Welcome to our life!

Hi, I'm Allison! I'm a thirtysomething, freshly baked, stay-at-home mom. I'm originally from Connecticut, now living in Germany, hence the name of the blog. I live in southern Germany with my German husband and our baby boy. Life has turned out to be nothing I ever expected, and am so incredibly happy with it! We certainly do have a lot of laughs! I hope you will enjoy following our new experiences raising a little half American/ half German in a little German town.

Freitag, 23. Dezember 2011

I'm 3 weeks old today!

Today is a funny day for me, one with mixed emotions.  Only a few short weeks ago, Joern and I walked into the Women's Clinic in Stuttgart, and set a date for my c-section.  Today was the day I was supposed to have had my baby.
Instead, we have a 3 week old.  We have a 12 day hospital stay behind us, and our first full week at home is also past.  We're starting to learn more about Erbse's personality, and we just had a big discussion today about how much Ryan has grown.  Erbse doesn't look like a newborn anymore, his chubby cheeks, while still chubby, have slimmed down a bit, and when he opens his eyes, they are wide and taking in everything.  It is incredible that our baby has changed so much in such a short time, and it is a funny realization to make on the day when he was scheduled to be born.

I have mixed emotions because I wouldn't change a thing, but I also know that things would be different had Erbse decided to stay in until today.  Of course, how different is something we'll never know.  It just wasn't in the cards for Erbse to be born today. 

I am so proud of my little boy, for overcoming his problems with eating early on.  He is growing like a weed and eating like one of those guys at the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest.  And of course, he is so adorable. 

So happy 3rd week Erbse!  Your Daddy and I love you so very much and can't wait to see what the next 3 weeks bring!

Samstag, 17. Dezember 2011


Well, most of you readers now know, Ryan is here!  He made his appearence on Friday, the 2nd of December, 2011.  So yes, he is already 2 weeks old!  Although he has only been with us a short time so far, it seems hard to imagine our lives without him anymore.  We are so in love!

After I completed my post on Thursday night, I decided to lay down on the couch for a while.  My back was hurting pretty bad, and I still had not decided if my back pain was due to my back problems or a sign of labor. I went upstairs at about 10:00 to assort all of the gifts we had received at the showers, because they were all just sitting in the middle of the room for a few days.  I wanted to start assorting to know what we had, what we needed, and to start making room for the furniture delivery.  I worked for about an hour, but by then, my back was really painful, and I was tired, so we went to bed.
At 5:00 am, I was happily asleep, when all of a sudden, I felt this gigantic gush, and I knew immediately that my water had broken.  I jumped out of bed, and woke Joern and said, "we need to go to the hospital now."
Of course, I had not packed a bag for the hospital, because that was on the day's plan for Friday.  So, once the flow of fluid calmed a bit, I asked Joern to go get his mom, ask her for some pads, and once she got here, I ran around for a few minutes packing some clothes, some towels, and of course, Erbse's "welcome home outfit."  I also had to find my "Mutterpass" or "Mother's passport."

While I was getting ready, Joern called the hospital in Stuttgart, where we had planned my c-section for the 23rd of December.  Surprisingly, they told Joern that they were full, and suggested that we go to the hospital in Esslingen.  So, Joern called Esslingen, and they said that of course, we should come right away.  Joern, his  mother, and I all loaded into the car.  The only things I kept saying were, "We're going to meet our little boy today" and "Holy cow, how much water is there?"

We arrived at the hospital at 6:00 am, and they met us outside with a stretcher.  I was wheeled into the birthing center, and immediately, hooked up to a NST.  Erbse's heartbeat was as strong as ever, and it showed I was continuing to have contractions, which I was still not feeling.  A doctor came in and informed me that they were going to do some bloodwork to check for infection.  If I did not have any signs of infection, they would monitor me over the next few days, and were hoping to keep Erbse in for a few more days.  Then, they brought me into another room, where we waited.

We called my father not too long after I was off the NST.  Afterall, not only was Dad's grandson on the way, but it was around 1:00 in the morning, which meant it was Dad's birthday too!  I can imagine, it was a good reason to wake Dad up, to tell him that he and his grandson were going to share a birthday!

 Around 10:00, I started having contractions, they lasted about 1 minute and came every 5 minutes.  My contractions were mostly all in my back, and they were painful, but handlable.

At 11:00, Dr. Kindermann, which is a very cool name for the chief doctor of the birthing center, to discuss a cesarian.  We discussed the reasons why I was leaning towards a c-section.  He agreed that it would be the best course of action, given my strange back and neck issues, and then told me that I would be having my cesarian that afternoon.  Afterwards, the anesthesiologist came in and we discussed options for anesthesia.  Evidently, because of my prolapsed disk, and not knowing the location, general anesthesia could have been an option.  But, then, we told her of the problems that the anesthesiologist encountered during my operation last year, where he had problems inserting and removing my breathing tube.  She decided that it was probably a more dangerous decision to go with general anesthesia, so the decision was made to go with spinal anesthesia.

At around 1:00, I was brought back to a birthing room, where I was again hooked up to an NST.  The results of the bloodwork had come back, and I had elevated white blood cell levels, although that was probably attributed to my arthritis which had flared up really bad in the weeks before Ryan's birth.  I was hooked up to an antiobiotic drip, as a preventative measure.

At 2:00, two nurses came to get me, to prep me for surgery.  Joern was taken to another room, and a few nurses prepped him to enter the operating room.  I was scared, nervous, and excited.  The operating room was really frightening.  Since I had general anesthesia last time, I didn't remember much of the OR, but this time, I was wide awake while they curled me into a ball, and had to inject the needle twice because they had problems straightening my back enough.  Once the spinal was inserted, the doctors rolled me onto my back, and strapped my legs and arms, which is not my favorite experience.  They then put up the paper tent in front of my face, so that I could not see anything.  I have to admit, I was starting to wonder if this was really the best decision.  Of course, the whole time, the only thing going through my head was "we shouldn't be here, Erbse should still be baking."  I could no longer feel anything below my ribs.

The doctor told me that she was going to start cleaning my belly area, and a nurse explained to me that I will have some sensation, kind of like "going to the dentist."  Of course, this totally freaked me out, because I didn't really enjoy my wisdom tooth removal.  They also warned me that people often get nauseated, due to the combination of the anesthesia, mixed with the knowledge of what's going on behind the tent, and that I needed to tell them if I felt nauseous, that they would then administer another medication.

And then, they brought Joern in.  He was wearing blue scrubs, and they sat him on a stool near my head.  Joern rubbed my shoulder, and I kept looking at him, which helped a lot.  The doctor then said, "we're going to begin."  Of course, I had no idea how long everything was, but it seemed that in about 3 minutes, I heard a lot of scrambling around and then the most beautiful sound ever- A HUGE SCREAM!  With thankful tears streaming down my face, they rushed Erbse to the peditrician waiting.  A few minutes later, they asked Joern to come join them, while they finished sewing me up.  Joern returned to the OR a few minutes after, with a huge smile on his face.  Erbse was very healthy and perfect in every way.

Once the doctors finished, they wheeled me to the recovery room, and on the way, they stopped by an isolette- and proceeded to remove the sweetest little baby ever, and place him on my chest.  Oh yeah, this adorable little guy just happened to be our precious Erbse.  As our luck would have it, our camera battery died, and we have no proof of this event :(

After cuddling for a minute or so, Erbse was placed back in his isolette, and I was wheeled off to the recovery room.  Joern joined me for a few minutes, made sure I was okay, and ran up to the special care newborn nursery, where Erbse was to spend the first few days of his life.  Joern returned to me a while later to report that Erbse was indeed doing quite well, only hooked up to a heartrate monitor, and they had him on a temperature controlled mattress.  He drank well the first night too.

I was in the recovery room for about an hour, I had to stay there until I could move my legs again.  Once I was able to move my legs, they brought me to my room in the OB area.  I had to stay in my room until around 8:30 pm, which was hard because I just wanted to go see Erbse.  But, it was probably good, once I was in my room, I was placed on some pain meds, which were really necessary as the pain was getting pretty bad.  But, by around 8:30, the pain meds had kicked in, and I was able to get out of bed.  Surprisingly, it wasn't bad, just felt like a giant rubber band was pulling me in towards myself.  I was able to spend about half an hour with Erbse up in his room, before being brought back down to the room for the night.

What an incredible day!  The doctor did warn me at the beginning of the week that Erbse might be on his way, and that she really hoped that I would make it to my appointment on Dec. 13.  Obviously, I didn't.  It turned out that we were in for a rough couple of weeks following this excitement, but by now, its all past.  We have a perfect, beautiful little boy, our little Ryan Charles.

Donnerstag, 1. Dezember 2011

35 weeks!

How far along?  35 weeks!  Tuesday should have been the highly coveted 35/ 35 date (35 weeks down, 35 days to go), but Little Erbse is going to be making his appearance before then, since I am having a c-section.  I'll explain more in a little but, but Erbse will be a December baby!

Total weight gain:  about 10 kilos, or 22 lbs.

How big is baby? Our Little Pea is the size of a honeydew melon.
Your baby doesn't have much room to maneuver now that he's over 18 inches long and tips the scales at 5 1/4 pounds (pick up a honeydew melon). Because it's so snug in your womb, he isn't likely to be doing somersaults anymore, but the number of times he kicks should remain about the same. His kidneys are fully developed now, and his liver can process some waste products. Most of his basic physical development is now complete — he'll spend the next few weeks putting on weight.
from www.babycenter.com

Maternity clothes:  I've now graduated to a lot of Joern's big, comfy sweatshirts and sweaters.  But my maternity shirts still fit well too, but the tanks are starting to expose belly again.

Sleep?  Okayish.  I now get up 2-3 times a night to go to the bathroom, and the leg cramps have returned again.  But, it is so helpful to be on maternity leave- I can sleep past 6 am, which is so helpful!

Best moment this week?  Last week, we FINALLY purchased Erbse's carseat!  We also bought a bassinet for the bedroom.  I wanted a co-sleeper, but Joern was really afraid that the baby would somehow end up on the floor with the co-sleeper.  But, no worries, I already made him promise to help me in and out of bed with the Erbse for the first few weeks while my incision heals.
Another amazing moment this week was when we went to the Frauenklinik in Stuttgart.  We had an appointment last Thursday.  The hospital is really nice, and well organized.  The doctor took us in pretty quickly to speak with us.  She said that given my back and neck problems, there is a 50/ 50 chance of me having no problems or I could have major problems with a natural birth, and then she said, but if something goes wrong, we will all have huge regrets.  So, she explained how the c-section will work. Joern will be allowed to be in the room with me when they do the surgery, and we'll get to hold Erbse soon after he is born.  She said that I should be in the hospital around 4 days or so, and that we should be able to get a hospital room converted into a family room, so that Joern and Erbse can stay in the room with me.  Amazingly though, we also scheduled the c-section!  Unless Erbse decides that he has had enough and wants to come out, he'll be here on Dec. 23rd! Yes, we truly will have the best Christmas present EVER this year!

Movement?  Erbse has settled into a pretty strong pattern of two very active days, one very sleepy day, one semi-active day, and back to the two very active days.  I think he's getting hiccups too, because my stomach   kind-of is reacting like when I have the hiccups, but I don't have them, its like a rythmic stomach movement. Very sweet to know that Erbse is practicing breathing!

Food cravings:  Salads and pumpkin pie :)

What I'm looking forward to:  Well, the topper on the list is meeting our little guy!  I'm also looking forward to the arrival of Erbse's furniture and fingers crossed, making it to the next doctor's appointment.

Labor signs:  I am crampy sometimes, especially if I stand too long.  But according to the doctor, there are lots of labor signs!  I am having regular Braxton Hicks contractions, but of course, still not feeling those.  The doctor said that Erbse is head down, and that my cervix is short and soft. She isn't so confident that we'll make it to the 23rd of December!

Other Erbse related news:
I'm still waiting for pictures from the baby shower to do my baby shower post.  But rest assured, Erbse has tons of gifts waiting for me to sort through!  I also received in the mail today Erbse's coming home outfit.  I also ordered a few "my first Christmas" outfits from the Children's Place, a store which conveniently now delivers internationally. Hopefully, the order will make it here before Erbse, because I ordered the most perfect hat for him to come home!