Grace’s second month got off to a rough start, thanks in part to the holidays and then my brother getting married. All of that excitement takes its toll on a little baby. considering it all she took it like a champ though. She didn’t hit her breaking point during the wedding weekend until it was time to go home. Poor girl was so over stimulated she couldn’t sleep, not even in the car. Immediately following all of that activity Gracie hit her 6 week growth spurt when she was exactly 6 weeks old. I didn’t even realize she was having her growth spurt until I looked back at the app I use to track how much she eats and realized she had 10 more ounces to eat that day than she normally does. Both Seth and I commented the next morning that when we had swaddled her the night before, the swaddler seemed much smaller (or she seemed much bigger…).
Month number two also brought a much needed change in the sleep department. Gracie slept six and a half hours on January 7. It was a welcome change but I didn’t let myself get too excited since I’ve heard these things can be 2 steps forward and one step back. However, the next night she did 8 hours and she just kept stretching it out from there. We also started putting her on her tummy to sleep. I know, I know. Back is best. We think rest is best though and she certainly gets more (and better) sleep when she is on her stomach. Added bonus: she has excellent head control and a nicely shaped noggin.
Once she started doing such long stretches we decided it was time to move bedtime up from 10pm to 7 pm. After this the 10pm feed became a ‘dream feed’ and it gradually got moved up to around 9pm. Then one night she just slept all night and didn’t wake up for the dream feed. The next night though she did wake and that pattern has continued. Although this week she has gone 4 nights in a row without waking to eat so maybe the dream feed is officially a thing of the past. I have to say I love feeding her at night because she is so warm, sleepy and snuggle-y. Added bonus: when I lay her down to sleep she doesn’t fuss. It is like she wants to be in her crib. Bliss, I tell you.
Gracie is becoming more social as well. She had her first play date with her friend Willa. They are going to be on the synchronized swim team in the 2028 olympics. She is also making more noise and is so, so close to smiling on command. Gracie loves to be with her daddy and is so content to just sit on his lap and hang out with him and watch football. She does not like bath time. I repeat, she hates bath time. Gracie has developed a very cute habit of placing her hand on mine while I am feeding her and then when she is done eating she will contentedly fold her hands on her chest.
Seth and I left Gracie and went out by ourselves for the first time on New Year’s Eve. We went to the Illinois/Indiana basketball game and it did not disappoint. (Go Illini!) I did however have a lot of mixed emotions about being away from my baby.
Gracie was blissfully unaware of snowmageddon, snowpocalypse, or whatever you would like to call the monstrosity that befell us in early January. Mama and Gracie stayed home all week and didn’t go out at all. Mama even cancelled in 6 week postpartum appointment just to avoid going out, it was so cold.
I can’t believe how much I love this little girl and I am looking forward to all that month number 3 will bring!
I sat up abruptly after the second contraction and as I sat up I felt a gush. I told Dana, “I think my water just broke” and when I stood up I was certain of it as I had soaked through my clothes. I went upstairs to change but decided to let Seth continue to rest instead of telling him that my water had broke. I went back downstairs and Dana was packing her bag for the hospital. I confessed to her that up until my water broke I was really thinking that labor was going to taper off and I would have to go to work. Dana laughed and told me that she knew a long time ago that wasn’t going to happen. I walked through the next few contractions since it was now more painful to sit on the birth ball since I didn’t have that extra “cushion.” I decided that perhaps it would be a good idea to go upstairs and lay down in my own bed one last time.
Around 5:45 am I decided that Dana needed to come up for some hands on help. She used heat from a rice pack (semi-helpful but kind of awkward since the pain was all in my belly and we wanted to avoid overheating the baby), massage and hip squeezes. The hip squeeze was no fun. It made the pain worse. I also held a small comb in my hand that gave me a different pain to focus on through contractions. That comb ended up staying with me throughout the rest of my labor-right up to when I started pushing. After a while I got on the exercise ball and sat next to the bed. Dana sat behind me and when I would have contractions she would press on pressure points in the small of my back. I in turn would push back against her and this was extremely helpful.
Shortly after 7 am I decided that we should head to the hospital, but I needed a granola bar and a chocolate milkshake first. Seth went out to get breakfast and my milkshake. When Seth returned he started loading up the car and I gave him instructions about last minute things that I wanted packed. We ended up leaving around 8 am.
Throughout my pregnancy the part of labor I was dreading the most was the car ride to the hospital. I was really worried about how I would be able to be remotely comfortable through contractions while in a moving vehicle. My contractions slowed some while we were in the car which was a needed relief. As it turned out riding in the car was a nice distraction and on the occasion we would hit a bump while I was having a contraction it felt really good. I sipped my milkshake and continued to squeeze the comb during the drive. We arrived at OSF around 9 am. We opted not to use the valet and went ahead and walked up to the labor and delivery floor. We also opted not to use the complimentary shuttles in the hospital. I remembered as we walked down the very long hallway telling Dana how scary they were because they went so fast. I can’t imagine if I would have had a contraction while I was on on of those!
Once up at labor and delivery I was placed in triage since there were no beds available. I grumpily thought to myself that they were probably full of people having scheduled indictions and c-sections and was extremely annoyed. In triage, I was literally put in a corner and there was barely any room for me and Seth, let alone Dana and all of our stuff. The nurse practitioner was extremely rude and was incredulous when I told her that my water had broken. She explained that they had to test me to be sure that my water had in fact broken and perform an exam to see how dilated/effaced I was. The exam was terrible and it felt like she was digging around inside of me. She announced that I was 2-3 cm. I found this very discouraging since I was 1-2 at my doctor’s appointment 3 days before and I had now been in labor for over a day! I also remember telling her that I had a birth plan and she seemed very annoyed by my having a birth plan. However, after she read it she said it sounded “reasonable.” Once she was done with the tests and I was taken off the monitor I got off the bed. While we were moving around in a very tight confined area Seth accidentally stepped on my right foot. I screamed and told him that it hurt worse than a contraction! With the swelling in my feet it definitely did. At this point another couple was in triage and on the other side of the curtain I heard a nurse come in and tel them that their scheduled c-section was going to be pushed back a little because the doctor had to do an emergency c-section, but their baby would still be here by noon. I was again annoyed that yet someone else was making the choice to be in the hospital and thought that I had better get to a room before them since I was actually in labor.
Around 11 am I was moved to a labor and delivery room. The nurse practitioner never did actually confirm that my water had broken, but since we were moved to a room I guess that was my water that broke and I had not just peed myself. One of my labor and delivery nurses was Lorrie Harmon, and she was truly the best nurse I could have asked for. She was extremely supportive of me and my birth plan. She had to do some external monitoring of the baby and then take my blood pressure before I would be allowed to be out of bed. She and another nurse, Lynne, asked me more questions to get me admitted. They both laughed when I told them the last thing I had eaten was a chocolate milkshake. I had to sign some various forms and I distinctly remember NOT signing the form that allowed them to give me an epidural. (I strongly advise this for anyone who desires to have an unmedicated labor, because I was so “in the zone” at the point when I would have wanted an epidural that signing a piece of paper was not going to happen.) Right about the time she took my blood pressure there was a random doctor? med student? who came in and asked me how I was doing with my pain and reminded me that having an epidural was an option. I remember thinking and wondering if the rest of my labor was going to go on like this, with doctors coming in and “offering” me medication. Thankfully, Lorrie informed him that I desired to have an unmedicated labor but just him asking was enough to send my blood pressure up. Dana got out some lavender essential oil and Lorrie took my blood pressure again. It had come down enough that I would be allowed to walk around freely.