Saturday, September 22, 2012

Life is good :)

Day 1- only about 12 hours old
Wow, the first week or two with a newborn is an adventure! We have had so much fun bringing him home from the hospital and getting to know this little man that is now living with us. We're in the process of establishing a schedule and figuring out all of his "signals", but it's the most amazing thing.

Day 1 in the hospital

Today Josh and I are celebrating our five year wedding anniversary with Vincent. Talk about a great anniversary gift :) Everytime I look at Vincent my heart just melts. In the first week we've been able to have a few firsts- coming home, his first car ride, first check up with the doctor, his first walk, and first bath.

My view from the hospital room

He liked the car and was actually singing along with the music on the car ride home from the hospital. It was pretty cute! At his first check up he had put on quite a bit of weight already- he eats like a champ! When we left the hospital he weighed 3.1 kg (down from 3.4), but at his appointment he weighed 3.3 kg. He was almost back at his birth weight one week later! On his walk he loved all the bumps along the way, and even the street noise. Our neighborhood is noisy and I think he likes it.

Day 5- nap time

Getting ready for bed- Day 5

Flowers from Josh's work team

Other than the firsts this week, we've been trying to figure out breastfeeding. It's taken a lot of practice for both him and me, but we're starting to figure things out. It's not easy though! I feel hungry all the time (just like during my second trimester), and I'm just exhausted by it! Especially when he goes through a growth spurt and wants to eat every 2 hours, instead of every 3. It feels like I'm training for a marathon or something! But let me tell you, it really does bring down the belly size quickly. It's crazy how fast my big belly is being reduced.

Day 6- his cross eyed look

For me, recovery has been my main concern (after taking care of Vincent of course). I did have some natural tears during the delivery, but thankfully I didn't have an episiotomy. This just makes it difficult to move too much, and my muscles are still sore from the delivery. Just walking across the street and up and down a few stairs is difficult right now. I'm looking forward to having more energy and healing so I can get back into the swing of things. My mom and Jim arrive tomorrow morning to help for the next two weeks- I can't wait to see them! I have a feeling I'm going to cry like a baby when I see her.

Day 7- bath time! He wasn't too excited about his first bath...
He was pretty upset, but gave me this adorable face!

getting ready for his bath

Josh is so great at calming him down, not
to mention how he loves Vincent! Just
look at his face in the picture.

This post wouldn't be complete without mentioning how Josh has helped everyday! Josh has been amazing during this first week! He had to work a few days, but worked from home. He has called himself the "Camp Chef" because he has been cooking everyday for us. It's such a huge help! Otherwise I don't think I would eat! He's gone out to the store almost everyday for random things that I need and is happy to do it. I'm so happy to spend this five year anniversary with the most incredible man and I feel so lucky and blessed to have him in my life! What can I say, life is good :)

Friday, September 14, 2012

It's a boy!! Welcome Vincent!!

So, as it turns out, Tuesday was the day! Well... almost. On Wednesday, September 12th at 2:15AM, Vincent Leonardo came into this world looking like a tiny little blue smurf weighing 3.4 kg (7.5 lbs) and 20 inches long. He has light brown hair and hazel eyes (just like his dad). He's so precious and has been so amazing. It has only been a couple of days, and already I can't imagine him not being in our life.

My little smurf! He looks a little confused
about his new surroundings...
This was moments after he was born. He was
very alert and awake and even started feeding.
The whole experience with the delivery was incredible. I'm so thankful to the staff at Buzzi for making it a wonderful, comfortable (well... as much as possible) and welcoming delivery. They were fantastic. It was by far the hardest thing I have ever done in my life! But it was worth it and I don't regret anything about it. I feel like after experiencing a natural delivery, I can acomplish anything! It's very empowering.

It all started with those contractions I felt during the day on Tuesday (the mild ones of early labor started around 5AM, and continued off and on all morning into the afternoon). By the time Josh got home from work at 8 that night, it was time to go the hospital. I was having a hard time coping by myself, and the contractions were 3-5 minutes apart at that time, and it was getting difficult to talk through them. Since it was after regular hospital hours they brought us in through emergency and checked me out. It was about 9PM and at that point I was only 1cm dilated. Of course I was prepared for that kind of news, but it was still disapointing after all of those hours of contractions! Especially because they were getting more intense. They had me wait in the ER for a couple of hours before checking me again. At 11 they were ready to send us home for a couple of hours because they didn't think I was progressing fast enough and we were prepared to go. The doctor walked by and witnessed one of my contractions, and after speaking with her and describing what I was feeling, she wanted to check my dilation again. When she looked I was dilated 3cm, so they admitted me to the delivery room. Thankfully! It would have been a rough ride home (30 minutes and cobblestones)!

Day 2, sitting on dad's lap

Good morning! Day 3 (this morning)
Once settled into the room (which was huge by the way!) I took a nice long, warm shower which helped to ease the contractions a bit. It doesn't change the pain, but it helps you to relax through them. Not once did any of the nurses ask if I wanted pain meds since they new I wanted to go natural, they only told me how great I was doing and to keep it up. And they only came in the room once or twice to check Vincents heart rate.  It was just Josh and I for most of the time which was great! Once they heard me screaming through contractions they came to check on my progress. At that time I was 8cm dilated and felt the urge to push, so she encouraged me to do just that. Man, after going through those strong contractions while trying to relax, pushing was a welcome relief!! At one point his head was crowning as I finished a contraction and was unable to keep pushing. Unfortunately his poor head was stuck there for a few minutes, but to me it felt like an eternity!! That was the time that the cuss words came out... I'm pretty sure I dropped the F bomb at the top of my lungs, and the nurse just laughed. But on the next push his head was out, then a few more pushes and the rest of his body emerged. Then Josh told me, "It's a boy!" and we were completely overjoyed. It seemed to take a while to push him out, maybe 30 minutes to an hour, but time seems to stand still during the moment, so I really don't know how long it took. All I know is that I entered the delivery room around 11PM, and he arrived at 2:15AM. Without any medical or chemical interventions, and the support and encouragement of Josh, I was able to bring Vincent into a new world and he has done very well ever since. I just can't believe I was able to stick to my goal of an all natural birth!
Just before heading home this morning

Coming home today was an eye opening experience. It's a whole new world out there with Vincent in it! Driving makes me more nervous now, and I'm always wondering if he's ok. It really is amazing the love you feel immediately for child! Some of the nerves may be a little irrational... but they are definitely real! Now I understand what people talk about.

I want to give a special thank you to my amazing husband, Josh. He was so supportive through everything and was by my side the entire time. Having him there was such a relief and I couldn't have done it without him. He is the most amazing husband, and now he's such a great dad! Seeing him with Vincent is the cutest thing and he is such a proud dad. I love you so much and am so lucky to have you!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Is today the day?

Today I am 39 weeks and I feel like it could be the big day for Bambino to greet the world. Of course, everyday I hope it's the day, but I've been having mild contractions all morning and they keep going. I'm hoping it progresses so we can meet the little bugger :)

In the past week I've been trying to stay rested (and have been exhausted every day!), walk a lot, and keep my mind busy so I'm not constantly wondering about Bambino arriving. We've met some new friends, and I've connected with some old ones. One of Josh's co-workers just moved to Milan (he's American, but his wife is Italian), so we met up with them for dinner last week. That was really fun! Justin and Enrica were very nice and I hope we can hang out with them more. I also connected with an old sorority sister, Erin, that was visiting Italy for the Formula 1 races last weekend in Monza. We briefly met up the other night for a catch up before she flew back to the states. I haven't seen her since she graduated my sophomore year, so it was fun to hear what she has been up to. She also brought Bambino a red Ferrari shirt which is so sweet and cute! We love it :) We also had a birthday celebration on Saturday night for Marina and Andrea- that was a lot of fun! It was also a good Italian lesson for us, everyone there was Italian or spoke fluent Italian, so it was good listening practice.

As for pregnancy stuff, last Friday was definitely a turning point for me. I could feel Bambino dropping even more and I knew that the big day was coming soon. He/she had dropped a little before then, but now I can actually see the top of my uterus and it's noticeable to other people (it's no longer under my ribs). What's strange is that since Bambino is sitting lower, he/she is putting a lot of pressure on my hips and lower back. As a result I get these weird cramps on my inner thigh when the head moves. I can tell when Bambino stretches because I get a strong pain shooting down my inner thigh- fleeting, but painful. It seems that maybe he is sitting on a nerve?

Today I had an ultrasound to check Bambino's growth, and he/she is still a big baby! Everything looks good and it also looks like things are starting to progress- I'm effaced (they didn't say how much) but not dilated yet. Tomorrow I have my 39 week check up- more ultrasounds, blood/urine check, etc. Hopefully I won't need the appointment, but we'll see! We're getting anxious to meet Bambino, so the fact that things are progressing is really exciting! It makes me feel like the big day is just around the corner. Maybe today is the big day?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Full term and waiting...

Last week was number 37 and I am officially full term! My due date is now 15 days away! It's strange, during my whole pregnancy I've wanted to just get to this point so Bambino is fully developed and ready for the world. Now that it's here, it seems like time has just completely stopped! Knowing that he/she could come at any time and we are just waiting really does make the last few weeks seem longer than they really are. Now I know what all of those moms were talking about when they said the last month is the longest!

37 weeks, 2 days
My belly literally looks like a HUGE Easter egg!
A few things that have happened in the past week or so- I've have a couple of doctors appointments to check Bambinos growth, and my progress as well. Everything looks healthy with no worries. Although, in Italy they are still worried because Bambino is bigger than the average baby here. What can I say... we're American! Overall, the growth is averaging out, but the abdominal circumference is still off the charts! Apparently we're going to have a little Buddha baby :) Because of the big belly, the baby already weighs a lot according to their measurements. I won't say how much at this point since we have the wagers listed on facebook, you'll have to keep guessing ;)

How am I feeling? Well, for the most part I still feel pretty good. The feet are still swelling every day, but the long walks I go on help with that. I'm able to walk a good 2-3 km each day (it usually takes about 45 min to an hour, sometimes with multiple walks), so that's a nice relief from the stopped clock! I also have a new walking buddy, Jennifer (my friend that just moved here from Chicago). She's joined me on a few walks and it's nice to have a girlfriend to talk to while exercising.  I'm finding that my lower back is really sore these days. Almost every night Josh rubs my lower back and it feels so great! But then the next day it hurts again. The good news is that I only have to endure this for a couple more weeks! Now that the baby has dropped a little he/she is also sitting right on my bladder... so trips to the bathroom are more frequent, and this makes it hard to get a good night's sleep. I'm in the bathroom 4-5 times each night now! On the brighter side, I can breathe a lot better and don't get winded anymore. At the same time, I now get inner thigh cramps because Bambino is sitting lower than before and blocking a nerve or something. It usually happens when I walk which is strange, but it's really painful and it usually makes me double over. I don't think it's a blood clot because the symptoms are very different- so don't worry!

Nesting? Yes... I've been trying to clean the apartment a little each day- a good thorough cleaning as I go. It looks a lot better! A few projects that have already been tackled include the baby's "corner" in the guest room, cleaning and organizing the pantry and linen closets, cleaning everything for Bambino (clothes, sheets, toys, etc), scrubbing floors (but they get dirty the next day... so frustrating!), overhauling the bathroom, dusting every nook and cranny (same problem as the floors...), and tons of laundry. But most of my nesting energy has gone into research for having a natural birth, and also cooking things for after Bambino arrives. Since it's just me and Josh, it might be difficult to cook after the baby comes, so I've been making some simple meals and putting them in the freezer. It's also a great way to pass the time that seems to have stopped!
Bambino's corner. See all the boxes of diapers I mentioned before?
Also, the box under the crib is packed full of diapers... I think we're
set with diapers for a while!
I love the changing pad cover! Kinda hard
to see here, but it has a giraffe, elephant and
a turtle on it :)
You can see the blanket that Auntie Leslie made for Bambino,
I love it!!

Contractions? Yes, I've felt some Braxton Hix contractions for the past few weeks and I think I had some mild contractions the other day (they felt like minor menstrual cramps), but nothing serious yet. I think my body is just getting ready for the big day.

We're looking forward to meeting the little guy/girl! Hopefully Bambino comes soon :) I'm definitely nervous for the actual delivery, but I feel my usual mentality of "let's get this show on the road!" kicking in... I think I'm ready!