Friday, April 30, 2010

A Dreamy Morning

It's been a long four day week around here.  Sunday night the little nugget slept for nine hours straight, but Tuesday night, well Tuesday night was the night from HELL!  I went to put Sylvia to bed after feeding her at 9:30 and she FLIPPED OUT!  She was squirmy and fussy and screaming and crying and it went on and on and onandonandonandonandon!  I tried everything to calm her down and nothing worked for more than two or three minutes, so by 12:30 she was crying and I was crying and it was terrible.  I was convinced that I was a terrible mother because I couldn't take care of my own child and watching her scream and fuss was breaking my heart!  After much trial and error, I figured out that she was only happy when she was kept upright, so I sat with her in my lap on the couch and we both finally fell asleep around 2:00.  The whole time I assumed she was fussy because of the glass of wine I had with dinner, but when I looked into it, I found out that broccoli can really upset breastfed babies as well.  We eat broccoli at least twice a week and we had it on Tuesday night, so when I discovered that piece of information, I was very relieved.  I was much more careful about what I ate on Wednesday and Thursday and it totally did the trick, she's been back to her normal self - thank goodness!  No more broccoli or wine for me!

Today is Oaks Day, the big race before the Big Race tomorrow - The Kentucky Derby!  Turns out schools in our area are off for Oaks Day because the district is smart enough to know that no one would come to school today anyway.  Since Sylvain was home this morning, I handed over Sylvia when she was done eating.  He was watching TV on the couch and I really wanted to eat breakfast without holding a baby - what a treat!  He wrapped her in the blanket he was using to get cozy and what transpired was the sweetest snuggle moment in Fasciotto history...

And snuggle time quickly turned into...

Nap Time!!

Stay tuned for Derby Weekend Festivities!

Monday, April 26, 2010


We took baby Sylvia to my hometown last weekend to meet the family, and I have a LOT of family!  To make things a little easier on the wee one, we announced our arrival and told everyone that if they wanted to see her, they had to come to us.  Mom had a cookout on Saturday night and Dad had some folks over for lunch on Sunday.  Everyone, of course, was madly in love with Sylvia.  Sylvain and I didn't get a chance to hold her for HOURS, and it was kind of nice!  For a whole evening and afternoon I never had to worry about where she was or who was with her.  She was with family and I knew she was in good hands!  Being the terrible mother that I am, I didn't take ANY pictures, but Mom took a few and they are just precious:

This is my stepbrother's son, Charlie.  He is nine months old (we call him our "good luck" charm because we found out we were pregnant shortly after he was born)!  As soon as we sat Sylvia next to him he put both hands on her head and tried to eat her. 

Matt and I pose with our babies!  Mom just loves the fact that Jay's boy had a boy and her girl had a girl!  And tell me those aren't two of the happiest babies you've ever seen!

I have no pictures of the gathering at Dad's house, but if I can get my brother to email them to me, I'll post them soon.  My aunt was there with her three girls and they just LOVED holding Sylvia and playing with her.  They're really glad she's a girl!

All in all, it was a wonderful, busy weekend.  Sylvia slept pretty well at Mom's house, but when we got home last night, she slept for NINE HOURS straight!  Girl was worn OUT!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Our Adventures in Breastfeeding

It's day eight for little Sylvia and I have to say, she's really good at being a baby!  We got to stay two nights in the hospital, which was really nice considering I was still quite banged up after the whirlwind delivery and we had a lot of learning to do as far as breastfeeding was concerned.  I was very passionate about nursing this baby no matter what and I had lots of warnings and advice about how hard it would be and how to just stick it out until we both got the hang of it.  I was expecting a difficult and emotional time of it, but it hasn't been too bad, at least not yet. 

The sweet little girl latched on right away, which was a HUGE relief.  I know lots of moms who complained about their babies not latching or latching incorrectly and most of them went to the pump to get things started and never went back.  All I have to say is...good for them, because pumping is one of the weirdest things I've ever seen!  You have to be VERY dedicated to pump all the time if your baby doesn't latch, which I was prepared to do, but thank goodness I won't have to, at least not until I go back to work.  I did pump on days three and four, just to get the good milk flowing, but once it came in and she was able to eat, I didn't have to worry about the pump.  Sylvain says it makes me look like "RoboMom" and my mom says it reminds her of the dairy cows at her grandparents' farm! 

All weirdness aside, though, we did pull out the pump last night to see if the little nugget would take a bottle from her daddy.  She's done so well with latching and waking up to eat every three hours, that we decided it was time to see what else she can do.  I've heard other parents say they waited too long to introduce a bottle because they were afraid of "nipple confusion," but I wasn't too worried about it at this point.  I pumped for fifteen minutes and got four ounces of milk, which looks like a LOT when you think about how small she is.  I was certain she wouldn't drink it all.  Sylvain sat in the glider where I nurse her, laid her back in his arm, and tilted the bottle toward her.  She opened up and went to town on that bottle!  I couldn't believe how easy it was for her!  She sucked down those four ounces in about fifteen minutes and STILL WANTED MORE!  Thirty minutes later I nursed her again and she still ate.  She's definitely a Neltner baby - girl is not afraid to EAT!  (And tell me that picture of a daddy and his little girl isn't just the sweetest thing you've ever seen in your life!  I absolutely melted when she started to eat and he smiled.)

One huge advantage to breastfeeding that I was not anticipating - the emotional release.  I've been VERY weepy these last few days at home, especially the first couple nights.  I get panicky and anxious and scared and sad all at once.  I can feel it coming and I know it has to do with hormones and post partum depression and that it's completely normal, so I try to fight off tears and talk myself into feeling better.  But eventually I just can't stop crying and it takes Sylvain or my mom saying "What's wrong?" for me to let loose and wail about something that's bothering me.  Now, I did not realize this would happen: when I get weepy and sad, I just wait until the baby's next feeding, and when I sit down to nurse her, I can literally feel my body adjusting and going back to normal.  I can feel my muscles relax, and I can feel my brain centering itself, I can just feel all of the tension and anxiety leave my body as I rest my head on the glider and stare at that beautiful little girl just suckling away.  It's the most amazing feeling in the world.  Who knew?

I am so lucky to have the opportunity to practice this art of mothering for four whole months before I go back to work.  Knowing that my only job right now is to provide for our baby brings such a sense of calm and relief, even though it carries a lot of repsonsibility!  Our first trip to the pediatrician confirmed that we are actually doing things right - she gained 3 ounces in the two days she had been home!  Getting outside and getting around are also helping ward off the blues.  We took her to the grocery store after our doctor appointment, we took her on a walk to the library, and today I took her to Target ALL BY MYSELF!  The doctor said she can go anywhere we go, but we probably shouldn't take her to church or to our schools until she's at least six weeks old.  The doctor also said I can drink a glass of wine and it won't hurt her one bit, it actually helps with "let down" which is part of the breastfeeding process where they get the good milk after they've been feeding for a few minutes.  You can bet I was glad to hear that!

So all is well in the world of babies and boobs!  I won't tell you about how many t-shirts I've already ruined with leaky breastmilk or how many sleepers Sylvia has ruined with her gigantic breastmilk poos.  Seriously, the fluids flying around this house are unreal!  I never thought I'd be so excited about it, either.  We get really excited about poo.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Family of Three

We've been home with sweet Sylvia for a few days now, and I have to say, it's a wonderful feeling!  We finally have that little girl we've waited so (im)patiently for.  When we loaded her up in the car at the hospital I mentioned how different it was from our trip to the hospital.  On our way there it was dark, rainy and scary.  On the way home it was warm, sunny and beautiful!  This has been the perfect week for bringing home a baby.  The Dogwoods are blooming, the neighborhood kids are all outside all of the time, the sun has been shining and (call me crazy) but the neightborhood dogs have actually stopped barking all the time!

Mom stayed with us for a few days until we had a handle on the breastfeeding and how to take care of a seven pound child.  She was up with me every time I had to feed Sylvia on the first night, which was almost every two hours because my milk hadn't come in yet and the poor thing was starving!  She made chicken pot pie and two pans of lasagna for us to eat.  She swept the floors and did the dishes and the laundry and spoiled us all rotten for three days until it was time for her to go home.  Luckily, Sylvain took off the rest of this week so that we can practice doing all of those things together before I have to start doing all of them by myself!  As sad as I was to see Mom leave, our first night at home as a family of three was absolutely blissful. 

One thing that chokes me up time after time is watching Sylvain hold and play with our baby girl.  I have never seen him hold a baby before!  I wasn't worried about him being able to take care of our own baby, but I was curious to see what it would be like for him.  Let me tell you something - that little girl had him wrapped around her finger from the minute she entered this world!  When she's all swaddled up and sitting in the corner of his arm, against his big, safe, daddy chest, I absolutely melt.  He is so comfortable with her!  When he takes her from me, he knows exactly what to do with her.  He can change her diapers, change her clothes, put her to sleep - he can do it all (not that I ever thought he couldn't, I'm just so amazed at how naturally it all came to him)!  I could go on and on, but I'll end by saying what I've heard lots of other mothers say before: I never thought it was possible to love my husband more than I already did, but that's exactly what happened when I saw him turn into a father.  I see the two of them, my husband and my daughter, and I realize I'm the luckiest person on the planet.  It doesn't get any better than this.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Look What We Did!

Today was the day, and what a day it has been!  I'm so overwhelmed with gratitude, love and amazement that it will be hard to put it into words just yet.  However, I wanted to blog about our birth story while it was still fresh, so here are the nitty gritty details.

Our plan was to have a natural birth, but I didn't want to go around proclaiming that to the world beforehand because I tend to cry when I stub my toe and I wanted to have complete freedom to say "Okay, I can't do this!  Bring on the epidural, please!" without feeling like a failure.  Turns out there was no time for any of that "I can't do it" nonsense.

We were lying down for bed when I asked Sylvain to rub my back.  Then I had to go to the bathroom about ten times and after each time I needed my back rubbed again.  Finally, around 11:30, we decided there was something to this and we should probably start timing what must be contractions.  They were very sporadic, some were eight minutes apart, some were five, some were three.  Some were 70 seconds long, some were 45, some were 30.  We had absolutely NO IDEA WHAT WE WERE DOING!  So finally, around 1:00 AM we called the hospital.  When we told them how far along I already was, they said we could come in any time we wanted to and I wanted it to be soon!  I was so worried about getting to the hospital too early, but considering I had no idea how to get through those contractions without freaking out, I really wanted to be around some nurses and other professionals.  "But didn't you take childbirth classes?" you ask.  Why, yes we did, and we forgot EVERYTHING.  It came down to me saying "Let's go to the hospital - NOW!" so that's what we did.

The ten minute car ride in the pouring down rain was excrutiating.  I could not make myself relax, I could not get comfortable during contractions, and even thought I knew it was dangerous, I was pleading with Sylvain to drive as fast as he possibly could.  We arrived around 1:30, they took us up to our labor and delivery room and we discovered that I was fully dilated!  We arrived just in the nick of time - yes!  I got the urge to push a little after 2:00 and the midwife and nurses had the room all ready to go.  We collapsed the bed so that it looked like a chair and they hooked up the squat bar.  I sat on the edge of the bed between contractions and when I felt like pushing I just leaned forward, grabbed the squat bar and gave it all I had!  We did that for a while, then changed to the half lying down/half squatting position and that worked really, really well.  So well that she was born at 3:19 AM!  I helped pull her out and put her on my chest, they cleaned her up and we spent two hours together just staring at each other, trying to get her to eat (which she did) and trying to pick our jaws up off the floor while we figured out what in the heck just happened.  She was wide awake, trying to pick up her head, looking right into our eyes and it was beautiful.

Sylvain was amazing.  From the car ride, to the registration desk, to standing by my side while I labored and pushed, he was cool, calm and collected.  There were times where I was freaking out, where I thought "Stop this right now, I can't do it!" and he would say, "Rach, you ARE doing it, just keep going."  The nurses and midwife, Allison were also amazing.  Mom made it down in time to see the last few pushes, and the whole room was full of cheerleaders telling me how well I was doing and that was the biggest motivator of all time. 

And I won't lie to you, people, it HURT.  I have never in all of my life imagined that kind of pain...but at the same time, it didn't hurt.  It was a hurt with a purpose, it was the weirdest, most amazingly empowering feeling in the universe.  When it was all over, I just laid there and thought, "Wow, I could conquer the world right now."  I felt so GOOD.  They gave me a shot, they numbed "the area" and they gave me a Motrin.  I was on top of the world and still am!  After a couple hours they took us down to our recovery room and Sylvain got some sleep.  I laid down and closed my eyes, but certainly didn't sleep a wink.

The little girl is eating (or trying to, at least), she's pooped, she's all wrapped up and sleeping baby!  She is the most precious little wonder and I can't stop staring at her.  Sylvain has already changed her diaper, swaddled her and rocked her to sleep.  I feel like we were meant to do this!  I know we'll run into all kinds of problems when we get home, but for today, we're all okay.

And we did it.  With the help of God, nature and our family.  And I'd do it again, too.  It was amazing.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Lessons Learned

Well, the next time I get pregnant I'm doing (or NOT doing) two things:
1.  I'm not telling anyone my exact due date.
2.  I'm not getting any exams to find out if I'm dilated, and if I do, I'm not telling anyone else about it!  These stupid four - five centimeters can shove it; they're worthless without that hormone that starts contractions!

I have totally jinxed myself and now we're sitting around waiting for a baby to show up four days before her actual due date thinking something must be wrong, when really, everything is just fine!  I certainly don't mind all the attention, but my phone has been ringing off the hook and every time I log onto Facebook there's a message from my mother about how to induce labor and 16 notices from other people about "Why haven't you had that baby yet?"  I know everyone is excited, but I'm starting to feel like a failure!  She'll be here soon enough, people!  Quit freaking out!!

*Deep breaths.*  Okay, I feel better now.  I just have to remember: every day that goes by is just one more day I get to spend with my wonderful husband before she gets here.  Yes, it's one more day closer to the end of Spring Break and if I have to go back to school on Monday I might cry, but I'll do it and we'll be just fine.  Babies are born all the time; I won't be pregnant forever; she'll be here soon.  Soon.  Maybe not today or this week, but she can't stay in there until she's 18 (can she?).

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

Today, Sylvain and I decided to stay home instead of going up to Mom's and Grandma's for Easter like we've done every year.  I'm sad that we won't see our family one more time before the baby comes, but I'm so glad we were able to go to our own church for Easter Mass this morning.  I just wanted to hop on here to post the words of a song we sang this morning that made me cry as I thought about our little one on the way and the purpose of this beautiful day:

We want to thank you, to sing your praises, to learn to call you by your living name.
We long to see you, to feel your presence, to sing your glory in our lives through all our days.

It's like they chose that song for me to sing to Jesus AND our little girl at the same time!  We are so ready for her to get here.  I prayed my little heart out this morning that she would arrive soon. 

Have a beautiful Easter, everyone!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Coming Down the Home Stretch

Get it?  The home "stretch?"  Because my body is stretching in ways I never knew were POSSIBLE.  Here's the update as of our visit to the midwife this afternoon:

Dilation: 4-5 cm
Effacement: 90%
Station: 0 (!!!)
Contractions thus far:  ZERO!  Not a single one.

The hospital bags are by the front door.  I have towels in my car and one in my file cabinet at school just in case my water breaks (heaven help those fourth graders)!  We are one tiny day away from Spring Break and I'm praying we make it through tomorrow!  Granted, I could walk around like this for another two weeks, but I probably won't.  I'm basically just waiting for that hormone to kick in and start contractions.    I have a feeling that since the first 4-5 cm of dilation were this easy, the last 5-6 are going to be...ummm.....exciting!  Yeah, that's it.  Exciting.  At least the weather's been nice lately - perfect timing for a spring baby!