Sunday, September 28, 2014

Maternity Must Haves

Pintrest and blogs were incredibly helpful when I was figuring out staples I would need for pregnancy, my new baby, and for my survival as a brand new mom. I decided to put together a three part post passing along the items that I would not have survived without. So without further ado...

Justine's 10 Maternity Must-Haves:

1. Juice Plus and gummy prenatal vitamins - WAY more fun than swallowing pills and gave baby and me everything I was lacking in my craving-driven pregnancy diet.

2. Target maternity tees and tanks - Affordable, comfortable, versatile. What more do you need?

3. Comfortable sandals - Bending over became much more of a hassle, especially given I was 7-9 months pregnant during the summer months. Being able to slip shoes on and off became a big time and energy saver.

4. Decaf coffee - Even though I was trying to watch my caffeine intake, I still let myself THINK my morning routine was not changing. I've been a coffee addict for years and I wasn't ready to quit then (still not). I think it's more mental than anything at this point, but you've gotta do what you've gotta do. Venti vanilla latte, please!

5. Maxi dresses - Dress them up, dress them down... these are just as easy as the tee shirts. They say "Look, I'm still cool and fabulous and fashion forward even though I feel like a whale under here." The breeziness in the summer was AMAZING to boot.

6. Skinny belts - Making all the difference between the "I ate too much and I'm not ready to admit it and get bigger clothes" look and the "Cute baby bump! How far along are you?" look. Not bulky, and makes pretty much any outfit look cooler.

7. Body butter - I didn't get stretch marks until the last month or two but when they came, they came with vigor. They were tender where my skin was thinner, and the soothing butter made me feel better, even if it wasn't as preventative as I had hoped.

8. Water bottle - Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! I'm normally TERRIBLE about drinking water, but carrying a sports bottle with me during the work day made a huge difference. I made more than frequent bathroom visits, but it felt good to be somewhat taking care of myself. Especially balancing out my 2 cups a day of coffee.

9. Purse snacks - My morning sickness was more afternoon sickness. I would get terribly nauseous between 4-6 ish, right when I was supposed to be running the after school care program. I felt like I constantly needed to have at least something in my stomach to keep it settled. Unfortunately for me, I worked at a school that frequently provided the faculty and staff with brownies, cookies, cakes, and donuts. I ate what was handy (I mean, desperate times call for desperate measures, right?) but healthy snacks stowed away in my purse (whole wheat crackers, nuts, fruit, granola bars) helped all the same.

10. What to Expect When You're Expecting - A lot of people use the internet (probably Babycenter in particular) now, but this book was a tremendous reference for me when I was worried, curious, or just needed something to flip through to accompany me along. I learned a lot!

Bonus: Blanqui or belly band - Lots of women swear by these, and they're definitely great for making non-maternity clothes stretch farther than otherwise, and the tight fit helps support the heavy bump. The biggest issue I ran into was getting it on and off as I grew, especially being preggo when it was hot. But it was comfortable on (and slimming too)!

To see my other pregnancy outfit inspirations, survival tip inspiration, and workout suggestions, follow me on pintrest and check out my pregnancy board! Keep an eye out for my upcoming posts on newborn and new mom staples!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Seven Quick Takes

I'm back for the linkup with Jen!

Pic stolen from my BIL's facebook :)
1. Celine is still only smiling and chuckling in her sleep, but Joel and I are trying everything we can to get a little more lovin' out of her when she is awake. She's making more eye contact, and in those moments I weirdly feel like she knows what I'm thinking. Hopefully that feeling reverses and she spends her life convinced I know what she's thinking. Let's see her get into trouble then!

2. My amazing husband bought me a polar fitness watch for my  birthday, which tracks my workout length, heart rate, calories burned, and my personal fitness stats. Unfortunately, I received it the day of my C-section, so I have been "breaking it in" with low-impact slow walks around the neighborhood. This coming Tuesday will mark my 6 week checkup, so here's to being cleared for exercise and going on a REAL walk!

3. I am incredibly thankful to the kindness we were shown after the arrival of Celine, especially for the food that was made/delivered for us. I have not had to cook a meal in over a month and it has been glorious. Although we are still slowly working through the freezer meals, I braved the kitchen to throw together chicken and rice (Riceroni with chunks of chicken and a TON of cheese). It was good, but not sure it was worth the cleanup.

4. My mom was in and out of town the past couple of weeks and she came by to help me get Celine's room decorated... we had done a little before she was born, but now it looks more like a girls' room!
The lighting is low because Cece is sleeping in her crib :) 

My favorite is the DIY glitter letter!
The frame contents that will stay are the two images of the Blessed Mother and the picture of "Joel, Justine, and Baby" (drawn for me by my niece as a baby shower gift) and the rest will change, as will the blank canvas. More pictures to come as those projects are finished!

5. I'm definitely one to get excited about little things and overthink decisions that are WAY too trivial... Right now it's what to do with my hair. I'm going back and forth between long layers (pros: variety of styles/updos, finally grew it out, hubby likes it, cons: takes a billion years to wash and dry, no fun style change in over a year) OR a long bob (pros: fast wash/dry, simple style, cons: losing my long-awaited longer hair, less options with updos). My inspiration board is here. If you have any suggestions, let me know soon! :)

6. It's already fall and I am so ready to bust out my boots and layering clothes, provided I can fit into them post-baby. Which reminds me... I need to find myself new skinny jeans!

7. I love cleaning my house with my 3 main ingredients of baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice, but I'm thinking of moving over into essential oils. Any ideas on how to get started? What oils do you use the most?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Baptism Sunday

Almost one month to the day after Celine was born, she was welcomed into the Church and we are thrilled! Joel's parents and brother made it all the way out to Iowa for the short weekend and we made sure to get as much quality time in as we could. Joel's father is a Deacon, and we are so blessed that he could share in this day with us by administering the Sacrament to her.

Such a beautiful moment!

Our little family with Celine's Godparents and 3 of 4 Grandparents

 After the beautiful ceremony, we were invited to a celebratory brunch hosted by my sister. We shared food, stories, and laughs. It was a blast to spend the day together and watching football with the family in town.

four generations! I will cherish this picture for a long, long time :)
Celine's first jersey with plenty of room to grow :) Go Broncos!
 Until next time!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Welcome to our world: Celine's birth story

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to my pride and joy, the newest love of my life,

Celine Evelyn Rauch!

This little doll officially joined our family on August 20th, 2014, four days before her due date. She loves intimate dinners, long rides in the stroller, and pacifiers. Her gentle personality lets Mommy and Daddy knows just what she wants without too much of a fuss (well, so far).

It has been a LONG road (more about our pregnancy woes later) but for now, here's how our princess joined us:

We could feel Celine's head at the top of my bump since maybe mid-trimester three. I kept hearing "You'll know when baby flips" and "once the baby flips, you know you're getting close..." and so on. I waited, poked my bump, and waited some more. I could feel her moving, adjusting herself, and stretching, but no obvious flip. Just in case she had and I slept through it or didn't know, around 35 weeks I asked the doc to double check.


He let me know the usual steps taken to flip babies in cases where they did not flip themselves. But it was still somewhat early.

Another week goes by, and she still hadn't moved. We talked about scheduling a version, an "uncomfortable" (painful!) procedure where a doctor externally lifts/moves the baby in the womb to turn him/her around. The whole thing is done in an OR, just in case something were to go wrong or the baby were to get exhausted/stressed, in which case an emergency C-section would be done. Versions are usually done at 37 weeks, with a 90% success rate for transverse breech babies (laying sideways) and 50% success rate for complete breech (head up, butt down, knees bent). An ultrasound was scheduled to double check her position before anything was put on the calendar.

A few days later, our suspicions were confirmed. Survey says: complete breech! A consultation was scheduled with the surgeon who was to potentially do the procedure. At this point, we are starting week 38. The consult went well, but he regretfully informed me that because in the last 3 weeks of pregnancy the baby is quickly gaining weight and the earliest he could get me in was the end of the week (just before we turn the corner into 39 weeks), our chances of success were steadily dropping from the aforementioned 50%.He suggested skipping to the cesarean, feeling rather uncomfortable attempting the version when it would potentially do more harm than good.

38 weeks, the day of my baby shower
Joel and I had discussed that of course, our preference was a vaginal delivery, but if push came to shove (ha ha) and other means were necessary, we would do whatever we had to do for baby and me to be safe. If that meant a C-section, so be it. At this point, the will we/won't we of the version, C-section, and vaginal delivery were starting to weigh on us. I'm a planner and Joel hates leaving big issues unresolved, so after a few weeks of this we were ready to have a decision made one way or the other. I decided that at my next weekly checkup, I would refuse to leave the doctor's office unless something was decided (and on the calendar, if applicable) either way.

My family doctor happened to be on vacation for my week 38 appointment, so I met with the next available doctor, who just so happened to be the head of the OB department. I explained the whole situation and when it came to his attention that I'd already been having contractions (Braxton Hicks... I felt them, but they didn't hurt and it was MAYBE 1-3 times a day so I didn't bother considering it a warning sign for labor), he told me a successful verison would be impossible (also taking into consideration how far along I was). I was gearing up to stand my ground and demand a solution when he said, "It looks like a C-section for next week is going to be your best bet. We don't want you to go into labor with the baby in that position because it's potentially very dangerous, and although it's not our first choice when a vaginal delivery is available, I am confident this is safest for the both of you. Our goal here is to end up with happy and healthy mommy and baby," (or something as confident and reassuring along those lines. I agreed, keeping my discussion with Joel in the forefront of my mind. "Now don't move until we get this on the calendar for you. Do you have a date in mind?"

It was a good thing Joel and I had half-hypothetically-half-jokingly picked out an ideal day of the week for baby to come. "Wednesday, please." I was shocked. This was so... simple! We were given the rare opportunity of knowing exactly when our baby was going to arrive. That meant I had about a week of not having a baby outside the womb. Days of cleaning the house, home-spa pampering, and sleepless nights later, Joel and I arrived at the hospital at 5 AM on Wednesday, August 20th to have ourselves a baby.

I was more nervous than anything else. We quietly listened to the introductions of the doctors and nurses and followed our instructions. We nervously made jokes about our anticipation and fought to keep our name choices secret for a few last precious hours. I was wheeled through what seemed like every hospital hallway before I entered the HUGE operating room, full of basically a billion people in scrubs. Joel joined me, I was given anesthetics, and after what I swear was only a minute or two after the "Can you feel this?" poke test, one of the anesthesiologists said gently to me, "They're about halfway there." My profound response: "So I am like, open right now??"

I hope she keeps her fabulous hair!
At 7:29 AM, Joel and I held our breaths as one of the surgeons pulled out the baby. "It's a boy!" she said, and we exhaled and smiled at each other, relief and excitement overcoming us. "No, wait, it's a girl!" The SAME doctor exclaimed. Apparently, because she was swollen and came out butt first, back up, the doctor was thrown off or something? I don't care. She was here!). A split second of confusion, and then the same relief and excitement followed.

Celine Evelyn was 7 lbs, 13 oz. and 18 1/2 in. long. It felt like an eternity before I could hold her! 
The painkillers I was given gave me the annoying side effect of being terribly itchy (petty, I know) but I couldn't much function or sit still. The exhaustion probably didn't help. I was given Benadryl to help the itching and as a result, I was incredibly drowsy for the first full 24 hours following surgery. I have little clear recollection of that time, but I remember it was awesome being a family, all together for the first time.

Stay tuned for more on her royal cuteness as I am finally energized and recuperated enough to pick up my old hobbies again, including blogging. Thanks for reading!