Friday, June 10, 2011

Confessions of a New Mama: Part 1

June 10th, 2011

So it's been a few months and here I am again writing to you. Missed me? No? Well either way I've got a lot to say but for my sanity, your sanity, and the sanity of my new son (who is bound to start crying any moment now and pull me away from my blog) I'll keep it brief. 

As I look back over the last couple of months I've made some interesting observations and come to grips with many things I thought I could control. Everything I thought about caring for a newborn and motherhood in general has been more or less shaped by reality TV shows, Pregnancy and Newborn magazine, and online shopping frenzies (man do they know how to market baby stuff REALLY well). Wish I could pull a Charlie Sheen and say "WINNING" here but I can't.

Confession #1: I took for granted all the sleep I used to enjoy pre-baby. I can't help but LMAO when I think of all the times I whined and said, "Oh I'm so tired, I only got 5 hours of sleep last night..." I now 'enjoy' 2-3 hours of sleep. 4-5 hours? A huge smile forms on my face every time this fantasy re-enters my still-clouded brain. (and yes, I still have the 'pregnancy-stupids')

Confession #2: I forgot for a moment I had a four-legged furry friend named Chloe.  And to imagine I thought I could take on an additional puppy before I had Alec. I think that constitutes admittance to the looney bin. Chloe and I are cool now...but for a minute there I'm pretty sure she was close to placing an ad on Craigslist in the pet adoption section. :( It would've read something like this: 

And finally...

Confession #3: Nothing truly prepared me for this. What I thought I knew about being a mother...all went out the window when I realized that I had to embrace my baby and my new life with the new revelation that well, it's not about me anymore. 

Repeat. It's not about me anymore. 

And I love that.  

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Our little Spring Chicken!

April 21, 2011

As many of you already know, Mike and I welcomed our little boy on Saturday, April 9th at 3:53 am. Weighing at 5 lbs. 10 oz. and 19 inches long. Some you might be wondering why it's taken me so long to post this; all I can tell you is that these past 12 days have been a leeeeetle busy. :)

Alec Michael Suomela (adorably nicknamed 'Chicken Little' up until his birthday) was born 6 weeks earlier than expected due some complications with my health at the last minute. I make light of it now but it was no joking matter when my OB/GYN looked me straight in the eye and said in his doctor tone, "We need to deliver your baby. Today." My symptoms were simply really awful headahes...well they felt more like migraines but they were paired with random bright flashes of light in my vision. My OB/GYN did some labs on me as well and didn't like what he saw...onset of preeclampsia. But wait! I'm too early on in the pregnancy to have that. I was only 34 weeks. And I really didn't have high blood pressure. It was my liver enzyme levels that were extremely concerning. So across the street from my OB/GYN's office to Fairview Southdale in Edina I went.

40 hours of trying to deliver naturally we decided it was time to get this little nugget out into the world via C-section. I just wasn't progressing enough on my own but boy did I enjoy the feeling of some nice hefty contractions still as well as that comfortable catheter. Which only 10% of women feel with an epidural. Oh to be an anomaly :)

Not only was I completely looped out on medication since Thursday afternoon but now it was Saturday and they just upped my dose of epidural to prep me for surgery which I took as the green light to start singing Janis Joplin and Motion City Soundtrack songs ( and playing music trivia with the anesthesiologist in the operating room. The question I was given was "Who is the male voice in the Carly Simon song, 'You're So Vain'?" ( I didn't know the answer so one of the doctors YouTubed it during my surgery and we all sang this song out loud! Yes, I remember hearing one of doctors say, "I'll YouTube it!" Talk about your generational verbs. The answer: Mick Jagger.

As it has encompassed my whole life, now so it will be in our son's. Hilarity.

*I'd like to especially thank Rebecca Radtke for making sure I got into the hospital safely. She must have driven 120 mph from work to get there in the record speed she did. I would like to apologize to her arm skin as I'm sure I ripped through it while she braced me during the beginning hours. Thank you to Molly Schutz, Mike's family, my family, and all the L&D nurses who kept me sane even if by a thread for those first couple of days. And of course I owe much gratitude to my amazing husband Mike, who has his own wonderfully funny stories to share and who was a ROCKSTAR throughout the entire process. He made me feel like I could do this any day of the week. I love you.

*Oh and thank you to the Blue Bunny ice cream company for making orange flavored popsicles. A woman in labor can only handle so many ice chips.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Alana's Ultimate Favorite Things 2011 (not unlike Oprah's List)

April 6th, 2011

Okay, so it IS unlike Oprah's Favorite Things because mine is based around my hormonally-imbalanced reactions to items I wouldn't normally find excitement in. Wait, who would agree that Oprah is ALSO a bit hormonally-imbalanced? There's the connection. I knew I'd find it. :)

When I travel for work: Kar's Yogurt Apple Nut Mix & Fiji Water
When I want to feel pretty: Lollia Shea Butter Creme in Imagine
When I need to pack for a trip: Vera Bradley travel line
When I want baby shopping bliss: Baby on Grand
When I take out the garbage at home: Glad ForceFlex w/Febreze Odor Shield
When my favorite pants from The Limited don't fit: BeBand from Target
When I want 'fancy' fizzy water: San Pellegrino (with lemon wedges)
When I'm bored & wide awake in the middle of the night: DroidWords
When I want to be pampered: monthly massages and facials at Massage Envy
When I want to indulge in pizza at work: Chanticlear Pizza 
When I need to clear my mind: open windows on a Spring day & take deep breaths 

(That last one you ALL can do. Unless you live in a house without windows, like an igloo. Then "Aang-Aleut" to you and my apologies for having to dogsled wherever you need to go). 

Too much? :)

Product Image BeBand Maternity Band - Ebony 

San Pellegrino 33.8 Oz, Mineral Water

Kars Yogurt Apple Nut Mix  1.5 oz Case Pack 72

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Eyes wide shut

March 16th, 2011

I am annoyed that I have nothing clever to write about lately...because it's impossible to think let alone write when you're half asleep.


Welcome to week 31.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ring around the...

March 8th, 2011

...the rosey? The collar? A more applicable answer would be my finger. As I try to pry my wedding band off my swollen and relentless 4th appendage on my left hand on a daily basis, I try to talk myself out of an all-out tear fest...not unlike the one I had when I de-railed this past weekend at Continental Diamond, (shameless plug for the most amazing jewelry store in the Twin Cities). Mike and I went there to get our rings cleaned and what is normally a wonderful experience (complete with flattering lighting and Otis Spunkmeyer cookies to nosh on while we wait) turned out to be anything but.

Although I was successful in removing my engagment ring my wedding band wasn't so cooperative. My eyes welled up with tears and my hands started to shake as I realized that I was not able to get the ring to move up even close to my knuckle. Our jeweler, Laurel, at Continental Diamond (shameless plug #2) was already on the defense and tackled my emotional breakdown head-on by complimenting my hair, my skin, telling me my pregnancy looks so great, etc. It was a great diversion for a few moments. Love you Laurel :)

We quickly realized that the ring was not coming off. She kindly advised me NOT to put my engagement ring back until after the pregnancy. Just the big sparkly diamond ring I love so much is forced into sabbatical...just great.

Olive oil. Ice. Windex. Lotion. Jedi mind-tricks. I've tried it all.

Understanding that water retention is a normal part of pregnancy; the embracing hug my ring has on my finger will only get tighter and tighter and I can tell you one thing...I do NOT want any type of saw or cutting tool near my fingers.

I will continue this combat against my mockingly swollen finger until this GD ring comes off. Well at least only in the mornings when I'm least swollen, after I've dipped my finger in ice cold water for 30 minutes, sprayed it down with Windex and held it above my heart. Anything short of attaching it to a big rig and ordering it to be thrown into reverse.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Habitual Line Jumping

March 4th, 2011

Mike and I just went on a "babymoon" in the Dominican Republic last week; a way to take a break from the following:

1. frigid, bone-dry weather here in MN 
    (still not sure how we sustain life here)
2. looming list of to-dos for the upcoming baby
3. dreadful monotony that creeps its way under 
    our skin around this time of year

We immediately immersed ourselves in the culture of our 5-Star Luxruy All-Inclusive private resort in Punta Cana; where the locals dressed like hotel bellmen and professional massage therapists. We found it interesting they all had the same common vision for their village and wore tags on their matching clothing (much like uniforms) that had their names on them; including a denotation that they were in fact from the same blood line of Barcelo. Mike and I, two Gringos from the North, were welcomed with open arms and served a cocktail with pineapple slices. I thought that was a nice touch. :)

It was very apparent to most, save for some of the bright-bulbed Canadian tourists, that I was pregnant and that it would be a solid gesture to offer up any assistance as needed or even allow Mike and I to jump to the front of lines. And there were a LOT of lines...line to check-in, line to eat at the buffets, line to make reservations for dinners, and a line at the bar. I can tell you one thing; waiting in line at the bar for a Batido de Fruta is not a walk in the park. All I want is a friggin banana smoothie con leche!

And calming down...where was I? Oh yes, so because of my obvious 'condition' Mike and I enjoyed a lot of line jumping on our "babymoon" because I guess the general public (again, except for some Canadians) all agree that a pregnant woman should be taken care of first. It's a very empowering feeling, I can tell you that, and I welcomed it every chance it was presented to us. We were able to get a table at a restaurant that was completely full with reservations because of Baby Alec (thank you to the hostesss at La Dolce Vita by the way) and we were pulled to the VERY front of the line to check-in at the airport on our trip back home. Unfortunately Baby Alec couldn't swing complimentary upgrades to first-class for his parents but we thought what the heck and bought them anyway and flew home in style. I can tell you one thing; I don't think there is one person who would argue with a pregnant lady over habitual line jumping. Except that one Canadian...whose Maple Leaf tattoo served as a target for my fist.

First thought to cross my mind; get thee to Pea in the Pod and steal the artificial belly bump used in the dressing rooms for future privileges after Alec arrives. Oh and pray for Canada...for their people know not what they do.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Increasing My Carbon Footprint

February 15th, 2011

So as more and more of our world is focusing on decreasing our carbon footprint by taking more 'green' approaches to everyday life, I seem to be increasing mine. Now, that's not to say I'm not still conscious of eating locally, carpooling, recycling, etc. I'm actually100% behind helping to create and maintain a cleaner more efficient world for our children...and my childrens' children. Because I believe that children are our future. :) (teach them well and let them lead the way)...

Anyway, what I am experiencing right now is literally an increase of my physical footprint. Which I relate to carbon footprint simply because of there is more of me to cover ground on this earth. Please humor me. My once-petite size 7 feet are now an awkwardly squishy and large size 8...wide. 

Nowhere in the books I've read have I come across an illustration paired with an accurate explanation...which would be that I would be that while growing a small human in my body I would also be growing my own set of flippers. Even worse is that unless I wear my ruby red loose-fitting, stocking-stuffer quality slippers to work, the grocery store, or the gym,  I should prepare myself for the vice-grip, locked-in-cement-blocks feeling that my feet feel the minute I put on my beloved pair of Jessica Simpson heels. 

It DOES say in the book(s) that my feet would swell and possibly even grow. Understatement of the millennium. All I know is that if I were to able to illustrate this calamity - this increase of my 'carbon' footprint - it would look somewhat like Scuba Steve from the Adam Sandler movie, Big Daddy...right next to a 'before and after' picture of a "Grow Your Own Dinosaur" Just add water and watch the fun as they grow larger and larger, up to 600% in size!

All squishy, large and water-logged. 

But on the bright side I'm fully equipped to explore schools of exotic fish on my upcoming vacation. :)

Monday, January 31, 2011

Head, shoulders, knees and toes...knees and...whew...toes...

January 31, 2011

While enjoying a nice little Monday night with just myself, my dog Chloe, and House Hunters International on HGTV, I decided that I would 'treat' myself and paint my toenails. 

Now, I could just stop right here because the ridiculous, laugh-inducing images that a pregnant woman trying to paint her own toenails conjures up are certainly already welcoming themselves into your head and unpacking their suitcases for the weekend. 
Go ahead. Smile.

I didn't know such a menial and once-enjoyable task that usually came with such happiness could end up being so involved. OH MY GOD. Here are my rules for painting your toenails while pregnant: (applies to 6 months +)

Rule #1: Expect the unexpected.  Do not expect those sweet, innocent-looking cotton balls to stay in place in between your swollen toes. Prepare yourself with a tweezers to pick the cotton fluffs off the surfaces of your newly painted nails; unless you are going for that "Cottonwood Seeding in The Summer" look. 

Rule #2: Breathe. Unless you are built like Gumby, prepare to have to do some major bending around your belly to get to southern-most point of your body. If you don't breathe into and out of the bending, you'll start to see stars. If this happens, add another 10 minutes of sitting back and relaxing to the process. 

And finally...
Rule #3: Commit early. Pick a color you can live with until you can get your nails done professionally... because this just might be the last time you'll want to do this to yourself. :)

This blogspot brought to you by California Raspberry by OPI, Tweezerman tweezers, and my Yoga classes at Lifetime Fitness. :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Callback from Juilliard?

January 26th, 2011

Today I finally feel large...but definitely not in charge. Although I wasn't very graceful before, I'm even MORE uncoordinated these days at home, at work, at the grocery store, anywhere that requires me to put one of my feet in front of the other.

I've been taking corners like Mario Andretti, not driving but just walking around. My hips and thighs bear marks of my unwillingness to recognize the few extra inches I need to walk in order to round the corner into my office. My desk corners, however, seem to be holding up just fine.

I'm writing today because the usual feeling of 'cute preggo belly' has sadly changed to a feeling of frumpiness and awkwardness. Needless to say I am still waiting on my callback from Juilliard...but I belive this ballerina has seen her last graceful step.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Dream Weaver...

January 14th, 2011

22 weeks down, 18 still to go! As my belly expands horizontally, along with the other round parts of my 29 year old body, I am finding that it is increasingly more difficult to get OUT of the horizontal position whenever I'm not at work. What I mean is that all I want to do is lie down and SLEEP. With sleep comes dreams...and I've quickly come to realize that dreaming while with-child is VERY different than the 'normal' illogical journeys that dreams tend to take me on.

Kangaroos give birth to their young at 33 days of gestation; the little 'Joey' is only 1/2 inch long. Last night I dreamt that I birthed a teeny tiny kitten; the size of a kangaroo baby. Within a couple of hours it had grown into a full size cat. While I held on to it with loving arms, I was telling my husband how it had his green eyes and my dark hair and that I was sorry because I must have taken the 'animal' pill vs. the 'human' pill when we were trying to conceive. I assured him we would try again right away and that I would be sure to take the right meds. :)
Apart from losing my energy again (thought I had a wee bit more time to enjoy my 2nd wind in this trimester) the only other annoyance is my loss of vocabulary and inability to articulate. My words are falling out of my mouth much faster than previous months (listening to me tell any type of story a few months ago required taking PTO. Just ask anyone). But unfortunately they are in the wrong order and often times on top of one another making me sound like a Chatty Cathy doll on Speed. I'm considering a new career as an Auctioneer.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Moveable Feast...

January 5, 2011

So far it's been a very uneventful pregnancy, thank goodness! No vomiting or sickness in the 1st trimester, only a few annoying headaches here and there. So thankful for acetaminophen (insert eye roll here). No varicose veins, backaches, etc. My hair has gone from silky and thick to feeling like a stringy, cheap wig from Ragstock to normal and thick again. Thank God Fantastic Sam's offers haircuts for only $12.99 (including shampoo) or I'd be broke.

I've gained weight, of course, but it's starting to all 'even out' now wheras a few months ago I was bloated everywhere. I think even my eyelids were bloated. :) Now it's rally just in my stomach (at least that's what I see when I look in the mirror). I feel proud of my roundness and can often be caught rubbing and patting it with fondness wherever I am. Work, Costco, bars...

I'm sitting at work right now, taking a quick break, and just enjoying my baby boy play around in my tummy. Feels like somersaults and kicks; some so strong that they catch me off guard and make me jump in my chair! Maybe he really liked the leftover Papa Murphy's pizza (pepperoni and green olives for toppings) I just had as a snack. He seems to move around more after I've eaten my favorite things. Pizza, ice cream, swedish meatballs, chocolate (in any form possible) and Chipotle.

Quick shout out to's a moveable feast...
Don't judge :)