My Baby Must-Haves (Newborn Edition)

I feel that after three babies, I have a pretty good handle on what newborn items are needed and which ones are unnecessary or just trendy. With a four year gap between Brody and Ford, lots of new things have come out, so it’s been fun to give some of those a try. We didn’t go crazy buying things this time around, which was pretty refreshing. I knew the basics of what I loved before and based my shopping off of that. We got rid of EVERYTHING after Brody because we were “so sure” that he was our last kiddo. Ha. Ha ha ha ha! So aside from the obvious baby clothes, crib, car seat and diapers, here are my favorite, absolute must-have baby items:

The New Stuff:

Fisher Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper

You guys. This thing is magical and glorious. We didn’t have one with the bigger boys, and I knew I had to try it out with Ford. So many of our friends told us “you have to get one!” that we were curious about it. We got the automatic version, which rocks itself, and I’d highly recommend springing for that upgrade. Ford sleeps in this thing for hours a day, and the subtle movement is just enough to keep him soothed to sleep if he wakes up mid-nap. I give this sucker an A++, and it’s probably my new favorite baby item ever.

 

 

Aden + Anais Muslin Swaddle Blanket

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I can’t even with that smirk. See, Ford is also a fan of Aden + Anais.

I know these are expensive for swaddling blankets, but there’s a reason. They are AMAZING. These blankets are the softest things ever- they’re so lightweight and won’t make your baby sweat but keep them tightly swaddled. If you’re in the market for some, keep an eye out at TJ Maxx- I got them there for just $25 instead of the $40 you pay at big box retailers. I had seen them when I first got pregnant and didn’t buy any- I went back a few times before they re-stocked and grabbed a pack immediately! These are also great gifts because everyone having a baby would be able to use these things and love them.

 

 

 

 

 

The Solly Baby Wrap

Please excuse my tired, non-make-upped face... but yay for this cute wrap!

Please excuse my tired, non-make-upped face… but yay for a cute baby in a wrap

I wanted to like baby wearing with Knox and Brody. Really. But every single carrier or wrap I tried made me sweat to death. I am so hot natured, and so are my kids, so nothing was worth using long-term. I knew that with a third baby, baby-wearing would be a huge must, so I set out to find a perfect baby wrap. I kept seeing the Solly Wrap on Instagram and thought it may be the one, then, I saw that my friend Sara had one and she confirmed that it was awesome. It’s incredibly lightweight and soft- reminds me a lot of the Aden + Anais blankets- and easy to tie. Ford passes out when I put him in there, but I do have to give him a pacifier, otherwise he roots around like crazy being so smooshed against his food source! I really can’t recommend this wrap more highly.

 

 

 

 

Honest Company EVERYTHING

content_desktop-1b7cf792-8ee7-408d-872c-0b003cf26414I am super cognizant of chemicals and toxins in everyday products, foods, etc. I care a great deal about food quality, organics and doing things as naturally as possible. The Honest Company wasn’t as prevalent when Knox and Brody were babies, so I never tried their stuff until recently. We use their shampoo, lotion, wipes and diapers for Ford, and everyone in our family uses the very same shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotion, etc. which makes re-ordering and shopping in general so easy! I check all of my personal care products in the Environmental Working Group “Skin Deep” database before purchasing them, and all of the Honest personal care products we use rank “1” which is the best and lowest indicator of unnatural ingredients in a product. The scents are all from essential oils and are so light and natural- I hate strong-smelling products but still like a little fragrance, so this is a plus for me.

We tried their free trial pack first, which you only pay $6 for shipping and get five bottles of sample products. If you like them, you can order a bundle, which is the BEST value for your buck. They’re $35 a month and include five products of your choice. Considering just a bottle of the shampoo is $10 at Target, this is already a great deal. Then, when you consider things like laundry detergent (72 load bottle) can be included in your bundle of five, the savings increases even more. You get a discount on your first bundle, so I bought tons of extras (also at a discount) to try that first month. We have now tried and loved: shampoo, lotion, conditioner, bubble bath, organic body oil (was amazing for my itchy pregnant belly), bathroom cleaner, multipurpose cleaner, laundry detergent, hand sanitizer, wipes, diapers and hand soap. The only thing I have tried and haven’t loved is their dishwasher detergent- it works fine and is the best “natural” cleaner I’ve tried, but I still can’t find a natural option that beats Finish tabs for getting dishes really clean. If you want to try a bundle, click here to try it– you can change your products every month, depending on what you need- and you can change your shipping frequency if you don’t need things as often. I highly recommend it!!

Tried and True Favorites

Medela Pump-in-Style Breast Pump

81eryoA2dPL._SX522_This pump. It’s awesome. When I go back to work, I’ll be having to pump twice a day, so I knew I would get another Medela pump. I used this same model with both Knox and Brody, and it is effective, easy to use and reliable- all qualities you need in a pump.

 

 

Lansinoh Breast Pads

51BQYc9EbmLThese are the very best, most absorbent breast pads I’ve used. I really hate having to use disposables, but I have oversupply and leak like crazy the entire time I nurse (as in over a year… every day… all the time). I’m jealous of those people who stop leaking after the first few weeks! I’ve tried all of the “amazing” washable pads and end up with a wet shirt in a few hours. I’ve had lots of recommendations for Bamboobies, so that will be my last shot before I give up! But as far as disposables go, these Lansinoh pads WORK. They are less visible than most brands I’ve used, they do not leak and they are soft. Plus, you can find them almost everywhere, even Publix.

 

 

Boppy Pillow

IMG_0903Yes, you need one of these. The Boppy pillow is such a convenience before babies can sit up- it helps prop them up and keeps them from rolling away or tipping over. We used ours until it was nearly flat with Knox and Brody- the newer models are “fluffier” than the old ones were, so I foresee this one lasting a long time!

 

 

 

And a Diaper Trial

I’m currently doing an experiment with disposable diapers. I’m trying to find a more natural diaper that 1) doesn’t leak 2) is soft and 3) won’t break the bank. I seriously thought about cloth diapering again, but working full-time, having three kids and endless laundry already, I decided that it really wasn’t an option, even though I LOVED it when I did it before. So. Disposables it is. So far, I have tried: Pampers Swaddlers (no, not the most eco-friendly, but also not the worst out there), Honest Company, Earth’s Best and Bambo Nature. I don’t hate any of them, but I will say, the Bambo Nature are amazingly soft for a disposable because they’re made of bamboo. They’re also the most expensive of the lot and have to be ordered online. I’ll let you guys know what I decided after a bit more experimenting!

So that’s my short list of must-have products for a newborn… I’ll likely do another version when he’s a bit older and we delve into more “stuff.” What’s your favorite/must-have baby item??

Ford’s Newborn Session (& Due Date)

Today is Ford’s due date: Valentine’s Day. I always had the 18th in my head as his “real” due date, but the doctor’s office insisted on the 14th… after a few months, I gave in to their date since he always measured ahead anyway. It’s hard to believe that today he’d be 40 weeks gestation and has been with us for nearly three weeks. And even though it’s only been three weeks, it feels like he’s always been here.

He’s a sweet, sleepy baby. He definitely thinks the afternoon is night and sleeps sometimes four hours straight heading into evening. At night, he was waking up every two to three hours… until I tried co-sleeping with him. When he’s nestled next to me, he’ll go four hours straight. Co-sleeping for the win! He definitely loves to eat and would do that every waking second, if I allowed it. He’s staying awake for longer, now, during his alert hours, which are generally first thing in the morning and early evening.

We had his newborn photo session when he was one week old, and we got them back this week. I am so in love with these- my friend, Candice, took them and did a great job. It took about two hours of posing, re-situating, calming, nursing, pee clean-up, etc. to get these pictures- I never knew how much work went into newborn photography! Without further ado: here are a few of my favorites:

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IMG-60 IMG-62Happy due date, sweet cheeks. I love you more than I could ever say.

Two Weeks

The last two weeks have been a blur- a haze of sweet baby smells, sleepless nights and forgetting what day/time it is. It’s been amazing. The first night home from the hospital last week, I lay Ford in his Rock ‘n Play, looked at that beautiful sleeping face and just cried. Trevor saw me and asked “happy cries, right?” The very happiest. There have been moments of holding and nursing this sweet baby where I think my heart may explode, and I tell him, “I couldn’t be any happier than I am right now.” Things are messy and hectic and sleepy, but that’s par for the course with a newborn. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

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The postpartum phase has been easiest this time, I think. I barely had any pain after delivery, aside from the cramping that’s expected (and apparently gets worse with each child you have, according to the nurses). I never took anything stronger than a Motrin, and have felt great. I dropped weight almost overnight and am just about five pounds shy of pre-pregnancy weight. Thanks, gluten-free diet! I have a little bit of extra fluff around the midsection, but it has shrunk faster than both of my previous pregnancies, which makes me happy. I haven’t experienced much in the way of postpartum anxiety or depression like before, granted I am currently on Zoloft, so I figured it would help keep that at bay. I have had some mild anxiety, but nothing compared to how I was after Brody’s birth. Hopefully that continues! I did find out the day after I had Ford that I’ll be on Lovenox injections again for six weeks postpartum. YAY. Apparently the clot risk is still high while my hormones are elevated, so it’s back to needles in the stomach. I had two days with no shots, and they were pretty nice!

Breastfeeding has been going amazingly well. It’s definitely the hardest with your first baby, and then with each progressive baby, the pressure and stress is less and less. I know what I am doing, and I am not as tempted to worry or freak out over supply, etc. as I would have been the first time around. Though I do need to bust out the pump more often to get a freezer stash built up, but I have ten more weeks of maternity leave to make that happen. I do need to find some good reusable breast pads- I have oversupply, so I leak a ton the entire time I nurse. I hate using disposables, but so far, they’re the only things that don’t leak. Recommend your favorites to me if you have them!

Knox and Brody have embraced Ford from the second they met him, which by the way, was one of the best moments of my life to date. Seeing their smiling faces come into the hospital room and see them look at their baby brother for the first time, well, it was enough to make me burst from the sheer love of them. Brody immediately asked to hold him, so both boys climbed up in the hospital bed with me and took turns. Brody first, since he asked so sweetly, then Knox. They were THRILLED.

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Brody has really surprised me- I thought for sure he’d be much more  jealous, but instead, he is absolutely enamored with Ford and loves to hold him, rub his head and watch him. Knox thinks he should be able to hold and jiggle Ford around like we do, so we have to be extra cautious during his holding sessions to make sure the baby isn’t loved on a little too much! They’re both wonderful brothers and love “Baby Ford” as they both call him.

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Something about having a baby makes me fall in love with my husband over and over again- Trevor is head over heels for this kiddo, and it makes me melt. He has been so amazing keeping Knox and Brody occupied the past couple weeks. He took three weeks off of work, and it is going to be rough on all of us to see him go back. He gets the boys up and ready for school, does drop-off and pick-up every day and handles baths and bedtime pretty much solo while I tend to Ford. Brody has kept trying to come into our bedroom at night, and Trevor has been super determined to get him sleeping on his own. Of course because of this, Trevor ends up falling asleep in Brody’s twin bed nearly every night! Oh well, hopefully he’ll get the picture soon and stay put in his own bed.

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As far as Ford goes, he definitely sleeps best in mid-afternoon (not at night, of course) where he’ll go three to four hours at a stretch. He has learned quickly that he much prefers to sleep in bed with me than in his own bed at night, but isn’t that how it always goes? I am getting sleep, just in short spurts. Ford wakes every three hours at night, so I get about two hour chunks of sleep. We stay in bed until 9 or so until I feel coherent enough to wake up. He does really like the Rock ‘n Play, and I wish we had one with the other boys! We have the automatic one that rocks itself, and it’s pretty much the best thing ever. He loves to be swaddled, but he finagles one arm free almost every time.

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He eats all the time. If I am holding him, he thinks I should be feeding him. He is starting to really study our faces when he’s awake, and I swear he smiled for real today. We were talking to him and he cracked the biggest grin…. I know, I know, it’s probably gas or a “reflex smile”, but still. It was precious. I am insisting on a pacifier with this child because I was a pacifier for Knox and Brody- so far, so good! He loves his elephant WubbaNub and will take it if I’m not available.

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He makes the very best noises ever. Those sweet baby squeaks and grunts are just perfect. We did his first tummy time last week, which was hilarious. Ford hated it, Knox and Brody loved it.

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His umbilical cord stump fell off on Friday, so he got a real bath for the first time. He yelped in protest then almost fell asleep after his initial grouchiness.

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We’ve gone through so many diapers with this child- he is the worst at faking us out. You’ll think he’s done, go to change him, and he’s not. Really, really not. Our changing pad (and shirts) have taken many hits! At least we know he’s eating well, since he’s a diaper-filling machine. I have no idea how much he weighs- when we left the hospital, he had dropped from 7 lbs 2 oz to 6 lbs 10z, and when we went to the pediatrician two days later, he was still at 6 lbs 10 oz. Maintaining was great for that stage, but I expect to see some good gains when we go back next week. I’m already dreading him growing out of his sweet newborn sized clothes… I just know how fast this stage passes, so I am trying to soak up every single second of it. I love, love, love the newborn baby stage. Even their cries are cute at this point, and we all know that changes quick! Look at that mad face…

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We had newborn pictures taken on Tuesday, and I cannot wait to see them! My friend, Candice, took them, and just the set up was so cute, I know they’ll be awesome. Lots of squishy naked baby pictures- I promise to share when I get them! I didn’t do official pictures with Knox and Brody, and I figure that as the third child, Ford will likely get the short end of the stick on some things, so I wanted to do something special with him. I pretty much spend the whole day staring at him because he’s so darn cute. I’m so amazed at how miraculous birth and new life are- we are so, so blessed to have been given this precious boy.

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Ford’s Birth Story (Part 2)

(Read Part 1 here)

… and the story continues!

At this point, my contractions were absolutely horrible. I was making it, but they hurt. I remember at one point before this realizing how I felt when I was in labor with Knox when I had asked for that epidural. The sensation triggered that memory, but I kept going, not asking for anything, instead refocusing and repositioning. I was fine, and I was going to do this!

About 1:20 the delivering doctor came back in to check me. Trevor was convinced I’d be at a 7 or higher, and I told him there was no way, I was probably at a 5. After the most painful cervical check ever, she said I was at 4. FOUR. I was so disappointed, I was in pain and I felt very helpless. At this point, she increased my Pitocin again, which was now at 16. This was the beginning of the end. My regular doctor told me the next day that the delivering doctor was certain I hated her by this point, which of course wasn’t true, I actually really like her a lot, but I was pretty distraught at this stage of the game!

It was the absolute worst pain I’ve ever experienced. Nothing even compares. The intensity was so great that there was nothing I could do to get away from it. All of my positions, breathing, relaxation, etc. were failing miserably up against these Pitocin contractions. And now they were a minute apart. There was no break, and I felt like my entire abdomen would burst open at any moment. I cried. Trevor walked in at this moment, he had left the room when the doctor arrived to scarf down a sandwich that my family brought for him and was gone maybe five minutes. He said he had just been talking to my family, who were asking about my decision for no epidural. He told them “she’s doing great, I think she’s going to do it.” Then he walks into the disaster that was level 16 of Pitocin. The only thing I could do during the contractions was take a cool washcloth and nearly scrub the skin off of my face with it. I needed to feel some sensation other than the one that was certainly about to kill me. I just said over and over again “I can’t do this. I can’t do this.” and prayed out loud for God to please help me. I figured this was where I’d die, in this bed, when my body exploded.

Finally, I pushed the button. The nurse responded over the speaker, and I said “I need an epidural right now.” Trevor said with relief in his voice, “if you hadn’t pushed it, I would have.” He said he either needed the anesthesiologist or some back up! So then, my dear, chipper nurse comes in and tells me I need another full bag of fluid before the epidural can be started. It would take 30 minutes. I literally do not know how I lived for those 30 minutes. Trevor later told me he was furious at that sweet nurse every time she’d come in and give an update on how much longer I had “just 15 minutes longer!” She might as well have told me I’d never have any relief, that’s how long 15 minutes felt in that moment. I did tell her emphatically at one point “please turn off that Pitocin, right now, until I get my epidural” and she did. Of course, at that point, it wasn’t going to be out of my system that fast, so it didn’t do any good, just like she told me it wouldn’t.

At 2 p.m. the hero of the day, the anesthesiologist, arrived. God bless that precious man. I continued to have the same intensely awful contractions while he did the procedure. I barely felt the initial numbing injection- it didn’t even remotely compare to the pain of the contractions I was having, it may as well have been someone poking me with their finger in the back. My sweet nurse stood there while I cried and hugged her for dear life. The intensity started to subside before I was even taped up. By the time Trevor came back in, I was a different person.

Within 40 minutes, I was at 7 cm. My body needed to relax so badly, I swear that’s why it happened so fast. Pitocin contractions do not feel natural, and they do not allow for a natural flow of labor, at least not for me. I really believe that I could have continued on without an epidural if I hadn’t had Pitocin, but I don’t regret the decision to get the epidural. The situation called for it, and my delivery was a great one. My delivering doctor came in afterwards and told me that I did an absolutely amazing job lasting so long on the Pitocin without the epidural, and that it was incredibly hard to do. By 3:15, I was feeling some downward pressure and was at 8 cm. I also developed a hot spot in my right lower back area where I was feeling everything. I was just dealing with it because it was so minor compared to how I felt before, but then I thought, I have the epidural in, it may as well work for me! They had me push the button to increase it and that spot went away. Of course, it was replaced by another one over my right ovary, so I had to do one last bolus to take care of that one. By that point, it was 4:30 and I was at 9.

The doctor came back in at 4:50 and I was complete and ready to push. I did some practice pushing with the nurse first, and his head was immediately visible- they told me he had lots of dark hair. Pushing took longer with Ford than with either of my other kids (Knox took 28 minutes and Brody took 8)- I attribute this to the fact that I did those two extra bolus (boli?) of the epidural meds, and my left leg was totally dead- I could still move my right one around.

At 5:26 p.m., Bradford Aubart entered the world and was placed on my chest. We waited a few minutes for the cord to stop pulsating before it was clamped and cut by Trevor. I just cried my eyes out as I looked at him for the first time.

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The nurses were trying to get him to pink up, because he was pretty purple and his arms didn’t have much tone at first. They took him from me and headed to the warmer and within a minute he was yelping and flailing around. I thought he looked just like Knox here!

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He weighed 7 pounds and 2 ounces, our lightest baby, and was 20.25 inches long. I felt like they’d never bring him back over, it felt like an eternity! Since Knox had to go to the NICU, Trevor and I were both hyper aware of how long it was taking- thankfully, Ford looked just fine. His first Apgar was 6, then 9. I got my hands back on him and started nursing right away. He was fairly lazy with it, so we didn’t accomplish much.

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Trevor held him for the first time, and was immediately head over heels.

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After about 45 minutes, we started getting impatient text messages from my family who had been in the waiting room since 7, so we brought them back to see him. While my brother and sister were holding Ford, the nurse suggested I get up to go to the bathroom. Two nurses helped me up, and I made my way to the bathroom. The second I sat down, I started to feel sick. I told them I needed to lay back down right away. They asked if I felt faint, I said yes, and said I needed some juice or soda immediately. Trevor went out to find some juice, and the next thing I knew, all of these women were fluttering around me asking if I was okay. Someone shoved ammonia under my nose, and I jerked back in repulsion. Trevor arrived with my apple juice, and the nurse took it away after one sip telling me not to drink too much. I gave Trevor a look that said “I need that back ASAP,” and he retrieved it for me like the awesome husband he is. I needed that sugar badly! Nothing like passing out on the toilet to shake things up a bit!

After I was coherent again, I held Ford for a little longer, then he went to the nursery with Trevor following behind. I got checked into our postpartum room while Ford got cleaned up and warm (he spent a good hour under the warmer before and after his bath).

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We spent two uneventful nights, thank you God, in the hospital with Ford rooming-in with us before being discharged on Wednesday. We are feeling incredibly blessed to be the parents of three precious boys. God is good, and life is beautiful.

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Ford’s Birth Story (Part 1)

I was up at 3:45 a.m. on Monday, January 25. We were supposed to arrive to the hospital by 5 a.m. for my induction. The night before, I was nervous, of course, and didn’t lay down until around 11. I knew my brain was going to be going crazy, so I put my headphones on and listened to my hypnobirthing relaxation track… works like a charm every time! When I woke up, I got dressed and hit the kitchen, ready for a BIG breakfast. I hate the “no eating in labor” rule, being someone who will straight up pass out if I go too long without food (ß foreshadowing). So I made a giant pan of some loaded hash browns with chicken sausage, eggs and cheese and made myself eat every single bite.

I made the bed and did a last minute countertop wipe-down (because my house was spotless thanks to days of cleaning beforehand) before we loaded up the car and headed to the hospital. Here’s the last belly pic at 37 weeks and 2 days, taken before we left for the hospital:

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I called on the way, as instructed, to make sure that they were ready for us. They were. We arrived just a few minutes late and headed up to labor and delivery. When we got there, they showed us to room 22. It was big and seemed backwards to me, I was facing the opposite way in the rooms I had with Knox and Brody. I changed into the traditional backless hospital gown and sat on the bed, talking to the nurse as she started my IV.

I knew the course of action was going to be Pitocin and breaking my water, but I hadn’t actually had a chance to talk to the doctor that would be delivering me, due to the craziness of the appointment the week before. I told the nurse that I really wanted to try breaking my water first, before Pitocin, because I had a history of moving quickly once that happened (Brody was born three hours after my water was broken). She said she would talk to Dr. J about that before we started anything. I also reiterated my desire to go without an epidural, hence me not wanting much Pitocin, if possible.

I have no clue why t hey ask you to get to the hospital at 5 when there’s a shift change at 7 and the doctor doesn’t arrive until 7:15. Seems counterintuitive to me, but what do I know, I’m just the one who sat in bed for two hours waiting while watching HGTV. Trevor made use of his time by napping… I’m so jealous of the ability to sleep anywhere!

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Finally the doctor arrived, and said she was fine to try breaking my water first and give that a little while before starting Pitocin. Only, when she checked my cervix, I was still at 2 cm and Ford’s head was really high. She said she felt like we needed to do a low dose of Pitocin to bring his head down before she was comfortable with breaking my water. Awesome.

They started me on Pitocin at 7:30 a.m. at the lowest dose of “2” on the monitor. I was having contractions sporadically, already, but nothing super strong. They increased the dosage by 2 at 7:45. This started contractions coming every five to six minutes. They were not painful, just tight like Braxton Hicks. See? I’m totally good (there will be no selfies towards the end of this story, FYI).

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They increased my Pitocin again at 8:20. See how this is working? The nurse would come in, do something, then just casually up my dosage without even saying anything. I was pretty upset the week before about the induction- I just wanted Ford to be able to come when he was ready, and I kept thinking that morning “he isn’t ready yet, and that’s why they keep having to increase this dosage.”

My mom arrived at this point and chatted with Trevor and I for about 20 minutes until the doctor came back in to check me. I was now at 3 cm and Ford’s head had dropped some, so she broke my water. It took a couple tries, and she didn’t think she even got it the last time, but Ford shifted and everything let loose. Then my sister arrived, and she and my mom stayed with us until about 9:30 when I asked them to go back to the waiting room because my contractions were picking up.

I asked to get out of the bed, and the nurse brought me a birthing ball. I labored on that for about an hour. The contractions were much stronger but still very manageable. The doctor came back in and I was still at 3 cm. My contractions looked good on the screen, but she was wondering how strong they were and wanted to insert an Intra-Uterine Pressure Catheter (IUPC) to see. I was very wary of this until I actually saw it and she explained the process. It’s just a flexible little tube that they insert into the uterus, it sits next to the baby and doesn’t bother them at all, but it’s squeezed with each contraction so that the doctor can actually tell how strong they are and know if you need 1) more time or 2) more Pitocin. This was her way of trying to keep Pitocin levels as low as she could, so I was for it. Insertion was nothing to speak of, but we could then see the intensity of the contractions more accurately.

About 12:15 I got up to reposition and my nurse pointed out that I had bloody show, so that likely meant things were picking up. I started to have a lot more pressure and intense contractions at this point and needed Trevor to provide counter pressure to my lower back. I was closing my eyes, staying loose and relaxed during contractions, and he would massage my back until they passed. Shortly after, the nurses (I now had two) suggested I try the “peanut” which looks like a peanut shaped yoga ball to try to open my pelvis and let the baby drop. I absolutely hated it. I laid on my side and they put this giant ball between my knees- it was the most awkward sensation and I felt like I couldn’t relax through contractions in that strange position. I’m pretty sure I threw it at some point.

Things started to pick up here, and I’ll continue the birth story in a couple days with the rest!

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