Monday, March 31, 2014

Tracey Ann's Birth Story -- Long Version Part 3

For the first two parts of this incredibly long version of Tracey Ann's birth story, see Part 1 and Part 2.

Hubby and I arrived at the hospital around 10:00am, and I was still gushing water at times (traveling with a doggy accident pad), and no sign of contractions.

We had pre-registered with the hospital, so we arrived and began the process of settling in.  Our nurse's name was Jacquie and she was very sweet -- by the end of our journey, we were in love with her!!!  The next hour was spent getting into a gown, listening to the baby's heart rate on a fetal monitor, being hooked up to a mobile contraction monitor, getting blood drawn, and getting an IV port (heparin lock) inserted in case I needed any sort of IV at some point.

Our doctor, Dr. Katie, came in and said I was dilated 3 cm, and then we discussed our options for getting labor started.  She said we had three options.  As an aside, we LOVED our doctor.  There were 4 doctors in our practice, and, unless I had a C-section scheduled, whichever doctor was on call was going to be my physician.  As a result, the practice made sure that I had an appointment with each of their physicians in my last trimester of pregnancy.  During my time meeting all the doctors, I actually came to prefer Dr. Katie more than my original doctor, who I had seen for the past seven months.  Hubby and I were THRILLED, and praising God when we learned that Dr. Katie was on call when we arrived at the hospital, and would remain on call until the following morning at 7:00am.  Dr. Katie said was had three options to instigate my contractions.
  1. Since the baby's heart rate was steady and healthy, we could try to induce labor naturally a little longer -- walking, nipple stimulation, etc.
  2. We could start pitocin through my IV in an effort to jump start my body into active labor.  This would involve being hooked up to an IV, and the nurses monitoring the baby's heart rate periodically.  The hope here would be that after a low dose of pitocin that my body would jump-start into labor and I could be weened off pitocin and continue with labor naturally.
  3. A mechanical apparatus that is designed to physically stimulate my cervix into opening thereby inducing labor.
At 11:00, we decided we would try to induce labor naturally for an hour or so, and we could always come back to one of the other options if our home remedies didn't work.  I started pacing around our room and a few minor contractions resulted, but when I stopped walking, the contractions always stopped.  At 12:30, we decided to rest and eat the lunch the hospital delivered because at 1:00, the doctor was coming back in and we were ready to try pitocin.

 At 1:00, Dr. Katie and Nurse Jacquie started a low dose of pitocin in my IV.  I started at 2 units, and they said they would increase the dose by 2 units every 15 minutes.  Well, that worked for the first 15 minutes, but by the time they returned at the 30 minutes mark, I asked if she could only increase by 1 unit.  Within 5 minutes of their starting my pitocin, my body definitely got the message to begin contractions.

I only made it up to 6 units of pitocin, and my body was in full-scale active labor.  When the pitocin first started, I was up and walking around, but within minutes, I was trying different laboring positions and Hubby had to begin his Bradley Coaching of trying to get me to relax during contractions.  Not to over-share, but the position that ended up working best for me for a little while was on the toilet.

In hindsight, these two hours with pitocin, and time on the toilet was the toughest part of my labor.  It was during this time that I told Chris I didn't really want to do this any more.  I told him that even with all the training I had had for natural childbirth, numbness was sounding really good right now.  He kept telling me that I was doing great, and that I could definitely do it.  I told him that even if I could do it... I DIDN'T WANT TO ANYMORE.  At one point I told him that we should get my Bradley teacher on the phone so she could remind me why I wanted to do this naturally.

It was hard to relax through the contractions on the toilet, and Chris and I were still finding our rhythm of what worked to get me through each contraction.  I was finding that I did best when Chris counted through the contractions.  Nothing fancy, just steady, slow counting through each contraction.  And, rubbing my back very lightly.  Also, the Josh Groban radio station on Pandora, and that was the combination we would find that worked the best -- counting, light rubbing of my back, and Josh Groban radio... but we were still figuring out that combination while I was laboring on the toilet with pitocin.

All I knew at this point was labor was not fun, and I didn't want to do it anymore.  I didn't know how long the labor would last, I was not comfortable, I was not able to relax like I had practiced, and I didn't care how much Hubby and I had practiced for a natural labor and delivery, I was ready to throw in the towel...

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Add A Caption

Yesterday, I posted a fun picture and asked for possible captions.  I also posted the picture on Instagram and Facebook asking the same question.

Here are some of the best caption suggestions...
  •  "Stop taking pictures, and let me swim!"
  • "Our drinks are here, quit posing!"
  • "Oh sure you try being cute and sweet all the time!  It's not as easy as it looks!"
  • "Mom and Dad are being mooshy again!"
  • "Is that baby wearing the same suit I am??  Hold me back, Mama.  Hold me back."
  • "Is this gonna be on instagram... where's my hat?"
  • "What do you mean I have to live with them for 18 years?!"

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Arizona Pool

On this trip, Tracey Ann got to be in a pool for the first time.  This worked out even better than we planned, because we read that a baby should not be in a pool any younger than 2 months (she turned 2 months on Monday), and the best pools are warm pools between 80-90* that are salt water pools, therefore, have little chlorine.  Amazingly, the pool at the resort where we were staying was EXACTLY that kind of pool.

Check out our beautiful bathing beauty...

We originally put her in a little swim diaper and tried putting her in the big pool (because we didn't realize there was a warmer children's pool), and that didn't last very long.

Then, we bought a little swimsuit and sun hat, and put her in the warm children's pool -- that one was a hit.  She's not giggling yet, but she really enjoyed the children's pool.  She was completely relaxed, and nice and warm, and was totally chill -- like a big bath.

Bonus:  What caption would you give this picture?

She really did like her time in the water... you just wouldn't know it from this picture.

We can't wait for this summer.  :-D

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Tracey Ann's First Baseball Game!

Tracey Ann has attended her FIRST ever baseball game!!!  This is a huge milestone in the Miller family.  Although it wasn't a Cardinal's game, she was decked out in her Cardinal's headgear.  :-D

We saw a spring training game between the Oakland A's and the Anaheim Angels.  Chris tells me that the Angels won -- I saw less of the game than I have of any baseball game I've ever attended.  It was fun to be there... but certainly a new experience of juggling -- trying to find shade, nursing on and off throughout the entire game, trying to keep the nursing cover down despite gusts of wind, and trying to curtail massive amounts of spit up.  It is a whole new ball game in our life these days.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Spring Break Trip

Greetings from Arizona!

Tracey Ann, Hubby and I are taking a little Spring Break trip because Hubby is on Spring Break this week.  Originally, we had planned that this would be our first time traveling with Tracey Ann, but we ended up going back to Michigan suddenly for my grandma's funeral earlier this year.

On Saturday morning Hubby probably could have talked me in to staying put all week -- getting out of town is a hassle (house-sitter, pet-sitters, packing, organizing, traveling) and even MORESO with an eight-week old baby... but by the time we went to bed Saturday night, I was COMPLETELY EXCITED for this trip!!!

We're headed to Arizona for a few days, and I am really excited about the warm weather.

Tracey Ann has now officially outgrown her newborn sleepers, and so I got to raid her 0-3 month clothes (and summer-ish clothes) for this trip.  I packed WAAAAAY too much... but we're driving, and we have the room.  Plus, I don't really know what fits her yet.

I am totally excited about this trip!

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tracey Ann - Two Month

Our Baby turned Two Months Old yesterday!  How is that possible?  I can hardly even remember life before her -- well, somewhere there is a faint memory of sleeping 10 uninterrupted hours.

2 months!!!
Weight: Unofficially, probably 10-11 pounds... she has her two month appointment next week, and the Doctor will give us her official weight.  She is growing SO well!  She's got little pudgy cheeks and a milk belly now.
Length:  She was 18.5 inches at birth, and I haven't measured her since... but she JUST outgrew her newborn sleepers -- like two days ago was her last day wearing them.  I can't believe she has outgrown clothes already.  Where is time going?
We adores this little girl!
Clothing size:  Just out of newborn clothes and into size 0-3 months.  Of course, everything depends on the brand.  Some of the 0-3 month clothes are larger than others, and since we're down in Arizona with warm weather, she's even wearing some summer 3-6 month dresses.  They are really big on her, but she's able to wear them.
Look how sweet she is looking at her Daddy with adoring eyes!
Eating:  Living on breast milk, and still has not yet had her first bottle.  This next month we will have to work on that, but we're into a really good rhythm with breast feeding and its hard to find time to pump on top of being available for her feedings.  During the day she eats every 2-3 hours, but at night she goes up to 6 hours between feedings.  She usually has a good solid 4-6 hours of sleep, and then she'll sleep another 2-3 hours.  Obviously some nights are smoother than others.
Family picture in Arizona at sun set
Sleeping:  She is sleeping less and less, which is a lot of fun.  She likes to be awake during the day time, and pretty much only takes cat naps from about 10am-9pm.  At night, she will sleep a solid 4-6 hours, and then another 2-3 hours, and 1-2 hours before being awake and ready for action.
The most precious sight in the world!
New things/discoveries: 
  • SHE SMILES!!!  This is the best sight in the world!!!
  • She has started to look at hanging toys more, and sometimes touches them when they are within reach.  She is not coordinating her hand-eye coordination yet, but she's getting there.
  • She seems to really like the song "Let It Go" from the movie FROZEN.  So far, she always calms down and stops crying when she hears it.
  • We started using cloth diapers just a few days ago... we're still getting the hang of the, but so far, so good.
What a character!
  New Accomplishments: 
  • Fun facial expressions -- she is hilarious!
  • Showers with Daddy and baths
  • Her swing
  • The vibrate feature on her swing and bassinet
  • Being held
  • The song, "Let It Go"
  • Mama and Daddy singing
  • Eating
  • Being swaddled at bedtime
  • Trying to swim in a cool swimming pool
  • Spitting up
  • Being in the car seat for long periods of time (around hour 6, she is ready for the trip to be over)
  • The sun in her eyes (like in the car)
  Places She Went:
  •  Muskegon, MI
  • St. Louis, MO
  • Daddy's school and classroom
  • Church
  • Arizona (she's now been to 10 states in 2 months!!!)
  • A couple of stores -- Buy Buy Baby and Costco
  • Food club... dinner at someone else's home
She spent her time at Daddy's school in a mixture of sleeping, crying, and looking around with wide eyes.
Special Memories:
  • Meeting some aunts and uncles and a great grandpa in St. Louis
  • Aunt Elizabeth making trip out from New York to meet Tracey Ann
  • Her first smile, when she was 6 weeks old, at Daddy when he came home from work
  • Dressing her in her first little dress (it is warm enough in Arizona for some dresses).  She is like a real life little baby doll.  It is moments like these when it sinks in that I have my own baby GIRL!  I have always wanted a baby girl!!!
  • Her first trip to Daddy's school - Chris was practically busting buttons he is so proud of her!
Meeting Great-Grandpa Miller

Meeting Aunt Becky, Uncle Daniel, Cousin Zivah, Uncle Nick, and Aunt Mandy

Meeting Aunt Elizabeth

  • Tracey Ann
  • Tracey
  • Baby Girl
  • Beautiful
  • Pumpkin
  • Punky
  • Precious
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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Moments to Remember

Life is full of simple moments -- moments that make your heart smile, but if you don't take the time to recognize at that moment will simply melt into the memory-less every day.

Last night, Tracey Ann and Hubby and I sang and danced in our living room.  Hubby was playing a CD on his computer, and I gave him Tracey Ann to hold while I heated up some dinner.  Before I knew it, Hubby and Tracey Ann were dancing to Zach Brown Band, and Hubby and I were singing along with as many of the words we could remember.

After a few Zach Brown Band songs, we switched the music to our new favorite song, Let It Go, from Frozen.

Hopefully there will be many moments of singing and dancing ahead for our little family... and I want to keep realizing how special they are when they are happening.

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Friday, March 21, 2014


Hubby and I are trying to watch Frozen, the movie.

I say "trying" because we got through the first 30 minutes on first night of watching it... and about an hour the second night.  We didn't stop it because we didn't like the movie, but more because we were exhausted, and need to make the most of the hours when our baby sleeps.

So far, we really like the movie... and I am IN LOVE with this song:

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Tracey Ann's Birth Story -- Long Version Part 2

For the back story, check out Part 1 of Tracey Ann's birth story.

I awoke with a start, and gasped, "Oh My Gosh!" and ran to the bathroom.

Hubby, who was in the living room, (after all, it was only 8:30pm on a Thursday... not the middle of the night or anything) immediately knew what had happened.  He came to check on me and confirm his suspicions, and  I later found out that my parents (in bed, but not yet asleep, in the guest room) heard Chris and me talking, when I told him that yes, my water had broken.

I was not having any contractions at this point, but there was no doubt about it, my water had definitely broken.  We called the on-call line for my doctor's office to let them know what had happened.  We planned to labor at home as long as possible (and because my Strep B test was negative), and we had my doctor's go-ahead to do so, but we wanted to let them know what was going on.

The doctor called us back within five minutes and we touched base.  I don't remember all of what was said in our conversation, but I know she gave us the green light to stay at home.  She said labor would probably start in the next four hours, and to keep her posted.

After Hubby and I got off the phone with her, Hubby cleaned up our bed and put the sheets in the washer, (things weren't too messy... I had high-tailed it to the bathroom really quickly when I felt the water gush), and I took a shower -- the shower I planned to take the next morning before my doctor's appointment.  I washed my hair, and shaved my legs... I knew it might be a few day before I would have the chance to do those things again. 

After that, I told my parents what the doctor had said and encouraged them to try to sleep, and we'd keep them posted.  Meanwhile, Hubby called his parents (in St. Louis) and brought them up to speed on what was going on.  They were really disappointed to hear my water broke because my father-in-law was in the middle of a construction job, and he would not be able to get away for another week to ten days.  After all, the baby was not due for another nine days.  They wanted us to keep them posted, of course, but it looked like they would not be able to come see us at the hospital, which was what they intended to do.  Everyone was disappointed about this, but there certainly wasn't anything anyone could do to delay the baby's arrival -- he or she was on his/her way.

Next, Hubby and I talked about how things might progress... he wondered if he would be able to go to school at 5:00 am the next morning to send his students off skiing with parents.  He knew he wouldn't be able to ski with them, but he was hoping he could be at school to organize drivers and send them off. 

I quickly learned that I needed to keep dog-training pads under me wherever I was... gushes of water kept coming when I moved.  After a little while, I decided to get into a bath again to try to relax, and stop worrying about spilling water all around our house.  While I was in the tub, Hubby went to school to arrange some sub plans for the next week because we knew that the baby was coming sometime in the next day or two, and he would not be at school the following week (his district doesn't have school on Fridays, so he was preparing plans for the following week).

We decided that, since my contractions would probably be starting soon, we should try to get some sleep.  That led to the question of where we were going to sleep as we knew I would keep leaking water.  Luckily, we had an airbed set up in the basement as a second guestroom, and that seemed like the best place to go to bed.  We headed to bed around 11:00pm or so and tried to sleep.

We both slept pretty fitfully, and I awoke every two hours or so to use the restroom.  Every time I awoke, I remember thinking, "Is this really happening?  Yup, my water is still broken.  Nope, no contractions yet."

Hubby was able to go to school at 5:00 am like he had hoped, and my contractions still had not begun.  When he arrived home at 6:00 am, the on-call doctor called me back to ask how things were progressing.  The answer was, they weren't.

At that point, she recommended that we come into the hospital.  Chris and I discussed our options with her:
  1. Come into the hospital, make sure the baby was safe, and consider medical options to get labor started.
  2. Begin to try to naturally induce labor at home for an hour or so, and then head to the hospital later that morning.
  3. Take a fully 24 hours since my water broke to try to induce labor at home.
We had learned in our Bradley Classes that a women and baby can remain safe if labor begins within 24 hours from the water breaking.  Our doctor confirmed that that was true, but she said that 80% of women begin contractions within the first 4 hours after their water breaks, and since my contractions had not begun in the, now, 10 hours since my water broke, contractions were unlikely to begin in the next few hours if we stayed at home.

I was discouraged at her recommendation to come the hospital as our plan was to labor at home until the contractions were 4-5 minutes apart.  Thankfully, my wonderful husband helped me remember the ultimate goal: Healthy Mother, Healthy Baby.  Yes, we had a birth plan, and were were going to try to stick to it -- but the ultimate goal, the ONLY goal was Healthy Mother, Healthy Baby.

I started walking around and trying to start my labor while Chris loaded the car and got us ready to head to the hospital.  Our bag had been packed for WEEKS, but because I wasn't in active labor, we were able to make sure we had everything -- and yes, we brought EVERYTHING.  We basically had the entire cab of his truck full to head to the hospital.

Still, with no real sign of contractions, at 9:30 am, we headed to the hospital.  I think Hubby was disappointed that he didn't have an excuse to fly down the interstate with his wife in active labor in the front seat (picture every movie you've ever seen where a woman is in labor and her husband drives like a character out of The Fast and the Furious).  We even stopped for Hubby to get an iced tea on our way out of town.

Twenty minutes latter, we entered at the hospital knowing that, in a matter of hours, we would have our child, we would know if we had a son or a daughter, and we would be parents...

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Fun With Aunt Elizabeth

My cousin, Elizabeth spent yesterday getting to know her second cousin... or, in our world, her niece, Tracey Ann.

Elizabeth arrived at our house from New York at 2:30am Monday morning, and she heads back to New York at 1:30pm today... talk about a fast trip.

She and Tracey Ann (and I) had a blast though with our short time.  It means so much that Elizabeth would travel so far to meet our precious little girl.

Love at first sight

 "Let me tell you all about how things work around here..."

I think they will be great friends.

Come back soon, Aunt Liz!

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Those Who Love Your Kids

Among many wise statements, my dad has always said,
"You love those who love your kids."

I am understanding this more and more every day as I feel such great love, appreciation, and affection for those who love Tracey Ann and seem to already know what a special girl she is.

This extends to those who have sent cards of congratulations, gifts specifically chosen, or hand-made for her, and those who have come to meet her.

I was surprised yesterday by my husband asking me if our house was in order for visitors.  He said that someone may be stopping by to meet Tracey Ann, and if I wanted to do any cleaning, he would suggest that I do it.

Praise God that my husband knows me well enough to know that there is a marked difference between the house we live in day-to-day, and the house we present to company.

To make a long story short, my dear cousin, Elizabeth, has flown in from New York for barely 36 hours to meet our precious Tracey Ann.

I have always loved Elizabeth -- we are from the same stock.  We grew up together, have shared life experiences, family, secrets, accomplishments, joys, and sorrows.  Like I said, I have always loved Elizabeth, but what my dad said is strikingly true.

I love those who love my daughter... and the fact Elizabeth came so far to meet her makes me feel all the more love and connection with her.

Welcome, Aunt Elizabeth!

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

I Hate This Post

I really did not want to write this post, which is one reason I'm posting it on a Sunday because I think people keep up with blogs less on the weekends than week days.

Today, I am writing for some accountability in working out and weight loss.  Tracey Ann is seven weeks old and the first 25 pounds came off IMMEDIATELY -- like within two weeks of birth.  The second 20 pounds have been much more inclined to stick around than I would prefer.

I know it took nine months for my body to grow to its eventual size, and it will take more than six weeks for my original size to return... but I'm getting impatient.

All that to say, I have begun my postpartum workout routine, T25 from Beachbody.  Hubby gave me this routine for Christmas, at my request, because I was hoping it would become my post-baby fitness routine.  This workout routine is 25 minutes a day, 5 days a week for 10 weeks.


I think this is going to be a good fit for me because I can squeeze in a full 25 minute workout even with Tracey Ann.  Sometimes I do it when she's napping, and sometimes she sits in her little bouncy seat, and my jumping around makes the seat vibrate.  This is also a good plan for me because I am notorious for keeping a good workout routine Monday-Friday but totally slacking on the weekends.  With T25, I am allowed the weekends off!!  :-D

Also, I have 11 weeks left until school is out for the summer... and, 20 pounds of pregnancy weight still hanging around will make my summer tough -- both in not liking how I look, and not fitting back in my wardrobe.

So, one week down, nine to go.
Five workouts down, forty-five to go.
Two-and-a-half pounds down, seventeen-and-a-half pounds to go.

I will keep you posted.

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