Berkeley 5 month ~ ElephantEats.com

Well, this has officially become a baby blog because there’s really no sign of me cooking for a while. We’ve been doing HelloFresh meals (they send you the ingredients and recipes) and it’s been awesome, but now that Berkeley decided to start sleeping horribly and I’m exhaused by dinnertime, i think we’ll put it on hold for a while and stick to Trader Joe’s frozen dinners.

Ok, here goes: 5 months- whew this is a long one! Don’t read this if you’re not interested in every aspect of his life right now (Mom, I know you hate these so just look at the pics and skip it!)

Berkeley on his playmat ~ ElephantEats.com

His new playmat!

Berkeley is definitely figuring things out this month! He intentionally grabs things and is very good at it. He’ll even pass things from hand to hand…and of course put them into his mouth. He’s become a pro at tummy time and easily rolls right onto his hands and now gets up on his elbows. He has started following LC with his eyes and if you hold him close enough, he’ll try to reach out for her (she’s not too happy about it). He has JUST started to find his feet (at the end of month 5) and now leans forward to sit and grab them. You still have to hold him though because he can’t stay sitting on his own without falling over. 

We installed blackout shades on his windows and I think they’ve helped lengthen his naps! Although most naps tend to be closer to 40-45 min now instead of 30, he will occassionally grace us with an hour or 1.5 hr nap. After he starts fussing in his crib, we still rock him back to sleep and hold him while he sleeps an additional hour or more. It’s getting harder to rock him back to sleep in our arms, though, so sometimes that will be the whole nap. 

Berkeley 5 months 2 ~ ElephantEats.com

His “awake” time is now around 1.5 hrs before his morning nap and 2-2.5 hrs before his other two naps. This gives us enough time to do things like take a walk…finally! We decided to increase it since he wasn’t napping well so we figured maybe he just needed to get tired out a little more. It’s been working well although he’ll still boycott his afternoon (or occasionally his evening) nap and then he’s up WAY too long (like 4-5 hrs) and gets so cranky by the time it’s his next nap or bedtime. 

For sleep he was fighting the swaddle so much (plus it wasn’t safe anymore because he was rolling over in it) so I ordered the Zipadeezip suit in the hopes that it would transition him out of the swaddle. I can’t say it has magically transformed his sleep like it claims to do, but he’s definitely more comfortable than having his arms strapped to his sides. The caveat is that it takes him a little longer to settle down to sleep after the freedom dance party he puts on in the crib. He sure does like to move those arms. I ended up buying a sheet at Target and using it as the fabric to sew him a second Zipadeezip so we could put him in it when we needed to wash the real one. I’m not the best seamstress and it took me longer than I’d like to admit. I didn’t think to order two suits and the first took so long to arrive (and wasn’t cheap!) so I didn’t feel like ordering another. 

At the bakery ~ ElephantEats.com

Usually at night when we put Berkeley in his crib in his suit (we call it his bat suit because he looks like a bat) on his back, he’ll flip over to his stomach pretty quickly and if he is tired enough by that point he’ll go right to sleep. Usually because of his reflux, he tries to get a burp out and fusses for a while and will proceed to spit up all over the crib. Fun times. Before I realized it was the reflux making him fussy (i thought he was just practicing tummy time) I ended up flipping him onto his back a lot until he tired out. Or I’d rock him until he got drowsy instead of putting him down fully awake like I was  doing. Once I realized he just needed to burp, I now spend way too long with him over my shoulder, patting and rubbing til he burps or spits up. This sometimes goes on for 30 min and he might spit up 2-3 times. It’s exhausting for me and he’s always out of breath and panting by the end, not to mention rubbing his eyes in exhaustion. I feel so bad for him and need to figure out how to get his reflux under control.

Taking a walk ~ ElephantEats.com

He had been fighting his middle of the night breastfeeding session for a while now. He’d often pull his head off my breast and i couldn’t get him to relatch. I couldn’t figure out if it’s cuz he’s used to the bottle and couldn’t get as much out as fast out of my breast? Anyway, it was super frustrating and made eating take way longer (which totally sucks when you want to go back to bed). A couple times I just gave up and put him back to bed. Well about a week into 5 months, he did it again but he really didn’t eat for more than 5 minutes before he started crying when I tried to force him to. I decided that maybe he just wasn’t hungry and didn’t need to eat in the middle of the night anymore, so i put him back to bed. I called the pediatrician to see if he was eating enough during the day to skip feeding in the middle of the night.  She told me that 5 month olds eat between 26-32 oz so he’s right in the normal range and that he definitely doesn’t need to eat during the night. So that was that- I was officially done breastfeeding (not by choice). 

Taking a walk 2 ~ ElephantEats.com

Tough guy

Once I eliminated the middle of the night feeding, we had a couple rough nights where he kept waking up and i kept putting the pacifier back in his mouth (like every hour or less). It was so exhausting that I bought some books on sleep training and decided to give it a shot.

First night of sleeping thru the night, he woke up crying and i coudln’t figure out what was wrong…I knew his diapers wouldn’t last all night so around 1:30am changed him which woke him up so much that i just put him in bed with me and we both got no sleep. Next night i bought Pampers Baby Dry (12 hr diapers) but they seemed too small (even tho they were the same size as his daytime Pampers Swaddlers diapers) but I used anyway. I tried to let him cry it out (never more than like 10 min before i checked on him and put his paci in). Finally I realized he had peed thru his outfit and I felt so bad he had been crying!  I changed him and put him in bed with me at 4:30 am.

Blowing Raspberries ~ ElephantEats.com

Blowing “raspberries!”

The next day I went out and bought a size up in Pampers Baby Dry (size 3). I put him in them and he slept really well aside from moving to the corner of his crib and getting stuck so i had to move him. He woke several times and put himself right back to sleep. Finally around 1:50am he started crying. I decided to toughen up and let him cry. He cried about 5 min, passed out for 5, woke back up and cried for 5. I went in and gave him a paci. He passed out and woke about 10 min later crying again. I let him cry 10 min then went in…I checked his sleep suit but it wasn’t wet so i was like ok, he doesn’t need to be changed, i have to be tough. I put his paci in and he fell asleep again. This went on for like an hour and finally when he was wailing for like 10 min and kept waking up after passing out, i knew something was wrong. I decided maybe he just didn’t like having a wet diaper (strange cuz he has wet diapers during his naps), so i figured i’d change him. Well I took off his sleep suit and wouldn’t you know he had peed thru his pajamas! I felt SO BAD!!! i’m the worst mom in the world. Here I was letting him cry for an hour and he was cold and wet :( I still haven’t forgiven myself.

In the meantime, I wrote pampers a nasty email since i wasted my money on two packs of diapers i can’t use. They sent me a couple coupons to make up for it. I then ordered Huggies Overnights (in a size larger than his daytime diapers) that got great reviews and they keep him dry. Needless to say when I finally discovered he was wet and changed him at 3am, he immediately went back to sleep and slept without a peep until 6am!!! I unfortunately think his natural wakeup time is 6am but i can’t deal with that now so I always go get him and get him sleep til 7am in bed with me, at which time he gets up to eat.  I wouldn’t mind waking up at 6 with him and feeding him then, but then the whole schedule i have for him gets screwed up and i don’t know how to change it.

Bouncy chair ~ ElephantEats.com

Anyway, after fooling us into thinking that he could practically sleep through the night, he then started waking up a ton…and I realized that maybe he was waking up because he was still a little hungry when I eliminated the middle of the night feeding, so I increased his bottles.

After that he started waking up every 30 min to hour ALL night. I think it’s from reflux so we’ve upped his dose and it will hopefully work. I still get up to feed him sometime around 1 am though. Unfortunately he drinks a bottle faster than breastfeeding which is worse for his reflux so I have to let him sleep upright on me while i rock him for like 30 min before putting him back to bed. I am EXHAUSTED. I literally haven’t gotten more than 1 hr of consecutive sleep and maybe 3 hrs total sleep for 3 weeks now. I’m crossing my fingers this reflux medication increase changes things :(. I have an appointment with the GI doc in a couple weeks.

Stats: 14 lb 12.5 oz (25th %), 25.75 in (75th%), size 2 diapers 

Likes:

Daddy giving him a goofy smile, going crazy in his bouncy chair!, when I say “mmmmm” to him, standing (assisted)- which he’s been doing for months now, rolling over (all directions), chewing on everything, his colored ring toys, Sophie, pulling himself up to sitting when you hold his hands, being lifted in the air, trying to blow “raspberries,” giggling!, reaching out and touching your face and grabbing your nose/lips/Nate’s beard, facing forward in the Baby Bjorn carrier for walks

Dislikes:

sitting (he refuses to bend his knees!), napping, being on his back for too long, his gross new reflux medicine, taking too long to get his bottle ready after you put his bib on

Things he’s unsure of:

L.C.(the feeling is mutual)

Schedule:

After eliminating his middle of the night feeding, he wanted more to eat during the day so we increased his bottles to 7.75 ounces and then to 8 oz and he gets 4 of them. Then he started waking up during the night and he seemed hungry so now he also gets 3.5 oz around 1-3am. So total he eats between 32-36 oz per day (he’ll sometimes leave an ounce or so in a bottle or not seem to be hungry at night).

He ends up coming into bed with me way too early (so i can actually try to get some sleep) and i can’t get him to sleep til 7 anymore, so he typically gets up around 6:15-6:30. He gets a bottle and goes down for his nap about 1.5 hrs after waking. He gets the next bottles 4 hrs apart and will nap about 2-2.5 hrs after waking from his prior nap. He tends to sleep less during his early afternoon nap (around 12 or 1ish) and takes a long late afternoon nap (around 4ish). We usually have to wake him from his last nap around 6:15pm so he can have his last bottle, change, have a book (if he’s not too tired) and go straight to bed. We’ve been starting this bottle earlier so he more time to digest before bed because of his reflux.

BerkeleyCollage 5 months ~ ElephantEats.com

Berkeley 4 month ~ ElephantEats.com

I know I already posted some info about Berkeley at 4 months, but I decided that I want to do these monthly stats for myself to remember down the line…I already forget what he was like a month ago!

Berkeley is actually 5 months right now (so things have changed but I’ll do another update next month) but I have to do these things a month behind because otherwise I can’t report what he’s actually doing THAT month. Also, I still have zero free time.

At 4 months old, Berkeley is a really happy baby and is smiling all the time. The only times he cries are when something is wrong- he’s gassy usually- or he’s tired. When he gets overtired, he starts crying and fighting sleep but if you rock him and shove a paci in his mouth he’ll pass out. 

Berkely 4 months ~ ElephantEats.com

Yes, I’m wearing owl pjs

He started rolling over in his swaddle (no arms to impede his turning) and then a few days later started rolling over without it (4.5 months). He rolled left first and then figured out how to roll the other way a few days later. He used to take time to get up on his hands after rolling but now he’s a champ and rolls right onto them! He can’t roll from tummy to back yet. He’s starting to pull up his knees a bit too and might be crawling soon.

He still wakes up once during the night to eat and tends to fuss some other times during the night. When I get tired of getting up a million times to go put a pacifier in his mouth, I’ll take him to bed with me so we can both get some decent sleep. 

Berkeley 4 months 2 ~ ElephantEats.com

My little man!

Stats: 13 lb 12 oz (25th %), 25 3/4 in (75th%), size 2 diapers

Likes:

Getting his diaper changed (he has always liked this and will smile and giggle), getting lots of kisses from mom, smiles from dad, rolling over (and spitting up, without fail), chewing on his fist and anything else he can find, SMILING!, sleeping on his tummy. We’re still swaddling (with one leg out) but he doesn’t seem comfortable with his arms swaddled while on his tummy and is always fighting to get them out. We’ve tried one or both arms out but he flails too much. Waiting on his Zipadeezip suit, fingers crossed it will work!

Berkeley 4 months 3~ ElephantEats.com

Dislikes:

Napping for longer than 30 min in his crib, too much tummy time, not much else- he’s a happy baby! We have to rock him to sleep for naps but bedtime he’ll go to sleep on his own.

Berkeley 4 months 4~ ElephantEats.com

Schedule:

Gets up around 7 (usually he’s in my bed by this point because he’s either woken up at 6 in his crib and i’m trying to get him to sleep longer, or because he’s been fussing all night ) and eats a 6.5ish oz bottle of his special formula. He eats every 4 hrs (7ish, 11ish, 3ish, 6-6:30ish). He goes down for first nap around 1.5 hrs after waking, sleeps only 30-45 min at a time in his crib and then rest of the nap in our arms. His other naps are after about 1 hr 45 min of awake time where we’ll feed him and play with him. Bedtime routine starts between 6-6:30 depending on how well he napped, or earlier if it’s bath day- eat, change, book, bed by 7:30 at the latest. He takes about 15 min to fall asleep on his own usually.

Berkeley 4 months 5~ ElephantEats.com

I think he has started his 4 month sleep regressionand is boycotting some naps completely but is still always smiling…except the day he BARELY napped and then he was in full meltdown mode by bedtime. Why oh why would anyone boycott a nap?! What I wouldn’t give to be held and rocked to sleep…

5 month update coming soon!

Berkeley 4 months 6~ ElephantEats.com 

 

Pasta with Sausage and Chickpeas ~ ElephantEats.com

I can’t believe it took me til Berkeley was 4 months old, but I finally found the time to cook. I’ve been on the lookout for recipes that seem quick to make, and during December we had a nanny and I was working from home- I really had no excuse. Still, I only found time to make an actual dinner ONE night. Pathetic.

Pasta with Sausage and Chickpeas ~ ElephantEats.com

Honestly, it wasn’t that I didn’t have time to cook, it was that I didn’t have time to pick a recipe, grocery shop AND cook. I need to get my act together, which is going to be really hard now that I’m back at work officially (as of Monday) and I leave at 7:30am and don’t get home til almost 7pm. Any tips? I’m thinking that during the weekend I might need to send Nate to the grocery store and then put him on baby duty while I pump out a couple meals we can eat all week long. This will take some planning though, and I’m not sure if I have it in me yet.

Pasta with Sausage and Chickpeas 3 ~ ElephantEats.com

Most likely I’ll be cooking more meals than I show on here. Taking photos of your meal when you have limited time doesn’t really make sense. Plus, I don’t have my photo lights set up and am a little out of practice now, so forgive my poor photos. 

For a little baby update:

Berkeley 4 month ~ ElephantEats.com

Berkeley has officially been on this earth for a whole 4 months, and it’s really quite hard to believe. He’s SO smiley. He smiles for Nate more than for me, which makes me a little sad, but I think it’s just because I’m more of the “provider” and he’s more of the “entertainer.” That’s not to say he doesn’t smile for me at all, but Nate can always get him to grin. He smiles a lot for the nanny, Nora, too…he loves her which makes me very happy.

BerkeleyCollage

He’s also been “talking” a ton. It’s super cute when I’m feeding him and all of a sudden he’ll stop, look at me and just blabber on about something with a furrowed brow. He’s probably complaining about the nasty formula and asking when he can get some of that tasty breastmilk again. He’s been having some tummy issues so we’re trying a completely broken down formula (and a very $$$ one!) and it’s really seemed to help. I’m still breastfeeding him in the middle of the night though because it’s just easier. He’s been really fussing during that time though so it might have to end soon :(

Berkeley football hat ~ ElephantEats.com

Berkeley is also reaching for and grabbing things now! Shirts, hair, you name it…don’t put it too close or it will end up in his mouth. For a couple weeks he was sucking on his fist non-stop, but he seems to have forgotten about that lately. I still think he might become a thumb-sucker, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

He doesn’t spend a ton of time on his playmat on either his back or tummy because he has reflux…right after he eats we like to keep him mainly upright so he doesn’t spit up too much. Towards the end of that time before he naps, we’ll put him on his back. He only gets tummy time if he wakes up from a nap early and isn’t ready to eat yet. 

Berkeley Christmas PJs ~ ElephantEats.com

He wiggles and kicks a ton when he’s down but hasn’t rolled over yet. BUT…the other day during nap time he was squirming a ton in his swaddle and next thing I knew, he was face down in the crib! Luckily he has great neck strength and was able to lift his head up. I flipped him and put him back and he did it again! You’re not supposed to keep swaddling after that but he hasn’t done it since…it’s been keeping me up at night though because I’m so afraid he’ll do it during the night. I totally wanna ditch the swaddle but I’m so worried he won’t be able to sleep at all without it since his startle reflex is still pretty strong. If he starts flipping over regularly, i’ll obviously have no choice.

We also conquered a few milestones that I was fearing- our first long (2-3 hr) car ride, the first time I got sick and had to still take care of a baby, and Berkeley’s first cold. I managed to make it through all of them just fine. We headed down to my mother-in-laws for Christmas. We fed him his nighttime bottle and then hit the road during his bed time and he slept the whole way. Then we just moved him to his crib when we got there and he didn’t even wake up.

Santa Berk ~ ElephantEats.com

I got the worst cold while there and I feel bad because I’m totally the one who got Berkeley sick. I couldn’t help it because I had to blow my nose all day long, including while I was feeding him. I think if he had been breastfeeding instead of getting formula, he might have escaped getting sick. He was such a little trooper though, even when he was a snotty, congested mess. He got this nasty cough and runny nose but all through it he was still in a good mood! I should be very thankful and hope that this means he’s a very easygoing baby (now that he got his 2 months of colic out of the way). He did have a little more trouble sleeping though so I’m definitely feeling exhausted right now. I’m crossing my fingers because last night he seemed to have slept a little better.

Also now that I’m back at work, we’re figuring out the best way to do a morning routine. The problem is that he fusses in the morning so I put him in bed with me so we can both get a extra couple hours of sleep…but now I have to get up early to start getting ready for work and it’s hard not to wake him up by mistake. He stays asleep when I get out of bed but is up within 5 min since he doesn’t feel me next to him anymore. I’m not sure how to solve this. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. As of last night he slept the second half of his night (after his feeding) without fussing! I felt much better rested in the morning.

Santa Berk ~ ElephantEats.com

 

Pasta with Sausage and Chickpeas
A healthy and quick weeknight meal
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Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 1 medium onion, chopped
  3. 1 pound fresh hot Italian sausage, casings removed (can use turkey sausage)
  4. 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  5. 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  6. 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
  7. 16 ounces small dried pasta (such as malloreddus or orecchiette)
  8. Kosher salt
  9. 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)
  10. Finely grated Parmesan and lemon zest (for serving)
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Add sausage and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until browned and cooked through, 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add tomato paste to skillet and cook, stirring, until paste darkens, about 1 minute. Add broth; bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened, 15-20 minutes. Add chickpeas and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.
  4. Add pasta and 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid to sauce. Cook, stirring and adding more cooking liquid as needed, until sauce thickens and coats pasta, about 3 minutes.
  5. Serve pasta topped with parsley, if using, Parmesan, and lemon zest.
Adapted from Bon Appetit
Adapted from Bon Appetit
http://elephanteats.com/
08. December 2014 · 28 comments · Categories: Berkeley, life · Tags: ,

Berkeley 3 month ~ ElephantEats.com

Wow, it’s been a long time since I posted, huh? Having a colicky newborn makes free time nonexistent. Sorry, no recipe yet, but I did manage to actually cook a meal this weekend for the first time since Berkeley was born. It wasn’t a winning recipe and was kind of ugly anyway, so you’re not missing much. Oh, and due to Berkeley’s possible food sensitivities, I’m off of dairy and soy…so basically my meals suck. Poor Nate having to deal with it. I had cooked a bunch of freezer meals while pregnant and they had cheese in them! So annoying. But Nate got to enjoy them at least… 

Berkeley 2 month ~ ElephantEats.com

Berkeley’s 2 month shot since I didn’t get to post it yet…all dressed up for Halloween!

Berkeley hasn’t been the easiest baby, but he just passed the 3 month mark and I think things are gradually improving. For about 1.5 months straight, he cried ALL day long. I was literally at my wit’s end. It’s so hard to have your baby crying and not be able to do anything :( The only good thing about all that crying is that I literally had no time to do anything, including eat, so that pregnancy weight dropped right off…and then some.

Now at 14 weeks, he’s becoming a little person, and it’s so so exciting to see! He smiles ALL DAY LONG. And guys, not that I’m biased or anything, but he’s seriously cute. His smile will melt your heart. He knows he’s cute, too, and uses his smile to manipulate you. Sometimes he’ll be napping and he’ll cry so I go to check on him and then second I try to put the pacifier back in his mouth he flashes a big grin. 

Autumn in the backyard ~ ElephantEats.com

Speaking of napping, that’s really his main issue now. He must have sleep cycles of 30 min because that’s pretty much how long his naps are. I can usually get him to sleep longer if I take him out of his crib and hold him…good for his sleep but bad for me getting anything done.

Autumn in the backyard with Papa ~ ElephantEats.com

He’s also been cooing a ton and it’s adorable. I wonder what he’s trying to tell us…

We took a bunch of family portraits. 

Family Portrait ~ Elephant Eats.com

 This one was for Thanksgiving- LC tried to steal the spotlight:

Thanksgiving 2014 Family Portrait ~ ElephantEats.com

And the latest development is that as of Monday, I’m officially back to work :( Well, I get to work from home during December but I’ll be in the office come January. We have a nanny who just started and she’s been great, so that’s comforting. 

Thanksgiving 2014 ~ ElephantEats.com

But what I really want to share is this video Nate made in honor of Berkeley’s arrival. It’s so perfect and is a great way to remember my pregnancy and birth. I’ve already watched it like 1000 times and I tear up every time :)

 

Sorry in advance for this rather wordy post. I’m writing this mainly so I have something to look back on and remember how it all went down. Feel free to skip this post if you’re not interested!…but seriously, you should at least scroll through the pictures ;)

Berkeley 1 week ~ ElephantEats.com

I apologize for my lengthy time off from the blog. To say I’ve been overwhelmed with my little bundle of joy would be an understatement, as he’s now almost 5 weeks old (!). I’ll write another post soon on how life with a newborn has been and talk about my favorite baby products, but in the meantime I’ll share my adorable son’s birth story…mainly for my own records but also for those that are interested :) I always love reading these on other blogs. 

Berkeley 1 month ~ ElephantEats.com

On Monday August 25th, I went in for my 38 week appointment at my OB/GYN. I was hoping that this time the doc would say I had “dropped” since I hadn’t yet at my 37 week. The doc examined me and said that my cervix was still really high and the baby hadn’t dropped yet. She also expressed a small concern that perhaps his head was coming down at a weird angle or was too big for my pelvis, since it was unusual for first-time moms to not have dropped by 2-3 weeks before the baby was due.

IMG_9217

I went home assuming this baby would be coming late and that I would need a c-section. I did a lot of research on when babies drop and found that there were plenty of first-time moms that didn’t drop until they went into labor. I stopped worrying and just tried to get through my days. I was feeling huge and taking naps at around 2pm daily for 1-2 hrs.

Tuesday and Wednesday went by normally. Then Thursday I woke up at around midnight with MAJOR back pain. It was similar to the pain I had when I went to hospital several weeks before, but it felt even worse. I tried getting up to go to the bathroom and could barely make it back to bed. I laid in bed moaning and wimpering for about an hour, hoping Nate would wake up but at the same time not wanting to wake him up. He had a follow-up doc appointment in the morning (for his kidney stones) that I was supposed to bring him to before work, and I was wondering how I’d get there feeling the way I was. 

Finally at around 1:30am, I woke Nate up telling him I was in extreme pain but didn’t think it was labor. I wasn’t having any contractions other than the occassional Braxton-Hicks that I had been having my whole third trimester. He got up with me and we went to the hospital’s PET unit were they admitted me fairly quickly. After a lot of waiting (during which time I was moaning loudly in pain), a doc finally came in to see me. She did an internal check and said I was 1 cm dilated but that my cervix was still really high. They said the back pain was probably from the way the baby was positioned and that I was in pre-labor but that it could still be a week or more til the baby came. 

This was obviously taken post-epidural

This was obviously taken post-epidural

At this point, it was approaching 5am and Nate had to get to his doc appointment at 7:30 and then go off to work, so I told him he might as well leave me there and go home. I checked in with my aunt who lives locally, to make sure she’d be able to come pick me up later in the day when they discharged me. Poor Nate went to his appointment and then had to go to work on about 2 hours of sleep!

In the meantime, I was in so much pain I kept throwing up. They asked me if I wanted to go home or if I wanted to be admitted for a “Morphine rest,” where they’d basically give me pain meds and allow me to sleep. I was in so much pain that I chose that option. I was able to rest semi-comfortably and drift in and out of sleep til the morphine wore off around noon. They checked me again and said I was still 1cm dilated so I definitely wasn’t in active labor, but that my heart rate was too low for them to give me more morphine. They gave me a mega dose of tylenol thru an IV and let me sleep a little longer.

Finally the pain seemed to have subsided around 4-5pm and they said they would discharge me. They told me to come back if my water broke, I started bleeding, or I had regular contractions.  I called my aunt to come get me, and they finally gave me some juice, water and crackers since I had not eaten and drank anything the whole day. My aunt picked me up around 6 and after about 30 seconds in the car she had to pull over so I could throw up again…unfortunately everything I had just eaten. We got home and I tried to drink some gatorade to hydrate and then to take a nap but really had no appetite. 

IMG_9220

I got about 10 min of rest and then around 6:45 pm I noticed I was having regular, semi-painful contractions. I started timing them and they were ranging from 5-8 min apart. At this point, Nate had gotten home but my aunt was still with me. Nate was essentially a zombie since he’d gotten so little sleep, so I told him to nap since if I was actually in labor I would need him awake later. I called the doctor’s answering service and the doctor on call told me that I shouldn’t go to the hospital until the contractions were 4 minutes apart for 2 hours.

I then called my Doula since she was supposed to be with me at home during the beginning stages of labor and then would go to the hospital with me. After leaving her two voicemails, she finally called me back and told me that she was on vacation down in Baltimore since I wasn’t due for 10 more days. She called her backup doula, who I’d never met, and she called me within 30 min. She was very sweet and after having to pause to moan through the pain of my contractions, she said she could hear that I was definitely in labor. At this point it was around 9pm and my contractions still varied from 3 min to about 6 min. She told me to check back in at 10pm and we’d decide if she should head over to my house (she lived about 30 min away).

I called her back at 10 and by the sound my contractions she decided she should head over immediately. Oh yeah, and did I mention we hadn’t gotten around to packing my hospital bag yet since we were going to do it that weekend?! Nate and my aunt threw some stuff together in a bag at my direction. About 30 min later the doula still wasn’t at my house and she called to say there was major traffic on the highway. I had another contraction while on the phone with her and she said that it sounded like I should go to the hospital immediately and she would meet me there instead of at my house. My aunt and I decided to let Nate keep sleeping since we assumed it would be a while til the baby arrived, so she drove me to the hospital.

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I hobbled through the hospital entrance while my aunt parked and they immediately got me a wheelchair and brought me up to the PET unit. They admitted me again and within a couple minutes of getting there, the backup doula, Miriam, arrived as well. Coincidentally, the doctor from my visit that morning was back on shift and saw me again. She checked me out and said I was 2-3 cm dilated. At this point I was in MAJOR pain. Every contraction had me screaming and moaning- I had no idea I would be so loud! Miriam massaged my back through them. We decided it would be best if I tried to take a walk down the hall. We walked for about 10-15 min with me pausing to moan…ok, more like scream…and have Miriam massage my back with each contraction. I couldn’t take it any longer and got back in bed. Miriam had me get on all fours on the bed every time a contraction came.

A couple hours later the doc came in to check me and said I was at 3 cm. She asked me about my birthing plan and if I had thought I’d get an epidural. I told her that I really wanted to try for a natural delivery. She told me that if I didn’t get an epidural, they’d have to send me home because I wasn’t progressing enough to be admitted. The doula was furious (I was in NO SHAPE to get back in a car and go home), so she begged the doc to give me another hour to progress. The doc said that everytime I got on my hands and knees, the machine couldn’t measure my contraction, so she told Miriam to time them so she’d know how far apart they were.

Finally an hour passed, and then I stalled them a little more by going to the bathroom, and finally the doc came back to check me. Miriam told her my contractions were every 3 min now, and when the doc checked, I was at 4 cm. She agreed to admit me! THANK GOD.

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At this point we thought it would be a good idea to call Nate to come to the hospital. I think it was around 3 am. He had gotten at least a little bit of sleep. They wheeled me over to the labor and delivery room since I couldn’t even walk at this point. I remember getting a contraction right when they wanted me to get off one bed and onto the other and I couldn’t do it because I had to get through the contraction. From my memory, the nurses were annoyed. Immediately after that contraction, I started throwing up again- remember again that I hadn’t eaten or drank at all in over 24 hours now. At this point I decided I wanted an epidural. It wasn’t originally something I wanted to do, mainly because I’m allergic to all kinds of things and it scared me that I’d have some horrible reaction. Miriam told me that most women don’t start labor with the amount of pain I seemed to be having, and that I should get an epidural if I wanted one. She said she had one with her first child as well. 

The anesthesiologist came in right about the same time that Nate arrived. Nate heard me going through one of my contractions and apparently felt so bad for me. They made everyone leave the room while the anesthesiologist gave me the epidural. He told me it would kick in in about 20 min. Everyone came back in the room and I laid back in bed. For the next 20ish minutes I felt my contractions but they weren’t as bad as before. Finally, I could barely feel them…or my legs. WHAT a relief! Getting that epidural was the best decision I’ve ever made, hands down. 

I was finally able to lay back and enjoy what was about to happen. Nate, Miriam and I chatted on and off for several hours. At this point it was around 5am and Miriam told me that she had been talking with the other doula, Chana, because she had to leave to meet with a patient at 9am (she’s also a nurse). Chana was going to drive up from Baltimore and switch places with her. Miriam was so nice, and by this point we had really bonded with her. She was very sad she was going to miss the actual birth.

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The doctor checked me a couple times and I got to around 7 cm. It was at that point that I stalled a bit. She decided to give me pitocin to make my contractions a little more productive since I wasn’t making much progress on my own. She said I shouldn’t feel it since I was on the epidural.

Chana arrived and Miriam left. I was definitely feeling the contractions more, since they were stronger, even with the epidural. The epidural had a little button that you could press to admisiter more medicine to yourself (it wouldn’t let you go past a certain point though). Chana encouraged me to press the button to relieve the discomfort since that was, afterall, why I had gotten the epidural. 

The doc came back and checked me around 11:30am Friday morning and said I was fully dilated and ready to push. It was at this point that my OB/GYN came in. I chatted with her for a bit and told her I’d really like her to wait to cut the umbilical cord until it stopped pulsing, because I had read it was much better for the baby (they get all kinds of nutrients). She said that would be fine.

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Around 11:55am I started pushing. Pushing was definitely an odd sensation since I really couldn’t feel anything due to the epidural. The nurses, doula and doctor all said I was doing really great, which was encouraging. They said they could see his head. I didn’t think I’d want to see what was going on, but when it actually came time for it, I asked them for a mirror so I could see my progress. It was really cool to see his head crowning and made me want to get him out of there so badly!

Finally I pushed enough that his head came out. The doc told me to stop pushing and that the cord was wrapped around his neck. She told me she’d have to cut it asap and made sure it was ok with me since I had requested before that they wait to do it. Obviously I let her since I was worried the baby couldn’t breathe. She cut the cord and had me push a little more and less than an hour after I started pushing, at 12:47 pm, out he came! He was 7 lbs 5 oz and 19 3/4 inches long :)

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They put him on my chest but his face was blue and he wasn’t crying so they whisked him over to the warming table where a bunch of nurses swarmed around him. He still hadn’t cried, and Nate and I started freaking out but the doc assured us that this was common. The nurses sucked a ton of fluid out of his mouth and nose and finally, we heard the tiniest of cries. We were SO relieved. They kept him over there for some time to get him pink and check him out, at which point he peed all over everyone :)

After he was doing well, they brought him over to me and I got to put him on my skin. He was the cutest baby ever! Nate and I couldn’t stop staring at him…

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I honestly can’t believe it’s been a whole month since I gave birth to Berkeley. We’ve had a baby nurse this whole time who just finally left on Thursday. I still don’t really feel like a mom yet. I think it’s because the only time I really get to spend with him is when I’m breastfeeding and then he goes right back to sleep- well, at least he used to. Several days ago he entered a fussy stage and we’re not sure if it’s colic, reflux or something else, but that’s a story for another day…