- Halo sleep sack – we love this sleep sack that has the option to swaddle with arms in or out. Keeps baby warm and cozy without the fear of loose blankets covering the face.
- Aden and Anais muslin swaddle blankets – these lightweight blankets are so versatile. We used them to swaddle, as burp rags, and as a breathable stroller cover to protect from the sun.
- Dohm white noise machine – *clank!* Did you hear that glass in the sink? Maddie didn’t! We love this sound machine to help block out household noises while baby sleeps. It has adjustable sound levels, which is really helpful depending on the size of the room you’re using it in. We don’t travel without this little machine!
- 4moms infant tub – this bathtub constantly cycles through new clean water and has a temperature gage that beeps at you when the water is too warm. The tub is pretty big, and doesn’t fit in our kitchen sink like I’d hoped it would. But it works really well in our bathroom tub.
- Bright Starts activity gym – easy entertainment! It comes with toys and links, and can be used for laying down, tummy time, or sitting. The play mat is machine washable too!
- Lightweight travel stroller frame – just attach the infant car seat and voila! This stroller frame makes running errands a cinch. It’s super lightweight and folds up pretty thin. Perfect for a trip to the doctor’s office or running into Target before baby is big enough to be carried or ride in the shopping cart. Babywearing is of course a great option too, but I’ve found this stroller and it’s storage basket very helpful many a time!
Saturday, November 29, 2014
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
A little bit about the program:
In a very quick and not at all inclusive explanation, Whole30 is a nutritional program aimed at eliminating inflammatory foods from your diet while resetting your body’s metabolism and food cravings. The list of “don’t eat” foods is daunting, and includes dairy, grains, legumes (beans), sugar, and alcohol. It’s probably better to view it from the “allowed to eat” standpoint of: vegetables, meats, eggs, fruits, tree nuts, oils and seeds. The Whole30 program is based around a book, It's Starts with Food, but truthfully, I haven't read it.My friend Katie read it,and she said, while it is a little extreme, it really made her think about food in a very different way. Maybe I'll get around to reading it someday, when Maddie is grown ;)
What made me hesitant:
I’m no stranger to dietary restrictions, so I wasn’t all that intimidated by the strict Whole30 rules. While I was pregnant, I avoided dairy meats, soft cheeses, alcohol and caffeine. Once I had Maddie, I nixed dairy products due to her milk allergy. My biggest concern with the program was sugar. I have such a major sweet tooth! As in, chocolate every.single.day, without fail. I honestly cannot remember a time before Whole30 where I went without chocolate on any one given day. Chocolate makes me happy! Mmmmm, I’m imagining a hershey’s kiss melting in my mouth right now, popping a handful of M&Ms, smelling warm brownies in the oven, topped with a chocolate chip cookie, and a scoop of rocky road ice cream. And I’m in heaven! Except that, chocolate also makes me feel…. fat. I’m not saying I’m fat, don’t jump me, just hear me out. Eating chocolate does not make me feel healthy. And in the past 30 days, I’ve realized that feeling healthy makes me happy too! So my main takeaway in regards to sugar is, everything in moderation. I’m still going to eat Oreos occasionally. Just not an entire bag every week (yes, that was real life before Whole30).
What I most enjoyed:
I LOVED that I didn’t have to count calories. That would be difficult anyway since tomatoes don’t come with a nutrition label ;) I’ve always been one to read nutrition labels, and to obnoxiously call Tom out. You know that thing has like half your saturated fats for the day, right!? Nevermind the fact that one package of Oreos has 1,920 calories in it. Every week I was eating a whole day's worth of calories in Oreos! Although the program encourages you to eat 3 meals a day and not snack, as a nursing mother, I am hungry around the clock. But I didn’t feel guilty at all for grabbing a banana or an orange in between meals!
(Side story - one time, while I was pregnant, that’s my “excuse” – we went to dairy queen and I ordered my favorite Georgia Mud Fudge Blizzard. Tom initally said he wasn’t going to get anything, he didn’t need any ice cream – politely implying that maybe a third Blizzard in one week wasn’t my healthiest meal choice. At the last minute, he added on cheese sticks to my order! I informed him that cheese sticks were worse than a Blizzard, but his disbelief directed me to the DQ website nutrition facts. And the truth? A medium DQ Georgia Mud Fudge blizzard = 850 calories VS. a large box of cheese sticks = 440 calories. Ouch! That's nearly twice as much in the Blizzard!)
Weight loss is certainly not the purpose of Whole30. But most participants do see a significant difference in their body composition. I had just 5 little pounds left to lose to be back at my pre-baby weight, and I was hopeful, after ready so many success stories, that I could kick those last few pounds. According to the program rules, you're not supposed to weigh yourself or take any measurements during the 30 days. And I held off all the way until Day 29, when I caved and pulled out the scale. I was feeling awesome. My pre-baby clothes were fitting, I felt light as a feather, floating on air. I was fully expecting the scale to give me a number lower than my pre-baby weight. And then BAM. I'd only lost 4 pounds. At first I was really ticked. WTF, all this healthy food and I only lost 4 pounds!? But as I gave it time to settle in... I was actually totally okay with the result. Even though the scale said 4 pounds lost, I felt so good when I looked in the mirror! It really showed me that the scale shouldn't dictate how I feel about my body and my health. It's just a number.
Now, Tom, on the other hand, lost 13 pounds! Isn't that crazy good!? And he is feeling so great, that he is still maintaining the Whole30 diet! (Ok ok, he did eat some popcorn tonight.. but he reported that it didn't even taste good and he felt guilty eating it!)
I should tell you though, that I did cheat. The program guidelines tell you not even to contemplate what to do if you cheat, to not let it be an option. But I’ll be truthful in telling you, I cheated. I cheated by having a glass of wine (ok ok and a beer and a piece of cake) at my best friend’s wedding. I cheated by having a beer at ACL fest. I cheated at my parent’s house when I ate a dollop of mango coconut sauce with my veggie shish-ka-bob. I may have incidentally cheated when I ate out at restaurants and did my absolute best to pick the cleanest, healthiest option on the menu (that still might have been cooked in butter). I cheated by eating oatmeal for breakfast some mornings (I swear by it for milk production). And I cheated the one time I ate a chocolate Luna bar because my milk supply was tanking and I was panicked. Whew! I feel better getting all that off my chest. I am such a rule follower, and clearly, all of those cheats really made an impact on me because I remember every single one! I still feel like I got many benefits of the program despite my oopsies. So cut yourself some slack and don’t give up even if you do slip.
Crockpot Beef fajitas - http://www.stacymakescents.com/crock-pot-beef-fajitas
Mustard Chicken - http://painfreekitchen.com/2012/08/baked-mustard-lime-chicken-and-whole30-day-3/
Roasted sweet potatoes - http://leafparade.com/2013/08/02/roasted-balsamic-sweet-potatoes/
Chicken apple sausage - https://aidells.com/products
Burger salad - burgers on the grill, over a salad instead of on a bun
Mexican meat loaf - http://paleomg.com/paleo-southwest-meatloaf/
Stuffed peppers - http://paleopot.com/2012/10/paleo-sausage-stuffed-peppers/
Shrimp kabob, pineapple kabob - http://hollywouldifshecould.net/2012/08/coconut-lime-shrimp-skewers/
Cauliflower rice - http://everydaypaleo.com/cilantro-lime-cauliflower-rice/
Fried apple dessert - http://www.jensnaturalkitchen.com/paleo-fried-apples/
Have I convinved you yet?? :) Happy to answer any questions you might have and support you if you decide to give it a try!
Monday, September 8, 2014
FTM = First Time Mom
And LO = little one, DD = dear daughter, DS = dear son, DH = dear husband. Then there’s EBF = exclusively breastfed, BLW = baby led weaning, SAHM = stay at home mom, CIO = Cry it Out, and STTN = sleeping through the night. Seriously, the list goes on and on. I’m pretty sure the time it takes to decode the acronyms negates the time saved by typing them.
We’ve been doing this “new parent” thing for about four months now, and we’ve learned so much. We’ve read books and watched videos, called the doctor a couple of times. But mostly, we’ve learned by trial and error. Lots of trial and lots of error.
Here are a few pearls of wisdom we’ve learned along the way.
On Labor & Delivery
It’s rough. But it’s worth it. A few months out, your momnesia will kick in and you’ll forget just how rough it was. Momnesia – it’s a real thing! How else would anybody have more than one child!? Up until the 2 month point, I might have told you would never have another baby. The labor, the crying, the sleepless nights… they’re just a fuzzy memory now. What remains clear in my memory are the snuggles in the rocker, the fine downy hairs that covered her little forehead, the way she breathed so sweetly while she was falling asleep. A few hours of pain (or 28 hours in my case) for a lifetime of love. Worth it.
Moral of the story, cut yourself some slack on the baby weight, it will come off eventually. There are more important things to worry about in the meantime.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Congrats on the baby boy! It will be a nice break from work. - Jim*
Hahahahaha. I died.
P.S. Have a "nice break" quickly became the running joke amongst the parents in the office.
*Name changed to protect the innocent
Monday, August 11, 2014
"No use crying over spilled milk"
... never dropped a bottle full of freshly pumped breast milk.
And for your viewing pleasure, here's a sweet little clip of Maddie's first giggles! There's a good one at the very beginning and some more at the 0:55 mark. She has only given us a few laughs since then, she's a little stingy still. Water splashing is apparently way funnier than Mom's silly faces and Tom's "dad jokes"......
P.S. if you search for "maddie laughing" on youtube, you get 32,600 results. Ha.
Thursday, July 31, 2014
Monday, July 21, 2014
Other days, motherhood is like this:
And sometimes, on a Monday, motherhood is like this:
You realize on your way to work that you forgot to grab the car seat carrier you need when you pick up your baby. So after work, you swing by your house, drop off your bags, grab a granola bar, and take off to pick up said baby. You pull into the daycare parking lot and realize you didn't grab the car seat. UGHHH. You turn back toward home. You arrive again at daycare 20 minutes later with car seat in hand. When you walk into the infant room, your baby's teacher tells you that your little one had a major diaper blowout, requiring a total outfit change...
Sunday, July 20, 2014
We are finally emerging from the haze of the newborn days.
We survived the first twelve weeks with Miss Maddie Grace. And let me tell you, it was not easy. It was harder than I ever imagined, in ways I never imagined. Labor and recovery was brutal, sleep deprivation was exhausting, and the worry-wart in me had a heyday wasting hours of precious time googling all sorts of ridiculous things at all hours of the night. Our marriage relationship was challenged, the state of our house was at times disastrous, our sanity was often in question. And the emotions, oh the emotions and the cries. Happy cries, tired cries, painful cries, the I-don't-even-know-why-I'm-crying cries. And I'm talking about me here, not Maddie. Of course she did her fair share of crying too. Some afternoons we just cried it out together, neither of us knowing why we were crying. I blamed hormones, she blamed gas.
But, somehow, whilst our lives we're turned upside down, we learned, we grew, and we loved. We have been so blessed to welcome this little girl into our family. She is so special, so beautiful, so unique. And at times so confusing (what does that high-pitched-semi-whiny-followed-by-a-whimper cry mean? is that different from the high-pitched-semi-whiny-followed-by-a-grunt cry?). We are all learning more and more about each other every day and making precious memories (that we will hopefully look back on fondly? perhaps some we even laugh about?).
I'm back at work now, and Maddie has started daycare. We've ventured out of the house on errands and made several short road trips (even a couple overnighters!). On my last day of maternity leave, I not only baked brownies but also went jogging! Because those cancel out, right? Anyway, point being, we're like real people again. Who do things other than wear sweatpants, bounce around the room praying the baby will eventually fall asleep, then blankly stare at each other on the couch once she does and we have zero energy left to even speak. Well, just kidding about the sweatpants, I will forever wear yoga pants every day I can.
A blogging hiatus was absolutely necessary for me in the first weeks. Most days, I could barely find the time to shower or scarf down lunch with one hand while whisper-yelling in a sing-song voice from across the room, "I'm right here baby, Mommy's coming right back!" And when she finally fell asleep? Well I couldn't move, because she only wanted to sleep on me. And being unable to do anything because she was sleeping, was 100x better than being unable to do anything because she was screaming. But now that things are (sort of/maybe) settling down, I'm ready to get in the groove again. I need to write things down before the memories disappear right along with the size 1 diapers.
I'll start out with Maddie's birth story today, and have plans for Advice/Lessons Learned post, a Newborn Must-Haves post, and a Returning to Work post. Fortunately, I did write down a very long and detailed novel about Maddie's birth shortly after we went home from the hospital. I'll spare you all the unnecessary TMI in this lengthy play-by-play version. [If you plan to read the whole thing, you better go pop some popcorn and settle in for the long haul]
Monday, April 28 (40 weeks, 6 days pregnant)
3:00pm: I feel my first contraction. At least I think I do, but how could I really know? I take a shower and quietly time the contractions for a couple hours before I tell Tom.
5:00pm: I'm 95% sure I'm having real contractions, and cautiously, excitedly tell Tom. We are giddy... tentatively. The days have been dragging on painfully since passing our due date, and we don't want to get our hopes up too high. We have pretty much accepted the fact that we will probably have to wait until our scheduled induction on Friday, May 2.
7:00pm: Tom decides to go for a bike ride. I sit quietly in Maddie's room, listening to soothing music, thinking to myself, "wow, this labor thing is going to be a breeze - these contractions are but a minor annoyance, la de da de da"
7:30pm: My mom calls. I know she has to work the next day and I don't want to get her excited just yet. I'm still 5% sure this is a fluke. I ramble on about our plans to visit the Arboretum the next day, hoping I'm totally playing it cool.
8:00pm: Based on our calculations from timing my contractions and everything we learned in our labor and delivery class, we figure I'll probably be pushing this baby out at about 1:00am. Piece of cake, only 5 more hours to go!
11:00pm: Yikes, ok so maybe this labor thing is no joke. The contractions are getting stronger and longer. I find a cool app on my phone to track them, which is fun. "Fun." As much "fun" as you can have while wincing in pain every 7 minutes.
Tuesday, April 29:
1:00am: OH MY GOD. Am I dying? The contractions are super painful, but still averaging about 6-7 minutes in between, sometimes longer. We learned the 5-1-1 rule in our labor and delivery class. Don't go to the hospital until your contractions are 5 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute, for one full hour. I call the hospital anyway. The nurse says to keep on waiting it out. She suggests I should "take some Tylenol, drink a glass of water, and sit in a warm bath." IS THIS A JOKE? I'm 100% sure this woman has never been in labor. [Later find out, she has two kids] I cry in frustration.
2:00am: After following the nurse's advice, I am still painfully in labor. But I think, what the heck, why don't I lie down for a bit? Surely I can fall asleep while I'm writhing in pain.
2:20am: Yeah that was a fail. Tom falls asleep, but I find that lying down makes the contractions hurt worse. So I put on my tennis shoes to go for a walk. Because that sounds like a very reasonable, responsible thing to do, venturing out into the neighborhood, alone, in the dead of night, while in labor. I make it to the end of the street before I realize this is a terrible idea.
4:30am: I've been walking in figure eights around the dining room table and the kitchen island for two hours. The contractions are still only 6-7 minutes apart. What the heck!? I am officially very tired at this point. Moving around makes the contractions less painful, but I am too exhausted to keep walking. I decide to sit in the recliner for a bit, save some energy. I watch the morning news, eat a granola bar, moan and cry a bit.
6:30am: Tom comes running down the stairs in a panic. "I fell asleep!" Don't worry, you haven't missed anything exciting down here. I detail my past few hours to him, and tell him I want to disregard the 5-1-1 rule and hit the road to the hospital. So, naturally, he decides to cook up some breakfast first. Mmmm, love the smell of eggs while I'm doubled over the kitchen counter trying to breathe through my contractions.
7:00am: Tom is packing things up and I call my mom. I tell her about my night and get her thoughts on heading to the hospital. She agrees that I should go up there. If they send me home, they send me
7:15am: We hop in the car, and no sooner than we hit I-35, the contractions quicken to every 4 minutes. I am suddenly very very happy! Practically elated! With every awful contraction, I cheer! I even tell Tom not to drop me off at the front door, I want to walk in from the parking lot.
7:30am: We arrive at the hospital. Labor & Delivery is packed. So packed, in fact, that they don't have a single room open. Eight rooms full, eight babies born on Monday, April 28th. Seriously, what are the odds? They set up a temporary spot for us in the nursery. There aren't any babies in there since the babies generally room-in with their mothers. I disrobe and the nurses ask me 500 questions before Dr. Chapman (not our usual doctor, but equally as nice and wonderful) comes in and checks me. Yep, 5cm dilated and 100% effaced. She asks me if I plan to have an epidural, and I say yes, oh yes. I am caught off guard when she tells me she'll have the anesthesiologist come in as soon as they move us to our real room, which is supposed to be in the next 30 minutes. I can't believe it's already time to get an epidural! The night sure did drag on forever, but things start moving too quickly! Suddenly I'm hooked up to IVs and monitors, there's fluids and beepings and needles galore. Our doctor, Dr. Fernandez, stops by to say hello. He comments to Tom about how I'm doing so great for being 5cm dilated. I start to get a big head, thinking I have some sort of super-human pain tolerance and I'm going to be the Queen of Delivery. Ha. Oh you silly little first time mother, you don't even know.
7:45am: Tom calls our parents to let them know we've been admitted to the hospital. He also texts Katie back for me - as we were going up the elevator at the hospital, I got a text message from her that said she had a dream I was going into labor!
8:30am: They move us to a room and my parents stop by to say hello.
10:00am: Before long, the anesthesiologist comes in and administers the epidural. It isn't too terrible, other than the fact that he did it twice because the first one didn't work out very well. But hey, better than the contractions! It kicks in pretty quickly and I chill out in the hospital bed for, well, the rest of the day. Our parents, siblings, grandparents, all come in occasionally for visits. It's pretty uneventful. I snooze a little here and there and watch the clock.
3:00pm: Dr. Fernandez comes in to check me. 10cm dilated! It's time for some "practice" pushes. We do a few, he gives me advice on how to breathe and push, and it doesn't appear that Maddie wants to come out yet. He says we'll wait another 30 minutes.
3:35pm: I thought you said 30 minutes? It's been 35. I was mentally ready to get this baby out. But physically, I had some challenges. It was time to start pushing again, but I just couldn't get the hang of it. They wanted me to bear down, hold my breath, and push for 10 seconds. My mom and Tom were in the room holding my feet. My mom was my cheerleader, and Tom, well you know Silent Tom. He was my quiet supporter. But I just couldn't seem to hold my breath for a full 10 seconds! The bed was super uncomfortable, and I couldn't feel anything down there, so I wasn't sure if I was even pushing or just bursting blood vessels in my forehead
5:30pm: I've been pushing for nearly 2 hours. The nurse says she can see the baby's head full of hair. But I just can't seem to push her out. I am in so much pain, so so much pain. And it all seems useless! I'm exhausted from pushing, and not sleeping, and only having had a granola bar in the past 20 hours. And I'm frustrated, really frustrated. Dr. Fernandez has to leave for his son's award ceremony, so Dr. Chapman comes in. She asks us to make a decision: try using forceps or go for a cesarean. In my drugged, delusional state, I opt for the forceps because I'm terrified of surgery. But using forceps requires a pediatrician to be present, and she has just gone home for the day. So we wait on her to come back.
6:00pm: The pediatrician has arrived, there are seemingly 300 people in the room (maybe just 8), and I am trying my hardest to remain somewhat composed, but on the verge of falling apart. We try the forceps 4 times, which requires 12 more pushes. No avail. Baby is not budging. By this point, I am a crying, blubbering mess. "It hurts so bad," I repeat every 10 seconds. Things started to get really hazy for me at this point. It was just so darn painful.
6:30pm: Time for the c-section. The new nurses (doctors? techs? who were these people?) start introducing themselves to me, and I am so over it. Seriously, I would have let a janitor delivery the baby by this time. I don't care what your name is, Mr. Doctor! They wheel me into the freezing cold surgery room and start administering drugs. My teeth are chattering, they're all making small talk. They cover me with blankets and invert the bed so that the numbing drugs will move further up my abdomen. Tom comes in and sits beside me. Someone makes jokes about Longhorn doctors delivering an Aggie baby. It's all REALLY hazy for me.
7:30pm: Everything is ready, they tell me what they are doing behind the blue sheet. Finally, it's time to make the incision. They tell me that they're going to pull the baby out, and it's going to feel like someone is sitting on my stomach. Suddenly, a CRY! She cries immediately.
7:39pm: Madelyn Grace Cooper makes her debut. She enters the world at 8lbs 11oz, 20 inches long. Tom gets to see her and hold her as soon as they clamp her cord and wipe her down. I am still a hazy mess.
8:00ish? I see our baby for the first time, and she is nothing like I imagined. I pictured a petite little thing. But she is big. Big and swollen from all the fluids. It doesn't really feel like she is ours, and I don't immediately feel the love and attachment like I hoped I would. I mostly just feel exhausted. I don't know it at the time, but it will take a little while for me to have these feelings for sweet Maddie. But they do come, and when they do, they are fully encompassing. So much love, I feel that my heart will burst from it all. Such an incredible, powerful, life-changing love.
The rest of the hospital stay (until Friday morning) was really a bit of a blur for me. Recovery was brutal. I was on a lot of meds and in a lot of pain. I was definitely not a super-human pain-tolerating all-star. But we had lots of sweet visitors, our doctors and nurses were wonderful, TOM was wonderful. Seriously, the best ever. Since I was so incapacitated, Tom took over on everything - the diapers, the swaddling, the bouncing around the room. The rearranging of pillows, the calls to the nurses, the helping me pull up my pants when I couldn't bend over. Seeing him this way was so special to me and truly made me appreciate what a wonderful man I married. The perfect husband and father, perfect to us.
It's hard to believe it was nearly three months ago that Madelyn entered the world. It's true what they say, babies really do grow up fast. That puffy, bruised, sleepy baby has blossomed into a cheery, smiling, playing baby. We love watching her grow and soaking up all the snuggles we can. Sweet Maddie Grace, we love you so!
Monday, April 21, 2014
Friday, April 11, 2014
Size of baby: A pumpkin, somewhere between 18.9 - 20.9 in, 6.2 to 9.2 lbs (according to the thebump.com). I was just a tiny thing, born at 6 lbs 7oz on my exact due date. Fingers crossed little Maddie will inherit some of my genes and won't be a giant. My money is on April 18th for her arrival, along with my dad. Tom and my mom both think April 24th, which is my half-birthday, so that's kind of cool. My grandma thinks April 25th. Lord please, don't let me still be pregnant by April 25th! ;) Official due date is April 22nd - 11 days and counting! As long as she isn't born on an odd date, I'll be happy. I have a serious and unreasonable aversion to odd numbers. I hope she inherits that too, and picks a nice even date for her big debut.
Total weight gain: 33 pounds, yowzers.
Cravings: I've actually had some really strange cravings lately, including but not limited to: cottage cheese, McDonalds chicken nuggets, and orange soda (yes, like the kind you drank when you were 10, and Kel loved on Nickelodeon). The cravings are SO random and they come out of nowhere.
Sleep: At this point, I've accepted that there is no comfortable sleeping position. The beachball on my stomach is really in the way, and it's difficult to roll over. I generally wake up a few times during the night - restroom, snack, insomnia, back pain, baby kicks and hiccups... pinterest, reading random blogs, wandering around the house aimlessly. Last night, I bought a grout scrubbing brush on amazon at 3:45am. I guess this is nature's way of preparing me for what's to come! At least I've stopped dreaming about tax returns and excel files, dreaming about baby is much more fun :)
Movement: Still lots of movement and hiccups!
Gender: It’s a girl!
Name: Madelyn Grace
Nursery: Ready for her! Pictures to come soon.
- Boyz II Men, I'll Make Love to You
- Celion Dion, My Heart Will Go On
- A religious reggae-sounding song about the Rivers of Babylon
- An instrumental piece that made me feel like I was 5 again, riding a pink horse on the carousel at the mall
- Heart, All I Wanna Do is Make Love to You
- And the theme song to the Disney movie Pocahontas (Can you sing with all the voices of the mountain, can you paint with all the colors of the wind?)
Ok the last thing I'll leave you with today is a doctor's visit update. We went in yesterday for our weekly checkup. The belly tape-measure test showed right at 38cm (cm = weeks, still so strange to me how that works!), and her heart rate was thumping along at 130 beats per minute. Great and great. Then came the cervix check to see if I had dilated any yet. Our doctor prefaced by telling us that most first-time mothers have not dilated at this point, and the tip of their cervix feels like the tip of a nose (odd comparison, but sure). Now, at no point did anyone ever tell me, nor did I ever read anywhere, that a cervix check would hurt. So let me be the one to tell you, future mothers, that it can be very painful! I first started to grasp this fact when the doctor told me to "pick a spot on the ceiling, focus on it, and keep breathing". It was quick, but it was miserable. Thank goodness he told us that I was 1-2cm dilated, and my cervix has started to point forward rather than down. I fully understand that you can walk around dilated for weeks, but it was still music to my ears to hear that there is progress. Also, he touched her head! He.touched.her.head. There is a baby inside of me, and he touched her! It still seems so surreal. He said her head is already really low, and when he poked it, her head moved away then came right back down into place (as opposed to squirming away and assuming a different position). All good news!