Friday, January 31, 2014

Two Weeks of Max

I promise you are not going to have to endure 52 weeks of Max over the next year, ha. But for now, maybe until I get to a month, I feel obligated to myself to record some of these lovely moments with Max so I don't miss them all in the sleep deprived blur. 

It was a good week to be Max, no more annoying hospital tests and just a lot of cuddling, sleeping and eating. Max began his second week of life with his newborn photos taken by his very talented aunt Caroline.  

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Max was a surprisingly impressive model. He barely woke up the whole time, and even with his diaper off he kept the blankets all clean. I hope this speaks to how willing he will be as an older child to have his picture taken… wishful thinking. 

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Max also met some other important people in his life, including two of his great-grandmothers (he has 4!), and some of his mom and dad's best friends. He even met some of his future kid babysitters :) 

Max showed off a sneak peak of what he will be like as a teenager...

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Meanwhile, we are becoming a much more mobile family (mainly because I can walk again, wahoo!). Yesterday, Max had a second doctor's appointment. He is officially back above birth weight, 6 lbs 8 oz. Since the hospital he has put on about a pound! I think it is all in his tummy! He also grew an inch and is officially 20 inches tall. He still has a little bit of jaundice, so he needs more time in the sun- huge challenge in the Boston winter- it can be inside sun but it has to be actually sunny out, ha. 

After his doctor's appointment, Max made HIS first visit to see someone else (everyone else has come to him!). He went to my Nana's house to meet her. She is pretty much the most amazing person on the planet, so obviously Max loved her. She had 8 kids herself and has an impressive memory about each one of them. She even predicted with exact accuracy which day I would start feeling better. She says that when my dad was born (he was the oldest) my grandfather said, "when is he going to DO something?" ha ha. Love. While Max has my/my grandfathers nose, I hope he gets a lot of personality qualities from my grandmother. 

Last stop of the day was MY doctor, and all this made Max very hungry but fortunately not too crabby!  

Today, Max's 2 Week Birthday, will be a bit more low key but he will be visiting my mom and dad's house for the first time so no rest for the weary over here (except maybe at night… please? ha ha). 

Looks Like: 

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Likes: getting his hands in the way of actually eating, comfy blankets, peeing outside of his diaper, cuddling, being cute

Dislikes: when his hands are in the way of eating (but he does not realize yet he has control over this, ha ha), when he wants to keep eating and it's time to go somewhere 

Feeding: still very often! he is starting to cluster feed a little more during the day, but he still wants to eat about every hour at night- slow progress here but maybe a little nonetheless 

Sleeping: a little bit more awake in the day, still waking up at night but it all seems to be related to his feeding 


I hope everyone has a great weekend! Hopefully some warm (relatively) weather is headed your way! 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

On Being a Mom So Far

I expected being a mom to be really hard. I expected a flood of the baby blues and a lot of crying. It is hard, but not at all in the way I expected.

It turns out the actual mom part has been easier than I thought. I can change diapers easily, even with a squirmy newborn. Sleep has been a challenge but I haven't missed out on it entirely. Eric and my mom have basically taken over the household and we have had so much support from family and friends. So grateful for that. It also does not hurt that I love Max so much it barely even bothers me to pry myself from the bed (a challenge in itself) at 3am. Breast feeding is going well considering he was born so early. I almost don't mind it other than the fact that I feel like that's all I do all day long.

What has been hard can be summed up as: my body. It is a mess. At the hospital I didn't change a single diaper because standing up was so difficult. When I got home it seemed to get better so slowly I could barely see a difference. Yesterday the pain started to get a little better but I felt myself mentally slipping. I was convinced the honeymoon was over and I was having delayed baby blues. But then I decided to take my temp and guess what it was 104! Cue tears and freak out. I found myself back in Labor and Delivery and they ran a million tests on me. As of now they think it's mastitis so I started antibiotics last night. By some miracle Max, the best baby ever, decided not to have his middle of the night fussy spell and he slept all night except to eat. Love him.

My fever is now down to 100 so I'm hoping I am on the mend and maybe this will be the end of my issues. Of course I am thankful it's not th baby with a 104 temp!

If nothing else it's impossible to be even slightly angry at this...






Sunday, January 26, 2014

Max's Birth Story

A Little Background on the Story of Max/ Pregnancy: At 33 weeks pregnant I was diagnosed with something called Cholestasis of Pregnancy. This means that my liver and gallbladder were affected by the hormones and not working properly. My liver function tests were a bit high, and my bile acid was 14 when it should have been 10. In the weeks leading up to to delivery, my bile acids climbed to 40 and were tested again the day before I had the baby. I did not receive the results until after Max was born, but when I did they were 144! The risks of cholestasis are not well understood, but it is universally accepted that the rate of stillbirth is significantly higher, especially when you get into the later weeks of pregnancy. So, if I seem more excited than I should to have a baby at 36 weeks, knowing all the risks involved in delivering a preterm baby, that is why :) 

Max's Birth Story 

It's hard to know where to begin the story of Max's birth, so I'll back up a bit to Thursday January 16, 2014. I left work early for what should have been my last official doctor's appointment before I was induced. I arrived at the office and discovered one of my best friends, who has the same doctor as me, waiting for her appointment too. This was great because it distracted me from how nervous I was about Max being taken over by my crazy liver bile. We had a quick ultrasound, Max scored 8/8 (again) and the appointment went well overall. My doctor agreed to rerun my blood tests to check on my liver, and she casually mentioned that she was working on Sunday so if I wanted to talk to the baby, I should tell him to come then. Ha ha. 

I was up on Thursday night a few times itching, but nothing out of the ordinary. On Friday morning my alarm went off and I went to get in the shower. When I went to the bathroom I discovered I was bleeding. I haven't had any bleeding in pregnancy at all, so I completely panicked. I took the fastest shower ever and then insisted Eric drive me directly to the doctor even though it was 6am. We left without taking a single thing or eating breakfast. On the way I texted my friend from work and asked her to just figure out something for my kids to do because I wasn't coming in. She was the first person to mention to me that maybe I was in labor. 

When I arrived at Labor and Delivery, they immediately hooked me up to the Non Stress Test machine. It was clear Max was a-ok and what was also clear was how REGULAR my contractions were! The midwife checked my cervix and said I was at 3cm. She said I might be in early labor or I may just walk around like that for the next three weeks. She recommend that we walk around the hospital for a bit and see if I made any progress. Eric and I walked back and forth for the next hour. At this point, I was feeling the contractions, but able to walk and talk through them with no real difficulty. When we headed back at about 10 am, the midwife said I was still at 3cm. She was pretty sure I was in labor, but it is standard not to admit patients at only 3cm. She suggested going home for awhile, but did give me the option to stay and continue walking. We decided to go home since we assumed it would be awhile and we hadn't brought any stuff with us anyways! 

Back at home we finished packing up our hospital bags and Eric set up a bath for me. I was standing on the bathroom floor about to get into the bath when my water broke. Obviously it was right back to the hospital for me! By the time I got to the hospital my contractions were getting a lot more painful. Eric dropped me off at the hospital entrance and went to park the car. I made an extremely slow walk up to Labor and Delivery, stopping at every contraction to hold on to the wall. The Labor and Delivery floor at MGH is Floor 14 so I thought I was in a comedy show when the elevator literally stopped on every. single. floor. 

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They brought me right back to the same room I occupied that morning (well earlier that morning, it was still not even noon) and said I was now at 6cm and would be admitted. It was at this point that I asked for an epidural. A few words about the epidural: I read lots of birth stories on blogs in preparation for my own and I found it SO HARD to find ones where the mom actually had an epidural. Among my own friends, most of us have had them (not all, but several) but in the blog world I feel like natural birth is more popular. I think that is great for some people, but for me there was never any question I would have an epidural. I actually feel like I was much more present and aware of what was going on once I was not so focused on the pain. 

Speaking of pain, it takes FOREVER to get an epidural. In my mind I was absolutely cursing EVERYONE during this process because you have to get fluids, meet the doctor, hear all about the risks, blah blah blah :) I also had to move to an actual delivery room during this time because before I was just in the "will we admit you?" room. I was in increasing pain at this point and my patience level for the wait was very low. The funniest thing was when they make you sign a paper saying you understand the risks. I distinctly recall that my signature was a line… it was in no way my name. I was in way too much pain for real writing and I was pretty sure I was going to throw up at any moment. One of the reasons that I think many people avoid the epidural is fear of the giant needle, which I didn't see, or fear of the risks. I did find it very scary when they were putting it in my back during  a very painful contraction because I knew I could not move but my entire body wanted to move. I really had to use the last of my mental battle at this point to make sure I was not hurt by the needle. I will also say that I am not some crazy painkiller person… I've never taken anything stronger than Advil for pain and if the nurses who were trying to sell me on painkillers all weekend could see how much I wanted an epidural, they would've thought I was a walking contradiction :) Really I just look at things on a case by case basis. Oh, and one more thing about the epidural. When I was reading about breastfeeding, there is a lot of propaganda out there trying to convince you that if you have an epidural your baby will not want to breastfeed. This was totally not the case for me, and I'm glad I choose not to let this scare me. 

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Fortunately, it started to work almost instantly and by the time Eric returned from the car (they sent him out of the room), I was happily enjoying a red popsicle and in much better spirits. I had barely dipped into my popsicle when the nurse told me I was already at 10cm. I have NEVER expected it all to go that quick, especially because I thought up until this day that I'd be induced in a marathon-like process. It's actually funny ALL things I expected that I was wrong about. I thought I'd want to do yoga poses in early labor, in reality everything progressed so quickly that I went from not needing them yet to being in too much pain to even think about them. I thought I wouldn't want anyone in the delivery room except Eric, but when it became that day and I realized I was going to have nurses, medical residents and doctors all around, I suddenly did not care anymore. I thought I'd be watching Friends DVDs and in reality I didn't bring a single one. Ha. 

Now it was time to push. Pushing is something I didn't know much about, but learned pretty quickly. The epidural is interesting because you can feel when a contraction happens and you need to push, but it doesn't hurt. Pushing was both totally exhausting and also kind of a cool experience (epidural talking). I literally felt like I had a million cheerleaders telling me how AWESOME I was doing the whole time. I was also quite thankful during this process that I had stayed so active during pregnancy. It was probably the hardest workout I'd ever done so it was nice to be in relatively good shape at least! Another thing I thought I would not want was to have a mirror so I could see what's happening, but they kind of pressured me into it and since I was in totally don't care about anything mode, I just went with it. In hindsight I think it was kind of cool. A little after 3 I started to get really close to pushing Max out and the doctors came in. I assume everyone has doctors at the end of the labor, but for me it was very important because Max had meconium, meaning he had pooped while still in my tummy. Believe it or not, we actually knew this because of the cool of my water when it broke. I knew this was a strong possibility anyway because it's fairly common in babies AND basically all cholestasis babies do it. It is also supposed to be a sign of fetal destress and is one theory about something that may contribute to the stillbirth rate among cholestasis babies, so I'm thankful this ended up being no big deal for him. 

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On one final push, Max came out, Eric cut the cord and Max was immediately taken away by the doctors so they could clear his air passage of the poop :) I did ask if he was okay because the first thing you expect babies to do is cry, but they reminded me that they wanted to clear his air passage before he cried so it was a good thing. My hospital has a strict skin to skin immediately following birth policy so Max was right on my chest about 1 minute later. During this overwhelming time of "meeting" Max for the first time, doctors were telling me that I had a third degree tear. I didn't know much about what that meant but I could tell it was not good. After I delivered the placenta, which was easy, they then spent the next 45 minutes stitching me up which can only be described as pure torture. It was the second time that day when someone kept telling me "we are almost done" and it was so clear they would NEVER. BE. DONE. I felt better when my friend told me after her natural birth she called for the drugs during this after part. Ha. 

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Eventually, that was finally over and Max was HERE. I knew he had many tests ahead he would need to pass, but once he was out of me and away from my liver bile I felt pretty confident that he would be totally fine. And, just so I don't leave you hanging, he passed all of his tests no problem and most people in the hospital could not really believe he was the 36 week old baby :) It must have been all the ninja fighting of the liver bile...

Friday, January 24, 2014

Max Joseph is One Week Old!

Hi everyone :) I am working very hard on Max's Birth Story, but due to my own recovery I have a hard time sitting for long periods of time (aka longer than like 1 minute) so that is making it difficult to be on my computer long enough to write it. I promise it will get posted eventually! Hopefully before the end of Week 2. 

For now, here is a little glimpse of Max's first week of life. He was born last Friday at 3:20pm, and spent the weekend undergoing a billion tests and getting poked in the heels so. many. times. 

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Such is the life of a baby born at 36 weeks. Luckily Max was so tough from fighting all the liver bile that he was smooth sailing once he was out in the world. Over the weekend he met lots of important people in his life who love him very, very much. He (and his parents) were also well taken care of by the amazing nurses at MGH. I don't have a bad thing to say about my hospital. 

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Then, on Sunday he was allowed to go see his new home :) 

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Once he got home, he has had more visitors and spent lots of time hanging out with mom and dad, eating and sleeping. The life of a baby :) Max also had his first doctor's appointment on Tuesday. His pediatrician was also MY pediatrician and he said that Max is nice and healthy. He will see him again next week :) 

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Max at 1 Week

Looks Like: 

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Likes: milk, pooping a lot, squirming, peaking open one eye, making noises, busting out of his swaddle, laying on top of dad

Dislikes: when mom takes way too long to sit down and actually feed him, getting his diaper changed (specifically when we have to hold his legs because he is trying to kick the vaseline away)

Feeding: very often! during the day he can go 2-3 hours in between, but at night especially between midnight and 3 or 4 am, he usually wants to eat every half an hour… stinker

Sleeping: a lot during the day, not so much at night… but nothing terrible, just typical newborn baby

I hope everyone is having a great week and looking forward to the weekend ahead :) Thanks for all the supportive messages, posts on FB and Instagram comments. Max is very lucky that he is already so loved at only 1 week old. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Weeks 34 and 35

Well, here I am right on the brink of Week 36. Fun fact, I was born at 36.5 weeks :) For those who are wondering about the latest update, my most recent bile acid test was not great but my doctor still wants to wait another week to induce. As of now, I'll be induced next Wednesday, with the baby set to arrive a few days later most likely. However, I'm insisting on repeat tests this Thursday so it's possible I'll check my self into Labor and Delivery this weekend and insist on an induction. I don't even know if I have that power, so let's just cross our fingers that my tests look WAY better this week. Here are the updates on the last two weeks of pregnancy: 

Week 34:

This week began on New Year's Day and included a crazy blizzard and the return of work to my life. The two week vacation worked wonders on my back issues, which was a nice bonus. I guess this was the week that I just quietly settled into the routine of having a high risk pregnancy. It was a very strange and emotional journey to go from being my doctor's healthiest patient, to suddenly being a ticking time bomb. I would imagine many of you can relate to having a health issue or an injury and feeling like: but I eat so healthy! but I have worked out! but I have rested! but I have drank a lot of water! Fortunately, despite my lack of stellar health, Max continued to pass all of his tests with flying colors. Since he is a very active baby, I like to picture him karate kicking the bile acids so they cannot bother him. I'm sure that is exactly what is going on. 

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Week 35: 

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Since I received the news I mentioned above about my liver being worse than before, I would not say Week 35 has been my favorite yet. I have spent a lot of it staring at my stomach willing it to move just to reassure me that Max is still there and my liver has not been able to hurt him. That being said, there have been a lot of positives. I did crazy amounts of laundry over the weekend and all the newborn and 0-3 month clothes are washed and put in the dresser. Both Max and my "hospital bags" are packed. Eric and his dad installed the car seat. We are physically ready. We have also continued to get so much support and love from our families and friends. On Monday morning I went into the doctor for a non stress test and I left my phone on loud for the rest of the day so that I would hear it if the doctor called. She did eventually call, but before that my students were amused at the number of times my phone was beeping because everyone was checking in about how the appointment went. And, Caroline took some photos of us...

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I still have many, many fears about having a baby. I don't think I'll ever truly be ready. But, I have had a good enough taste of mom worry, and I'm ready to face it with an outside baby. Hopefully I'll get one more set of updates out before Max arrives, but in case I don't- thanks for reading and supporting me in this crazy journey :) I'm sure this is just the beginning! 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


Idea and template stolen directly from Caroline. No creative juices over here these days! 



Orphantrain Touch go

reading Touch & Go by Lisa Gardner. I just finished Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline, really good! 

loving all relaxing activities: reading, listening to music and podcasts, playing on the internet- also I still love swimming and yoga :) 

thinking that I miss vacation

feeling very tired, kindergarten kiddos will kill ya!  

anticipating "meeting" Max, is it still meeting if he's been living inside me for 9 months? 

inspired by super honest blog posts

watching Little People, Big World- one of Eric and my guilty pleasures! 

sad to tell my kiddos I'll be leaving for awhile, I'm not sure they will get it but I think I'm going to tell them tomorrow 

working on getting my classroom and plans ready for a 12 week leave… sigh

looking forward to a time when there are less unknowns… oh, and the weekend

grateful that Max is a very active baby, all I have to do is think "hmm, has he moved lately?" and three seconds later I'll get a nice comforting kick

listening Whatever She's Got, David Nail

wishing that it was acceptable to have a Christmas tree year round! 


What's going on with you currently? 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014 Hopes and Dreams

Happy New Year! 

As I've done for the last few years, I'll be doing monthly rather than yearly goals again this year. 2013 proved to me yet again that I just have NO clue where the year will take me and so it's best to focus on shorter time periods. Plus, let's be honest, I really have no idea what parenthood is going to be like and any goals I set now would probably be squashed. Oh, and I'm not doing goals in January. In all likelihood I'm having a baby this month, a month earlier than expected so let's just focus on that, shall we? 

Still, I do have a few hopes for the year. If they don't happen, it's okay, I just hope. 

Photo  671. Bring a healthy baby into the world and get used to being a mom. 


-Take good care of my body the next few weeks until delivery. Attend yoga whenever I can. Continue to swim. Rest when I need to. Try not to stress about all the unknown ahead. 

-Embrace the imperfection. This baby will not have a Pinterest or even blog worthy nursery by the time he is born. He may never. That's okay. The house is not going to be clean and organized all the time, maybe even ever. That's okay. I may cry every day for 3 months. That's okay. 

-I joke, but I seriously believe, I am a total candidate for postpartum depression. I don't know what in the world I'm doing with a baby. I hate losing sleep and I'm a miserable person without it. I hate being home all day accomplishing what I determine is nothing at all. I am going to keep my eye on this and not let it get out of control. Of course, it would be even better if I just love motherhood and am just super happy all the time :) So I'll hope for that! 

-Do some of the challenges on the Rookie Moms website. I definitely fear that once Eric goes back to work I will just be freaking out too much to leave the house. I want to push myself to go out and do things with Max even if it's complicated and hard. 

2. Try to maintain some of what currently makes me happy. 


-Get back into exercise as soon as my body is ready. But, expect that changes will have to be made based on how I'm feeling and the fact that leaving the house to do exercise may be difficult for awhile. 

-Do at least one sprint triathlon this summer. Again, expecting it will be difficult- now I'll have to get up even earlier to make sure Max is fed beforehand. Yippee. Do they have late morning triathlons? 

-Go on a trip. It don't care where it is to. 

-Show Max all the stuff we love. Like, the Cape and other fun touristy stuff. 


These sound a lot like goals huh? I guess you can take the girl out of Type A but you can't take the Type A out of the girl :)