Thursday, July 29, 2010

Awake and not fussing! Wahoo!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

More Pictures of Baby

I don't know why the bottom pics won't line up...

Exhausted, but happy mom:





Proud daddy:






First family photo:




Welcome to the world:



One of them is a little sleep deprived:
















Ballet slipper socks:




Muscle woman (5 days old):

Scarlett's Portrait

My brother stopped by yesterday to visit us and to bring this gift:


As I've mentioned before, Drew is an amazing artist. But I think this might be his masterpiece.

Since the Birth

I had to stay 48 hours in the hospital because of the infection I got during the delivery. But it was a good thing -- an extra night of help and advice from the hospital staff was a godsend. Jeremy stayed with us as much as possible, but sadly had to stay the night at home because of our pets. When he came to the hospital on Wednesday morning, he brought me these flowers...


Jeremy said that he had trouble getting to my hospital room with that bouquet because people kept stopping him to compliment his choice of flowers and to ask where he got them. My husband has incredible taste, no?

The second night in the hospital, Wednesday night, was really rough. Scarlett started "cluster feeding" -- basically a baby feeding frenzy. She'd nurse for an hour, then rest for 5 or 10 minutes, only to start fussing and crying to be fed again. We were up all night. At one point I called the nurse in because I wasn't sure what was going on -- but she reassured me that it was all normal, and I was doing everything right.

The hospital finally let us go home Thursday night. They sent us home with a "new mom meal" -- a huge vegetarian lasagna, foot-long garlic bread, a large salad and drinks for our first meal at home as a family. We were exhausted but wired when we got home, and went to bed pretty late. Unfortunately that became night #2 of Scarlett's cluster feeding. Jeremy helped me as much as he could, but he can't feed her, and all she wanted to do was nurse.

Since then we've been pretty much just here at home, at Scarlett's beck and call as she and I figure out our nursing and sleeping situation. I know it takes weeks to establish a routine, and I feel pretty patient about it.

It's hard to say if Scarlett is an easy baby or not, because she's my first. But Jeremy and I seem to be figuring her out okay. Each day has been a little different, and she has needed different things, but we've managed well. It's been so great having Jeremy here to help me.

We went to Walmart for a diapers last night. It was our first trip anywhere with the baby. Scarlett did great! She was so fascinated by the lights and the movement of the shopping cart. She just stared and stared. She didn't fuss at all until we were in the car on our way home.

I promise more pictures of the baby (and me and Jeremy) soon.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Birth Story

The baby's due date was Monday, July 19. That very afternoon I started having contractions. I wrapped up my work for the day and let my manager know that Tuesday would probably be my first day of maternity leave. I anticipated days of contractions before needing to go to the hospital. Boy was I wrong.

The contractions continued through the evening, getting stronger and closer together. I went to bed at midnight, thinking I could sleep through the pain. At 2:30am, I gave up trying to sleep and came out of the bedroom to tell Jeremy that he'd better go to bed soon and get some sleep, because I didn't think it would be long until we went to the hospital. Not too much later he came to bed and it was already too late. We timed the contractions for an hour and a half, and then called the doctor.

At 4:30am, we were at the hospital getting settled into a labor/delivery room. The contractions were bad, but I was able to breathe through them. The nurse came in and checked me, and while the contractions were 3-5 minutes apart and the baby's head was really low, I was only 3cm dilated. Instead of sending me home, she told me she wanted me to walk around for an hour and see if labor would progress. I paced the room for an hour (I tried the hallway too, but being in the room felt better), and by the end of that hour the contractions were almost unbearable. When the nurse and the doctor checked on me next, I was 4cm dilated. Again they told me they wanted to give me more time rather than send me home. So I stayed there in the hospital room with Jeremy -- soon the only thing I could do was sit on the edge of the bed and rock and try not to moan too loud.

At 9:30am on Tuesday, the doctor checked me again. I was still only 4 1/2cm dilated, but the baby's head was at a +1 and the contractions were still 3-5 minutes apart. They decided to officially admit me. By that time, I was in so much pain I was afraid I couldn't stay still for the epidural. Before I went into labor, I was adamant that I did not want narcotics because of the affects on me and the baby -- but by this point I thought I might need some help to stay still for the anesthesiologist. I told Jeremy my thoughts and at first he reminded me that I had made him promise not to let me get narcotic help. It didn't take much to convince him otherwise. LOL. The nurse (awesome awesome nurse Rachel!) told me she could give me a small dose of a really mild narcotic (started with an F) just to take the edge off -- and I reluctantly yet readily agreed. She gave me the drug through my IV, and sure enough, it took just enough of the edge off the pain that I was able to breathe through the contractions again and hold still for the anesthesiologist. The best part was that by the time the epidural was in and working, the narcotic had completely worn off. So all that you hear about how narcotics can make you and your baby too drugged up during labor and delivery, well it's just not true if it's done right.

So the epidural was another thing that was different than I expected. So many women told me how painful it was to get an epidural put in, and how hard it was to stay still through the process. But I must have had the world's best anesthesiologist because I hardly felt a thing! Unfortunately, the guy put it in a little too far to the right, so I was still feeling contractions on my left side. Instead of having the epidural re-done, the nursing staff tried getting me onto my left side to see if the drugs would drain in that direction. It worked. And being on my left side for the duration of labor had the added bonus of being a good position for the baby to move downward through the birth canal.

Once the epidural was working, I was in no pain at all. My family and Jeremy's both came up and hung out with us in the hospital room as my labor progressed. The baby steadily moved lower, and I continued to dilate more and more through the day. The doctor broke my water early that evening. Unfortunately this caused an infection, so they had to give me antibiotics and monitor my fever. By 8pm, I was told it was almost time to push.

I started pushing at about 8:30, and at 8:43, Scarlett Rose Mehring was born. She was 7lbs, 3oz, and 19 3/4 inches long. Ten fingers, ten toes, perfect in every way.

After she nursed for the first time (a pro right out of the gate!), we let everyone into the room to see her. Fourteen people flooded the room and oohed and aahed over her while I watched with a swollen heart. The experience of giving birth to this perfect little creature was life-affirming -- but having our families there to share in the love made it so much more special.











Sunday, July 18, 2010

Baby Hat

The hat I knitted for the baby.


Knitting and Love

I sat outside on the front balcony this morning, enjoying the shade and knitting a hat for Scarlett. Knitting is such a soothing, meditative craft. It keeps my hands busy but lets my mind wander -- perfect for a personality like mine. And I was contemplating how these last few days of pregnancy have forced me to wind down and take it easy, and how it's felt like both a blessing and a curse because I can't stand to be still like this for very long, but I know it's good for both me and the baby (and my husband's sanity). I put my knitting on my lap so I could take a drink, and one of my needles slipped off and went right through the slats of the balcony floor. The area below is enclosed by vine-covered lattice. Call it a hormone shift, call it oversensitivity, but I started to lose it.

So I went inside and curled up on the bed next to still-sleeping Jeremy. He opened his eyes and I started crying about my lost knitting needle. True to form, he stroked my hair and told me he'd get up and get it for me right then and there. Ten minutes later, I've got my knitting needle and I'm back working on Scarlett's hat.

And that, folks, is what I call love.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Horse Charcoal Sketch

A little sketch I did tonight. I was out on the balcony while I was doing this, so there are a couple of water spots on it from a passing raincloud.


Jeremy's Birthday

Jeremy's birthday was on Thursday. He's still not 30 yet. One more year to go. Does it bother me that I'm almost 2 years older than my husband? Nope. As long as he continues to LOOK older than me, I'm good to go. Hahaha

Thursday morning I snuck out to the bakery to pick up the red velvet cake I had ordered for Jeremy's birthday. When he woke up, I told him he got to have cake for breakfast. Oh that was one happy man. He opened his presents from me while I served the cake. I had bought him a book on photography, a USB media card reader for his laptop and the first season of Smallville on DVD. As of this posting he has watched all but 2 episodes of Smallville.

Jeremy's family all congregated at Cinzetti's in Northglenn for dinner Thursday night. I think there were 18 of us total, including the babies. Jeremy's cousin Jacob, his wife Maya and their daughter Nadia were here in Colorado visiting and somehow even with all the people demanding to see them, they managed to make it to dinner with us. It couldn't have been a better birthday present for Jeremy. We haven't seen Nadia since she was an itty bitty baby, and now she's a walking, talking toddler. And a REALLY social one at that! We were floored at how friendly and outgoing she was. It was really fun hanging out with Schell family, even though it was only for a short time. And of course we stuffed ourselves silly at Cinzetti's buffet.

This morning we met my family at Gunther Toody's in Brighton for brunch in honor of Jeremy's birthday. After we ate we went over to Costco and stocked up on a bunch of basics to get us through the weeks following the baby's birth. Hopefully we'll have to go to the grocery for very little in the next few weeks.

The baby is due on Monday, and boy am I feeling it. Every day is a little more uncomfortable as she gets lower and my hormones shift. My ligaments are stretching so much that it feels like I overdid it in the gym. I don't even think I'm going to be able to make it to yoga tomorrow, I'm just too sore. I feel like I'm on the verge, here, and she is going to be born VERY soon. I really hope I'm right. I keep hoping she'll be born this weekend... that would be just perfect timing.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Good Morning Birds

What is it about 4am that sets off my internal alarm clock these days? Not even the birds are awake yet at such a wretched hour.

Lately I've been able to fall back asleep, thank goodness -- but this morning I tossed and turned for an hour before giving up. I am sitting out on the front balcony, listening to the birds and watching the sky lighten. One of the great things about living next to a lake is all the different bird songs in the morning. I wish I was feeling up for a walk. I bet the lake is amazing right now. But my back is giving me trouble and I'm not going to push it (as I typed that I could hear Jeremy's voice in my head, "Oh, NOW you start listening to me.") I have my last chiropractor appointment this afternoon, so hopefully I will get some relief then.

I feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone. I'm just disconnected. I suppose this is the mental waiting room before giving birth... but it's odd. Two friends stopped by yesterday -- Della on her way to the lake, and Emily to pick up some folding tables for her garage sale -- and the encounters were surreal. I hardly remember what I said to them, only that I was thankful for someone to come inside my little bubble for a few minutes. I don't like to be disconnected from people, so this part of the pregnancy is probably the hardest for me, mentally. Physically I'm starting to feel the strain, too. In the morning Scarlett is up higher and it isn't so uncomfortable, but after an hour or so she has settled back down low and is putting a lot of pressure on me. I could hardly walk yesterday. Thank goodness I have a sedentary job.

Yesterday I felt like I needed to rest a lot, so I rested as much as possible given that I'm still working. Jeremy didn't quite know what to do with himself -- he's so used to having to corral me while I'm not feeling well. I get antsy when my body is demanding to be still, and I chomp at the bit. Yesterday I didn't fight it.

Well, it's 5:45am and the noise from commuter traffic is catching up with the sounds of the birds. I am going to go inside soon and watch the news until I'm tired enough to go back to bed for a bit.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Weekend

We were invited to lunch with Jeremy's family in Estes Park on Saturday. Jeremy's parents were spending their anniversary there this weekend, and Jennifer's family was also up there camping. Since it's a relatively short drive for us, we readily accepted (even though Jeremy has a really adorable paranoia about me going into labor when we're far from the hospital). We met at Chelito's and were quickly brought up to speed about the ghost tour they had all just done at the Stanley Hotel. Selena and Marissa insisted that they had been harassed by ghosts during the entire tour, of course. LOL. The company and conversation were great, but the food and service at the restaurant were terrible.

Afterward we all went and played a round of miniature golf. I haven't done that since I was in college! It was so fun, even though I got the lowest score on our team. But hey, I was playing around a gigantic belly!

Saturday night Jeremy found She's Out of My League at Redbox, so we settled in for a movie night. We were expecting one of those slapstick comedies with the self-deprecating male lead and annoyingly perfect female lead... and were happily met with a totally different type of movie. The characters were all very real and lovable in their own ways, the comedy wasn't too raunchy, and it was just a really uplifting, fun movie to watch. Afterward, both of us were gushing about how much we needed to buy that movie.

I slept in today, did a few things around the house, then headed off to yoga. It's been a couple of weeks since I've been able to go, thanks to Father's Day celebrations and the 4th of July. It was soooo needed. My body was just aching to move. Class was heaven, as always. Being pregnant is like a constant state of tightness, soreness and strain in varying degrees. Simple prenatal yoga stretches are like getting a full-body massage.

It was odd to tell Michelle (my yoga teacher) that I might not be in class again after today. The baby is due in a week, and I feel like she's going to be pretty close to on-time. Michelle is starting a mommy-and-me yoga class at the rec center in August, though, and Scarlett will be old enough to start going with me in September. I think that's going to be great not only for my health and Scarlett's, but also it will be an opportunity for me to meet other local moms. I'm absolutely thrilled that Michelle was able to put this class together at such an opportune time.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Oh Happy Day

Today has been one of those days I just want to bottle up and keep forever.

First, I slept REALLY well. I don't know why or how, but I slept like a rock, all the way through to morning without waking up or having to use the restroom once. When I logged into work this morning I was pleased to see a meeting-free calendar -- which equaled an entire day of being able to dedicate myself to a redesign project I've had on the back burner for a month.

But it kept getting better.

Jeremy was approved for the bond required by the state to start his business! FINALLY! We've been waiting for a couple of insurance companies to do this for us for literally months -- and finally he found a bond company on his own that would do it. So thanks for nothing, crappy insurance companies. This was the last hurdle to get over before Jeremy could get his business up and running. Once he gets the certificate in the mail, he can apply for the state permit.

But it keeps getting better.

Jeremy also got a call this morning to set up an interview for a logistics job pretty close to where we live. So he might even be able to get a job to tide him over until the business is operational!

But it keeps getting better.

I have been a nervous wreck about my maternity leave situation because the company that handles my employer's short-term disability has been dragging their feet to get me and my doctor the paperwork. They claim to have mailed me the forms twice, and to be "waiting for a call back" from my doctor's office (according to my doctor's office, this company never contacted them). One week from the baby's due date and I'm still not set up for maternity leave. So I called the company this morning to try one last time to get them to give me the paperwork I needed -- and I actually got a competent woman on the phone. Turns out the forms I needed were ON THEIR FREAKING WEBSITE. I told her to smack my claim processor. If I had known that, I would have printed everything out 3 weeks ago when I filed for maternity leave! Plus, the woman I had on the phone this morning faxed the paperwork to my doctor's office while I was still on the line. So it looks like everything got taken care of today and I can get paid when I go on leave. Hallelujah!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

38 Weeks

We had our 38 week appointment on Wednesday. Once again everything was "perfect". I've gained 27lbs, my belly is 30cm, and there are no problems to report. In fact, since there has been no discomfort at all, I was a little worried that the baby wasn't getting ready to arrive yet. The doctor quickly dispelled that idea, though -- not only has the baby dropped, but I'm already 2cm dilated!

The idea of the baby dropping was so blown out of proportion. The books, even several of my friends, said I'd experience a relief in my lungs and stomach, and more pressure in my pelvis and on my bladder. I was so frustrated that that hadn't occurred yet! Turns out that it HAD occurred, it just wasn't such a big deal for me. In the last two weeks, I've been able to eat a little bit more and I have to get up twice a night instead of just once to use the restroom -- but that's all the difference there was. And it was almost completely unnoticeable.

I hope this bodes well for labor and delivery... because it's coming SO soon. Only 11 days to the due date.

Perspective

People tell me how lucky I am to have had such an easy pregnancy -- but from where I stand, both Jeremy and I had to go through hell and back to even get pregnant in the first place. I do feel blessed, don't get me wrong, but to me the ease of my experience almost seems to balance out the turmoil of getting pregnant.

I have a friend from high school whose wife has breast cancer. I saw a beautiful picture of her today, taken by a photographer friend of theirs, in which she was completely bald from chemo. In the picture she was in the bathtub with her toddler daughter -- an intimate, striking moment caught by a really talented photographer. The photo hit my heart like an arrow. I have had a couple of big health scares in my life, and now I work so hard to be healthy to avoid another such health problem. I've made health a lifestyle. But no matter how hard you work at it, your health can be taken from you in an instant. I know deep down it is just as important to enjoy the moment as it is to work hard for a good future -- and yet sometimes I let worry get the best of me. They say worry makes a person feel more in control, like they are doing something about an issue they can't really do anything about. But it's false control. I know that, and yet sometimes I get swept up in it. That photo of my friend's wife and daughter was a reminder to let that worry go as much as I can.

And I've never been the kind of person that expects bad things to happen. Actually, I more often expect GOOD things to happen -- especially after a run of bad luck. Because I know everything balances out in the end, and all things happen for a reason. But with this pregnancy, I have been SO lucky, I have this nagging worry that something will go wrong when I give birth. It's not such an overwhelming feeling that I'm obsessed by it... it's just a nagging in the back of my mind. So I make myself look at the journey before the pregnancy, and I remind myself of something that Jeremy told me not too long ago: We've already had our hard times. Now is the payoff -- now is the good stuff.

And you know what? It IS good stuff! I have never been this happy in my life. I walk around with this constant feeling of satisfaction. Everything is as it should be. And even the little irritations of life (husband's dirty laundry on the bedroom floor...) are nothing to get worked up over. For the first time in my life, letting the little worries go is not an overwhelming task.

Maybe it's just these pregnancy hormones (yeah, again I'm blessed -- I got the good, happy hormones), but it is getting easier and easier not to stress about things in life. Because I know I'm doing everything I can to make a good life for myself and my family, and everything else is out of my control. Everything else will work itself out, and in the end good things will always come on the heels of the bad.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Home Schmome

Yeah, that desire to stay home didn't even last 24 hours.

Sunday morning I woke up and had my breakfast out on the front balcony. It was overcast and in the 70's -- after a week of blistering heat, it was heaven. I stayed out there for a while with a book, soaking in the fresh air. Sadly after about an hour the sun peeked out from behind the clouds and it got too hot for me, so I came in. I didn't last long inside before I was itching to get out of the house again. So off I went for a walk around Waneka Lake. The south side of the lake was bustling with picnic-goers, fishermen and folks renting paddleboats and canoes from the boathouse, but the north side was quite peaceful. It was a lovely walk, and the rain held off until I got back home.

When I walked in the door, Jeremy let me know that Della had called. We had been invited over for a little impromptu 4th of July BBQ. So we headed over in the late afternoon for some Scattergories, catching up and of course Della's amazing food. Even the woman's BBQ food is gourmet. She constantly amazes me.

Sadly we could not see any fireworks last night because a wicked thunderstorm struck around 8pm and didn't let off until after 11. That makes this the third year in a row that Jeremy and I have missed the fireworks (we were out of the country for the last two).

I swear I think my energy is actually ramping UP instead of down as the birth of the baby gets closer. I woke up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed this morning. Once again I spent my morning out on the front balcony with my breakfast and a good book. When the sun got to be too much for me, I came in and got a few things done around the house, then Jeremy and I headed into Boulder. We had a little bit of money from my winnings in Black Hawk, so we were going to get a cheap and healthy lunch at Mad Greens -- however we couldn't manage to find it based on the Google map I had looked at beforehand. Frustrated and not willing to drive all over town to find another cheap place, we went to the nearby IHOP for lunch.

After lunch we drove up to Boulder Reservoir and spent some time on the beach. It was sooooo nice. There were lots of people there, but still plenty of room to put our towels down. The water, unfortunately, was freezing cold from yesterday's rainstorms and neither of us was up for swimming in it -- but it was not so cold that we couldn't get in at all. I sat on the shoreline with my lower half in the water and my upper half in the sun. I could have stayed like that for hours, it felt so good! But Jeremy was quickly getting overheated, so we didn't stay too long.

Now we're home and getting ready to watch Transylmania. Yeah, Redbox's selection was pretty limited today.

I'm so not ready to go back to work tomorrow. Just one more day off pleeeeease?

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Touring the State

I am so glad to be HOME! I'm not leaving this house again until this baby is born, I swear. Okay, that will last about 24 hours before I'm crawling the walls again, I know. But it's been such a busy week. It's been such a busy last few weekends, too. Curling up in my big comfy recliner with a bunch of DVDs at hand is my idea of heaven at the moment.

My name came up in the company queue to replace my work laptop with a newer model about a month ago. My manager and I placed the order, but had to have it shipped to the HP location in the Springs. This week it was supposed to arrive, so I made plans to work from the HP office on Friday so I could go pick it up. I also arranged to have lunch with a bunch of my coworkers while I was down there. I stayed the night Thursday at my parents' house in Castle Rock, because driving through Denver rush hour traffic is an absolute nightmare -- whereas the drive between Castle Rock and Colorado Springs in the morning is easy and quite beautiful. I got up early enough to go to Starbucks for a leisurely morning coffee with my mom before I headed down to the Springs, too.

When I showed up at the office on Friday morning, the entire floor was dark. I had to call a couple of people to figure out where everyone had been moved (it had been six months since I'd been in the office, and HP is consolidating the property because most of the employees have been moved to the new Rio Rancho, NM location). I decided to stop at the shipping/receiving doc to pick up my laptop on my way to the other building. Of course, it turns out that only my docking station had arrived -- the laptop wasn't in yet. I was so pissed! The shipping lady took pity on me, though, and said she'd forward it to our house when it came in so I didn't have to drive down again. WHEW!

So after that, I finally found the right building, hiked my way to the area where I had been told all my coworkers had been moved -- and still couldn't find anyone. So I found an empty cube with a landline and set up shop, then managed to find my coworkers shortly after. I work with some really great people, and I had forgotten how much fun it is to go into the office and be physically around them during the work day.

I cranked through as much work as I could in the morning (and there was plenty to keep me busy -- this week was NUTS!), then went to lunch with Deb, Gamela and Regina at La Baguette. Man they have a great menu at that place. And it was so great to catch up with the ladies.

After lunch, I headed back up to Lafayette. Denver traffic was MISERABLE. I made it home around 3:30, worked for a little while longer, then about fell over dead. I can push myself pretty hard -- but when I stop, exhaustion is the result. Friday night was a night of take-out and marathon Carnivale episodes.

Saturday Jeremy and I drove up to Black Hawk to meet my family for a lunch buffet and a couple hours of gambling. We had never been to Black Hawk before. The drive took about an hour -- and it only took that long because we kept getting stuck behind idiots on the road. It's a really pretty drive though. The canyon going from Golden to Black Hawk is rocky and steep, with a rushing river next to the road. First thing we did was go to the lunch buffet at The Lodge and stuff ourselves silly. They had a chocolate fountain. Need I say more? Then we hit the slots. We were all holding out pretty well, but after about an hour we were ready to leave. So I put my ticket into a quarter slot to run it out, and when I was a couple bucks away from losing it all, BAM, I was up $68! Needless to say, I cashed that ticket out. Jeremy and I can go out to dinner and a movie with that this week!

So now it's Saturday evening and I am crashed out in my comfy recliner, feet up, and not moving for the night.