Paxton’s First Two Weeks

Blogged on a rainy Sunday, with Grammi and honey.

1 day old, April 5: We settled into our new room in the Mom & Baby Unit. We had a parade of more amazing nurses: Judy, Miranda, Lindsey and Cheryl. These women were all so considerate, kind and helpful. And their expertise was incredibly helpful to Jason and I as new parents! Paxton was circumcised today (sorry buddy!) and also had his first sponge bath (which he appeared to scream throughout). Paxton also had a hearing test, where they attached some type of electrodes to his head to check for brain waves in reaction to sound. I met with a second lactation consultant at the hospital, because I was still feeling pain when Paxton latched. No progress other than being told the latch looked correct. Awakened frequently throughout the day and night with people coming into check my vitals or for more tests. An exhausting night, trying to breastfeed with no success. Cheryl, one of the nurses, was so patient, and stayed with us most of the night as we struggled to latch. She also set me up with a breast pump and pump kit (which would come in handy later). I was still feeling strong afterpains when nursing/pumping – as strong as early labor contractions. Besides that, the painkillers I was given kept the nether region pains away.

2 days old, April 6:  Jason and I are exhausted from regularly interrupted sleep, and poor Jason had to sleep two nights on this very uncomfortable cot – right next to the air conditioner, which was jacked down low because I was so hot (hormones). Met with a different lactation consultant, Becky, who was very sweet and patient with my non-stop crying spells from frustration with having unbearably painful latches breastfeeding. She was the one who advised to simply take a break from nursing to let my poor nipples heal (they were already cracked and bleeding 2 days in). She advised renting a hospital-grade breast pump and supplementing with formula when needed. It was such a huge relief to get a break from the pain. After watching the required video about baby care, and seeing Dr. Z one more time, we checked out of the hospital at 4pm. It was freezing cold outside, we were totally exhausted but looking forward to going home. I did feel pretty overwhelmed going home with a new baby and no guard rails. Jason and I were up all night trying to handle this cranky, hungry baby. It was really tough.

3 days old, April 7: Had an appointment with Paxton’s pediatrician to check his jaundice (bilirubin) levels, which were “intermediate to high” while in the hospital, at level 11. After checking his blood, Paxton had a bilirubin level of 15 (20 is the highest). It was awful watching his foot be pricked and blood drawn. We both cried. Later that afternoon, we had our first visit to an external lactation consultant, Julie Duncan. She was so kind and understanding about how difficult the first week is. She advised an ointment for my cracked, bleeding and sore nipples – and understood that we’d be feeding Paxton formula until the jaundice was controlled. We also picked up the LED light that poor Paxton had to sleep on to help the jaundice. It was like an iPad with a glowing light – very uncomfortable looking and we had to swaddle the light under him, otherwise he’d roll off of it. He was so pitiful and yellow and lethargic. It was so sad to see. Weight check: 7 lbs, 8oz

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Poor sweet baby sleeping on the LED light.

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4 days old, April 8: Back to the pediatrician to check on the jaundice levels. Stayed flat at 15, meaning we stopped the progression (good news). This was a hellish night. Paxton was miserable, either from the jaundice/LED light, his circumcision or who knows what. He would not stop crying no matter what we did. Thank God for Grammi (my mom) who spent the night with us – and literally held Paxton in her arms the entire night. That’s the only way he wouldn’t cry. She is a saint!!! Jason and I finally caught a few hours of uninterrupted sleep – crucial, we were both zombies.

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Speaking of my mom being a saint, she cooked and served us every meal – breakfast, lunch and dinner – that first week. Jason and I could barely function and certainly would not have eaten, if mom hadn’t been there to cook for us. Seriously, even microwaving a frozen meal felt like an impossible task. That, plus all of that been-there-done-that mom-pertise, was so helpful. Mom, we absolutely could not have survived that first week without you!! I love you more than words can describe.

5 days old, April 9: Umbilical cord stump fell off during the day. We were feeding Paxton pretty heavily. The best was to reduce bilirubin levels is to pee and poop a lot, so if he cried, we fed him. This ended up being a hellish night for me. Up every 2-3 hours with a crying Paxton or pumping breast milk (still feeling those afterpains). I somehow wrenched my back which made picking up or holding the baby pretty painful. Really bad timing on that. Cried my eyes out most of the day, and days prior. Feeling pretty sore in the nether region since leaving the hospital.

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Daddy loves baby

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6 days old, April 10: Jason went back to work today. I bawled my eyes out that morning; from exhaustion from literally no sleep the night before and pure terror that I would be alone (Mom went back to work also) with the baby – and that I didn’t know what to do with him. Thank goodness, Mom came back after a couple of hours at work to take us all to the pediatrician. Bilirubin level: 9. Yay! We could stop with the LED light! Weight check: 8 lbs, 2oz.

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Twins! I absolutely could not imagine having two. Warming up the foot for yet another blood draw 😦

7 days old, April 11: Paxton is one week old! Went on our first park outing at Tanyard Creek with mom! A little painful to walk but was good for my mental health, overall.

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One week old!

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Getting some fresh air at the park felt really good.

8 days old, April 12: Anne, my mother-in-law, arrives from Athens in the morning. She is not supportive of us feeding Paxton formula, as I’m waiting on my milk to come in and struggling to breastfeed. On second visit to Julie, the lactation consultant, we confirm that I still have raw spots on nipples. We think we make progress with a better latch, although I continue to feel pain, I think it’s from the rawness of past latching damage. Circumcision is healed. Weight check: 8 lbs, 1oz (with clothes on).

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Nana and Paxton

9 days old, April 13: Breastfeeding is chugging along since leaving Julie the day before. I still feel pain but am committed to get through it for Paxton. Still crying regularly. Still exhausted. Jason’s cousins (Sarah and Jennifer) are visiting from New Jersey, and I finally get to meet baby August! They come over for dinner, and I watch Jen easily breastfeed her son and try not to cry. Per Julie’s advice, Anne convinces Jason to set up a crib in our bedroom so Paxton can sleep near us. I feel so much better having him close by!

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Jason, Paxton, Derek and August

10 days old, April 14: Anne leaves. I’m still exhausted, frustrated and crying regularly. Still breastfeeding though.

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Snuggles with mom

11 days old, April 15: Start to nurse Paxton in the morning, and cannot get past the toe-curling pain. Remove him from the breast and find out that my nipples are bleeding AGAIN. Completely lose it, and bawl my eyes out. Agree with Jason to take a break from nursing in order to heal again. Back to pumping every three hours. It’s better pain-wise, but a different kind of hell for sure. Jason gives me the day off, and I putter around while Jason feeds, changes and soothes Paxton (since it’s Saturday). I didn’t hold my baby all day long. This was a very dark day.

12 days old, April 16: Easter Sunday. My godmother, aunt Susan, is in town and comes over to see our house and meet the baby with Tish. We go over to Tish and Clay’s house for Easter dinner that afternoon (after dealing with a flat tire – of course). It was a nice change of scene to be away from home, and having others hold Paxton. He still fussed a good bit though. I had to pump while at T&C’s – annoying. Still exhausted.

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Great-Aunt Susan and Paxton

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The MacCaughern girls and Paxton

13 days old, April 17: Not as terrified about Jason going to work as I was the previous Monday, but still having high anxiety. Still crying regularly. Still exhausted. Grammi came over and we gave Paxton his first tub bath!

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He tolerated it for the most part.

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Is there anything cuter than a baby in a hoodie towel?

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Minnie being a good big sister.

14 days old, April 18: Paxton is two weeks old! Picked up a rented hospital-grade breast pump. I’m considering the strategy of “exclusively pumping,” where you don’t nurse your baby, but pump breast milk, to be fed from a bottle. From what I’ve read online, EPing is very difficult to maintain and pretty exhausting too. I do find comfort in knowing there is an alternative (to formula feeding) if we can’t make nursing work.

Paxton’s Milestones and Noteables:

  • Has a mysterious ability to pee outside of his diaper – soaking his crib sheets – while the diaper remains dry. We’ve learned to always put Paxton on a pee pad (like you use for puppy training) or else be doing a lot of laundry.
  • He smiles regularly, in his sleep. I saw him smile for the first time in the hospital.
  • Likes to sleep on his side. Will fall asleep on his back. Doesn’t really care for being on his tummy.
  • Per our latching difficulties, Paxton loves to put his hands in his mouth or flail his arms around like an orchestra conductor. Trying to get the little guy’s mouth on a nipple can require two adults. There’s a lot of flailing, squirming and arms and hands everywhere.
  • His eyes are now pretty focused, and he will watch your face intently, if you’re close enough to him. They are dark blue in color, but look like they are turning brown.
  • Paxton makes the funniest faces when pooping in his diaper or pooting.
  • My mom has been calling him “squeaker” because he squeaks.
  • Minnie has been very sweet to the baby – amazingly! She licks the top of his head sometimes. She appears to be confused as to why he cries and why we are always getting up in the middle of the night. I hear ya, girlfriend.

As you may have guessed from this diary, the first two weeks of Paxton’s life were incredibly trying and difficult for me. The sleep deprivation, learning how to take care of a baby and recovering from childbirth is a LOT for any new mom to handle. But the struggles I’ve experienced with breastfeeding have really been debilitating. I cry pretty regularly, and I know my mom and Jason are starting to think it’s depression. But it’s more me beating myself up about not being able to get this breastfeeding going. It’s seems like the most natural thing in the world, something I didn’t worry about during pregnancy (and I worried about EVERYTHING). There’s no way to describe how painful, frustrating and mentally taxing it is, knowing that I can’t feed my baby, unless you’ve been there too.

On a more positive note, here are some cute photos!

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Working on a poop

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Sweet family photo

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Sleepy face

Paxton’s Birth Story

Blogged while Paxton naps and Grammi is here to help <whew>.

Jason and I woke up around 5am on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 to get ready to have a baby. It felt strange to not apply any of the early labor knowledge that I memorized from childbirth class. I was definitely nervous and anxious the night before and all morning. Jason made me eggs and toast, we packed up the car, said good-bye to Minnie and headed to Piedmont Hospital.
This is what my belly looked like the morning before we went to the hospital:
Weighed in at exactly 200 lbs – the most I wanted to weigh this pregnancy. Now to the action:
7:05am: Check-in at labor and delivery. It was very quiet, not a lot of hustle and bustle in the halls, like you see on TV or in the movies.
7:10-7:20am: Get into the hospital gown, meet Joanna, my labor and delivery nurse (who would turn out to be amazing).
7:23am: Fetal heart rate monitor set-up, clocking in at 145 bpm. Feeling very anxious.
8:00am: Mom and Gayle arrive.
8:15am: Initial dose of Pitocin administered.
8:20am: Dr. Zertuche comes by to check on me. I start crying when I see her. Probably a combination of relief that she’s there, complete anxiety and terror about what is to come. Both Dr. Z and Joanna reassure me that we can put in the epidural whenever I feel like the contractions are too much, and not to worry about the pain. Cervical check: 4 cm dilated. I’m not feeling any contractions yet.
8:25am: Dr. Z broke my “bag of waters.” It was a major gush, way more fluid than what I felt in the elevator lobby at work a couple of weeks before.
Sometime between 8:30am and 10am: Contractions are very strong now. Gayle is helping me with breathing, but it’s still painful. Gayle can tell from the monitor when a contraction is coming on, and preps me for it. Breathing helps me to feel in control but does nothing for the pain.
Around 9:30am: I ask for IV pain meds. Joanna inquires about this and from her questions, I eventually figure out that I need to go all-in with an epidural, not dilly-dally with the IV pain meds. I officially request the epidural.
9:55am: Everyone warned me to expect to wait 20-30 minutes for the anesthesiologist and pain relief to come. He arrived quicker than expected (thankfully). The scariest part was getting the epidural placed while having a contraction. You can’t move at all while the needle is going in, and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to control myself, but somehow, with Jason and Joanna’s help, I stayed still through the contraction and the epidural went in without a hitch. (Jason was the only non-medical person allowed to stay in the room.) He sat in front of me and tried to be supportive. The anesthesiologist asked me if I was a runner because my heart rate was so low (I recall someone else asking me this question too). It’s weird because I had clocked a few high heart rates (due to anxiety) so not sure how I calmed down in the throes of labor. I remember Jason looking at my back with the epidural and saying it looked like I-85.
Sometime shortly after 9:55am: Sweet, sweet relief. The monitors showed that I was having contractions, but I couldn’t feel a thing! 
10:45am: Tried to nap, but really just rested my eyes. Too much to think about to sleep!
11:00am: Jason, Mom and Gayle go downstairs for lunch while I rest.
11:30am: Joanna does another cervical check and I’m 8cm dilated. She says we are getting close to go time!
Sometime between 11:30am and 12:30pm: Dr Z comes back, and gets into her scrubs. Joanna asks if anyone wants to hold my legs (I can’t move or feel them at all). Jason holds the left leg, my Mom holds the right. They both are right in the action zone.
12:40pm: I start to push! Dr Z tells me to push with all of my might three times in a row for 10 seconds each. She times the pushing with a contraction and counts to 10 each time. It took a couple of tries for me to figure out what muscles to use to push. I ended up using core muscles which seemed to work. When Paxton was crowning, I remember Joanna asking me if I wanted to touch the head (hell no!) and I also remember a bunch of voices with encouragement (“you’re doing great!”, “keep going, you got this!”).
1:10pm on April 4, 2017: Paxton Edward Cooper was born! Dr. Z told me that we were getting close, and the last three pushes were not timed with a contraction. Jason didn’t say a word, but I remember Mom saying something like “oh my God, oh my God!” in a voice filled with emotion. Mom said that Dr. Z pretty much pulled the baby out at the end, and held him up for me to see. Even after a 41-week pregnancy, and all of the prep for the birth, it STILL felt completely surreal to see that little baby! After Jason cut the cord (good job, honey!), someone put Paxton on my chest for skin-to-skin time while Dr. Z and/or Joanna removed the placenta and Dr. Z stitched me up (I had a second-degree tear, which isn’t that bad!). 
I looked at Paxton’s little face, and he looked at me – we both must have been sizing each other up. The first thing I thought was “why don’t I recognize him?” I don’t think he cried. I’m pretty sure I did.
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Me, Paxton and Dr Z

They left me with Paxton on my chest (skin-to-skin time) for maybe an hour. Anne came in during that time to meet Paxton – the first thing she said was “Oh! I thought he’d be blond!”
Before long, it was time for baby tests. Paxton had an Apgar score of 9 and seemed to do well in the other tests.
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The craziest test was when the nurse put out two fingers, which Paxton gripped with his hands, and she let his whole body dangle from them! Meanwhile, I ate a $45 cheeseburger, with fries, $24 cookies and $4 ketchup. And it was gross, to boot!
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Come to find out, Paxton does this neck-stretching move a lot.

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Paxton’s stats

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Paxton and Daddy

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Woof. I really didn’t want my picture taken after birth, but here it is.

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Grammi and Paxton

Shortly after the delivery, Paxton and I were wheeled into the Family (Mother & Baby) unit. This is where we’d spend most of our time in the hospital.
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Lil P

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Jason popped a bottle of champs to celebrate Paxton’s arrival into this world!

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Uncle Dane came by to meet Paxton

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Pretty, pretty flowers sent by the lovely Erikaa!

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Poor Jason’s sleeping arrangements for two nights. And right by the air conditioner…he froze!

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Grammi and Paxton

That Tuesday, we had several more visitors: Uncle Dane, my aunt Tishie and Unkie Steve.
It was a long but happy day. As I’ve mentioned, I did not want to be induced (or augmented) but all of my worries were for naught. It seems like I had a pretty easy labor and delivery, and I am so lucky that my OB, Dr. Zertuche, was the one to deliver Paxton (if you go into labor spontaneously, the doctor you get is whoever is on call that day). Dr. Z was so great – I didn’t get that bad of a tear, Paxton’s circumcision didn’t have any complications, and her supportive and calming presence made all of the difference in the world. Joanna, the labor and delivery nurse, was a gem also. She explained everything that was going to happen, before it did, answered all of my panicky questions thoughtfully and – bless her – told me to get that epidural at the perfect time. Gayle, worth her weight in gold, who so generously spent her day helping me breathe through the contractions so that I didn’t lose it (came close once or twice though). And of course, my two leg-holders, two of the (now three) people that I love and adore most in this world: my mom and Jason. I absolutely could not have done this without this amazing group of people!
p.s. Thanks honey for taking notes on the timeline of events during the big day! I never would have remembered all of that detail.

Third Trimester

Blogged while waiting on the sous vide to heat up. And updated throughout the last few months of this pregnancy!

Week 28: Jason and I took Part 1 of childbirth class (again, offered by Piedmont Hospital) in a two-part series. Very helpful information presented, particularly the 5-1-1 rule, which advises that I don’t go to the hospital until my contractions come every 5 minutes, each lasting a full minute, and have been that way for an hour. Apparently, first-time moms usually show up too soon and are either sent home (gah!) or are stuck at the hospital longer than needed.

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Bumpie at 28 weeks

Also, I started taking a prenatal water aerobics class. It’s definitely not strenuous, but a decent workout with water resistance strength training and laps. I dread really facing my decreased fitness level after Paxton arrives…

Week 29: Part 2 of the childbirth class, including a second tour of the labor & delivery area of Piedmont Hospital. Jason made a Paxton website/app that is the cutest. I think he put notes in there for him to reference when the baby is coming, in case panic sets in.

Week 30: Holy hormones!! Minnie had to have a teeth cleaning, which means she goes under anesthesia. This completely freaks me out normally, but I cried for two days prior to the appointment and was a blubbering mess during the vet consult. A total snotty, crying disaster. The vet was kind enough to say that she used to cry during commercials while pregnant, but I’m sure she thought I was a looney tune. Two of Minnie’s tiny teeth up front had to be pulled, but the snaggletooth lives to see another day!

Week 31: Was completely wired and slept for a grand total of 2 hours Sunday night. I’ve been having some trouble sleeping, but this has been the worst yet. Everyone says things like, “sleep now, while you can!” but I can’t seem to. Also, started to see some swelling in my feet, but could have been because I was in the kitchen (hardwoords) doing chores all day.

Week 32: Still making the rounds at daytime infant care facilities. Everything – whether it’s a daycare, a school or even a nanny-share – costs about $1,800 per month. $1,800!! How is that possible?!

Week 33: Insomnia. As in, not sleeping for an entire night. I’m told by other moms that it’s just nature’s way of preparing me for sleep deprivation after Paxton arrives. Still, it’s freaky.

Week 34: Last week of pre-natal water aerobics. I did enjoy this class, but I’m worried that my water will break in the pool, and the whole thing will have to be drained. Gross. Also, Helena isn’t teaching a new session.

Week 35: Took a “Baby Basics with CPR” class at Piedmont. Helpful, but I’m sure that in a real-life choking or non-breathing situation, I’ll just run around crying and flapping my hands instead of remembering the CPR process.

Week 36: We took a bunch of photos in silhouette. Here’s the best one: Bumpie-36w

A common question I’ve gotten is what cravings I have. There hasn’t been anything specific, but I’m definitely letting myself indulge more often than I would normally. Lots of sweets and cheese in particular. 🙂

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Also, I loved this from my Ovia app! Paxton will be larger than Minnie when he’s born. How wild is that?

Week 37: Three birthday celebrations this week! My poor left foot was so puffy and swollen from all the dinners at restaurants (something about the salt levels restaurant chefs employ…all for better-tasting food, I am sure.)

He must have dropped down because I gave a presentation at work without running out of breath. This is new. Speaking of PGi, Jason and two other dads-to-be were showered and toasted by the marketing team this week.

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How perfect is this gift Jenn gave Jason?!?!

Week 38: Minnie has been so exceptionally snuggly lately. She must sense that big changes are coming. I don’t care what anyone says…she’ll be just as important to me after Paxton arrives as she was before! Also, Minnie has been perching on top of my bump which gives her direct access to give me kisses. She doesn’t seem to notice when Paxton moves either.

Had dinner at Mom’s with Gayle, who will be in the delivery room and helping me somehow deliver this baby. As much research as I’ve done about labor and delivery, I was still feeling anxiety about how to manage the pain and what was going to happen. I felt such a sense of relief after talking with Gayle, who has a real no-nonsense approach.

Other milestones this week: insomnia is back and raging. Weighed in at 202 pounds (!). 2cm dilated and starting to efface on 3/17/17.

Bumpie update, awkwardly from the bathroom at the doctor’s office:

Now that the end is near, let’s get into specifics, shall we?

Week 39, 0 Days (3/20/17): Felt a very light contraction in the morning around 8:30am, but then nothing after. Still walking normally (I don’t have the pregnancy waddle for some reason) – even took out the trash (per Jason’s request…jerk. :)). Then, while waiting on the parking deck elevator at work, I felt a gush. Thankfully, I decided to wear Depends for the first time because I was paranoid about my water breaking at work. So I texted Mom and Gayle, who said to call my doctor. After a very long 10 minutes on hold, the receptionist said to come in and they’d check to see if my water broke. It didn’t. But I got another cervical exam (2.5 cm dilated) and a sonogram (to check for too much fluid loss).

The sonogram tech said that Paxton had several indicators that he’s a healthy baby (yay!) and clocked in at 7 lbs and 14 oz (yiiiikes). My fluid was still in the normal (but low) range so back home, I go.

Here’s what the nursery looks like, btw:

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Week 39, 4 Days (3/24/17): No other labor indicators since Monday. At my doctor’s appointment today, Dr. Z says that I’m 3cm dilated, cervix is thinning and he’s very low. She says it really could be any day now! I’m feeling ok. Just really large. 197 lbs!

Week 39, 6 days (3/26/17): Eliza(beth) gave me two passes to an Atlanta Movie Tour for my birthday last year – such a thoughtful gift, because I have always wanted to know what movies/TV shows are filmed where! I took Mom because Jason had to get things done at home before baby. You may be surprised that I scheduled this the day before my due date, but I just knew Paxton would not be arriving on time. I think I made a couple of people on the tour nervous, and Mom was clearly on edge. But it was fine. Wore my Depends, just in case!

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Thank you, Eliza!!

Week 40, 0 days (3/27/17): Due date! But no action at all. It seemed like everyone and their brother texted or called me today to check in. I am amazed that all these people remembered the due date! My sweet boss let me work from home since the fluid gushing incident, so I’ve had time to take Minnie on extra-long walks every day since Week 39/0 Days. I swear, she’s pooped from all of the extra exercise!

Week 40, 1-3 days: Took this unexpected extra time to wrap things up at work. I am grateful to comfortably walk away from everything knowing that I was able to handle all of the heavy lifting on my projects. Hopefully the colleagues covering for me won’t too much of an extra workload.

Week 40, 4 days (3/31/17): When I scheduled this appointment a week prior, my doctor was thinking that I wouldn’t make it because she expected me to go into labor before. Well, surprise! No baby yet. At this appointment, they connected me to a fetal heart rate monitor and gave me a button to push every time I felt Paxton move. It was tracking contractions too – apparently, I had 3 light ones in the 20 minutes that I was hooked up to the machine, which I didn’t feel.

Stats from this visit: 3.5 cm dilated, 80% effaced, baby is at -1 station. Apparently, many women are already at the hospital, in labor, with those stats. Me? Still walking around, cleaning the house and not feeling a thing. Because my cervix is so favorable, my doctor went ahead and scheduled me for an induction on Tuesday. Dr. Z said that sometimes putting the induction on the calendar gets things going.

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Walking out the door to my 40+4 week appointment. Not my best photo but look at Minnie!

Week 40, 5 days (4/1/17): Whew! Paxton wasn’t born today! An April Fool’s birthday would be a tough one to celebrate your whole life. Meanwhile, I am trying every natural induction trick in the book. I’ve read enough about inductions online to know that I don’t want to have one if possible. After thoroughly worrying myself about the possible outcomes of an induction (greater chance of c-section, longer/harder labor, more trouble breastfeeding), I let myself stew about it for a day.

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Our last Saturday park day as a family of 3!

Week 40, 6 days (4/2/17): Mucus plug (gross!) may have fallen out today? None of the old wives tales of natural induction methods worked. I’m really getting nervous about the induction and results, per the internet. Thank goodness for my smart friend, Jen B., a labor and delivery nurse – who has been patiently answering all of my questions the past few months. She said that being 3-4cm/80/-1, is more of an augmentation rather than a full-scale induction. Gayle, another smart (retired) labor and delivery nurse, agreed. So I’m feeling more hope than dread now.

Gayle also explained to me that the tightening in my stomach that I’ve been feeling the past couple of weeks are Braxton-Hicks contractions. I thought it was Paxton stretching!

On this day, I mopped the entire main floor of our house, repainted some base boards, went grocery shopping and took Minnie on a long walk with Mom. This can’t be normal?

Week 41, 0 days (4/3/17): Awake the whole night before with my head spinning. Jason says he was too anxious to sleep also, but the snoring I was subject to all night paints a different picture… Everyone seemed convinced I’d go into labor over the weekend, but no luck! Tomorrow, we go in for an induction at 7am. I hope I can sleep tonight, but I’m scared. I have to keep telling myself that babies are born every day, and mothers in much worse situations than me manage to make it through. I can do it! I must do it.

Signing off now for a few days. The next post will be Paxton’s birth story!

Baby Shower for Paxton

Blogged after a false alarm that the baby might be on the way. It’s getting really real!! 7 days and counting until due date.

My mom, aunt and friends threw me the best baby shower I could have ever asked for! (As a full disclaimer, I was annoyingly specific I’m sure about what I wanted this baby shower to be – thanks to all for putting up with my particular point of view!)

The concept was cooking freezable meals for us to have after the baby arrives – and absolutely no baby shower games. It was held at Cook’s Warehouse in Ansley Mall. Here’s the invitation Jason designed:

All of the hostesses and close friends and family submitted recipes, and we picked the 10 of them to make during the shower. If you want a copy of what we cooked (and served) at the shower, just email me!

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Recipe books for every guest.

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Recipe book cover that Jason designed…SO CUTE!

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My wonderful baby shower hostesses: Tishie, Gena, Gayle, Me, Kelly 2, Sarah Barham-Cage, Sarah Young, Mom, Vann, Eliza

Here’s several photos of everyone in action cooking!

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Our (new) standalone freezer, stuffed to the gills with frozen meals!

I accidentally deleted the photo of the hostess gift bags, but I thought they turned out pretty cute. A sticker of the baby chef on the outside, a mini zucchini bread and locally made cheese straws on the inside.

SENTENCE REDACTED UPON REQUEST. More on that another time (or never).

Big, huge, thank you to my fabulous hostesses and guests who cooked in support of our new family. Love you all!

 

2017: It Begins!

Blogged in the nursery, it seems like we need more people energy in here. Minnie snuggled in the glider next to me.

I’m grateful that we’ve been busy in this last trimester of pregnancy. Otherwise, I bet it would feel like it drags on forever. Here are some highlights from January and February of 2017.

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Happy New Year! (At Tish & Clay’s)

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Anyone remember this guy? @ Nuevo Laredo

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Mom’s old kitchen, working it at Dillard Street.

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Jason’s first art show at Abernathy Arts Center! This print was my favorite.

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Everyone loves Jason’s art!

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Minnie scoping out the action from the outside.

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I love that the Abernathy Arts Center is dog-friendly. Of course, Minnie came along to support Jason!

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Another of Jason’s prints.

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We must have been at Atlanta Memorial Park here. Not sure why I took this photo…

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Chinese Lunar New Year Party!

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This scene warms my heart. Sweet Minnie.

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Surprise birthday for Erikaa at Argosy!

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I made Mom’s chocolate peanut butter mousse cake for Erikaa’s birthday. That mousse is to-die-for good.

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Water leaked from our guest bathroom, down to the powder room underneath, down the wall and to our hardwoods. Hardwoods and dry wall have to be replaced. Ffffffffff.

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Hanging with Minnie on the porch.

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Squishy face.

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Unkie Steve and JoAnn met Vince Dooley (!) and Steve got his kids book signed for Paxton! Such a sweet gift!

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Our Big Green Egg arrived!

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Looks perfect on our porch. More to come on this bad boy later on. 😉

Second Trimester

Blogged while (still) watching Top Chef reruns.

Whew. Everyone says the second trimester is the best you’ll feel while pregnant. I’m thankful for feeling more like myself and getting my energy back! (Kind of).

Weeks 14-15: Started taking a prenatal “Fit and Tone” exercise class with Oh Baby! Fitness. I’m learning that no one wants you to exert yourself with exercise while you are pregnant, which means all pregnancy exercises are…lame. I froze my OrangeTheory membership in the first trimester because I couldn’t even fathom surviving one of those classes (where I want to throw up most of the time, not being pregnant). Oh Baby! classes are good though – mainly for the chance to talk to other pregnant ladies.

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13 weeks old!

Week 16: Switched doctors/hospitals from Emory Midtown to Piedmont Hospital. I wasn’t comfortable with the online reviews of Emory Midtown, and Piedmont has more preparation classes, feels cleaner and is closer. Dr. Zertuche, my new OB-GYN, is exactly my age and is fantastic. She also was a resident under my former doctor at Emory Midtown (who I really liked). I think I made the right decision to switch.

Weeks 17: Feeling much better now! Trying to load up on protein (per Eliza’s game-changing suggestion in Trimester #1) via non-mercury-laden seafood, including a dinner at GUNSHOW and Beetlecat. Both were a bit much for my delicate sensibilities at this point, but I hope to go back when I can be a more adventurous eater again.

Week 18: Time to officially announce the baby! Jason and I designed these adorable printed announcements, after borrowing the concept from a talented Etsy artist.

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Week 19: Really starting to show now. Vainly, becoming concerned with the weight gain, but the doctor says I’m tracking just fine.

Week 20: Exactly halfway!!! Weird numbness in my right arm.

Week 21: I think I felt baby kick flutters on the drive home from work on 11/15/16!

Week 22: (Thanksgiving Eve) WHOA I definitely felt Paxton in there! It felt like an alien doing somersaults. Crazy, wild feeling. It happened in bed, after Jason fell asleep (of course).The next day, on Thanksgiving, I didn’t feel anything. I think it’s because I ate so much that he couldn’t move. 🙂 The next day, and every day since, I’ve felt a little something. It’s getting very real!

Week 23: Heartburn? Already? Alright. Bumpie update:

Week 24: 180 pounds. YIKES.

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Bumpie at 24 weeks.

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Jason and Steve assembling the changing table. It took them, like 2 hours?

Week 25: Y’all. Pregnancy is the most un-glamorous process you can possibly imagine. I just typed out a couple of details to support this statement but decided now that it’s TMI. But trust me. It’s gross.

Week 26: Christmas!! And a little bit of wine. Just a little.

Week 27: Took a Breastfeeding Basics class, offered by Piedmont Hospital (where I am delivering) with Jason. Apparently, breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt, if baby/mom are doing it correctly – which is a relief to hear. I hope I can remember what to do when the time comes!

On to the third trimester!

Christmas 2016

Blogged while 9 months pregnant and eating popcorn for dinner. Please keep your judgments to yourself.

I really enjoyed the holiday season in 2016. I had lots of vacation days to burn (no big trips for us and vacation time doesn’t roll over) so I took a week off around Thanksgiving and another week or so around Christmas and New Year’s. It was so relaxing to putter around the house, go shopping, get ready for baby, etc.

One home improvement we ended up making was upgrading the master closet. Believe it or not, it was Jason that really pushed for the upgrade – but I’m definitely enjoying it now. Here’s a “before” of the closet:

And here’s the “after”:

It would probably be more helpful to show you an after that includes all of our clothes, but I don’t feel like doing that right now…so you’ll just have to come over and see for yourself! We worked with Jason’s friend Sharon at Creative Closets and she was great.

Back to Christmas! King of Pops (local Popsicle company) has a seasonal side business called Tree Elves, where they install and remove your Christmas tree – and it’s delivered by real elves!

Girl (elf) power! Love it. We had a couple of friends over for the install and watched Scrooged that night. The tree ended up being a little shorter than we expected, so it’s perched on top of an old hard drive and covered with the tree skirt. I think I like the elevated small tree better than a tall one!

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I loved our little tree! Tasteful white lights, of course.

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I swear, I didn’t like our house until it was decorated for Christmas. It felt so festive and snuggly in the living room with the lights, tree, stockings and garland!

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That poinsettia is still alive as of today (March 7). Costco, for the win!

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“Frag-eel-lay! It must be Italian!”

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Of course Minnie has a stocking!

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Beautiful table garland, made by Mom’s friend at the Peachtree Road Farmer’s Market.

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Fun gift wrapping this year.

Lots of get-togethers with the usuals over the holiday season. Like I said above, I really enjoyed myself this Christmas!

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At Miracle on Monroe. The usual restaurant is completely converted to a Christmas wonderland, dripping in holiday decor, playing Christmas music and serving only Christmas-themed food and drinks. LOVE LOVE LOVE!

We spent Christmas Eve in Athens with Jason’s family and Christmas morning and day in Atlanta.

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We found this artist, Fabio Napoleoni, at a gallery in Laguna Beach and I was immediately obsessed with his prints. But we didn’t see anything that really fit when in CA. Jason found a local art gallery in Roswell that carries his work – and Jason picked out the most perfect print for my Christmas present!! I love it more than words can express. I started bawling the moment I unwrapped Jason’s gift. So thoughtful and special!!! Love you, honey.

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Another Fabio Napoleoni print! He made these art and characters for his daughter who was in the hospital with heart problems, so everything has a heart in it. This print hangs in our bedroom.

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Speaking of amazing gifts, look at what my mom gave us for Christmas!!! A Big Green Egg, a case of chicken AND a chef demo at our house, where they will show us how to cook on it!!!! Incredible gift. Love you so much, Mom!!!

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Minnie loved her gifts too!

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For Christmas dinner, we went over to Mom’s friend’s house – Mike and Dana. They have a beautiful home! Also in attendance at their house was a WWII bombardier – he was adorable and very entertaining. Jason, in particular, was enthralled with his stories!

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Putting Gena’s turkey-carving lessons to use already!

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Creme brulee cheesecake

After Mike and Dana’s, Jason and I went over to the Cages’ for dessert and drinks.

Although our Christmas celebrations weren’t as family-focused as in years past, I really enjoyed spending time with good friends this year. I loved every minute of the Christmas season!