Motherhood: All love begins and ends there.

It’s been almost two weeks now, and I’m happy to say that we welcomed baby Ellia Dawn (named after our grandmothers Ella and Eleanor, and my mother Dawn) into the world on September 24th, 2014 at 8:09am via a scheduled c-section (thanks to placenta previa). She weighed 7lbs and 6oz and was 19-1/2 inches long. Impressive for a whole week early, I think, especially since we were expecting her to be a tiny, little bundle based on my own size. She’s healthy and, as any new mother would say, quite perfect.

Ellia Dawn

The transition into motherhood has been surprisingly, or unsurprisingly depending on who you ask, gentle. I feel good about being a mom and taking care of a tiny human. I was worried that it wouldn’t feel natural or that the whole process would be awkward and stressful, but instead, it’s almost as if I’ve been genetically programmed for this sort of thing. Go figure, right? Evolution has its perks.

The whole labor thing really wasn’t as scary as I was expecting either. I did have a c-section, so I was able to avoid the hours of contractions, but delivering a baby by any means is still an intimidating experience. We were the first surgery of the day, so we arrived at the hospital at 5:30am and I was wheeled into the operating room by 7:30am. From the time I got the spinal to the time I was all stitched up was about 45 minutes to an hour. I did get nauseous in the beginning, but the anesthesiologist was on top of things and regulated my blood pressure to take care of that. The rest of the surgery went great and I felt only numbness. It’s just like what I was told–you feel pressure but no pain.

Corey getting ready!

Corey and I both cried when we heard Ellia enter the world. Considering my state at the time, and the giant sheet in the way, Corey was offered first dibbs on seeing and holding the baby and it’s an amazing feeling to see your husband hold the life you created for the first time. He was able to trim the cord and be there for all of her first measurements, after which I was able to see her too. That first moment of seeing your child is unexplainable.

We remained in the hospital until the following Saturday. Ellia had a tiny bit of jaundice that has since cleared up, and besides the pain of my contracting uterus, I’m doing fine. My incision site is still numb and the extent of my pain is very minimal. In fact, only the first few days were bad, with the first time getting up out of bed being by far the worst of things. I only took pain medication for two days, Motrin for a couple more, and then I’ve been med-free since then. Corey thinks I’m some kind of superhero for that, and the nurses were impressed, but I have a high tolerance for pain. I’m pretty much back to my old self–no post partum issues that I know of. I’ve already lost around 20lbs, which is just 10lbs more than what I was before this started, and I’m feeling pretty mobile. Needless to say, I can’t complain. This pregnancy and labor experience were not much to gripe about and I got a neat little baby as a reward. I think that’s pretty awesome.

There is only one kind of shock worse than the totally unexpected: the expected for which one has refused to prepare.

Just when I think we’re coasting towards the finish of this pregnancy, a wrench is thrown into the plan. After having things so easy, as I’m repeatedly told, I really hadn’t expected to run into any complications. I was content to count down the days until my due date, absolutely ignorant yet terrified of what was to come. Well, now I actually have something to worry about–delivering a tiny human aside.

So, last week, the morning of my scheduled prenatal check-up, one of the nurses gave me a call to let me know that my doctor had an emergency and wouldn’t be able to see me. No big deal, she said, because as this was just a checkup, I could either reschedule or just have her do a basic exam (weight, blood pressure, measurements, etc.). I chose to just have a nurse look me over as I always enjoy that warm and fuzzy feeling of hearing the baby’s heartbeat and learning that everything is indeed okay. I also took the opportunity to inquire about whether or not I was going to be having anymore ultrasounds before the baby was born. The nurse told me that they typically don’t do another one after the anatomy scan in the second trimester unless there is a medical reason to justify one. I was fine with that, but the nurse who did my exam said that my baby was measuring a bit small (no surprise there considering my own size), and that they could schedule an ultrasound for me due to that.

Fast forward to yesterday when I had said ultrasound. Corey did not accompany me as he’s got about a million things going on with work right now, and I didn’t fault him for that. Well, everything was going great (aside from the fact that the computer was having issues and the ultrasound tech couldn’t record the video onto the DVD I brought with me). The baby was healthy, happy, and only about 5 days behind in size based on where I am in this pregnancy. Unfortunately, when it came time to make the other obligatory measurements of my insides, things weren’t necessarily where they were supposed to be.

The ultrasound tech checked, and checked, and checked again just to be sure, and it appears as though I have placenta previa. Basically, that means that if I were to go into labor on my own, there is a high likelihood that my body would put the cart before the horse, so to speak, and deliver the placenta before the baby. That’s a big no-no as the placenta is what provides said baby life. Also, it could potentially put my own life in danger by causing me to hemorrhage.

As of right now, I don’t know how serious this problem actually is, but my OBGYN set up a consult for next Friday with a specialist (ie: a high-risk pregnancy doctor) to get a second opinion. I’m not having any symptoms nor do I have any of the risk factors of this issue, but it appears that it’s there–lucky me. I’m scheduled for a c-section on September 24th, which is a week before my due date, just to be safe. Depending on what the specialist decides, that date could be pushed up by a week or two.

Gah. I’m going to have a baby in less than a month. How terrifying! I’m not ready yet! We haven’t decorated the nursery! I’m just now washing all of the pre-folds and clothes! We don’t even have a car seat or any diapers yet! There’s so much to do! And we still haven’t picked a name!

Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day.

This has been a busy summer. Honestly, it’s been a busy year in general, but that’s what happens in life.

Corey is home from his month/month-and-a-half training session, which consisted of an extended stay out of state and then another week back in California, but a few hours from home. It was a good experience for him, I think, and he did find out some great news while he was gone. He’s being promoted! We were both very excited about this, especially since we considered it long overdue, but the timing isn’t exactly the best. This promotion isn’t a quick here’s-your-new-rank type of thing. It’s intensive and time consuming, and requires about six weeks of what is categorically considered “reindeer games”. With me being prior service, I understood the gist of things ahead of time and knew not to expect him around much. That really doesn’t make it any easier, especially when a) he’s already been gone for several weeks, and b) I’m just shy of eight months pregnant. I’m doing the best I can to help him out here and there, but he literally wakes up at 3am, maybe gets home by 8pm, works on projects until about midnight, and then crashes into bed shortly after that only to do it all over again. Needless to say, we’re probably going to be pretty prepared for that whole lack of sleep thing with a newborn.

I’ve done a pretty good job fending for myself over the last couple of months–whether I wanted to or not. I’m still doing most of the same things, and in the same way that I did them, as pre-pregnancy. I do get tired more quickly than before and can’t push myself as far, but that’s to be expected. Physically, my ankles have begun to swell, contractions have started, and sleep became rather elusive several weeks ago. It’s only been in the last few days, however, that I’ve actually had those moments of “ack, let’s slow this pregnancy down! I’m not ready yet!” That’s a moot point because this baby is coming whenever she pleases. I’m really crossing my fingers that she arrives closer to the due date of October 1st because Corey’s promotion ceremony is in mid-September. I’d kind of like to tackle that hurdle before we move onto the whole parenthood thing. You know, just to have a bit less stress.

As of right now, by the way, we still don’t have a name picked out for the baby. That’s one of the downsides of not being able to spend a whole lot of time with your spouse, and assuming that you’re going to have all the time in the world to decide back in that first trimester. How silly we were to think that.

Those who fly solo have the strongest wings.

I’m nearing the end of the second trimester, and only slightly dreading the fact the my third trimester will mostly be spent 1) in the midst of summer and 2) by myself. Neither of those things are all that appealing, but I know time will pass and I’ll get by just fine–albeit grumpily and bored.

glow

I really can’t complain too much because I’ve honestly had a really easy pregnancy so far–knock on wood. I’ve only had minor annoyances, like occasional round ligament pain, nightly calf cramping and potty breaks, and all of that nausea back in the first trimester. For the most part, I’ve just been normal old me except for the expanded tummy. Even that really isn’t too remarkable as my small stature has made for a smaller than average bump. Normal, but small (I’ve gained 15 pounds so far, but I only weigh 125 pounds right now and I think half of that is from my boobs).

With all of this “average” and “normal” wordage being thrown around, I don’t feel too panicked over the fact that my husband will be sent away for about a month and a half beginning in about a week. It could be worse, especially considering we’re a military family. I am a bit saddened that I still don’t know anyone in our new town and therefore will be flying solo on every aspect of my daily life until hubby returns, but it is what it is. I’ll find something to occupy my time, hopefully besides work.

Oh, before I forget, I had that lovely glucose test this morning. It really wasn’t that bad, or not as bad as every over-exaggerated pregnancy blog had me believing. I made an appointment with Quest Diagnostics last week, showed up early, and was seen early thanks to having to fast. My blood was drawn and then I drank the exceptionally sweet, flat Sprite-tasting drink. I had five minutes to get it down, but I chugged that thing as fast as possible as I’m not a huge fan of sugary things. I sat in the waiting room for the designated hour, draining my cell phone battery in boredom, and then had my blood re-drawn. That was it, so not too bad. If my results come back normal, which I hope that they will considering I maintain a healthier diet, I should be good to go with blood tests for this pregnancy. I think. I really don’t know for sure–this is my first go-around, after all. Either way, I’m comfortably living obliviously for now until my next appointment later this month.

And though she be but little, she is fierce.

The fact that I’m going to become a mother became much more of a reality this week. On Wednesday, we were finally able to get an ultrasound of our baby and find out the gender. Corey got his wish and we’re having a girl!

Grabbing her toes!

Grabbing her toes!

Seeing a 3D version of your child-to-be is very cool, albeit a little life altering. I think that brief experience finally allowed me to grasp the concept of motherhood. I’ve been kind of detached so far, mostly because I have no relatable experience in that role. I’ve never been around babies–plenty of people who act like children, but never babies themselves. I’m only slightly terrified, but that’s normal, right?

I’m 22 weeks pregnant right now and I’m just now getting used to that experience. I’ve got a few more months left to go, so hopefully I’m able to prepare well enough. The baby is also extremely active and has been kicking for almost two weeks now, giving me a pretty good reminder that things are different even if I feel the same (mostly). On Tuesday, she was kicking during our doctor’s visit when the OB was monitoring her heartbeat. During the ultrasound the following day, the technician was having a ball, along with us, watching her move all over the place (flipping, turning, and throwing any and all limbs). She’s definitely an acrobat, or a future gymnast as the technician commented. The most important part though is that she’s healthy and, if the activity is any indication, happy. That’s all that I can ask for, really.

Seeing is believing.

After all of the waiting, and waiting, and waiting, life finally caught up with us. The last few weeks have been a whirlwind, but we’re now beginning to settle into a routine again–for now.

its-easier-to-keep-up-than-to-catch-up_325x325_width

The move out of San Diego is finally over and we’re all settled into our new place. We had, maybe, a two-week notice to find somewhere new to live, complete the packing (we were living out of boxes for two months due to so many other close moving calls, but you’d be amazed by how much stuff we had to box up in the last week), and actually move. We did everything ourselves–the packing, the moving truck, the driving, the unloading, the unpacking, etc. It was a lot, especially with just the two of us and me being pregnant. The Navy also has so many hoops you have to jump through that the whole Personally Procured Move (formally DITY move) is not at all efficient. If we never have to get a vehicle weighed again, it will be too soon–that’s all you need to know. And don’t even get me started on the paperwork because it’s completely archaic. Needless to say, I’m glad it’s all over, but I’m dreading that we’ll be doing it again in a couple of years.

I never thought I’d say it, but so far, living where we’re living makes me want to live in California. Like, as an actual real-life transplanted resident. Sure, there are still many California-isms that I dislike, such as the general expense of just breathing here, but this town is really great. It’s a combination of small-town America meets modern-day needs and wants. Literally, everything we need is within a half mile of our house, our neighbors are either families or elderly couples who have lived here for generations, and I feel safe! There isn’t a liquor store within a rock’s throw of our front door, we can park both of our cars in our driveway or on the street, and the only thing I hear during the day are bird calls rather than speeding cars, construction, or rude-people-noise-pollution.

Honestly, the only gripes that I have revolve around the Navy and not the area itself. Moving here has been a logistical nightmare of paperwork in so many ways, but mostly medically. If you can avoid it, don’t move in the middle of a pregnancy. All of the things I was told to do when I got here, and since for that matter, have changed. And then changed again. Mostly, it’s because everything, like medical records, were all digital in San Diego, but everything is here is still on paper. It took two weeks just to get my primary care doctor set up, and almost another two weeks just to receive a referral for OBGYN care. I still won’t get to see my new OB until next week–a month after arriving here. Talk about slow, right?

We were supposed to find out the gender of our baby three weeks ago, but due to the move, we were told to schedule an ultrasound after we moved. That’s fine, but we’re feeling rather impatient at this point. I’m also feeling a little anxious because our last OB visit in San Diego didn’t make us feel all that warm and fuzzy. My normal mid-wife was out of town, so we received “care” (that term is used very lightly) from a guy who was basically the equivalent of the C-team. He spent ten minutes alone trying to find our baby’s heartbeat, making all sorts of I’m-really-confused-as-to-why-this-isn’t-working noises and when he got it working, we were able to hear the heartbeat for maybe three seconds before he switched everything off and told us he thought everything was good. We didn’t walk out of there feeling very confident, obviously. I can’t say I’ve been feeling like I’ve had anything to worry about, knock on wood, but there is no substitute for a doctor that actually cares.

So, I’m about 22 weeks pregnant and I still feel about the same as I did 22 weeks ago, larger waist aside. I’m sure there are many pregnant women who would consider me lucky, but I’m sure my time will come. As of right now though, I haven’t been having any weird cravings nor do I feel the need to eat any and everything all the time. Mostly, I just feel off balance and I feel kind of sore in some areas where I didn’t before. I’m not complaining, especially after how nauseous I felt for the first three or more months of this journey. I think after we have this next ultrasound, the baby will feel more real. Seeing is believing, after all.

Life does not get better by chance. It gets better by change.

Apparently, this is going to be a big year for me. I got a job, we’re moving, and I’m pregnant. Guess which of those was the biggest surprise.

1. The job. For the last several months, my brother and sister-in-law have been inquiring as to whether or not I would be interested in helping them out with a company they are in the process of developing. That was a no-brainer, considering how I had been volunteering to do work rather than getting paid for it for almost a year. To make a long story short, I’ve been telecommuting for the last couple of weeks, basically managing a team of market researchers and doing research myself. Not exactly stimulating, but it’s fitting for my current circumstances.

2. The move. It’s still not technically official, but the location is at least more solid than it was a month ago. We’re moving a few hours north in about two months, which is a month later than we were originally told. With all of the changes to the orders, I guess the Navy wanted to do something right by giving us that extra time. It’ll be nice to finally get out of this area and into somewhere new and different.

3. The baby. Speaking of something new and different, I’m still digesting the fact that I’m going to be a mother. That’s crazy. About three weeks ago, I scheduled the first appointment for round two of IUIs, and now, I’m awaiting our first baby’s ultrasound instead. Honestly, I really can’t say that I had a whole lot of indicators before getting that positive pregnancy test. I thought I just had some PMS symptoms, and then when it wasn’t going away, I thought I was just late again this month.

I waited until I was seven days late to test, and while the first test was defective  (instead of two lines, I got one line and one big blob and that didn’t strike me as conclusive), the second test gave me two solid lines almost immediately. At first I was stunned, cried a little, and then called my doctor’s office to see if I could get into the lab right away. I didn’t call my husband until after I got the second confirmation from the clinic, and then I wasn’t able to get ahold of him. By the time he called me back, my excitement had waned a bit because I was in the middle of my first bout of morning sickness, but Corey was over the moon. If I didn’t know I was pregnant before, I definitely knew that day, and every day since. Morning sickness, or all-the-time nausea, is my constant companion.

horizon

It amazes me that not too long ago, I was so disillusioned with the direction of my life and dealing with seemingly constant disappointment and stress. Now, I feel like I have a lot to look forward to and be thankful for. I guess this just proves that good things do come to those who wait, and bad things aren’t the only things that come in threes.