Thursday, June 12, 2014

Carson's Story

Hello, world! As you can imagine it's been a bit of a whirlwind week here. After spending a week in the hospital and then a week at home adjusting to having a newborn with us, we're finally getting into somewhat of a routine. We're still not sleeping much of course, but I'll take no sleep any day if it means having a sweet face like this in my arms.

Carson actually came a week before she was due, so she caught us by surprise - thankfully we had been baby prepping like crazy the last few weekends. Last Monday started like any other Monday. It was supposed to be my last week of work before maternity leave, so I had a list of things I planned to power through that day. But after dropping Riker off at my in-laws' and coming back home to start work, I realized I hadn't felt the baby moving at all. She nearly always moves after I eat, but I got nothing from her after breakfast; I even tried eating a sugary snack - a peach, some crackers, and some chocolate covered almonds - to get her kicking, but still, she didn't move. That made me really nervous, so I set a timer and paid attention for the next 2 hours to see if any movement occurred at all - nada. I called my doctor, and thankfully they told me to come in right away.

Matt left work early so he could come to the appointment with me, and after throwing my hospital bag in the trunk just in case it was needed, we sped to my OB/GYN's office. Let me tell you, that was the scariest doctor's appointment I've ever had in my life. The nurse hooked me up to a heart rate monitor, but was unable to find a heartbeat for Carson. After a few minutes, she left and called another nurse in to try. The second nurse wasn't able to find a heartbeat either. At this point Matt and I both lost it. Tears just started pouring out as I imagined the absolute worst. Every terrible thought was running through my head, and I really thought we had lost her. The nurse handed us a box of tissues, said she was sorry, and went to get the doctor. We were both beside ourselves with grief.

When my doctor came in, she calmed us down and said not to panic yet. She repositioned the monitor a bunch of times and kept pushing on my belly trying to get Carson to move. Finally, FINALLY, after about 10 minutes, we heard a very faint heartbeat. The emotions I felt when hearing that little thump thump is indescribable. I felt elation, incredible relief and joy, while at the same time anxiety and fear that something was wrong with our baby. The heartbeat was so faint that while we could hear it, the monitor didn't even register it on the computer. We went right in for an ultrasound, which told us that miraculously the baby had gone breach over the weekend (on Friday, the doctor had said she was in proper birth position, head down); she was now head up, and while her heart was beating, she was not moving or breathing. After seeing all this, the doctor immediately sent us to the hospital for an emergency C-section. More emotions erupted at this point - we were both so scared that something would go wrong before the delivery, or that she would have brain damage from not getting oxygen, but at the same time excited since we knew we'd be having a baby that very day - in just 2 hours.

Last pic of the bump before heading to the hospital!

After a quick ride to the hospital, a bunch more tests (all of which confirmed that Carson needed to come out right away), and surgery prep, I was in the operating room by 4:00. It took two doctors up on foot stools to push and pull Carson out since she had lodged herself up near my rib cage, and had the umbilical cord wrapped around her entire body and around her neck twice. Apparently when she flipped over the weekend, the cord tangled her up and nearly strangled her. After she was born, they had to keep watch over her and not let her cry until they were sure her throat and lungs were okay, which thankfully they were. By 4:29, we were the relieved and proud parents of a healthy baby girl.

Had I not realized she wasn't moving that fateful Monday morning, the turnout could have been much different and we might have lost her. I am SO thankful that my doctors' office had posters up reminding mothers-to-be to pay attention to their baby's movements so I knew that something was off, and so thankful that they took me seriously when I said I didn't feel her moving that day. It was the greatest feeling to hear her cry when she was born, and to finally hold her in our arms.

A day or so later Carson ended up with jaundice, which is a fairly common problem, but meant we had to stay in the hospital a few extra days while she underwent phototherapy in the nursery. The hospital was so great and gave us a room to stay in even after I was discharged so we could be with her the whole time, and so I could feed her throughout the night. By the time we finally got the green light to take her home on Friday, we were more than ready to leave the hospital and start life as our new family of 4. Talk about a week of ups & downs!

We were welcomed back home with a decorated house, flowers inside & out and our families there to celebrate with us. It made the homecoming even better.

Riker was glad to have us home too (I missed my little guy!), and he's already taking quite the interest in his little sister. So cute.

After so much hospital food, I was also excited to get back to eating normal food. Food with lots of color! While my parents were with us, they took care of the cooking which was great and super helpful. After they left and we were on our own, I took to making quickie meals - green smoothies, frozen carrot soup, Hilary's veggie burgers with goat cheese and tri-color peppers, and salads. 

Last night's salad was my favorite so far. It included:

- Frisee
- Red peppers
- Cucumbers
- Beets (no time to roast fresh ones these days - I used a can of beets I had in the pantry)
- A handful of mixed nuts
- Blueberry vanilla goat cheese (snagged at Trader Joe's during our big haul last weekend)
- Olive oil & vanilla balsamic vinegar
(Matt and Riker added sliced up Italian sausages to theirs for some added protein)

So colorful and tasty!

We even snuck in a mini date night already, if you can believe it. Riker had a sleepover on Tuesday night with his cousin, so Matt and I decided to seize the opportunity and go out for dinner. There were multiple reasons:

1. Dinner without a 2-year-old in tow is quite the relaxing experience!
2. Carson is probably one of the quietest babies, ever. Riker was colicky from the beginning, but we got lucky with this one - she only cries when she needs something (fingers crossed it stays that way!). We figured we'd take a chance and see how she did at a restaurant, and she slept peacefully under her canopy through the entire dinner.
3. It was beautiful out, and I really needed to get out of the house and get some fresh air. Dinner al fresco sounded perfect.
4. I've been craving sushi since the day I found out I was pregnant. 


5. Mama has also been itching for a cocktail since the warm weather set in a few weeks ago. I am currently breastfeeding, but my doctor says one or two cocktails is fine, so I thoroughly enjoyed this Lemon Ginger Martini with my sushi and edamame. Yum!

While we're settling into parenthood of 2, blog posts will probably slow down for a bit, but I'll post as often as I can. I have some new recipes to share and a giveaway coming up, so I won't be idle for long! :) In the meantime, I'll close this crazy long post with one more pic of the babe. Despite the sleeplessness, our house feels so warm, full of life and surrounded by happiness. So in love with my little family! <3 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Welcome, Carson Leah

She has arrived!

On Monday at 4:36 pm, we finally welcomed our beautiful baby girl, Carson Leah, into the world. She was a tiny 6 pounds 13 ounces, and 21 inches long. Her arrival was a bit chaotic, but we're just thankful she is here and healthy. We are now officially a family of four!

Maybe we knew in the back of our heads she was on her way early, because this past weekend was all about prepping. We did a little relaxing, a little housework, a ton of grocery shopping and a lot of laundry and freezer meal prep.

Both Friday and Saturday evenings consisted of fireside lounging with the family, feet up and s'mores roasting.

Saturday included some errands, including our quarterly food haul at Trader Joe's, and dinner at Matt's sister's house. Then Sunday we spent the entire day cleaning the yard and the house, and rearranging the whole downstairs. We've been thinking about rearranging for a while now, but it all finally just came together since we were able to sell our formal dining room furniture and the very next day replace it with our dream farm table.

We moved our bar into the old dining room (the old bar will now be a playroom for the kids, so they can make a mess of their toys and I don't feel the need to constantly be picking them up), moved our sunroom furniture outside to the new patio, and turned the sunroom into a big eating area with the farm table. The downstairs is now much more functional, has a better flow, and is more kid-friendly without feeling like the house is overrun with toys and kid stuff. I love it!

Matt's family helped with all the furniture moving since I couldn't really lift anything, so I spent a few hours making meals for the freezer for when Carson was born. Little did I know she was due to arrive the next day!

I made homemade pesto, veggie chili, curried carrot soup, and vegetable lasagna with no noodles.

I packed everything into meal-sized containers so we wouldn't have to defrost one thing at a time and eat the same thing for 3 nights in a row.

For dinner that night, I threw together some peach & Cabot cheddar grilled cheese sandwiches using some fresh sweet peaches from my Door to Door Organics box and some whole grain TJ's bread. The combo might sound strange, but let me tell you, they were fantastic. Sweet, tangy, buttery.

I also made homemade pineapple coconut ice pops for a guilt-free frozen summer treat. They're really for Riker, but I'm going to need something sweet once in a while too without splurging for ice cream - time to lose some baby weight!


There are still things around the house I wanted to get done before the baby came, but honestly, we couldn't have been more prepared after all that. I wanted to make sure I felt like things were 100% in order in case she came early. Good thing too, because on Monday morning everything changed. I'll write more about her birth story another day, but we're adjusting well and really enjoying having her here with us.

Can't stop looking at that sweet face!

Welcome, Carson, we love you so much already. <3