight, I still need to lose maybe another 20 pounds or so to reach my ultimate goal. I hadn’t reached it yet before I got pregnant, so here I am, back on the wagon and feeling excited!

And because it’s impossible for me to blog now and not mention my little guy, here is a hilarious picture of him. I’m trying to think of things to blog about that aren’t always about motherhood and my baby (since not everyone is interested), but it’s hard! He pretty much runs my life at the moment. ;) Don’t worry though, I will be doing my best to keep the blog balanced with various topics, though there will obviously be quite a lot about him and motherhood.

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For today

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My baby boy is growing before my eyes.

Yesterday, at only 5.5 weeks old, he weighed in at 12 pounds, 4 ounces and 22.25 inches long! Already he is nearly 5 pounds larger than he was at birth… and how has it been almost a month and a half already?

It’s so easy to forget in the moments of frustration that these moments are truly fleeting.

It’s so easy to forget in my exhausted state that he won’t always be so small, that he won’t always need me so much.

I have to remind myself and my husband on a daily basis that he will only be little once… and he’s a tiny bit LESS little with each day that passes.

There are a lot of things I need to work hard to keep in mind during these special moments that are slipping by every second. I can be a bit obsessive about things, and with a baby… you really need to learn to let it go, at least for today.

The dishes will still be dirty tonight.

The laundry will still be piled up tomorrow.

And while the baby seats, and swings, and diapers are covering my once lovingly decorated living room, one day these things will be gone and my baby will be grown.

For today, these things don’t matter.

When my baby constantly wants to be held… I’ll hold him.

When he wants to be rocked and nothing else will stop the tears… I’ll rock him.

I’ll cuddle him and cover him in kisses as much as I can because he will only be little once.

One day I will wake up and my boy will be a teenager, and then a grown man, and soon enough he won’t want to be held at all, let alone all the time. Soon enough, my rocking will no longer soothe him, and my kisses will be the ultimate embarrassment. He will be too big to cuddle and he won’t fall asleep in my arms.

For today, while he still lets me and wants me to, I need to let go of the things that don’t matter, and cherish the things that DO matter. The dishes can wait. The laundry can too. I have a baby to hold and rock and kiss. And now, I’ve got to go; there’s a baby who needs me.

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That summer…

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“Barefoot Blue Jean Night” was always playing in the car as we drove around in the sunshine and heat, me pointing out landmarks of my life: where I went to school, my favorite places to eat, the route I walked home with my friends, giddy over that first eighth grade kiss. He wasn’t a part of that life – couldn’t be, 3,000 miles away – but I wanted to show him everything, wanted to let him in, show him who I was and now who I wanted to be.

Jake Owen’s upbeat and catchy hit was just one of the many country songs on the mix CD I made prior to Jerry’s arrival. We listened to it – overplayed it, really – the entire summer of 2012. It served as the soundtrack to our summer and the start of our life together. Darius Rucker and Jason Aldean crooned in our ears as we fell in love. He never listened to country music before me.

When Jerry visited in June 2012, we thought we only had a week, but it turned into a life. At the start of his one week stay, we determined to do as much as possible: we went to the beach, we visited Niagara Falls, we showed each other our favorite movies, we went to the zoo, we ate all the ice cream and best food that Rochester has to offer. We fell in love.

At the end of it all, when our week was up, we cried because we couldn’t bear to let it go so we did the only thing we knew to do: we canceled his flight and announced to our families that he wouldn’t be leaving. And so that summer turned into everything… an engagement in August, an eventual wedding, house, and son; it’s amazing what love and a few years can do to you. The reminiscing can bring both joy and a touch of sadness: sadness that these moments are past, that that summer isn’t right NOW, but joy for what it all led to, the life that it became.

Now, we will always have barefoot blue jean nights. We will always have ice cream and holding hands to the “Evil Dead” on BluRay. We will always have an airport moment, an engagement at the pier. We will always have that summer… that summer that became a life.

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Caleb: One Month!

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Caleb Manuel is one month old today! I don’t even know how that is possible already. It simultaneously feels like yesterday that he was born and forever ago. I’m both sad and happy… sad because I’m realizing how true it is that they grow WAY too fast, and happy that we made it through the first month when at times, I really doubted whether or not I could do it.

Our little man (often called “Pup” or “Puppy,” not sure why) is quite a big boy these days. Though we haven’t had his one month check up yet, we believe he now weighs between 11 and 12 pounds. He is in size one diapers and 0-3 month clothing. He wore newborn sizes for about two weeks then grew to be too long for them. He’s also had really long, skinny fingers since birth.

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He eats A LOT! He’s had quite an appetite since we first brought him home and we even took him to the doctor a couple of weeks ago because we thought he was eating too much. He eats 4 ounces during his daytime feedings every 2-4 hours, and 5 ounces for overnight feedings which range anywhere from every 3-5 hours. We JUST bumped him up to 5 ounces at night because he is continually hungry and that seems to fill him up. The doctor said that while he does indeed have a large appetite, he isn’t overeating as long as he isn’t throwing up, so to feed him when he’s hungry… okay! He is a little picky about bottle nipples. Before he was born, I bought him all these expensive bottles, none of which he liked the nipples on. Instead, he likes the cheapy, disposable Similac nipples! So we returned the expensive ones and use those nipples on Dollar Tree bottles… hey, whatever works!

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We did attempt nursing for the first two weeks, but it was too painful and never seemed to satisfy his huge appetite, so now I exclusively pump and also supplement with formula. I’d say he gets about half and half. I did struggle a lot with this decision and felt incredibly guilty, but his doctor assured us that it was fine as he is very clearly growing! I’m glad I can still provide him with some milk at least. We’ve also learned that he is NOT a big burper. We burp him after every feeding, but it’s rare that we’ll get a burp out of him. He’ll do it once in awhile, but usually LONG after he’s eaten. Pretty sure he makes up for this with his farting though, although that has been decreasing a lot too… typical boy!

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Caleb’s sleep schedule is okay but a little wonky. He currently sleeps in his rock and play next to our bed. During the day, he usually sleeps on his hand in some way or another! He got swaddled for about two weeks, then decided he hated it and would bust his arms out. He also makes a lot of noises in his sleep and sounds like a little pterodactyl. Ha! He usually sleeps in three hour stretches. Thursday and Friday night, he did a five hour stretch followed by a four hour stretch and I seriously felt like a new woman the following mornings! I was so happy! Last night he went back to three hour stretches though, so we’ll see how he does tonight. Fingers crossed for me please!

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His current favorite things are: looking at lights, his MAM binky (when he isn’t mad and spitting it out), being held and rocked (especially on our shoulder or chest), being sung to by Mommy (country music and “Falling Slowly” from Once), and eating!

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He isn’t a fan of: wearing hats, tummy time (though he does have a very strong head and neck that he’s been holding up for quite some time now… he just typically refuses to do it during tummy time), the bath (though he doesn’t mind when you’re putting the warm water on him; it’s when he starts to get cold that he hates it), and diaper changes and getting dressed  (particularly the part where the onesie goes over the head). His bouncy seat and Boppy lounger are both hit or miss. He really prefers to be held, but sometimes he will cooperate in these seats for a bit. I’m thinking of getting him a swing too.

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Our little man is quite serious and inquisitive. When he’s awake, he is constantly looking around and is mostly all business. He smiles in his sleep, but not yet when he’s awake, though we do think we might have gotten ONE smile yesterday when he was up. He also does this funny little Elvis face in his sleep too, with his lip half up. We also think he looks like a little man instead of a baby, and we hear from everyone that he is his daddy’s twin.

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Because of flu season and the below zero temps, Caleb hasn’t been out much in his first month. He’s gone to the doctor’s, to get blood drawn several times (when he was first born and had jaundice), to his grandma’s house, and to a friend’s house to hang out with her and her  three month old. He also went to Babies R Us once, but had his first real outing in public yesterday because the temperatures were finally double digits! We went to Target, my work to drop something off, and Aldis, although he and I stayed in the car at Aldis since Jerry just ran in for a few things. He behaved really well for his first big adventure and basically slept the whole time!

One week old

My first couple weeks of motherhood were quite trying, if I’m being honest, but things have been much easier the last couple of weeks. When we first got home, I was so overwhelmed and stressed out. I definitely experienced the “baby blues” which really surprised me but which I’m learning is very common. Because my hormones were out of whack, I was completely exhausted/overwhelmed, and recovering from labor, you could catch me crying on a daily basis. I went to see my Ob-gyn just a few days after he was born because I was really upset about how I felt. They actually commended me for recognizing it and for doing something about it. Luckily, once my hormones started to get back to normal and I started to get into more of a routine with the baby, I began to feel better and am basically back to normal now.

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Luckily, I had some great support from friends and family who helped me get through it. We had a lot of visitors, messages, and meals from friends and family. Honestly though, Jerry and I could NOT have made it through the first month without the help and support of my parents. My mother stayed over countless nights to help us learn, cope, and get some sleep and she and my dad keep me and Cal company a lot of evenings while Jerry is at work. Things are definitely settling down now though, and I am really learning what it takes to be a mom to my little boy. I never knew how hard, tiring, trying, and time consuming it would be (seriously, I’ve probably only read about 100 pages since he was born!), but I am getting the hang of it now. I really and truly learn more about him every hour, and love him more and more each day. He is SO worth it and we are all madly in love with our little guy!

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These moments…

There are moments that are life-altering, moments that you will always look back on and realize that your world changed… completely tilted on its axis. It was in these moments for me that life was at its clearest, finest, most memorable and life-changing. These are the moments of my life that fill my heart and soul the most. These are the moments that will never leave my memory because these are the moments that everything changed.

The moment I first saw you… June 15, 2012 is the day we first met after months of anticipation and waiting. The moment I finally saw you will forever be etched into my mind. I know it sounds silly, but it has long felt like the day my life really began. After months of restless anticipation, of talks about love and finally meeting… well, we finally met! I saw you in the airport, close to midnight, and my throat literally felt like it was in my chest. My heart was beating out of control, my eyes flicked back and forth across the room. And I’ve heard it said before, or perhaps sung before… that even in a crowded room, all I could see was you, and how true that was! The plane landed and we spoke on the phone, searching for one another, anxiously, breathlessly, filled with anxiety, fear, excitement. My eyes landed on you first. I was giddy, and you kept searching as I barreled towards you. We finally locked eyes and you hung up the phone with a smile. We hugged and I never wanted to let go. For months, I had dreamed of this moment, imagined it like a moment torn straight out of a book or movie, and that’s exactly what it felt like: a picture perfect moment that couldn’t be mine, and yet it was. You were here. With me. After all this time.

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The moment I said “yes”… August 16, 2012 you asked me to be your wife. I had a feeling this would be the day when you said you wanted to go somewhere after dinner. We had planned for it, looked at rings, and talked about it nonstop, but you still managed to stop me in my tracks when you dropped to your knee on the pier at the beach. While the two of us are very modest and easily embarrassed, it was as if the world around us stopped for a moment. For once, we didn’t care that we were surrounded by people who likely stared. We knew only that we loved each other and wanted to spend our lives together. We had jut finished a dinner out with the family who anxiously awaited our arrival back home; it seems I was the only one of them who didn’t know with certainty what was happening that night (though I did have an idea). You looked at me, said, “Stephanie Territo,” then asked me if I would be your wife. All I could do was smile and say “yes” as you opened the box with my ring.

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The moment we said “I do”… October 5, 2013 will always remain one of the best and happiest days of my entire life. We knew before we even met that we were supposed to be together, and the moment I stood up there with you and said “I do,” we affirmed what we already knew and made a promise to always be together. When I think back to that moment and that day, I am always overcome with emotion and joy.

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The moment we saw “pregnant”… May 13, 2014 is the day we became our own little family with the very first positive pregnancy test. Seeing the double pink lines is a moment I will never forget, and just a few hours later at 2 in the morning, we confirmed it again when you got home from work with a digital read out test: “Pregnant” appeared on the screen and you cried from happiness. In that moment, I loved you more than ever before. In that moment, our whole world changed again.

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The moment he came into this world… January 22, 2015 we finally met our son. It was in this moment that I realized I knew nothing about anything because I knew nothing about this kind of love, the love for your child that is so perfect, so pure, so flawless in every way. Though so much of his birth was a blur, I remember so clearly when they placed him on my chest. In that moment, I became a mom and you became a dad and truly, our world will never be the same.

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Things I didn’t know

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There were so many things I didn’t know before Caleb was born. I thought I knew so much, that I was as prepared as could be, but now I know I knew almost nothing at all.

I knew it would be difficult and time consuming, but I had no idea just how hard it would be.

I didn’t know my morning routine would go from one hour to four and that an 11:00 shower would now be considered early instead of late.

I didn’t know that my son’s cries would break my heart so much and stress me out to the point that I would cry too.

I didn’t know what “tired” and “exhaustion” truly meant (though I thought I did) until three hours of sleep a night became my norm.

I didn’t know how nervous I would be, how worried all the silly little things would make me (I called the doctor because I thought he was eating too much).

I didn’t know about mommy guilt and how much I would question and doubt all of my decisions.

I didn’t know that motherhood wasn’t always natural. I didn’t know that I’d have to learn as we went along.

I didn’t know just how much my whole world would shift and change, that I’d have basically no time or energy to do much of anything besides care for him.

I didn’t know how much my parents truly loved me until I became a parent myself.

And despite all of these scary and terrifying things that I didn’t know, I did know that I loved him before he was born, that I would look at him in awe and wonderment, that he would amaze me every day (even on the days that I cry).

I knew before he was born that things would be hard but that I would love him anyway, that even when I was incredibly tired and frustrated, I would still wonder how in the world Jerry and I created such a perfectly adorable tiny person.

Every single day it seems, I discover something else I didn’t know, but every single day, I also love him a little bit more than the day before. He will always be my baby, Jerry will always be his daddy, and I will always be his mama… and there isn’t much better in the world.

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Mom and dad “dates” + a first Valentine’s Day

With our little valentine after our first date night!

With our little valentine after our first date night!

Long before Caleb was born, Jerry and I had a number of conversations about the importance of our relationship and marriage. We decided that Caleb would of course be our biggest priority, but that our marriage also needed to remain just as big of a priority. We feel strongly about this because 1. Caleb came to be in this world BECAUSE we love each other, and 2. children benefit from their parents having a strong relationship. We know that caring for Caleb emotionally, physically, and financially will be our biggest priority for the next 18 years or more, but we also know that we cannot put our marriage on the backburner. While it’s been very difficult to find time for ourselves and to focus on our marriage with all the exhaustion that comes with having a baby and all the time we dedicate to him, we’re doing the best we can, and know that it will only get easier as he gets older. With us working opposite work schedules, we already don’t get a lot of time together, but now it’s even harder because we want to spend time together as a family too.

All that said, Jerry and I had our first date night last night since Caleb’s birth on January 22nd! Since Jerry works weeknights, when I saw that Valentine’s Day fell on a weekend this year, I was super excited – we usually can’t celebrate together since he’s at work most evenings. And then when we received a restaurant gift card after Caleb’s birth, we knew we just had to go out. We’ve been out together a number of times to run errands and things of that nature since he was born, but this was our first date, and the first time I’ve worn real clothes since he was born. I wore a dress and leggings instead of the usual sweatpants and maternity shirts I’ve been in since we came home from the hospital – yay!

Our first date night was great and I’d really like to make time for a date at least once a month. When I’m out and about and the baby is being watched by his grandma, I find myself itching to get back home to see him. Even though I missed him and thought a lot about him, we were gone for less than two hours and it was so nice to get out and feel like a real adult and human again, nice clothes and all. Time spent together as a family is the most important thing, but couple time is important too, and I’m so glad we got to spend the time together.

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Got this necklace and matching bracelet from Jerry!

Caleb’s first Valentine’s Day was mostly uneventful, filled with food, diaper changes, and sleeping… ya know, just like every other day. He wore a special onesie for the occasion though, one that Jerry and I were scrambling to find on Thursday. We found ONE at Walmart (below)… slim pickings! We took a short family nap in the afternoon with him in his rock and play, and man do I have to tell you, that one hour of sleep really made all the difference in the world for me. After our nap, his grandparents came over to watch him while Jerry and I went out on our date. The night before, he had his longest stretch of sleep yet – five hours! – but decided last night that none of us would be getting any sleep; it was his worst night yet, with him refusing to sleep and shrieking on and off from 9:30-12:30, so that wasn’t the greatest. All in all though, it was a great day!

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Caleb’s birth story

Caleb Manuel
January 22, 2015
9:47 PM
7 pounds, 13 ounces
20.5 inches

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On Thursday, January 22, 2015, my whole entire world changed with the birth of my son, Caleb Manuel. I was 40 weeks + 2 days when he finally made his arrival.

I had my 40 week appointment the day before, on the 21st, and was feeling really disappointed by the news we received from the doctor: I was STILL not dilated at all, and Caleb’s head hadn’t even dropped even though he had been due on January 20th. I was slightly effaced, and that was all. My doctor was quite certain we would need to be induced the following week, likely on the 29th or 30th. He said it would be very convenient if we were to go into labor naturally that weekend because he was on call, but we knew it was unlikely because of how little progress I had made. We left the office very disappointed and discouraged, but with a 41 week appointment set up for Tuesday the 27th which was to include an ultrasound to check his size and fluid levels. The doctor predicted he would weigh in the high eights… yikes. We were looking forward to seeing him on ultrasound again, but just really wanted him here with us. We were certain it would be more than a week before we would finally meet our son… we were so wrong!

So after the disappointing appointment, I awoke the following morning around 8:00 AM with a bad cramp. It was just a consistent pain though, and wasn’t coming and going like contractions, so I wasn’t thinking too much of it. I sat down on the couch and, very ironically (on the day that wound up being his birth date!), wrote this blog post about how we would be waiting for Caleb for a bit longer… I watched a little TV (“Big Women: Big Love…” good show) and then noticed the cramp had changed and was now coming and going like waves. I thought perhaps they were contractions but was pretty certain they were not. I decided to call my doctor’s office just to be safe, and had an appointment for 11:45 to get checked again. Before leaving, we packed the rest of our hospital items into the car just in case, and put some gas in the tank. It’s a good thing we did because by the time Jerry and I were on our way to the office, the pain was BAD! Jerry tried to distract me in the car by cracking jokes, but I was in no mood to laugh… the waves of pain were serious. When we got to the office, they had us sit in the waiting room but as the pain escalated, Jerry went up to the receptionist and told them we were now pretty sure I was in labor, so could they please bring us back now? They did so promptly.

When we got to the back, I was asked to give a urine sample and things went incredibly quickly from there. I lost my mucus plug at that time and the nurses became very excited. They put me in an exam room and said the doctor was doing a procedure, but they would do their best to get him in there right away. He came in pretty quickly and discovered that I was 3-4 cm dilated… um, what?! He actually said he was surprised too. This wasn’t even my actual doctor, so I’m not sure where the surprise came from on his end; he must have looked over my chart and read about the previous day’s appointment and lack of progress. Jerry and I were quite shell-shocked, and the doctor instructed us to go back home, have some lunch, relax, and then go to the hospital around 2:00 or 3:00, unless the pain got worse in which case we should go in earlier. He left the room, and the moment I stood up, my water broke all over the floor. I was shaking at this point and Jerry ran back out to tell the staff we thought my water had just broken. The doctor came back in and confirmed this for us. Jerry joked with him that just a few days earlier, he had asked me if I thought anyone’s water had ever broken at the office… I guess we were proof that this does in fact happen!

We left and I decided there was no way I could go home to eat and relax. It felt impossible with the pain and anxiety coursing through me, so I told Jerry we were going to the hospital right away. We quickly stopped home to pick up my dog, then made another stop at CVS to try and find some gloves for Jerry (long story short: he has warts on a couple of fingers and was told to wear gloves by the dermatologist when the baby was born). We quickly went to my parent’s house to drop off the dog and pick up my mom and we were finally on our way.

When we arrived at the hospital, we immediately went to the birthing center where I told the receptionist I was in labor. We were sent back to triage to start where we ended up spending approximately two hours before being admitted to a birthing suite. I was seen and asked questions by a number of nurses, residents, medical students, etc. The baby’s heart rate was monitored and they gave us some kind of low-tech ultrasound where we didn’t even get to see the baby. I was checked again for progress and was already 5-6 cm dilated. Things were progressing quickly still! Since I knew you could be given an epidural at 4 cm, I asked a couple of times when I would be put in a room and given one, and grew really frustrated really quickly as the contractions became stronger and more painful. I gripped Jerry’s hand with each one, and though I was very calm and quiet, asked him at one point “what the f*** is taking them so long?” Finally, we were told we were being put in a room. A nurse walked us down the hall and instructed me to stop with each contraction and hold on to the bars in the hall and sway back and forth. We finally made it to our room and an anesthesiologist came in almost immediately to give me my epidural. We just happened to get lucky because the nurse said he was walking by and she grabbed him. It really wasn’t too bad but he was showing a medical student what he was doing, and also answered his phone (with his Rolling Stones ringtone!) and was chatting it up while administering the epidural so I was kind of nervous and annoyed. It ended up going off without a hitch though and I was soon feeling the relief. Ahhh… it seriously made a world of difference. I really couldn’t feel the contractions at all and I was able to rest and doze. I am SO glad I made the decision to get it because I don’t know how much longer I could have handled the pain.

Things were pretty uneventful for the rest of the afternoon except for when the baby’s heart rate temporarily dropped. I had to wear an oxygen mask for awhile, and was instructed to shift to my side to get him moving. This was pretty scary but I remained calm, surprisingly. I think this was because the epidural had me in a bit of a fog. Everything turned out fine though, thank God. I don’t remember a lot of the afternoon after that either because of how tired I was. My nurse stayed in my room almost the whole time I was in labor though and we really liked her. Even though I had been completely terrified of giving birth, I was somehow able to remain really calm almost the whole time and the nurse actually said I was her easiest labor patient in her entire 17 years of being a nurse! Ha! Who would have thought?! I am such a spaz and nervous wreck so this was unexpected.

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Since I couldn’t really feel the contractions anymore due to the epidural, the nurse instructed me to let her know when I started to feel pressure. Right around 8:00, I told her I was feeling some pressure and might be getting ready to push. The doctor came in and I was completely dilated. I told him I didn’t want to wear myself out by pushing too early, but he said he saw no reason to wait, so at 8:00 the pushing began. Jerry had a look at one point right before I started pushing and said “oh boy.” The sight of blood freaked him out initially and the nurse cracked us up by saying “that is not something you say to your wife right now.” Ha! He was really amazing the rest of the time though, saying over and over again that I was the bravest and strongest woman he knew.

So anyway, I started pushing and it was pretty much a nightmare for me. It was completely agonizing pain and discomfort. I was dripping in sweat and incredibly nauseous. There were a lot of points where I didn’t think I could keep going, but of course I somehow did. Jerry and my mom each held a leg and encouraged me the whole time. I was given wet washcloths for my forehead and somehow remained polite, with “no thank yous” and “pleases,” which the nurse thought was hilarious. I dropped an “F” bomb at one point and she said “finally!”

There were so many people in the room during the pushing, including Jerry, my mom, my nurse, a tech, a medical student (who my mom asked to take some pictures), a doctor from my office, and a resident. There were a couple of times when the doctor actually left which was really discouraging for me because to me it basically meant I wasn’t making much progress yet. The nurse had me continue pushing though with each contraction. At one point, she got on her phone and called the doctor back. Other nurses came in and started preparing the baby bassinet, scales, etc. so I finally knew we were getting close, and at 9:47, Caleb Manuel was finally born. Jerry cut the cord and he was immediately placed on my chest where I got a good look at him and all of his hair, which I was delighted by but not surprised at in the least. He was then whisked away for weighing, measuring, vaccines, etc. Jerry and my mom joined him while I got stitched up for 35 minutes for what wound up being 3rd degree tearing. Um, ouch. I finally got to see my son again when the stitching was complete and he was bundled up.

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The rest of the hospital stay was pretty uneventful. Because it’s currently flu season, we were only allowed two visitors at a time and Jerry counted as one of them so we had just a few visitors during our time there. The morning after his birth, his pediatrician stopped by at around 6:00 AM to give him an exam. My doctor (who didn’t end up delivering the baby but was on call the next day) stopped in to see me shortly after. The first thing he said was “well I guess I was wrong, huh?” That night, the hospital served Jerry and I a “sweetheart dinner” which is a meal that is slightly fancier than their usual that they serve to new parents. Jerry had dry steak but my stuffed chicken was decent! We got to go home on Jerry’s birthday, Saturday the 24th. We were simultaneously ecstatic and terrified to go home with our new baby.

I was told I had a pretty perfect first labor and delivery with fast, natural progression. My water broke at noon, I started pushing at 8:00, and by 9:47, Caleb was here. Even though the pushing was pretty traumatizing and I told Jerry I would NEVER be willing to give birth again, I know that it was all worth it every time my son looks up at me and I look into his eyes.

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“I’d do it all over again.”

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Within the first hour of Caleb’s birth, I told Jerry that Caleb would be an only child and that I would NOT be doing that again.

Even though we have always planned on having two children, and even though everyone told me that I’d eventually forget the pain, in that moment I was positive I could not go through what I had just been through for a second time.

For the first eight days of Caleb’s life, I still felt pretty much the same. Towards the end of the first week though, you could finally catch me saying, “IF we have another one;” prior to his birth, it was never an “if” but always a “when.” Early this morning though, during a 5AM feeding, on Caleb’s ninth day, I was looking at his sweet funny face and I turned to Jerry and said, “I’d do it all over again. I’d do it again for him. He’s worth it. He’s so perfect.”

The pain and exhaustion of labor and delivery was pretty indescribable for me. Even though the nurses and doctors said I had a great first delivery, and even though the nurse said I was her best and easiest patient in 17 years, it all felt so traumatic at the time. Add that into raging hormones, baby blues, incredible stress and overwhelming feelings, weight gain, and complete exhaustion, and you could probably understand why I was pretty determined we would not be doing that again. We had started to come to terms with not having a second child… that’s how serious I was when I kept saying it.

But now that things are settling down and my mind and body are starting to heal, I feel differently. I haven’t forgotten the pain. I feel like all I do all day is feed my child. My body feels like it isn’t my own and I am completely and utterly exhausted… but I’d do it all over again. My heart has never been more full. When I see my son, and I see my husband being his daddy, I feel like I could burst. This beautiful child is worth every single bad thing I went through to have him. He will always be worth it… and maybe someday he WILL have a sibling now. I could do it again. I feel like I could do anything when I see his face.

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Welcome to the world!

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On January 22, 2015 at 9:47 PM, Caleb Manuel was born!

He weighed in at 7 pounds, 13 ounces (thrilled about this – we were expecting a very large baby) and was 20.5 inches long. Just about the perfect, average sized baby! He also had a head full of dark hair, exactly what we expected and hoped for! :) He ended up being only two days late, born at 40w+2d.

Life is pretty funny, I have to say. That very morning, I wrote a blog post about how we were still waiting for him. Just a few hours later, he was here.

I will be posting a full birth story as soon as I can. I’m hoping in the next week or so. I’d also like to get back into a regular blogging schedule at some point soon, but we are very exhausted and busy at the moment, of course! Hoping to make a regular return to the blogging world soon.

In the meantime, here are a few more pictures. Welcome to the world, Caleb! We waited a long time for you.

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And because Tuesday is my normal “bumpdate” day, here is a post-birth bumpdate in the good old bumpdate shirt!

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