Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cruz's Birth Story

Cruz John Manganaro
November 13, 2011
6lbs 15oz; 20 in long
Saturday, November 12th  (38 weeks, 5 days)

Nick & I had planned to spend the day watching football and lounging around the house, so in the morning I ran to the grocery store to get ingredients to make chili and some other game-day snacks. Around 2pm and after getting everything together, I was relaxing on the couch when I felt an uncomfortable leak. I [waddled] into the bathroom where I noticed a difference from the normal pregnancy discharge and when I wiped the paper was more pink than clear. At this point I was concerned, so I got onto my laptop and googled what had just happened. I got mixed messages on what I should do next and if in fact this was the start of labor. At this point, Nick had come upstairs to get something to eat and I explained to him what had happened. He asked if we needed to head to the hospital and I said, "not yet."

As I was laying on the couch, I continued to feel a slight leak and decided to call my doctor's office. Surprisingly, Dr. McTaggart picked up the phone herself and as I explained what was going on, she said that we should head to the hospital and she would call and tell them to expect us.

I went downstairs and told Nick that the doctor wanted us to head into the hospital but I was going to shower and get ready first so he had about an hour before we needed to leave. After getting ready and washing up the dishes, we packed up the car and headed to Bergan Mercy. On the way down we were debating calling our families to let them know we were heading in - my biggest fear was that I was wrong and they were going to send us home because we weren't going into labor yet.  We decided to call our parents and, of course, my sister Tessa. We also sent a heads up text out to our brothers & sisters. At this point, I started feeling slight contractions.

Once we got to the hospital around 4:30pm, they immediately checked us into a birthing suite where our nurse, Sheryl, started examining me.  This is when my water fully broke and she confirmed we were going into labor. At this point, I was only dilated 1cm. A while later Emily, a resident, came in to examine me and predicted that we wouldn't have the baby until 4am. (What...4am?!? But my water broke, isn't it time to have this baby?) Around this time, the anesthesiologist happened to be in our wing so they asked if I would be ok if they started the epidural process. Surprisingly, Nick watched as they stuck the needle in my spine (surprising because two of his biggest fears have always been childbirth and needles!)
Getting the epidural

From there it was a waiting game. Nick went between pacing the room and being on his iPhone watching football and texting family & friends and I was on my iPad and phone doing the same. Tessa was the first to make it to the hospital and came up to hang out with us in the birthing room, followed soon after by my parents, Josh, Ashley & DeLaney, and Nick's mom Carol & her boyfriend Duane.

Around 7pm, Sheryl left and introduced us to our new nurse, Maelene. Right before 9pm, the contractions were coming more frequently and were more painful, so I asked for the epidural and our families left for the waiting room. The epidural was amazing. As soon as the anesthesiologist put it in the catheter, I could feel the cool, soothing sensation flow down my back and almost immediately the pain went away (though I still had some slight pain with each contraction). Shortly after, Maelene examined me and told us that I was only 3cm dilated...that was such a deflating feeling, it seemed like it was taking forever. At this point, I felt bad that everyone had been waiting for so long and it looked like it would take a lot longer before Little Mango was going to make his appearance. When Nick's dad John got to the hospital, he came into our room to quickly say hello - and that is when he saw the dry erase board on our wall where Nick had written "Welcome Cruz John Manganaro." We hadn't told him we had decided his middle name would be John and you could tell he was moved. He then sent Janice up and then they went back home to put Sicily & Dominic to bed since they were babysitting them that night.

The waiting continued until my 11pm examination. When Maelene told us that I was fully effaced and 9cm dilated, we were ecstatic - it was game time! Maelene and a few other nurses started prepping the room. We were excited to think that we would be having our baby on 11/12, however, the nurses had other things in mind and we stared at the clock as it ticked closer to midnight. Finally, Maelene came back in, verified I was 10cm dilated and prepped me. I hoisted my legs in the stirrups and she helped me practice pushing during the contractions, which consisted of her watching my contractions on the monitor and having me take a deep breath and push for 10 counts. I would be doing this three times during each contraction.

Sunday, November 13th  (38 weeks, 6 days)
Around midnight, a doctor and a couple of nurses came into our room and we were all waiting for Dr. McTaggart who had been paged, but hadn't yet responded. Finally they found her (she had been asleep!) and we were ready to roll.

With Nick up by my head, holding onto my shoulder, I started pushing through each contraction. Since I couldn't feel anything it was hard to tell if I was making any progress, but all of the nurses and doctors were great at giving me positive feedback after every push - at least making me feel like we were getting somewhere. After some time, they explained that Cruz was being stubborn and wasn't progressing as quickly as they hoped and they thought they would have to use the forceps to help pull him out. I was praying that wouldn't happen and after a few more pushes, he was out!

It's difficult to explain how I felt as soon as I saw them take him from me and bring him over to get cleaned up. He was bluish in color, with a little cone head from being in the birth canal a bit longer than anticipated. Immediately I broke down in tears and took one look at Nick who was smiling through his tears. What an amazing moment. While they removed the placenta and stiched me up, Nick walked over to where they were cleaning Cruz up and grabbed his tiny little hand...almost immediately, Cruz squeezed his finger back.

Finally after what felt like forever, they brought him over to me. With tears pouring down my face, I looked into my little boy's eyes. He was perfect and for the first time I felt like a mother. This moment was truly the best of my life.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My Baby Boy: Two Weeks Old

Well...I have been terrible about posting the past couple of weeks. Little Man has been taking up a lot of my time these days, so it's been completely justified. And I have to say, I am loving my life right now...

It's hard to believe that Cruz is already two weeks old! Time has flown and he has changed so much in the past 14 days. We had his 2 week doctor's appointment and he has grown - up to 8lbs 1oz and 20 3/4 inches long. He's been eating well, however, his sleep pattern is sporadic and he seems to be waking up hungry more often during the night - usually every 2-3 hours. His umbilical cord fell off last Wednesday (just in time for his newborn pics) and his little circumcision is fully healed.

My favorite things of the past couple of weeks:
  • I'm loving all of the little noises he makes, especially when he's sleeping. He coos, grunts, sighs and has quick high-pitched cute!
  • His "smiles" - I love when his lips curl up into a smile. Sometimes it's just one corner of his mouth, but I've also seen some pretty big smiles. While I realize he doesn't intend to smile and it very well could be gas causing them, they absolutely melt my heart.
  • He's discovering his arms and hands and they move like crazy when he's not swaddled. He is constantly touching his face, moving his arms around and clenching his hands into fists.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Photo of the Day

One of my favorite blogs while I was preggo was Spearmint Baby. Shari posts a ton of great information, cute nursery ideas and fun photos - both of preggo mamas-to-be and their kiddos. I sent in the first pic we took of Cruz and Maya and she posted it today. I have to say Cruz looks pretty darn cute in his first blog debut! Check it out (here).

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Favorite Things....

As I'm sitting here typing Cruz's Birth Story, I'm loving listening to his little noises. He makes some of the cutest sounds when he's in a deep sleep....little sighs and grunts. I just love this little guy so much.

Lounging in the pompesan

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Welcome To The World

Nick & I are so happy to present Cruz John Manganaro, who made his appearance on Sunday, November 13th. This date is officially the best day of our lives and we are the proudest parents to this adorable little guy. He arrived at 12:44am - weighing 6lbs 15oz and measuring 20 inches long. We are so in love....

Baby's 1st picture

Friday, November 11, 2011

Puggle Birthday: Five Years!

Five years ago today, our Maya Lou was born and a few months later she came into our lives. I can remember the first time I saw her at the pet store and had to have them take her out of her kennel to play. They had discounted her because she was three months old and no one had bought her yet. Later that week, after talking about her nonstop, I finally convinced Nick to pay her a visit.

We sat in the play area and they brought her in...she was scared. Immediately she peed in the corner, but then started to become a bit more comfortable - or at least we thought. Shortly after she pooped....I thought Nick was going to take off right then and there. But after some convincing, I talked him into getting her (she was after all my Valentine's Day present) - and the rest is history.

Tonight we celebrated Maya's fifth birthday...

Three Dog Bakery Bone Cake

Definitely not feeling the hat

Hmmm....not sure what I think

The indestructible Owl they sold me.....

....evidently not. How can you get upset at that face?

Happy Birthday to Maya Lou, our favorite furry child!

A Look in the Mirror

As I was getting ready for work this morning, I realize that I'm VERY thankful for one (albeit very superficial) thing during this pregnancy...the fact that my belly button hasn't popped yet. Fortunately, I haven't had that little guy poking out of every shirt and dress I've been wearing for the past few months...and that makes me very happy...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Diet: Epic Fail

Prepare to be amazed....that is by how totally disgusting my diet was today. I'm almost embarassed to share this, but I'm going to and all I ask in return is that you don't judge me. In my pregnant and ready to pop state, I'm obviously not thinking clearly.

8am - egg white omelet w/ ham & green pepper; bagel with cream cheese from Le Peep
We got up early to get Nick to the Thursday morning poker game, but it filled before we left the house, so we headed to breakfast at our new favorite spot.

Noon - grilled cheese sandwich & a pickle from JB's Cafe
I had a lunch meeting with a new employee and I've been loving me some grilled cheese sandwiches lately.

2pm - fun size Snickers and Milky Way
These little suckers were sitting on a co-workers desk all day, staring me in the face every time I walked by his office. I couldn't resist some sweets after lunch!

4pm - handful candy corn
On my way over to Harrah's, I snuck a handful of these bad boys from our executive admin's desk.

6pm - chewy sprees
I stole this small bag of sprees from Nick the other day and they were sitting on my desk, evidently I HAD to eat them prior to our focus groups tonight at work.

9pm - cheeseburger & fries from Mickey D's (Nick cooked!)
I was starving (for some real food) after work tonight, so Nick swung by the drive thru to pick up this quality dinner....which I ate at 9pm....which means it's just going to sit in my stomach all night....awesome....

10pm - chocolate covered strawberry from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
Of course, I had to have something sweet after all of the salty if I didn't have enough earlier today.

As embarrassing as this is to type, it's good for me to look this over and realize that I absolutely cannot eat like this ever again. Most importantly, I need to reel myself in soon so I can make sure that after Lil Mango arrives, I can get my diet back in check and get to workin on my fitness!

Monday, November 7, 2011

38 Weeks: What's New...

Due date: TWO WEEKS until the baby is due - November 21st - can't believe it!

Weight gain: 1lb (19 pounds total pregnancy)

Baby developments: Lil Mango is the size of a watermelon (it sure feels like it!) - he is approximately 6.8 pounds and over 19 1/2 inches long. He has a firm grasp, which we will soon be able to test when we hold his hand for the first time. His organs have matured and are now ready for life outside the womb.

We had our weekly update today with Dr. McTaggart and I'm glad I didn't have Nick come along - he was planning on it but had a couple things to get done before we headed out to celebrate his birthday, so I headed down. All went fine at the appointment, I'm measuring lower than last week, which I can definitely feel and it just means that baby is continuing on his descent. Prior to the pelvic exam I told the doctor that I was hoping to be dilated more than 1cm, however, that wasn't the case - but she did tell me that she could feel his head more than last week (weird, I know). Now here comes the worst part (I apologize if TMI), she left the room to let me get dressed and as soon as I got up, I was leaking blood everywhere. I quickly called the nurse in and she just told me that happens to preggos sometimes after pelvic exams. The bleeding is finally subsiding now....10 hours later.

Cravings: Diet Mt Dew is back in a bad way...and I'm even being high mainenance and only craving it as fountain pop. Boost Protein and a banana or apple has taken the place of my Starbucks from a few months back, plus I feel much better now than I did when a venti Starbucks was my breakfast. And Post Blueberry Morning cereal with skim is another favorite of mine these days.

Aversions: none to note (therefore, note the continued weight gain!)

Symptoms: I can definitely feel that I'm at the end of my pregnancy where everything is becoming sore. My lower back aches, I've got cramping in my lower abdomen, I'm peeing all the time, it's difficult to get comfortable when I sleep, baby is constantly lodging his foot in my rib name it. At this point, I'm really uncomfortable and I would be happy if Lil Mango made his appearance any time now.

Sleep: even though I'm more uncomfortable when I sleep, I still have been getting relatively good sleep. I am up earlier than normal, but that is also because I've been going to bed earlier than normal.

I am loving: the fact that I'm in nesting mode these days....constantly tidying the house, in and out of the nursery picking up and rearranging things, doing dishes and laundry....anything to keep me busy.

I am looking forward to: plain and simple....I cannot wait to meet Cruz. I cannot wait for the day he is born and to hold him for the first time. It's so exciting!

I'm spazzing about: how we are going to figure out how to raise this little guy. I was at a baby shower on Sunday with two little babies and watched their mom try to figure out why they were crying....she had changed them, fed them and they wouldn't stop....I get worried we won't know what to do....but I guess we will figure it out just like all parents before us have figured it out.

Best moment this week: today is Nick's 30th birthday...he is finally as old as me again for the next six months - we had a great day at lunch with Marc & Britt, shopping (for him only....I didn't buy one thing for myself!) and now we are in the middle of movie night.

We also had our Angels Among Us fall gala on Friday night - I was a co-chair of the event and have been working on it for the past few months. It was a ton of work, especially the past couple of weeks. On Friday we were at the venue early to get everything set up and then after running around at the event Friday night I was exhausted. Honestly at that point I felt as though I could've given birth once the event was over and been fine with it!

Movement: Cruz has been quite active and moving his limbs simultaneously - it feels as though he's kicking my right rib cage and punching my lower left abdomen. Not only that, but his head seems to be resting right on my bladder, which is quite uncomfortable when said bladder is full and feels as though it could burst at any time.

Milestones: 14 days left (or hopefully less) before Lil Mango is here!

It's a...: boy

Exercise: non-existent. I feel so lazy and wish I was were exercising or able to exercise without getting so tired. My only exercise consists of running errands and walking aimlessly around the many stores in Omaha or on the casino floor at work.

Diet: has not been great either. I find myself trying and then falling off the wagon. This combined with not exercising has to be a major reason for the weight gain the past two weeks.

Goals for the upcoming week: I would LOVE to have this baby this week - now that he is fully developed, I feel it's safe to make this wish. Plus, I REALLY don't want to work our slot tournament the weekend of the 17th....

Belly shot:

38 Week Belly Bump

38 Weeks: Letting It All Hang Out

To My Hubby: Happy 30th Birthday!

Today is Nick's 30th birthday - and one of my favorite times of the year where he can no longer say I'm older than he is (well technically I'm still older, but our actual ages are the same, so you know what I mean). I think he is apprehensive about this big milestone in his life....he thinks that now he is old and needs to become more mature. Fortunately, I've been able to share my feelings that it's not much different from 29 and that while he may not want to mature or change his ways - this will happen once our little guy enters our lives.

To celebrate Nick's big day we had a great surprise party in early October (Nick's Surprise Party) and today we are planning to spend the day together. We are going to lunch and then shopping for the rest of his present. And if we are feeling crazy, we may hit up a movie later this afternoon. I tell you....we are wild ones these days!

So...happy 30th birthday to the most amazing man I know - I love you!

Bush Concert at Stir Cove

With Carly at John's HOF Banquet

Celebrating before baby
WSOP Circuit - 3rd Place

HOF Banquet

Hawkeye Game

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Oh How Our Lives Are Changing...

Obviously our lives are going to turned upside down when Cruz arrives....and it seems as though it's already started. As we were putting together the baby items we've received, we wanted to start getting them into place and it seems that these items and this little guy are going to take over every space of our home.

Instead of spending money on a bassinet, we decided to just use our Pack N Play as our in-room bassinet. We had to shift our dresser down a bit to make it fit near my side of the bed, but we've created a perfect little nook for lil Mango to sleep in his first few months at home.

Chicco Graphite Pack N Play

After putting the swing together last week, I didn't want to squeeze it into the nursery (along w/ the pompesan chair, stroller & large pieces of furniture) so it found it's permanent place in the living room where we anticipate it being housed for the next year or so.

Fisher Price Cradle Swing - My Little Snug A Bunny
I have to say that I never really thought about having to incorporate these baby staples into our every day decor, but it's the exceptions you make when you are expecting the most important thing you've ever done to enter your lives....and somehow I envision this being a small start to look of our home changing forever.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Two Weeks....14 Days...336 Hours...20,160 Minutes...

On Monday we will officially be two weeks....TWO WEEKS....away from our due date and most importantly lil Mango's arrival! I am literally freaking out....because I'm extremely excited, anxious, happy, name it, I'm feeling a ton of emotions these days.

In a few short weeks (or potentially days), I'm going to be a mom. Nick & I are going to be parents and have a child of our own. It's still surreal, but yet so real because each and every day I continue to feel closer to d-day.

Are we prepared? Do we have everything we need to take care of Cruz in the first few days, weeks and months? Our moms are planning to spend some time during the first few weeks with us, but what happens when it's just Nick & I....will we do a good job and be able to provide everything the baby needs?

On the other hand, I feel extremely prepared. We have been so blessed to receive amazing gifts from our family and friends. I feel as though everything we may need immediately has been put together and is in it's place.

I'm planning to take 8 weeks off of work. I have been doing all I can to get prepared for my departure, but there are constantly projects that come up that need my focus. I've been meeting weekly with my managers to make sure they have everything they need while I'm out. I'm planning to stay on top of my emails while I'm out which will help me stay in the loop, but none of this is the same as being at work in meetings with my co-workers. But what happens when 8 weeks is up and I want more time with little man?

There is just so much going through my head. So much excitement. This is one of the biggest things we've done in our lives - I cannot wait for everything Cruz's arrival brings!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Nursery Reveal

I can hardly believe the nursery is FINALLY done! It's been such a fun process from planning the design board and choosing colors to picking out every little item. Now that the room is done and we've put together all of the necessities for lil Mango, it makes me so ready for him to get here!

After picking the colors - of course yellow had to be included - came the stripes. While they were painful to complete, I absolutely love how this accent wall turned out.  The Bonavita Metro Dresser in Licorice was a gift from Nick's mom and is great for storing diapers, wipes, name it.

Stripes - this wall makes me smile every time I walk past the nursery
The dresser also serves as a changing table, which is very functional and saved us from having to purchase a separate changing table for the room. Since its a small space, this works very well. I ordered the Offi My Pet lamp soon after the stripes were painted and knew it would help make the room pop with a bit of color.

My favorite piece in the room - Offi My Pet Lamp

The zigzag chevron basket came from Michaels (on clearance!) and I added the silver metallic spray-painted "C" to personalize it a bit. It will be very handy as a catch-all for changing table goodies.

Monogram zigzag chevron basket
Oh, the prints - I was all over the place with what I wanted to put on this wall. Originally, I had thought I would do a collage of white frames with different prints and photos, but recently decided to keep it simple. I found these prints on Etsy and absolutely loved them. The "You Are The Best" phrase is meaningful in that it's always been the way Nick has signed every card or letter he's ever given me. I can look back 11 years ago at the first card from him (yes - I still have cards from over a decade ago!) and this line is present and has been ever since.

Prints from Etsy
Nick's dad and stepmom purchased the Bonavita Metro Crib for us and we love the way it looks. Once our little guy is moved into the nursery to sleep, it will be a great bed for him. The bedding was the real challenge - I couldn't decide what would look best in the room. After a trip to Time For Baby in Kearney, Shauna showed me this striped fabric and I was smitten. The crib skirt is made entirely of the stripe fabric and the bumper is white chenille trimmed in the same fabric. We added a chenille crib sheet to complete the look.

Custom made bedding from Time For Baby
Instead of a mobile, I chose simple paper lanterns. I wanted a focal point for Lil Mango, but I didn't want to go the traditional mobie route. This was a great compromise and added more color versus the gray walls. Above the crib, I kept it simple with a mirror I purchased at Target and added a painted "C" monogram.

Paper lanterns instead of a mobile

My neighbor recently started doing these fabric letters for around the home and gifted us with a set for Cruz. The colors are fun and break up the yellow, gray and white in the room.

Fabric letters created by Cruise Creations
My parents wanted to get us a rocking chair for the room - it's been their gift for all of their kids when they are expecting. We ordered this Best Storytime Series chair from Time For Baby in the white chenille. It reclines, rocks and swivels and you feel like you are gliding on air. I've spent quite a bit of time just relaxing in this chair so far and can only imagine how great it will be when we are rocking Lil Mango to sleep. The mirrored side table came from Target - I didn't want to go with another piece of black furniture, so this helps mix it up a bit.
Best Storytime Series Chair - Irvington in white
It's such a relief to have finally completed the nursery, but even more so I'm so happy with how it turned out. We were very fortunate to have our family help with all of the major pieces in the room and each piece really helped it come together.  I realize I've been saying "I" a lot throughout this post, but it's only because Nick gave me free reign to create this room and I'm just thankful he put up with me through all of the planning and changes that occured during this process and that he was confident in my ability to set up a good space for our little guy. Now the wait is on until he chooses to grace us with his presence...

Baby Shower: Omaha-Style

Last weekend, the Gardner/Mango girls, Grammy Jan and Patricia put on a great shower for Cruz and I in Omaha - they rented out the Waterford Clubhouse and invited many family, friends and co-workers to attend. It was a great shower - gorgeous decor, yummy food and best of all getting to spend time with some relatives and friends I don't get to see very often....and of course, those we get to see a lot, but love seeing!

Once again, this little guy was absolutely spoiled by all of the gifts that everyone carefully chose for him and I really felt so much better after that day because we received so many items from the registry that we needed, plus it just puts me at ease to know that if he decides to make an appearance now, we will be prepared.

Hostesses: Britt, Carly, Marcy, Morgan, Patricia & Grammy Jan

The Grandma's

Pint-sized helpers for the day: Dayvaney & Liam

Gorgeous Cake

Opening gifts: personalized towel for Cruzer

Dessert table & gorgeous roses
After the shower, Mom, Tessa and Dayvaney came to our house to help me put gifts away and go through everything in the nursery. We washed up onesies, receiving blankets, washcloths, towels, socks - you name it - and figured out what drawers would house which items. We went through all of his clothes to figure out if we had enough sleepers and gowns in newborn & 0-3 months and organized the closet. It was so helpful having them there and asking their advice....I definitely wouldn't have figured it out on my own!

Nick and I are so lucky to have such great family and friends in our lives and we can't wait to bring Cruz into this world to meet all of these amazing people who already love him so much!