Friday, December 23, 2011

Pictures of Ellie

So, I already posted some of these on Facebook, but here are a couple of my favorite pictures of Ellie. :)








She's doing really good. When we were discharged from the hospital last Friday, the pediatrician told us to get her bilirubin levels checked at the hospital lab on Sunday because they were a bit high. He also told us to come in for a one-week check up on Wednesday for the same reason. Well, we actually had to get her bilirubin levels check three times (Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday) until they finally started coming down. But now they're normal, so yay! And at her one-week appointment on Wednesday, the pediatrician said that everything's looking great. Ellie's actually already back up to her birth weight (newborns lose some weight the first week), which usually takes a couple more weeks. Honestly, this doesn't surprise me or Jason at all, because she eats a TON. She just loooves to eat. Just like her mom and dad. :)

 We love her soooooo much!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ellie's Birth Story!

Okay, so if you read this post, you'll know that last Monday was a really painful day for my body. Several of you commented and guessed that I was in the early stages of labor...and you were right!


Tuesday morning I felt much better than the day before. My back felt a lot better and my fever was gone. I was still getting contractions, but they were relatively far apart and were more uncomfortable than they were painful. Jason took two finals, getting home from his second one about 5 o'clock. By that time, my contractions were getting much more noticeable and painful. I was making up silly songs to sing to myself through each one, to prove that they weren't "real" contractions because my doctor told me that I wouldn't be able to talk through a real contraction. But as the evening progressed, it started getting harder and harder to talk through each one. Jason suggested several times that we start timing them (to see how far apart they were and if they were regular), but I stubbornly refused. I didn't want to get my hopes up that I was really in labor.

Finally, though, at about 9:45, I agreed to time them "just for the next half hour." And so, we did. We used this awesome website we found, the Contraction Master. And it turned out that the contractions were very consistent, each coming about 5-6 minutes apart and lasting for about a minute. At this point, they were hurting so bad that I couldn't imagine not going to the hospital anyway. On my pain scale of 0-10, with 0 being no pain and 10 being the worst pain I've ever felt, these were about a 5-6. So, we packed everything up that we might need at the hospital and hopped in the car.

The hospital - Orem Community - was about a fifteen minute drive from our apartment. We got there right about 11 o'clock, and explained to the lady at the check-in desk that we thought I might be in labor. A couple very nice nurses took me to triage, where they hooked me up to a couple monitors. One measured the baby's heartbeat and the other measured the length and intensity of my contractions. We could see them on this screen right next to the bed.

To be admitted to the hospital for labor, your cervix has to be progressing from closed to 10 cm. (As the nurse in my prenatal class explained, labor does not equal contractions. Labor equals cervical change). When we first got there, the really nice nurse who was taking care of us, Marta, checked my cervix and found that I was about 1 1/2 cm dilated and 80% effaced. For the next hour, we watched TV and the monitor next to me. I kept having consistent contractions, which were getting really, really painful. At 12:30 or so, Marta came back in and checked me again. Unfortunately, I hadn't progressed much. I was now about 2 cm. So, Marta said that we could stay for another hour, or they could give me a shot of morphine and we could go home to wait it out there. The morphine would either take almost all the pain away, and we could sleep, or the labor pains would come back as strong, which would basically mean I was in active labor and we should come back to the hospital. Upon hearing "pain relief" I was sold. So, she gave me a shot of morphine and phenergan and we went home.

The shot made me really really sleepy. By the time we got home, (about 1 o'clock) I was falling asleep between contractions. Jason helped me make it to the bed (I fell asleep on the floor before I got there) and we went to sleep, but only for about an hour and a half. By 3 o'clock, the contractions were so bad again it felt like I had never had the morphine.

We got back in the car and headed back to the hospital. When we checked in this time (with Marta again!) I was still only about 2 1/2 cm. An hour later, I was just at 3 cm. Marta, who was so nice and concerned, said she didn't want to send us home again, and would we like to wait another hour? We said yes, and sat tight. I was still really really sleepy from the shot, and fell asleep in between every contraction. So I'd have a contraction, be in extreme pain, make it through, fall asleep, wake up, have an extremely painful contraction, fall asleep, wake up, have an extremely painful contraction, fall asleep, wake up...and on and on. :)

Finally, at 6 o'clock, another nurse came in to check on us. And I was 5 cm!!! I was so relieved. I was in so much pain I couldn't imagine being sent home. Allie (the new nurse, who was the one who was with us until Ellie was delivered) said that I was being admitted to the hospital, that we were moving to a different room (the one we'd be in for the rest of our stay), and that they'd get the anesthesiologist so I could get an epidural as soon as possible. All of these things were wonderful, wonderful things to hear. Marta came in to say congratulations and goodbye (it was the end of her shift). It was so funny; she said she had Allie come check on me because if I hadn't progressed, she couldn't bear to be the one to send me home. She was so sweet.

Well, they wheeled us to our new room (which, at Orem Community, is where you both deliver and recover. It's awesome. You stay in the same room the whole time!) and got the anesthesiologist. He put in the epidural and I was in bliss. My pain? Gone. I couldn't have been happier. (Seriously. I am a FAN of epidurals.)

And then began the waiting game, where we basically just sat around excitedly waiting for me to progress more. I had to be on antibiotics for at least four hours before the baby was delivered because at my 36 week appointment I tested positive for Group B Strep (which is basically medically irrelevant for adults unless you're delivering a baby, and then they just have to make sure the baby doesn't get it because it can be bad for them). They started me on the antibiotics at 6:30, so we didn't want the baby to come before 10:30. We weren't really worried that she would, because labor in first time moms is usually long.

When the nurse checked me at about 7:30, I was 6 cm. It also looked like my water had broken, which was good, but it also looked like there was meconium (baby poo) in the water, which was bad because it meant the baby was stressed. The nurse called my doctor and told him, and they decided that they'd put me on pitocin at 10:30 (after four hours of antibiotics) to speed up the labor and get my baby delivered.  Allie also did an amnioinfusion to get more fluid into my uterus and flush out some of the meconium. I progressed a couple more centimeters over the next couple hours, and Allie put me on pitocin at 10:30. Pitocin makes contractions more intense than normal, but I didn't feel them at all because of the epidural. I could see on the monitor that they became a lot more frequent, though.

By noon, I was fully dilated and ready to go. My doctor wasn't quite there yet, so the nurses finished getting everything ready while I sat in what the nurses called "rest and descend." My doctor came in right after 12:30, and checked to see how everything was. He said that the baby's head was at a slightly weird angle, so he was going to use forceps to turn her right. They finished taking all of the monitors off of me at 12:56 (Jason and I looked at the monitors later to see the exact time) and started telling me to push. My doctor inserted the forceps after a minute and turned the baby's head, and told me to push some more. I pushed through just one or two more contractions, while the doctor pulled with the forceps, and then bam! The baby's head was out. It was crazy how fast it was. Then I just pushed through like one more contraction, and she was out all the way! The monitor showed that the time was 1:03, so thanks to the doctor and his forceps I only had to push for 7 minutes! It was amazing.

Jason cut the umbilical cord and I got to see the baby for a second before they took her and did all the stuff they do with newborns. They did it right there in the room, though, so she was just a couple feet away. A special respiratory doctor was there to make sure that Ellie hadn't breathed in any meconium (she hadn't). My doctor delivered the placenta and sewed me up (I had an episiotomy), and then they brought the baby back to me and I got to hold her. It was so wonderful! Jason and I love our baby so much and it was so exciting to finally be able to hold her and see her.



And so Ellie was born! We spent the next two days in the hospital, recovering and getting checked up on a ton. We had a couple different nurses (a new one every twelve hours) and they were all so awesome and kind and I liked them so much. We also had family and friends visit and it was so fun to be able to share our new little daughter with them. It was really a great experience.

We've been home for the last couple days and Ellie has been keeping us buuusy (I'm sure all you parents can relate ;) ). It's been so wonderful though and we love her sooooo much. I'll upload a lot more pictures later, I promise. Thank you for all your support and congratulations! We appreciate it. :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

PIRATE POST - Ellie Jean Thomas

So I know that Jocelyn will be posting all about our amazing, brilliant, beauty queen of a daughter as soon as she is up and at em' again but I just can't contain myself. Can you blame me though? I mean just look at her...


 ...and look at her some more...


...and a little bit more in case your breath hasn't already been taken away by her stunning good looks...


...and while she will probably protest, here is the woman of the hour (and by hour I mean the last 9 months), my endlessly wonderful, loving, awesome wife Jocelyn. This is right after she delivered little Ellie too! Doesn't she look incredible?!


I love you Jocelyn and Ellie!!!


Ellie Jean Thomas
Born: 12/14/2011
7 pounds 1 ounce
19.5 inches long
Endlessly cute

Monday, December 12, 2011

Really Ouchy Day

So, I apologize in advance for this post. I usually try not to complain, but today was rough and I just want to talk about it.

So, today I'm 39 weeks and 1 day along, and man it was a painful day. First of all, I slept pretty badly last night. I woke up so many times with these painful contractions, and just couldn't seem to get comfortable. I actually took a warm bath almost as soon as I got up this morning, just to try to help my back, which was hurting pretty bad. It did seem to help for a little while.

Then I had my 39-week doctor's appointment at 10:15. All my vitals are good (yay!) but the doctor did say that I don't look like I'm going to deliver in the next week, and that I'll probably be back in the office next Monday. :( This stresses me out a bit, because we're moving to St. George on the 29th (two and a half weeks from now!), and I'd really like our baby to be a couple days older before we go. But, nothing we can really do about when my body's ready to have her.

After I got back from the doctor's office, my whole body just got more and more painful. The pain was especially centered on my lower back, and also on the sides of my abdomen. Every move I made hurt so bad. It didn't take very long for me to end up back in bed, hoping lying down would help. It didn't. No position was comfortable, and readjusting even a little bit caused me pretty bad pain. Finally, after quite a while (and a heat compress that Jason got me), I was able to relax enough to fall asleep. I woke up a lot of times over the next couple hours as I shifted positions, which hurt, but it was better than it was before.

Jason left to go take a final in the afternoon, and got back about 4 o'clock. When he got back, we realized that I probably had a fever. My body was super hot, and I was pretty light-headed and woozy. I also felt really weak, like you do after you've been sick for a couple days. We called my doctor's office, and I talked to the nurse. I told her everything that had been going on all day, and she asked if I could find a thermometer to take my temperature. We went to the grocery store and got one, and I measured in at 99.5 degrees (usually I'm about 97.6). The nurse called me back, and gave me instructions about what to do if various symptoms got worse, and asked that I call in and check up with her tomorrow. She also told me to take tylenol to bring the fever down. Jason found some in our first aid kit, and I think my temperature has gone down since I took it a couple hours ago. My back pain is doing better, too. It's still more painful to move around than normal, but it's much better than it was earlier when I basically felt crippled. So that's good. I'm really hoping I'll be able to sleep better tonight.

Anyway, sorry again about the downer post. It was just a hard day. Hopefully tomorrow will be better. :)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

38 Weeks, 5 days

Hi everyone! Well, I figured I should write something about how I'm getting really close to my due date. Our baby is due Sunday, December 18th, which means that today I am 38 weeks, 5 days along. That's like 8 3/4 months, in case you think in months (like most non-pregnant people).

I'm doing well, apart from getting really achy some days. And apart from, when sitting or lying down, acting/feeling like a turtle that's stuck upside down on my shell. Seriously, I can't get up without some help sometimes. All my ligaments and muscles are pulling in strange, strange ways. But it's not too bad, just inconvenient.

On a less important note, yesterday I got a haircut.


It's a bit shorter than what I wanted; I was going more for Ginnifer Goodwin than Emma Watson.


But, I guess it won't take too long to grow out a little bit more. I wanted to get it cut before we have the baby, because I'm guessing I won't have time to get it cut with a newborn. This way I won't have to worry about it for a while. :)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Quiet Book Round-up!

All right! You've made it! I've subjected you to a million days of quiet book pages, and it is finally the end. Today I'm going to post all the pages, from beginning to end, so you can get a sense of how the whole book flows.

So, without further ado, the quiet book!


The lion page:

  
The barn and farm animals finger puppets page:


The apple tree and the dinosaur:


The car page:


The ladybug and the flowers:


Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head page and accessories:


The weaving page:

And the back!


So here's some technical how-I-did it: For the base of each page, I used the standard 9x12 felt sheets. I used felt for pretty much everything in the book, except the lion's ribbons, the car pocket, and the ladybug's wings (which were made of a spotty red fabric backed up with black felt).  I used sew-on snaps for the apple tree and the ladybug, velcro for the dinosaur, and big white buttons for the flowers. Most things in the book I sewed with my sewing machine; the very small or detailed things I sewed by hand. I'm planning on binding the book by sewing three small button holes on each page and the holding everything together with three three-inch metal binder rings, as soon as I can find some that big. And...I think that's everything!

Added in May: I finally got around to finishing the loops. I sewed three button holes on each page, and then used shoelaces for the loops. It works great!


This was a really fun project and I highly recommend it to anyone thinking about making one!


To download the entire Quiet Book template, click here or on the picture:



Here are links to all the quiet book pages:

The Lion (Texture) Page








 
And this is off topic, but it's something I feel strongly about. Regular readers of my blog know that I would never have a home birth. In the United States, the newborn death rate at home birth is 3 times higher than hospital birth, and those risks are just too big for me. At the same time, there always will be women who do choose to birth at home, and for those women there needs to be as safe a system in place as possible, to minimize risks to them and their babies. 

A new group, the Coalition for Safer Home Birth, has just come out with a petition on Change.org that asks state legislators to "make out-of-hospital birth safer through stronger, uniform regulations in the United States." It lists several measures that, if incorporated into state midwifery laws, would make home birth safer for mothers and babies under the care of home birth midwives.

Please take the next minute of your day to click on and sign this petition. It might ask for your address, but that's just to make sure you're not signing twice - it won't send you anything or anything like that. And signing it would really show your support for laws that would protect women and their babies.
https://www.change.org/p/state-legislators-protect-mothers-babies-make-home-birth-safer

Friday, December 2, 2011

The last page of the Quiet Book!

Okay everyone, thanks for hanging in there this whole time! Today I want to show you the last page and back cover of the quiet book.

Though the last page is actually a very simple concept and easily executed, it's actually pretty fun to play with. It's a weaving page:


All I had to do to make this page was measure the felt, cut out strips, and sew the edges down the top and left side. And done! It's actually pretty fun to play with, too. It's more complicated than it looks to weave all the strips together. So it should hopefully be pretty entertaining.

And here's the back cover of the quiet book:


As you can see, I sewed our last name on to the bottom left corner, in case we ever leave the book at church or something:


Ta-da! That's the whole book. I'll post a big summary post with all the different pages tomorrow, and a little bit more information about how I actually made it. :)


To download the free Weaving Page quiet book template, click here or on the picture:



To download the entire Quiet Book template, click here or on the picture:



Here are links to the other quiet book pages:

The Lion (Texture) Page









And this is off topic, but it's something I feel strongly about. Regular readers of my blog know that I would never have a home birth. In the United States, the newborn death rate at home birth is 3 times higher than hospital birth, and those risks are just too big for me. At the same time, there always will be women who do choose to birth at home, and for those women there needs to be as safe a system in place as possible, to minimize risks to them and their babies. 

A new group, the Coalition for Safer Home Birth, has just come out with a petition on Change.org that asks state legislators to "make out-of-hospital birth safer through stronger, uniform regulations in the United States." It lists several measures that, if incorporated into state midwifery laws, would make home birth safer for mothers and babies under the care of home birth midwives.

Please take the next minute of your day to click on and sign this petition. It might ask for your address, but that's just to make sure you're not signing twice - it won't send you anything or anything like that. And signing it would really show your support for laws that would protect women and their babies.
https://www.change.org/p/state-legislators-protect-mothers-babies-make-home-birth-safer

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mr. Potato Head - Quiet book pages 10 & 11

Thanks for hanging in there with the quiet book pages! We're getting close to the end, I promise. As I mentioned, I love having this quiet book for church. Today I have for you the Potato Head page.


On the left is a simple potato head body which can be dressed with all the different accessories stored in the pocket on the right. Some of the quiet book potato heads I've seen have velcro on the body and on each accessory, but I decided to go a simpler route. Since the page is felt and all the accessories are made of felt, they stick together. Unless you pick the page up and shake it around. Which hopefully no one will be doing. Although, with kids, I can't rule that out.

Here's some of the ways Mr. (or Mrs.!) Potato Head can be dressed up:


And here's all the different accessories:


There's three sets of eyes (black, green, and blue), two sets of ears (one with earrings, one without), three hats (black bowler cap, yellow baseball cap, and a bonnet), two sets of shoes (blue and pink), two mustaches, two mouths (smiling teeth and big red lips), two noses (a big orange one and a smaller pink one), and a purse. They all store away in the clothes bucket, which closes with a snap so nothing falls out (thanks to my friend Jill for that idea!).

This is one of the few pages I did actually use a template I found online; the original template can be found here. I used the body, the arms, and some of the accessories. It helped a lot. I made some of my own accessories, and made a new template for them.

I really like this page; I think it'll be a fun one to play with. :)


To download the free Mr. Potato Head quiet book template, click here or on one of the pictures:



To download the entire Quiet Book template, click here or on the picture:



Here are links to the other quiet book pages:











And this is off topic, but it's something I feel strongly about. Regular readers of my blog know that I would never have a home birth. In the United States, the newborn death rate at home birth is 3 times higher than hospital birth, and those risks are just too big for me. At the same time, there always will be women who do choose to birth at home, and for those women there needs to be as safe a system in place as possible, to minimize risks to them and their babies. 

A new group, the Coalition for Safer Home Birth, has just come out with a petition on Change.org that asks state legislators to "make out-of-hospital birth safer through stronger, uniform regulations in the United States." It lists several measures that, if incorporated into state midwifery laws, would make home birth safer for mothers and babies under the care of home birth midwives.

Please take the next minute of your day to click on and sign this petition. It might ask for your address, but that's just to make sure you're not signing twice - it won't send you anything or anything like that. And signing it would really show your support for laws that would protect women and their babies.
https://www.change.org/p/state-legislators-protect-mothers-babies-make-home-birth-safer