How My Labor Went

I went from Hey you need to stay in there until it’s time to Dear God child quit being stubborn and get out in the span of weeks while I was still pregnant. It transitioned about the time she was supposed to be due. I was so ready for her to get here that I ended up taking an early maternity leave just so I would be ready when she decided to get here.

I was due to have her January 3rd of this year. My mom came up from Southern Indiana so she could be here when I had my daughter. I was waiting for my body to decide to go into labor on its own. I’d look at my stomach and be like “Okay, baby girl. It’s time for you to come out now. So please get here.” When I went to my last appointment, which was three days past my due date, I was only a centimeter dilated. It was frustrating. Here I was hoping I would go into labor soon and my body was like “Nope!” My doctor had decided to go ahead and schedule me to be induced on that following Tuesday since I wasn’t dilating much at 40 weeks, having me come in at Monday to get ready to be induced.

Frustrating? Yes. I wanted her here. I was ready to hold her and love on her and meet her. So my body to not do what it needed to do confused me. It was frustrating. And I was ready to be a mom.

So fast forward to Monday night. Myself, my mom, and my boyfriend head to the hospital. I get checked in, changed, and situated. Matt’s mom showed up a little bit after we got there and we all got ready for this to get started.

I’m going to post a disclaimer before I continue: it’s going to sound like I’m complaining. My experience at the hospital was about 50/50. There were some good moments, but others were a pain in the neck and I was not a fan of it.

I learned that night that I have really tough skin. The IV didn’t want to go into my hand. Like, at all. They stuck one hand at least three times before going to my other hand, even having to switch nurses, before they got in needle in a vein so they could set up the IV.

In case you don’t know how induction works, here’s how it goes: there are two different medications (medications? substances? I dunno) that they give you. The first one is this little pill that I can’t remember the name of that they put behind your cervix once every four hours about three times. It’s supposed to soften your cervix to ready you for the next step. After that, they give you what’s called Pitocin in an IV and it’s supposed to start the contractions and all that needs to happen to have your child.

So I get set up with my hospital bracelets and they put two different monitors on my stomach, one to monitor contractions and the other monitors the baby’s heartbeat. They drew blood (again proving that I have tough skin from the sheer number of times they had to poke me until they found a vein) so they had my blood type in the event I needed a blood transfusion. They put the little pill behind me cervix and walked out, making sure I didn’t need anything before leaving about eleven Monday. We hung out, talked, our moms went out for a smoke, and just relaxed. Before they were able to do the second dose of the pill my water broke. Matt and I were talking about…something or another when I stopped midsentence because it broke, surprised face and all. Sometime after that they started the Pitocin.

Here’s where the fun began. First off, lower back labor pains are the worst. It’s all I had the whole time and it was the worst. I couldn’t get comfortable for the life of me and that in and of itself was irritating. It felt like someone was gripping all of the nerves in my back with all their might and twisting them as hard as they could. My doctor had decided at one point to stop the Pitocin to see if my body would continue to do what it needed to do on its own. That didn’t work so he started it back up again. My mom, bless her heart, was trying to talk me through the contractions, keeping me distracted and talking to her. She at one point ask me why we were there to keep me focused and my response, honest to God, was “Because Matt and I fucked.” I don’t think anyone was expecting that answer, myself included, and it’s kind of the funny story we tell about when I was in labor. I eventually ended up getting pain meds and, sometime after that, got an epidural. My mom, Matt, and his mom had to leave the room for that.

If you aren’t sure how an epidural works, here’s the basics. They brought in this wheely-cart looking thing that had a bunch of the things needed to start the epidural like needles and tubes and such. They had me sit up on the bed and sit right on the edge of it, back arched and holding onto my nurse, raising the bed until I was up pretty far in the air. They made a point to tell me that under no circumstance was I to move because it could mess up, even if I was having contractions. The first person to start it proved (once again) that I had tough skin and couldn’t get it in the right spot, so they sent for the guy in charge. Both people talked me through the process, although the guy in charge seemed to be more successful in setting it up. He was really nice. (On a side note I think he was Russian or Ukrainian. I didn’t ask but his accent suggests it.)

But once it was set up and the bed lowered, it was almost like a godsend. I didn’t feel a thing. Everyone came back in and I was feeling pretty loopy. At this point I should have probably slept, but I didn’t. I couldn’t sleep.

So fast forward a bit. It’s been a while now. I hadn’t dilated past 5 centimeters in that whole time. At one point I started feeling pressure on my lower back. Thought Eh, no big deal. Then it was getting worse. Turns out my epidural messed up. It was saying it ran out when there was still medicine in the bag. Night kind of went downhill here. Emotions were running high, everyone was tired and ready for me to have my daughter. My mom and Matt ended up arguing and both threatened to leave, to which I told them that they were both staying because I wanted them to. I had to redo my epidural (yeah, you read that right) but my mom was the one I was holding onto despite the fact that she can’t stand the sight of needles. Then and there was I allowed to stay in one position after having spent all day and night going from my left side to my right side, back to my left side, on all fours (which turned out to be the most comfortable despite how much it still sucked).

I finally fell asleep I wanna say three in the morning on Wednesday and was woken up about six by my nurse. Matt was in the chair next to me asleep and my mom was on the other side of the room. The nurse checked me, saw I was only 8 centimeters dilated and told me I would have to get a c-section since not only am I not dilating, but my cervix (thanks a lot by the way) decided to swell up again. I get shaven, they set up the c-section for about 45 minutes later, and I wake up Matt so he could get set up to join me in the room since they had to wheel me into a separate room. They wheel me down the hallway and into the room, getting me set up the rest of the way and having Matt wait until it was time to cut me open. My doctor walked in, asked how I was, and then asked if I minded him playing music. I told him I didn’t and, while I was being strapped down and covered in warm blankets, heard Jack Johnson starting to play. It made me chuckle because Matt adores his music.

When it was time to finally get it started, Matt came into the room and sat my head. I’m not gonna lie, I almost passed out during my c-section. The warm blankets were so relaxing and I just wanted to sleep. Matt kept talking to me and at one point I asked him if they started yet. His response was “They’re pulling her out now.” Maybe 30 seconds later I heard that first cry and teared up myself. The nurses told me she weighed nine pounds eight ounces, which shocked me.

The rest of it is a little fuzzy. I remember being wheeled into the recovery area and having to wait to hold my baby. The nurse I had was an absolute godsend. She was such a sweetheart. She had to check my incision every ten minutes to make sure everything was where it was supposed to be and she helped me through that. I honestly have no idea how long I was back there before I finally got to hold my daughter. The nurse brought her back to me and made a note that her head was a little coneshaped from being in the birth canal and that she probably had a headache. She laid my daughter on me and baby girl started nursing, unlatching long enough to cry a little bit so mommy knew that her head hurt before latching on again. Matt was able to come back sometime later and then I was finally wheeled back to my room.

It was a long 29 hours, but it was worth it being able to hold my daughter and finally have her here. Nothing happened as planned. There was a lot of stress and annoyance and pain. I went in on a Monday and didn’t leave until that Friday. I was tired, hungry, and frustrated. But almost four months later as I write this, I look over at my sleeping daughter and she reassures me it was all worth it. I love that little girl with all of my heart and, minus some of the hiccups, would go through it all over again.

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How Raising My Nephews Did Not Prepare Me For Raising My Daughter

Not gonna lie: I thought this whole thing was gonna be easy. Like, super easy. To give a little context, I have two nephews, 7 and 4. Their dad (my brother) worked to provide and the thing he married (refuse to call it his wife but that’s a long and frustrating story for another time) had this lovely habit of pushing those boys off on myself, my mom, and my oldest brother so she could go out and do whatever. Hell, I can say without a doubt that I feel like I raised those boys more than she ever did. So before I had my little girl I thought “Ya know what? I got this. I practically raised my nephews. What’s the difference?”

And I tell you what, it’s so different. I never lost sleep when I had those boys. I never got frustrated and at my wit’s end when I had those boys. Well, except when the youngest had a double ear infection and his mom wasn’t around to help. But nothing I’ve done with those two prepared me for what I’ve gone through with this little girl.

They says all babies are different. My oldest nephew is a shy, quiet little boy who was diagnosed with Autism a couple of years ago. He was a social baby, but not to the extent of his little brother. We’ll call him Chunky Monkey because that was my nickname for him and we’ll call the oldest Bub. Chunky Monkey was the most social child I’ve even met. He was everyone’s friend. Bub was one of those who would be more likely to be seen standing next to his dad or attached to his dad as a baby. It’s not to say that Bub didn’t like other people. He was just more of a “I don’t know you so I’m gonna stick with Mommy/Daddy/Nana/Aunt Sissy until I know you” kind of kid. Chunky Monkey, on the other hand, was more of a “I wanna play with all of you!” kind of kid on top of a “Aunt Sissy’s here?! Screw you guys I want her!” kind of kid.

And while I haven’t seen or spoken to any of them in far too long (again, a post for another time), I remember what it was like all too well. And I thought I had it figured out for the most part. Maybe some things will be different, but not in a crazy way was my mentality all the way up until I had Zelda.

I learned real quick that I had absolutely NO idea what I was doing. Is she hungry? Is she sleepy? Does she need a fresh diaper? Does she just want to cuddle? I’m so thankful I have her dad here to help me learned what to do, along with his mom and my mom.  I may have only been a mom for three months, but holy crap has it been an adventure so far. I’m getting better at it all though. Still trying to get her to sleep in her crib is a task since her sleeper sack has now gotten too small for her. She may make me question if I’m screwing up when I’m not able to calm her down, but when she’s calm and either smiling up at me or asleep and snuggled up as close as she can get, it makes me feel like I’m doing an okay job. Woefully unprepared, but I’m not messing up.

That little girl still has a lot to teach me. Things I never learned when it came to my nephews. But Mommy’s hear to learn and take it a day at a time. It’s all I can do, right?

Why I Still Wear My Nursing Shirts/Bras (Even Though I No Longer Breastfeed)

Okay, real talk: I gave up on breastfeeding. It’s not to say I tried because, believe me, I tried. I ended up getting discouraged from lack of milk production, getting so busy I would forget to pump (shame on me I know), and the fact that Zelda decided after two weeks that she didn’t want to nurse off of Mommy. Feeding her from the beginning was a huge struggle. She’s one of those babies that when she’s hungry, she’s hungry yesterday. It was hard to get her to latch on when she’s screaming and crying so I, a new mom, committed what some would say is a cardinal sin in breastfeeding and started supplementing with formula. That may have played in a factor in her not wanting to latch anymore and if so, that’s on me. I gave birth to a 9 pound 8 ounce baby and she was just hungrier than smaller babies at her age.

But enough of that. Before I had her I was bound and determined to breastfeed. My mom breastfed me and my brothers. Plus I know the health benefits are extraordinary. I made sure I had nursing shirts and a couple nursing bras to make breastfeeding easier for myself and Zelda. But since I’ve stopped breastfeeding one would think I’d put those articles of clothing away for until I decided to have another baby, right? Normally yes. I mean, I’ve put away my maternity clothes until either I need them again or a friend of mine needs them. But I ended up gaining weight that didn’t go away after I had her (only kept about 20 of the 60 pounds I gained when I was pregnant with her so kudos to that). That being said, my normal bras aren’t fitting the best and some of my shirts are the same way.

My nursing shirt and my nursing bras on the other hand? Hands down the most comfortable things I own. The tank top is made from this super soft fabric and the bras don’t feel like they’re digging into my skin. It feels like a win/win scenario all around. The tank top is also super loose around the tummy section so it doesn’t feel like my stomach is poking out like the little timer in a Thanksgiving turkey and the bras support the girls without digging into my back and leaving painful indents from the straps.

Hey Chelsea. Why not just buy bras and shirts in your size? some may ask. And that’s true. I could just do that. But I also have to take into consideration the fact that after I pay bills and buy groceries/do laundry/put gas in the car, I really don’t have the extra cash to spend on clothes at this point in time. I work at Walmart. It may pay better than it did when I started three years ago, but it’s not enough to live comfortably. Plus with my plans to work out and lose weight, I feel like I’d be wasting money on clothing that may not fit in three to six months. While to some it may seem like I’m lazy, I’m just super broke. What extra I may end up with (which that in and of itself is rare) I spend on my daughter. Mommy needs new shoes for work? Nah homie. Baby girl needs some sleepers that fit her. Need work pants? Nah. Baby girl needs diapers/wipes. My daughter will not go without if I have any say in the matter. If that means I have to wait to get something I need, so be it. She comes first.

But to reiterate what I said previously, it’s also just the fact that they’re super duper comfy. Why fix something that isn’t broken, ya know? Why spend money on clothes when I have things that still fit and are comfortable.

Introductions Are In Order

If you’re reading this then you’ve stumbled upon my blog, which is this case welcome! I hope you stick around and enjoy what you end up reading.

My name is Chelsea Ostendorf (pronounced like Austendorf. Silly Germans, amiright?) and I’m 24 years old. I live in Michigan with my boyfriend, Matt, and our two-month-old daughter, Zelda, along with our two cats and one dog. I currently work at the Walmart in my area and when I’m not at work I spend my time at home taking care of my little angel and help my boyfriend take care of his 10-year-old daughter and three-year-old son when they visit for the weekend.

I decided to start this blog for a number of reasons, the main one being as a way to talk about the things I’ve learn since my daughter was born and maybe give other new moms or expectant moms a little piece of mind. I went into this thinking it would be about the same as basically raising my nephews, but I was totally wrong. And I want to express my thoughts and feelings about it all, too. Maybe there’s a new mom out there desperately trying to breastfeed her baby with no avail despite the fact that she wants to and has been told either a) she’ll produce enough milk, b) it’s the only way to go, c) if it hurts you’re doing it wrong, or d) all the above/anything I’ve personally missed. Maybe there’s a new mom out there who has trouble calming her baby down at night so they’ll sleep. Or maybe there’s an expectant mom who is wondering what all she truly needs for the baby that’s coming soon or what to expect at the hospital. Whatever the case may be, I want to be able to help out as much as I can; maybe give some advice they hadn’t heard from anywhere else.

If you were/are like I was when I was pregnant, you read every article you could find about what to expect at the hospital/first week home/during *insert trimester here*.  Looking up a million different articles about what to have, what to do, etc. etc. Scouring YouTube for anything to help. You went to the classes, talked to your mom/grandmother/aunts/friends and took note of any bit of advice you got. I want to be able to share what I learned from my mom, my boyfriend, his mom, my friends who have children of their own, and the good ole internet. I hope in doing so I can help someone else out in their quest for information.

With all of that said, I’ll be updating this little gem regularly so, until then, have a wonderful day and I’ll see you soon.

-Chelsea

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P.S. – I thought I’d go ahead and show you all the wonderful creature that is my daughter. I’d do anything for this little girl.