Friday, November 21, 2014

Fab Friday Week In Review

Hiya lovelies!  Happy Friday.  TGIF.  Hallelu-yer, it's almost the weekend!  I'm ready for it, and I bet you are too.

This is my first week back to work after my 13-week maternity leave.  I thought it was GLORIOUS being home with Avery and having lots of time to bond, but alas, it was time to go back to the grind.  I went back to work on Monday and found plenty of work waiting for me.  Of course there was drama while I was out, but I should always expect that.  I've never worked for a drama-free employer.  I swear they don't exist.

Here are some stats from my first week back to work:
  • 1168 - Unread emails waiting for me, and that's with an Out of Office message on my account.
  • 5 - Voicemail messages waiting for me, which would have been far worse if they hadn't forwarded my phone to one of my assistants on my first day on leave.
  • 6 - Hugs I received from my bosses and co-workers on my first day back to work.  I only stayed in my office that day and didn't make the rounds, so the rest of the week was filled with more.  I lost count on those.  I'm just fortunate that everyone was so excited to have me back!
  • 15 - Files delivered to me on Day 1 by my coworker who took over the bulk of my work while I was gone saved up some "good stuff" (her words, not mine) for my return.
  • 1 - Employees who went AWOL while I was out.  My boss hired a temp to replace her;  I'm not thrilled.  (If I had a proper Grumpy Cat meme, I'd use it here.)
  • 1 - Ultimatum received from an employee, who threatened to quit after the first of the year if the leadership team won't meet their demands for more exciting work and more money.  However, said person doesn't have all of the knowledge and skills necessary to do things they say they want to do, and isn't taking 'no' for an answer.  (sigh)
  • 5 - New parking spaces outside of my building, which means I don't have to trek so  far in and out of the building every day.  It's the little things, people.
  • 3 - Workplace moms who have already dispensed their sage parenting advice to me.  It was not requested.  I'm absolutely sure there is more to come.
  • 1 - Baby swings that kicked the bucket, leaving my husband with very few devices that keep our daughter happy.  Right now, if Avery's not happy, nobody's happy, so I just ordered a new swing.  Never mind the fact that we have enough baby equipment in our house to accommodate triplets (no joke), but she only likes 1 activity mat and sometimes 1 bouncer.  Otherwise, she wants to be held and snuggled non-stop.  Send prayers that she likes the new swing--Hubs' sanity is riding on it!
  • 100.38 - Dollars spent on the Macy's baby apparel sale via lunchtime online shopping.  It's really cold here in Florida this week and I realized that we don't have anywhere near enough warm clothing for Avery.  I also bought some clothes for my niece for Christmas, so YAY for multi-tasking!
  • 2 - Nights that I was home late this week due to pre-planned after-work commitments and an emergency battery need.  Apparently every single baby item seems to need some special type of battery.  Hubs didn't love that he was being left alone for extra-long periods of time during his first week being a SAHD.  In his words, he was "thrown to the wolves".  Poor guy.  Luckily he's a wonderful daddy and he and Avery just got a lot of extra bonding time!
  • 5:30 - Time this morning that Avery woke up and refused to go back to sleep.  Every other day, she sleeps until 7:30, but on the Friday of a very long tiring week, she decided that she needed to start her day.  Many thanks to her for my early Friday morning wake-up call, followed by cute smiles and snuggles, and later followed by crying because she didn't get her bottle fast enough.  It's par for the course in Baby Land.
Overall, it's been a really good week, but stressful for all of us in my little family.  It will definitely get easier in time, once we have a new routine established and I'm back in the swing of things at work.

What were the highlights of your week? 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

5 Things I Love About Influenster

For the past couple of years, I've participated in forums and discussions through Influenster, loving the information and cool perks that are a part of being in this wonderful community.  If you haven't heard of Influenster, it is a website and app that allows users to share their opinions on products and experiences, and engage in meaningful dialogue about them in one convenient place.  They also send you really cool perks and products to try (called VoxBoxes), which never hurts!

There are so many things about this site that I love, but I'm going to share my top 5 with you.
  1. GREAT REVIEWS - I enjoy reading other peoples' reviews on products I'm considering buying, and I write my own reviews about the products and experiences that I've encountered.  The site provides a unique opportunity to interact with others who have tried the same products, and has given me insight into the ways others use products that I've also tried.  I still remember when an Influenster user mentioned using lip balm with an SPF on their hair part to prevent scalp sunburn!  This is useful stuff for a Floridian like me!  Mind. Blown.
  2. EASY PEASY - Reading and writing reviews doesn't take mountains of time.  Everything is quick and easy, and I don't have to jump through a bunch of hoops to write a review.  I also love that their app allows you to scan a product, and it automatically searched for reviews.  How amazing is that??  I love this feature!  Overall, less complication means that I write more reviews, read more of others' reviews and generally spend more time on the site.  Less work for better results is always a win for me!
  3. AWESOME NEW DISCOVERIES - I've discovered products in my VoxBoxes that I would have never tried otherwise.  I love the Rimmel Scandaleyes Retro Glam mascara that I was sent, and use it daily now.  I liked it so much that I bought them for my sister and my mom, who are both die-hard DiorShow users.  They never knew they'd like a Rimmel mascara so much!
  4. FREE PRODUCTS - You know those VoxBoxes that I mentioned?  You get them for free!  My husband loves that I try products for free so my beauty budget doesn't overflow into his entertainment budget or our baby budget.  They're usually packed with a handful of sample and full-sized products to try, then you review them afterward on the website or app.  You can also earn perks, such as a free bottle of wine or discounts on products or services.  Pretty cool, right?  Hubs sure seems to think so.
  5. SNAPPY APP - The app is designed for quick, on-the-go use, so everything can be accessed swiftly and easily.  I love that after you find a product, the menu on the product's page gives you links to everything you need on the fly:  Reviews, Q&A, a price comparison tool, overall user ratings, and more information about the product and the brand.  Lickity split and quick like a bunny.  I most frequently whip this app out in the drugstore when comparing products to see which one might work best for my skin or ailment, but that's just the tip of the iceberg.  It's my favorite way to get product information without having to scroll through endless web page trying to find the data points I need to make my purchasing decision.  Plus, saving time these days means more time for my baby girl, and we all know that I must maximize that time!

If you're not a member of Influenster, get to your computer or smart device and go to Influenster.com or download the Influenster app to sign up.  You won't be sorry!!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

October Subscription Box Fun

The alternate title of this post was "Better Late Than Never" since I'm about a month late with this post, but with a new baby in the house, that's just what is happening these days!  Sorry 'bout that!

Remember awhile back when I said I was going to cancel all of my subscription boxes?  Well... that didn't exactly happen.  I kept them hanging on for awhile because I am a product lover and just couldn't quit those darn boxes.   My thought was that I should cancel my "luxuries" like subscription boxes and Massage Envy membership until I know what my budget will look like now that I have a baby, who necessitates diapers, formula, clothes, toys... You get the picture.  I want to make sure I'm not going to be broke and unable to afford the things we need for our baby.

In August, I finally pulled the trigger and cancelled Birchbox and Ipsy.  It was done in a moment of confidence and purpose, and I didn't feel bad about it.  Until the next day, when the thought made me a little sad.  Fast forward to today, and I don't really miss Birchbox, though I do find myself missing Ipsy.  Hmph.  I still have another month on my Popsugar Must Have box subscription, and I haven't yet cancelled my quarterly FabFitFun box.  That one's too awesome, and it's only quarterly so I'm going to try to keep that one going for a bit.  I did sign up for a few months of Glossybox along the way because I kept getting sweet offers for free products (hello, full-size Boscia bronzing BB cream!).  I don't know the future of my Glossybox subscription yet.

So, I haven't posted about any of my boxes in a few months, but I did get two last month that are worth talking about:  Popsugar Must Have and Glossybox.  Let's discuss!

Glossybox


Here's what was in the box...

  • Proganix Volume Root Boost Finish + Body Builder (full size) - $11.99
  • Tarte Power Pigment Lip Crayon in Flush (full size) - $24.00
  • Nails Inc. Westminster Bridge Matte Top Coat (full size) - $10.00
  • Sesha Botanical Hydra Mask (full size) - $9.00
  • Vince Camuto Amore Eau de Parfum (deluxe sample) - $5.73
  • Hello Fresh $40 off a food box subscription
This is my second month of Glossybox and what I can say is that the value is definitely there.  You pay $21/month and this month I received $60.72 worth of products (not counting the coupon), most of which were full size.  That's pretty awesome compared to many beauty subs.  

As far as the products go, I've tried most of them.  I love, love, love the Tarte lip crayon.  The Flush shade is perfect for my skin tone, and gives them a nice, rosy, slightly-glossy finish.  It's perfection on my sweet little lips!  The Proganix Root Boost spray is also really nice.  I love the scent, and it did do a nice job of building root volume for me.  This is my first time trying a Proganix product,and I'd love to try other products in this line.  The matte top coat was also pretty great.  I liked it on my finger nails, as it really enhanced the look of my standard polishes and made them look very different.  The Vince Camuto EDP was okay, but the scent doesn't stand out on my skin.  I normally like a floral fragrance, but I just wasn't wowed by this one.  I haven't tried the Sesha mask yet, and I haven't used the Hello Fresh coupon.  Overall impression:  Excellent!  I can't believe I waited so long to try Glossybox!

Popsugar Must Have


Here's what I got...
  • Happy Socks Animal Socks - $12.00
  • butter LONDON WINK Eye Pencil in Earl Grey - $18.00
  • Isaac Jacobs International Acrylic Picture Frame - $36.00
  • Mine Design Chalkboard Soy Message Ceramic Candle in Pomegranate - $24.00
  • Dean & Deluca Pumpkin Spice Malt Balls - $5.75
  • Nailed Kit Halloween Nail Art - $8.00
  • K. Hall Designs Shoreline Shea Butter/Olive Oil Soap - $10.00
  • Blue Jean Bar $40 off a blue jean box
This was another month where the value was fantastic.  The subscription costs $39.95/month, and this month's box was worth $113.75, not counting the coupon.  I really love everything in the box.  The nail art stickers were ADORABLE for Halloween, and I have plenty left for next year.  The soap smells great and is light and neutral enough for even my husband's liking.  The eye pencil is creamy and applies easily and evenly, so it will be part of my regular makeup routine this Fall.  The chalkboard candle is PERFECT as a decoration for my Christmas party (with a cute holiday message written across it!), and the fruity fragrance is perfect for any time of year.  The socks are super cute in a black, gray and hot pink leopard print, and will be a fun way to brighten up one of my work ensembles this winter.  The picture frame is also simple and perfect, and will probably end up sporting a picture of my baby girl and sitting on my desk at work.  Overall impression:  Once again, very, very good!  I sincerely love this sub.  


Have you subscribed to Popsugar or Glossybox?  
What are your impressions of them?  

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Big News in Baby Land

So, remember when I said I was going back to work next week?  Well, the plan all along has been to put Avery in a great daycare just down the street from our home that is run through a local church.  I was psyched to use them since the staff was so sweet and they weren't quite as expensive as other centers in our area.

As we approached my return to work and sending Avery to daycare, Hubs and I talked it out and decided that we'd rather have someone take care of Avery at home a little longer.  In those discussions, we talked about who that should be and what would make most sense financially; Those were tough discussions.

In the end, we decided that Hubs will be taking a leave of absence from his job and staying home with Avery for the next 12 weeks after I go back to work.  While I'm beyond thrilled that Avery will get to be home with Daddy for a few more months, I'll miss being home and seeing her adorable smiling face all day.  I'll miss our own little moments, the early morning mommy-and-me naps and our afternoon shopping trips, but Hubs will get to develop his own special moments with her.  I love that they'll get to bond this way.

Hubs is nervous, and I'm nervous, too.  He's doing something hugely important and wonderful for our family, and I'm so freaking blessed to have a husband who WANTS to do this.  Not many men do.  But, I would be lying if I said I didn't wish it was me who would be staying home longer with Avery.  Nonetheless, I know she's in good hands, since Hubs is more than wonderful with her.  It's going to be a big change for Hubs, of course.  He's soon going to see how challenging it can be to stay home and play Mr. Mom (remember that 80's movie with Michael Keaton??) with a young baby who has reflux issues and growth spurts.  All parents know what fun these can be!  I told him that he'll find patience that he never knew he had, and he will get to be present for so many milestones and adorable, heart-melting moments.  Lucky dog!

Hubs promises to bring Avery to meet me for lunch sometimes, and send me videos and pictures so I feel like I'm also enjoying all of those important moments.  This arrangement will also give us a lot more flexibility around the holidays, too, since his work schedule was always a challenge and I have more ability to flex my schedule, take days off, etc.

Did I ever dream that I'd be working while Hubs stayed home with our baby?  Nope.  BUT, this is a great arrangement for us and I'm excited that we can make it happen.

I seriously can't wait to see how the next 12 weeks go.  We're going to be blessed and stressed and full of love for our little one and our life.  Man, we're so fortunate.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Feeling Fall -- What I've Been Up To Lately

I absolutely LOVE Fall, and I couldn't be happier that it's upon us.  It just started feeling like Fall here in Florida a couple of weeks ago, when temps started dipping into the 70's (and 50's and 60's in the evenings!).  It feels amazing to have weather that makes wearing hoodies and sweaters possible without sweating through said clothing!  If it gets a little cooler, I'm breaking those scarves and boots out of my closet/clothing jail!  Can't. Wait.

October was a super busy month for us, and it FLEW by.  I cannot even believe that it's November already!  We had a lot of fun in October, even with being busy and sometimes thought we were losing our minds.  Here's a recap of what I've been up to as of late:


  • Avery celebrated her first Halloween!  My husband wasn't sold on dressing her up in a costume since she wouldn't be trick-or-treating or going anywhere special that day (which is apparently the only reason to dress up in a costume...), so I found a cute but inexpensive My First Halloween outfit for Miss Avery to wear that day.  We ended up meeting a friend of mine for lunch, so she did get to show off her new duds.  It was also a beautiful night for trick or treating, with temps in the upper 60's and low 70's, so Hubs and I set up our lawn chairs in the driveway, brought Avery out with us in her Rock 'N Play (covered up with plenty of cozy blankets), and passed out candy.  We had a terrific time and had fun meeting more of our neighbors.

My smiley girl, dressed up in her Halloween gear.  Is she cute or what??

Our candy bowl... which was decimated by ravenous trick-or-treaters.
Yes, we were drinking Abita beer while passing out candy.  That's how we roll.

  • Before trick-or-treating on Halloween, I met my girlfriend, Stephenie, for lunch at a local sports bar and grill.  I walked in and the place must have just opened because there were three old dude at the bar chatting up the bartender, who turned and looked at me like I was an outsider walking into Cheers.  Awwwwkward.  I just did what I do best--acted nonchalant and like I was supposed to be there!  Stephenie showed up not long after that, thankfully, and we had a blast.  It was great to have some grown-up time again!  
  • I did some online shopping for work clothes and found some great deals.  I just need to buy some new work shoes this week and I'll be set for Monday.  I still can't believe that my feet got wider AND longer from being pregnant, as if gaining weight and going up a size (or two) in work pants wasn't bad enough.  Ugh.  I've had to say bye-bye to many pairs of lovely shoes. (Cue sad music.)
  • This past weekend was incredibly busy and productive.  My friend, Jess, and I went to a local Farmer's Market on Saturday morning and I scored all kinds of fresh produce and homemade bread for $20.  I then had the best grilled cheese sandwich of my life from a vendor.  This thing had cheddar cheese, brie, fig preserves and pine nuts, which was oozing from every side of their homemade toasted bread.  I was in heaven.
  • On Sunday, I met my friends for breakfast, then went to the Junior League Holiday Gift Market.  I scored a couple of cute personalized things for Avery and a new collar for my dog.  This is the first year where I didn't buy anything for myself, which is practically a miracle.  
  • On Sunday night, my friend Jess came over and made a delish pierogie dinner for us, then we watched The Walking Dead.  Do you watch this show???  It took me awhile to get into it, but now I love it!  This week's episode was decent, but not as crazy as the first few this season.  I can't wait for next week's episode so I can see what the rest of the gang is up to.
  • Pete was on daddy duty a lot this weekend while I was out and about, and he did great!  He and Avery are so sweet together.  She's recovering from her first cold, so I tried to avoid taking her out to place with lots of people last week and over the weekend.  She seems to be doing a bit better today, thankfully!
  • My maternity leave is almost up, and I'm enjoy my last few days solo with Avery.  We don't have too much planned this week except a few errands and just spending quality time together.  This means excessive snuggling (my little girl is a major cuddle bug!) and time spent cooing and making noises at each other.  Fun times over here.  Next week, however, it's back to reality for moi!
  • The weekend after Halloween, Hubs, Avery and I went to Orlando to visit my sister's family.  We had a blast, and even found time to roast marshmallows and make s'mores using leftover Halloween candy.  If you've never had a s'more made with a Reese's pumpkin instead of a Hershey bar, you're REALLY missing out.  Just sayin'.
  • I have been watching my Michigan State Spartans football every weekend and cheering the team on, even through that sad-sack loss to Ohio State.  That was a heartbreaker.  I'll keep cheering them on, though, because I LOVE my team.  Avery has been sporting her green and white every week, and we'll keep it up throughout the season.  
  • I barely decorated my house for Halloween because I was so freaking busy, crazy and tired from taking care of the baby, the dog, a bunch of house-related crises, as well as making trips to see my sister and parents in different cities.  It was an exhausting month!  I did, however, manage to set up a few fall decorations in time for Thanksgiving, and loaded my Wallflowers plug-ins with fall scents.  Woo hoo!  I feel incredibly accomplished for this
I hope you've all been having a lovely Fall and had a fab Halloween!  

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Life Lately

I can't believe it's already Thursday.  I need to hit the pause button to enjoy this day and week a little longer!  

Since I'm just getting back into the swing of things on my little blog, here are some updates on my life lately...

  • Honestly, I'm just losing track of time while I'm on maternity leave.  I have been off work for about 7 weeks, and I have 5 weeks left before I go back to work.  I'm really not looking forward to leaving Avery everyday, but I enjoy my job so it will be alright. (At least that's what I like to tell myself.)
  • I finally got around to having a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks, and it was glorious.  Like angels sang and the sun shined brighter for those few minutes while I guzzled that bad boy.  I followed that up with a pumpkin milkshake from Wawa, a TON of pumpkin-y goodness from Trader Joe's, and several types of pumpkin beer.  Yum-yum-yum, Fall is here!
  • My husband's godfather, Tom, came to visit us from Delaware last weekend marking our first non-parental overnight guest since the baby arrived and Pete's first family member (Tom is family to us, even if not by genetics) to meet the baby in person.  He was a little bit nervous about holding such a tiny baby, but after holding her for a bit, he clearly hadn't lost his touch with kids.  Tom also cooked us a huge Italian meal that left us with a freezer full of leftovers.  While he was here, we took him to Clearwater Beach, to a local Italian market, and we spent time at the mall so Tom could do some early Christmas shopping while his hubby was nowhere near us.  We had a fabulous time, and can't wait to have Tom visit again with his husband, David.
  • We got a "cold front" here in Florida over the weekend and the temperatures dipped into the middle and upper 70's.  It was literally perfect weather, but not quite the sweater weather I've been hoping for.  I pray that further cool weather finds its way to Florida soon so I can bust out my scarves and hoodies!
  • Avery has been going through a growth spurt, which I've dubbed "Scream Fest 2014", for the past couple of weeks, making the afternoons and evenings pure hell.  If she hasn't been eating or sleeping, she's been crying.  Thankfully, she's been doing better in the past two days, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she's getting back to normal... and that my sanity can be re-adjusted.  
  • Our dog hasn't been happy about the lack of attention she's getting now that Avery has arrived. Her shenanigans have included peeing in the house right in front of us, peeing on my work laptop bag, tearing apart my lunch bag, and pulling everything out of any box or bag that's on or near the floor the minute we walk out of the room.  So, we did what we know we needed to do:  We hired a doggie drill sergeant dog trainer that a friend of mine recommended.  This trainer is seriously AMAZING and we love her to death.  While it's hard teaching a 14 year old dog new tricks, Bella has been responding very well!  We're even working on general behavioral things that have been bad habits for Bella.  She now walks like a champ on the leash (even next to the stroller!) and doesn't charge the front door when someone knocks or rings the doorbell.  I don't know about you, but I believe the last thing a visitor wants when they come through my front door is to have 16 pounds of gray, shaggy fury to tackle them to the ground.  We've also been confining her to the laundry room with a baby gate when we leave the house and put her on "place" (her dog bed) when we need her to stay somewhere while we're busy with the baby/laundry/dishes/etc. and don't want her getting into anything.  Bella has always been sweet and kind to the baby and the baby's things, but we don't want bad behavior to escalate to those areas.
  • Did I mention that 1.5 weeks after the baby arrived, we found a leak in our dishwasher drain line and mold in our kitchen?  Stay tuned for a post on that.  It's too much to go into here.
I think those are the highlights.  It's been a wild, wonderful few weeks, but now I'm off to figure out how to use this new Ergo baby carrier that I bought.  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Avery's Birth Story

Hiya there!  I'm finally emerging from being in New Mommy Land, and ready to share my birth story with everyone.  A number of you have specifically asked about this, so I wanted to share everything... The good, the bad and the sort of ugly (I'll hold off on getting too TMI in this post, though).  My birth story was not what I expected but everything turned out okay.  My little munchkin is here and healthy, which are the most important things!  I'll warn you, the story is long.

Before I even get into the birth story, I'll note that I loved all but 1 of the 5 doctors within my OB practice.  I saw the 1 doc I didn't like twice, and both times she was in a huge hurry, she was rough with me during internal checks and she seemed annoyed that I asked her questions.  Both times I left my appointments and cried in my car for 20 minutes before I could drive home, so I prayed that she wouldn't be the one to deliver my baby.  I asked the other doctor that I liked best if I could find out which doctors would be on-call if I needed to be induced, and he old me that this particular doc WOULD be on duty for one of the shifts when the baby could arrive.  He hoped, however, that I'd deliver before she came on duty, but that didn't happen.  She was the doctor that ended up delivering my baby.  I was upset about it, but she was fine when it came down to the actual delivery.  I think the other doctor talked to her about my concerns because she was much nicer during my labor and delivery than ever in our previous meetings.  My advice here is that even if you really don't like one doctor in a group OB practice, speak up to SOMEONE at the practice and try to resolve it before your delivery date.  You don't have control over which doctor may deliver your baby when you go to a large OB practice, so its best to be okay with anyone who could possibly deliver your kiddo so you don't end up feeling stressed (like me) on the day-of.  Trust me on this.  I wish I would have addressed this sooner than the freaking day before I was supposed to be induced.

Also, I chose not to write a formal birth plan.  I thought long and hard about this, and finally decided that as a full-on pragmatist, I'm going to do whatever it takes to get the job done in the moment, regardless of whether it's part of my "dream delivery" or not.  I am a planner by nature and love making specific arrangements to get what I want, but I know that the birth of a baby isn't something where you can always dictate and predict what may happen.  There are WAY too many variables and everything can change in an instant.  I felt like it would be better to roll with the punches and stay open minded about what  might need to be done rather than stress about arguing with doctors or pushing a "plan" that may not be realistic in the moment.  Reflecting on my birth experience, I'm quite happy that I didn't commit to an extremely specific birth plan, as I'm sure I would have ended up disappointed in various aspects of my experience.  I've heard of WAY too many birth plans that go up in flames the minute something unexpected happens during labor and delivery, and people end up depressed and regretful.  I didn't want to be one of those regretful, depressed people, so I just notified my doctors of my preferences and said everything else will be handled on an as-needed basis.  My requests were to have delayed cord clamping and skin-to-skin contact (even if I have a c-section) as long as both mom and baby were healthy and it was possible, I told them that I preferred not to be induced unless necessary.  Aside from that, I left everything else open for whatever needed to happen, I wound up feeling very peaceful with the outcome, even though it wasn't what I expected.  Over-planning your birth process may work out or may not, but more often than not, it doesn't turn out like you expect.  Just roll with it and take care of yourself and your baby, regardless of what your "plan" says.

On to the birth story...

I had my 39 week OB appointment on Wed, 8/20 and I knew they'd want to discuss induction at that appointment.  At my previous appointment, my blood pressure had been borderline high, but I had no other signs of issues and my non-stress tests showed that the baby was doing well.  Nonetheless, they warned me that if my BP was high at my 39 week appointment, they'd probably want to induce me.  At the appointment, my BP was high so they said they wanted to induce me starting that evening.  I agreed to do it because my baby's movements had decreased and I was already worried about her.  I'd also started to dilate a tiny bit (1/2 cm) and was 50% effaced.  They scheduled me to come to the hospital's labor and delivery unit that night at 9 pm, but warned me to call 1 hour ahead of time to ensure that there was a room for me (apparently there was a Super Moon that day and they'd had a huge number of women arriving in labor).

Me, just a few hours before I went to the hospital for induction.

I called at 8 pm and was told that they had no room for me, and they'd call me when a room opened up.  (Womp, womp...)  At 11 pm, I hadn't heard anything so I called my doctor's answering service and asked if I should reschedule the induction for the following day.  My doctor called back and said he wanted me induced ASAP, and would make sure that I was called the minute a room opened up.  I got the call at 12:50 am, and Pete and I were at the hospital within 30 minutes.

When we arrived, we were told to wait in the main lobby of the hospital and a Labor & Delivery nurse would come to get us.  We waited about 30 minutes, and in that time, 2 women arrived who were in labor and they were taken to Labor & Delivery right away.  A nurse finally came out to see me and said that they had just given their last two rooms away to those ladies, and I'd have to wait longer for a room.  She said she had no idea how long it could be, but they'd try to find me a space.  I was NOT happy, since they could have put me in one of those open rooms if they'd come out to get me right when I'd arrived, instead of waiting 30+ minutes.  However, I understood that emergent needs (i.e. ladies in active labor) were going to come before inducing me, which wasn't a real emergency.  Hubs and I waited another hour, and the nurse came out again, saying that they still didn't have any space.  She said I could wait or go home, but we opted to wait since we live about 20-25 minutes away from the hospital and I didn't want to risk them giving my room away again while I was in transit.  I did tell her that I was frustrated that they had us waiting for long periods of time in a waiting room (which had no TV, magazines or ottomans, just hard chairs), where I could not sleep or even rest comfortably the night before my induction, so she offered to let us wait in a room where they do NSTs, which had reclining chairs.  We went in there around 3 am, and I slept for about 2-1/2 hours.  Around that time, Hubs went to the nursing station at triage (next door) to check on progress of finding us a room, and the same nurse we'd met with twice previously came to see us.  She had a very rude attitude and said that if they had room for us, they'd let us know, so we didn't need to keep checking.  Hubs was livid, but I told him to be patient.  Once I finally got admitted, I didn't want to be labeled as a "problem patient" and treated poorly by the L&D nurses.  At 7 am, two nurses came in and asked what we were doing camped out in the NST room, so we had to explain the situation to her.  She'd let someone know we were still there, and mentioned that she had been working all night and no one mentioned to her that people were waiting for a room.  At that point, I felt like we'd been dumped in a room and forgotten about, which was upsetting and frustrating.

We started packing up our things to go find someone in charge, and a woman came into the room, who said she was the L&D Clinical Manager.  She seemed very nice and apologized profusely for our wait.  She said they had room available for us right away, and within minutes, we were in a room.  (She later brought me flowers and her business card, and she had several of the staff members who worked the previous night shift come and apologize to me for our experience.)  The doctor met us there and started Pitocin right away (rather than the previous plan of placing Cervadil and waiting many hours for it to take effect before starting Pitocin).  I began dilating right away, and my contractions got more regular and intense.  Around 1 pm, I was dilated to 1 cm dilated and was 50% effaced.  I began experiencing very intense contractions around that time, and they asked me if I wanted an epidural.  I told them I wanted to wait until I was dilated to at least 3 cm before getting the epidural, since I had heard that getting an epi too early could slow down labor significantly.  My biggest fear of getting an early epidural was the potential for it to run out before delivery, causing me to feel everything.  The nurses assured me that this wouldn't happen, but I was still holding out until the pain was more intolerable.  I did, however, accept IV pain medication, which was a big relief.  I was checked again several times that afternoon and evening, and I was not progressing beyond 2 cm dilated and 60% effaced, even though I was experiencing intense contractions about 3 minutes apart.  Laboring all that time and having no progress was so overwhelming and frustrating, but I just prayed that we'd see more progress soon.  My husband was a wonderful labor partner.  He gave me massages, held my hand, helped me breathe through the hardest contractions, and never left my side unless I told him he could and someone else (like my mom or sister) was there to take his place.  After not progressing for quite awhile, my doctor came in and we agreed to stop the Pitocin at that point and consider that day a failed induction.  He also told me to have dinner and take a shower, then they'd place Cervadil and start over around 11:30 pm.  I was so disappointed, but understood.  I was grateful to have some food and get a shower, but I kept having hard contractions and laboring throughout the night while the Cervadil was working.  They even gave me Ambien to help me sleep, but I barely slept because the contractions were strong and I was nervous about what was going to happen next.  Even though the labor was ongoing and induction was considered a failure, baby was doing great and was not in distress.

The next day, Friday 8/22, the doctor came in at 7 am and started Pitocin again.  He also broke my water, and I immediately began experiencing even more intense contractions.  My doctor said, "It doesn't matter how far dilated you are when you get the epidural.  When you can't smile anymore, you know it's time."  By 8:30 am, I had asked for an epidural because there was NO smiling going on, only cringing and crying through the pain of each contraction.  Once the epidural was placed, I felt immediate relief and was grateful that I could still feel and move my legs and help roll my body from side to side.  The nurses said that was a sign that they'd placed it really well.  I kept progressing, and by 5 pm, I was dilated to 7 cm, 100% effaced, and was feeling a lot of pressure down low--all good signs.  The doctor was sure that I'd have my baby that night.  Around 9 pm, I told my nurse that I was starting to feel a lot of pain through my epidural, and they agreed to increase my epidural dosage.  The doctor also came in to check me and noticed that I had not dilated beyond 7 cm, and that my baby's heart rate had started to dip a bit.  They thought this was because she was descending into the birth canal, and every time I had a contraction, her head or shoulder was pinching off her umbilical cord, causing the reduced heart rate.  Shortly thereafter, the anesthesiologist came in to increase my epidural dosage, which caused the baby's heart rate to drop significantly,  She was officially in distress.  I was also so numb at that point that I could no longer feel my legs or roll myself to the side to help improve her heart rate.  Because of the baby's distress and a dip in my own blood pressure, I was told that I needed an emergency C-section and agreed to it.  My goal all along was to do whatever it would take to keep baby and I safe, so that's what we were doing.

That was around 11 pm, and everything after that was a whirlwind.  My family was ushered out, except for Hubs, and we were prepped very quickly.  I later heard that the nurses lost Hubs for a few minutes because they forgot that they stashed him in an adjacent room while I was being prepped.  The security guys and my parents were running around the hospital looking for him, but he was found not long after that silliness ensued.  No one even told me about it until a couple of days after the baby was born, as not to stress me out or make me laugh (since I was all stitched up and laughing with fresh abdominal stitches really sucks).  Thankfully Hubs was found and he was right by my side when the c-section began. I've never been so grateful to see him by my side or have him holding my hand.

Within 20-30 minutes, Avery Jane made her glorious arrival at 11:27 pm.



She was 8 lbs, 7 oz, of bouncing baby and measured 20.25" long.  She ended up a Leo, like her grandma, with 33 minutes to spare.  She has lots of fine brown hair, long legs, big feet, and a big noggin, just like her daddy.  During the c-section, I heard the doctor say in a surprised tone, "That's a big baby!" and I started to worry.  I'd never been told that she was getting big, even though I had lots of ultrasounds and visits to the perinatologist and OB.  The OB later told me that she had trouble lifting her out of me, so she assumed she was over 10 lbs.  Nope, just 8 lbs. 7 oz.  Not a tiny baby, but not too huge either.  Her head, however, was quite big and measured over 14" in circumference.  The nurse told me that with that head size, I would have ended up with a c-section anyway since it would have been unlikely that I'd have been able to push her out.

The doctor did delay her cord clamping for 60 seconds, which I was happy about, and I couldn't help but start sobbing when I heard her let out her first cries.  The doctors held her up over the drape so we could see her as soon as they cut her cord, and she was so healthy looking and cute (though covered in TONS of vernix).  After they cleaned her up, they let me have skin-to-skin with her while the docs stitched me up, which was amazing.  I was in total disbelief that this little life had just come out of me, and seeing her open her eyes and look at me during our skin-to-skin time, only inches from my face, filled me with overwhelming feelings of love and gratefulness.

Some of you have asked me what a c-section was like.  Well, I honestly didn't think it was that bad.   During the c-section itself, I began to shake uncontrollably, which startled me but the nurses said it was normal.  I was given some meds for it, as well as for nausea, so I never ended up getting sick like some people do during a c-section.  They also told me that I'd feel some pressure while they were removing the baby from my body, but I felt nothing.  Zip, zero, nada.    I also didn't have any issues with my incision.  Moving around in the week following the c-section was painful and a bit tricky at times, but they used surgical glue and a new type of dressing, silver cell dressing, for my incision rather than traditional stitches and staples.  My incision healed up beautifully you can barely see it 6 weeks later.

Overall, I was happy that Avery was born healthy and we had no major problems with the c-section.  She did have a minor heart murmur right after birth, but it was almost entirely gone during her check up the following day.  We'll be following up with pediatric cardiologist in November to ensure that it has really gone away.

Our hospital stay was pretty good, but not perfect.  After being in recovery for 2.5 hours while we waited for the hospital to prep a post-delivery room for us, we got up there around 2:30 am and met up with my sister and parents, who waited for the chance to meet our little girl.  After holding her and cooing over her, they finally left and we got some much-needed sleep.  The nurses said we could send Avery to the nursery so we could get better sleep, but I asked for them to keep her in our room.  She slept for a few hours while we slept, and Pete did a great job feeding and changing her while I slept off my pain meds.  My hospital also gave us "quiet time" for several hours the following morning (which meant that no one came in for any reason), giving us uninterrupted time to be together with our new little girl.  We both agreed that this was our favorite time during my 2.5 day post-delivery hospital stay.

Skin-to-skin time.  Now I know how a mama kangaroo feels.

The rest of the time, we had visitors (my parents, sister, brother-in-law, niece, and my best friend) or nurses, doctors and techs coming in at all hours of the day and night.  I sent the respiratory therapists away twice because they showed up at 5:30 am two days in a row, right after we'd just gotten the baby to fall sleep and I didn't want my breathing therapy to wake her.  (I don't know why they bothered offering me breathing therapy in the first place since I didn't have any respiratory complications, but I guess it's standard practice.)  I left the hospital on Monday, 8/25, and had been at the hospital for 4.5 days.  I was SO ready for us to go home as a family of three.



I was surprised by a couple of things during our hospital stay.  First, I was repeatedly told by friends and even the teacher of our childbirth class (which was offered through this hospital) to request extra postpartum pads, mesh disposable underwear, formula, diapers and any other supplies before we left.  We were warned that they don't let you take home blankets or t-shirts, but the other items were supposedly available.  When I asked for extras, my nurse told me that I couldn't have any additional items, only what was left in my room at the time when I was discharged.  I had already run out of a lot of items at that point, so I asked her to replenish me a bit to get us through the remainder of the day before we were discharged.  It was about 9 am at that point, and we weren't discharged until 3 pm.  She brought me the bare minimum and acted like she was doing me a huge favor.  She even said that she wanted names of whoever told me I could get extra items so she could call them personally and tell them that they don't do that.  I was shocked!  Not only is that rude and unprofessional, but also uncalled for during this type of experience.  What was she going to do with names, call the and scold them?  I sincerely doubt that.  I've heard that most hospitals are pretty generous with these types of items, but apparently mine was not.

Second, I was surprised that the nursing staff wasn't more consistent about how they interacted and explained things to patients.  Each nurse and doctor gave us a different answer regarding various things, from pain medication dosing and frequency to baby feeding techniques.  One told us we could send the baby to the nursery for awhile so we could get some sleep, while the next nurse on duty said that wasn't allowed since our baby wasn't sick.  One nurse said I was getting my blood drawn for the last time, then another nurse shows up a few hours later to draw more blood.  Hmph.

I've now been home with Avery for 6 weeks.  My parents came to stay with us for the first couple of weeks, which was a tremendous help.  They're great with babies, and were very generous with their time.  My advice to any new mom is to take whatever help is offered.  Let people take care of you, and do the same for them someday if the opportunity ever arises.  The biggest helps to me have been having someone prepare meals for us, do laundry and walk my dog.  One of my friends also picked up my dog for 3 days while I was in the hospital and kept her at her house until the day before we came home with the baby.  My precious dog was well cared-for and no one had to rush back to the house from the hospital to feed her or let her out during our long days.  Again, take whatever help is offered!

I can speak to a million other facets of this experience, but I'd rather have you tell me what you'd like to know more about.  Leave a comment, e-mail me, contact me via social media or send a carrier pigeon with a note about what other baby/pregnancy topics you'd like to read about.

Toodles!

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Tampa, Florida, United States
I'm a wife, daughter and amazing twin sister. I'm a mom to my adorable dog, Bella. Loves: Shopping, cooking, baking, good grammar and Dave Matthews Band. I'm also a Bath and Body Works addict, a Michigan State Spartans fanatic, and an iPhone aficionado. I see beauty in simple things and little things make me ever-so-happy. Welcome to my world!


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