About Susan Illene

Instead of making the traditional post high school move and attending college, Susan joined the U.S. Army. She spent her eighteenth birthday in the gas chamber — an experience she is sure is best left for criminals. For eleven years she served first as a human resources specialist and later as an Arabic linguist (mostly in Airborne units). Though all her duty assignments were stateside, she did make two deployments to Iraq where her language skills were put to regular use. After leaving the service in 2009, Susan returned to school to study history with a focus on the Middle East. She no longer finds many opportunities to test her fighting abilities in real life, unless her husband is demanding she cook him a real meal, but she’s found a new outlet in writing urban fantasy heroines who can.

Baby part 3

For those of you who missed the birth story of my son, check out parts one and two first before reading this.  I’m going to resume where I left off with my last post.

As I mentioned before, those early weeks were rough.  I was suffering from severe swelling, migraines, and high blood pressure.  In addition to this, I was figuring out how to be a mother to a newborn baby.  I’d read so many books, blogs, etc.  Yet nothing can quite prepare you for being the primary caretaker of a tiny human being.

They say newborns sleep a lot and they do, but it is very sporadic sleep.  A nap for twenty minutes here, an hour or two there.  They rarely sleep for very long and in addition to that babies want to eat all the time.  Breastfeeding is great because it’s the healthiest and most cost effective option, plus there’s no bottles to wash, but it’s time consuming.  Babies digest breastmilk much faster and have to be fed every two hours or less.  Adam is also slow at eating, so sometimes it takes nearly an hour for him to finish, leaving me little time until the next round.  To make matters more difficult, he doesn’t like being left in his crib or bassinet alone.  So whether he’s awake or asleep, he wants to be held all the time.  Especially in the beginning, it made it rather difficult to use the bathroom, take a shower, eat, or anything.

I started out not knowing how to multitask with a baby.  For those first few weeks I’d only shower once every few days when my husband could watch our son and just do quick sponge baths the rest of time.  Eventually, I heard of a trick from other moms on a baby forum to put him in his car seat in the bathroom while in there.  Best advice ever!  The soothing sound of running water keeps him content, so he usually won’t start crying until I get out.  I also discovered white noise can help him fall asleep in his bassinet, but this is rather hit and miss.  Most of the time, he isn’t fooled and won’t sleep while in there.

Sometimes, I’d spend hours going through all the tricks other mothers suggested trying to get him to sleep outside my arms, but to no avail.  I eventually gave up and started letting him sleep with me in bed.  They say not to do this because it’s risky for a number of reasons, but something had to give.  My husband and I were exhausted.  Once I started bringing Adam to bed with me, he’d stay asleep for eight or nine hours just waking four or five times during the night to feed or get his diaper changed.  When he is only hungry I don’t even have to get up.  It’s worked well and since I’m an extremely light sleeper I’m sensitive to the baby’s whereabouts and needs.  It’s made a big difference, allowing me to heal from childbirth and be more rested and productive.

As I mentioned in my last post, we discovered at Adam’s two-week checkup he had a problem with one of his eyes.  He had a cataract partially blocking his vision.  This is normally an issue people only get in their advanced years, but in rare occurrences babies can be born with cataracts in one or both eyes  Adam was already starting to focus on us at that point, so we couldn’t tell it was impairing him in any way.  We saw a specialist a couple of times over the course of the next few weeks after discovery, waiting until the cataract was bad enough that it blocked most of the vision in that eye.  We didn’t want to rush into it since it would require removing the natural lense.  Adam would never be able to focus on anything again with that eye without a corrective lense.  On a side note, there are only two doctors in the state who can perform that particular operation on a baby.  It’s just not common enough to need more specialists in the field.

We scheduled Adam for the surgery in mid-February.  He had to fast that morning, which was no fun forcing an eight-week old baby to go without any sustenance.  He cried and cried, giving me imploring looks that broke my heart.  I felt terrible and we hadn’t even gone to the hospital for his operation yet.  At 6:30 a.m., I got him there and we waited for over an hour before they called him back for pre-op.  They put him in a hospital gown, put a mark on his forehead to denote which eye would be operated on, and gave him some eye drops.

Shortly after that, they took him away and my husband and I returned to the waiting room.  I was a nervous wreck, praying everything went alright.  My husband had warned the doctor and anesthesiologist that we’d tried for ten years to have our baby and to not mess up!  We waited about an hour and a half before we got word the surgery went well, but we had to continue waiting for the baby to wake up.  That was nerve-wracking as well.

It was about forty-five minutes later before we got word Adam had woken and one of us could go back to see him in post-op recovery.  I got to go since I needed to feed him.  Once I got there, I found the nurse rocking and swaying him, trying to soothe him.  He was not a happy baby, and his cries were weak and scratchy from the tube they’d put down his throat during the operation.  I felt so terrible for him.

The nurse helped me set up a place to feed him with pillows for support and pulled a curtain for privacy. Adam was still fairly groggy, so he had a rough time latching and would cry every time he lost it. I did the best I could to help him. He was happy to be back in my arms and steadily growing more content once he had his mama, but it was a struggle for him since he still had an IV in his hand and monitors on his foot. It’s not easy handling and maneuvering a baby around when they’re wiggly and can easily get caught in the tubes and lines running from them.  Once he was cleared from the first phase of post-op.  We moved to another room where he stayed for another hour before he could have his IV and lines removed.

To our relief, he had no complications during or after surgery.  Recovery went great and we were allowed to take him home just before noon.  I spent the day holding and comforting him.  He slept most of the day until around 9 p.m. when the remaining effects of the anesthesia wore off.  He was rather cranky after that.  Through the night and next day, things were rough, but the poor baby could hardly understand what had happened or why.

I should add that the ophthalmologist put in a contact right after the surgery that served to protect his eye while it healed and allowed him to focus.  It only gives him near sighted vision, though, so only his good eye can see at a distance.  Once a week we have to take the contact out overnight for cleaning before putting it back in the next morning.  For the first month after the surgery, we were also given two sets of eye drops that Adam had to have four times a day.  He hated the drops at first and fought us every time, but he eventually got used to them.

Unfortunately, he still screams bloody murder when his contact is removed or put back in, but I’m told he will adjust to it in time.  I can’t wait for that because you’d think we are torturing him.  His motor skills are improving in recent weeks too, so he’s getting better at blocking and pushing us away with his hands. My husband has to hold his arms down while I take the contact out or put it back in his eye.  You know it has to be done, but the hurtful and accusing looks we get are tough to take.  He won’t get a permanent lens until he’s older and isn’t growing so much, maybe at age seven or eight.

At the one week post-op checkup, the ophthalmologist added more to our routine.  From that point forward until around the time Adam is about two years old, he has to wear a patch over his good eye for a few hours each day.  This is to ensure he uses his weaker eye and it also prevents him from getting lazy eye.  He’s not fond of the patch either, so we have to keep him entertained the whole time or he gets very fussy and tries to remove it.

Putting the patch on goes smoothly for the most part.  Taking it off is a lot like removing a bandaid and hurts no matter how careful I am.  I use a wet washcloth to soothe his skin afterward, but he almost always screams and cries.  I time it so he feeds afterward, which makes him happy again.  The little guy loves to eat and always grins after I lay him across the boppy pillow. He knows it’s milk time!

While things haven’t been easy these past few months, it’s only fair I mention there have been plenty of wonderful times as well.  I adore Adam’s smiles.  For the first month, they were more for practice and obvious he wasn’t directing them at anyone or anything in particular.  More often than not, he smiled in his sleep, which was adorable to see.

Once he was about four weeks old, though, he started smiling at us.  Then he began squealing and barking laughs around six weeks old.  His favorite thing at that point was when I put him in his crib and turned on the mobile. Despite his having impaired vision, he loved to watch it go around.  For about 10-15 minutes that can still entertain him.  It gives me a bit of time for bathroom breaks, sorting laundry, making something to eat, etc.  The mobile is a godsend, though it only works a couple of times a day before he catches on that we’re not holding him, so I have to use it judiciously.

I also love the way the baby curls into me when I pick him up or when he falls asleep against my chest.  There’s something so touching and fulfilling about a little human being who loves and trusts you more than anyone in the world.  It’s gotten to be where I have a tough time letting him out of my sight.  There’s only been two times I left the house without him and even then for no more than an hour.  With this likely being the only child I’ll ever get, I hate to miss a moment.

Of course, I do have housework to do and duties as an author.  For a while in the beginning, I only worried about the most pressing things and let the rest go.  At around ten weeks old, Adam started taking naps in his rock n’ play.  This was the first time we could get him to easily sleep without being in our arms or after a trip in the car (which often makes him tired).  In most cases, he’ll fall asleep on me after feeding and then I’ll carefully transfer him over.  I get about an hour or two to do house chores or anything else that needs doing without a baby in tow.  Of course, I check on him every few minutes like an over-obsessive mom.

There isn’t an exact time he’ll take a nap yet, so sometimes I have to employ other methods to keep him calm while I cook or clean.  Sometimes I “wear” him in a carrier.  He usually likes that and may even sleep.  On a brief grocery shopping trip, he spent the first five minutes looking around while strapped to my chest, then passed out until I transferred him into his car seat after finishing.  I have a bad back, though, so I can’t wear him like that for too long before it becomes too painful.

Baby wearing is also tricky because there are some things that I can’t do that way.  Anything that requires a lot of bending is too much, and I don’t want him that close while cooking with grease or using a hot oven.  In those cases, I put him in his rock n’ play in the kitchen so he can watch me while I cook or wash dishes.  He usually enjoys that, though he’ll eventually lose patience if I take too long.  Sometimes I play music to keep him calm.  On two occasions this actually put him to sleep so I could do even more chores, but at other times he’s gotten mad and cried until I finished.  Nothing ever works consistently.

I’ve learned to face the fact he’s just gonna have to cry for a short period if I must get something done, but I never let him go longer than 10-15 minutes before picking him up.  It took ten years to have this baby and I just can’t stand to let him suffer for long.  He’s one of those babies who likes to be held all the time and I know he won’t be this little forever.  I try my best not to stress about it and enjoy my precious time with him.  Friends who’ve had babies with similar temperaments reassure me they do eventually grow out of this phase and not to worry that I’m spoiling him.  There’s a time to foster independence but not when they’re small and helpless.

As I wrap up this baby update, I want to thank everyone for their patience while I have been getting the hang of being a new mom and dealing with various health problems along the way.  It’s been a rough but rewarding journey.  Also, thanks for following these posts if you’ve stuck with me this far!

I’m working on “Destined for Eternity” and hope to give you all more news on that soon.  Then I’ll be back to writing the Dragon’s Breath Series.

Here’s one final picture of Adam from a week and a half ago when he turned three months.  He’s growing so fast!

Baby part 2

In case you missed it, you should start with part 1 on the birth story of my son here.  For everyone else, I’ll continue where I left off yesterday.

During that first night after having the baby I was confined to bed for most of it.  If I needed to put Adam in his bassinet or get him out I had to ask my husband to do it or a nurse (once again, the hubby slept fine after going home to feed the cats).  They took the baby away at one point to run some tests.  Shortly after that we found out there was a slight complication during the delivery.  My blood attacked Adam’s in the umbilical cord.  This was kind of surprising to me because I’m O+ and he’s B+.  I didn’t think my blood could attack his since I’m a universal donor, but I guess it could in this situation.  It wasn’t anything dangerous, but it would increase his chances of developing jaundice.  They contacted the on-call pediatrician for the doctor office I’d chosen and he said to just monitor the baby closely.

I also wasn’t allowed to have much more than juice, broth, and crackers until 6:30 a.m. when I could order a full meal.  That totally sucked after a whole day of labor in which I hadn’t eaten and probably burned a few thousand calories.  I’d never been more hungry in my life, so I ate as much of the broth and crackers as they’d give me.  I also tried talking my husband into getting me something more substantial, but he refused.  Once again, he’s lucky to be alive.

The first full day after birth was a whirlwind.  We had lots of visitors and the hospital photographer came to visit.  Adam did such an amazing job not crying at all and let us position him however we wanted.  I’d brought a special outfit and blanket just in preparation for this and was pleased with how the photos turned out.

It was such a busy day I hardly had time to eat lunch and only took a thirty-minute nap.  I was allowed to get up and walk around, which was nice, but I was swollen badly and it was hard to move.  It wouldn’t be until after I got home and weighed myself that I’d discover I’d gained five pounds rather than lost any after giving birth.  I had horrible water retention from the IV and surgery.  At the time I was in the hospital, though, most of my focus was on the baby.  They were keeping me medicated enough I didn’t even worry about the pain from my stomach being cut open.

The next morning they took Adam again for more blood tests.  This time his levels were rising enough they feared he’d develop jaundice.  We’d hoped to go home that day, but instead they ordered the baby be put under UV lights for the next twenty-four hours and then they’d retest.  That was pure Hell for all of us.  Adam was cold, alone, and miserable.  All he could wear was a diaper and an eye mask to protect his eyes, and we could only soothe him by putting our hands on him for a few minutes at a time.  I took him out to feed him every two hours just to give him a break.  Otherwise, he just cried non-stop.  Watching him flail around, begging to be picked up left me in tears.  I hated having to torture my baby that way even if it was for his own good.  Once again, I hardly slept because he was crying so much I felt I had to stay by his side giving what comfort I could.

Thankfully, the next morning his blood tests came back looking much better.  I was ready to go home and spend time with my husband and baby without all the medical staff around (though they were wonderful).  During my stay, I did see a couple different lactation nurses who helped me out with refining the latch with the baby.  My milk had come in and Adam was eating fairly well at that point, but I was cracked and very sore.  They gave me some cream and shells that have helped so much after that.  By a week or so after giving birth, the baby and I totally had a hang on breastfeeding.  I am really thankful that part went well.

We were able to pack up and leave by that afternoon. This was day four I’d been in the hospital since starting the induction and I was tired after getting almost no sleep.  That first drive with the baby was nerve wracking and yet so exciting.  We just couldn’t wait to get home.  Adam wasn’t a fan of his car seat, and still gets fussy when we put him in there these days, but he eventually calmed down once we started driving.

In the last photo you can see my stomach went down quickly, but I swelled up badly everywhere else.  Someone had given me the advice during my pregnancy to take a pair of slippers to the hospital that are one size up from normal.  Best advice ever!  It took three weeks before the swelling in my feet went down enough to wear any of my other shoes.  Most of my socks wouldn’t even fit.  My legs, ankles, and knees were all twice their normal size.  Those slippers were all I could wear at home and to doctor appointments.  It sleeted and snowed during that time, so I wore them out faster than what would have normally happened.

Also, once I stopped taking pain killers, I developed a migraine that lasted for weeks.  My blood pressure was very high as well.  The OBs office ran tests to be sure I wasn’t developing post-partum pre-eclampsia because I had so many of the symptoms.  It turns out it was just severe exhaustion.  My body was trying to heal from major surgery and produce milk for the baby, but I wasn’t sleeping more than an hour or two a day.  Just like when I was little and made my parents suffer, karma came back to haunt me.  Adam wouldn’t sleep for long and just wanted to be held all the time.  I wasn’t getting enough rest or food and my body couldn’t heal.

My husband had to go back to work the day I got home from the hospital, so he wasn’t helping much.  I was alone most of the time at our house with the baby.  It was taking a toll on me in every way.  Of course, I’d look at Adam, seeing the most precious baby in the world.  I loved him and taking care of him, but I was so tired and I was getting lonely being shut in the house all the time.  More often than I prefer to admit, I broke down in tears because on top of everything my hormones were a mess from delivering a baby.  My OB said if my health continued to decline I’d have to be hospitalized.

Once my husband heard that frightening news, he started taking care of the baby for four or five hours a day only bringing Adam to me so the baby could feed.  I still wasn’t getting eight hours sleep, but it was a heck of a lot more than before.  The swelling started to go down gradually and so did my blood pressure.  By three weeks after the baby was born, I could at least move around better and we went back to me taking care of the baby full time.  It took quite a bit longer for my c-section incision to heal, though, because Adam had an uncanny ability to kick it all the time no matter how I held him.  Not his fault, of course, but it left me sore and I’d get a lot of cramps.  Sometimes, I’d have to stop and take a breath they got so bad.

I should note during this time we took the baby for several follow-ups at the pediatrician’s office.  At Adam’s two-week visit, the doctor found a problem in the baby’s right eye.  He had a cataract partially blocking his vision.  It’s a rather rare occurrence, and I was told by other healthcare professionals that we were lucky it was caught so early.  They were impressed that the baby’s pediatrician noticed it because many don’t until it’s nearly too late or worse.  We had to visit a ophthalmologist soon after that who informed us Adam would need surgery to have his lens removed in that eye.  If it wasn’t done soon, he could suffer permanent blindness.  It has something to do with a baby’s developing brain seeing a weakness and deciding to shut vision off rather than keep it going if it’s not working well.

As you can imagine, I was a wreck finding that out.  I was still recovering from childbirth and now my precious little baby was going to face surgery so early in his life.  It made me want to cuddle him that much more.  Sure, far worse things can happen to a baby, but I still worried about putting him under anesthesia.  Also, he was going to face more obstacles once his natural lens was removed since that eye wouldn’t be able to focus on its own anymore.

We set up the surgery for the day he turned eight weeks old, which I’ll get into in my next post.  Once again, this one got a bit too long.  I promise I’ll fill you in on the rest of the story soon, so stay tuned!

I had a baby…update!

I realize this post is a long time in coming.  Those of you who followed me back in December on my Facebook fan group got regular updates, and sporadic ones after that, but I’ve completely neglected my blog.  I’m so sorry.

You like to think you know how things will go when having a baby, especially with all the advice and tips you’re given, but nothing can ever fully prepare you as a first time mom and there are always little twists.  Things didn’t go quite as I expected, though I’m thankful to say I do have a healthy baby boy. We’ve just had a couple of bumps along the way.  Hence, my delayed post.

First off, I never went into labor.  My doctor wanted to induce me at thirty-nine weeks because of my “advanced age” at thirty-seven years old and the risks that come with that.  I insisted on waiting until I was full term at forty weeks.  That landed on a Sunday, though, so we waited one more day to induce.  I hoped that whole weekend I’d go into labor on my own and was definitely ready because you do become rather uncomfortable at that stage and just want the baby out.  It didn’t happen, so I checked into the labor and delivery ward at 6:30 a.m. on Monday morning (December 18th).  At first I was by myself, but my husband came as soon as he got off work an hour later and my aunt joined us a couple of hours after that.  She helped be part of my support team since my mother (her sister) passed away when I was a child, so I didn’t have her to be there for me.  Thanks so much, Aunt Connie!

They started the pitocin on a very low dose around 7 a.m. and it really wasn’t bad at first.  Regularly after that, the nurse came to up the dose a bit more.  Still, as the contractions began soon after, they didn’t seem too awful.  I even dilated a bit more in the first couple of hours.  Here is a picture of me that actually turned out rather good despite my being in early labor (keep this one in mind for the after giving birth photo of me, which is quite different).

My OB arrived a little after 9 a.m. and broke my water.  I’d been fearing that part because I knew things were likely to become painful after that.  The water breaking itself wasn’t bad at all, to my relief, and the contractions still weren’t too unbearable at first.  After about thirty minutes, though, they definitely became rather painful.  By a little after 1 p.m. I was in complete agony.  My husband slept through the painful part where I tried all sorts of breathing tricks and positions to make myself more comfortable.  With the IV and monitors it was impossible to walk, which would have been nice.  Thankfully, my aunt was there to help and I appreciated her support.

Around 1:30 p.m. my contractions were coming less than a minute apart so that I couldn’t get any relief before the next one began and I’d dilated to 5cm.  Despite my hoping to make it further along without pain killers, I was done.  There is no pain like labor and nothing can prepare you for it, especially if you have pitocin making it worse.  I decided that I’d lost any fear I had of a needle near my spine.  They could do whatever they wanted as long as they made me feel better.

The nurses were prepping me for the anesthesiologist when my husband finally woke up (the man can seriously sleep through anything).  He asked why I was getting pain killers since I’d hoped to avoid them.  He was lucky I didn’t have a knife within easy reach.  My aunt informed him that if he’d seen how much I’d been suffering for the last few hours then he wouldn’t ask that question.  So at around 2 p.m. I got my epidural.  I thought it would be awful to get, but in reality the needle hardly hurt at all.  It didn’t even rate on the pain scale compared to my contractions.  I had to wait another thirty minutes for it to fully work, but my God did it make a world of difference.  It’s hard to believe anything can make that kind of pain just disappear.  I think I fell in love with my anesthesiologist right then, she did such a great job.

My father showed up about an hour later.  Apparently, once I told him I’d gotten an epidural he decided it was safe to come visit me.  I think he was worried I’d start using all my military training on anyone near me once the pain got bad.  My husband is lucky to be alive is all I have to say.  Anyway, whenever the doctor or nurses needed to examine me, they just pulled the curtain across the sitting area of the hospital room to provide privacy (it was a large room that I got all to myself).  It worked well so my family could stay close and I was rather cheery for the next few hours.

My labor progressed fairly fast after that.  For some women, the epidural will slow their labor down, but for women like me it actually speeds it up because we’re no longer fighting the pain.  By 6 p.m. I was fully dilated and effaced and they could see the baby’s head and hair.  The only trouble was he wasn’t dropping low enough.  They had me try a few different positions to help him along, but he wasn’t moving.

We spent two hours with me pushing and the doctor trying to manually turn him with her hand because while he was upside down like he needed to be, he was facing sideways, which caused him to get stuck.  I was willing to try anything to help him move.   I should note by this point the epidural began wearing off on my left side.  That sucked, but it enabled me to feel when my contractions were coming, so at least there was that advantage when trying to push.  It also gave me enough feeling that I could try some different positions in the hopes it would help.

I was so desperate to have a vaginal birth.  After more than two hours of pushing (it was around 9 p.m.), I was getting exhausted, but still I wanted to keep trying.  The OB shook her head, saying he wasn’t budging and there was nothing more she could do to move him along.  He would have to come out via cesarean.  I cried and asked if she was sure.  She gave me an apologetic look, knowing how much I’d wanted to avoid a c-section, but we had no choice.

All the way to the OR I continued to cry and everyone consoled me the best they could.  Once we got to the doors, my husband couldn’t join me at first until they finished prepping me.  I pulled myself together, knowing I was doing what was best for my baby.  With my water broken that morning, we could only wait so long to get him out.  I gazed around at the surgery team and realized every one of them was a woman.  It was kind of surprising, but I loved how supportive and kind they were.  By this point, I’d vomited a few times because despite the fact I couldn’t feel much pain, my body still felt it on some level.  A nurse had to hold a bag next to my head so I could puke sideways one more time before they opened me up (by then the anesthesiologist had fixed my epidural so I couldn’t move from the waist down anymore).  She also poked a needle on my tummy to be sure I couldn’t feel anything.  I was totally numb.

They finished prepping me and let my husband join me at my side.  He was back in my good graces by then.  It’s sort of a blur from that point on until the OB pulled the baby out.  Her first words were “This is one big boy.  Where was she hiding him?”  The last ultrasound at 34 weeks had estimated he’d be between 8 1/2 to 9 pounds, but when my OB checked my fundal height each week after that I’d been measuring small.  No one guessed he’d be that big.

She lowered the curtain a little so my husband and I could get a peek at our son, Adam.  It was like love at first sight.  He did look big, not that I had a lot of experience in the matter of sizing babies, but the best part was seeing him for the first time and hearing him cry.  The poor little guy had a huge bump on one side of his head from me trying so hard to push him out (took a month for that bump to go away).  I felt awful I’d waited as long as I did to do a cecarean, so at that point I had no regrets about not having a vaginal birth anymore.  One can only imagine what it must feel like for a baby going through all that and then they’re born and poked and prodded from the moment they take their first breath.

They put him on the scale and he came in at 9 pounds 6 ounces (or 4.25 kg).  It’s no wonder I couldn’t breathe or get comfortable in those final weeks of pregnancy.  The poor guy was crammed in there tightly, which is why he hadn’t been able to move for delivery.  My husband was allowed to take pictures as they wiped him off and got a diaper on him.  He also got to re-cut the umbilical cord.

The hardest part about a cesarean has got to be that you’re stuck on the operating table through all that, hearing your baby cry but unable to reach him or do anything.  It was the longest wait, though they really do try to hurry.  I was so happy when they finally brought him to me and I was able to hold him while the OB stitched me back up.  Never in my life had I seen anything more beautiful or felt such strong emotions as I did when they tucked my son onto my chest.  It was amazing…and only took ten years of trying to get pregnant.  Even now, I look at him and can’t believe he’s really here.  I’d lost all hope of becoming a mother, so I definitely cherish having him that much more.

I was able to hold him for about ten minutes or so before they took him back and put him in the bassinet.  Once the OB was done with me, they moved us all to a post delivery room.  For an hour we had “family time” so it wasn’t until after that my aunt and father were able to come see the baby.  I was holding him and not letting go, but by then it was after 11 p.m. so they needed to head home soon anyway.  They returned the next day to see him again.

I didn’t sleep that night.  Partly because the nurses were coming and going so often that it was nearly impossible and partly because I was so excited to have my baby that I couldn’t sleep.  I worked on trying to breastfeed him (that first twenty-four hours is the toughest!) and I just soaked him in.  He was my little miracle and I didn’t want to miss a moment.  There was a lot more to the four days I stayed in the hospital, but I’ll get into that in my next post since this one is already super long.  For now, I’ll just share one more picture taken the next morning by a professional photographer.  We were lucky the baby cooperated so well and I did fix up my hair and make-up after getting a shower.

December 2017 update

My apologies that I haven’t updated sooner.  Third trimester pregnancy has been crazy and tougher than I imagined.  They say the older you are the more difficult it is (I’m 37), but I have no comparison to base that on myself so I have to take other people’s word for it.  I’ve also had old back injuries that grew exponentially worse as the baby got bigger and heavier, which meant I had to go to physical therapy for the last few months.  It didn’t cure the problem, but at least the therapist could help make the pain more bearable for me.

Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten nearly as much work done on my next book as I’d hoped.  On my better days I’ve mostly used that time to get ready for the baby.  I set up the nursery which was a lot of work because it was filled with boxes I hadn’t unpacked from my big move this summer, had my baby shower, got my vehicle detailed (it needed the kind of cleaning I couldn’t do at this point) and the husband and I also installed the car seat.  I’ve also been obsessed with keeping the house as clean as possible, and there’s been Christmas shopping to do.

I don’t want to bore you all with the minute details of my life, but if you’re interested in how my pregnancy is progressing you can see my regular updates in my Facebook Fan group.  On there, I posted a video tour of the baby’s nursery, shared pregnant pics of me, and I’ve gotten into more of the nitty-gritty stuff that some people may or may not want to hear.  As a treat, though, here’s a pic of me from  two days ago when I was just shy of 39 weeks along.

The Facebook fan group is also the place where I’ll update first after the baby is born because it’s easier and faster to post there and do all other social media when I have more time.  I will try to provide more updates on this blog later this month on how things are going and when my next books will be out.  Just please bear with me as this is going to be a hectic month.

Wishing everyone happy holidays!

 

 

 

Facebook Halloween Party

Just to let you all know, the third annual Haunted Halloween Reader Party kicks off today on Facebook.  This is a great chance to win prizes such as free books, Kindles, Amazon gift cards, and other goodies.  It’s all reader themed with most authors being from the urban fantasy/paranormal romance genres.

I know some of you have participated in it before and won some great stuff, so hope to see you there again.  Be sure to join the party and comment on posts to enter the many contests!  For me, I’ll be doing giveaways this Sunday (October 29th).  You should definitely check it out sooner than that, though, because I’m sure some of your other favorite writers will be there, as well as new ones to discover.  Below is the list of featured authors and which day they will be participating with giveaways:


October 27 – Anthea Sharp, Donna Augustine, Jennifer Blackstream
October 28 – Annie Bellet, Devon Monk, Shayne Silvers
October 29 – Amy Patrick, Jaye Wells, Susan Illene, Sarra Cannon
October 30 – Helen Harper, Phaedra Weldon, Debra Dunbar
October 31 – Shawntelle Madison, C. Gockel, Christine Pope

Hope to see you there!