Monday, February 8, 2021

Freddie's Birth Story

Three months ago (OMG time has flown), we were blessed with our second little bundle of joy,  Freddie!  Overall, his birth was much less eventful than Kenny's (read that story here), but definitely challenging in its own way!

We'd celebrated Halloween with my parents, taking Kenny to trick-or-treat at their house.  Of course, that meant he wanted to spend the night with them!  He spent one night just about every week at their house during my pregnancy, to give us a chance to rest and clean the house as we prepped for the new baby.  It's a good thing that Kenny was with my parents, because the next morning I started to feel contractions.  I started tracking them, because at 38 weeks I know there was a chance that they were Braxton-Hicks.  But these were persistent, and none of the usual tricks to get them to stop worked!  I told Dan, and we hunkered down at home to wait for them to get closer together.

This was definitely more challenging than with Kenny, because I was induced for my first pregnancy.  Every contraction happened at the hospital, and I was able to get the epidural started well before they became very painful, so I'd never really experienced the "real deal" painful contractions.  Honestly, the worst I'd had the first go-round felt like painful cramping.

Around 9pm, I told Dan that I wanted to go to the hospital.  My contractions were about 10 minutes apart, and they were starting to hurt.  But when I got to the hospital, the contractions were close enough together for them to want to keep me there.  They encouraged us to go home and labor for longer.  Ugh!  It was frustrating.

I spent the rest of the night on an exercise ball that my Mom had brought over, watching Band of Brothers on TV as I moaned and endured more and more painful contractions.  The nurse had told me to come back when they were consistently 3 minutes apart, but around 3am (at 5 minutes apart) I told Dan they were too painful and I wanted to go back to the hospital.  By the time we got checked, I was 5cm dilated and they were ready to move me to a delivery room!  Yay!

I included a photo here of me with my mask (pulled down to smile).  Due to COVID-19, I'd never visited the maternity ward at our hospital before.  I'd only toured it virtually!  We also wore masks (yes, I labored and delivered wearing a mask!) the whole time.  I did not have issues with the mask at all, though at the end of delivery they did give me an oxygen mask to help me breathe between pushes.  I also had a COVID-19 test done during labor, which I apparently refused pre-epidural.  LOL.  Don't ask me to do anything when I'm in pain!

Even though I'd progressed quickly during the night, I stalled out a bit that morning.  This gave us time to get my epidural going (thank goodness), and the doctor broke my water in anticipation of some pitocin to speed things along.  Well, breaking my water did the trick!  By the time she checked me next, I was fully dilated and ready to push.  Baby was sunny side up (face up) but ended up turning last-minute after half an hour of pushing.  And then he was here!

Due to my gestational diabetes, Freddie's blood sugar was a little out of whack initially, but after nursing he adjusted well enough for us to go home.  I was feeling pretty good (definitely well compared to postpartum with Kenny!) and we were on our way home within 36 hours.  Freddie had a touch of jaundice, but he was such a good eater that it passed to normal levels quickly.

Kenny has embraced his role as older brother.  Our lives are louder, messier, and more exhausting, but we're really happy we added this little guy to the mix!

Sunday, December 6, 2020

My Pandemic Pregnancy

Dan and I had always talked about having two children, and we had hoped to get pregnant or have our second before we moved to Indiana.  We had even gone through fertility exams again, including a round of IUI before we moved.  After the IUI didn't take, we seriously discussed adoption again, but we knew that I'd gotten pregnant before in the cycles after my HSG exam before and I hoped it would happen again... and it did!

In March of 2020, just a few days before the pandemic shutdowns hit our area, I found out I was pregnant.  We'd been trying for over a year like we had with Kenny, so Dan didn't quite believe me when I told him.  The timing was also challenging, as we'd just moved and I was starting a new career.  But we knew this was what we wanted, and thankfully our move had brought us close to family who would be able to help us.

Things That Were Different...
  • Virtual Visits instead of in-person visits
    • I didn't really have much of an exam before my last trimester!  Since I found out about my pregnancy right as the first pandemic shutdowns and protocols hit, so they honestly didn't really even want to see me other than in-person.
  • Curbside Blood Draw
    • Since I had pre-eclampsia last pregnancy, they wanted to be sure to monitor me closely in case it happened again.  But what was different is that for one of my big blood draws, I was asked to pull up in my car and have the phlebotomist draw blood while I sat in my vehicle!
  • Masks for Visits
    • No surprise there, but I had to wear a mask every visit.
  • No Partner for Ultrasounds
    • Dan was unable to attend the two main ultrasounds, as no guests were allowed.  This protocol changed later in the year, so when I needed an ultrasound close to my due date, they allowed him to join me.
  • No Babymoon, or traveling in general.  All my trips for the year were cancelled.
  • Virtual Hospital Tour
    • We were delivering at a new-to-us hospital, but we couldn't take a tour of the maternity ward.  Instead, I watched a video online!
  • Limited Hospital Guests & No Hospital Photographer
    • Our hospital only allowed one guest per day, which included your support person.  So if I had tried to rotate someone else in, Dan wouldn't be allowed back.  But this worked out just fine because we only stayed at the hospital for 36 hours, and my parents were caring for Kenny.
    • For Kenny, there was a photographer who did a newborn photo shoot on-site in our recovery room.  This was not the case in 2020!
  • COVID-19 test in the delivery room
    • Apparently I refused this test pre-epidural (can you blame me?  I was in pain!) but the doctor asked me again once I had my meds and I consented.  It sucked!  It was a swab that went way down your throat, then the same swab went way up your nose.  It made my eyes water, and I had to cough afterwards.
20-week Ultrasound

One thing we were able to do safely with distancing was take family photos!  Pictures and social media were how we updated family and friends.

portraits by Amanda Field Photography

We also did a Star Wars/Mandalorian themed pregnancy announcement, sticking to TV trends like our Game of Thrones announcement when Kenny was born.

Overall, pregnancy in a pandemic felt more isolating and lonely. I didn't have my social support structure like last time (other than my parents and texts).  I did have super generous friends and family who sent us giftcards and gifts, which really cheered me up quite a bit to be able to shop or order food when we needed things.  It was also tougher for Dan to connect with this pregnancy, since he couldn't attend the ultrasounds or appointments to hear the heartbeat.  But we definitely were grateful to be growing our family in spite of it all!

Kenny's 2nd Birthday

 Kenny is almost three years old, but I never shared how we celebrated his 2nd birthday in early 2020!

Like so many toddlers, Kenny was a fan of Baby Shark.  So when it came time for his birthday, I decided to make a Baby Shark cake to celebrate!  At the time, Kenny couldn't get enough blueberries in his belly, so I made a lemon blueberry flavored cake with buttercream frosting.  I used some plastic pieces from a cake decorating kit I found on clearance at Target to make the fins.

We got Baby Shark balloons from a local party store, and we had cake and presents at my parents' house since we had just moved to Indiana the weekend prior.  His favorite gifts were his stuffed WALL-E and EVE toys from the Pixar movie.

Kenny was also able to celebrate with his daycare friends before we moved.  I sent mini cupcakes to the daycare, and he wore his Baby Shark shirt.  I didn't post photos here because of privacy for the other littles in his class, but I think he enjoyed his birthday celebration.

And now, due to the pandemic, we will likely celebrate in this small fashion again for Kenny's 3rd birthday in January!  It's tradition for us to do a big 1st birthday, but other than that I think we may wait until he is kindergarten age to do a party.  These mini family gatherings are much less stress and expense, and the memories are just as sweet.

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