March 31, 2010

Easing Back Into Fitness

Nearly four weeks ago, my body went thru what I am calling "My Most Athletic Endeavor"....21 hours of labor followed by a C-section that resulted in my beautiful baby girl. Most of the woman I know, who underwent a C-section, took nearly a week to reach a level where they could move without pain. I was walking the mall only 3 days post delivery. I credit my speedy "recovery" to the fact that I remained active during the duration of my pregnancy. After all, I worked out the day I went in to be induced.

In spite of my speedy recovery, my doctor forbid me from exercise for six week. Now, that I am approaching the 4 week mark, I find my thoughts turning to exercise - and how I am going to approach my post baby workouts.

The first obstacle is going to be scheduling. Up till now, I have always worked out in the evenings - heading to the gym before heading home. Now, I have to consider the fact that I will be away from my daughter for 8 hours - do I want to tack another hour onto to that - if I continue in my old routine......I would not pick her up until 6:30 or 7:00 every night.

The second thing I have to consider is "How much do I do after a 6 week hiatus?". 6 weeks of no workouts means I have likely lost some muscle tone and aerobic endurance.

And lastly, what are my fitness goals post-pregnancy? For the last 9 months, my workouts were designed to help me maintain a good level of fitness and prepare my body for labor and delivery. Those goals were met, but what are my goals now.

After several conversations with M, consultation from my trainer, and discussion with my doctor...I have developed a plan for easing back into my fitness routine. Dr. H has cleared me to starting walking 30 minutes a day on my treadmill, with restrictions on speed - no faster than 3.5 mph hour and on the incline. These workouts will help me to gain a sense of where my body is and my aerobic capacity. Once I reach 6 weeks post delivery, I will be cleared to resume my workout levels.

My new fitness goals are two-fold. I want to develop more muscle tone and I want to run a 5K in the fall. Therefore, my workout plan will consist of 3 days a week of weight training and 3 days of doing the Couch to 5K plan. The scheduling of my workouts is still to be determined - as I need to figure out how my work schedule, M's work schedule, and Joycelen will mesh. However, I envision that my Couch to 5K workouts will likely happen in the mornings prior to work. And the weight training will happen twice during the work week and once on the Mom has offered to watch Joycelen so that M and I can go to the gym later in the evenings. Her offer will allow us to have time with our daughter immediately after work.

That's my plan. Do any of you have suggestions?

March 25, 2010

First Doctor's Visit

Joycelen had her newborn check-up on Wednesday. At the appointment, she weighed 7 pounds, 13 ounces, was 21.25 inches long, and had a head circumference of 15 inches. These measurements put her in the 20th percentile for weight, the 75th percentile for length and the 90th percent tile for her head circumference. Dr. C, our pediatrician, expressed a slight concern for her weight. In nearly 3 weeks, Joycelen had only gained 2 ounces over her birth weight.

Dr. C stated that the apparent lack of gain could be attributed to a difference between his office scale and the scale at the hospital. Therefore, he advised that we have her re-weighed at our hospital today, and again in 5 days. If she has not gained 2.5 ounces in that time frame, we will follow up at his office.

The rest of the appointment went very well. Joycelen only cried when Dr. C looked in her ears - and to further display her displeasure - she peed on his table. We all had a good laugh at that one.

Today, Nana Becki (M's mom) weighed Joycelen on the hospital scales and she weighed 8 pounds and half an ounce. I think that's a good sign.

March 23, 2010

Anniversary Recap

I had great intentions on posting an entry detailing all that I had learned in my first year of marriage. However, the demands of a new baby have kept me away from the computer. Now, two days after my anniversary, I find myself with time to blog - but no wisdom. Instead, I will offer you a recap of the amazing anniversary weekend M created for me.

Friday night, M took me to dinner at The Inn at Blueberry Plantation. We dined on delicious food and enjoyed wonderful conversation. It was our first time away from Joycelen since her birth. While I did miss her, I managed to focus on my wonderful husband. After our meal, we just drove thru our town, and wound up one town over at the Sonic Drive-In - where I was treated to my favorite dessert - an M&M Sonic Blast.

Sunday was our actual anniversary but with church and family obligations, we did not have time to exchange our gifts or keep the tradition of eating our cake. On Monday, M called and asked me to pick him up at his office for lunch. I was happy to oblige. When Joycelen and I arrived, M took over driving and headed away from the restaurant I thought we were dining at and into town. I was a bit perplexed and became more confused when we pulled into the parking lot of our favorite jeweler. I questioned M and he said "You need to pick an anniversary present."

My heart melted as I thought we had agreed to keep our gifts small this year - due to Joycelen's arrival. Apparently, M had other ideas. After browsing for awhile, we settled on a gorgeous white gold ring in a design called "Love Knot". It is simple but beautiful (I'll post a pic when it comes in). We then shared a lunch together. And when M came home from work, we exchanged our cards and the small gifts that we had purchased. I gifted M with four books from his favorite author, and I received a bag of my favorite truffles.

When we married last year, we had planned on taking a big vacation to celebrate our first anniversary. However, having our baby girl changed our plans. Looking back over the weekend, I am finding that I enjoyed our small, simple celebrations much more. And I am looking forward to what the next year holds for us.

March 17, 2010

March 15, 2010

I think he is in love...

Last night, Mikey asked me "Is she perfect because she is or because she's mine?"

March 14, 2010

My First Week as a Mother

On 4:25 p.m. March 5th, I became a mother. The moment was not exactly as I had imagined it would be. Instead, of hearing my doctor tell me to make a final push and having my daughter laid on my chest; I was lying on an operating table waiting to hear that first cry. It was then that I learned my first lesson of parenthood - "You can make plans for your children, but they will often take you in totally different directions".

Hours later, in the hospital room, I held a screaming infant and looked at my frazzled husband as we tried to figure out why she was screaming. It was only after a few minutes, I had the thought to check her diaper. Checking her was something that I should have thought of sooner....I felt horrible. However, as my own Mama reminded "You'll make mistakes as a parent, better to learn to let go of the mistakes, and focus on what you do right."

I would like to tell you that the first 7 days of parenthood have been easier. But that would be a lie. Granted, having a newborn who sleeps for nearly three hours at a time, has made things considerably easier......there have been difficult moments. I have broken down in tears - worried that what we were doing was not the best thing for our daughter. Yet, I am learning that M and I have instincts in regards to our daughter and we have to trust our own judgement.

Joycelen is an absolute delight. She, M, and I have settled into a happy routine and schedule. I take most of the day shift - as I am at home - but once M walks in from the office that marks "Daddy time". We put her to bed around 10:00 p.m. and sleep blissfully until 2:00 p.m. when she cries for her first nighttime feeding. I take "first shift" - although M oftens wakes up offerring to help with the feeding and/or diaper change. Joycelen's second night feeding usually happens when M is getting ready to start his day, so he has taken over that feeding. He feeds her, burps her, and then settles her into the bed with me. She and I then snuggle and sleep until 8:00 a.m.

7 days ago, I entered a new stage of life. It is a stage that has already been fraught with trials, challenges, and especially blissful moments. I can not wait to see what lies ahead.

March 11, 2010

March 10, 2010

New Parenting Bloopers

M and I read, read, and read all kinds of articles in preparation for becoming parents. We picked apart the brains of our family, our friends, and our coworkers. We knew that there was a lot that we still didn't know....but we thought we had a handle on the parenting thing..... here are just a few of our bloopers from the first few days

- Friday night, 2:00 a.m. : Our sweet precious baby morphs from content infant to screaming monster. She has been fed, is properly swaddled in her blanket, we've walked (well M did), we've rocked, we've sang. Why is she crying????? Then it hits us -- neither of us had checked her diaper since she had been brought to us. Oops!

-Sunday night, 8:00 p.m. - Joycelen's bathtime. We take her into our bathroom, turn on the wall heater to get the room nice and warm, strip her down to just her diaper. Um....where's the baby wash? I go retreive the baby wash. Um.....where's the wash cloth? M goes and gets the wash cloth. This was repeated with her towel and a clean diaper.

-Monday night, 11:00 p.m. - M is changing Joycelen's diaper. He gets her fully changed, starts to snap her onesie when he realizes it is soaking wet. Afraid that he spilt alcohol on her (from cleaning her belly button), he calls me into the nursery to perform the sniff test. It was urine. Apparently, M forgot to put another diaper under Joyceln while he dealt with the old one.

I am sure that we are going to have a lot more mishaps along the way. But they make for great stories, and keep us laughing.

A Farmer's Daughter - Joycelen @ 4 days old

Although M's primary job is project manager for a contractor - he is a farmer at heart. His grandfather raised hogs, cattle, corn, and a few other crops. His Daddy grows corn, sugar cane, and blueberries. And M is following in the tradition, working with his Daddy and his brother to grow the 12 acres of blueberries we own. Whenever I think of farming, I can't help but think of overalls. Therefore, I thought it only fitting that the next generation of the Lee family have her own pair. I think she's ready for her first tractor ride.

March 09, 2010

Joycelen's First Days at Home

Joycelen will be four days old in a few hours - and it seems as though she has been a part of our lives already. In my last post, I gave you a recap of Joycelen's birth story. I promised another post and pictures -- but the activity that is required with a newborn coupled with the fact that I am recovering from major surgery has left me little time to blog. However, this morning I have a few stolen moments that I can use to bring you up to speed on the happenings in our new family of 3.

  • We were discharged from the hospital on Sunday, March 6th around 2 p.m. Joycelen was treated as a VIP having the head charge nurse (and most senior employee) of the hospital serve as her escort.
  • Once discharged, M and I took Joycelen to my parents house where she could meet her cousins Trevor, Trenton, and Kaitlyn. The boys were standing at the door waiting for us - and sprinted to our truck when we pulled up. Trevor (the oldest) looked at Joycelen and proclaimed "I love her already." Trenton kissed her but was more focused on the fact that I was not pregnant - he kept saying "Kimbo, no more tummy, no more tummy". Kaitlynn's reacation was a little more subdued - but for a 5 month old that's to be expected - but she did smile at Joycelen - so I have a feeling they are going to be great friends.
  • The boys have taken to calling Joycelen...."Uncle Mikey's Baby"......
  • After visiting with my parents, we went to M's parents to check in with them and to eat some leftovers. M's brother, sister-in-law, and two nieces joined us. The girls (Lacey and London) nearly came to blows over who would get to hold her first. In the end they did it together, and have regularly been showering her with kisses.
  • Following all the visits, M and I made it home. It was a special moment carrying in our daughter. Suddenly, our home felt a little more special.
  • We took Joycelen to Sunday night services at church where everyone marveled at her, how much she looked like her Daddy, and the fact that I was recovering so quickly.
  • M went back to work yesterday, which was hard for both of us. But thankfully, my Mama has agreed to come stay with me during the day. She has been a HUGE blessing - not only keeping me company, helping with Joycelen, but she has also taken on most of my household chores. She had my floors swept and mopped within 15 minutes of arriving.
  • Since I was feeling so good yesterday, I convinced my Mama to go shopping - we went to Walmart for a few items, met M for lunch (He wanted to see Joycelen and I think she was missing him), and then walked the mall before heading home.
  • My high level of activity yesterday has left me worn down today. Last night, my feet were severely swollen, I had huge bags under my eyes, and I was a total watering pot - crying about the littlest thing. M took charge and ordered me to remain in bed for most of the morning today, and to spend most of my afternoon either on the couch or in the recliner. He has already called my Mama this morning to make sure I'm following orders. It may seem a bit silly but it shows that he cares, and he knows that if he didn't take a stand - I'd probably keep pushing myself to far, to soon.

That's all that's happening in our world. I will post again tonight with some new pictures of Joycelen!

March 07, 2010

Joycelen's Birth Story

Joycelen's birth story began at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 4 when M and I checked into the labor and delivery unit at the hospital. We were immediately shown to the room that would be ours for the duration of my labor. Inside the room, we found a welcoming party of M's Mom (better known to Joycelen as Nana Becki), Dr. H, and Mrs. Annette (our night nurse and good friend of Nana Becki). I was asked to change into one of the stylish hospital gowns, provide a urine sample, and crawl into the bed.

Dr. H did a quick exam to confirm what we already knew - that my cervix was still closed. Following her exam, I was given an initial dose of cytotech and we "off to the races". Dr. H outlined our game plan for M and I, provided Mrs. Annette with some instructions, and left us for a little while. One she left, I got my I.V.'s placed and began answering the dozens of questions that are part of the nursing assessment. Around the same time, my parents and Aunt Gail arrived. Over the course of the next few hours, we all sat around - laughing, talking, and spending time with one another. I began contracting almost immediately thanks to the cytotech....but they were bearable.....almost unnoticable to me. Papa Mike (M's dad) soon arrived and we all made out guesses as to when Joycelen would join the fun.

Around 9:00 p.m., my parents and Aunt Gail left so that I could attempt to nap. But the excitement kept me from napping. 10:00 o'clock came and went -- and the contractions had grown stronger enough for me to feel. Mrs. Annette said that I had a "beautiful pattern" and was convinced that we'd have a baby by morning. At 11:00 p.m., Dr. H returned to exam me again. In spite of nearly 4 hours of hard contractions, my cervix had not dilated. However, I was contracting to much for it to be safe to administer more cytotech - as it could have put Joycelen into distress. Dr. H said that we would just give my body more time to do it's thing. She left instructions with Mrs. Annettee to administer Pitocin if necessary to keep things moving in the right direction. Then she bid us good night.

Another hour and a half passed, and I grew quite uncomfortable. While my pain had not reached a 10 on the pain scale, it was rapidly approaching there (I would say it was about an 8) and the fatigure of the day was wearing on me. I felt myself beginning to get sick. Therefore, M and I made the decision to go ahead and request an epidural. The CRNA, Steve, was called and 45 minutes later -- I was pain free and much more relaxed. At this point, the foley catheter was placed -- and I began to really settle in for the night. Another exam at 2:00 a.m., showed that I was still contracting but had no dilation. Nana Becki decided at this point to catch some sleep in the ER (she'd worked an entire 12 hour shift prior to the start of the adventure) and encouraged us to do the same. So Mrs. Annette turned out the lights and M and I began a night of cat naps.

I woke up for the first time at 3:30 a.m. -- forgetting where I was and what was going on, I was momentarly freaked out by the lack of sensation in my legs. But when the fogged cleared - I could only laugh at myself. M and I dozed off and on again until Dr. H arrived for the morning exam. Her assessment was that I was nearly 50 percent effaced and close to finally reaching 1 centimeter of dilation. She promised to return after her morning rounds. At 9:00 a.m., she was back and I had reached 1 c.m. Dr. H was able to break my water - and we were all certain that Joycelen would be making her arrival shortly after lunch.

The morning shift changed and with it we bid farewell to Mrs. Annette and welcomed Mrs. Rachel and Mrs. Kim as our new nurses. They were excellent caretakers - keeping me supplied with ice chips and answering any questions I or our stream of visitors had. The morning passed quickly with visits from my parents, M's parents, M's grandmother and Aunt, and dozens of my co-workers. Before we knew it, lunchtime had arrived and with it Dr. H. We all waited anxiously certain that we'd hear how far I had come in terms of dilation. So it was disappointing to here that I had experienced no change. Furthermore, my contractions were dying down. Dr. H ordered the Pitocin and said that we'd reevaluate the situation around 3 p.m.

I mentally began preparing myself for the possibility of a C-section. While I was nervous at the thought, I felt at peace knowing that Joycelen would be joining us soon - in one form or fashion. At 3:20, my suspicions were confirmed. Dr. H's exam revealed that I had not changed at all -- and that it was decision time. M and I did not hesitate in opting for the c-section. The once calm labor room became a flurry of activity - as we signed consent forms, called family members, texted friends, and tried to calm our nerves. At 3:55 p.m, I gave M a final kiss and was wheeled into the O.R. to receive my spinal block. M soon joined me - almost immediately I could see the fear/concern in his eyes. I cracked a silly joke and soon we were both bantering......well he was bantering, I was mostly smiling as my very dry throat prevented much conversation. Steve, the CRNA kept us both informed of the proceedings.

At 4:25 p.m., Joycelen Rebecca was born. There were a few seconds of silence before I heard her first cry....and trite as it may sound it was the sweetest thing I've ever heard. It literally brought tears to my eyes. A few moments after that, the nurses brought her around for her to see. Still dirty from the birth, M and I agreed she was absolutely gorgeous. M followed the nurses out to the anteroom, where they measured, weighed, and cleaned up Joycelen. M then brought her back into the O.R. where we share our first moment as a family.

Following our moment, I sent M onto the nursery with Joycelen and Nana Becki - so he could keep an eye on her. And I remained behind in the O.R. as Dr. H closed my incision. Lying there I repeatedly thanked God for the miracle that was my daughter.

At 5:17, I was wheeled into recover where I would finally get to hold Joycelen for the first time and then to nurse her.

As I type this, it has been 36 hours since her birth. She is lying next to be sleeping peacefully, while her Daddy dozes on the couch next to our hospital bed. My heart is full. Joycelen will want to nurse soon, so I will end the post for now. I will try and post tomorrow with details about our first night as parents.....and pictures, lots of pictures of course.

But before I go, thank you to each of you who read, commented, send good thoughts, or offerred prayers on our behalf. Your love was felt each moment of this special time in our lives.

March 05, 2010

Joycelen Rebecca Lee

After nearly 21 hours of labor, a round of cytotech, and 2 doses of pitocin - my cervix remained firmly at 1 centimeter. Dr. H, M, and I decided that a c-sections was now the safest route to welcome Joycelen into the world. The decision was made at 3:35 and at 4:25 p.m. - she arrived weighing 7 pounds, 11 ounces and measuring 20.5 inches long. Her head circumference was 14.5 inches, which is why she never made into my pelvis.
Officially a day old now, she is learning the ropes of nursing (she latches well...but likes to fall asleep before finishing) and enjoying being held by her many visitors. She is sleeping in 2 to 2.5 hour snatches and only fusses when hungry or she has a dirty diaper.
I'll have a more detailed post of her birth ready to post in the next few days.
I am still holding at 1 centimeter. Dr. H will recheck me in about half an hour.
I made it to one centimeter at 9 a.m. The doctor was able to break my water. Hopefully, the pace will pick up now.

March 04, 2010

Seven hours of intense contractions led to an epidural......sleep will hopefully be coming soon.
I have been having contractions for three hours. However, my cervix has not changed.
I.V. started, monitors hooked up, now the real fun begins.

Final Preparations

Perhaps it is nerves, perhaps it is the final burst of "nesting" instinct - but for whatever reason....I have been wide wake since 4:30 this morning. For the first hour, I laid in bed watching my husband sleeping, marveling at the amazing man that God has chosen to be my partner and the father of my child. As he slept, I prayed over him - thanking God for him and asking God to protect him each day as he goes out into the world to provide for our family. 
Around 5:15, M drug himself out of bed and off to the shower. I rolled onto his now vacant side of the bed, inhaling deeply the scent of his soap and shampoo that still lingered on his pillow. Briefly, I entertained the idea of going back to sleep, but I was too restless....full of too much energy.  Therefore, while M showered, I laced up my tennis shoes and banged out a quick walk on the treadmill.  After 25 minutes of sweaty work, M was dressed and ready to head off to work.....I kissed him goodbye realizing that the next time I send him off to work....I'll do so with our daughter.
Once he was gone, I went into hyper-cleaning mode. I folded a load of clothes, started a second load, washed the few dishes in the sink, packed my breakfast, and even ironed my work clothes.  I took my own shower, then got dressed, switched the laundry once again, and did a final sweep of our home - ensuring that everything was where it needed to be.
Now, I am blogging and once I post this entry...I will head into work.  I hope to leave at lunch or a little after, so that I can come home to relax for a few hours before we head to the hospital to start the process of meeting our daughter. It is hard to believe that my 9 month journey to motherhood is ending.....but I know that the new journey that I am about to embark on will be even more amazing that the one I am leaving behind.
Thank you for sharing this journey with me. Each of your thoughts, comments, concerns.....has touched me.  Either M or I will periodically post updates about our progress. After all, you've been here for the last 9 months, you deserve to share in the final stretch.
Blessings to each of you!

March 03, 2010

Planning for Baby's Arrival

The doctor's appointment went like expected. There has been no change to my cervix - it is still closed. After some discussion, Dr. H, M and I decided that induction was our best option. I will be admitted to the hospital tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m. Beginning at 7:00 p.m., I will receive 3 rounds of medicine designed to ripen/open my cervix.  Then on Friday morning, Dr. H will break my water and we will get down to the actually birthing proccess.
M and I are excited that we will soon meet our daughter!

39 Weeks

What's Happening with Joycelen?

  • Joycelen now weighs nearly 9 pounds is probably approaching 20 inches in length.

What's Happening with Mama?

  • Total weight gain/loss: 25.5 pounds
  • Maternity clothes? Yes, but hopefully "normal clothes" are in my future -- even if they are just loungewear.
  • Best moment this week: Attending my nephew's 3rd birthday party.....I can't wait for the day I get to throw a birthday for Joycelen.
  • Food cravings: Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate
  • Belly button in or out? Still in.
  • Stretch Marks? In the home stretch and amazingly, there are still no stretch marks.
  • What I miss: Being able to go somewhere without everyone asking "No baby yet?"

What's Happening with Daddy?

  • Daddy is splitting his time between work and helping Mama with last minute projects at home.

We have another appointment with the doctor at 3:30 p.m. today. We are hopeful that we will be making decisions in regards to Joycelen's birth. I will post an update as soon as we have information!

March 01, 2010

I just completed my pre-admission paperwork. I suppose that is one more step toward delivery.