Saturday, January 8, 2011

Breastfeeding and Aven video

Click HERE to see a video of Aven...

Click HERE to see my latest vlog.

Sorry, the videos are not embedded into the context of the vlog. Short on time these days so I did it the "easy" way. ;-)

There were some things I missed in the vlog, so I included some pics below...

Above and Below: 39 weeks (day before delivery) -- yes I was able to muster a smile between contractions hahaha

Above: Aven and Momma trying out the Moby wrap from Aunt Courtney =)

Above: Left-reusable cloth nursing pad -- Right-disposable nursing pad

Above: THE Boppy! A must have for breastfeeding ;-)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Aven's Big Debut!

I have said for weeks now that Aven would pick her birthday...well folks we have a girl with fabulous taste! New Year's Eve will always be her day. I am so happy. I have never been one to make sure I have NYE plans, but our baby girl changed all that now. ;-)

All day Tuesday and Wednesday I felt horrible. Pukey, tired, crampy, ICKY. I started with contractions Wednesday night. It started off feeling like PMS or menstrual cramps. Things progressively got more intense and by Thursday morning, I was not feeling well at all. I had a doc appointment with Meg and thought for sure I had "progressed" to the point of being admitted. The pre-labor cramps were THAT intense, or so I thought. Come to find out in my appointment, I was not dilated to the point of admitting. So we went home. By 1 am on Thursday the contractions were 5 min apart and super duper intense. I called Meg and she said she was already at Erlanger Hospital downtown delivering 2 babies. If I wanted to come in and get admitted I would have to deliver Aven at Erlanger (hospital) instead of Parkridge East (birthing center). I thought the contractions were so intense that delivery was going to happen at any time so we packed it all up and headed down the mountain to the hospital.
I was pretty disappointed we would not be going to Parkridge, but just like Ironman...when things change you better adapt rather than dwell on the things you can't change. So we were ready to deal with what was given us. We got to triage at Erlanger and filled out paperwork and met with Meg. I was hooked up to the stress test (baby's HR and monitoring contractions) and Meg checked me. I was only dilated to 3 cm!!!! I thought I was gonna lose it. The contractions were SO strong I thought for sure I was closer to 6 or maybe even 7 cm. Ugh. Home we went. I didn't want to "hang out" in a hospital when I could do the same thing at home. Plus, at the hospital I would have nurses telling me what I could and could not do. I don’t really like it when people tell me what to do – shocker, I know ;-)

At this point I had been in pre-labor since Wednesday night and strong labor since Thursday afternoon...not too much sleep in the last 48 hours. Meg gave me some painkillers at 5 am on Friday morning. I was able to sleep through 2 hours of contractions -- Whoo Hoo! At 7 am I woke up to a very strong contraction and then WHAM! My water broke. That was a strange and relieving feeling. At first, since I was so groggy I dreamt I peed the bed. Then 3 seconds into it, I realized it was my water and jumped up to the bathroom. Before I went to bed, I thought with the painkillers I might pee the bed (last time I took painkillers was when I was 19 for my wisdom teeth) or maybe my water might break so I put a towel down and wore a pad to bed. Thank goodness, because whoa it gushed. I was so happy. That meant I was really IN labor and we were gonna have this baby TODAY.

I called Meg and she said she was still at the hospital; if I wanted to come in now then I would go to Erlanger (hospital) and if I wanted to wait an hour or so I could go to Parkridge East (birthing center) and the on call mid-wife would deliver me. I thought, no problem. I have labored this long, I can wait another hour. Plus, the pain meds were still rockin' for at least another hour and I was able to rest for a little bit. We left the house at about 9:30 am and I was admitted at 10 am on Friday. I pre-registered all my paper work, so I all we had to do was say my name, age, ss#, birth date, and midwife. D-O-N-E. I walked down to the nurses station on my own (I was leaking amniotic fluid and didn't want to get the wheel chair all messy) and walked into our labor birth room (#10).

I had my pretty pusher (thanks SO much Carrie!), my birth plan, my coach (thanks babe), and we were ready to go. The bed was pretty crazy. It had this bar that arched over the top (right to left) and the bottom half of the bed lowered about 6 inches with a press of a button. Donna VanDevander, the midwife who delivered me, checked me and said I was 8.5 or maybe 9 cm!!!!! I had progressed from 3 cm to 8.5 cm in 4 hours. Andy and I were so shocked I would be able to start pushing soon. I was a little worried also. All I had heard about pushing, is it is like taking a big big crap. You basically feel like you are "pooping" your baby out. I told Donna I didn't think I knew how to “push” correctly and was worried I wouldn't do it right. She said not to worry and that I will know and when I feel like I gotta 'go' then GO. She was right. That is exactly how it happened.

In case y'all didn't totally hurts while you are pushing, so you have to mentally get on top of the pain and push through it. I had never really done something like that. In triathlon, I am pretty notorious for pushing to the pain cave, but never really committing to go INTO the cave and staying there. Sure, I will dip a toe in for S and Gs once in a while, but never really IN there. Andy was AWESOME. He kept me updated on what was going on down there...I couldn't look (worried I would lose my concentration). Andy, Donna, and the 2 nurses gave me such awesome words of encouragement. I couldn't really tell you what they all said today, but it helped me during the process. I think I had 45 minutes of pushing (my contractions slowed WAY down). Donna said that was how it goes. Your body gives you a break between pushes. I remember 4 really big pushes at the end and she was here!

They wiped her off and put her on my chest. So strange to have this person who, at the onset, seems so fragile lying on your chest learning how to breathe for the first time. Wow. They all were making guesses on how much she weighed. One person said 7 lbs. one said 7.5 and then they asked me. I said 6.3. She was 6.1!! FINALLY my mother’s intuition kicked in. Haha.
They took Aven to a bassinet in the labor room (under a heat light) and finished her up. It was great to have her with us at all times.
Warning: this may be a little TMI or gross…
Then they finished with me. The midwife delivered my placenta. I asked if it was intact and she asked me if I wanted to see it. I surprised myself and said yes. It was SO strange looking. First, it was grey. I thought it would be red/pink. It was also HUGE. I would guess it was about 8 inches in length, semi round, about 2 inches thick, and it had veins all over it. Donna numbed me and stitched up the 2 small tears I had. I had 1 inside and 1 small “crack” on the right side. I got some ice. Held Aven-Ahhhhh. I was DYING of thirst and asked for a giant Coke. That Coke NEVER tasted so fricking good. Holy crap. =) I also had packed some Endurox (fruit punch flavor). That tasted amazing too. After about 48 oz. of liquid I had to pee. They had to measure my pee. They did it with this strange sitz bath looking thing. I received the infamous “awesome” mesh panties and 2 ginormous pads.
After that we stayed in the labor room for about another hour or maybe 2 hours. Not sure, after arrival at the birthing center, I totally lost track of time. Once all the footprints, weighing, paperwork, etc. were finished we caravan to the recovery room. I pushed Aven’s bassinet, the nurse pushed me in a wheel chair, and Andy pushed our cart of bags and pillows. The nurse was too cute. She kept telling all the other nurses how talented I was at multi-tasking. Haha.
The recovery room was really nice too. It was private and comfortable. The bed wasn’t as comfortable as it appeared, but really what “hospital” bed is, right? We stayed or 30 hours and were cleared to go home. YEAH! I was uber super stoked to sleep in my own bed and NOT be in pain. I wanted to get our little family home and stop being bothered by someone checking my vitals every 4 hours.
All in all, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. I am SO freaking glad we did not deliver in the hospital. The nurses and midwife at Parkridge East Birthing Center are simply amazing. They are so sweet, sensitive, kind, and supportive. They looked at my birth plan and didn’t question anything on it. My midwife was AMAZING! Even though Meg didn’t deliver me, I felt Donna was perfect and am so happy with the entire experience. I think it was about 15 minutes after Aven was born I said to Andy I think I could totally do that again. Of course, not anytime too soon, but I am not fearing childbirth in the future. I think I said the same thing after my first marathon and Ironman…

Thanks for everyone's support over the past 39 weeks. I feel truly loved.
I hope to be a good Mommy to Aven and love her more every day.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Baby Girl is HERE!!!

Hello all! Well if you haven't heard, Baby Girl Sweet is HERE!
We named her Aven Eve Sweet.

Her first name is a mountain flower. The Aven can be found in Nova Scotia and upstate Vermont. We like the name because it is unique without being strange and it is really pretty. I found the name on-line when I searched for "southern baby names." Not sure if it really is a "southern name," because I went back to look for it again under the SAME search, I couldn't find it. Hmmm. Strange but cool, maybe I was the only one meant to see & find her name that day. After we realized Aven was a flower we liked it even more. Coincidentally, Heather is also a flower; found in the foothills of Scotland. It seemed like a perfect fit. I really liked the fact it started with an "A" as well. We thought if we picked a middle name with an "E" then Aven and her Daddy would have the same initials...the whole family would have a connection ;-) Initially, we couldn't find a middle name we both liked and that flowed with her first name, until she picked her birthday. Yup. Her birthday (New Year's Eve) is the reason we gave her the middle name of Eve. =) Andy came up with it and I fell in love with it immediately.

Aven was born on 12/31/2010 at 1:46 pm in the afternoon. Her measurements are: 6lbs. 1 oz., 19.5 inches long, head: 13 inches (wowza), & chest: 11.5 inches. She scored an 8 and a 9 (out of 10) on her Apgar tests. She has perfect hearing, according to her hearing test Saturday morning. She has all 10 toes, all 10 fingers, and is looking to be the perfect little bundle of joy. =) Yeah!

So far breast feeding is going well. We are still learning, both she and I, but I am confident the bigger she gets the better her latch will feel. She is pooping and peeing as much as she should. We did 2 days with the disposable diapers from the hospital. They are good, but are rubbing her in areas and her skin is a little red. Today, we are trying the cloth diapers. They look really really big, but still fit her. I think they keep her warmer too. Nice.

As everyone mentioned--we are tired. Multiple days of no sleep prior and then the rush and excitement of actually having her HERE...exhausted. Trying to get naps in when she is napping.

We were able to go home after 30 hours! (Yeah natural childbirth!) I was so excited to sleep in our own bed (without pain) and get home with our baby girl. Andy was an awesome driver and we made it home safe and sound.

Everyone has been so wonderful. Andy's Mom (Elaine) and her husband Al were able to take a "vacation" between the holidays. Good timing too, because they were here for Aven's birth. It was awesome having them here. They cooked some crazy awesome food for us and froze it on Wednesday. Elaine reorganized the nursery on Thursday night and they helped us with a ton of things at the birthing center. "Aven" got me some beautiful pink/peach roses and a card today too! ;-)

LOVE the Facebook congrats and to offers to make us food. (I am ravenous!!!) Speaking of food, Deni and Lloyd dropped off New Year's black eyed peas, greens, and ham for us! What a treat!!! Last night we cracked open the bottle of French champagne our friends Zach and Alexis gave us and celebrated 2011 with our new little family.

I will be posting up a labor blog as well. But I wanted to get an initial update out there. Thanks everyone for the congrats and well wishes. I will leave you with my most recent pic...Aven is getting her vitamin D to ward off any jaundice. LOVE the big windows in the great room. ;-)