Friday, December 21, 2012

Mommyhood: Week 3

Um, happy apocalypse day everyone?

This past week has had its ups and downs... but (un)fortunately, extremes of both. Let's start with the good...

I told my parents and grandparents that I don't want anything for Christmas this year and would much rather just put money towards a new camera. I've been using a point and shoot my whole life and would LOVE a dslr. I figured I'd just start saving up now and get one in the future, but Clay pointed out that, with Brody being a baby, would make much more sense to get one now. So hubby did an incredible amount of research to find me the perfect camera. We ended up getting the Nikon D7000 body with a 24-120 mm f4 lens. I LOVE IT. Super awesome pictures to come soon...

Since work Christmas parties were cancelled this year due to budget cuts, my department decided to get together anyways. I love our little group... it was such a great time! Mama Z watched Brody as Clay and I had our first outing since becoming parents.

I am also a huge fan of maternity leave. I love my job and what I do, but there's just something about being home all day with my kids... and in sweatpants. Wednesday morning was spent with all three of us curled up on the couch for cuddles and movie time. We went to Mama Z's house yesterday (and today) because I needed a little change. Being confined to the house and one sided conversations with a baby and dog get kinda old real fast...

The not-so-fantastic moments of the week include(d) my lil man coming down with a nasty cold (and passing it along to me), a family member having a mammogram scare (thankfully a benign lump) and Miss Peanut having her eye removed. The vet told my mom that Peanut needed to have her eye enucleated after they exhausted all other options. She lost sight in her one eye awhile ago and the burst blood vessels caused her a lot of pressure and pain. They tried bringing the pressure down with eye drops, but they didn't work. Besides, my mom was already spending over an hour and a half a day doing eye drops (some for the cataracts surgery she had earlier this year.)

Right after her surgery and two days after

So Miss Peanut is a pirate right now. It was hard seeing her like that at first, but things got better after you realized that this was improving her quality of life and since she was already blind in that eye, it wasn't affecting how she got around. My parents deserve some sort of "doggy owners of the year" award. In the last couple years, Peanut has been diagnosed with diabetes (requiring insulin shots 2X a day) and pancreatitis (requiring frequent vet visits), had cataracts surgery in both eyes (requiring multiple eye drops every day), went blind and now this eye enucleation. My parents never gave up on her and putting her down was never an option. I don't know if she would've been as lucky with any other owner. God bless my parents and the time and money they invest(ed) in Miss Nutters. xoxo

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Brody's birth announcement + Christmas card infographic

I had such a great response regarding last year's Christmas card infographic that I knew I had to do something similar this year. Since Brody was born at the end of November, I decided to merge my Christmas letter and his birth announcement together. Being the obsessive compulsive busybody that I am, I had the initial layout done way back in like April or May. No judging. I also included a 4x6 photo with similar graphics on it with every card.

Overall, I am pretty excited how they turned out. Merry Christmas and enjoy!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Maternity pics wrap up/public apology to my body

On my due date back in November, in between hospital visits and contractions, I squeaked out my 40 week picture so that I could finish up my nerdy lil pregnancy gif. (Despite what it may look like, I promise I will NOT explode at the end...)

On that note.... dear body, I'm very sorry for what happened to you.

I think pregnancy has forever cured me of my body image issues. Looking back even to my 2 month picture, I was like "look how small I was!" My usual muffin top doesn't seem so bad when put into perspective with my approx. 47 pound weight gain. (Ouches.) Even though my 25 pound weight loss the first week after Brody was born seemed pretty awesome, I know I have a long way to go. I'll probably lose it all right about when Clay and I try for baby #2. Gah.

I also forced politely asked my husband to pose for a Pinterest-inspired maternity photo with me. Sorry Clay, I'm posting it...

Pinterest original

Unfortunately, my husband is like 90 pounds soaking wet and as scrawny as a prepubescent starving boy despite his Mountain Dew and junk food only diet... soooo no belly. But I thought it was funny, so I win.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Guns don't kill people...

I'm so incredibly tired of listening to people's gun control rants right now in response to the Newtown shooting. Adam Lanza had a mental illness. His doomsday prepping mother could've done a much better job at locking down her arsenal of legally obtained guns... but I truly believe that people in that state of mind are going to carry out these horrific crimes regardless of what weapon (fertilizer, airplanes, box cutters, explosives...) they can get their hands on. Sure, you're entitled to your own opinion... but let's consider the following before we really believe that fewer guns are going to stop those kinds of people from hurting others:

Didn't work so well for the Australians...

End rant.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


Hello. My name is Andrea and I take too many pictures of babies and dogs. I use to think I was a tad obsessive with photographing Zora, Zayla and Peanut... then Brody came along. The camera phone era is just so very dangerous.

However... I just can't help capture all of Brody's funny faces! He definitely takes after his momma because I notoriously have the weirdest faces in candid photos. I am especially a fan of the lil man's "pushing" faces. There's no question what he's up to...

 ...and then there are the super content/happy post-diaper change faces when he's hanging out on his changing pad.

Brody officially outgrew his newborn clothes this weekend. Yes, my 9 lb baby fit in newborn clothes for two weeks... hard to believe. For the Archambault family Christmas yesterday, he was able to rock his "Santa's Little Helper" outfit and Santa hat. He's so adorable... xoxo.

Holiday festivities left him a little pooped out.

Speaking of being pooped out, this momma is finally feeling like a human being again! We started Brody on cereal Wednesday night. I figured a tablespoon in his bedtime bottle might help him sleep longer during the night... for both our sakes. He's been sleeping roughly 6-7 hours after that bottle... which means I only have to get up with him once more during the night (usually 3-4:00) and then when we're up for good around 7:00. Not too bad.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Mommyhood: Week 2

My lil man is 2 weeks old today! Yay for surviving parenthood so far but sadness... he needs to stay a little cuddle bug until I say so!

Last weekend, Brody and I went on a getaway to Grandma Z's house. Between my mom, dad, sister and all the visitors fighting over who gets to hold him next and calling shotgun on the next feeding, I was very grateful for some r&r. My mom even took on Brody duty at night so I could get a much needed full night of sleep. I felt like I had a weekend at a spa by the time I left... 8.5 hours of uninterrupted sleep, big glass of wine while I swam in my mom's super awesome tub, no dog duty, etc. Dad, Brody, Zayla, Peanut and I all crammed on the couch and watched a movie Friday morning which was a great change of pace.

I greatly appreciate all my mom's help keeping my head above water and for the periodic "breaks." This momma had to focus on her emotional well-being quite a bit during the last two weeks. Damn you hormones and your shananigans.

Tuesday was my 27th birthday. I feel so old, but I think I'm going to blame that on the lack of sleep. Momma Z took my sister and I out to lunch at Olive Garden to celebrate (it was my sister's 24th birthday as well!) Brody's great-grandma Neiser volunteered to babysit so we could have a peaceful lunch and run some errands afterwards. I got home after a day with the girls and Clayton has a delicious brownie ice cream cake and bag of Ghirardelli chocolates waiting for me. Nom!

Last year I started a 30 Before 30 list... check out what I've accomplished in the last year! It's not much, but thankfully I have a few more years!

Yesterday Brody had his newborn pictures taken. Thankfully momma Z went with me because Mr. Brody wasn't the most cooperative lil guy. We did get a couple good shots in spite of all his fussiness. Too bad he wasn't as content as he was during his hospital photos (which they did a HORRIBLE job of centering!)

Hospital pictures -- a little to the right please?!

Brody also got his first real bath yesterday. His cord and the plastic piece from his circumcision took awhile to fall off. He loved it! I think he especially loved the part where he initiated me into the "mother of boys" club. So far he's only hit the walls around his changing pad, but yesterday he finally got me. Oh boys...

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Mommyhood: Week 1

Brody is already a week old today. Holy cow. Slow down time so I can savor this precious face!

We finally were able to bring Brody home from the hospital late Saturday evening. The nurses were apparently in no hurry to discharge us and took forever! Between the hospital and home visits, so many friends and family have made the trip to Holland to meet Brody. Thank you all for all your love, support and adorable gifts! xoxo

Speaking of gifts, my super awesome husband gave me my birthday and Christmas gifts early this year. On Friday he gave me the beautiful Mother's Eternal Love necklace. I also had mentioned to him that I'd love to find a purse/diaper bag combo so that I can fit all the crap I need without needing two bags. Clay's a better shopper than I am and he found me the perfect bag. Thanks babe!

I was so pleased that all of the grandparents were able to see Brody the very first night. One of the best surprises ever was seeing my dad show up at the hospital at 1 AM the night Brody was born. My dad works in West Virginia so we only get to see him come home every couple of weekends. Unfortunately, that was supposed to be an "off" weekend and I figured he wouldn't be home until the following Thursday (today). However, when he heard that I was in labor, he hit the road as soon as he got out of work and made the 9 hour drive (in 8) from WV to Michigan.

Yes, I was a crying mess.

Then he stopped on his way home after the hospital visit to buy his new fishing buddy his very own Spiderman fishing pole.

Brody's first two nights were uh... typical I guess. Clay and I took 1-2 hour shifts on Saturday night in the rocker because he wasn't diggin' his crib. Sunday night was the longest night ever. Since Clay had to go to work the next day, I volunteered for full time Brody duty. So from 10 PM to 6 AM, my buns never left the rocker. THANK GOD we invested in a nice comfy La-Z-Boy. There's no way my um, delicate undercarriage could've tolerated anything less than all that extra cushion.

It is amazing how really long the night is when you're awake for all of it. (Yes, this new mom was afraid to go to sleep.) I'm embarrassed of how many games of FreeCell and Spider Solitaire I played on my phone that night. Now I keep some books along side the rocker. I feel a little dirty having a "50 Shades" book sittin' out in my child's nursery, but whatever. He doesn't judge.

The third night Brody slept from midnight to 6:30 with only one quick five minute whimper fest. Glorious glorious sleep! I know all you moms out there are probably like "that's why you should always sleep when the baby sleeps during the day." Well, I've tried. Between the dog, Brody's crazy half-ass nap schedule and my screwed up hormones, there's no sleeping happening in this house during the day. Just lots and lots of picture taking and funny faces... (kid definitely takes after his mom on this.)

Other than that, it's been a pretty interesting week. Lots of learning and adjusting. We ventured out on our first walk yesterday... Brody, Zora and myself. My mom and Grandma are coming over today for some cuddles. Brody and I are also having a sleepover at my mom's tomorrow night while dad is home.  Maybe grandma's touch with get him to sleep through the night. Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Brody's birth story

After months of obsessive pregnancy posts and pictures, I'm finally a mommy! My beautiful son, Brody Gage, was born Thursday, November 29th weighing 9 lbs 2 oz and 21 inches long.

Here is his birth story:

Even prior to my pregnancy, my (future) birth plan was to deliver naturally avoiding medication at all cost unless of course it came down to the health and well-being of my child. I was convinced I was strong enough to endure labor regardless how long or how difficult it could be. After last Wednesday and Thursday, I'm going to paste a copy of my original birth plan in my son's baby book with the words "haha, just kidding" written over top of it.


I had my 40 week appointment on Tuesday afternoon... measured a tight 2 cm and roughly 75% effaced. We went ahead and scheduled an induction date for the following Thursday just to get it in the books. My plan was to prolong having to be induced for as long as possible. She decided to go ahead and strip the membrane to see if that would get things moving along.

I will never forget that look on my husband's face... xoxo

(Lil Arch's due date + full moon)

I knew stripping the membrane could result in cramping, but as the evening continued, my cramps became pretty severe. Around midnight, I noticed they were becoming pretty regular and lasting about 50-60 seconds. Hmm... So I broke out my trusty pregnancy app and starting timing contractions. The first hour they were 4:30 apart, then 4:00 the next hour and then eventually under that. Knowing that we should've left for the hospital when things were 5 minutes apart for an hour, I woke Clay up around 4 AM. We checked into the hospital an hour later with contractions 4:00 apart and still only measuring 2 cm.

By 7:30 AM, I had dilated to 4 cm with contractions remaining intense and constant... theeeeeen things just stopped progressing. We opted to go home and labor there for awhile around 1:00 PM. Over the next 5 hours, contractions picked back up to a constant 5:00 apart and became much more severe. After a quick shower and taking my weekly pregnancy pic (because I've been told numerous times a missed Picture of the Day would be an indicator I was in labor), we headed back to the hospital around 6:00 PM.

Of course, I was only a whopping 1/2 cm more dilated then. Five hours later, still with no further progress other than another 1/2 cm and 85% effacement, a different OB came in and presented some options for us. Miserable and obviously at a stalemate, we opted to tweak the birth plan and get some morphine in me so I could get some rest and hopefully progress some more over night.


I was woken up around 5 AM by my OB for an exam. I'm not going to lie, but her telling me I was only at 5 1/2 cm was pretty disheartening.... borderline devastating. Still with consistent, intense contractions, we decided to have her go ahead and break my water. Contraction intensity picked up, but not frequency.

By 11 AM, I was fully dilated. The nurse put in a call to my doctor and she instructed to start pushing and she'd be there by 12:30. I pushed for over an hour before the nurse said that basically the baby is stuck. My OB didn't show up until almost 2:00, so I was instructed to just lay there in the meantime and labor through my contractions fully dilated and needing to push. It was probably a good thing I was so emotionally and physically drained at this point because I probably would have gone ape shit on my OB for "chit chatting in the hallway" (her words, not mine) while I laid there in the most horrific pain in my life.

Doc finally came into the room, did a quick exam and declared she thought the baby was posterior and the face was getting caught up on my pelvic bone. As you can see now, my natural birth plan with going to be shot all the hell whether I wanted it to or not. I was presented with options that included the words "forceps" and/or "c-section." Because apparently using the forceps without medical intervention is not an option and I was convinced I was on the brink of death, an epidural was scheduled ASAP.

I will never understand why the Anesthesiologist waited until right before a contraction to start inserting the needle. Really buddy? I'm battling overwhelming back labor and the need to push and you're going to tell me to be absolutely still while you stick that gigantic needle into my back? Thanks a lot. Appreciate it. Anyways, epidural was in by 2:45 PM.

By 4:30, my contractions were still only 5 minutes apart. Pitocin was administered so that I could get them closer together. By 6:15, they had gotten down to 2 minutes and it was time to push again. Even though I hadn't felt a contraction in awhile due to the epi, I was scared to death to push. I cannot even being to describe the relief I felt during that first push when I realized there was no more pain this time. I pushed for roughly 45 minutes before my OB brought in the "holy shit, those things are going in me?!" forceps.

This is where I got especially nervous. She warned me that if she cannot safely get a good grip on the baby with the forceps, we would automatically have to go to a c-section. Even though my so-called birth plan was non-existent at this point, a c-section was my "worse case scenario." Not that I was afraid of surgery or the recovery, but I felt that it would ultimately take away from the entire birthing experience for me. I wanted to deliver as naturally as possible more than anything. Thankfully, the forceps slid into place with no problem.

Next contraction, I was instructed to push while she pulled. Usually an advocate of letting the mom rip naturally, she opted to perform an episiotomy during the next contraction. One contraction later, at 7:14 PM, my beautiful son was born. Turns out, he wasn't posterior, just was a big baby (9 lbs 2 oz).

It is truly amazing to go through the most horrific pain of your life and have it end with a miracle that you love more than life itself. He was so worth every single second of a very difficult 43 hour labor. I feel so incredibly blessed and in love with my little family! My husband through this entire process was truly my rock. He was such incredible support through every contraction, decision and life-changing moment. I honestly could not have gotten through it without him... from the bottom of my heart, thank you Clay. I love you!

Am I disappointed my birth plan was, more or less, a joke? A little. I don't feel I went into things with unrealistic expectations, but I am extremely proud of myself for getting through the first 39 hours naturally. Towards the end, I wasn't left with any options that didn't include medicating and my mind and body had absolutely hit their limits. I had nothing left to give at the peak of when I needed to be my strongest. At the end of the day, I have a beautiful, healthy baby boy and that's all that ever mattered.

Brody, we love you more than words could ever express and cannot wait to watch you grow every single day.

With much love, mom
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