Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Daily question I ask myself

I'm a bit dizzy from exhaustion and very hungry. It's about midday and she's finally stopped screaming from gas pains. I may have five minutes or an hour but I also need to pee. She's not tired enough to put down yet do you:
a. Start to make some food to eat
b. Pee
c. Sleep
d. Keep doing whatever it is that is keeping her quiet until she's falls asleep
e. Finish cleaning up, since that was started already when she began to scream

the answer is whatever you choose is wrong and right. You'll never get to all of them alone. The challenge is how to be okay with this when you are used to being able to do many things at once and very well. And it's hard since you often can only pick one of the above and sometimes have to wait an hour or two before you can do the next thing. Depending on how fussy she gets.

PS this ikea ad is awesome: http://www.frederiksamuel.com/blog/2009/05/ikea-assembly-service.html

It's all in the translation

My mom bought me a baby sign language book. In there it talks briefly about the Dunstan system and already we are doing better understanding this Tiny Dancer. Just knowing the sound for gas vs burp has helped. So of course I went online and bought the DVDs and book to know more about this Dunstan stuff. I figure if I can understand what she is telling me, I'll be more relaxed and she will have her needs met with less frustration. It's here or for a bit less on Amazon: https://www.dunstanbabyorders.com/order/us/orderform.asp

I find myself buying things I never even thought of. Of course I think it's all necessary. I'm buying what I think will make the next two years easier, now, while we can. I still don't believe we are going to be bad off but I at least have to go through the motions of preparing for it just in case.

I can't see paying someone else to take care of my kid when I'll be paying nearly my salary to do it. So once she starts to sleep a little more consistently I'll start writing again. Maybe someone will want to pay me for it, too! Ha!

Anyway the past two nights have been graciously simple. Go to sleep about 8/9pm, wake up 1-2 hrs later, eat, maybe change diaper, back to sleep. Repeat until 5.30/6.00am when it's time to "wake up" for the day and she eats, bath/diaper change, burp, play and then back to sleep about 8/9am. The daytime is totally hit or miss. If she sleeps it is no more than an hour at a time punctuated by eating immediately upon waking.

From Monday:
It was a very long day. If Kimesha hadn't come  
that early I don't think we would have seen her either. It was nice  
she was here since we took a walk and went to the supermarket. So  
Kimesha walked her stroller up and down the aisles whole we picked  
food as quickly as possible :)

Carolina slept almost all of Saturday while my parents babysat and let  
us go on a date for our three year anniversary. But then, predictably,  
she didn't sleep much that night or the next day. Like she was  
boycotting naps or sleeping. She has this new trick of only sleeping  
like an hour and then needing to eat. That may or may not be followed  
by an hour of hiccups or general restlessness.

Hiccups always means we are up for at least an hour more even if the  
hiccups stop after a few minutes. And hiccups are usually after 7pm.  

Last night, gratefully, she got up four times to eat and then  
immediately back to sleep. So I could sleep some. And her diapers  
weren't too messy.

Friday, June 26, 2009

In the brief quiet moments

I often find myself, well my mind, momentarily going elsewhere. Sometimes when she is quiet and often when she is screaming and I haven't quite figured out what she is telling me. Most recently I've thought of the East Village, Chelsea, Naples and Oakland CA. She's had three good poop diapers today and napped this morning from 7.00am until about 9.45am. At which time she awoke screaming (of hunger) and my friend Sang had to let himself out while I fed her.

I'm letting her sleep on my lap right now since the last three attempts at a nap Since 10am have resulted in less than an hour nap a piece. I should be sleeping too but everytimf I close my eyes I see some nightmare-ish image of my daughter which jolts ne awake. I've got the I'm tired headache. I'd love a massage and an ice cream sundae. Why aren't there any ice cream shops or trucks around here? And Mr Frostee doesn't count.

Moments like these I wish we still lived in Manhattan. At least there I know where things are, menupages is useful, and there are ice cream trucks -- like the Van Leuween one -- that serves really good ice cream with lovely fresh whipped cream and hot fudge.

It's what I think of when it's hot outside and I have a kid around. I think of the ice cream places my parents took us to. Sitting at the counter or in a booth seat. Lots of flavors and toppings to choose from. Back when I was lactose intollerant but no one knew. And I could still eat nuts. I really hope my kid can enjoy these things. I'll feel so badly if she needs pills for dairy and can't eat nuts, too.

My mission over the next week is to get her in the sling I bought without screaming her head off. It'll be a lot easier than the car seat stroller. At least for me to get around locally with her. I must be doing the sling thing wrong. Or she just hates it. I'm hopeful and going for the I'm doing it wrong since if she hates it like she hates water or her liquid vitamins, we will never get to use the Peanut Shell sling.

I think she's about to be too big for newborn diapers even though they are supposed to be good for up to 10lbs and she's still less than 8. Or maybe I'm putting them on wrong. She gets red marks on her thighs from them. Maybe her baby fat is just getting in the way :)

I really wanted to take her on the train today to have hamburgers for lunch with her dad. But there's no way I'm getting up the stairs at the station and then again connection to the B/D and then get out at Rockefeller. I'll pass out before I have to go back home. That bloody bulky stroller and I'm not sure I can walk that far yet.

And I still haven't had to change her diaper outside of our apartment. THAT will be interesting once we start going in to Manhattan. I now understand why I've seen (v rarely) parents of older babies change diapers on the subway. Sometimes, I guess, it just needs to be done. I should get one of those travel changer mat things. That'll probably help.

Now I know I don't need these things but I really want this Kate Spade bag (over priced diaper bag perhaps?) http://www.katespade.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3491724&siteID=BolFSqx4S4U-f_Fj.BB5WRmURCgcndyrlg
and this (doesn't match at all, I know) Trina Turk hat that supports the High Line http://racked.com/archives/2009/06/12/meatpacking_designers.php

I know I won't buy these and will get diapers instead. But ya gotta dream :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Worrying about the environment and then I saw this

I placed another order with diapers.com and received it today. I got more diapers (Pampers Swaddlers, god yes they are disposable. I'm such a hypocrite.), a case of baby wipes (love the eco-friendly Nature Babycare ones from Sweden), a case of Seventh Generation dish soap (yes, a case. Hey it was on sale), Method baby lotion, and Method hand soap refill thingy. The site was having a sale, so I got some things.

Having a newborn, and not knowing when it's a great idea to change her vs. wait , means that we go through a lot of diapers. Like 10 or so a day... so I'm looking forward to when she is over 10lbs and can fit into the G-diapers that are biodegradable. Anyway, so I'm feeling guilty everytime I'm not out-of-my-mind exhausted and look in the diaper pail.

...and then I saw this: http://www.chasing-fireflies.com/prodinfo.asp?number=25178

I now am reminded that we are:
A. not rich
B. not ridiculous or ostentatious
C. not wasteful as I had feared

Seriously... that is not a bed. THAT is a $5,000 experience!

PS God bless my husband who stayed up with her last night from 7pm-1am so i could sleep those hours. And graciously she slept for 3 hours this afternoon. Let us rejoice for the little things!!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Less sleep more hugs

So she is sleeping in smaller increments (like an hour or less) then needs to be fed but not for very long. Then we have two options. Option one is easy: go right back to sleep. Not much good for decent mommy napping but easy. Option two is: require constant touching and in particular being upright and being raised up and down. Like she is jumping in place if she could do it herself. Then fall asleep on me. And when I put her down she wakes up within 5-10 minutes. Oakland mommy blogger must be right. She us going through a growth spurt. I can't think of any other reason. She's like a teenage boy going through a growth spurt. But with fewer pimples.

And she is starting to fit properly in her newborn size pants. So less Ed Grimley and more MC Hammer these days. God I love her but she's driving me a little batty with the less sleep. I just keep reminding myself one day she will sleep. Then I have to worry about where she is crawling and trying to walk. So I am carefully picking my battles in my mind.

There should be a gift/food service for new parents. Gift baskets with a good balance of snacks and fruit and drinks.Enough for a week. If I was rich, I would buy for myself and all my friends who make babies, a two week order for a personal chef. I know the service exists in this city, lord knows I can't afford it. And the gift/food delivery should include daily messages for the mom. Tailored if she is breastfeeding or not. And letting her know she's going through it like everyone else. Ooh, and a small parcel of just-for-mommy breastfeeding helpers: nipple cream, hydro pads, nipple shells, nipple pads (for leakage), mothers milk tea, Tylenol, and a daily random-time call telling her she's doing great even if she feels otherwise.

And if anyone has advice on getting her not to hate baby vitamins. My god. You should see her face. I put it with water and trick her into taking a little all day. I also keep wondering if I can brush her teeth with a finger brush thing. Her little tongue is like permanently looking like it's covered in milk! LOL

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Last night was tough

She decided either she didn't like the new bottle design or the milk. But she was angry or at least super frustrated and starving when we tried to feed her about 11.45pm. She had been nursing hard all day and the "restaurant" needed a short break. But she wasn't having any of it. So I fed her. For a long time. Well, long for her. And then she was fussy until 1.20am. We had even given her mylicon but that didn't seem to help...

We were running out of burping/comforting positions when she let out a big burp. We kept trying to burp her but then quickly realized she was actually hungry again. And after a few quick drinks, fell asleep. She must have been exhausted since at the 3.30am feeding she got up, ate in about 5 minutes, and then passed out asleep until 6am. And then was modorra for about 45 minutes.

When she woke up and ate around 7am, we gave her a bath. Today is cold so she wasn't happy about bathing, and peed on Ismael (and the bed) and then threw up a little after getting clean... But then she fell asleep shortly after being dressed. (Is this tedious enough yet?) I'm pretty convinced it matters less what I eat and more of what's going on inside her. I think she's growing a LOT inside and so needs sleep and eating and that poor belly isn't digesting well enough to get her both relief and satisfied eating at the same time.

Nothing says love like feeding your child while she "bites" down harder while simultaneously trying to pull away AND fart/poops. I think if you can be proud and feel love for someone under those conditions, you've got yourself a baby you call your own :)

Attention parents!! If you have any advice for this we are all ears: about every 3rd feeding (time of day doesn't seem to matter) she gets hiccups and then is up for an extra hour. Once that passes she is super tired. Yawning and the lot but won't allow herself to fully fall asleep. She is like 90% passed out on soneones shoulder and then when we put her down in the bassinet, she wakes herself up. These are the times she is up for like 3-4 hours. The other feedings she is up for eating and then quickly falls asleep for 1-3 hours. Thoughts?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The witching hour

So daily it starts about 4pm and can last until 8pm but usually ends closer to 6/7. She wakes up, eats, is JUST about to fall asleep at about 4.40/4.45 and then doesn't. The whiney cry starts. She is on and off consolable. She needs to be held. Likes to be fed more. And requires changing positions and lots of burping time. So today I stopped all dairy and gave her mylicon at the first utterance of whining. It made it a bit better. I even got to make rice and quick chicken in between crying fits. This does mean no visitors "after work" since when she goes down at about 7.30/8, so do I.

Funnily enough she was really great today from 5.30am through 4pm. But then it was the witching hour. ;) I know we just need to suffer through this for a few more weeks. And she could be colicky, which she is definitely not. So I am grateful. I do miss cooking and being able to read or watch TV for more than 15minutes on the long side. Good thing she is cure and smells nice :)

We went for our first walk together in her car seat stroller. It was monumental since I had to get her in and out of our building (many steps and doors). And it took me 20+ minutes of her crying to get her IN the seat. After she calmed down, she basically fell asleep for the 15min walk. I was exhausted and sore. So I'll have to build up strength before we can get all the way to the park and back. Ah well, small steps...

Monday, June 15, 2009

Two week checkup

So she got weighed and measured. They probably didn't measure her well in the hospital since she is now 20" and it's unlikely she grew two inches in two weeks. But she did gain all her weight back and then some. She is now 7lbs and 4oz! For all the feeding agro, she still got enough. Coming from an Italian family, I couldn't let my girl go hungry!

Last night was another 3-4 hour cranky-being-up-but-sleepy-and-not-really-crying session. She wakes herself up. Not sure if it's gas since she often doesn't burp or fart but needs us to keep "burping" her. And since I hardly eat any dairy. It's tough to know what is bothering her. So I'm cutting out all cheese and everything for two days to see if that makes a difference. The dr said it's possible she's still on in utero time. When she was up at night and slept during the day. I know for a fact she didn't sleep all during the day since I'd get kicked during meetings. And she had no problem reminding me to relax when I'd get stressed at work by giving me that I'm-stressed-out feeling in my belly. I knew I'd look back at work and realize I was stressing for nothing but when you are in the moment, at least for me, it's hard to break from it.

Anyway. She really enjoyed the car ride to the city to see the dr and was resting while I got in and out of the car to return things to shops in the UES near the dr's office.

I should probably wake her now and do some exercises. I really want her to sleep tonight!

Ugh... Here we go...

6pm: it's official. After more than 4 days of this, 4/5pm is the witching hour. She gets fussy. Needs the pacifier and won't sleep in her basinet. Needs to be held and continues to wake herself up in random intervals. Well at least now I can prepare for it since I have the time identified. Ha! Just watch. She'll change it all up on me tomorrow :)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Let the visitors line begin!

I'm still not sure if having visitors is a problem but so far it's fine. Yesterday we had both sets of grandparents and then Jee. Today is Julia with her son, Mom and sister. Later will be Kari.

Today, of course, Carolina has decided not to sleep too much but she also let me feed her in the same room as guests with the nursing cover on. Didn't make me do a lot adjusting, which was nice. And everyone washes their hands so it seems to be going well. It's just that we need to have our visitors before like 7pm since after the 6/7pm feeding it's usually required that I start to sleep too. Otherwise I get a wicked headache from being exhausted. So even though I enjoy having other grownups around to talk to, I'm kind of a tired mess after dinnertime.

It's completely selfish but I wish Ismael could be at home more. Or that I was more mobile. It only took two weeks... Less! And I have cabin fever. I look forward to her pediatrician visits just to be able to go into Manhattan and not be at home all the time.

Tiny Dancer on the other hand doesn't seem to care when people are around. She does her own thing.

It was nice to have my inlaws with us for the week. I think my mother on law cried a little when they left at 4am today to get their flight. The same way Ismael's grandmother does every time he is leaving after a visit home. I guess that's what happens when you are a grandmother and you live thousands of miles away.

My grandparents never did that but I almost always lived within 100miles of them. So I think distance matters to grandparents.

I'm daydreaming of a roasted chicken, garlic and cheese mashed potatoes, green beans and a coconut milk sponge cake for dessert. When we all wake up from this next nap we will probably have Lipton soup. A far cry from my dream but what are you gonna do?

I miss Minca bring across the street.

Friday, June 12, 2009

El ombligo se cayĆ³

So the umbilical cord fell off today. I'm hoping she ends up with a cute bellybutton. I like mine and I know many who do not. One day I'll bet I get mine back when my pregnancy belly fat goes away. I should probably to some exercises if I wasn't so beat.

We just had a four-hour awake marathon. She's FINALLY asleep. So I must too or suffer the consequences! :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Leaky boobs and gassy nights

I guess you haven't lived until you both: accidentally squirt your kid in the face with breastmilk and leak all over every shirt you have forgetting you have on a shield (with ventilating holes) and not an absorbant breast pad. Ah dios!

So the past two days have been interesting. About 4pm she starts to cry with the I Have Gas cry and goes on for at least an hour. And then is equally inconsolable for at least an hour or two after 1am. Needless to say I'm beyond exhausted as is Ismael. I had a headache so big I took two Tylenol. I couldn't see straight from the pain. And I don't usually get headaches.

And at some point the bed started to shake a little. I thought I was hallucinating this. I had felt it lightly a few days before, too. So when Ismael got ready for work, I told him about the bed and he said he's felt it too but never when the train comes or a truck goes by. Maybe ghosts? Strange whatever it is.

I'm guessing our girl is growing which is why she gets up more often and eats more. But the gas has me stumped. I'm not eating anything I can think of that would cause it. Although she does have two gassy parents. :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Teaching mommy about schedules

So I was thinking that she was already set in her every-3-hour schedule. Wake up, eat, burp, change, go back to sleep. Easy peasy. Well, as of yesterday my one day of a 'perfect schedule' was dashed when she was giving me, what I thought was, hungry face and cry and we struggled for an hour and a half with her being fussy. Eventually, abuela perez stepped in and figured out that it was gas, not hungry face and cry. So she walked her around the apartment, burping her, and eventually calming her down. I couldn't walk around, so maybe the change of scenery that abuela was able to give her helped a little too?

Either way, today is similar. More gas. She's eating pretty fast and seems to insist on latching on so she makes these gulping noises, which I'm assuming means she's taking in air. So at least it's a little easier to recognize gas face from hungry face. Surprisingly very similar mount movements but it's the cry that's a little different. Hungry is desperate and urgent, gas/air is more whiney though similarly intense at times.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Carolina the Musical

Just like a puppet master, Carolina has us reacting to her every command. Or like a magician with her wand: now you! Clean my diaper! Now you, feed me. Now you, make me burp more. Now you! Try to swaddle me. I don't like it, when my hands aren't free. Go ahead. Just try it. I'll fight you. And I will win!

Imagine that all sung is a sweet staccato voice. She is hilarious.

We finally got the right bath time. After the 6am feeding, burp her a little. And when she is groggy but not asleep again, start the bath routine.

Bath tips from abuela:
1. Undress her but leave on the diaper.
2. Wrap her in a soft, dry towel.
3. Wash herhair at the sink with warm running water from the tap
4. Pat dry head
5. Fill up bath tub with warm water.
6. Take off towel and diaper and holding her so she is face down, quickly and purposely was her back and nether regions.
7. Turn her over and put in tub. Quickly wash her front side.
8. Make sure not soapy and hand over to get dried. We do it on the bed and a little massage through the towel
9. Lotion if necessary
9b. Quickly clean behind the ears and inside ear folds (NOT inside ear) with a damp Qtip
10. Diaper
11. Clothes
12. Swaddle

Usually now she's more awake and we walk he around to see outside and then soon after some gentle back rubbing and humming she is back to sleep.

As long as the water is warm enough and she's groggy enough we can get through all steps without crying. Phew!

Hooray for bath time tips from abuela.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Easy feeding and sleepy days

Today has been a set of easy feedings and mostly quiet naps. I begin to wonder how often this will happen so I will just be grateful for the day it is. Bathing her in the morning is definitely the way to go. She may end up being a 6am bather so that both Ismael and I are here before he leaves for work. Even though his parents are here and his mom has made today much easier for me so I don't have to stand or walk around too much, I'm still nervous that he's going back to work tomorrow. I didn't expect to feel this needy.

On the other hand, I never figured I could be this relaxed. Sometimes I catch myself feeling quite natural as a mom and other moments totally foreign.

I also never guessed I'd one day be married and when my husband came home he'd ask if she pooped and we are both proud that the answer is yes!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

One week old

Today she is one week old. We were able to have both sets of grandparents/abuelos at our place since Ismael's parents arrived last night. She's been very cooperative for all the photos everyone wanted to take of her. She and I even had a little nap on my bed before my parents came over. I had sworn I'd never let my kid sleep in our bed. But pain from the stitches and exhaustion changed my mind. Plus she had just had a bath and was fed so she smelled awesome. Of course when I woke up my boobs had leaked on my shirt, which was awesome. And we had a quick conversation about how many poos she'd done today.

Our girl is an overachiever in the potty arena. And since she is still a little yellow, we are very proud of her diaper count. More poo means less yellow! Good girl!

My mother in law has been changing her today and putting on nice clothes. It's a good point that if we don't do it she will never wear most of the clothes. I guess it is also good since it's her one week "birthday".

Now is nap time for my little family. Looking forward to another night where she sleeps from 3-6am.

That's a really interesting thing about bring a new parent; measuring your days in three hour blocks and then the various minutes (feeding, number of diaper changes, color and consistency) that make up those hours. And when night comes, wondering where the time went. It's been the longest and shortest week of my life. I wonder what my kid thinks of it all...

Friday, June 5, 2009

Thursday, June 4

I can tell you that yesterday was actually a good day. Her jaundice is much much less and so she was awake more during the day and even stayed up for a while around 4pm to watch daddy play video games. He then took her for a little walk around the block. She graciously fell asleep and he couldn't have looked more proud when he walked through the door! Apparently people on the street told him that she was cute. Ha!

Anyway, she is feeding much better and we learned that a bath at 10pm is a bad idea. Better she sleep "dirty". Mommy and Daddy didn't time that one well and have learned their lesson.

There are few things as cute as seeing your husband with your infant child on his chest, passed out on the bed in the dawn light of a new day. Especially when you know you now have a good 12+ hours of breastfeeding battles ahead of you. I've been assured by some very wise friends that this gets better and so far each day is actually a bit easier in that regard. All new challenges await today!

Ok off to nap again.

Wednesday, June 3

So this has been a tough week, and it's only been 4 days. I'm sure you've heard how women get after giving birth. Well luckily I'm not suffering from depression but the first 2 days at home were basically filled with crying and frustration and an enormous amount of sleep deprevation. And trying to heal from the pain of an episiotomy is new and exciting. Not really exciting.

My breaking point was when we went to see a lactation consultant on Tuesday out of pain and desperation. One look at my girl and she told us that Carolina looked jaundiced. So I got help with the feeding tactics so we could improve and rushed to a pediatrician. We hadn't picked one before she was born so went to the partner of the pediatrician the hospital assigned.

I'll be nice and say I really really didn't like this guy or how he was handling my kid. He said she wasn't too bad and not to worry. But he was a jerk and the office was dingy.

Got back in the car and made a call for a followup visit for the next day with a Cornell pediatrician on the UES and that was great. So she got a bruise on her head from delivery and that, being very common, was how her billy rubin (?) levels went up and she is still a bit yellow. She's great at pooping and that's how you lower your billy rubin levels. She has her next check up on the 15th.

My in laws are coming tomorrow to stay for a week so that night make it easier for us to have guests. Especially since it seems to be her best visiting time around 11am.

Update, days later:
I think it's safe to say that Carolyn Migliore, the lactation consultant with Cornell/New York-Presbyterian saved my life. Or at least made breastfeeding possible. 10-15 minutes in the walk-in clinic at E 76th St and she showed me how to told her, position and control her head and hands while getting the boob in her mouth. As well as how to care for my "boobies". And then made herself available to me on the phone the next day. It made ALL the difference. Without which I would have given up to the extreme pain and gone to bottles. Not because I wanted but because it was unbearable.

If any of my friends get pregnant, they each get these gifts:
1. Medela breast shield/therashells (survival for day time)
2. Medela lanolin cream
3. Medela hydro gel pads (not to be used at same time with lanolin)
4. Nursing breast pads (for nighttime) -- disposable or reusable. Doesn't matter.
5. Tylenol (for you, not the baby)

Breastfeeding is not easy and we are still working through it. As well as trying to establish some kind of sleep schedule or at least learning what she is saying with each kind of cry.

On the other side, she is totally awesome and cute! She absolutely loves to have her hair washed and Ismael is the best burper ever. And everyone has been happier since yesterday!

Two weeks early and not a minute too late

So on May 29th, about 9pm pains started and it was similar to other times in the previous 3 weeks. I didn't think much of it except that they were strong. I had been walking around the West Village with my friend Andrew and up through Union Square that afternoon and figured it was why Tiny Dancer was moving around funny and sending strong pains through my abdomen and down my legs. Since I was so exhausted from the walking earlier, I went to sleep about 9.30/10pm

Sometime around 4.30/5am I had a few waves of contraction-like pains but felt it was just from the day before. From a baby class we'd taken I knew that I should only be concerned about the contractions if they were 1 minute long, 5 minutes apart for 1 hour. The 511 of labor. And these weren't. Closer to 6pm, I was in the bathroom for about 30 minutes. Basically couldn't get off the toilet and then around 6.30 I threw up in the sink. Since I was really uncomfortable and, if I was being honest with myself, in a lot of pain -- Ismael took the lead and called the doctor. The off-hours service forwarded his message to the doctor on call who said that we should go to the hospital as soon as we were ready.

At this point, I'm still protesting that it's not labor contractions. "They aren't regular enough." Ismael wasn't having any of it since when they were happening they were strong and they were anywhere from 2-5 minutes apart and lasting 20-50 seconds each. So he called a car service and they were out front in about 5 minutes.

It was the longest cab ride to Manhattan. It really wasn't but the contractions kept coming.

When we arrived, I could barely walk up the ramp and a nurse coming off duty suggested to Ismael to get me a wheelchair. He did, and they let us up to the 6th floor. There wasn't anyone in the lobby and it was about 8/8.30am at this point. We were quickly checked in since I had filled out the paperwork and had it with us. We went to triage, where a doctor examined me and said I was already 4cm dilated and 90% effaced (or whatever it is). So I was admitted right away and brought to the labor and delivery unit.

They asked me if I wanted an epidural. Since the contractions were coming pretty strong and frequently I said YES to the epidural. So the next 30 minutes was me waiting for the anesthesiologist and trying to breathe. I took a lamaze class and knew how to do the breathing technique but practice and full on contractions aren't the same and I was starting to panic that I was REALLY in labor. Holy crap! This is it!

So I ignored the breathing techniques and just tried to breath at all. Eventually I started to use the breathing techniques but at first I was just shivering from being so nervous. The nurse, Angelica, was great. Kept me focused and helped me when the anesthesiologist resident was asking a lot of questions and setting me up. Since he put me in an awkward position and the proper anesthesiologist had to have me move. At this point I was having a contraction every minute, so moving myself to get set up was challenging. I was ready to deck the resident!

Finally the epidural is in and about 3 contractions later, I wasn't feeling them.

The doctor came to check on me, I had dilated more and she said she'd be back in a few hours to check on me. A few hours!? You mean this is going to be a few hours more? I was already getting worn out from the pain.

They came in about an hour later to have me turn on my side. At this point my legs were like jello so turning was pretty challenging. Apparently the contractions were happening so quickly and for so long that it was compromising the oxygen to the baby. So the next few hours were me and Ismael in the room, waiting around. We talked about a lot of every day stuff and called our parents to let them know it was happening. The nurse, residents and doctor would check on me periodically and I had to turn sides a few more times.

Somewhere around 2.30 I had already given myself 2 "bumps up" of the anesthesia I realized I was feeling the contractions again. So I asked the nurse if I could do another 'bump up' since I didn't want to overdo it (apparently I couldn't even if I wanted) but she was more concerned that I was ready to start pushing.

So the anesthesiologist resident came back. Asked me some questions, got me frustrated again, and eventually gave me a different injection of something. My left side/belly had started to feel the contractions but no where else. The doctor came in and agreed with the nurse and said I was indeed ready to start pushing.

This is now somewhere around 3.30pm -- and I push. I feel most of the contractions start, and some before they showed up on the monitor and pushed like a champ every time. I was bloody determined to get this kid out as quickly as possible since I was relieved and anxious that the end was near and we'd finally have the baby out!

Pushing is exhausting.

Just at the end they had to give me an episiotomy. The doctor asked if I was okay with it, I replied like I had every time they asked if I wanted to push again "If she'll come out faster, then yes." So cut and a few pushes later, she was out. It was now about 5pm.

While they took her to clean up and take her measurements, I waited intently to hear her first cry. It took a bit of time, but when I heard it I was SO relieved. Then they had to get the placenta out. I thought that would be a breeze, but it was pretty damn painful and required a push or two. Then they started to stitch me up. I was glad I had all the drugs in me so I couldn't feel it.

What seemed like an eternity, they finished with me and let me hold her for the first time. It was completely surreal. I just remember saying to Ismael, "She's really here. I can't believe she's ours." Lord knows what I really said, but that was the gist of it.

They had to take her back at some point since there was apparently fluid in her lungs and she was breathing quickly. But the pediatrician had come in and said she was alright. (By the next day she was totally fine.) But they had to try to remove more of the fluid with a suctiony thing.

I just kept looking at her thinking. She's HUGE! How did she fit inside me? I was also grateful she was out. With all the nurses and doctor out, we took a quick first photo of me and her with my iPhone, and then Ismael took her and I took two photos of him with her. Then he says to me, we should name her... So we said all 4 names we had been thinking of and waited to see her reaction.

1. Carolina -- she responded
2. Sofia -- she responded but less so
3. Isabella -- she just laid on my chest
4. Lucia -- she made some noise but no facial response

So we did it again. Same order. Both times she responded to Carolina most and we said, Ok. Carolina Sofia, that's your name.

I realized that we were going to be moved to the maternity ward shortly and I was supposed to be breastfeeding this kid since that's what we wanted. I thought, well, I better try now. I did. It was strange and painful. But I wanted to get in a try before they put her in the nursery.

Had I known then what I know now, I would have immediately INSISTED on speaking to the lactation consultant right away. But I had been told that I'd see one regardless and figured that it was something I'd just get the next day. It never happened, even though I asked twice. And I hadn't figured on the stitches being so painful.

Needless to say, by the time it was time to check out of the hospital on Monday morning, I hadn't seen anyone that was specifically helpful for the breastfeeding. I had asked that she sleep in the nursery both nights since I had no idea what I was doing. And the two times they brought her to me from the nursery she was screaming her head off with hunger. So I didn't want to deny her and just let her basically chomp on my nipples. I didn't know what I was doing and clearly neither did she. I guess she got something since she'd settle down but I definitely needed help and the nurses were so busy with so many, many patients the weekend we were there that I didn't get the attention I needed. More importantly, to me, it wasn't the attention I had expected from a hospital that has such a great reputation. Especially after the way that the Labor and Delivery unit treated me, which was really exceptional.