I had an inkling she would come early, but she still surprised us!

It was 4:00 am on Wednesday, June 5th and I had just gotten up for my one of my nightly bathroom trips. I was amazed at how regularly I was getting up at 4:00 am toward the end of my pregnancy. Just as I settled back in bed my water broke…

Why in the world it could not have happened 3 minutes earlier when I was in the bathroom over a tiled floor is beyond me, but oh well.

It really was like a scene from a movie, but thankfully I was in the privacy of my own home. I woke my husband up with, “I think my water just broke!”. He shot out of bed like a rocket and then quickly asked, “are you sure you didn’t pee the bed?”.

“Um…nope, I just went to the bathroom”

So we proceeded to get ready and pack our hospital bag. Yep, a little behind the 8 ball here, but at least I had a list. Brett threw on some clothes while I called the doctor and told her what was happening. She calmly told us to plan to get to the hospital around 6:00 am and in the meantime we should shower and have breakfast because it could be a long day.

And that’s what we did. We took a deep breath and prepared for our last day as a pair. We also took the opportunity to wrap up a few loose ends. Of course, we had to take the full belly pic, which unfortunately was not as full as the peak moment of 3:59 am on June 5th before my water broke. Then there was that work contact we signed and emailed before hopping in the car – hey it’s hard to take a day off when you own the company.

After checking in at the hospital – thankfully we were pre-registered so we avoided paperwork that morning(!) – they took us to our room and set me up on the monitors. Since my water had already broken, I had to stay on the monitors, but the good news was that they could be tracked wirelessly so I could walk around and they could get wet so I could labor in the tub.

Next on the list was to call our families. We called Brett’s mom first because it was an hour later there. Surprisingly she was on the road a couple of hours later and would get to the hospital the following evening. Then we tried my parents and it took several attempts to get through. Eventually I had to give up on my mom’s cell and call my dad’s. Turns out they were working out in the garage and she did not have her phone. They were able to join us a few days later on Monday evening.

Then it was time for distractions. We were all smiles from the time we checked in until about 10:30 am. That gave us enough time to watch Nadal win his match in the French Open and have another breakfast provided by the hospital. Of course, the doctor came in to check me and the nurse, Lisa, was great at making sure we were all settled in.

My contractions had been between 15 – 20 minutes apart when we arrived at 6:00 am and were very minor. By 10:30, I was having to concentrate on staying relaxed and my contractions had decreased to 3 and a half minutes apart. The goal going into labor was to be drug free. That was definitely put to the test.

As my contractions increased, the doctor working that day (yep, my doctor had the day off!) checked me for the first time. Based on everything I had read and our birth class, I expected to be between 3 – 4 cm dilated. Turns out I was only 2 cm, but was 90% effaced. The doctor tried to make me feel better by telling me the effacing part was a lot of work, but I was not buying it. Being only 2 cm definitely had me scared! How much worse was it going to get?!?!

I decided I would try getting in the tub and hoped laboring in there would be more comfortable. While I was in the bathtub, Brett kept me occupied by telling me random stories of our life together. Remember the time we went to that concert? How about when that guy was being a jerk? That little bakery in Argentina was so great… I was surprised at how effective that tactic was during my contractions.

After a couple hours, I was pruny, cold and ready to get out. Not sure why, it wasn’t any better out of the water because that’s when the back labor hit. Oh goodness was that uncomfortable. We walked around the maternity wing a little bit more, but that soon became too difficult so I crawled back in bed.

One thing that surprised me was that I did not want to be mobile in the end. I did not want to stand. I did not want to move around or bounce on the labor ball. I did not want Brett to massage my back or provide counter pressure. All of this was completely unexpected.

Then I made a bad choice…the doctor came in around 2:30 and asked if I wanted to be checked again to see how I was progressing. I debated and eventually decided yes. Again, from what I read and birth class I was hoping to be between 7 – 8 cm. The contractions were clearly picking up. I had to be getting close to Transition, right?

Nope, I was only between 5 – 6 cm. What?!? Really?!? How much more of this could I take and how much longer was I going to be here? So I asked the doctor and she actually gave me an estimate. She told me that most first time moms dilate 1 cm per hour. A quick calculation told me I had an estimated 4 more hours. That’s when I panicked. I cried and pleaded with Brett. “I’m not sure I can do it” definitely escaped my lips like a bad cliche.

Brett was a great partner and coach. He told me that he knew I could do it, but that if I really wanted to get the drugs he of course would understand. He did not want me to not get the drugs because I was worried about what he or anyone else would think. He suggested I wait a little bit longer and see if I still wanted anything in an hour. That did it. I chose to wait and see.

We tried a few more positions and I eventually ended up in the rocking chair. I rocked myself back and forth for the next hour and a half. The doctor had a few more patients to see, but said she would be back around 4:45. There must be something in me that really likes getting “gold stars” or being a good student because I could see the clock on the wall as I rocked and my goal was to just get to 4:45.

But, can I just say that Transition is really tiring. I was so tired that between contractions, I was actually falling asleep. Not that I was sleeping for long, but it was enough to get me totally relaxed when my body was not in complete pain. Just before 4:45 the nurse said she would check me again and low and behold I was 10 cm!!! Whoo hoo! I did it without the drugs! Now it was time to push.

This came with more surprises. I expected this part to be natural – meaning that I would instinctively know what to do when it came time to push. Again…not so much. I also thought I would want to give birth in the squatting position, but nope. I just did not have the strength. So we ended up in the side-lying position. This left Brett, who thought he would avoid some of the more graphic bits, with a front row seat.

Then all of a sudden, after an hour of pushing, our little girl was out and in my arms! We had also asked for delayed cord clamping and I had pictured Brett and I gazing at our daughter for the next hour while the rest of the business was handled down below and her cord stopped pulsating.

Just gave birth

However that was not to be. Our little girl had too much fluid in her lungs and they had to do more work on her. That meant only 6 minutes with mama before they were putting tubes down her throat and getting more oxygen in her. That also meant that daddy would be leaving and going with her as they hauled her away to NICU. Not what we had expected after a pretty easy pregnancy and labor for the most part.

After about another hour, I was ready to join them in the NICU ward and see my little girl again. Surprisingly I was fine. I was able to walk and eat. I couldn’t believe that just a few hours before I was practically passing out because I was so exhausted and now I was chomping at the bit to get out of that room. That’s hormones and adrenaline for you.

Baby Eleanor

Once we were all reunited the doctor told us that she had to be on a breathing apparatus until she could maintain her oxygen levels. We also learned that she had an elevated white blood cell count and would have to be on antibiotics. We hoped that would only last for 48 hours, but unfortunately we needed to stay in the hospital for a full 7 days. Not part of the plan and not the most fun, but thankfully the nursing and hospital staff were great.

We also look back at that week like a newborn care crash course. There was someone there to change her dirty diapers, help wake me up when it was time to nurse, show me how to use the breast pump, and watch our baby when the car seat guy came to help install the seat. We were also fortunate to be at the hospital in Boulder. The NICU wing has individual rooms for the babies and an adjoining room for the parents. This way you can still room with your little one and not have to leave the hospital at night.

NICU Room

Now we’re home and our little Eleanor is thriving! Not sure how she caught an infection, but we are super thankful to modern medicine and the awesome hospital staff for getting her healthy. I’m sure that next time I will have to be on antibiotics during labor. Oh well, at least there will be a reason for me to have that silly IV in my arm since I’ll plan to avoid the pain meds next time too.

 

Brett and I were so excited to welcome our baby girl on June 5th! Of course we are absolutely in love with her and are totally biased in exactly the way parents should be.

So without further ado, please meet Eleanor Stevie!

Meet Eleanor

My official due date was moved up two days to June 21st so she was born at 37 weeks 5 days. If you are interested in her birth story, stay tuned later this week as I will share with you our journey of how we came to meet our precious little girl.

And now you know why it’s been a bit quiet on Little Green Bow. Sorry for the delay, but she surprised us by coming earlier than expected (even though I was hoping she would not make us wait until the 21st!)

My friend said one of her favorite photos from her pregnancy was one of her full belly and then one with the baby. We copied the idea – albeit as a last minute photo at 4:30 am on the day I went into labor – but I am really happy with how it turned out and super excited she suggested it to me. Thanks, Kelly!

Here is my belly just before giving birth and then me holding our little baby on the outside.

Here is my belly just before giving birth and then me holding our little baby on the outside.

 

Another one bites the dust…well weeks that is. This kiddo is now considered full term, meaning that all of her little organs are fully grown and she could be born any day now. That’s just crazy!

A few weeks ago, I was ready to have her out. I started to get puffy and uncomfortable. And while I am still puffier than I’d like, I’ve started to adjust to my new normal and the tingling hands do not bother me as much. It’s so funny how that can happen – how quickly we can adjust. I also think reality is setting in that she could be born anytime and that makes me more patient somehow.

I’m so curious about this little person…is she going to be like me or Brett? Will she have hazel eyes like the both of us? Or blue? Or brown? When is she going to be ready and grace us with her presence? And most of all, will we be able to look at her and instantly know what her name should be?

Week 37 baby bump progress photo

If you can’t read the board, here are the stats:

Alias: Peanut/Skeeziks
Age: 37 weeks
Sex: Girl
Height: ~19.25 in.
Weight: ~6.3 lb.
Notes: Baby is fully baked! (picture of a hot oven)

How far along? 37 weeks
Total weight gain? 39 pounds (Doc said I was supposed to stop gaining weight, but no such luck for me)
Maternity clothes? Of course!
Sleep? Pretty good again this week. I kicked out the body pillow which makes Brett happy too.
Miss anything? After the one high blood pressure reading, I am completely cutting out decaf coffee and as much caffeine as possible.  This does not include chocolate…that would just be mean. So, I will be preemptive and say decaf coffee.
Movement? Oh yes. She still likes to stick her foot out and have us rub it. I am hoping this means she’ll let me play with her feet when she comes out.
Cravings? I made 2 loaves of banana bread this week and froze them before eating any. Mistake…I was then totally craving some so I had to make a third batch.
Aversions? Nope
Gender: Girl
Labor signs? Not yet. Still having Braxton Hicks, but no concrete labor signs.
Wedding ring on or off? Off
Looking forward to: Going to more yoga this week. Now that I am working from home exclusively, I hope to get to a few daytime classes this week. Should be a great way to use this waiting time until she arrives.

 

I am a planner. Did you know that? Of course you probably do.

I am also the cook in our house. That’s not to say my husband can’t cook. In fact, he can make up a nice meal every once in a while for my birthday or Valentine’s Day, but he really does not enjoy it and it takes him a while to plan it. So, it’s a job that falls to me day-to-day.

I also hate to spend too much money eating out and since my freelance work is going on hold for at least 2 months of maternity leave, the belt had to be tightened a bit. That’s why I decided to make one month worth of freezer meals.

It will be a great way to feed Brett and I after the baby gets here and we’re sleep deprived zombies. All we’ll need to do is pull something out the night before and put it in the oven when we are ready to eat.

The better news was that I was able to buy the ingredients to make 24 dinners, 12 lunches, and 22 breakfasts for $200! Here’s the breakdown of what I made and how many servings I expect from each…

How to Make One Month of Freezer Meals for 200 Dollars :: Little Green Bow

Breakfasts:

Lunches:

Dinners:

We’ll need to supplement these meals with fresh produce, salads, bread, eggs, milk and orange juice. I also plan to make sandwiches for lunch several times, but knew the ingredients would be better fresh.

Obviously this will not be EVERYTHING we’ll need to eat for a full month, but it’s a great base. It allows us some flexibility to eat out for lunch (when it’s cheaper and newborns are more socially accepted at your table). And we will also be able to fit in meals brought over by friends.

I found all of the recipes through searches online and on Pinterest. Every recipe should be linked above, but let me know if you have questions about any of them. In part two of this series I plan to share my grocery list and my schedule for making all of these items. I was able to do it all in 2 days, but if I had to do it again, I would have spread it out better over 3 days.

It should be noted that I did substitute out some of the ingredients for our tastes – I do not need beef, pork, or lamb so these items were replaced with chicken. This was more expensive, so I also subbed out expensive cheese for bulk cheese to cut down on the costs.

Seeing my freezer fully stocked makes me feel much more ready for our “peanut” to get here!

Have any freezer meal tips to share with others? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!

 

Sticking with the French theme a little bit longer, I thought now would be a good time to finally wrap up the series I was writing about European adventures last fall since our last leg was in Paris.

We planned our trip to be open jaw which means that we flew into one city (Rome) and out of another (Paris). This is a great way to travel because you can spend your time visiting more locations instead of backtracking to your arrival city. And often you might find that flights this way can be cheaper. However, we flew on miles so it was the same mileage cost per leg.

The beautiful weather we had in Switzerland continued for our last 2 days. It was unseasonably warm and I was even able to wear the sundress I brought! That part was great, but the nice weather also meant that more smokers were out enjoying the al fresco dining and cafes as well. This did not bode well for my sensitive pregnant nose and I kept wanting to switch tables or sit far from the crowds.

Our trip started with a train ride from Olten, Switzerland to Paris, France. We had about a 90 minute stop in Basel so we took advantage and walked around the town. Unfortunately we were lugging our rolling suitcases over the cobblestone streets which was a bit embarrassing and obnoxious. There was just enough time to walk to the river, take photos, and stop for a mid morning snack. Then it was back to the trains. Thankfully the trip was quick.

A quick stop in Basel

A quick stop in Basel

One slight oversight on our part was misjudging hotel availability. We thought we’d ask our friends for help and book when we were in Switzerland, but time got away from us and we had not booked a hotel the night before we were to leave. The crazy part was that all the hotels we could find were super expensive – we’re talking $500+ per night!  Thankfully we were able to find a last minute rental through Airbnb and the owners coordinated with their house keeper to meet us with the keys the next afternoon. There’s nothing quite like ending your trip with a little apprehension that someone will be there with the keys to your room, but it all worked out and we had the perfect little studio in a great part of town.

Arriving in Paris - our cute studio rental was just off this great street

Arriving in Paris – our cute studio rental was just off this great street

We arrived in Paris around 4:00pm and headed out to sight see. First stop was the outside of the Louvre. Unfortunately, there was just not enough time to go in.

Posing for a pic outside the Louvre

Posing for a pic outside the Louvre

Then it was off to Notre Dame. It was a Sunday and we made it there in time for mass. We weren’t there for the service, but it was cool to see and experience it. Can you imagine going to mass at Notre Dame each week?!?

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

Sadly, I was not able to see the sun streaming through the beautiful stained glass windows because it was too late. Oh well, something to do the next time we are there.

Playing along the Seine

Playing along the Seine

The night finished with a stroll along the Seine and a lovely 4 course dinner. I made it through without wine, but forgot about the pasteurized cheese restriction (for pregnant women in the U.S.) and ordered a plate of cheese for dessert. Oops! It all checked out fine later.

The next day was going to be busy! I mean we really only had one full day in Paris and I had things to see…

We started with a metro ride to the Arc de Triomphe.

The Arc De Triomphe

The Arc De Triomphe

Then proceeded to walk down Champs Elyesee.

The Avenue Champs Elysees

The Avenue Champs Elysees

I was determined to find the famous macaroon place – Laduree. I should have paid better attention to the map when I looked it up because we had to walk down one side and back up the other to find it. However, along the way we found the cutest children’s clothes store and bought a few outfits for our “peanut”. Still can’t wait to see her in them. Although, had we known she was a girl then…oh the little things we could have bought.

The famous Laudree

The famous Laudree

Bless my husband for his patience while we looked for Laduree. And then once we found it, the line was longer than we hoped. About 40 minutes later, we had a box of 8 colorful macaroons. We found a bench and tried our first one. It really did make the search worth it. Those little cookies are divine!

Yummy macaroons!

Yummy macaroons!

Then it was off to search for a little side street we read about in a travel book. When we travel we like to try to take in the more local scenes and get off the beaten path. Sometimes it’s great and other times, well it’s nothing super special. This time it was unfortunately the latter. Perhaps it was because we were trying to cram too much into one day. Or maybe it was the second pass down Champs Elysee that wore us out. Either way, I am a big proponent of finding your own small local adventures. Don’t take someone else’s word for it because it is a very personal experience.

Our final major stop for the day was the Eiffel Tower, of course. We took the metro to Trocadero because the view of the tower as you come around the corner is perfect. It’s an unobstructed view from a courtyard above the yard. There’s also a great little crepes place there where we stopped for lunch.

Visiting the Eiffel Tower

Visiting the Eiffel Tower

We completely lucked out when purchasing out tickets for the Eiffel Tower. When we first got in line, the top was closed and they were not selling tickets past the first tier. That kept the line shorter than usual and in fact some people in front of us even left when they noticed the sign. We decided to stay because it was the only time we were going to be there, even though I was a bit bummed. Then when were about 10 people from the ticket counter, they opened the top and we were able to get tickets without having to purchase them on the first tier (with another line!).

Then we spent an extra hour at the top waiting for sunset. It was pretty perfect! Of course, it helped that we had those delicious macaroons to snack on.

Sunset on the Eiffel Tower

Sunset on the Eiffel Tower

I just wish we could have toasted with bubbly from the Champagne Bar that the top of the tower.

Champagne Bar at the top of the Eiffel Tower

Champagne Bar at the top of the Eiffel Tower

By the time the sun had set and we walked to a cafe for dinner, we were ready to call it a night.

Goodbye Paris

Goodbye Paris

It had been a wonderful two weeks and the time had come for us to return home.

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