Thursday, May 14, 2015

How To Make Your Baby Come on Your Due Date

This past week has seen the births of five new babies to four of my friends. How can that be?? My conclusion is that there most definitely was something in the water around July 4th of last year. Just call me Sherlock. (Side note: have you seen the BBC Sherlock series?? Benedict Cumberbatch is my new TV crush.) May 6, May 7 (twins!), May 9, and May 10.... new babes were welcomed into the world. Let's not forget Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana of Cambridge born on May 2nd. July 4th fireworks bring May babies.

And Father's Day "fireworks" bring March babies, I guess. Our little March baby came right on time. Apparently, only 5% of babies are born on their due date -- who knew? I don't think I did anything extra special that prompted Liza Love to make her debut, and there's definitely no magical formula for making a baby arrive on time, but here's what I did. Take it for what it's worth. (And if you don't care, just skip this next part. There's pictures at the bottom.)

How To Make Your Baby Come on Your Due Date:

  • Raspberry Leaf Tea - I had heard that raspberry leaf tea is supposed to soothe your uterine muscles, so I walked down to Chin Chin Cha in Georgetown and picked up a bag about a week and a half before my due date. (Beware: it looks like marijuana. Just saying. Don't ask me how I know.) I drank one or two cups of tea a day after that. Who knows if it really works or if it helped my muscles relax enough to start labor, but it tastes good and it warmed me up since early March was absolutely frigid in DC. 
  • Walking - I was pretty sedentary for a lot of my pregnancy. A few weeks after I found out I was pregnant, I had a bit of a scare and thought I had miscarried after one particular work out. Because of that, I decided to take a break from exercising for the rest of the time. I still would take walks, but they were pretty slow and leisurely. By about 37 weeks pregnant, I was so ready to meet this babe that I started walking like crazy again. Even through the icy sidewalks and snow, I power-walked about 3-4 times a week. I swear this helped a whole lot to get my hips moving and make the baby drop. I also shoveled snow (a lot of snow.... I cleared the whole sidewalk!) the day I went into labor. I think that also helped.
  • Breathing into Braxton Hicks Contractions - Not everyone gets Braxton Hicks, but I had them for most of my pregnancy. They really ramped up about two weeks before my due date. Michael and I watched this video on how to practice belly breathing, so every time I had a Braxton Hicks contraction, I would work on breathing into it. I was 3cm dilated three days before Liza came, and I think this breathing technique definitely helped make that happen. 
  • Ice Cream - I can't explain it, but like a typical preggo lady, I craved ice cream like crazy in the two weeks leading up to labor. It was below freezing for much of that time and Michael thought I was insane, but I still went to Thomas Sweets at least twice a week in the end. 
  • Potato Spinach Soup - We ate this for dinner, and I went into labor 2 hours later. Here's the recipe. Do it! (ps. Add cooked bacon when you add the potatoes. And cheddar cheese for serving.)
And now for some pics! 

Getting ready to watch Duke win. Not sure how I feel about this. 

Easter Sunday

Seriously NOT happy about the bonnet. It's hard being a girl. 

Staring contest. Liza Love won. 
A visit with Aunt Tilly! 

How we feel about her receding hairline...

I may be balding, but I sure am cute! 

One with the animals

How we feel about her hair growing back!

A new kind of Friday night

Hello little love

My heart just skipped a beat...

Liza Love's first selfie with the girls

Picture of contentment 

Power to the little people! 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Baby Love, My Baby Love...

The many faces of Liza Love

So. We are now 7 weeks (tomorrow) into this crazy world of parenting, and I think the honeymoon is over. Kidding -- let's be honest, there is no honeymoon with parenting. A honeymoon is a nice way to ease into marriage and life with your new spouse.  There is no easing into parenting. You're just thrown into it, and it's a sink or swim kind of thing. And you just have to force yourself to swim and keep swimming. Like Dory.

I'm making this out to seem like Liza Love has been a wild child. Not so! (Well, maybe so between the hours of 7-10pm.) She was sound asleep for the first two weeks of her life (so maybe that was a honeymoon after all,) and then around week three she totally woke up from her cocoon of baby love -- and I woke up to the reality of what life is like with a newborn. I called my nurse friend Ellen and asked if I should give up dairy in my diet since LL seemed to cry a lot and I couldn't figure out why. Ellen said, "CB. Relax. Your baby is acting like a baby."

Oh! Right.

Liza Love is still a great sleeper (I'm praying this never changes!) but now she has all these opinions and thoughts and agendas that she expresses mainly through loud, girly shrieks of protest. Things like:

You are not paying attention to me, mom! Mom, change my diaper! It's cold in here! It's hot in here! Feed me! What is that noise? You are being too loud! Why is it so dark in here?? Why is it so bright in here? What is that music?! Why are you not taking me for a walk? Why are we out walking?

Oh man. Keep sleeping child.

Liza Love is now in this sweet, cuddly stage where she actually falls asleep on my chest. Oh, to have a baby fall asleep on your chest! There is nothing much sweeter in the world. She refused to do this for her first few weeks and it nearly broke my heart. Thank goodness that changed. And LL is seriously the biggest wiggler. I mean, I think all babies are, but she will lay on her back and kick and flail her arms for nearly an hour. Michael and I find it amazingly cute and have about 10,000 photos and videos to document this phenomenon.... annnnd basically anything else that LL does.

Here are a few!

Ellen popping in for a quick visit while in town from Nashville! She's the one who told me to take a chill pill. Noted.

Liza Love sporting a tank for her daily dose of tummy time. (She immensely dislikes tummy time.) 

After her first bath.... which she also immensely disliked. She's more into it now-a-days. 
This was after LL's first shopping trip (to Target of course... where else??) It was the first time I fed her out of the house, the first time she had a diaper blowout, and the first time she pooped on me, her outfit, the pillow, the car seat, the swaddle blanket and the burp cloth. And it was the first time I was left alone without backup support as my mom just so happened to be popping into a shoe store for a hot second when all this went down. #motherhoodinitiation #ipassed (#ithink)

Morning devos

Molly came to town and took us out for lattes! 

LL being the center of attention from her grandma and aunties :)

Chief and his grandbaby 


Liza Love's hoist at church! 
 (Btw, to understand what the heck is going on in the picture above, see this post, point #6.)

Florals on florals

"Mmmmm why yes, old chap, that's brilliant!"

Such a nugget

Primpin'.  And so smug about it.

A little slice of heaven

Be still my heart

Ps. I have my own domain name now! No more ".blogspot" :) Now just SO EXCITING. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Life with Liza Love

And just like that, our lives are forever changed. We had a baby!! Elizabeth Love Catalino came on her due date (I love that she's already a punctual chickadee) on March 6, 2015, and we are so enraptured by this little life. The whole labor and delivery process was miraculously SO QUICK and relatively easy - I keep thinking back on it with such surprise and gratitude that it went that way. Liza Love is a complete delight, quite a sleeper (in fact, she has earned the nicknames Lazy Liza and Flopsy --name that movie reference-- because she loves to sleep so much,) has gorgeous baby blues (we'll see if they stay that way,) is a wiggle worm when changing her diaper, is a thumb-sucker, loves to be sung to, and loves it when Michael acts obnoxiously to wake her up.

I have probably never been this tired in all my life, but I wouldn't trade this experience for the world. There's a verse in Esther thay says "Who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" And that is exactly how I feel about this early stage of motherhood: like this is what I was made to do. (Although I wouldn't mind a supernatural dose of energy every now and then...)

Michael has been a champ of a dad, and seeing him with LL makes me fall in love with him all over again. He is so funny with her and has a playful side with her that is so amazing to see. Thus far, my goal has been keeping LL fed and clean, and Michael's goal has been to entertain her with funny voices and to make her do tummy time, much to her protest.

I have so much more to say about Liza Love and the first 12 days of her life so far, but my mom is here for only a few more hours so I have to scoot. Thank you for sharing in our joy over this little butter bean! More to come, but here are some pictures for now:

My first time holding her. It was a perfect delivery up until the very end when her heart rate dropped dramatically because the cord was around her neck. Once she was out, I couldn't hold her immediately because they had to make sure she was ok. This is pure bliss getting my arms around this chica for the first time. 

First family photo

We basically just stared at her for two days straight in the hospital (among other important things like learning how to breastfeed.... details, details.) I can't believe she is ours! 

First sunlight on her face! When I went into labor on Thursday night, DC was covered in snow. My dad drove us to the hospital at 5am on Friday after I labored at home for several hours, and Michael had to push dad's rental car out of the spot because it was so icy and snowy. Two days later on Sunday morning, we walked home in glorious spring weather! I am convinced that Liza loves the sunshine as much as I do :) 

Walking home from the Georgetown Hospital. 

With some of the Catalinos who came down for the day from New York :) 

With my padres. One hour after my dad arrived on Thursday night, my labor started. Amazing timing that both my mom and dad were here on time! 

Even my brother Chris came in from NYC! Shown here looking good after a run.

In case it's not already clear, we had a mega photo shoot upon arriving home.

Meeting Eleanor, our next door neighbor, after Liza Love aced her first doctor visit. 

Cuteness at the doctor

Speaking of Georgetown Medicine, Match Day is this Friday... two days away!! We can't wait to find out where Liza will spend her first 7 years of life (or more.)

Did I tell you I'm in love?? 

Little squish bug

Seeing the sights. First things first: T Sweets! 

Cruisin' at the Georgetown Waterfront

Michael saying bye to LL on his first day back at work when she was one-week old. 

Mom and Liza Love. My two favorite women! 

Story time with Pop Pop

Being serenaded by dad