Thursday, January 29, 2015

scarlett: 1 month old

one month old, already?

everyone has told me how much she looks like her dad. i can't even tell you how much i love that. has his big eyes and long toes and sweet heart.

she has such bright eyes, clearly they will be dark brown like mine as she continues to grow, but i'm sure enjoying the newbornish grey remnants.

she has lost most of the hair on the top of her head, but still has long hair growing on the side and in the back. the cute old-man do, my favorite!

we ran out of the newborn diapers the hospital sent us home with and moved on to size 1 (they drown her). she still wears newborn clothes, and they are fitting perfect!

no longer screams through baths and seems content at best. i'm sure she'll begin to enjoy them as it gets warmer!

spends most of the day swaddled with two blankets.

has spit up a couple of times, but nothing too consistently crazy.

breastfeeds about every 2-3 hours, only about five minutes at a time. does some cluster feeds during the day, which i'm grateful that it's no longer happening at night!

has been sleeping 6 hours at a time during the night, but consistently wakes up at 6 am no matter what (at which point she gets to snuggle with mom in bed). has the cutest little snore when she's snoozing.

loves to cuddle on my chest, and that seems to be the easiest way for her to fall asleep.

has some dry skin and baby acne here and there.

holds her head up so well, loves to throw it back to look at us.

easily distracted by songs and actions- amelia and i love to sing the 'itsy bitsy spider' and the 'wise/foolish man' when she starts whimpering.

loves her carseat, usually falls right asleep whenever we go for a little drive.

always smiles when i don't have my camera ready. but we're okay keeping it to ourselves for a while.

despises tummy time so much, but has already rolled over front to back several times.

pushes herself up with her strong little legs.

loves her binky, thank goodness!

a little bit of a lightweight. stats at two weeks were 7 pounds 9 ounces and 20.5 inches long

i'm feeling rather calm about my newborn as it's my second time around. mostly, i struggled with finding enough hands for my two babes. we're finally getting a routine down, us three girls. i'm still tired all the time, but still so grateful for my working man so i get to stay home with our babies. i've cried so much this month, but i've never been happier. i'm so grateful to have my whole world wrapped up into three beautiful people.

Sunday, January 25, 2015


i have tried to stay mostly positive on my social media
because i choose to make the happy moments the highlights of my life.
i debated writing any of this down
and in the end, i wanted it to be written and remembered
that motherhood was never easy.

but every moment was worth it.

this pregnancy was particularly difficult for me. i cried almost every single day from pain, swelling, vomiting, exhaustion. i would remind myself every single day how blessed i was to have the ability to grow my children. i felt extremely incompetent as a mother and prayed often to be a better one. i counted down every single 13 hour grave shift where i kept a smile on my face even when it hurt to stand and listen to life stories my patients loved to tell me. i counted down the days where i could have her outside instead of in.

and it was bliss. if you read the birth story, i was in heaven meeting my little piece of heaven. after they disconnected the pitocin, life couldn't be better. breastfeeding was going well, grandparents and aunts and uncles came to meet scarlett, i scarfed down a meal that i had been craving all day, i handpicked my nurses--who were also my best friends. i fed scarlett one last time around 11, before jeremy and i turned out the lights. the impact of what i did to amelia finally sunk in, i started to worry about how difficult this would be for her. when i heard that distinct sound of a baby gag, my baby gagging. i jumped up, turned scarlett on her side and started pounding on her back, like i had done many times to many babies. jeremy was right behind me and asked if he should call in a nurse. i declined help. scarlett turned blue and unresponsive and i panicked and yelled for help. a nurse rushed in and rushed her down to nursery, where they gave her oxygen by blow-by and we watched her sats come back up and return color. the nursery nurse told me this was only happening because of the nurses' curse, and reassured me she would be fine. jeremy stayed with scarlett in the nursery for another 2 hours, and convinced me to get some sleep. neither of us slept, and scarlett slept soundly. at the three hour mark, he brought her back to me to eat. she choked again as she was being handed to me, this time spitting up amniotic fluid and blood. i've seen this often, but it is so different when it is your own baby. fortunately, scarlett has not choked again, but i've lied awake for several hours in fear of sleeping through it.

we opted for a 24 hour short stay to hurry home to amelia. who showered scarlett with kisses and hugs. scarlett screamed all night, for the first two nights. it seemed all of a sudden she regressed and didn't know how to latch on. i hand-expressed colostrum and spoon fed it to her all night long, i cried with her and texted my friends at work if i could have an SNS kit for her. amelia would come out of her room and yell, "you holding scarlett!" and cry because she thought we loved her new sister more. i would cry with her because i didn't know what to do for either of my girls. scarlett finally latched on at 7 in the morning, and i cried again. scarlett's bilirubin was in the high intermediate risk zone and we had to go back to the hospital twice to get it rechecked on new year's eve and new years day. on the third night, scarlett woke up to nurse every half hour and i cried because i wasn't sleeping. i also cried because the cramping and the initial latch were killing me. i bled lots, and spent lots of time in the shower wondering when things would feel back to normal.

jer's mom had a birthday dinner the saturday after scarlett's birth. of course we went, and i felt exhausted and out of place. i tried to focus on my girls and tried to stay positive telling everyone how about life was these days. i watched everyone snap pictures of their families and i look at jer and told him how i never take pictures anymore. he looked puzzled and told me we could take one, when i started tearing up realizing i didn't want to be in any pictures because of how much of a train wreck i felt. and the i left to sob in the bathroom for a few minutes.

jeremy returned to work the following monday and it felt like maybe i could get back into a routine. until engorgement hit and i spent all day realizing i didn't have enough hands to feed my children and pump. and i took amelia to an appointment for this cough she's had for five months and spent two hours waiting for the pediatrician, getting a chest x-ray, getting a diagnosis for asthma, receiving some inhaler training. scarlett was still struggling to latch most attempts, and amelia was struggling to be gentle; it was most difficult when the two would occur simultaneously. i kept forgetting to take my motrin, which kept reminding me that after-cramps with baby #2 are for real.

the worst part? i kept waiting for tears of joy to come, for an overwhelming feeling of gratitude to be a mother again. but all i could cry were tears of struggle and sleep-deprivation and fear. here i was, finally i was getting to be a stay-at-home mom and i felt like such a failure. i had no appetite for food of any kind. everything was hurting or leaking. i was impatient with both my daughters. i struggled to find a compromise when both girls needed me at the same time. and i didn't know why everything felt so out of place. i kept telling myself, you're so lucky you're so lucky be grateful be grateful you're a good mom you're a good mom get it together get it together. one day, jeremy told me he fell in love with me before he married me and then he fell in love with me watching me turn into an amazing mom. and i just cried thinking i what a terrible mother i had become.

one week turned to two and two weeks turned to three. there were setbacks and comebacks: i got an ear infection and long-lasting throbbing headache. amelia started sleeping in her own room again. scarlett caught my cold and started coughing so hard she would spit up an entire meal. i would lose my patience and cry. amelia would tell me, "it's okay, mommy" and grew to listen better. scarlett finally started going 3-4 hours in between feedings during the night. but my breasts would wake me up anyway. slowly, scarlett started feeding better, my body started regulating itself, i started sleeping more, amelia started adjusting to a baby sister. yesterday was the first day i felt confident and happy and like i had it together. i was squished in the back seat in between my girls, holding scarlett's pacifier in, listening to amelia shout patty cake, "throw it in the oven for mommy and scarlett and millie!" realizing amelia asks where scarlett is every morning, tells me scarlett has to come to the library too, says "it's okay, scarlett, it's okay!" and "shh shh shh" and "what happened, scarlett?" whenever she cries, grabs every diaper and wipe i need and always asks if scarlett is poopy or needs bum cream, sings songs and shares books, and has added kissing and hugging scarlett to her bedtime routine. realizing my babies love each other.

i was holding scarlett this morning and those tears of happiness finally came. undeniable gratitude for the opportunity of being a mother. i'm still exhausted and amelia still tries to poke scarlett's eyes and i'm still scrubbing poop out of onesies and i'm still not sure how i look in most of my clothes and i still don't have enough hands, but i'm feeling these are the dig-deep moments of motherhood. you know the moments you cherish when your babies aren't babies anymore? i try and remember that time flies by so fast and one day there won't be diapers for me to change and little cheeks for me to kiss.

motherhood is definitely not picture perfect.
but i'm definitely the happiest when i'm trying my very best at my job.
i'm just so relieved we've finally reached an equilibrium.

also, shout out to my best friend. i can't even tell you how much i love him. for loving me through all the ugly times and always reassuring me that everything will be okay. every time i look at him, i just think about all the babies we're going to have together. xo

Sunday, January 18, 2015

family pictures 2015

I've been so tired lately and feeling like I've dropped the ball with taking enough pictures of my family. My friend Katie just got a new flash diffuser and lives like four doors down and she's also an amazing photographer and Amelia is completely in love with her. We were fortunate enough that she could stop by on a random Saturday and take some pretty pictures of us in a comfortable environment. Jeremy loved that it was low-key and I loved how the pictures turned out. Win-win-win!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

birthing scarlett babe

I got a lovely phone call on December 29th at 05:55 am from the labor and delivery charge nurse, telling me to eat a light breakfast and to come on in to have a baby! Jeremy rolled over and said, "it's not even 6..." I jumped up and started packing up our last minute items (yes, I had a list for this). My heart was pounding and I couldn't be more excited. Getting Amelia ready was hilarious and heartbreaking at the same time. It was the last time we were going to do our morning routine, just the two of us. I'm not sure how to describe the guilt of taking away the "only child" status from your only child. Regardless, we managed to move along. I just kept telling her how much I loved her all morning.

We arrived at the hospital around 7 am. Checking in and admit history was an easy process, because of our previous L&D visit at 27 weeks. I met my nurses and PCAs- yes there were multiples and yes I believe that students have to start learning somewhere. My first cervical exam was 3+ and 70%, enough to avoid pitocin and just wait and progress after my amniotomy. It took two tries to place an iv, and I was started on some fluids while we waited for Dr. Thackeray to finish his scheduled c-section. My requests were discussed and I immediately established a good relationship with my nurses.

It was around 9 am when Dr. Thackeray stepped in. Having my water broken was probably one of the most traumatizing events in labor, we're 2 for 2 now. I felt like I couldn't breathe and was having an internal panic attack thinking I wasn't strong enough for an unmedicated delivery. The hook couldn't successfully rupture my bag of waters, so we had to use the fetal scalp electrode to finish the trick. The immediate puddle and constant gushing of warm fluid was a little tricky to get use to as well. Contractions started coming regularly. Because Scarlett's baseline heart-rate dipped significantly with the first contraction, we monitored her for a bit longer before getting up to walk.

My cervix was checked again around 10:30, with no change. I knew my contractions, though regular, were too mild to make a difference and agreed to pitocin to augment my labor. Pitocin was started at 4 units, and I immediately noticed a changed in the strength of contractions. At 11, my pitocin pump was increased to 8 units, my body pumped out seven contractions in a row, Scarlett babe let us know she wasn't being oxygenated enough, and we decreased back down to 4 units stat.

Eventually, Scarlett's baseline stabilized and Jer and I proceeded walking around B pod with a portable telemetry system. Yup, hooked up to a couple of tubes, pushing it all around on a cute little pole, staying close to the railing for those intensifying contractions. Jeremy provided counterpressure in my lower back and also this lovely picture. The nurses had mentioned they typically checked cervixes every two hours and as needed, which for me would be at 12:30. I had planned on waiting until 1 pm in hopes of getting better news (you know, the mind games I play with myself). However, on our last lap around 12:30, I felt pretty desperate and also like the contraction intensity was semi-breaking me down. I asked to be checked: 6/90/-2.  I was thrilled. We all expected delivery within the next hour (since I went so fast with Amelia). The nurses set up the delivery table, pulled out the mirror, and paged Dr. Thackeray. Who came down immediately, rechecked me, and agreed it wouldn't be much longer. I asked him if he was a good runner, and he told me he was decent before heading back upstairs to his clinic. I muttered to my nurses, "he better run! those women can wait their turn... they'll have their time to shine soon enough!" (because I'm hilarious like that)

Time started to phase out as pain completely phased in. I kept emptying my bladder and "getting stuck on the toilet during a contraction" (something I wanted to avoid from the experience with Amelia's labor). Lots of counterpressure from Jer, lots of choice words from me, lots of distraction stories from the nurses. I told the nurses that contractions were bad, but I definitely knew I wasn't close to complete by my scale of hysteria. They told me they trusted me as much they could throw me. Jeremy totally backed me up by saying, "well, she's not very big..." I was checked again soon, and had progressed to a 7.

The contractions worsened (of course) and tears started leaking out of my eyes uncontrollably. I mentioned I felt like I needed to poop and didn't want to do it on the table. The nurses were silent and I knew they were thinking I was complete. I told them I knew my body, and was confident I wasn't close to complete with where I was on my scale of hysteria. They were insistent I didn't go to the bathroom for fear of my delivering on the toilet, and they checked my cervix again: still a 7. Frustration set in instantly. I was frustrated that I hadn't progressed further. I was frustrated that I needed Jer to push on me from behind and I couldn't see his face. I was frustrated with my slow loss of control.

Okay, let's pause for a minute and talk about my amazing nurses. From the very beginning, they listened to me. It was important to me that I was in control, and they made sure I felt like it. They knew I wanted an unmedicated delivery, and promised they wouldn't offer the epidural to me during any part of labor. They moved their charting cabinet forward, so I could watch the FHT/contractions screen and their charting. They let me tell them my plans and accepted my insanity as I changed my mind. I asked Lisa to take pictures since Leslie was trying to be more independent, and I found these beautiful pictures on my camera. I mean seriously, everything. was. perfect.

The contractions continued to come and apparently too hard and too close together that my pitocin was turned down to 3 units and then to 2. I was crying hysterically through each contraction and started to scream [I don't think I can do thiiiiiis!!!]. And also just screaming period. And also saying things like, "stop screaming woman. just calm down" which, later, Jeremy informed me that nurses loved. I changed positions often, but mostly remember being on hands and knees towards the end. I was shaking uncontrollably and feeling like I was dying from the heat and the nurses asked to check me again: 9. Jeremy was definitely a lot more enthusiastic about the 9 than I was. He kept pushing against me and kissing my neck and cheering, "a 9, babe! you've got this! just another few more minutes until we meet Scarlett!" I struggled to find the elation through my pain. Mostly, I just started bawling, telling Jeremy, "I just want her to come out, I can't do this anymore" over and over. In the background, I could hear Lisa and Leslie discussing how they had paged Dr. Thackeray multiple times, and needed to page him again. I felt completely out of control at this point and eventually started screaming, "I am hysterical!!!!" right as Dr. Thackeray ran in, asking "how are things going.... Oh!" (Jeremy thought that was pretty hilarious) The nurses agreed that he had time to gown up, and they started breaking down the bed to prepare for the real deal.

Through my haze of hysteria and pain, I felt Scarlett descend down and I screamed out, "she is coming!!! right now!" I flipped over, and sure enough I was crowning. The pain was unreal. I felt a little awkward getting in the right position to push, of course Lisa and Leslie guided me. The only thing I could see was Jeremy's face right in mine, telling me our baby was almost here. I was terrified, but felt so safe at the same time with the promise in those sincere blue eyes. Jeremy and I have always been solid, but I'm never more sure of us than when I am laboring. Becoming parents together has always strengthened our love and I'm so grateful to my girls for it. I squeezed his hand as I pushed our babe out into the world. 1.5 contractions and her head was out, another full contraction and Scarlett Anne was here.

We were just so happy to be new parents again. Scarlett Anne Bodtcher, born December 29th @ 2:13 pm, 7 pounds 5 ounces, 19.5 inches. They placed immediately her on my chest and Lisa told me to look down. Jer kissed me and we stared in awe at this new little human we had created together. I was a complete train wreck, sobbing because of my little miracle. She turned pink quickly, and was assigned apgars 9 and 9, by a nurse who called herself a little stingy with her 9's. I am amazed and so grateful how perfectly the stars aligned for my family and I. I'm so grateful for my lovely Scarlett, for making me a mommy again. These moments after a new baby comes always make me feel closest to my Heavenly Father, and I am always so teary because of it. I'm so grateful for my Jeremy, who always steps in when I am struggling and steps up to his roles and responsibilities in our family. I'm so grateful for advanced medicine and clinical practice and medical professionals that made it possible for me to deliver safely and the way I want. My heart is so full and I couldn't be more grateful for all that I have been blessed with!

My nurses- Leslie on the left and Lisa on the right (baby Scarlett in the middle, "excellent!")

Dr. Thackeray with Scarlett Anne. (If you are ever in search of an OBGYN, please come talk to me about this amazing man)