Petra’s Birth Story

I wanted to share Petra’s birth story on here for a few different reasons.  Number one:  I just really wanted to remember.  I wanted to look back and remember the small details of the almost 40 hours of labor that I went through.  Number two because I needed to write and get it out of my system.  I know that having a baby and giving birth is such a big thing in life and I don’t want to be the person trying to explain to others what a big deal it is when they already know.  The thing is, looking back, I don’t think I really knew.  My personality has always been on the more relaxed side, jokingly saying that I would be the cool mom and my baby would be different and her second language would probably end up being sarcasm.  But now, none of that makes sense. Now, I don’t know what kind of person or mother I’m going to be.  All I care about is just making the right decisions.

I woke up having contractions at 6am on Tuesday, May 10th.  I didn’t know they were contractions, I just thought I was having slight pain in my back and my pain woke up Lukasz.  We laid in bed for a while before he decided to start timing how often the pain came and went. Luckily, I also was due for another OB checkup that day so we weren’t worried about going straight to the hospital.  The pain, of what I realize now were contractions, was slowly getting stronger and they were about 5 minutes apart by noon when we arrived at the doctors by a lyft.  After she checked me, she said I was definitely in early labor but only dilated one cm which would mean the process would be a long one.  Though we came prepared with our hospital bag, we ended up going home to deal with the contractions.  Doctor advised us to return when they were closer together, maybe three to four minutes. Per Lukasz’s suggestion that more walking be done, we took the subway home.

At home, I tried to not think about the pain.  I made cookies to feed myself, Lukasz went shopping for sustenance (gummy bears, applesauce, sugar, etc.) and we generally tried to remain calm expecting a baby to happen tonight or tomorrow morning.  The pain gradually got worse and every contraction, Lukasz was there to time it, rub my back and hold my hand.  We had quiet discussions, about how things would change, about how I’m taking the pain like a  champ, about the middle name we would give Petra.  It got to the point where I insisted we go to the hospital because I couldn’t stand the pain anymore and at 12am on Wednesday, after bursting into tears and begging to go, we were on our way.  Of course, after triage, they said I was still dilated only 1cm and I could walk around the hospital or I could go back home and keep laboring there. I cried when they told me. We went back home for the second time.

It’s hard to describe what happened in those morning hours.  I was exhausted and I really wanted to sleep so bad.  I laid myself down dozing off for 5 minutes at a time only to be awoken by really sharp pain that I couldn’t bear anymore.  My temper started to run short, I just wanted to not feel pain anymore.  Lukasz ran me a hot shower and he napped while I stood in there, letting the hot water attempt to soothe me.  I know it sounds dramatic but they truly were some of the hardest moments I’ve ever had to endure.  As Petra descended into my pelvis, every contraction felt like a desperate need to go to the bathroom.  Everything stayed that way until 9am when I decided we would go to the hospital and I wouldn’t let them tell me to leave.  I wanted an epidural.  I wanted the pain to go away.

The second drive to the hospital in the back of an uber was one of the worst rides of my life.  I had completely lost all need for keeping quiet and I yelled in the back of the car when every contraction came and went.  When we arrived at the hospital and they triaged me, I was still only one centimeter dilated and I cried telling them I couldn’t take the pain anymore.  They let me lie there monitoring me while the nurse checked with the on-call doctor to see if they would let me have an epidural for the pain.  When she came back and said I would finally go into the laboring room and they would give me pain medications, Lukasz and I both cried.  After setting everything up and calling the anesthesiologist, the epidural was administered and I felt the pain leave almost immediately. I mention this because I have so much respect for the women that have done this without the epidural.  I never had plans to not have it and looking back, I know I made the right choice.

Because of the epidural, they were also able to give me a dose of Pitocin, a man made form of oxytocin, to speed up my contractions and help me dilate faster.  Around 4:00pm, I was dilated only 4 cm and the doctor broke my water. Then it was a waiting game.  Time seemed to move at warp speed.  I could hardly believe that I had been going through the pain for more than a day now.  It all molded into one big lump of time. When the doctor came back at 8:15 and saw I hadn’t made any progress, she upped my dosage of Pitocin and gave me peanut shaped pillow to lay between my legs.  Lukasz decided to grab some power bars to give me energy since I had hardly slept since 6am the previous morning.  While Lukasz was gone, I began to get really bad pain and it felt like I really needed to go to the bathroom.  I immediately called the nurse who said that she would help me go but she would need to check how dilated I was first. After checking, it had only been about 30 minutes with the uncomfortable pillow between my legs, she said I was ready to start pushing.  I slightly freaked out knowing Lukasz wasn’t by my side, but after texting him, he came running and it was go time.

I feel like this is the part where we were the most blessed. After reading so many birth stories, after pouring over all the books, this is the part I was most scared of, the active labor, the breathing, the pushing with all my strength.  For some, for most, for first timers, this could take hours and I wasn’t entirely prepared to be pushing for hours.  In the end, I don’t know if it was Lukasz’s words of encouragement or the doctors calm demeanor or my need for all of it to be over already, but Petra arrived into this world after pushing for only 30 minutes. The emotion of having our daughter placed on my bare skin after being born is something I would never be able to explain. I cried, Lukasz laughed and cried and Petra cried for two seconds before calmly taking in this new world that she was a part of now.  It was, with absolute certainty, the most jarring experience of my life.

We both held her, we both stared at her and we both fell overwhelmingly in love with our little girl who was so teeny and tiny, I was worried that whoever held her, would break her.  I stared at her little face and her tiny eyes and I just wished that she would always be happy and that I would always be able to make her happy.  It so amazing how quickly that love and feeling comes over you the moment you hold your newborn baby.  Tomorrow she will be one week old.  That would be one week of me being a blubbering mess just hoping I’m doing everything right.  Nothing else matters anymore.  Just Petra.  Petra is the only thing that matters now.  I want the whole world for her.  I hope that we can do that, I hope that Lukasz and I can give her our whole world.

xo,

Karen

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Welcome Petra


Please welcome our baby girl, Petra Christina Kapica to the world. 

She was born on Wednesday, May 11th, 2016 at 9:23pm Eastern Time. 

She’s 7 lb 14 oz(3560g) and 9/10 APGAR scale. 

We’re both tired but so incredibly happy. ❤️
Hello world!!
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Petra Christina Kapica przyszła na świat 11 maja 2016 roku o 21:23 w Nowym Jorku. Petra jest zdrowa, waży 3560 gramów i otrzymała 9/10 punktów w skali Apgar. Mama jest zmęczona, ale bardzo szczęśliwa

Dog Moms Everywhere

A few posts back I talked about how Pierrot came into our lives.  I honestly can’t imagine my life without a dog in it.  Growing up, I always had them around and even when I eventually moved out of my parents house, I always needed to have a puppy companion with me.  I truly believe that dogs help me feel less stressed and that they are the most loyal creatures to walk this earth.  A dog’s love is unconditional.  I can’t understand the people that don’t love dogs but I’m also not here to judge.  I’m a lover of all animals when it comes down to it, and even with our baby girl on the way (She’s still not here yet…but I’ll save that for a later post of frustration), I can safely say that I’ve always considered myself a dog mom first and foremost.

EVEN THOUGH people insist that Mother’s Day is only for real Mothers, I refuse to believe it.  Some people love their animals like they were their own children and I fully acknowledge that love every May.  That being said, I was really excited to receive this custom pet portrait of our Pierrot just in time to hang up for Mother’s Day.  The above picture of the portrait hardly does it justice.  It was hand drawn by one of my friends, Danielle Stratford, who is an amazing artist, mother and animal lover and her talent and attention to detail is amazing. She even got every straggly hair Pierrot has on his unkempt ears.

If you’re looking for a good gift for Mother’s Day or ANY DAY for a pet lover, I highly recommend checking out her website or her Instagram account that shows you the drawing process in detail.  Not only is her talent amazing, she is super friendly and she gives you updates the whole way, from order to shipping time! If you mention Pierrot’s Portrait above, you get a 20% discount off your order.  I hope everyone has a great Mother’s Day and I hope this baby is out of my belly in time to celebrate with us. 😛

Weekly Findings

mom

As I write this post, I am about 4 days past my due date.  I can’t even begin to express the frustration that is building up inside of me but let’s just say it feels like a baby girl that is getting bigger by the week and I need her to come out of me right now.  Not to be too much TMI but I’ve been feeling a lot of cramping and I’m hoping our baby girl will join us on the outside soon especially because tomorrow is Mother’s Day.  I’m super bummed to be skipping out on this day because our daughter isn’t here yet!  Oh well.  To all the moms out there, Happy Mother’s Day!

1. The Most Popular Baby Names of 2015:  The social security administration just released the list for the top baby names of 2015 with Emma at number one for the ladies and Noah at number one for the gentlemen.  We’re still keeping ours a secret but it definitely wasn’t in the Top 10!

2. Morning Routines for Busy Women:  I came across this list this very morning and I found it inspiring.  Though at the moment, my morning routine consists of absolutely nothing, just a lot of waiting, I’ve always been the kind of person that craves routine because it makes me feel more organized and less stressed.  I can definitely say that I’m a morning person and I can’t wait to get back into something semi-consistent.

3. This SMOOTHIE: So I guess this list is mostly about mom stuff but I was so excited to stumble upon this recipe for a post-partum peanut butter and jelly smoothie.  It’s funny how over prepared you can be for pregnancy and birth but forget about the “after” part.  This cookbook from Heng Ou is brilliant on ways to nourish a new mother.  Don’t forget about YOU.

4. 8 Fun Ideas For A Girl’s Night In:  Kate Spade is definitely my vice when it comes to anything “fashion”.  Everything just always looks so put together and bright and happy.  They’re making pajamas now and released this super cute list of ideas for a girl’s night in.  Not to be cheesy but this is the kind of thing I sometimes can’t wait to share with our baby girl.

5. Mother’s Day Brunch:  I didn’t ask for anything this mother’s day because I’m still very much pregnant and also because I just hate asking for things.  Can’t people just read my mind and know what I want already?  Here’s a hint: it’s brunch.  I love breakfast, like a good full-on breakfast with all the fixings, and maybe a mimosa or sangria. And I love this little menu of a good mother’s day breakfast.  Everything looks fresh, healthy and delicious!  But also, like, french toast works too.

 

*Picture source.

Third Trimester

39 WEEKS!

So here we go guys: the home stretch.  I wish at this point I could have been an expert at this whole pregnancy thing but, one of the most important things I’ve learned throughout my ENTIRE pregnancy is, every pregnancy is different.  Even now at 39 weeks (40 weeks TOMORROW) I’m still trying to figure out which feelings are normal and which aren’t.  I can tell you what I experienced this trimester.

First of all, let’s talk about my moods.  For some reason, I assumed my moody  phase was over after the second trimester ended but as it turns out, it definitely wasn’t.  While I contribute a lot of these feelings to anxiety and wanting to give birth and have it over and done with, I have definitely been crankier lately as frustration sets in over my large belly.  I have also realized that I have little patience with people that don’t understand what a burden it is to be this pregnant.  The people staring at my giant stomach on a train, the man in the coffee shop shoving me because he thought there was a giant gap between me and the person in front of me, all of those things are just a little too much to bear at this point when all I want to do is just live, an inconspicuous girl just trying to figure things out.

Speaking of moods, I can say that once I hit the 36th week, fear immediately set it.  Like can I do this?  Can I birth an actual human out of my lady garden? How much is it going to hurt?  What if I have to have a C-Section? I’m only 5 feet tall and I don’t have childbearing hips! The thoughts so overwhelming that during the middle of a conversation with Lukasz about hospital preparation, I started to cry. Well, I don’t know about everyone else but I can say now that at almost 40 weeks, I kind of just want it to happen to get it over and done with.  It’s all inevitable so if I could just go into labor right now, I would really love it so I can move on.

Otherwise, here’s my advice for the third trimester.  Your hips are going to hurt so bad.  So far, I have figured that I can’t lay on my stomach because the baby is there.  I can’t lay on my back because it cuts off oxygen to both, me and the baby, and now I can’t lay on my sides because my hips will hurt on either side from all the pressure.  I also begin to pinch some nerves from laying on my side so my whole leg goes cold and then numb.  You know, just basic fun pregnancy stuff. I do find, however, that it helps to stick a giant pillow between your legs.  Just use all the pillows to prop yourself up.  Like all of them.  I even have throw pillows sticking out from under me.

Also, as far as what to wear goes, I do have to say I have been so lucky.  I haven’t had any swelling, except the occasional light hand stuff if I eat too much salt of spend too much sedentary time outdoors on a hot day but feet-wise, I’ve been good and still fitting into my size 5.5 shoes which I’m forever thankful for.  My maternity pants have begun to get a little too snug but I’m still making it work but basically what I’m trying to say is that being at the end of the third trimester during the middle of spring has really been a blessing in disguise.  I have squeezed myself into some dresses so I don’t even have to worry about pants and leggings have been everything to me. (I still recommend the ones from Old Navy).  As you can see from the picture above, I’m literally a basketball with arms and legs.

Finally, for my last piece of advice/complaint:  Have your hospital bag packed or else your partner will remind you every second he gets.  This was kind of fun, I mean it’s almost like you’re going away on a trip except you’re going to a hospital to push out a human being. For my hospital bag, I’m using the baby bag that I received as a gift from my parents: the Skip Hop Duo Signature Diaper Bag in the Hearts pattern.  I’m in love with it and eager to start using it right away because everything about it is adorable.  You can look up a few lists online of what to bring to the hospital but most of them are overwhelming.  I’m trying my best to keep it simple and stick to the necessities.  I also checked my hospital’s website which was nice, simple and it also gave me a list of what they will provide for me so I didn’t have to pack unnecessary goodies.  My mains are a going-home outfit for me and baby, an iPad, chapstick and lotion because hospitals are dry and breathing during labor gets intense, toiletries and socks or sandals to walk in while at the hospital. I’m open to any other necessary suggestions.  I’m a newbie so advice is always welcome.

Tomorrow, guys. 40 WEEKS TOMORROW.

xo,

Karen