In celebration of Ellie’s two month birthday we took some time to get some family photos. She is such a joy and we still cannot believe how lucky we are.
Happy two months, sweet Ellie-Bean.
Today marks 19 days since our baby girl entered the world and, as everyone says, life looks so much different on this side of the belly. As we head into our third week of parenthood, I can admit, that we do not have it all down. Everything is so much more than we expected, from the number of diapers, to how difficult and demanding breastfeeding would be. But as every parent knows, it just takes one smile, one hand hold, one cuddle in the middle of the night to make it all so worth it.
So let’s go back a few days to Wednesday, August 27th, 9am EDT in Daytona Beach, FL. After a nice four hour sleep and some real breakfast, the Pitocin was once again started and my sweet husband came to take my mother home as she had stayed with me overnight. Assured that it would be hours until we saw any action, they took off to prepare and I settled in for a day of labor. By noon, my contractions were increasing slightly, but not to the extent they had the previous night. When we reached the limit of the Pitocin drip and I was still only about 1.5 to 2 cm dilated, my nurse asked if she could try something. I believe it was called “stripping the membranes”. All I know was that it hurt terribly, but with my desperation to get things going, I was willing for them to do anything. By the time she was done we had achieved 2 cm. A few hours later, my husband and mother were back in the room, my contractions were still bearable and the nurse wanted to work on the “membranes” some more. We achieved 3cm, but at that rate, it would take days.
By the afternoon, the decision was made to break my waters, but even after that, despite an up tic in the pain, no progress was being made. After sitting on the labor ball for a while, the nurse suggested I get the epidural since it was taking 30 minutes to get one. Anyone that has ever had one of these knows the euphoric state you enter. I went to zero pain, which allowed the nurse to work my membranes again, but alas, no progress. At 8pm when my doctor arrived, after countless times of moving me side to side, my blood pressure dropping slightly and again, no progress, the decision was made. C-section time!
Within less than 40 minutes, David and I were prepped and I was on my way to the operating room. As the nurse wheeled me down, I became overwhelmed. This was it, the moment was here, my daughter was going to be born. Due to my excitement, and of course drugs, the operating room was a place of celebration and the nurses and I laughed as we prepared. I will never forget those amazing women. They held my hands, cried with me, laughed with me and we bonded in the moments before she arrived.
As for the C-section itself, it was much more painful than I had expected, and my sweet husband just walked me through it as well as the nurses who whispered everything to me until we heard those sweet cries. All I can remember is looking over to see my husband’s face as he peered at our little girl. I will never forget that look of true love, of pride, of overwhelming happiness.
Later in recovery, my baby girl, unbathed as requested for skin to skin, was brought to me. Within minutes she found her way to my breast and began to suckle and with that, a mother was also born.
The details of the next few days was a blur. We were released a day early since we were both doing so well and I found myself home. By day four, I was a swelled up mess due to the Pitocin and epidural and was hardly able to walk (notice my lovely attire including compression stockings). Nursing was hit or miss, and I cried at every drop of the hat. But the first time I saw her sweet smile and every time since that she cuddles into me, has made it one more day that we count down, one more day in the “parenthood”.
So now we are a family, and like all families, we haven’t quite worked it out, but together we are learning. Together, we are taking on each new day, reveling in her ever evolving personality, and loving her more than I ever thought possible.
And so here ends the journey to baby McFee and begins a new journey. Please join me in our new blog, “Ellie’s Editorial”. She and I will share our adventures, our ups and downs, some laughs and probably even some tears. Thank you for coming along with me the last nine months, for being my virtual support network, for allowing me to share. Now Ellie’s adventure begins.
Yesterday morning I woke up and things just felt different. I really did not feel well with some heavy nausea and tight breathing. Thankfully we had a doctor’s appointment and so my mother and I headed off wondering what the day might hold. At my mom’s suggestion, we loaded the suitcase in the car just in case.
With our arrival at the doctor and after some confusion since my appointment was not in the system, we finally had our moment. Unfortunately, I had not made any progress since the week before when I was 1cm/50% effaced. We sat and discussed options and I Finally settled on an elective induction to be scheduled for Thursday night with a baby hopefully on Friday. Before we left, the doctor decided to monitor little one for a few minutes. Unfortunately, she was not very active, leaving her heart rate constant and what they considered “flat lining”. (But no worries, it’s not as serious as it sounds.)
The next step was an ultrasound after which it was determined that my fluid was low and the placenta may not be performing well. From there we were off to the hospital and the excitement that it was time to bring her into the world started to sink in.
As we entered the hospital, my heart began to race and by the time we were settled and hooked up, I began to have an out of body experience. Papers were signed, processes explained, and then I saw it. The empty bassinet. That was all that it took, I was now ready. Within the next few hours, she and I both went back to normal activity, the first medicine was given at 3pm, and then we waited. By 9pm, I had made some progress to start stage two, and the pitocin was administered.
Needing some rest, my sweet husband went home and mom and I settled in for the night. By midnight, the contractions were starting to pick up intensity, but upon checking no further progress had been made. So we pushed pause on everything, they gave me a sleeping pill, and I drifted off to a blissful sleep for about 4 hours.
And so here we are on our way again. They allowed me some real food after broth and jello the night before (however I wasn’t complaining). I sent my mom and husband home, caught another quick nap and now at 9 am, with the pitocin dosages being slowly increased, I am starting to feel a little pressure and just hope we make some progress by lunch.
At the end of the day, the “how” she gets here does not matter. It’s just that she ends up in my arms and I know that forever she is mine.
So let’s get this pain going.
Baby girl, today you are getting your eviction notice.
It’s getting to be about that time. With only six weeks left, there is an air around our household that our newest resident will soon be moving in. The days are flying by, and I cannot believe that we are nearing the end of this amazing journey.
As with anything, preparation is key to success and the other week we attended sessions at the hospital to see what we could learn about what is ahead. We started with a breastfeeding class, and yes I say we. The class was to be a four hour look at breastfeeding, which I must admit made me wonder, “what could we talk about for four hours?”. Now I know that breastfeeding is not always easy and it can sometimes be something that mom and baby have to work to get the hang of, but four hours? I was pleasantly surprised by what I learned in the first 15 minutes of the course and before I knew it we had ended (and no it did not last 4 hours). I soaked in all of the information and came out even more passionate about sharing this special time with our girl. And now my husband knows more than he probably ever needed to know as well.
A few days later, we were back at the hospital for our all day childbirth class. Again, I was not sure what to expect from a 6 hour course, but soon found a wealth of information, samples and other goodies poured into our heads and arms. Although I entered the class with the knowledge of years of friends having babies, there was so much more I was not aware of. From the stages of labor, to the breathing techniques, it was a great way to learn how to prepare for not only giving birth, but what to be doing now. What I am most excited about at this stage is that I still remain calm about the process of bringing baby girl into the world. I am also mentally preparing myself that anything could happen, from how long labor could last to having a cesarean section, I know anything is a possibility. But I am confident in the staff at the hospital, the procedures, facilities and support. And yes, I’m preparing my playlist, bringing my own comfy pillow, and determining what else I will find soothing to have in the room.
And the last phase was completed today, that of packing the hospital bags. I spent the past few weeks reading other blogs and checking the baby boards for pointers. At the end of day, I selected a few comfortable options along with some fun slippers and closed the bag. My favorite part was packing the diaper bag with baby girl’s clothes. At this point, we are not certain what size she will be, so of course, I had to select a few different outfits. It was wonderful to share this experience with my sweet husband, searching through her drawers and closet, finding what we will bring our baby girl home in. As I zipped the bag shut and placed it by the suitcase I suddenly became overwhelmed, for the next time I will be in that bag, she will be here.
With less than six weeks to go, I am rushing to finish last minute preparations (mostly associated with work), but not forgetting the importance of this point in our lives. Therefore, we paused for a few moments the other day to pose together and capture our happiness in photos (view our McFee maternity shoot). Fortunately, I have a built in photographer in my husband and the results were tremendous.
For 8 months we have prepared and captured each phase and now in approximately 40 days our wait will be over. For now, I am enjoying baby girl’s heavy activity in the belly and dreaming of her every night. T-minus…not long now!
Here I document the stages of baby girl and I’s journey together. I have so enjoyed watching the miracle of my baby bump grow. It has been such a joy and honor to provide a safe home for our little girl to start her life.
Saturday, July 26th my sweet husband and I had a maternity shoot with my favorite photographer, him.
Hello week 31, and hello big belly. For everyone wondering when the belly was going to catch up with me, we have reached the day. At 31 weeks, I have gained between 22 to 23 pounds and my belly is measuring 33cm as of my last check-up.
Baby girl continues to lay across my belly with her head on the right and bottom on the left. I keep trying to convince her to move up into what we are calling the penthouse, since I’m so long wasted, but she continues to remain low, every now and then stretching her legs into the upper reaches of my tummy and wiggling her body around before settling back into her comfort zone.
I love nothing more than feeling her move, twist, roll and wiggle her feet. I try to keep up with her pattern to see if I can understand when she sleeps, and a few weeks ago I thought we almost had her figured out, but of course, she is already her own little person. She is very active, but still stops when I am speaking and has decided she only likes the touch of my hand. I am sad for my family and friends that want so desperately to feel her lovely bumps, but she somehow knows it’s not my touch and always stops moving when they place their hand on my belly. I say she is just saving it up for when she’s on the outside.
Every day is still amazing. I look at myself in the mirror and cannot believe that it is really me. When you hope and dream for something for so long, reality is often so hard to take in. I am very blessed that this reality is so much better than I ever imagined. While I must admit that I do have a funny shaped belly, which is long and flat in the middle, I am still fascinated by it. When I sit and watch my belly twitch and jump, I cannot believe that those waves of movement are my baby girl.
My sweet husband keeps catching me sitting with her things. I enjoy staring into her crib, imagining what it will look like with her in it. I stand in front of her closet and lovingly touch her clothes, wondering what she will look like and how big she will be. I play with the few toys we have purchased, listening to the lullaby of her mobile and shaking one of her rattles. I know she is coming. I know soon she will be here, but some days it’s just too wonderful to imagine. I need someone to pinch me and remind me this dream is coming true…and about that time she moves and I cannot help but smile.
As everyone has said, the third trimester is so different. With a bigger belly, chairs are becoming more of an obstacle and my evening walks are a bit more difficult since she is sitting so low. I wake every hour in the night to either shift sides, have a bathroom break, or even respond to her kicking. But I rise each morning so grateful. My pregnancy is such a gift and every day is one more day with my little one, supporting her and sustaining her.
And with every step that some days is an actual wobble, I just smile and laugh. It’s all part of the most amazing process I have ever witnessed. It’s all steps along a magical path. A path leading me to my happy ending. So wobble on, pregnant lady…wobble on.
At week 29, our house is beginning to look a lot like a baby is coming. Pink, pink and more pink. Some may say I’ve become a “pinkaholic”, but all I see is scrumptious places and things to welcome our baby girl home to.
Over the past few weeks while my sweet husband has been catching up with family in the UK, my mother and I have been working to prepare our home to welcome our third resident. The nesting process has been so wonderful, and I am very thankful to my mama for taking on putting together items, washing and integrating our little girl into our world.
As part of the process of making ready for baby, I was very blessed to have some of my dear “sisters” in Atlanta offer to host a baby shower for me. This was such an emotional celebration, as I had figured it was one thing I would never experience. So throughout the day the tears were mixed with laughter as my heart was overwhelmed by the love I was surrounded with. I savored every moment, from the flowers to the games, to the well wishes for sweet Elise. This was a day that will forever be ingrained in my heart as one of my favorites.
And so, every day we get one step closer as we are now in the 75 day countdown. My baby bump has definitely become a belly, and I have now gained almost 20 pounds. But I continue to be blessed with great health and my only mobility limitation is getting out of chairs. I will admit that I am slowing down a bit and am more tired than throughout the other two trimesters, but as always, there are no complaints from this baby mama.
As we enter the final stages, we have registered for our 6 hour parenting class, 4 hour breastfeeding class, and planning to add baby CPR. But after helping mama put the stroller together the other day, I am now wishing they taught a class on putting the baby in the car seat. Up until this point, I was not overwhelmed with baby’s impending arrival. But after practicing with a Minnie Mouse plush, I realized that this was not as easy as it looked. Poor Minnie may be put through it over the next few weeks as I practice, but we all have to do our part.
And as I make updates to my ever expanding Baby McFee Excel spreadsheet, I am filled with joy. Not just at the deals I have gotten on almost every purchase (it’s all about the coupons), but at the progress we have made. As I enter the last few weeks of being a house of two, I am calm and as always taking every moment in. For soon enough she will be here, soon enough I’ll be putting her in her crib and wrapping her in sweet blankets. For now, I’ll welcome her daddy home and together we will wrap-up the last fourteen years of being a couple and prepare for our dream of being a family.
For over 10 years I have been a road warrior. For weeks each year, I have joined my fellow travelers as we have trudged through airports, dealt with sometimes smelly rental cars, slept in more hotel rooms than should be allowed, and drifted in an out of cities without so much as a look.
Over the years I began collecting frequent traveler cards like they were part of a series featured in bubble gum wrappers. Many people may remember a scene out of the movie Up in the Air with George Clooney where the two main characters laid out all of their cards, comparing perks and discussing whom they felt was the best. Yes, that was me. If you were to ask me now, I could tell you about most hotel chains, which points get you the most perks, and what hotels are the best in most major cities.
But of course with most things in my life, I soon began to realize that all of that travel was a huge opportunity. Not just to experience the people and places of North America that I encountered, but a way for my husband and I to share some amazing experiences. After a few years of slipping in an out of cities having only seen the hotel and board room, I finally grasped hold of the concept that I was missing out and made a shift. If at all possible, I flew in a few hours early or stayed overnight, slowing down which provided me more rest and the opportunity to see or do at least one thing in the city I was visiting. My hubby and I began cashing in those points, flying him in for a weekend or taking a well deserved vacation, all with the goal to check some items off our travel bucket list.
And so over the years, we have been quite fortunate. Despite what some people may think from my blogs and social media posts, we have ventured beyond Disney. From Las Vegas to New York to Europe, we have been able to experience such great wonders as the Grand Canyon, the Eiffel Tower, and walking the Golden Gate Bridge.
But this year, a change is on the horizon. For the first time in ten years, the beginning of a new year will dawn and I will not have one frequent traveler status. My days of first class upgrades, concierge lounges and free luggage check will all disappear. And I couldn’t be happier.
I will trade in my VIP traveler status for a new title that I have always dreamed of, the one of “mother”. Due to our journey with IVF and our need to be sensitive to what it took to get me here, my travel has been limited, keeping me close to the wonderful medical professionals that helped us achieve this soon to be goal. Due to strategic planning at work last year, I have hired and trained a fabulous team and am utilizing more virtual means of being in several places in one week making it possible for me to maintain a high level position without countless plane travel. Now my ever faithful travel accessories are being used to support my back and feet at home versus on an airplane.
And so what is in store for this road warrior once motherhood becomes the most important title every achieved? Integrating all sides of my life just as every mother does. While I know my pace and perspective will be changed, I also know that as my daughter grows, my husband and I will pack her little suitcase and teach her through experience what an amazing world we live in. After all, she will be the one with three passports thanks to her father, leaving me behind in the immigration line as she steps out into an amazing world. And I cannot wait!
We have made it to twenty-six weeks in the pregnancy, with only 14 weeks left, and I am finally making progress on determining what we will need to welcome baby girl. I understand now why I had been delaying this process. While fun, I was not prepared for all of the choices that would be available for every item I knew we would have to purchase.
Let me first recap my progress to date with the pregnancy. At twenty-six weeks, I am proud to say I have gained fifteen pounds, have been able to continue my mile walks regularly, and am still moving around pretty well. The baby bump has definitely been coming in, and I feel baby girl’s kicks and movements regularly. While I have not been able to determine a pattern to her activity (probably because I do not have a set schedule myself), I have noticed some reactions recently that continue to make me laugh out loud.
During my mid-pregnancy dental cleaning, the tech and I both couldn’t help but giggle as baby girl reacted to the micro-ultrasonic scaler machine (the scraper). Every time it was turned on, she would kick and thrash and as soon as it turned off she would stop. We barely got through the cleaning with the distraction. I have also noticed that she remains perfectly still whenever I speak. While I try to tell myself that she is just listening and loving my voice, I more often imagine her in there with her little hands over her ears waiting and wondering when “that annoying noise” will stop.
All of this is just a wonderful reminder of the little life that is growing and making her presence known, and keeps me focused on ensuring that we will have what we need when she arrives.
Getting back to the discussion of the purchases, besides the normal decisions based on safety, customer feedback and price, I have added an extra element of difficulty by wanting to add earth friendly and all natural to our decision. While I thought this would limit our choices to very few, I have been both pleased and surprised to find countless offerings available. So as a planner, I started building an excel spreadsheet to assist us in the process. What I have since come to find is that, like many decisions that I have made in the past, in the end I will probably go with my gut feeling. I just hope these gut feelings work out as well as those others have.
A few days ago, I made my first purchase on Zulily after days of researching my alternative diaper choices. I was so excited I felt like shouting from the rooftop…a decision and purchase had been made.
Another decision I never contemplated as being difficult was that of where to register. Weighing our need for something virtual, with benefits and accessibility to us since we have very little nearby, I finally settled on Babies R Us. While this is not an endorsement as we are still in process, so far I have been happy with the online system, the in-store support and the perks, such as price match.
At the end of the day, I am trying to keep everything in perspective. I can get caught up in what I want for baby girl versus the immediate necessities, but I’m sure we can all agree, that a baby closet organizer system is a necessity. Well at least to someone that loves to organize.
And so we continue on our journey with fourteen more weeks ahead. More milestones and purchases to make, and more lessons to be learned. Together, the three of us will navigate our path and learn together. And if she doesn’t like the bottle nipples I selected – well then, there are always more choices on the shelf.
Today was Mother’s Day and I cannot believe what has happened since this time last year.
In 2013, David met me in SoCal, and we spent the day in Disneyland. I had just started a new health regime, losing about 8 pounds, and was on a west coast city tour for work. This year, we spent the day in Walt Disney World, I’m 23 weeks/2 days pregnant, have gained 12 pounds, and just returned from my only work plane travel of the year.
Last year I would never have imagined I would be waking up to baby kicks each morning; staring at my ever changing belly every day; and eating sweet treats without guilt. As I have said since the beginning, my life is so blessed and I am living the most amazing dream.
Even though I am not technically a mother yet, I feel the love and protective nature over my sweet bundle that I can only imagine a mother understands. I try so hard to balance what I eat, get in my walking and ensure I’m feeling lots of kicks each day. I am learning more about our baby girl as I understand what she responds to, such as drinking ice cold water to get her to kick. It’s all still so unbelievable.
So this Mother’s Day I was fortunate enough to kick off the weekend with my own dear mama in Chicago where she gave me a gorgeous pink sapphire ring to commemorate my “soon to be a mom” day. And today I was rewarded when my husband finally felt our little girl kick for the first time. Two special memories that will make Mother’s Day 2014 a weekend I will never forget.
And to think this is only the beginning of our adventure with our sweet little one. But for now, I sit here loving her kicks and flips. Talking about everything going on so much that I know my family may be over it by the time she arrives. And enjoying each and every special moment.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of my friends. As I always say, no matter if you mother a child directly or indirectly, a fur baby, or an angel, you are all special to the world and have impacted me in so many ways. And I cannot wait to welcome sweet Elise to our community of amazing women.