Closing Out Bump Watch 2014! And Willem’s Birth Story

Bump Watch 2014
I must say, I have been terribly impressed by what the body can go through re: babymaking. Just the sheer SIZE and dimensions to which I grew were astounding to me.

Case in point: bump watch 2014, weeks 38-40:
Bump Watch 2014: Weeks 38-40.

Compared to weeks 6-9:
Bump Watch, 2013: Weeks 6-9.

See? Holy crap. And now, 4.5 weeks after Willem’s birth, I stepped on the scale to find I’m about two pounds above the weight I was when I learned I was pregnant on June 8, 2013. How in the heck does THAT happen?! I’m not complaining. I’m just amazed.

And now? Now I have this sweet little guy who, just in the last few days, has begun cooing and making little squeaks and smiling at me (instead of just sleep smiling after a good meal; he actually laughed in his sleep post-middle-of-night feeding this week, which was pretty darn adorable). It’s been very tough in some ways – a lot of ways, really – caring for a newborn. Probably the toughest thing I’ve done will be THIS. To all the parents out there, that’s probably the biggest “DUH” statement of all time. I just had no concept of it until we brought this little guy home with us. I wouldn’t trade it for anything, of course, but newborns? Tough.
Happy dapper baby.

Willem’s Birth
I figure I should also get his birth story down before I forget. Actually, I feel like I already was in such a different world throughout it all that my memory of it will not be very accurate. It was such a surreal experience, and I definitely feel like a total bad ass for getting through it in one piece with this awesome little guy at the end.

The start: my first day of maternity leave was Monday, 2/17, and I had a midwife appointment that morning. She had me set up an appointment for Thursday to check on baby’s overall health since we were officially “overdue.” She said, though, “I really don’t think you’ll make it to then.”

I bought a bunch of picture frames at Michael’s for our wedding photos, then headed home before the latest ice and snow storm could hit. I finished our wedding photo album, set up the changing table area in the baby’s room, walked out… and my water broke.

That was surreal experience number one. I called Chris, then the midwife. There was meconium in the fluid, which can be normal or can mean the baby has had some distress. We headed to the hospital right away because of it, and on the way there we realized my contractions were 2.5 minutes apart already. It was pouring rain, which turned to ice just as we pulled into the hospital (and later heavy snow).

I was doing pretty well for a while. We had our music playing the whole time, and I was able to roll and bounce and moan away on the birthing ball for a while. Early on, this jerky doctor barged into my room and wanted to hook me up to some machine that would flush the amniotic fluid out and would also have made me bed bound. Willem’s heart rate dropped once (it actually continued to have some concerning dips). Apparently, this doc is known for doing this crap, because my nurse called my midwife right away and got her in there stat. My birthing classes came in handy just for helping me speak up for myself. With nasty doc there, I said something like, “I’ve got one doctor making me feel like my baby is under incredible distress and I’m an idiot for not doing this invasive procedure and another telling me we can monitor it.” Thank goodness my midwife was there to tell me the doc was being an idiot.

Things got really super intense fast after that. I almost fainted on the birthing ball and had to lie down on the yoga mat. Apparently, I was there for a long time. I remember almost throwing up a lot, and at one point Chris totally got to witness me take a dump in the bathroom (I asked him to help me with a courtesy flush). 🙂 Time all blurs together, and all modesty and logical thought went completely out the window. They say to just think about the contraction you are currently dealing with. Well, there was no way I could really think about anything else. For a long time I was on all fours on the bed, rolling my hips around and moaning a whole lot just to get through each contraction. In between, I would fall back into child’s pose on the bed. I think I might have even been sleeping in between. I don’t know, I was completely unaware of my surroundings.

At one point, ten people all came rushing into the room. The baby’s vitals dropped pretty severely, I guess. He was okay, but that kind of shifted things. I remember my midwife checking me (I believe I was writhing in agony during that particular check), and I was only 7-8 cm. She recommended an epidural, and I was all for it. Honestly, I just couldn’t see how I was going to make it any longer, and if you’re wishing for a c-section the pain is so bad, you know you’ve got problems. I had just reached the point where I literally couldn’t NOT push, and they were telling me I somehow had to wait. And the pain and effort of getting through each contraction was just too too much. I can’t even describe that pain. Plus, if we had needed an emergency c-section, they would have put me completely under since I didn’t have the epidural in, and Chris wouldn’t have been allowed to see our baby’s birth.

So I got an epidural, and it saved me. I slept for maybe a half hour and was fully dilated. For the first hour of pushing, though, I couldn’t feel anything. I don’t even really count it as pushing. At 3 am, there was a nursing shift change. The new nurse tried getting me to push, then asked if I wanted the epidural turned off. We did that and within 5 minutes I could feel pressure again, and we started pushing for real. I was so so lucky. The epidural doc came back and was able to turn the dose up just enough to cut the pain again once that kicked back in, but I was totally able to feel my pushing, move around in the bed, squat, etc. I think it saved me from a c-section.

We pushed for about an hour and a half, just me, Chris, and the awesome nurse, Crystal, who coached me through it all. Chris says he has never – and probably will never – look at a vagina for that extended of a period again. He’s hopefully right! We got to the point where it was baby go-time, the nurse called my midwife to come back, and I think Willem was born within 10 or 15 minutes of her getting to the room.

Birthing a baby is crazy. I still can’t believe I pushed him out of me. The midwife gave me an episiotomy, which pissed me off a little, but whatever. I’ve healed, and my other aches and pains were worse. I was mostly so so glad I was not trying to care for Willem and recovering from a c-section because, holy crap, I’m up off and on all night with this little nugget. Anyway, back to the actual birth part: I pushed and pushed, and suddenly he was just… out. They put him on my stomach for a moment, someone said it was a boy, Chris cut the cord, then because of the meconium, they did some pretty intense suctioning of his airway. I got stitched up, Chris watched them work on Willem, and then he was back in my arms. He breastfed for about 2.5 hours after being born.

TL;DR: Willem Altair Koester was born 5:35 am on Tuesday, 2/18/14. He’s 21.5 in long, 8 lbs 13 oz and just awesome.


17 Days… Not That I’m Counting

The belly can no longer be contained! Not by maternity shirts or winter parkas or yoga pants. I think this is Chris’ favorite part about my suddenly gigantic stomach: the fact that it peeks out at the world nearly all the time, and I can’t even tell (or, for that matter, see it).

20140128. The belly can no longer be contained.

Bump Watch 2014: We’re Full Term, Baby!

37 weeks today, and my belly is quite the sight!

20140125. Bump Watch 2014: Weeks 34-37.

A few other pregnancy-related things:

      • Getting out of (or even rolling over in) bed is becoming an Olympic sport. My own personal winter Olympics. I’ll show you, Sochi!

20140125. 37 weeks.

    • The hospital bag is packed as much as it can be, and the car seat is now in Chris’ car.

20140125. Hospital packing list.

    • I have fantastic friends: Maggie gifted us a wonderful chicken kids book, chicken “feed me” onesie, sitz bath tea (which smells so good I want to drink it… don’t worry, I won’t), and even meal worms for the chickens! We also received an amazing vintage TV night light from one of Chris’ co-workers, then splurged a little at Tractor Supply Company this afternoon: baby’s first Carhaart overalls and a farm book with beautiful block print art.

20140125. Amazing gifts and amazing finds!

Baby's first TV!

The only TV our kid will ever have in his/her room.

Tractor Supply Company is officially my favorite store.

If I didn’t already own a pair of rubber boots, these would SOOO be mine. I heart Tractor Supply Company.

  • The last week has felt like a month. I think that means I’m (as) ready (as I’ll ever be).

In other news, Birdie was exceedingly needy yesterday. Normally, she’s pretty cool with just hanging out while I work, but yesterday she would have none of that whole closed-office-door business.

BEFORE (this was coupled with some of the saddest little moans I’ve heard her make):

Birdie really really really wanted to hang out with me today.

AFTER (happily chewing on her Kong on the office/nursery rug). Oh, little Bird:

Happy pup, finally allowed into the office.

P.S. She is currently stretched out on the couch next to me with her head resting on my wrist as I type this. MY puppy.

Bump Watch 2013: Down to the Single Digits

Oh, baby, it is SO ON. We are down to about seven weeks (give or take) until I get to get my hands on this baby. I kind of can’t wait. Well, I kind of can, but I’m also getting really excited/impatient for this kid’s arrival.

Please, baby, listen to mommy and don’t be late.

Bump Watch, 2013: Weeks 30-33.

I am also finally starting to physically feel a little crummy. I have been extremely lucky this entire pregnancy – no puking, very little nausea, not much in the way of mood swings or cravings. But now I’m starting to have some pretty craptastic sciatica pain, as well as hip and leg issues at night. Yoga and walking the doggie definitely help a lot, and I have felt pretty good in the mornings, so I can get most of my stuff done in the mornings and putter by evening time. I just want to keep moving so I can be in tip top shape for the marathon of labor!

In happy news, though, I just finished this adorable bear, and I’m rather in love.

20131229. Teddy bear.

Giving Thanks, the Wrap-Up (in Which My Family Is Amazeballs)

Right after Christmas, Thanksgiving is my favorite. I mean that in an Elf sort of way. Actually, I generally relate to this clip perhaps a little too much this time of year.

Chris and I went up to Chicago and had a wonderful Thanksgiving at my aunt’s house with my parents, aunt and uncle, and some of my cousins and their kids. Food, family, football: the Thanksgiving trifecta. It was a warm glow kind of afternoon, and I’m not just talking about the weather.

20131128. Me and Chris. Our amazing baby shower!

On Saturday, my mom threw us the best baby shower ever. For real, the best. It was at a tea house near their place, complete with your choice of 50+ types of tea, personal tea pots, mismatched (gorgeous) China cups and saucers, and delicious itty bitty sandwiches and desserts.

20131128. Grandma, Amy, me, and Pam. Our amazing baby shower!

The women in my family are pretty rad, too. They are down to Earth, funny, silly, loving, generous, REAL ladies who inevitably have a serious hoot any time they get together. Our shower was no different. I think my favorite part was getting to spend the morning with them all.

20131128. Shawna, Braelyn, me, and Chris. Our amazing baby shower!

That beautiful “little” girl standing next to me? I was her nanny when she was 6 months old until she was 13 months old. It’s hard to believe that was 11 years ago!

I also feel like we are so ready for this baby – at least, as far as “stuff” is concerned! Between my parents’ astounding generosity and these amazingly generous ladies, I am overwhelmed with gratitude – and BABY STUFF. I don’t know how they managed it, but we didn’t even have any duplicate gifts. Well done, family!

20131128. Bibs from Pam. Our amazing baby shower!

Wait… we’re going to be PARENTS?!

Of course I don’t have a single photo yet of my mom and me! (Hint, hint, Chris – you need to upload your shots stat). I got a wild hair when we got back home Saturday and managed to unpack and put together almost all of our goodies. Here are a few outtakes from the office/nursery (heavy on the “nursery” part):

20131205. The office is giving way to the nursery.

My desk gets more and more interesting every day.


20131205. Baby's got the goods.

An army of sleepers, the most amazing chicken hat, and tiny baby booties knitted 34 years ago by my grandmother, now for our little one.


20131205. Baby's got the goods.

A blanket my aunt Beth embroidered for me when I was a baby, art I made for the kid, and the most ingenious storage idea ever for tiny baby things.

Thanksgiving weekend also meant another four weeks of BUMP WATCH 2013. We’ve learned the kid now weighs 3.5 pounds, which puts it in the 80th percentile for weight. No wonder I feel so rotund!
Bump Watch, 2013: Weeks 26-29.

Bump Watch 2013 (and Even More Exciting: Closet Watch 2013!)

RE: Bump Watch 2013. Yeah, yeah, yeah. My belly keeps getting bigger. Big whoop, right?*

Bump Watch, 2013: Weeks 22-25.

Let’s move on to… CLOSET WATCH 2013! I am entirely too pleased with my new bedroom closet. Here’s the before and after; first, we tore out the old hardware, and Chris patched, primed, and painted. Finally, it was shelving time. The best part is we get to remove the ugly-ass plywood dresser that was taking up space and causing a middle-of-the-night tripping hazard in our smallish bedroom.

20131103. Bedroom closet before and after.

Next up: getting the nursery closet done before Thanksgiving and my baby shower. So far, we have it painted. And, of course, we have this beautiful, very professionally done drawing. I could do this junk for a living!

20131103. High tech drawing of what the nursery closet will eventually look like.

*Note: Fear not, I mostly kid about the boring-ness of my giant belly. I’m super excited about it, really, and the little creature inside who just will not stay put. For real, when we were on vacation one night, it felt like its little heels were jabbing into the right side of my stomach. Usually, it’s more like dull thumps. Chris said it reminded him of this (not safe for work) Dave Chappelle clip:

Bump Watch 2013: Time Is NOT ON MY SIDE

Okay, seriously, guys. Time needs to take a chill pill and SLOW THE H-E-DOUBLE-TOOTHPICKS DOWN. I’m starting to freak a little bit.

Maybe part of that is due to our first daycare visit last week (at which we were informed it’s unlikely our half-baked baby will get in before he/she turns one). Maybe it’s because I suddenly feel quite rotund. Whatever the reason, I would very much like time to quit acting like a reckless teenager and follow the damn speed limit for once.

Blah blah, whatever, pregnancy fears, whatever. It’s bump watch update time. Weeks 18-21, bitches!

Bump Watch, 2013 - weeks 18-21.

Shall we take a moment to compare? See Exhibits B, C, and D. I remember thinking at 11 weeks my stomach was really popping out. HA! HA HA HA!!!

Bump Watch, 2013: Weeks 6-9.

Bump Watch, 2013: Weeks 10-13.

Bump Watch, 2013: Weeks 14-17.

And Now Back to Your Regularly Scheduled Bump Watch

Our wedding photographers (Bowersock Photographers) are not only awesome, sweet, kind people, they are also ridiculously talented professionals who deliver sheer beauty in their shots. I cannot get over our “sneak preview” photo slideshow they put together. It completely captures our day, and it makes me teary-eyed every time I re-watch it (which has been a lot):

Not only did we get married on Saturday, we also rang in week 17 of our future-parenthood-waiting-period (aka pregnancy). Which means we have another four-week belly comparison shot to share with the world!

I think at this point it’s safe to say there’s a baby in there:

Bump Watch, 2013: Weeks 14-17.

Sit Back, Relax, and Enjoy the Ride

I keep telling people that Chris and I are trying to pack all of our big life events in at once.

  • I spent a transformative summer at the urban farming apprenticeship, and I feel like a more balanced, happy, and just BETTER human being coming out of it. I will be forever grateful for this experience.
  • We are getting married in less than a month.
  • And drum roll please… we will be welcoming a new little one into our little lives next February.

No, really. Did you read that last bullet? Take a closer look. That’s right (second drum roll, please)… WE ARE HAVING A BABY!

20130728. It's official!There is a ton to say on this subject, but the long and short of it is:

  • I’m feeling pretty good.
  • I’ve started getting used to this whole idea/not being totally freaked out and worried at every pang that something is wrong.
  • I’m meeting a new midwife tomorrow and hopefully switching practices.
  • Chris is an awesome daddy-to-be, buying me candied ginger when I was in the throes of first trimester nausea, coming to my doctor appointments (even if it’s just for moral support when dealing with idiots), and peeling me off the couch every night after I’ve fallen asleep in the middle of yet another movie or episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

I also seem to have popped out somewhere around 11 weeks, although I think to everyone else I probably still look like I just ate a few too many cookies. Which I have, but that’s besides the point.

Bump Watch, 2013: Weeks 6-9.

Bump Watch, 2013: Weeks 10-13.