Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Presenting Natasha Olivia!!!

Eating my orange popsicle and ice chips

 Right after she was born

  Chubby cheeks

 Skin to skin time with mama

With the grandparents


Mimi and Poppy

 Family Photo


 Grandma Lou

The Larsons


Uncle Matty and Auntie Lizzy

 Mimi and Uncle Biji

First bath

Family of three 

My view... Ocean and Harbor

My little monkey 

Our sunbather at home

Our beautiful daughter, Natasha Olivia graced us with her presence on Wednesday, March 24th at 4:38 PM. She weighed 7 lbs. 8 oz, measured 19 inches long and has the cutest chubby cheeks I have ever seen. We are so in love with her already and are adjusting to parenthood quite well (with a couple of ups and downs). So here is her birth story... and I apologize for the TMI!

It all started last Tuesday during my prenatal yoga class... and yes I was still going to yoga at 38 weeks. In fact, three other pregnant women in the class told me that I inspired them for still going to yoga. My yoga instructor, Linda said that I looked like I was having a tougher time with some of the poses than usual and that Natasha seemed really low. I made it through the class just fine and went home to rest and I actually got a nap in. I started to feel some menstrual cramp-type contractions, but they were very sporadic and not worth timing. I used my birthing ball (an over sized exercise ball) at my desk while I checked emailed and organized some bills. I went to bed that night and woke up about 4:30 AM to use the bathroom. When I got back into bed, I rolled over and felt a wet sensation in my underwear. My first thought was "Great, I just peed my pants." I got out of bed and as I was walking to the bathroom, I felt a more liquid going down my leg. It was a huge gush, but it continued to leak. I thought "This is it, my water just broke!" I cleaned up the bathroom and went to put new panties on and Zac woke up and asked if everything was okay. I told him that my water just broke. He jumped out of bed and asked me what he should do. I told him to call the doctor's office and tell the on-call doctor what had happened. She told us to come in and she would let the hospital know that we were on our way. Well, I needed to feed Chauncey, pack a few other things, Zac wanted to shower, and so on. Lets just say when we arrived at the hospital the nurses all were wondering when we were coming in... they were waiting! We called at 5:00 AM and got there around 6:30 AM. Whoops. They admitted me and checked me... I was 3 cm dilated and 100% effaced. They started my IV and the pitocin. I was able to walk around and use the rocking chair. I wanted a birth ball for the contractions, which were getting stronger and more close together. I was told that Hoag has lots, but the nurses couldn't locate one. At about 11:30 AM, I got an epidural and it was great! I was able to take a nap and just let my cervix relax during the contractions. In an hour and a half I went from 5 cm to 9 cm dilated. Zac went downstairs to grab a sandwich and I continued to rest waiting for 1 more cm. The nurse said Natasha would be here between 3 PM and 4 PM. I made it to 10 cm, but Natasha still was not low enough (hard to believe since every time I was checked they could feel her head). I was told to lye on my side for a while and then switch. Amazingly, this helped bring her down. I was ready to push. I started pushing with the nurse to work Natasha down. Easier said than done. This was the hard part for me since I couldn't really feel anything with the epidural. My doctor then came in and guided me through the rest of my pushes. After 20 minutes of pushing, out came Natasha. It truly was a beautiful experience and I got to watch the whole thing with a mirror! They placed her on my chest and Zac got to cut her umbilical cord. We both just admired her while I delivered the placenta (that was the easy part). The nurse then took Natasha to get checked out. Zac was with her the whole time while I was getting stitched up. I tore a bit since my little monkey decided to come out with her hand up next to her shoulder. All the nurses said she looked like a 10 lb. baby with those chubby cheeks, but thank goodness she was only 7 lbs. 8 oz. She had a bit of fluid in her lungs, but they were able to get most of it out and Natasha would have to do the rest herself. Once I was all cleaned up, they brought her over to me so that we could have skin to skin time together and have her start to breastfeed. She did a pretty good job with breastfeeding and she loved getting warm on mommy's chest. I was pretty happy that the whole labor process was less than 12 hours. Hopefully it will be the same with the next one.

An hour later we were headed upstairs to the postpartum floor where we would be spending the next 2 nights. Our family was anxiously waiting for us and couldn't keep their hands off of Natasha. She got to meet her Mimi and Poppy (my parents), Grandma Lou (Zac's mom), Uncle Matty and Auntie Lizzy and Uncle Biji. After our family left, Zac and I were ready to get some much needed sleep. Natasha did okay the first night. Woke up a few times for feedings and just to be held. I think she was all pumped up from all the excitement we experienced that day.

The next day, Natasha was checked by the pediatrician and we found out she had a bit of jaundice. It's fairly common especially when mom and baby have different blood types, which was the case for us. Since she didn't sleep that much during the night, she sure was sleepy the next day, which made feeding her nearly impossible. She ended up losing quite a bit of weight in the hospital, so when we were discharged on Friday we needed to see the pediatrician the next day for a weight check. Friday at home was also difficult since she just wanted to sleep all day and play all night. At our Saturday appointment the doctor said that she definitely had jaundice and she lost 12% of her weight. Doctor's don't want to see more than 10% loss. So we had to supplement with formula and have her sunbathe in the indirect sunlight. With my hormones, my milk finally coming in and being worried about our daughter, Saturday was a very tough day for me. Thank goodness Grandma Lou came over and helped out with Natasha, so that I could get a nap in. And thank goodness, my cousin Nicole came over and gave me her breast pump, because I thought my boobs were going to explode! Grandma Lou stayed the night to help out with the nighttime feedings, so that Zac and I could get a good night's sleep. We both felt refreshed in the morning and confident that Natasha put on some weight.

At our Sunday appointment with the pediatrician she said that Natasha's color was improving and that she was starting to gain back the weight... both good news. Also we won't have to bring her back until her 2 week wellness check. What a relief! Since then I have been trying to get her to breastfeed again. She did a pretty good job yesterday, but I still have to pump to supplement her. At least it is breast milk and we are not needing as much formula. My yoga instructor gave me the number for a lactation consultant, so I will give her a call this week to see if she has any tips for helping me breastfeed. Other than that we are adjusting to our new life as parents and we love it!

Monday, March 22, 2010

More Shower Pictures and Some Progress!

A wish jar for Natasha

Shower game - of course Carol Tipper (a math teacher) took this home!

Up close pictures of the onesies my guests designed
It says "Class on 2032 on the back"

The end results

Tomorrow will mark 38 weeks and Natasha is still baking. I had my weekly doctor's appointment last Friday and the nurse practitioner who checked me said I was still about 2-3cm dilated and my cervix was very soft. She asked me if I would like her "to stretch me to a 4" (sorry for the TMI), but I said "no thanks." I will just wait and see what happens on my own. Natasha is still down low "right in my vagina" as the NP said and I was experiencing a contraction while in the office. Since then I have had a few more each day. In the beginning they were just causing tightness in my abdomen, but now they are beginning to feel more like menstrual cramps. Oh joy! However they are so sporadic that I still think it will be another week. So now we just wait until they become stronger or I start to leak or start to bleed and then we head straight for the hospital.

At this point we will definitely be having an Aries baby, which makes Zac a little nervous. Aries are known to be adventurous, very energetic and confident. The first to take a risk, can be impulsive at times and impatient. Zac has been warned from a couple of people who think Aries women are a bit wild and crazy... we better lock the doors!

Another concern for Zac if we don't make it to our April due date is the birth of his daughter interfering with his annual March Madness Vegas trip. It will be a difficult decision, I'm sure between celebrating his daughter's birthday and watching basketball in Vegas with a bunch of dudes. As we approach the "safe" dates in March, I'm sure Zac is wiping the sweat off of his forehead and breathing a sigh of relief. Just trying to keep the "Larson Harmony" (as Uncle Matt puts it). In all honesty, Zac is very excited for Natasha's arrival and by age 10, Natasha will have a bracket for March Madness!

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Full Term and My Shower!

 Full term - 37 weeks!
Baby Shower Games

The set tables

Panache Food - oh, how I miss my free lunches!

Yummy Cupcakes

Jackie, Me and Joliene
More presents!
Kiana and Tia designing their onesie for the game

Mimi (my mom) and me
Admiring all the pink
Natasha is one lucky girl!

All I have to say is that Natasha is one lucky girl and she is not even here yet! Last Saturday was my baby shower and my family and friends (Mom, Linda, Nicole, Jackie and Joliene) did an amazing job on everything from the table decorations to the cupcakes to the games. And Panache also did a great job with the delicious food. I am so fortunate to have the family and friends that I have and Natasha will be one loved baby! As you can see from all the gifts I received, I think Zac and I are ready for Natasha to come. I spent all day Monday washing, folding and putting away all of her clothes and blankets. I organized her closet, put together her bouncy chair and set up her changing table. This was after spending the morning organizing the kitchen cabinets... can we say "nesting." Our next task is to install the car seat and pack a hospital bag!

I am full term this week, so if Natasha were to come now she would have no problem thriving. Last Friday at my doctor's appointment we found out that I was already dilated 2 cm and 80% effaced. And then after my shower on Saturday, I lost most of my mucus plug. So, I'm making some progress. We will have to wait and see if this kick starts my labor! Zac is hoping that I won't go into labor this weekend (March Madness) or next weekend (his baseball draft), but I told him it's not up to me... it's all up to the new boss in town and that's Natasha!

Stay tuned for more updates and Happy St. Patty's Day!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Baby This Month???

Natasha's positioning
I started my weekly appointments this week and my internals... oh joy! They tested for Beta- Strep (we will find out the results next week, but since I don't have a history of this I doubt I have it). Turns out Baby Natasha is riding very low and resting right on my cervix. But the nurse practitioner who checked me said that my cervix is still long and hard, so she won't be coming this weekend... haha! Zac and I are starting to think that I won't make it to April, but we will see. I just hope I can enjoy my baby shower next weekend and get everything put away before she arrives!

This week (week 35), Natasha's kidneys are fully developed and her liver can now process some waste products. Most of her physical development is now complete and she will spend the rest of her stay in my womb putting on some weight. As of last week, I had gained 4 lbs. in 2 weeks (shame on me), but at today's appointment I lost a pound. Therefore I'm still gaining a pound a week. I've been eating smaller meals throughout the day because lets face it, there is not much room to fit a big meal in there with a baby that is probably around 5lbs now and 16 to 17 inches long. I've also been having trouble sleeping at night since I have to switch positions or my hips start to ache. Not to mention the 3 times a night I get up to go to the bathroom. I guess this will really prepare me for middle of the night feedings and cuddle time.
We finally got a glider for Natasha's room, thanks to Linda (Zac's mom)! It fits perfectly in there and I'm sure it will come in handy to rock Natasha asleep. Her room is almost complete. We just need the small (but most important) essentials, such as diapers! We have been so blessed to have wonderful family who have given Natasha some very cute hand-me-downs (thank you Miss Baylee and Miss Taleya). I think she is all set from when she is born to 3 years old. Zac says she has more clothes than he does... might be true and I think it will only go up in numbers after my shower!

This weekend I will be taking a breastfeeding class at a store (called Milkalicious) in Aliso Viejo. I decided against signing up for one at a hospital again, since our child birthing classes were so boring. This shop is all about breastfeeding with lactation consultants on hand to answer any questions I may have after Natasha arrives. They also have a free workshop three days a week where you weigh your baby, then nurse her and then weigh her again to figure out if she is getting enough from nursing. I'm looking forward to the class and we will see if I can convince Zac to go with me!