Roadtrips and Springtime Fun

Who’s ready for some topics?!

David and I have been doing a fair bit of the odd travels lately and to nowhere particularly thrilling. But when you have an infant baby and a sprightly 8 yr old that might be a good thing. Making the schlep anywhere is difficult but so worth it in order to see family and/or partake in the following…

A basketball tournament in Seattle for David! We stayed at a family member’s house which made everything a million times better having the extra room.

While in Seattle, Meg and I pushed our strollers around Bellevue Square! It was also the weekend before Mother’s Day and we happened upon this adorable photo backdrop and of course could not resist taking pics. I was a little excited.

My sister Rachel also got Meg and I these highly coveted pink Starbucks tumblers because she da best.

I walked around proud as a mother effin’ peacock pushing around my hand-me-down Bob while toting this Instagram worthy dazzling goodness. It’s been awhile since I’ve felt “cool” so thanks Rach!

A trip home for a family yard sale!

My grandmother recently passed and my grandpa moved out so our family got together for a nostalgic day of selling all the stuff in their house.

FUN FACT: My grandparents were snowbirds with a house in Yuma, AZ meaning they had lots of items from our friends south of the border. Like these beauts:

yes that is a floral fanny pack

And also some fun vests from my grandpa’s big-band days.

The kids and babies had a blast too.

Our latest trip was to Salem for another basketball tournament.

Could you JUST DIE for her shoes?

In between games, we strolled the downtown and I found a store that is 100% my aesthetic…

sadly it was closed…

I did manage to procure a mini-crown for Clara’s first birthday, however.

David and I also celebrated one year of marriage last month! It was such a great night. I made reservations at Piazza Italia and Clara was a peach the whole time.

And lately the sun has been out! Oh, the glorious sun. Makes everything better, albeit more sticky. This is the first time Clara and I have experience warm temps together and lemmetellya, homegirl and I get OUR SWEAT ON together. We both be bathin’ errr night.

But the nice weather also means a whole new way to dress!

Give me cotton overalls…

BONNETS…

Sleeveless rompers….

And GIANT velvet head bows…

Any day of the mothereffin’ week.

All for now. byeeeeeeeeeeeee

Returning to Work and Postpartum Anxiety

So, ok. This blog post title could not be more Debbie Downer if it tried but dangnamit, I’m writing it!

First things first –

GOING BACK TO WORK AFTER HAVING A KID IS HARD

Sh*t man. Like, how do people do this? Have a baby! They said. You can be a working mom! They said. Before I had Clara, I envisioned myself as one of those women who could easily make the transition. As one of those moms who could go away on fun-filled girls weekends after 4 months, baby-free. As one of those moms who could carry on exactly as before baby came along.

That kind of mom, I am not.

I am the mom who wakes up early, plucks up her still-asleep, warm and delicious (yes, delicious) little baby from her bed, wishing she could spend consecutive hours snoozing and snuggling with this little being that makes her heart LITERALLY sing. I am the mom who feels immense guilt when she gets home and realizes she has not seen her baby for 8 whole hours. I am the mom that cannot fathom leaving the baby overnight, that struggles with leaving for more than 4 hours, that misses the baby constantly, that feels like she is missing an limb when she is not with her.

I am THAT mom.

And mind you, I have no doubt that my baby is being cared for in the best way possible when we are apart. Everyone that watches Clara loves her so much, there are zero qualms about her safety or her needs not being met. It is allllll about me. My feelings. My guilt.

Currently I am working 5 consecutive, 7 hour days. There have been ups and downs. Easy days and hard days. Days where I love my situation, I feel contented in the time I get with my baby, my QT with David and E.  But then there are days where I question IT ALL.

Why am I working? I am a terrible person. She is going to forget about me. Did I read to her at all yesterday? What is she doing right now? Am I talking to her enough? Does she love me?

This is the tape that plays in my head.

So that is where we’re at. Luckily, my job is continually amazing and allows flexibility when and where I need it. I will keep you all posted on the working-mom front but this stuff is no joke. WHO FEELS ME?

And speaking of tapes playing in my head…POSTPARTUM ANXIETY! Let’s talk about it.

This is a fairly new diagnosis in the medical community I recently learned, but to anyone who struggles with generalized anxiety it should be no surprise. Give someone with crippling anxiety a baby, and yeah, there’s a good chance that person will face a whole new set of issues. Namely, me. At my last appointment with my midwife, we chatted about it. She gave me a little survey to take and each question was just SO spot on for how I am feeling rn.

“Do you find yourself in a constant state of worry?” YAS. “Do you find situations you used to enjoy to no longer be fun?” YASSSS.

What am I doing to help myself? LOTS. One thing I learned long ago (esp when it comes to mental health) is that getting off my butt and taking steps to get help is SO worth it. When I am feeling overwhelmed, anxious, depressed – whatever – the absolute best thing to do is just call the damn doc. So, in the coming weeks I have lined up appointments with my doctor and therapist because I refuse to let PPA, PPD or anything else get the better of me. I’m open to adding a medication to the lineup and also working on things in therapy.

Anyone else experience PPD or PPA? How did you survive?

Baby and Me – 3 Month Update

Hello chickens.

So, I am crying as I type this. If you think the hormones have left for good now that she is 3 months old WELL THINK AGAIN. David is currently packing up his makeshift workstation that has been the eyesore of our kitchen the past 3 months. A mess I begged him to tidy about 37642 times. And now that he is, I am a weepy, sullen mess. Why? Because David is going back to work full time tomorrow. He has been part time these past few months and has been able to work from home. And even though I have been the primary caregiver, shuffling around the house in my bathrobe and slippers, his presence has been a welcome one. Calming. He is my buddy. And he helps me with our precious girl.

And now he is packing it up. Our little cocoon of comfort and familiarity is being ripped apart. Tomorrow I will be alone. No longer able to shout out, “She just puked down my shirt!” and have David’s booming laughter fill the house in response. I suppose some women might rejoice in having the house to themselves when their partner goes back to work BUT NOT ME. I love my partner and rely on him so much.

So the next two weeks will be just C and me. I am pretty excited to have a little more time with her before my epic return to work mid-April. Which bring me to my first official topic. Ok, wiping away the tears now and pouring myself some wine. brb.

CHILDCARE.

This is a place I sincerely wish it did not have to go to. A place that, upon touring, breaks my heart. A place I will feel guilty about EVERY SINGLE DAY.  A little place called Day Currr.

David and I have toured everything from the creme de la creme with an infant “curriculum” at $1,700/monthly, to the fluorescent lights and poop-stained carpet place  at $1,250/monthly. And TBH, not a whole lot separates the two besides the following factors:

  1. Cleanliness, obviously.
  2. Quality of care takers.
  3. Niceness of facility.

These things of course, are all vastly important. But they ALL are forced by law to adhere to a bunch of rules making the differences things that just make you, the parent, will only worry about. Clara won’t know if she is in the Taj Mahal or in a tent under the freeway. It’s all about appeasing US, the parents. Making us feel less guilty about leaving our sweet baby for 8 hours a every day.

Anyway, the whole issue just has me reeling. Before I had a baby, I always thought I would be one of those people who could easily go back to work after 3 months. I predicted I would CRAVE going back. And in some ways, I do. I love my job, my company, and especially the friendships I have. I miss the adult interaction, exercising my brain in a different way and putting on actual pants. But in the same breath, I am absolutely gutted at the idea of not being with Clara. Like, it actually makes me feel sick. The thought of leaving my tiny baby everyday has me feeling eviscerated, anxious and guilty. So here I am. Stuck in a glass case of emotion ala Ron Burgundy. It is reassuring to know that I am not alone. That so many parents struggle with this and get through it. I’ve been told to wear waterproof mascara for the first few days back. But the way I can cry, I might need a Tyvek suit.

I digress. Here is more randomness about my physical state:

I am officially out of the woods in the pain department.  And I feel back to my normal self again. I feel able to do mostly everything I was able to do before getting pregnant, with the following exceptions:

  • Running (only attempted this once)
  • The ability to easily touch my toes (flexibility = GONE. sayonara all the progress I made in yoga)
  • Easily walking uphill (SO. WINDED)

On the flip side though and looking at things GLASS HALF FULL…

  • I drink way more water now #milkmaid
  • My arms are getting stronger #babyholding
  • It only takes me one glass of wine to get a little buzzed #cheapdate

Moving onto all things baby!

And  I am not going to act like any of this is earth-shattering news. I mean, she is a human baby. They all pretty much do they same crap. I’m not about that “my 3 month-old’s favorite activities include” life. We’re just living our lives over here.

Let’s let the pictures tell a story, as they do.

Tummy Time! haaaates it

Optimal Burping Position

E set them up to watch TV together like this.

Unicorn hat and Zutano Fleece Booties from Nana

Fun with Snapchat

 

Wonder Woman bb

BB Denim

This photobombing little boy deserves a slow clap

First Blazers Game

 

Let us now move onto sleep. A topic I am leery to write about because I feel I must knock on wood each and every time I utter these words out loud, let alone on THE NET but here it is…our girl is a great sleeper. Since the day she was born. I mean, of course we had our nights of up being up every 2 hours. Of taking hours to get her to fall asleep. But those nights have been few. And nights where we all get 5,6 and sometimes even 7-9 hour chunks are the norm. Hip hop hooray. Sleep is awesome.

Other than that, everything is fairly normal. She eats. She naps. She smiles and “talks” to us. She farts like an absolute champ. She has a little bald spot on the back of her head. I am obsessed with her in every sense of the word. I am head over heels in love with my husband and stepdaughter. E absolutely adores her sister and is so gentle and sweet with her. David balances her in one hand while I scream at him.

Life is good you guys. Life is good.

Clara’s Nursery Tour

Good day crumpets!

I would like to start this out by saying that I am emphatically against “room tours” in the typical sense of the word. You know the ones. Those we see on YouTube or Instagram, flexing $2,000 Restoration Hardware cribs and linens worth more than a car payment that are NOT real life. They are meant to make us normal people feel bad. So bad, in fact, that I can no longer go inside Pottery Barn Kids without breaking a sweat and feeling guilty that I cannot provide this picture perfectness for my kid.

Is this just me?

When our 3rd bedroom was finished (it was a loft space prior), I started having minor palpitations about how I would decorate it. What “theme” should I pick? Should I stick with my go-to Shabby Chic taste?  Or should I aim for one of those cool, Instagram, minimalist, gender neutral style spaces?

How much money did I really want to spend on this room?

The answer: NOT MUCH.

I decided to let things happen naturally. Paint the walls a color that will stand the test of time. Fill this room with things we love,  that evoke nostalgia and that make us think, “Clara will love this”. So here we are…here’s her room.

Crib from a friend! Woohoo!

All the bedding as well as the mobile is from Target’s Shabby Chic line. The patterns are TO DIE. Apologies for the super wrinkly crib skirt. The blanket draped over the crib was a gift that my friend’s mom made. The big flowers are from Hobby Lobby. They were inspired by the $50 versions I saw and died over at Pottery Barn Kids:

This ballerina fitted crib sheet is also Shabby Chic from Target!

Can you handle theeee cuteness of these little stuffies?

This changing table is Ikea, but we got it from Offer Up for $70.

All her little shoes make me so happy. Especially the Toki Doki Donutella moccasins!

How sweet is this little music box? It was a gift from David’s aunt Sandi who got it in Vietnam.

This is a bouncy chair from Ikea and it is super comfy. The little Clara chair is actually from Pottery Barn Kids and was a gift from my amazing work.

The swan bust is amazing! It is from Target and I love it.

This is a Madame Alexander doll. I also have a set of Little Women dolls from Madame Alexander which I want to get up on a shelf.

Mostly all the stuffies in her room were gifts. The Jellycat ones are SO soft and wonderful.

The other little cove of the room has a couch and TV. So far it has been awesome to have in there and E loves hanging in here to watch her shows. Also LOVE the Pusheen pillow :).

UPDATE: My mom sewed blackout curtains on the back of these Parisian panels  David’s mom got us that we have had for awhile. The work perfectly in this room!

And that’s it! She is not sleeping in here quite yet but we are all ready to go. I have loved decorating this little space for her!

Clara Meets her Namesake

Hi there chickadees!

Several weeks ago, David and I took our darling girl to the Moda Center for a Portland Trailblazers season ticket holder appreciation event. They do a sensational job of putting on this shin-dig. Season ticket holders are treated to a complimentary dinner, games, swag and the opportunity to MEET THE PLAYERS!

With David and I being the Blazers fanatics that we are, this is always a really fun night. I mean, last year I met Ed Davis and got him to FLEX with me (did I mention I wore a shirt with his face on it?)

Memoriezzz…

NBD

This year, we had a baby in tow. Our baby. Who we partially named after CJ McCollum (read that story here).

She was only a month old at the time and lemme just tell ya, I was pretty friggen’ nervous. Hello MEASLES OUTBREAK. Nice to meet ya. Luckily, we had her 1-month pediatrician appointment that morning where I asked the following questions:

  1. Should we NOT take her to the Moda Center? (at the time, there was a reported outbreak there.) Doctor said no, the entire place had been sanitized top to bottom AND the bacteria only lives for 2 hours anyway.)
  2. Do we need to bring noise cancelling headphones? Doctor said the noise will not harm her ears, it is more about it being bothersome to her.
  3. How hard should I smack anyone who tries to touch her? Doctor laughed. I decided a tidy throat punch would do fine.

So, off we went!

We decided I would just wear her and she LOVED it.

This baby wearing business is awesome. I adore it. I mean, what is better than having your baby right up against you all snuggly warm?! NOTHING. I even shot a free throw while wearing her.

Of course, we had to take her out to get a picture with our beloved CJ. Who btw, was such a doll. So friendly and down-to-earth. Just a real swell dude all-around.

We also got pictures with Terry Stotts (the coach) and Caleb Swanigan (before he got traded).

Can you tell how large this man is!? David is 6’5″!

Then it was time to sit down and watch the program.

We sat court side and the baby did just fine. David is so good with her, it makes things so easy.

We did decide to duck out a few minutes early and I hurriedly put on the baby carrier, diaper bag and coat to make a swift getaway. David turned around as we were exiting the arena and just started laughing at me…

#disheveled

A couple weeks later David had the opportunity to shoot around on the court at the Moda Center for an hour and we took full advantage.

I decided to wear her again and it was awesome again.

Then we got some amazing pictures of her at center court!

So cute right!?

I have learned so much about her and about myself over these past couple of weeks (more on that in another post). But one piece of advice I will share when it comes to having a newborn is this…YOU CAN DO IT. It is so easy to just stay at home in the safe bubble, with the safe routine. Venturing out is HARD and for me, a big challenge. But I did it. And I have been continuing to do it. And you know what? It gets easier! Just gotta keep pushing 🙂

All for now! GO BLAZERS!

The First Month of Motherhood

Well my little dishes of hard candies, we have done it.

1 month in the books! If I would have written a blog post two or three weeks ago, there would not have been an exclamation mark after the first sentence. It would have ended with a period. A dismal, pathetic period. I’ve been through a lot over the past month and I know what you’re thinking. Like, duh. You just had a freakin’ baby. Of course you’ve “been through a lot”. Sometimes when I am feeling REALLY bad about myself or my parenting, I think, “wow, Snooki (you know, from Jersey Shore) is a mom. How did SHE do this?” Haha. And really, we should all stan for Snook. She turned out ok. And so have I.

The first couple of weeks were rough. Mostly because I felt it quite challenging to both care for myself and for our baby. I was still in a substantial amount of pain from what I had gone through. If you haven’t read about that yet, you can do so here. I was taking about 8 medications each day  at different increments. I was trying to eat and drink as much as I could consistently. Which doesn’t sound hard but was. All the while trying to pump 6-8 times, take my blood pressure twice a day, sleep and nap, shower, and you know…do all the other things to keep my life in order. My mom and David were godsends. As were all the wonderful people who brought over food and came for visits.

I also cried. ALOT. They weren’t kidding about those hormones, man. Clara had a bit of diaper rash in the first couple of weeks and when I saw her tiny bum sprinkled with red splotches I just absolutely lost my sh*t. OVER DIAPER RASH. Come on Natalie pull yourself together SHEESH.

David would leave for 0.322 minutes and I would call him and make sure he was okay and hadn’t died in a car accident. I would touch my hand to Clara’s forehead every 5 minutes to make sure she was warm and breathing. I would picture myself tumbling down the stairs with her in my arms. Postpartum anxiety much there partner?

I have never felt closer to my husband than ever before. I feel a love so deep for him, it really does make me weep like I am reading a Jane Austen novel. My heart feels like it is going to explode with love just about every hour. For this baby, for my family. Every time her big sister gives her a kiss, or Meira lays down next to her bouncy chair, or I catch David on the couch singing to her and softly kissing her tiny head. I’m a woman in love.

But enough about that! Let’s get to the nitty-gritties of how I am doing with infant care!

I would give myself a B+ honestly. I am a solid A with singing a variety of songs to her, but get a big fat F for lyric correctness (except when it comes to musicals or Disney, of course). But like, Little Bunny Foo-Foo? I am ALL over the place. I get a C in diaper changing because she absolutely hates it and therefore, I do too. You see, Clara unhappy = Me VERY unhappy. She cries and bicycles those little legs and sometimes I just struggle securing those darn nappies.

I also get a C in bathtime regularity. Yes, at times I have a dirty baby. Why? See above paragraph. Girlfriend does not enjoy baths so, you guessed it! Neither do I.

However, I get an A in walks and snuggling because she likes those things very much. She falls asleep on me at least once a day and yes, it IS heaven on earth.

I look like a 70-year old male hippie in this pic

Clara gets a B+ in sleeping, which has made life not too shabby for us. We have a routine where I go to bed VERY early, around 7:30 and then David goes to bed around midnight. He takes care of feeding her around 9 and midnight and I do the ones around 3 AM and 6 AM. However, now that she is a month, we can start doing a bit longer stretches.

So we are doing pretty great all things considered. She weighs 8.4 lbs now and is 21 inches long. She is growing well and almost out of newborn clothes! Her eyes are turning more and more blue and her eyelashes are getting super long which is of course, EVERYTHING.

Leave any questions below in the comments :). xoxo

The Baby Story

Greetings and Happy New Year to all you pats of butter!

And may I present to you the newest member of our posse, Miss Clara Jane Michaelis!

Quick stats: Clara was born at 10:02 pm on Thursday, December 27th. She weighed 6 pounds, 5 ounces and was 19.5 inches long.

Now for the story…

But first, a little background. I had terrible heartburn throughout my entire pregnancy. In early December, it got so bad that I went to the E.R. They gave me some medicine to try and numb it and when that did not work, they gave me some Benadryl which also did not work. I ended up going home in severe, toe-curling pain and finally fell asleep sitting completely upright and hunched over a pillow.

I had bouts of heartburn a few more times but it was manageable with Pepcid AC. Then a couple weeks later, I had another very severe flair-up and found no relief…yet again.

Fast forward a couple more weeks to my 36-week doctor’s appointment which involved doing a swab for strep (down there) and also an exam. The swab stung a little and when my midwife performed the exam she told me I was doing great, 1 cm dilated and 80% effaced. As I got dressed after the exam, I began to bleed immediately. I let my midwife know and she said it was totally normal due to the exam.

That night and into the next day, I experienced a stinging sensation when I went pee. It felt different from a UTI, but the symptoms were similar. I called my midwife and after discussing all the possibilities and the fact that my labs wouldn’t be back until after Christmas to confirm or deny whether I did indeed have a UTI, I decided I would start a powerful antibiotic to treat the UTI. David went to pickup the prescription at Walgreens and also got a UTI test-kit from AZO. I took the test and it came back negative so David urged me to go to Zoom Care for a UTI test, as they can get instant results. We went to Zoom Care around 8:30 pm and I took the test. No UTI. The resident doctor that night came into the room and we explained my symptoms and she asked if she could do an exam on me. I said yes and she found two small abrasions, explaining the stinging sensation. My blood pressure was also high. We ended up telling the doctor about the heartburn and the fact that we were exploring the idea it could be my gallbladder but that we did not know for sure because we did not have a chance to do an ultrasound. She offered an ultrasound on the spot and we took it. The ultrasound revealed that my gallbladder was fine, and the pain I was experiencing was just severe heartburn. To be safe, the doctor then asked if she could draw some blood (which I hate) for some quick labs on me. Of course I said yes and when she returned with the results, she started with “I am going to call your doctor’s office tonight and speak with the midwife on call.” My platelets were at 52. I had no idea what this meant and she did not go in to any great detail explaining it either. I went home, expecting that we would talk to my midwife the next day once she looked at my labs.

We ended up not seeing her until five days later when I had my 37-week appointment. I did the usual routine of peeing in a cup and getting weighed. I was dehydrated and my blood pressure was high again, but not off the charts. Then we had a discussion about all the bloodwork and information we had found out while at ZoomCare. After looking it over, my midwife decided to do another blood draw. She was concerned about the platelets and some of the other levels in my blood as well. Additionally, the quick results from my urine contained elements that concerned her..and they pointed to pre-eclampsia.  She sent us home with all the materials I would need to do a 24-hour urinalysis the next morning. She said she would call us the minute my labs came back with further instruction but to start the test no matter what.

That night we went bowling with friends. I went bowling. I felt fine.

The next morning, David called my doctor’s office around 10 am to see if the results were in. They were not, but we knew they had been placed on a rush. 30 minutes later, we got a call from the doctor. This time, it was our midwife herself (not her assistant, per usual). She said, “Natalie, you are very sick. You and David need to go to the hospital right now. You have something called H.E.L.L.P syndrome. You are having this baby as soon as possible.”

I. Was. Of course.  SHOCKED.

I told her we could be there in an hour and she said that was too long. I needed to get there ASAP. Holy balls. This was happening. David chatted excitedly and began to throw items into duffel bags while I tried to process what was happening. I began to stuff random items into a bag and before I knew it, David was whisking us away to Good Sam while I scratched my head and tried to navigate the 1,000 degrees of anxiety hitting me all at once.

In the elevator at the hospital

They checked us in as soon as we arrived and I was immediately clad in a hospital gown and they started IVs in both of my arms. I was given liquids and magnesium. The magnesium, they warned, might make me feel woozy or sick. It was administered in order to relax my body and warn off seizures which can happen with pre-eclampsia. We immediately began to go over my options. In several cases, a c-section may have been preferred to get the baby out as soon as possible but my case was unique in that my blood counts were so bad. My midwife and the doctor recommended a typical delivery and said in many cases, sometimes all it takes is an invitation. Also, my labs had revealed that my platelets had come up to 84 from 52, meaning that I could have an epidural. Most anesthesiologists will not do them below 80.

We started pitocin and my midwife broke my water. Immediately I felt 1,000 pounds lighter. It was crazy. Then I started feeling the contractions and yeah, they hurt. Mine were somewhat random but instead of having one every so often, I would get two or three in a row and then a rest. The midwife surmised that the baby would come out by 7 am the next day. Then I had my epidural. Oh, the ever-famous epidural. I had been anticipating this moment for the past 9 months. We practiced the correct “position” to take and as she prepped my back and did her thing, the nausea, sweating and very intense dizziness began. I was having an all-out, raging panic attack and I went in and out of consciousness as David sat directly in front and held me. As soon as I was able to lay back down, the nausea and dizziness slowly subsided and within 20 minutes I felt the warm numbing sensation begin….down the right side of my body. I was still feeling the contractions on my left so they had me lay on my left to let gravity take over and hopefully nudge the meds down that side of my body. After a few more rounds of contractions, we realized it wasn’t working so the anesthesiologist came back and recommended they manipulate the position of the epidural slightly. This required me to sit up and assume the “position” again, which sent me into the same episode as before. Ugh. I laid back down on my left once again to no avail. My midwife then recommended we try moving me onto my back.

The SECOND I shifted onto my back my midwife said something under her breath to the nurses, looked up and said “Okay, you’re having this baby right now”. I went from 4 cm to 10 cm JUST LIKE THAT (which I would later find out is very typical with pre-eclampsia as your body is basically ejecting the baby). They gave me a mask I could breathe into with a 50/50 nitrous/oxygen blend. and I began to push around 9 pm. And really, it was no big deal. The epidural was definitely working on that part of me and the nitrous was AWESOME. I took deep, soothing breaths into the mask and was immediately calmed and actually able to be present in the experience. I know these kinds of things can be controversial but I felt as though these interventions were MADE for people like me. I welcomed the help and truly do not know what I would have done without it.

So I pushed for about an hour, but I had these giant gaps between contractions. Sometimes up to 12 minutes. It was pretty fun to just be chillin’ like that, just on display for what seemed like ever (haha) but the fact that the Blazers were playing made it  fun. You see, the Blazers were playing the Warriors that night and the game was super close. I did a couple big ol’ pushes as the Blazers headed into overtime and then experienced a 12 minute gap as the Blazers clawed their way to victory. When the last contraction came on,  I knew I was darn close so I pushed hard and wouldn’t you know it? CJ McCollum, (David’s favorite player) hit a jumper to  put the Blazers ahead in overtime. Clara Jane was born at that exact moment. It was kismet. We had loved the name Clara and Claire throughout my whole pregnancy and this just sealed the deal. We chose “Jane” for her middle name and there you have it, our little CJ.

DON’T CRY NATALIE. GOSSHH.

They wiped her off a tiny bit (at our behest) and set her directly on my chest. I couldn’t believe it. She was on me. Me. I HAD A BABY. The girl who still loves Hello Kitty and matching her eyeshadow to her outfit sometimes. The girl who dances awkwardly similar to Eliane Benes. The girl who still gets lost in her neighborhood, after almost 2 years. ME. I am her mom. Holy t*ts. I did not feel one singular emotion, instead all of them mixed together in this overwhelming, wonderful concoction. I did not cry (still dehydrated) but was definitely deliriously happy. She was here!

Meanwhile, my midwife went to work on me…and she worked her ass off. Turns out I had 5 pretty minimal tears but tears nonetheless. And they would not. stop. bleeding. After about 30 minutes, they handed baby to David next to me and told my mom and sister to leave the room. At this point, about 15 people rushed into the room. I was told it was people from departments all over the hospital. They worked on me for an hour and a half and (again, we found this all out later) were stitching and stitching and every stitch she made “dissolved into nothing”. I was losing an absolute sh*t load of blood. They kept talking to me, encouraging David to keep me talking, but I was fading.

My midwife and the doctor were eventually able to get things under control and the team left. It was about 1 am at this point. They encouraged David to put the baby down and get some sleep. They continued to monitor me. I was doing okay and my midwife and doctor left.

I remember coming to around 2:30 am and the nurses kept checking my pain level, asking “Rate your pain on a scale of 1 to 10”. I felt fine so I told them I was around a 1 or 2. Within 10 minutes of saying that, I noticed a pretty significant increase in my pain down there. I told the nurse it was at about a 5. Another 10 minutes passed by and my pain had just skyrocketed. I was at an 11 out of 10, I told them. Mind boggling, horrendous pain had completely taken over and I sobbed and sobbed as they ran to get the anesthesiologist. THANK THE LORD the nurses had not taken out my epidural yet, because the anesthesiologist was able to at least get me some lidocaine on the spot, which took the edge off the pain. She then administered something more powerful and I felt nothing once again. However, in between all the action, the nurses kept looking at me and I heard the word hematoma. More and more of the L&D nurses came in to take a look and they all agreed that it was probably a hematoma. My midwife and doctor were called back and as soon as they checked me, they confirmed it was a hematoma.

Around 3:30 am, the nurses asked me to call someone who could come down and help David with the baby. I called my mom, calmly explained what was happening (I had no idea how serious my state was at this time) and could she hop in an Uber to help hold the baby while they took me in another room for “a procedure”.  Of course, she said yes.

The nurses frantically began disconnecting me from the 17 (yes, 17) things I was hooked into and asked me “Should we wake David?” as they wheeled me down the hall to the OR. I had no idea of the severity of my situation. I thought they’d drain the thing and that would be that. I told them to let David sleep. I’d be right back…Hahahahaaa.

This is where things took a turn for the worse.

Without getting too graphic, I’ll do my best to explain what happened. They removed all the stitches and went to work to remove and repair the tennis-ball sized hematoma I had down there.  They also placed two “balloons” in there to put pressure in order to stop the bleeding. It seemed pretty straight forward and at first, I was stable. After about an hour, the repairs they had made were no longer holding and the bleeding was not stopping. They could not locate the source of the bleeding inside of me, and things got pretty serious.

The doctors had some serious questions for David at this point and also needed his permission to do an angiogram on me. An angiogram is where they place a stint inside your major artery and pump liquid dye inside to track where the blood is going and hopefully, stop it. David consented and I was taken to the IR to have this done.  They ended up finding the source, two spots inside of me where they placed teeny coils to stop the bleeding.  This is what really saved my life because had the bleeding continued, it could have gone into my lungs or other places they did not want it to go. I had lost all of the blood in my body, and had received 4 units of blood and 2 units of cold  plasma.

At this point, I was taken to the ICU where I spent a couple of days being very closely monitored. I had wires, tubes and monitors attached to basically every appendage including my feet.  When I finally came to, a nurse from L&D introduced me to the ICU nurse who was taking care of me. They sort of explained what had happened and that the most important thing for me to do was rest, which was why I was in the ICU. David came in with the baby at one point and the L&D nurses kept coming down to check on me as well, but I was very lonely. I wanted to see my daughter and husband. The next day I finally got to leave the ICU and head back up to the 5th floor to the maternity ward to be with David and Clara. Seeing their faces again was total bliss.

Over the next few days, I was bedridden. They put these air boots on me that inflated and deflated to promote blood circulation. David made sure I was eating and drinking as much as possible, but I really had no appetite. My biggest motivation at this point was to take a shower, but I was not able to even put my feet on the ground without getting completely out of breath.

After two days of being back in our room, one of the other doctors (Dr. Davis) came in to talk to us about the state of my blood. He did an amazing job of explaining exactly what had happened to me, what they did to help me and why. Then he spelled out all the reasons why I felt so weak and would have a long road to recovery.  It all boiled down to my blood counts (red blood cells, platelets, liver enzymes, creatinine, etc) being low. He recommended another blood transfusion to try and boost these numbers and David and I agreed.

I received another 2 units of blood that day, but my IV’s were starting to really hurt. I did not think this would be a big deal, and that I was probably done using them but I was wrong. After the transfusion, my blood pressure was still really high (up around 190/114) so they kept treating me for that as well. The first medication they tried on me (levatol) was brutal. It was a very high volume and I had to receive it pretty frequently. The IV sites hurt really bad when I received the medicine and I just wished there was ANY other way I could take them. After the first medication proved not to work, they tried the next one down the line. Thankfully, they took out one of the IV’s that really hurt and used my other arm for the next one. This medication worked like a charm and my blood pressure went back down. They also put me on a slow-release blood pressure medication which I am still taking today. I ended up also developing a pretty severe rash on the entire back side of my body. It spread down to the backs of my knees all the way up to the back of my neck. The assumption was that it was a reaction to the medical tape I had ALL OVER my body and they gave me Benadryl and Hydrocortizone cream for it.

My whole immediate family had been in town during the ordeal and were staying at our house, visiting us everyday. I do not know what I would have done without them. My Mom came back to the hospital in the middle of the night when I had my hematoma. My Dad sat with me for hours in the ICU and read me the entire menu in his best radio voice. Megan cut Clara’s umbilical cord! (And she was actually admitted to the hospital as well for a night due to some light bleeding. She left the next day totally fine, but it makes for a crazy story!) And Amy ran back and fourth from our house to the hospital, running errands, taking care of me and everyone else.

I left the hospital a week after having the baby. I knew every single L&D nurse and had become good friends with a few of them. I was totally overwhelmed the day we were leaving. I was of course in a good amount of pain, hormonal, traumatized from what had just happened to me and then of course anxious about every facet of brand spanking new motherhood. We made it home and my mom had the house spic and span, my favorite candle burning (Marshmallow Fireside from BBW) and all our laundry was done.Did I mention I love my mom?

So that’s the story. I knew I needed to write it all out and I feel better now that I have. If you read this entire thing, thank you.

And speaking of thanks, there is one person who I need to thank and skip ahead if you’re not into cringey, sappy proclamations of love. To my David. There is absolutely no way I would have gotten through this without you. Seeing your face after getting out of the ICU was just…everything. I will  never forget that moment as long as I live. Thank you for taking care of me, of Clara. We will love you until the end of time.

So where are we now? DOIN AIGHT. Baby sleeps fairly well, eats great and is overall a tiny, happy camper. As for me, I am very emosh. Happy. Scared. And in love.

So in love.