New Baby Lessons: The Three Month Old Edition

I’m learning a lot as a new mom. Oh yes, yes I am. Little nuggets of wisdom which I’ll pass along now for any other mommies-to-be out there. For the moms who already passed this stage, perhaps you can add to my list!

Baby Lessons (The Three Month Edition)

Lesson #1: Sometimes it’s OK to wallow in filth

Babies spit-up. Babies with acid reflux spit-up A LOT. Jane has acid reflux. Sooooo… Mommy and daddy are covered in spit-up… A LOT. At first I was changing my shirt with every slobber but I was doing laundry every. single. day. Multiple times a day. So I gave up. I’ve just decided it’s OK to be a little slovenly.

Lesson #2: Bottles in the dishwasher are a joke

Image Credit: MGN Online

Bottles by hand… Image Credit: MGN Online

Seriously. As a working mommy, pumping full-time for baby now, we go through a lot of bottles. At first, I thought I’d put the caps, nipples, rings and other accessories in those handy baby dishwasher baskets, alongside the bottles. Wrong. lol. It only took a wash or two to notice the bottles, especially the nipples, weren’t getting rinsed clean all the way. I’m not crazy about the idea of Jane drinking soapy residue… so I’ve been washing the bottles by hand ever since. Yes. ALL the bottles. Maybe we need to invest in a high-powered dishwasher?

Lesson #3: If you change baby’s diaper too fast after eating, she WILL poop

15 minute wait time. At least. Otherwise it’s a guarantee that as soon as I swap out a dirty cloth diaper for a fresh one, she’ll have a special delivery for mommy.

Lesson #4: What baby wants, baby gets

Paci Monitor...  Image Credit: MGN Online

Paci Monitor… Image Credit: MGN Online

Baby wants to be held and walked around the house? OK then. No sitting on the couch for me. Baby wants me to stand up next to the crib while she falls asleep… picking up her paci and giving it back to her as soon as it falls out over and over? OK then. Baby doesn’t want to fall asleep at all? OK then. Happy non-fussing baby is the top priority right? lol.

Lesson #5: Buy large sizes, only large ones

Little girl was a 9 lbr. when she arrived, so she kind of skipped over the “newborn” sizes. She’s since leveled out in her growth to a nice average but boy does she grow! A few weekends back we stocked up on 3 month-sized PJs and onesies. It wasn’t a week later and she was too long for nearly all of them! So yes, after our very expensive purchase… I’m now buying our little one sizes 6 months and up! They may be baggy but at least I won’t have to buy new ones in a week!

Moms, what are your lessons from the first three months of a baby’s life? Feel free to share them here! Or comment on what I’ve learned. :o) Happy parenting!

 

 

 

 

A Labor And Delivery Story

Late last month, our baby girl finally arrived! If you’ve been following my pregnancy story you know that she was a full week late… so I was anxious to get the ball rolling. I was also feeling extra huge. lol. If you’ve been following my blog, you also know that I was hoping for a natural birth. Here’s how it all turned out…

Baby's Big Day!

Baby’s Big Day!

My water broke on a Monday afternoon and I was thrilled. I called my husband right away to say, “It’s happening!” The original plan was to labor at home before going into the hospital, even with my water broken. I wanted to see if contractions would establish on their own. Turns out that was not going to be so easy (as you’ll read later…)

I’ll spare the details but after several hours at home, I was still having only mild, inconsistent contractions – not really even painful. I did however have some “alarming” signs that made me think we should head to the hospital. After talking with my doula we agreed to head in to Huntsville Hospital.

We checked in, distributed birth plans, etc. and luckily had an amazing labor and delivery nurse with a “natural” mindset. I was feeling pretty good at this point. The alarming signals I had been afraid of turned out to be nothing to worry about… and contractions were finally picking up in intensity and frequency.

I spent the time walking the halls, breathing through the pain and leaning on my husband for support. Brittany, my doula, offered encouragement and relaxation techniques.  Hours and hours and hours passed. lol. Every so often I was checked for dilation, which as it turned out, was happening at a snail’s pace. More hours passed… and by Tuesday midday I was exhausted. I was also only dilated to 5 cm.

We’d switched shifts by now, to another wonderful nurse who was supportive of my “original plan” – except now we were getting to 24 hours from the initial water breaking. The risk of infection was going up. I was starting to feel a little desperate. I opted for a mild drug via IV to help me get some rest. I thought, if I can sleep a little, maybe I can keep going.

Fast forward several more hours. I was up and laboring again. My contractions just did not want to establish a consistent pattern. Dilation was stalled. I was starting to fear a C-section, since my waters had broken so long ago and things were moving so slowly. I was also, to be totally honest, doubting I’d have the energy to push her out! After talking with my OB (who happened to be on-call that day) I decided to labor with Pitocin – gradually increasing the dosage to see how I’d handle it.

They are NOT kidding when they say Pitocin contractions are harder to get through than natural contractions. I only made it a few hours (with dilation not progressing despite increased Pitocin) before opting for the epidural. I just knew, in my heart, if I didn’t get something to cut the pain, I wouldn’t be able to manage the rest of the labor. It was almost Wednesday.

Once I got the epi, they cranked the Pitocin up slowly – eventually getting to almost the max allowed (not joking) before my contractions established enough of a pattern to finish dilation. It was only a few hours from the time I got the epidural (which I was terrified of but turned out to be blissful) to the time I was ready to push. Pushing was fast and honestly, the easiest part after such a long slow labor. She came out with no trouble and minimal discomfort for me at 9 lbs. 0 oz. even. It was the happiest moment of my life.

Looking back, I feel very happy with the choices I made. I had a wonderful labor and delivery experience – in large part thanks to the nurses at Huntsville Hospital who let me set my own pace until it became apparent that a change in plans might really be needed. I also had a great OB and my doula Brittany Berghammer made me feel secure and supported through the entire rollercoaster.

I do also think that I probably avoided a C-section by trying so hard to stay natural until I was at least past the half-way point – until I was in active labor. In my research on labor and delivery I often read or heard people describe how epidurals and Pitocin can stall a labor or even stop it. I really think, if I had opted for drugs early on, due to my body’s slow pace of establishing labor, I probably would have ended up with surgery.

In the end, I didn’t… and was up and feeling pretty good within 24 hours. That was a blessing, since my daughter ended up in the NICU for several days with a bad case of reflux. Once discharged we were back-and-forth to the hospital every few hours to feed her and help with her cares until she was finally keeping food down and ready to come home.

Moms, how did your “birth plans” change once your labor began? Did you not have a plan at all? If so, how do you feel about your birth experience? Share your comments below! I’d love to hear them!

Also, a quick note. I want to thank all of our WHNT News 19 friends and fans, especially those who have followed my pregnancy and reporting on Birth Options in the Tennessee Valley, for the support and well wishes these last few m

onths. I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading this blog as well, which I plan to continue updating as my transition to mommyhood continues!

Waiting On Baby: When A Due Date Comes & Goes…

Depending on how you calculate the due date, I am 40.2 weeks pregnant or exactly 40 weeks today.

Truth be told, I never expected to make it to my due date. I know that for many first-time moms, going over a due date is common. I’ve measured several weeks ahead in tummy height though for most of the 3rd trimester. Baby is also measuring on the larger end – estimated to be about 8.5 pounds!

Waiting On Baby...

Waiting On Baby…

So now here we are… waiting on baby girl. I’m so incredibly anxious. Every day that creeps by I worry about not being able to have a natural birth the way I’d hoped. I worry that we’ll have to induce if she stays in there much longer and that it could fail and I’ll end up with a c-section because my body just isn’t ready.

From what I’ve read, there are some real increased risks of letting a baby go to 42 weeks or longer – like increased risk of meconium aspiration. Bigger babies also have an increased risk of shoulder dystocia (a very serious obstetrical complication). Oh, and we have family coming in around the 41.5 week mark, so I feel a little bit of self-imposed pressure there to have a baby in arms by the time they arrive.

On the other hand, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) does not recommend induction for suspected macrosomia (also known as “big” baby) in large part because fetal size is very hard to predict:

“In cases of term patients with suspected fetal macrosomia, current evidence does not support early induction of labor. Results from recent reports indicate that induction of labor at least doubles the risk of cesarean delivery without reducing the risk of shoulder dystocia or newborn morbidity…” – ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 22, November 2000 issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

In the hope of avoiding an induction or other interventions, I’m doing everything I can think of to encourage baby to join us on her own – walking, shoveling down whole pineapples, etc. Braxton Hicks-like contractions and low back pain have really picked up recently, so I’m hopeful that means labor isn’t far off. It’s just so hard waiting.

We’re supposed to get snow tomorrow (Friday morning) and I’m hopeful that will be the boost baby needs to come out and meet her family! lol. It sounds crazy to buy into an old wives tale about stormy weather sparking labor but at this point, I’m a little desperate.

Ladies, if your baby was overdue, how long did you have to wait? How did you manage to relax? Was there any one technique you think finally kicked off labor? Share your comments here! I could use some advice! :o)

Michelle

 

Your Baby & The Web: Where To Draw The Line?

We live in an increasingly digital world. Our children are no exception. In fact, in many homes, kids are exposed to the Internet and emerging technologies earlier than ever before.

I know of babies that can navigate a parent’s mobile device with ease. Moms and dads freely share photos of children online through social media. Our executive producer’s little two-year-old even figured out how to call him one morning! All by herself!

As WHNT News 19’s technology reporter and new mommy-to-be, I find myself thinking a lot about this. Where should parents draw the line when it comes to their babies and technology? And with the Web in particular?

Where To Draw The Line?

How Much Exposure Is Too Much?

I totally recommend using Google to look up prospective baby names. I mean, you don’t want to name your little one something and find out a porn star shares that namesake *after* the fact, right? I’m less sure about taking steps to protect your child’s “reputation” on the Web before they are born. Is it really necessary?

I’ve read many reports suggesting that you should reserve your child’s domain name (i.e. sallysmith.com) as soon as they are born. That way, if they ever want to start a business or use a website for self-promotion they won’t have to hope the domain is available. It’s a nice idea I guess but it typically costs money and you’ll be holding onto that domain for years.

Figuring out how a new baby and social media fit together is even more complicated. For example, I’ve heard of parents creating Facebook or Twitter accounts for a child (despite age restriction policies from those outlets) before they are even born! Sure, social networks can be great for sharing photos and updates but how safe is the information really?

Facebook has long struggled with privacy issues and if there’s one thing we know about the Internet, it’s that anything you put there – photos, videos, etc. – is more than likely out there forever.

Will your kids, once grown, regret having bathtime photos shared with others? If they already have a social media account set up by parents, will they be lured into using it perhaps earlier than they should?

There’s also a real security risk. Uploading a smartphone picture for example, of your child at a local park or a local street, could potentially make them a target for sophisticated predators.

Parents, how do you feel about exposing your baby on the web? Do you limit the way you share images or updates about them? Do you embrace baby’s presence online whole-heartedly?

Sound off here!

 

 

 

 

Tough Task: Choosing A Baby Name

Of all the preparation my husband and I have done for the arrival of our first child, choosing a name has been, by far, one of the hardest things to accomplish.

Early in the pregnancy, when I was convinced I was having a little boy, we were mostly in agreement on our top choices. It was easy to come up with a short list. Once we learned we were having a girl, it was sort a deer-in-the-headlights moment. There just weren’t any names that stood out to me that also stood out to him.

It seemed like every time I would suggest a name I really liked, my husband would respond with, “Meh.” When he’d throw out a name he really liked, my reaction was usually the same. Around Week 25 or so, we finally sat down and spent and afternoon creating a list – going through every possible baby name we could find or think of. I was drawn to fancier names like Genevieve and Vivian. He liked simpler names, like Brooke and Kelly. Eventually, we found a perfect fit (which we’ll reveal once she’s born.)

The thing is, I felt real pressure to make the “right” choice on a baby name. I mean, it’s going to stay with her for her entire life! There’s also real evidence that what name you choose for baby can impact how others perceive them as well as how successful they will be.

One study found badly chosen baby names can lead to low self-esteem, low education and even more smoking. Polls show classmates, teachers and job recruiters judge individuals based on their names. A recent trend favoring exotic spellings of names like Rian (instead of Ryan) or Aeryn (instead of Erin) may also not be such a good idea since it forces a child to have to “defend” the spelling of their name.

Given all that, my husband and I used the following criteria to make our pick…

1. Does it flow well?

First, middle and last names all need to sound nice together.

2. Can we include family names somehow?

We looked for ways to incorporate family names in honor of lovedones.

3. Is it classically pretty but still unique?

We sought out names from older generations that would hopefully have positive connotations but not be overly popular – thus giving our daughter a bit of individuality without having to give her an alternate spelling or “reach” for a name that is too wacky.

Moms and dads, what criteria did you use to pick a name for your little one? Was it hard or easy to come to consensus? For those with older kids, how do you think the name you chose fits your child as they’ve grown?

Share your thoughts below! Can’t wait to hear from everyone.

Oh, and you can also vote (for fun) in our baby names poll! BabyNamePollPick your fave out of some of the top contenders my husband and I liked… and we’ll reveal the results live on-air Wednesday, Feb. 27th on WHNT News 19 This Morning!

Gaining Weight On Television

One of the more stressful things about working in this industry is the natural focus on appearance. The hard realities of television (High Definition, added weight and fullness just from cameras) make staying fit and healthy essential for anyone looking to have a long career.

On top of that, we anchors spend ages searching for clothing with the right color and fit – since not all designs/cuts flatter all body types equally on camera. We’re also always striving for the right haircut (flattering, easy to style, yet modern) and the right makeup (including proper application techniques for various face shapes.)

In pre-pregnancy days...

In pre-pregnancy days…

Unlike the mega-star anchors at the big networks, those of us working in local news have to try to master this “imaging” all on our own. It isn’t easy. Most of us have several “What was she thinking?” moments that stand out with hair and wardrobe. If we’re really lucky we get some support and guidance from consultants and news managers – as we do here at WHNT News 19.

All of those pressures considered, you can see why one of my first thoughts after the initial joy of finding out I was pregnant was, “Oh my gosh. I’m going to gain weight on TV.” Then a moment of panic set in.

Unlike a lot of people working on-air in television news, I don’t have the super skinny model build. I’m just sort of… average, with a more athletic build, fluctuating between sizes 4-8 over the years depending on my commitment to healthy food and fitness. On television though, even a size 8 can look well – round. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve met someone in person and their reaction is, “Wow, you’re actually pretty slim. You look so much rounder on television.” lol.

Thankfully my employers at WHNT News 19 have been wonderfully gracious and supportive throughout my pregnancy. I have some horror stories from friends in the industry who were treated in, shall we say, a less than appropriate way during pregnancy. I know a woman whose boss told her (she is short and carried high) she looked like “a whale” on television. Talk about a crushing blow in an already image-obsessed industry.

At 25 weeks, I’ve gained about 18 pounds. I think that’s pretty good. I’m trying hard to walk as much as possible and not go crazy with the cravings. Ladies, how much weight did you all gain during pregnancy? Did you try to manage your diet and exercise? How did you feel about your changing body? Were people around you supportive?

Share your thoughts here. Can’t wait to hear from you all!