My “first” Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to YOU and Yours!

I always loved Mother’s Day as a kid. I loved celebrating my mom and the other special women in my life, but also Mother’s Day falls in late Spring, when school is almost out, and pools are about to open! Growing up on Mother’s Day in my family we celebrated my mom, my aunt Elaine, Gram, and our JoJo (nanny of just about 30 yrs now). Our celebrations usually included mass and then heading over to my grandmother’s house for lunch as a BIG (there were a lot of us) family. I had such phenomenal “mom” role models growing up, so it’s not at all surprising that I am so obsessed with being one myself.

Yesterday while Lenny napped I slipped away to visit my Aunt Lainie’s resting place (I’m writing to you from my parent’s house in Ohio btw!). It’s something that I do almost every trip home, and as I gave her the usual rundown of life and our family, I of course wished her a happy Mother’s Day. Lainie suffered from a severe chronic illness that required hundreds of surgeries. She wasn’t able to have biological children and adoption was almost certainly out of the question since her illness was chronic, and life threatening at times (things were very different then too…). My mom said that when they were little Lainie was the mommy when they played house. She had always dreamt of being a mom, and her illness deprived her of making her dream a reality. My mom and my aunt were best friends, so when my mom had kids it was very natural for her to share us with my aunt. My aunt lived directly across the street from us, and I really don’t have many memories from childhood that don’t feature her. Every Mother’s Day we celebrated her right alongside my mom. My aunt was into hair, makeup, concerts, New York City, red lipstick, and puppies. She was a true girl’s girl, and that was great since even though my mom is girly for sure, she wasn’t the pro in these areas like my aunt. Missing her is part of my everyday life, but on special days like Mother’s Day she is especially missed. I know that she would be (or is I guess!) over the moon for Lenny, and he will grow up learning all about the amazing woman that she was and the important role that she played in raising his own mommy.

I have quite a few pregnant mommies in my life at the moment, and thinking of them today made me think of last Mother’s Day. In reflecting I got to thinking- and I kept repeating in my head on my first Mother’s Day we did this, this, and this…. . Then a little later that day I was wish wished a “Happy First Mother’s Day, Meghan!” upon departing the local convenient store. Then I started thinking- is this my first Mother’s Day? When does one officially become a Mom?

When a mom is first pregnant she usually doesn’t find out about the little soul that’s budding inside of her until she’s let’s say 4-5 weeks pregnant. I found out at around this time too. I remember taking the pregnancy test so vividly now. I had read that taking the test first thing in the morning was best from an accuracy standpoint, so I laid the test out on top of the toilet seat so that I wouldn’t forget to do it first thing in the morning. We were staying in a hotel in Warren, Ohio, since it was Thanksgiving morning and we were set to spend the day with our families. As I “performed the test” I already knew deep down that it would be positive, I just had this feeling! As soon as the double lines started to show I couldn’t believe what was happening, yet I knew that I was pregnant… weird but you get it right? The rest of the day is sort of a blur in my memory. My little baby growing inside of me was ALL I could think about. My husband and I decided not to share our news with our family just yet, but I had so many thoughts racing through my mind. “What at Thanksgiving is safe to eat?”, “I heard cheese is bad?”, “What about turkey? This isn’t turkey lunch meat soo..”. Thank God for Google! (Google is great sometimes….)

That same day a friend shared the heartbreaking news that she had lost her baby during pregnancy. I remember so clearly feeling a newfound part of my heart break for her. It was an aching pain I had never felt before, a gut wrenching feeling imagining what my dear friend was going through. In no way am I trying to say I had/have any idea how she was feeling, I just understood on a new level that there really could be nothing worse that could happen to me than losing this baby that I already loved SO much. It had been less than 24 hours since we learned that our little one was on his way, but within that short time my life was already changed forever.

By the end of the night lying in bed with my husband I was an emotional mess. I guess I was scared of the feelings I was already having for our baby. The panic had set in. I had drank alcohol just a week ago! I had colored my hair, eaten sushi in the last few days, and had missed a prenatal vitamin! Kurt did his best to assure me that most everyone probably does these things before finding out they are pregnant and not to worry, but I couldn’t help myself. A new chamber in my heart had formed and I began to feel a new type of love, along with a new debilitating type of worry. The minute a woman decides to nurture the little one growing inside of her (which is a life long obligation that she takes on I might add) I would argue she becomes a mother.

Throughout pregnancy mommies make decisions and sacrifices without a second thought, all for the baby that they growing and have not officially met yet. Pregnancy is HARD. I had a really great pregnancy symptom wise, and I still found it extremely difficult. I would say the swelling was the worst of my physical symptoms. From my toes to my nose was swollen from about 5 months on. Other moms that I know suffer from life disrupting nausea, insomnia, high blood pressure, bed rest orders, and more during pregnancy. I was lucky to have very few symptoms, but I know that if I had more they would have been the last thing on my mind, baby first.

This isn’t my “first” Mother’s Day, but it’s ok if you wish me one! I appreciate any and all celebration of this role that I am blessed to be tasked with for the rest of my life. However, I do encourage you to wish all of the pregnant moms in your life a Happy Mother’s Day as well. I have 3 very close pregnant friends and they were the first mommies I thought of to text this morning. It is such an exciting day that they can imagine spending holding their little ones in their arms next year. The anticipation that comes along with pregnancy is a magical gift. I often found myself day dreaming of holidays and birthdays to come while pregnant. I am happy to report the real life experiences are even better than the ones I could dream up! 🙂

This is my first Mother’s Day with my baby by my side, and I will selfishly hog him all day since it’s my day. That is all I want! Len actually came down with his first stomach bug just a day ago, and has a fever for the first time. He only wants his mommy, and I am JUST FINE with that. This morning my husband and I got to snuggle with Len in bed from 6-8 with Stella at our feet. It was heavenly after not seeing Kurt since Monday (he got in to Ohio last night), and I got to kiss my mom on Mother’s Day before she headed out to teach in the weekend pharmacy program in Pittsburgh. We celebrated Mother’s Day yesterday with my family, complete with a gourmet dinner prepared by my little Brother Luke and my sister in law to be Carolien. It was really special getting to celebrate this day with my mom, and I was SO grateful that she got to help me cope and treat Lenny’s first fever. We had dessert compliments of my brother Drew who couldn’t be here due to business, we took an after dinner walk, and Kurt and I played a game of “horse”. Kurt remarked that it was like a little date for us! I love showing off any sort of athletic skills that I have to Kurt. Growing up with two brother’s means I am pretty good at most sports, except football. I am only good at holding the ball for punt practice… thanks, Drew!

I hope that your Mother’s Day is the best yet! Whether it is your “first” or first! May you feel just how much you are valued, loved, and honored for holding life’s most rewarding title- Mom.

xoxo

Meghan

 

 

 

 

Lennox’s Birth Story Part 1

Lennox’s birth did not go exactly as I had imagined it would, but in its own way it was just perfect. My due date was August 6th, one day after my own birthday which I also share with my Uncle. I had artfully planned every little detail in the months leading up to our son’s arrival. For example, I had a complex about taking a cab or an Uber to the hospital, so we got a car. I had my bag packed and ready 5 weeks in advance of Lennox’s due date, I had Stella’s walks set and the dog walker all ready to go- just a quick call to execute a plan for her care for up to a week’s hospital stay. On a note pad I had my non-negotiable list hand written for during labor (you know in case I was so wound up in breathing through a contraction my husband could read my wishes… haha omg!). My mom was set to arrive 10 days before my due date via SouthWest airlines, but of course her ticket was able to be changed in the event I went into labor early- which it really never crossed my mind that I would go to my due date since Lenny measured in the 85th-95th percentile the entire pregnancy. We learned (although my doctors told me all along) that his size would likely NOT dictate whether or not we got to hold little Len in our arms sooner rather than later. They of course were right, mother nature hurries for no one.

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In my 38th week of pregnancy my doctor finally said he would check my cervix and I was REALLY excited. I found it odd that I hadn’t been checked before this point. My OB explained that the risk of infection was too great to start checking the cervix before the 38th week in the case of a FTM (first time mom), who was showing no symptoms of dilation or labor. He further said that the beginning dilation of the cervix usually doesn’t indicate whether labor is imminent or not. Some moms are dilated 1-3cms for weeks before they go into actual labor. Our bodies are fascinating, and I was SO excited, convinced really- that I would be at least 2-3cms dilated. I had been experiencing about a week’s worth of “lightning” in my cervix, random contractions, and bathroom issues… lol. The doctor had me lie back and told me to relax. Never for one second did I expect this to hurt (Missy G this is one thing you did not warn me about!) but much to my surprise I almost flew off of the exam table! I do not want to scare any mommies who are about to have this done, it wasn’t unbearable. I think the shock and the fact that I was 0 cm dilated made it painful. I looked over at Kurt for reassurance and he looked terrified. Now that I think about it, I don’t think he had ever seen me in pain before. When my doctor said “Ok we’re at 0 cm but your cervix does feel soft..” I wanted to slap him! I was sure he was joking, but he wasn’t. How could I be ZERO dilated? Feeling defeated I got dressed and Kurt and I headed to his office. Side note- I really love this about my OB’s practice. You have your physical exam in an exam room and then you get dressed and visit the doctor’s office. It lets you get to know your doctor better and I really looked forward to these 10-15 minutes chats every appointment.

The plan we came up with was to have a growth scan as planned in week 39 (if I went that long) and based on those images we would have a game plan. If the baby had gained over a pound and a half since my scan at 37 weeks where he was estimated at about 8 pounds, I could be eligible for a C-Section. I won’t lie, this was super appealing to me. Attempting to push a baby out with a head measuring in the 99th percentile didn’t sound like a can of worms I wanted to open. Other than the concern for my own body that birthing a large 9.5-10 pound baby brings, I worried about shoulder problems or the need for birthing assistance if I attempted a vaginal birth. That was on my “list’ of nonnegotiables during labor, I did not want forceps or the vacuum to be used. Kurt and I had decided we would prefer a C-Section above their use. Mommies and Daddies- you are allowed to decide these things ahead of time! I think one of my fav things that I learned in our birthing class (which is going to be a WHOLE post of it’s own) is the empowerment to take charge of your baby’s birth. It’s often that we feel controlled by our doctor’s, which to an extent I want my doctor in control for sure, but above all else it’s your body and your baby. In our birthing class the instructor taught us that it was best to have a birth plan, write it down, and decide your nonnegotiables. We did this and it helped to soothe the anxieties of delivery day SO much.

My 39th week appointment actually came rather quickly, and Kurt and I woke up bright and early to head across the city, we liked to be the first appointment of the morning. I highly recommend this! Not only for OB appointments, but for all doctors appointments. You are way less likely to have to wait for your appt. since the office isn’t backed up yet. This is especially important with your little baby at the pediatrician. If you schedule your appts. to be the first of the morning, you are way less likely to be sitting in the waiting room with your infant in tow with a bunch of sick kids (ahhhh!). Anyways, we had our scan with the imaging center first and found out that Baby Weaver’s estimated weight was now between 8.5 and 9.5 pounds, putting us in the 84th percentile. At the 85th percentile you become eligible for a planned C-Section. The pained/frowning/eyes wincing emoji would be just perfect to insert here. The ultrasound pro told us that baby had LOTS of hair that she could see, he was in perfect eject positions, and that it still did not appear that I was dilated at all. After consulting with our doctor we decided we would wait it out through the 39th week until the day after my due date. If I hadn’t gone into natural labor yet we would be induced on August 7th at 11PM! I instantly felt better with a date set, but I really hoped to still go naturally because I knew that I wasn’t eligible for an elected C-Section.

During my 39th week there were two days that Kurt almost stayed home from work because I was having pretty regular contractions 10 or so minutes apart. This would last for an hour or so, and then they would stop. I was averaging about 4 baths a day because I really only felt comfortable in warm water, and I was still feeling the “lightning” shock feeling in my cervix when I took more than just a few steps. I never lost my mucus plug, and we tried all of the traditional ploys to bring about labor. Spicy food, foot rubs, sex, walking, raspberry root tea, and more I’m sure. I had been getting a massage once a week since about 35 weeks, and I seriously considered upping it to everyday in the home stretch… like that was a realistic thought? LOL.

When we had found out that I was 0cm dilated I had my mom hold off on coming to New York because there was a limit to how many days she could take off in succession and I knew that I would need her most when we brought the baby home. Two days before my birthday my mom arrived to stay with us for the next few weeks. I was so much more at peace as soon as she arrived.

On my birthday (Aug. 5th) Kurt headed off to his last day of work for over 2 weeks, since we knew we would be induced Sunday the 7th. Kurt got 2 weeks worth of paternity leave. I was so grateful for this, but it truly isn’t enough! Again, that could be a whole other post… Kurt had only been at work for about an hour when I started having pretty serious contractions, they were more painful than the Braxton Hicks I had experienced before and I was SO EXCITED that baby and I could share a birthday! Kurt rushed home (not before picking up my cake of course), and I hopped in the shower. So much for that pre-labor blow out I had always planned for I thought. After my shower like clock work my contractions STOPPED. I was sad but excited to spend my birthday with two of my favorite people and eat as much cake from Magnolia Bakery as I wanted!

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Sunday August 7th was exceptional. I barely slept because I was so excited! My mom, Kurt, and I went to mass and brunch on Columbus Avenue.  At my 39th week appointment I had received my induction instructions. They were pretty simple- no eating or drinking 4 hours before checking in to the hospital, and no dairy, fried, spicy, or especially fatty foods 24 hours beforehand. EASY! We ate at one of my favorite brunch restaurants, Fred’s (it’s dog themed AND I saw Bruce Willis there once), and then my mom and I got blow outs at Drybar in anticipation of my hospital say. During my blowout I felt as though I was leaking. I had been wearing a pad regularly because…. you know if you’ve made it to 40+ weeks preg there is either leaking pee or whatever else at all times. I had soaked through the pad during my blow out and it seemed to be amniotic fluid. By this time it was about 3PM and we were set to check into the hospital in a few hours so Kurt and I took a nap, I took a bath, and savored my last moments with Stelly as our only baby. We kissed my mom goodbye with plans to call her once I was 5cm dilated. I wanted my mom to be there for the delivery of Lenny, but I wanted to go through most of labor with just Kurt.

Heading downstairs, Kurt went to the parking garage to bring our car around as I waited for him in the lobby with all of our stuff to take to the hospital. It felt so surreal making small talk with the concierge. Trying to play cool I told him that we were off to be induced, and the next time that he saw us we would be bringing with us a new resident of the building. In his true sweet fashion he told me he would be waiting for us and that he couldn’t wait to meet him. Kurt and I rode the quick 15 minute drive to Mt. Sinai on the eastside mostly in silence. We had practiced the route to the hospital twice. Once during traffic hours and another during the night. The anticipation that I felt was unlike anything I have ever experienced before. And the next thing I knew we were pulling up the the hospital and off we went to become parents! I can’t imagine having shared this experience with anyone other than Kurt. He truly is my rock and I walked so confidently into the hospital, knowing we had done everything right up until this point. We had prepared to become Lenny’s parents for so long! The promise and aura of that moment are forever ingrained in my mind, and it was only the start of the tour of emotions to come.
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IMG_5380To be continued…

Lennox’s Birth Story Part 2 (because thats how long my labor was…)