Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Hello out there...

Long time no post, huh? Starting work (only a few hours but its tough to get it all done + a baby who doesn't nap for long = not much free time at the computer.

*James is a happy and active little guy! He is rolling both ways and is just starting to get mobile with his rolling. I started him on oatmeal a couple days ago and he loves it! I think he's going to love solids. He recently starting liking stroller rides (finally - whew!) and can tolerate car rides a little more. He loves laughing with dad, stories and songs, and playing with his feet.

*Amazingly (and surprisingly) after struggling with low supply and slow weight gain, I am exclusively breast feeding again! I'm not sure how things changed but James gained a ton of weight with the formula supplements (thank you formula!) but then he stopped needing and wanting it, and he gained a great amount of weight on my milk alone this past month.

*Sleep is a challenge. It's usually not terrible (1-2 wakings but sometimes more) but its quite an ordeal to get him to sleep still. I know it's controversial but we will probably need to do some kind of sleep training after we get back from thanksgiving - for his well being to get the sleep he needs, for our sanity, and so that we could leave him with a family member or babysitter occasionally (nobody else could get him to sleep)...

*A few pictures of my boy! Love him so much!











Monday, September 24, 2012

Instagram

I follow some blog friends on Instagram and have enjoyed it, so thought I would invite you to follow me if you'd like. It's mostly pictures of James of course! My username is hillarycharlotte :)

My boy celebrating the first day of fall:

Thursday, September 13, 2012

{3 months}

James, you are three months old!


 By the numbers: 3 months old. Weight: 12 lbs. 10 ozs. Length: 24"?. 7-8 feedings per day. 0-4 night wakings (this month saw the extremes in your sleeping!). Size 2 diapers. Size 0-3 month clothes (although you can't straighten your legs in the 0-3 sleepers any more so we need to go up a size in those now!)

For his dad who is a computer progammer :) This is also the only baby item I bought while trying to conceive/ doing fertility treatments!
This month has been such a delight! You smile often and have so much expression on your sweet face. You are also "talking" up a storm and coming up with new coos and gurgle frequently. Lately your favorite sound has been to use the saliva in the back of your throat and and make a "k" sound that gurgles. You have gained more awareness of toys and love batting at them as they dangle in front of you or above you, pulling them to your mouth, and beginning to grasp them. You have even started talking and smiling at the toys!

One of my favorite things this month has been seeing you start to enjoy story time. Last month you really didn't pay attention to the books we read to you, but then you started watching our faces as we read and seemed to enjoy that. Now you love looking at the books and hearing our voices read, and you smile, coo, and gurgle throughout the story. I love it!!


Sleeping has been all over the place! You started the month as you had been the month prior and typically slept 4-5 hours straight with 1-2 night wakings. And then, amazingly, you slept 8-9 hours for almost a whole week! Oh my! The first couple nights you did this I woke up around when you normally do and had to check on you. But, alas, the last week of the month you suddenly started waking every 2-3 hours again to eat and sometimes woke yourself up after eating, too. I keep hoping it's a growth spurt and your longer stretches will return but we will see. No matter how much you keep me up at night, when I see your sweet smile in the morning I tell you it's worth it! :)

Your bedtime routine is simple: bath, eat, book, white noise/ swaddle, bed! Naptime is the same minus the bath. You LOVE the bath, and your dad almost always gives you your bath and it is a fun time for both of you. You are clearly starting to understand that this is your special routine and are happy throughout....until it's actually time to bounce you to sleep. Then you often let out a few cries (we think you are just transitioning to sleep mode and need to cry a little), but we bounce you and you typically go to sleep easier than the last couple months.

By the end of the month you have fallen into a bit of a nap rhythm. About an hour after you wake up you go down for your first nap, which is only usually about 45 minutes. You then have your longest wake time (1.5-2 hours), and then sleep 2-3 hours. You usually take another two 45 minutes naps throughout the afternoon, and typically go to bed between 7:00-8:00. Of course there are many variable and this isn't how it always is, but it has been fun the have a little more "normalcy" to our days.


This month started out a little stressfully as we tried to figure out why you were unhappy while eating. I started pumping and giving you extra milk after nursing and you were finally satisfied. I'm sorry you were hungry, sweet boy! I worked to increase my milk supply for two weeks and continued giving you extra milk, but my supply never seemed to change (or you always wanted more!) so we started supplementing with formula sometimes, too. Now that your tummy is full and you are gaining weight (3 pounds this month!) you are clearly a much happier boy. I was worried that you might start to prefer the bottle to me, or that my supply would get worse by using some formula, but instead I am so thankful that you have become a happy nurser again. 



This month you began lifting your head while on your tummy! At first you didn't really like being on your stomach, but we laid you on our chests and you lifted up your head. You also started rolling from your tummy to your back. You love to kick, kick, kick your legs and I think you are going to be an active little guy in a few months.


You put your little feet into the ocean for the first time this month! You didn't get upset so we assumed you liked it. :)


James, you are a sweet boy and a gift from God! I love watching your little personality emerge and am thankful to be your mom.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Updates and random thoughts

* Thanks for your encouragement and suggestions on my last few posts. Weeks 8-10 were ROUGH. Not necessarily more difficult than those early weeks - I was usually getting more sleep at least - but I think I had just thought things SHOULD have been easier by then, and when they weren't I hit a wall. Plus it just seemed like new issues kept coming up... what a roller coaster!

* Breastfeeding. Whew. I didn't really think we were having problems and then suddenly it was a major problem. J went from occasionally fussing at the b.reast to screaming during almost every feeding (just not the middle of the night or early morning ones). He even refused to nurse a couple times. :( I worked with a lactation consultant who thought all things pointed to lower supply (especially factoring in the slow weight gain). I pumped after every feeding for 10 days and fed him what I pumped to supplement his nursing sessions. But I never saw much of an increase, and the amount he wanted after nursing was more than I could keep up with, so about two weeks ago we supplemented with formula. Supplementing (with br.east milk or formula) has made J gain a ton of weight and he is a much happier guy! He has learned that he WILL get full, so he doesn't freak out as much while nursing (although it's still a little hit or miss, but much better).

* Of course, getting to the point of introducing formula was very emotional. The whole situation was a huge stress, and I was so scared that once we did that my supply would drop even more and it would be the beginning of the end of Breastfeeding. I can't tell you how many tears I shed. But now that we crossed that line and J is doing so much better, I feel like I e been able to let go a little. I'm taking it one day at a time, trying to pump when I can, and not thinking about all the what-ifs. He gets 4-8ozs of formula per day depending on how much I can pump.

* Like I mentioned above, James has been a happier guy lately. Probable because his little tummy is nice and full, but I also think he is just growing by leaps and bounds and transitioning from newborn to infant. Last week (he was 11 weeks) was an absolute delight and I started to feel like we might be able to do this, haha! He even slept 8-9 hour stretches most nights!

* This week (12 weeks) has not been as great. He seems to be regressing - more difficult to get to sleep and lots of night wakings. We are trying to be patient and just know that babies are constantly changing, but it's almost harder after last week was so amazing

* At what point do I just bite the bullet and buy some jeans in a bigger size?! I confess I am still wearing my maternity ones although I am do ready to be done with them. I have 9 lbs. until I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight, but my body is just so different! I actually can squeeze into my old jeans, but they are low rise, which both shows my crack now and gives me a muffin top - yikes.

* I have a recurring nightmare that I brought James into our bed in the middle of the night and have lost him! The ironic part is that he had only slept in our bed once for part of a night out of desperation, but we don't co-sleep. Yet I constantly have this dream. My husband said I even woke him up the other night and asked him where James was. When he told me he's in his room, I was confused and thought he was in our bed. Ha!

* James seems to be loosely falling into a napping/ sleeping pattern. I had thought I might be a mom who scheduled a little more, but that idea was long gone as I struggled through those early weeks.

And a few cute pictures of my sweet boy!

Monday, August 27, 2012

{2 months}

(I need to post this before he turns 3 months - oops!)

James, you are two months old!



By the numbers: 2 months old. Weight: 9 lbs. 12 ozs. Length: 22". 8-9 feedings per day. 2-3 night wakings (you often sleep from 10pm to 3am, but not every night). Size 1 diapers. Size 0-3 month clothes.


You started smiling this month!! Seeing your face light up with a smile in response to ours has brought us so much joy. You have such a wide, joyful smile and your eyes are full of expression! This has been a gift, because this month has also been quite challenging. You are gaining weight but not as much as we would like, and by the end of the month you seemed unhappy while eating. We aren't sure if you have acid reflux, I don't have enough milk, or if it's normal "newborn fussiness," but it has been rough seeing you like this more than we would like (we are working on hopefully fixing whatever it is!):


You are still in need a lot of help to go sleep, but it has been taking a little less time to help you drift off to dream land. Once you do fall asleep you have given us a few almost 6 hour stretches of sleep, but go 4-5 hours pretty regularly which is wonderful for me, of course. You still love to be swaddled (with two blankets, actually, since you can maneuver your strong little arms out of just one!), listen to white noise, and be bounced to sleep. This month we transitioned you out of our room into your own room and crib! We were of course nervous you may not like the transition, but you have slept quite well in your crib. And thankfully I can hear you very easily from our room only a few steps away! :)



Your alertness and activity levels have grown tremendously this month! You continue to amaze me with your alert curiosity at everything around you. You love looking out the windows of the car while driving and staring at everything around the house as we carry over our shoulders. You have gained a love for your "busy bee" and ladybug dangling toys that we hang from your car seat or bouncer, and you swing your arms with more strength and accuracy than I would have expected! You also love to lay on your activity mat and bat at the toys there, too.

You also love to "talk," and in my opinion this is your favorite activity that brings the most smiles to your face. You love it when mom, dad, grandma, or grandpa make eye contact with you and talk, sing, or make sounds, and you make sounds back. In fact, you mimic us. You will also copy us when we stick out our tongue. Your coos are adorable and you are making new sounds all the time.



You had your first shots this month. You surprised me and even the nurse at how much you actually enjoyed eating the oral tylenol and oral vaccine - you slurped it up quite happily. I wonder if you are going to love all the flavors that come with eating solids?! However, you of course did not like the actual shots and let out a scream of pain that I had never heard before and made me shed a few tears with you. Thankfully you fell asleep in my arms within a couple minutes (perhaps the trauma wore you out!) and suffered no side effects afterwards.

We love you, James, and can't tell you enough what a gift you are from God!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Nursing update

This is an email I wrote to a friend today....sorry I don't have time to write a real post, but it has some updates from my last post that I wanted to share. Thank you SO much for all of your encouragement and suggestions!!

***
Thanks so much for your email!! It's amazing how emotional breast feeding can be, but I feel like other moms are the only ones who understand. My husband and his parents try to be supportive but to them it's just not a big deal - who cares if we end up using formula? And, honestly, I don't love breast feeding and I am not opposed to formula in theory, but suddenly being faced with it made me feel like I was failing my boy! So thanks for understanding.

Yes, James had a short frenulum, too, but we did get that clipped when he was about two weeks old. However, before the clipping he needed the n.ipple shield to nurse, and after he got it clipped he got frustrated if I tried not to use it so we kept using it. I read things about the nipple shield potentially reducing milk supply because the nipple isn't as stimulated AND it can reduce milk flow to the baby, but I talked to a lactation consultant who said that is outdated based on old n.ipple shields, but the current ones are fine. So we kept using it. However, in the midst of all of this I tried not using it again and he suddenly seems to prefer to nurse without it! Hooray! And I can't help but think that it does feel like my nipple is being stimulated more and maybe that was part of the problem?! Also, I took your advice and called a lactation consultant on Monday night and she has been an amazing support. All of my friends have used her and she does it as a community service for FREE! She has been coaching me over the phone (so she hasn't observed the latch, but I think/ hope it's fine - but she will come to my house if we need it), and had me start feeding him every three hours around the clock (oy, back to the super early days), pumping after every session (except the middle of the night), and feeding him and extra 1-2 ounces of what I pump for the afternoon/ evening sessions when my supply is the lowest. I feel like it is helping - his hasn't cried while eating much today! She has me call to check in everyday to tell her how the nurising sessions are going which just feels like such a support. She said if he's not 10 lbs. at his doctor's appointment tomorrow she wants me to supplement with formula, but she will coach me to do it in a way that we can wean off of it once she gets my milk supply up. I feel SO much more hopeful and haven't cried for the last two days. More importantly, James has been happier and I hope he is gaining weight!

Thank you for your prayers! I feel like we are on the "up," although I confess with how difficult these last few weeks have been it is difficult to not fear another "down" spell is right around the corner. I am trying to trust the Lord with each day and take it one day at a time.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Survival mode

There have been MANY wonderful moments in the last two weeks. James is growing more and more interactive, and I feel like we have "conversations" when I talk to him and he coos back. He is smiling a lot and making more sounds - so fun! He is still the cutest thing ever and we love him more than we ever thought possible. We continuously thank God for him!!

But there have also been many low moments. A week ago Monday I lost it - cried literally all day as I cared for him and all evening as my husband did to let me get some rest and try to pull it together. I kept reading that fussiness peaked at 6-8 weeks, but I felt like James' fussiness was getting worse (he was 8 weeks). He was crying while eating sometimes, sleeping worse, and had developed this scream that scared me. I called the pediatrician's office that day because I wanted to know if this was normal behavior or if something could be medically wrong.

Based on the fussiness while eating, pulling off the b.reast, wheezing in his chest, and his general unhappiness the doctor thought he might have silent reflux (he doesn't actually spit up much). We started him on medication and I felt like there was a huge difference that very night! Unfortunately I kept crying because I felt so terrible thinking about my baby being in pain for all this time and I kept chalking it up to "normal fussiness." Sigh.

Another struggle is that his weight gain is still not great and he is dropping in the percentile charts. Is he not getting enough food? Is it the reflux or my milk supply? So I've become really stressed about feedings - he still cries and pulls away sometimes which makes me feel even worse. I am taking fenugreek and pumping after every feeding, and we are even weighing him on a food scale before and after every feeding to make sure he is getting what he needs. So far he has been within the normal range during the weigh ins (according to Kelly mom breast fed babies eat 25 ozs on average, but the range is 19-30 oz per day), and he had 22 ounces on our test day. We have been supplementing with the pumped breast milk to at least get him to 25 ounces. I have been stressed as family has pressured me to give him formula (which I am not against doing if necessary, I am just not convinced it is required yet), and even my husband starting talking about it which upset me. Now that we are weighing him my husband and I are on the same page, but it was stressful feeling like it was me vs. the world and second guessing myself at the same time (am I starving my baby?).

Between all of this, we have basically stopped doing anything other than go to church on Sunday (and even there I sit in the cry room with James). I don't even get out of my pajamas until later in the day, we are declining any social outings, and I haven't gone to my weekly mom group. I want to do whatever it takes to help James thrive AND keep my sanity, but I must admit it has been hard for me to realize I can't particate in a lot of things right now. Even little things. People in my mom groups keep emailing the group to coordinate going for a walk and I honestly can't do that. But I am jealous that other moms of babies around the same age can! My days feel the same and the 2-3 hour cycle is rough, and the thought of being anywhere fills me with anxiety that he might start crying and I won't be able to soothe him. Again, it is worth it and on some level I know this is only a short season, but it has been hard not knowing when we will feel like we can re-enter the world. I always thought I would be the mom who would carry her baby everywhere.

I thought things would be easier by now, and I am trying to come to terms with how emotional and difficult it still is. There ARE things that are easier - I am getting much more sleep than those first few weeks most nights - but I didn't realize becoming a mom would be so hard and that my baby might not be as easy and portable as I expected. But as cheesy as it sounds, I have been amazed at how much I love my boy and wouldn't even want that easy portable baby I had imagined - I want him!


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Second guessing

I feel like one of the most challenging aspects of motherhood so far is how much I second guess myself. It is both a blessing and a curse that I like to research and plan, but I often think myself in circles.

Take the weight issue. J had an appointment at 7 weeks on Friday, and was only 1.5 ounces short of my "goal weight" for him - he was 9 pounds 4.5 ounces. At first I was still happy, but then the doctor says he is only in the seventh percentile! The doctor (and myself) thinks he looks healthy, he has a lot of wet diapers, is satisfied after he eats, sleeps a long stretch at night, etc.... I don't think I should worry. But I do.

I read too much. I wonder if I should supplement with formula. Or pump all the time. But deep down I don't see the need. I wake him up to feed after a 6 hour stretch, but then I wonder if I'm creating a bad habit to wake up in the night if he doesn't need it. But if I don't wake him how can I get 8 feedings in per day and let him still have naps between feedings? And what if he sleeps too long so it hurts my milk supply? Blah, blah, blah....

Parenthood sure is humbling! So many areas to trust the Lord about. And so many days that I need to avoid the Internet!

I will end this random post with cute pictures, at least!

Monday, July 23, 2012

What is normal?

As time passes we are learning more about our little guy, what he needs, and how to soothe him. We jokingly refer to him as "zero to hero" because he transitions from happy to screaming with no warning. White noise really helps him go to sleep, and a good swaddle helps him stay asleep - really, he needs all the 5 "S's" at once. But we've always thought of him as relatively easy because he's always crying because he's hungry or tired , and I don't think there was ever a time he wasn't calmed by one of those two things. In my mind it would be a lot harder if he were crying and I couldn't figure out why or how to console.

But then the evil of comparisons crept in (and I am guessing will be a temptation for the next 18+ years). I went to a local mom's group and saw a lot of other babies around J's age. I couldn't help but notice how loud his cries are compared to others. And that I was the only one standing outside with a screaming (tired) baby bouncing him to sleep in my baby k'tan carrier. And that when other babies were tired they fussed a little but fell asleep with a little jostling in their mothers arms.

So is crying and fighting sleep NOT normal? I think it's funny that if I never went to a mom's group I would have just assumed it's normal. I know it doesn't even matter, and as I told my husband about it we both agreed we love J's personality, even if we have to work hard to get him to go to sleep. :)

But some days, when I'm tired or it's particularly hard, I worry about it a little. Today is one of those days. And to add insult to injury, my mom told me my grandma is very concerned that J has colic - keeps asking about it - and is going to call me tonight to tell me to take him to the pediatrician ASAP because they "have medicine for that". And "babies don't cry like that unless they are in pain." Oh, and this is based on her seeing him ONCE on the 4th of July. *sigh* Pray for patience for me when she calls!

Obviously if he has colic he has colic - it's not like it means something negative about him. But I keep reading definitions and articles about it and I just don't see it. I see a boy with a loud, passionate cry who needs help getting to sleep for his naps between feedings.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

First smile!

This week I feel like our boy is growing by leaps and bounds. He is more wide eyed, full of expression, long and lean, and when I look at he just looks older. It makes me proud and sad at the se time.

Last night I was bouncing him to sleep after his middle of the night feeding (rocking to sleep sounds more romantic, but this boy requires bouncing :), and he stared up at me for the first few minutes. I felt like his eyes were full of trust, and I loved that moment at 3:00am. Soon enough we won't have that and he won't be bounced to sleep anymore!

Highlights of late:
*first smile at 5 weeks 3 days!! Such a joyful moment as a mom - its like getting some affirmation after lots of hard work :) Over the next few days his smiles have been increasing, and dad got a smile two days later. He even smiled at a toy yesterday!!

*sleep! Glorious sleep! Over the last week he slept a 5 hour stretch 5 nights, a 4 hour stretch 1 night, and a 3 hour 1 night. The night with the three hour I was up with him for quite awhile with two feelings, but the other nights I started my day quite rested!! I don't feel like the crazy zombie I did a few weeks ago. :) I am holding it loosely knowing that things change day to say - and he might not sleep that well tonight - but it is glorious on the days he does!

*my husband has been giving J a bottle of expressed milk before bed and I think it's been a special time for both of them.

*making it to 6 weeks! One of the baby sleep books I'm reading (Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child), says the peak of fussiness/ crying is generally at 6 weeks. James hasn't been particularly difficult, but he does have his freak outs so it's encouraging to know it might be down hill from here. I actually thought he was mellower this week already at 5 weeks.

Lows:

*my only major low is pumping. I keep hoping it's a skill that I am still learning, but I have not been able to pump as much as I had hoped. J is eating 4 ounces, and I'm lucky if I can get that in 2 pumping sessions, but sometimes it's 3. And that's a lot of work for one bottle! I got a double electric pump that does help me get more than I was with the manual - and I don't hate the process as much - but still. I pump at night while J is eating the bottle (the skipped feeding) and on a good night I get 2 ounces. I then pump another time in the morning. I've tried massaging my br.easts before and during pumping, a hot shower right before, changing the settings, pumping on one side while he's on the other (this was pretty good but SO hard for me to juggle), etc. Its been a week and I am getting more than when I started, but not much.

I do think my supply is adequate for him, since he has a lot if wet diapers, is satisfied, and gaining weight, but I don't have any extra milk. But when I do - even when I am very full - I can't seem to get it out! It is very frustrating and makes me stressed when I know the br.east is full but can't empty it.

Anyway, I tried to capture one of his first smiles - it's a little blurry but still precious! See below :)

Monday, July 9, 2012

{one month}

James, in just one month, you grew so much! Here you are as a brand new baby at the hospital:


And at home:


By the numbers: 1 month old. Weight: 8 lbs. 12 ozs. Length: 20.75" at your 2 week appointment. 8-9 feedings per day. 2-3 night wakings. Size newborn diapers (although we are almost out of those and are about to move you up!). size newborn or 0-3 month clothes (we don't have many newborn clothes so most things are a little big on you).


What a joy it has been to get to know your sweet little personality this month! Your dad took almost your whole first month off of work and we tried to cherish every moment we had with you as we learned to be parents. There has definitely been a learning curve, and I am just now starting to feel like I know your patterns and cries. You love to eat, and do so for quite a long time (usually 45 minutes per nursing session). At first you were not gaining weight, so feeding you was a little stressful and structured because I wanted to make sure you were growing and healthy. At two weeks you still weighed what you did leaving the hospital, but you gained 6 ounces in your third week and 12 ounces in the next 10 days! Now I can feed you when you're hungry and it is much more enjoyable for both of us.



Once you are asleep you are quite a good little sleeper, but your dad and I always have to help you get there - you almost never just fall asleep, even driving in the car! We learned that you love to be swaddled, bounced on an exercise ball, and hear white noise to fall asleep. Actually, the place you love to sleep the very most is on our chests, but understandably we can't do that for every nap. But we will miss that when you are older and want to move around (and mom and dad have to teach you to sleep independently of us). Another place you love to sleep is in my wrap carrier. This is what I wear you in during church, and you have slept through most church services peacefully in there. It reminds me of when you were in my belly and I would sing worship songs at church and think about you hearing that - and now you are hearing it from the outside! Thanks to the carrier we have also gone out to dinner a few times, since initially we tried leaving you asleep in your carseat but you always woke up.



You have quite a hearty cry! I didn't realize this until I was in a room full of other moms and babies around the same age, and I noticed how quiet their cries were. A few moms even commented on how loud you were. You always fuss before falling asleep, and you wake up crying to eat, but generally you don't seem to cry much otherwise. It is amazing to be your mom and learn why you are crying, and you are easy to pacify with sleep or food.


You are a beautiful boy! Your dad and I can just look at you for hours on end. It was so fun having your dad home with me this month because every time you made a cute face we could call each other over to come admire you. We always tell you that you are the cutest baby in the whole world! Of course we are a little biased. :) You have changed so much in your first month already! You actually look bigger as a newborn than you do now because your face was much rounder and you looked chubbier, but now you have thinned out and your face has more definition.



You love to stare at us, and we love to stare back! By the end of the month I think you have even been following our faces with your eyes if we move. You are a very alert baby and always want to take in the world around you, which is why I think you fuss when you need to go to sleep - you would rather be awake looking around. You like to look at dangling toys, and in this last week have even batted at the toys. You have also started to grasp - my hair, the edge of my shirt, even a toy - although you can't hold onto anything yet. You have also gotten better at keeping the pacifier in your mouth. Your legs are strong, and you are holding up your head for a bit when I burp you on my shoulder.

I look forward to seeing how you continue to grow and develop next month!

{4 weeks}

* I only cried ONCE this week!! And it was the sentimental kind if crying as my husband and I reflected on these last 4 weeks. He has been home with me the whole time but is back at work this week. I know I am SO blessed to have had this! He had started saving up PTO when we were adopting because we didn't know when we would bring home a baby... and we just haven't taken a vacation in awhile. Anyway, I know we will always cherish this time together as a family if 3 and I got emotional - much different than the melt downs of previous weeks.

* As I mentioned in my previous post, we successfully celebrated James' first holiday and overnight away from home for 4th of July celebrations with family.

* This week he starting grabbing onto things a little - the edge of my shirt, the edge of the changing pad, etc. he can't grasp a toy or anything, but this was certainly a small milestone.

* I think he is a strong boy! I've always thought so but didn't know if it was true because I had nothing to compare it to, but when he kicks or stretches out his limbs it just feels like he is pushing hard. Today a friend with 3 kids commented in it and I felt like it was confirmation.

* We had our first diaper blow out at grandma's :)

* We have discovered an amazing combination of things to put James to sleep: swaddle, bouncing on an exercise ball, and white noise (I use an app on my phone). Often this will put him asleep really fast, but even if he is worked up and wide awake this usually works. The only problems are: 1. I am not very good at the swaddle, which could be difficult when my husband goes back to work and 2. He seemed harder to put down - we would get him to sleep but he would wake when we set him down or a few minutes afterwards.

PS - A few readers have asked questions that I'll answer here.

1. The swaddle blankets seen in a lot of pictures are the Aden + Anais in "Liam the Brave." They are muslin, lightweight, and large which has been perfect for our summer baby. They are stretchy and he busts out of them as a swaddle, but we have found them to be nice for daytime swaddles when we don't need him to sleep as long. And they are perfect blankets to drape over him in the car seat, block the sun from his eyes, etc.

2. Somebody asked if I took a birth class for pain management (ie Bradley) and I did not - my pain management plan was the epidural. :) Sorry I'm no help there!

3. I have loved posting pictures of James for you all! It's ironic because most people go more private after their baby arrives, but for now posting pictures of our little guy still allows us anonymity. My husband does not want to be identified through the blog (ie his co-worker stumbles across it), so I don't name him or post his picture. Likewise, I don't post my picture because most people who know him know me. However, for now, I don't think people would figure out who he is from the baby pictures. I am considering starting a private blog so I can post pictures even more freely, but we'll see (and I'll let you know if I do!).

Pumping questions

One thing I love about the Internet/ blogging is the large variety of advice and support you get. So I come to you know seeking info on pumping!

I currently have a manual pump - I didn't want to get an expensive one before having J because what if breast feeding didn't work out for some reason, he never took a bottle, etc. Also, I am only going to work 10 hours per week and I can bring my boy with me, so I wasn't sure if I would even need a pump.

I used the pump initially when I was engorged. Recently I started using it to make a bottle. I love the idea of my husband getting to feed him sometimes, and I want to be able to leave him with somebody occasionally. I am SO thankful to have this opportunity to breast feed, but I admit I am looking forward to a break from it sometime.

My impression is that my supply is adequate but not abundant. The first time I pumped was the first night J slept 4 hours straight, and I woke up uncomfortable so I pumped before he even woke up and got 2 ounces pretty quickly and thought pumping would be a piece of cake. (Looking back I wonder if I took all his food?). Since then I read that it's best to pump after baby eats, so I have tried to do that but it took SO much effort to barely get just one more ounce across multiple feedings. It just seemed like I was pretty empty after he was done.

Last night my husband gave him that 3 ounce bottle and he took to it no problem (yay !). However, he was still hungry so I nursed him for another 25 minutes afterwards (he eats for 45 minutes normally) - so I was shocked that he might be a big eater. It then made me feel like I would never be able to pump enough for him.

I am thinking about getting an electric pump - would this help me actually get more milk? Should I pump after he eats? How long does it typically take to pump?

If he takes a bottle for a feeding, I read I need to pump around that time. How do you ever get to go out then?

If he sleeps longer at night, do I have to wake up to pump so I don't hurt my supply?

Everybody I know has the Medela Pump In Style and it gets really good reviews. The only thing that makes me nervous is that some people had mold growing in the tubing and inside because it is an "open system." Thoughts or experiences?

I have read good reviews about the Ameda Purely Yours and it is a "closed system" so it doesn't have the mold issue. However, this one you have to change the settings once you feel the let down, but I actually don't feel the initial let down - sometimes I feel later ones, and I feel it between feelings, but what if I can't tell when I am pumping? Thoughts or experiences?

And then as I think through it all I wonder if pumping is more hassle than its worth as a stay at home mom??

Also, not really pumping related, but will he ever eat faster? If so when did that happen for your baby?

Friday, July 6, 2012

4th of July baby

It was quite exciting to celebrate our first holiday with James! Before I had him I actually got a flag onesie from
Old Navy in anticipation of the big day.

We drove to LA (a 2 hour drive) to spend a night and part of the holiday with each of our families, so it was also our first car trip and overnight away.

The car trip was a bit of a fail. I had intended to leave around 11:00am, but after a night with less sleep than usual I laid down for a quick nap at 8:30am while my husband had the baby. I was shocked to wake up 2 hours later (no hungry or crying baby had woken me)- so much for leaving at 11! Then after a 45-minute feeding, eating a quick lunch, packing baby stuff,another long feeding, showering/ getting ready, packing myself, and doing one final feeding, we didn't leave until 2:45... And we knew we would end up going through LA traffic. Instead of 2 hours, it took us 4.5 with traffic and a 1 hour stop to nurse. Whew.

The next morning was the 4th of July. We had a successful night where James woke up to eat but went back to sleep easily between feelings. However, he was pretty cranky and extra hungry that morning, so of course as my family arrived he was either nursing or fussing. Everybody wanted to hold him but nobody really did. I got really stressed out wanting him to be "happy" for everyone, and when my grandma kept insisting he has colic I almost lost it. He really does not normally fuss much!!

We made it out of there and I felt like it was such a failure! Ironically, we went to my in laws afterwards for a party, and wouldn't you know he was an angel baby there! Everybody kept commenting in it. Ha!

Here is our boy on his first holiday:

Sunday, July 1, 2012

{3 weeks}

* I thought James was starting his growth spurt on Wednesday, but now I think it's actually today. He did eat more frequently on Wednesday and Thursday, but he slept great those nights. However, last night I only slept 2.5 hours because he was so wide awake and often fussy/ wanting to eat. Today he has continued to eat like he's starving. Every time I try to lay down for a nap he wakes up hungry. I am so exhausted I cried after my last failed nap...

* Speaking of sleep, it's probably been a harder adjustment because I had gotten a little spoiled. For the last few nights he was going 4 hour stretches and I had to wake him up to eat! I was reading various books to see if I could start letting him go 5 hours, but then he served me humble pie with last night's all-nighter. :)

* Thanks to the relatively decent sleep we were getting, I started feeling like this whole mom thing might actually be do able. I loosely started doing an eat-activity-sleep routine and it was so exciting to see some predictability on the horizon! Not feeling as hopeful today, but I know today's just a tough day.

* James lost his cord stump on his 17th day of life, which then led to his first "real" bath in an infant tub. He didn't like it too much but hopefully as he gets used to it he will!

* It's funny how many "classic" new parent moments we have had - these things must really be universal! We have been peed on, spit up on, and I have gotten poop on me. This week I left James for the first time for about 1.5 hours while I went to a little get together. I fed him and tried to race out the door right after (the feeding clock is ticking!), but just before I left James spit up AND sneezed at the same time, which resulted in a spit up sprayed husband and a freaked out baby. (I still left a few minutes later, but it was hard to leave them like that)

* I want to introduce a bottle soon (our pedi said 3-6 weeks) but I'm really unsure about pumping and how to make it all work. I need to read more about that, but it feels overwhelming right now.

* Oh, I almost forgot that J got his tongue clipped on Monday. My husband held him during the procedure, and we were shocked that he only screamed for maybe 10 seconds and then immediately fell ASLEEP. I was supposed to nurse him right afterwards, but we actually had a hard time waking him up! (he was only given a topical anesthetic, btw). We are thankful that went smoothly! I do think he latch/ suck has improved, and we have had some successful nursing sessions without the nipple shield. I'm trying to wean him off of it but not stressing about it.

* J has been incredibly alert this week for more/ longer stretches. It is so cute and sweet how he just stares at me, and seems to like it when I talk to him or even sing (despite my terrible singing voice).

A place he does like to sleep - the car!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Movin' on up!

The scale, that is! :) James had his weigh-in this morning, and I admit I have been a little nervous about it all week. Last week's lack of weight gain was such a surprise to me (in fact, I had stood on our scale holding him/not holding him and we had thought he had gained...), that even though he had been eating well and we had weighed him at home, I had little confidence going into the appointment.

Turns out he gained 6 ounces this week and is 8 lbs. even! It's not his birth weight (which was 8 lbs. 4 ozs.), but our doctor just wanted to see significant gain and was happy. He said I can be more relaxed about feeding him - I was striving for every 2 hours during the day and every 3 at night, and can now just feed him when he's hungry. Granted, it will still probably be around the same amount of feedings, but I feel so freed by this! And it's been really hard to wake him for one of the night feedings, so dare I hope for a 4 hour stretch one of these nights soon?!

And see, James is pretty pleased with his weight gain too! This is at the pediatrician's right after the weight check:

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Worth the wait

Truth :)

Thank you Melissa for the onesie!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Growth spurt?

So I'm guessing (hoping?) James has begun his 3 week growth spurt today. Since 6:30 this morning he has been feeding every 1.5 hours with one significant nap that gave us a 3 hour break. That sounds like a growth spurt, right, even if it's a few days before he's 3 weeks?? It's just hard because I feel like I can't say for sure until after the fact when he's back to "normal," because what if this is his new normal?

On the upside, I am hoping that this is helping him pack on some weight before his weigh in on Friday!

And, a cute picture just for fun :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Our birth story

I am still amazed and thankful that I was ever pregnant and that I gave birth. And not only did I give birth, I gave birth to James, the sweetest and cutest son who is more than I could have even dreamed of.

His birth was full of ups and downs, but in the end I felt like we were triumphant - the underdogs who made it against the odds!

I started leaking amniotic fluid at 2:30am on Friday, June 8. I wasn't really sure if I was peeing or if it was my water, so I went back to sleep and knew it would keep happening if it were indeed my water. Looking back, I am so thankful I went to sleep, and amazed that I was able to! I woke up again at 5:30am to some wetness but no leaking, and at 7:30am with more leaking. By then I was pretty sure it was my water and told my husband.

I called the hospital and they said to come in soon, but we didn't need to rush. My husband went in to work for a couple hours to tie up loose ends, and I showered, got ready, and tidied up the house. During this time the little trickles had turned into bigger gushes, and I was convinced it was my water.

We made it to the hospital by 10:30am. A nurse checked to see if it was amniotic fluid, and when she confirmed that it was I started bawling tears of happiness - it was time!! We were going to meet our boy that day or the next!! I started at 2cm and 0% effaced.

My water had been broken for eight hours but I had not started contracting. My hospital does not have the "you must deliver in 24 hours rule," but they don't want to risk infection and let you go too long. Because my body did not go into labor on its own at this point, I essentially had to be induced. This was a little disappointing since I knew it could be a longer labor, and the likelihood of a c-section was a little higher.

They started me on cervadil, and at about 11:30am I felt my first painful contraction - which is the time I count my labor as starting. My husband and I walked all over the hospital and grounds (always taking the stairs :) and hoped my body would kick in and start laboring. We were laughing and pretty relaxed, although the pain of the contractions grew significantly pretty quickly.

They wanted to monitor my contractions and the baby's heart rate, so I was hooked up to wireless monitoring. We were still able to walk around, but we had to stay in the halls of labor and delivery. During all of this time I continued to have frequent largish gushes of fluid, so I kept having to go back to the room to get a new diaper. They mean it when they say you will be surprised how much fluid there is!

At around 4:30, my water completely broke (thankfully I was in the bathroom for that flood!), and the nurse checked to see if the cervadil was still in. It wasn't, and I was 3cm and 50% effaced. It felt like decent progress but nothing to write home about. The doctor said I had been contracting too hard and close together from the medication for this stage of labor, which can put distress on the baby. She decided not to re-insert the cervadil or start pitocin to see if my body would "kick in" on it's own. I was still contracting and in a lot of pain so I was hopeful it was.

At 8:00pm I was in a lot of pain. I asked to be checked because I wanted to wait until I was in active labor (4-5cm) before getting the epidural, and I was still only 3-4cm. I got in the tub hoping it would would ease the pain (I had heard amazing stories about the tub!), but it didn't work for me. After being in there only about 15 minutes I got out and asked for the epidural.

Around the same time the doctor decided to start the pitocin since I had only progressed maybe 1 cm in 4 hours. The anesthesiologist came really quickly and I was so ready! However, the minutes dragged on and the pokes in my back continued until he announced he couldn't find the gap in my spine and he'd "never had this problem in somebody young." He ended up making 3 different attempts, and as I sat there hunched over in pain I started to panic. Almost an hour later he gave up, did some other kind of anesthesia that would "hopefully help," and left me there... still in pain. I did feel some relief but not much.

This was the lowest point of my labor. My husband was mad and thought the the anesthesiologist was incompetent - and he had hated seeing my spinal area poked over and over. I was still in a lot of pain and shocked that I couldn't have an epidural - normally you hear about being flexible in your birth plan because you may end up wanting an epidural, but I've never heard of somebody not being able to get one! I had not prepared myself for natural labor, I didn't want to feel the pain, I was still only 4cm and felt like I had a long way to go, and they had just started the pitocin which I knew would make the labor that much worse. It depressed me just anticipating the pain ahead.

Even worse, though, was the fact that I felt like a c-section was a likely outcome for me - induction, not progressing much, water had been broken for a long time, etc. Normally women have an epidural for a c-section, but I couldn't. We had asked the anastheseologist if I could have a spinal if it came to a c-section, and he said no - it was administered the same way. So now I laid there in pain, imagining having a c-section and being put under general anesthesia - no hearing his first cry or seeing him. I laid in bed and cried. A few family members came in at this point, and I didn't even talk to them. All I could do was lay there. I felt like giving up.

My doctor came in sometime after this and I could tell she felt bad for me. She told the nurse to offer me some IV drugs to help, but I don't want those because I had heard they weren't super effective and got to the baby. I asked my doctor if she thought I would be able to deliver va.ginally, and she said she didn't know but if we had to go with plan B (c-section) we would have a healthy baby, so try not to worry about it. In my low state I felt like she was essentially telling me I'd probably need a c-section, and cried that much more.

Around midnight (4 hours after the failed epidural), another anastheseologist walked in my room. We were shocked because we had been told the other one was the only one in the hospital that night, so we jokingly call the second one the miracle doctor who just appeared out of nowhere. He said he had been called in to replace his colleague, and he had heard I had an unsuccessful epidural. He wanted to see if he could get it, and he got it on the first try!! Oh sweet relief!!

I was then able to sleep for the next 4 hours. They kept increasing/ decreasing/ stopping the pitocin at various points to find the balance of keeping the contractions from being too hard/ close together but also helping me to progress. At 3:00am they checked and I was 8cm, and at 4:00am I was 9cm! At that point I got hopeful I was going to dilate, and started thinking I might be pushing by 7:00am or so. At least I hoped.

But as the nurse kept checking, I stayed at 9cm for a really long time. She said the baby was still quite high, and that he was sunny side up based on how his head felt, which could be preventing him from being able to drop all the way and trigger my body to fully dilate. So from 4:00am-10:00am, I laid on my sides - switching every half hour - to try to get him to turn. But it felt like another point added to the c-section side, because if he didn't drop/ I didn't fully dilate/ it was dangerous to deliver him sunny side up that would be where we would end up.

Thankfully I wasn't in pain all that time. We just kept praying and I tried to rest. I did think I felt him moving, and the nurse confirmed he was on his side at one point. Later she thought he was face down, and I just had a lip of a cervix left! Almost there! We also hoped he would drop down further so I wouldn't be pushing for 3 hours. As the morning progressed, I did feel an intense and uncomfortable urge to push. I kept telling the nurse, but when she checked that lip of cervix was still there. She said I could hit the button to increase the epidural, but I thought I might need that "urge to push" feeling to effectively push, so I held off.

At 10:00am, after what felt like an eternity waiting, it was time to push. He was still pretty high, so I knew we had a ways to go. I know it must be WAY more intense without the epidural, but even with it I was shocked by how uncomfortable/ painful the urges to push were and how hard it was to push! I guess I thought it would be easy with the epidural.

Pretty early during the pushing my doctor came in and felt my contraction and push. She commented to the nurse that my contractions weren't very strong and my push was not very effective. She increased the pitocin to get the contractions stronger, but as she left I yet again felt the c-section looming. But I was determined to improve my push and do the best I could.

I pushed for 2.5 hours. It sounds so cliche, but I couldn't have done it without my husband. It was so hard, but he really stepped up as my coach and encouraged me throughout. I also had an amazing nurse who really encouraged and guided me. Even still, I didn't believe I was going to deliver him until the nurse showed my husband his head. His head was there?! I pushed him down that far?! I was in happy shock!

The last bit is a blur. The pushing urge was so strong I had to push 4-5 times per contraction, even though the nurse had said to do 3 sets. Suddenly the doctor was in the room and they were setting up for delivery, but I was hardly aware of it because all I could focus on was pushing. And then, even more suddenly, he was out and lying on my chest. It was amazing and surreal! He was born at 12:32pm after 25 hours of labor.

My husband and I cried as I held him. We thanked God over and over. I still cry thinking about that sweet time. I cried when I said good-bye to my nurse because she had been such a cheerleader for me, and cried when we left the hospital to go home. Despite a number of lows, the overall experience is one I will cherish always. I am so thankful that I have a birth story to share and that my son is here!


Sunday, June 24, 2012

{two weeks}

From the two week mark, I look back on the first week and am amazed at how much we survived. :) I wrote about some last post, but I missed a few biggies: engorgement (oh my so painful!), sleep deprivation (to be expected but so much harder than imagined), and the postpartum hormones.

Giving birth, my own physical recovery, and caring for a newborn have all been so much more intense than I had imagined. Duh, right? I mean, of course it is challenging!! But I couldn't fathom how much so. Now that I have another week under my belt, I feel like I can be a little more reflective - and thankful - for surviving that first week. :)

In many ways the second week has been much easier. Our family help was gone (and very missed!:), but our church family started bringing us dinners 4x per week (SO appreciated!). We know our James better, can read his cues, and have established a bit of "the norm" - as much as you can when he is still unpredictable, at least. Most days I feel very content feeding him, which is what I feel like I do 24/7 at this point, and love kissing his sweet little face at any opportunity. I love having my husband home and am so thankful for his help and support!

Some highs and lows from the week:

*James is very much awake for a large part of the night. Our "routine" is that my husband stays up with him between the 9:00pm- 2am feeding, and then I am with him 2-7ish when we wake daddy up for morning cuddles (aka get up and help me with the baby). if we get him to sleep on any of those shifts we feel successful, and if we get him to sleep in the pack-n-play in our room - and all 3 of us sleep at the same time - we feel very successful indeed! That seems to happen about 50% of the time, and some nights we are too tired to even try. :)

* We ended up getting a SwaddleDesigns flannel blanket that has worked out perfectly! It is just the right size and he is such a content boy when he's all burrito-like in it. (sorry no link since I'm writing this from my phone, but there is a blue polka dot one on Amazon for around $15!)

* Other than not sleeping at night, James continues to be pretty mellow. If he does get upset, he is soothed by his swaddle, being rocked/ bounced, sucking on a finger, the sound of running water or the hair dryer, and eating, of course. :) The running water one is hilarious because he screams his little head off when we give him a sponge bath, but then we hold his head next to the faucet to rinse his hair and he is instantly calm, alert, and content. :)

* The "baby blues" have been very real for me. This has been the hardest part of my second week, and at around dinner time most nights I have completely lost it and became a sobbing mess. Most of the time there is nothing very tangible to attribute it to, and usually I just tell my husband I feel really bad and don't feel like myself. In these moments I second guess everything I am doing/ not doing as a mom, and it just feels like PMS x10. The "baby blues"care supposed to subside around two weeks postpartum - and I didn't have a melt down today - so hopefully things are looking up. I also notice I am more likely to have a melt down if I am especially tired, so I am trying to be more diligent about napping throughout the day.

* At James' first pediatrician appointment last week at 5 days old, he still weighed the same amount he did when he left the hospital (8lbs. 4ozs. at birth, 7lbs. 11ozs. at discharge). It had only been a few days and my milk had just come in, so the pediatrician wasn't concerned. This week James has been a fabulous eater, exceeding the amount of wet & dirty diapers recommended, looking satisfied after meals with milk dribbling down his cheek, etc. imagine my shock at his two week appointment yesterday when the nurse put him on the scale and he STILL weighed 7lbs. 11ozs!! What?! Thankfully the pediatrician was very reassuring and says he has an intuitive sense that James is doing just fine and will put on weight by next week. I have a bunch of theories about the lack of gain (I was pumped full of fluids for probably 20 hours of my labor and very swollen afterwards - maybe his birth weight was inflated, maybe he will be long and lean like his dad - he did grow a 1/4", etc), and my mom instinct is that James is thriving. However, my main and all consuming job right now is to feed him, and finding out we have been "unsuccessful" was very discouraging and made it hard not up worry. I am now feeding him every 2 hours during the day and 3 at night unless he is hungry earlier (was doing 2-3 before based on hunger cues).

* Physically I am feeling almost back to normal. I still have a pooch for a belly but I don't think I look pregnant anymore. :) My only continued pain has been a sore left hip/ lower back, which seems random but I assume his from stretching ligaments and stuff while pregnant / delivering. Thankful to be feeling well this week!

* By the end of this week James has become SO much more alert! I love his cute little expressions as he just stares at our faces or takes in his surroundings. On his two week birthday I put a black and white dangly toy in front of him and he stared at it as though mesmerized! And I know it probably 'coincidence' like it is when he 'smiles' right now, but he did bat at the toy a number of times.

* James went out to lunch with us this week to celebrate our 7th anniversary. I actually got dressed up and wore make up. It took two outfit changed for James to get out the door, but we made it and the restaurant gave us a secluded table on the patio that was perfect. James started to fuss in his car seat, but I held him and he slept the entire lunch. Such new adventures for all of us!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

{one week}

It is hard to believe my little love is one week old today! In fact, a week ago at this time he was 25 minutes old, laying on my chest, and my husband and I were bawling our eyes out at the sight of our miracle baby. Makes me tear up just thinking about it.

Speaking of tears, my postpartum hormones have been crazy. Thankfully most of my tears have been the sentimental good kind of weepy, but I have had a few over the top meltdowns as well. So much has happened in a week I don't even know where to begin!

*So far his temperament has seemed to be on the easy end of the spectrum. When he gets upset he has been easy to console - he just needed to eat, get a diaper change, be rocked and shushed, or be swaddled. I feel like there has been little actual crying this week.

* That said, the most difficult times for us in the first few days were our nursing sessions. He would clearly be hungry, latch on, but then get really frustrate, scream, and pull away. We would spend a lot of time comforting him and trying to get him to eat, and I was getting really stressed out that we might miss a feeding if he got too upset. Then on Wednesday I got a home visit from a wonderful nurse who was helpful and encouraging in many areas, but especially with breast feeding. James has a short frenulum (the flap of skin under the tongue) which can make latching on and getting enough food challenging, apparently. We knew about this at the hospital, but all the nurses there thought he had a great latch and strong suck, so we figured his frenulum wasn't as issue. But this nurse thought that might be the cause of his frustration, so she gave me a nipple shield to try and it has made a HUGE difference!!! Nursing has been a breeze now that I use it. (By the way, per our pediatrician we are going to go to an ENT and have his frenulum cut to help with nursing and avoid potential speech problems down the road)

* I love my squishy little newborn, and already cried that he is getting older. Yesterday when he was 6 days old I realized we would start saying his age in weeks soon and got all weepy. His cuddles, warmth on my chest , squeaks and grunts, and even his little cry are too precious.

* He is a happy little guy when he is swaddled, and the two times we have gotten a 2-3 hour stretch of sleep were when he stayed swaddled. However, I kid you not, my less than a week old baby kept busting out of his swaddle! The Aiden & Anais blankets seemed too stretchy - he could kick a lot in them and wake himself up. Most of the other blankets we have already seem too small for him, so we can't get them snug and tucked in enough... So he busts out. We have a miracle blanket that I thought would do the trick, but the legs are looser and he just stays awake/ wakes himself up kicking. We ended up going to a fabric store and buying a big piece of flannel, and had some success with it last night. I also have a swaddle me that was given as a gift that we haven't tried. Any suggestions?

* The first night in the hospital, James choked on some amniotic stuff that the nurses said was somewhat common in the first 24 hours. I happened to be awake and saw it, but I didn't know what to do and started screaming at my husband to call the nurses. Thy heard me screaming and came in before we could even call, and they suctioned him and he started breathing again. Seeing him trying to breathe but unable to - and feeling like I don't know what to do - scared me so bad. I followed the nurses out into the hall sobbing as they took him to the nursery for evaluation, trying to see if he was really ok. One of them had to escort me back to our room and help calm me down. In the 3 hours he was in the nursery that night, my husband got in the twin hospital bed with me so I could be held. I still cry about it when I tell anybody, and am teary eyed as I write it here. Needless to say, the nights have been really scary for me and I can't sleep because I feel like I need to watch him. One night I had the melt down of the century over how scary the nights are, and my husband and mother in law took turns staying with him in the living room and brought him to me to eat so I could get some sleep. That did help - I don't think I had slept but a few hours in those first 4 days, and every successful night calms me a little more.

* My little love makes the absolute cutesy faces! I could just look at him all day.

* Life is SO different now. I feel incredible joy at this new season of life that we have entered in to, but the amount of change and learning that is happening is also overwhelming at times!

* I love feeling like me confidence as a mom is growing. From how I hold him, to relaxing during nursing sessions, to being able to calm him... I see myself growing. I keep telling him I learning and he's learning, so we will have to be patient with each other. :) by the way, I really feel like he knows my voice, and just hearing me talk is soothing to him!

* He loves to suck (haha), and I think we are going to end up giving him a pacifier at the two week mark (our pediatrician said to wait 2-3 weeks). I was not very opinionated on the subject, but after seeing how calm he is when we give him a finger to suck on... I just think he will be so happy, as will mom and dad. :)

* Family help has been HUGE! I know we would have done it, but I can't imagine how we would have made it trough this week without family staying with us cooking, doing laundry, an being extra pairs of loving hands with the baby.

Those are some highlights of our week that I can think of... James just finished nursing and I'm going to try to get a couple hours sleep!



Saturday, June 9, 2012

Introducing...

James Stephen
Born 06.09.12 at 12:32pm
8 lbs. 4 ozs. and 20.5" long

All three of us are doing well but tired after a 25 hour labor. So thankful to God for our beautiful son and a successful delivery! More details to come, but I will say we made it without a C-section which I am thankful for.

Friday, June 8, 2012

My water broke!!!

Eek! It's time! It's time!

Last night at 2:30 I woke up and felt a small leak of fluids. I definitely wondered if it was my water breaking because it seemed unlikely that I would pee myself laying down and sleeping. However, when I went to the bathroom nothing else happened and I did have to pee, so I started doubting. Our birth class instructor had said if you're water is leaking it will keep happening, so I went back to bed to wait and see.

On the way back to bed I did have another tiny leak of fluid, so I changed my underwear and got in bed. I went back to sleep expecting contractions to start or more water to leak but nothing happened. I awoke again at 5:30 to pee, and after peeing felt more wetness. Was that still pee?? It was such a small amount - more like dampness and a small wet spot on my underwear - that I just wasn't sure.

I went back to sleep and woke at 7:30am, and again felt wetness when I went to the bathroom. I called labor and delivery and described what was happening, and they said to come in and get it checked, but as long as I felt the baby move I didn't need to rush. My husband went into work to wrap a couple things up, I showered,tidied up the house, and ate some cereal. During that time I experienced two larger gushes of fluid so I became fairly certain it was indeed my water!

We got to the hospital around 10:30am and they confirmed my water did break! We are having this baby!! I started dilated at a 2 with the cervix low and soft, but not effaced (still thick) Unfortunately I had not started contracting since my water broke, so I am essentially being induced to at least get things going hopefully. They inserted cervadil at 11:30am, and I did start having mild contractions pretty soon afterwards. Praying my body kicks in to gear and gets going! My hospital does not have a time limit per se on when the baby needs to be born after the water breaks, so at least we don't have that time pressure.

Soooo excited and thankful I can hardly stand it!!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Dream due dates and waiting

Today is the first of my "dream due dates" - 06.06.12....it's like 6+6=12. :) Since the day is half over and I feel zero labor symptoms, I don't think he's going to be born today (which is perfectly fine). Other dates I like are 06.09.12 (counting by 3's) and 06.12.12. I generally like the even dates before the 12th, too. I would definitely be happy if he came any day, but it's been fun to dream.

It's been a tougher week emotionally. Thanks for understanding that these last weeks of pregnancy are psychologically tough. I don't know why this last bit of waiting has made me feel crazy! To add the hormones and struggle with patience, my husband has also been working a lot. He has been part of a huge six month project that, of course, is ending this month and I have been nervous about the timing all along. He is planning to take 3 weeks off once the baby comes (which I am so thankful for!) and his work knows this, but he wants to plow through a ton of work before hand. We're trying to find balance and compromise, but it has made me extra emotional. I want the baby to come not only because I am excited to meet him, but also so I can have my husband back! It's just difficult timing. :(

But I rest in the knowledge that the Lord knew and planned the this amazing pregnancy, the timing of my husband's work project, and has already determined the date of our son's birth.

A prayer for our son today:
For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord,
    my confidence since my youth.
From birth I have relied on you;
    you brought me forth from my mother’s womb.
    I will ever praise you.
I have become a sign to many;
    you are my strong refuge. 
Psalm 71:5-7


Monday, June 4, 2012

38 week OB appointment

I just got home from my OB appointment and am thankful to report another uneventful one. (I didn't even write about the 37 week one because it was only a few days ago, I didn't see the doctor, and there was nothing to even say about it). I would rather have uneventful than discover anything concerning, so I am trying to be thankful and patient! I'm measuring at 36 weeks now that he's dropped (I was always exactly on track until he did), and his heart rate was in the normal range. I did get a brief ultrasound, but he wasn't facing out and my doctor wouldn't guess his size, so even that was uneventful.

My OB doesn't do cervical checks - at least not yet. This is probably a good thing because I really do think it would make me crazy thinking I was either going to go into labor soon or discouraged that I wouldn't....even though from what I have read the state of your cervix does not indicate much in terms of when labor will actually happen. That said, I felt a little sad leaving the appointment today because I got the sense that my doctor doesn't think it will happen any time soon, and she made a point to tell me to schedule my next two appointments (which I actually already had scheduled). I think deep down I was hoping for some info at my appointment today pointing to labor, although I don't even know what that would be. But instead I left feeling like I should get comfortable for the long haul here. I feel silly even writing this because I am not even that close to my due date, there's no way to know when labor will start, etc, etc, etc... but I'm just a little blue about it right now.

Yesterday morning I woke up at about 5:30am experiencing cramping in my lower abdomen. I have had a teensy bit of mild cramping off and on in general (very minor - like a 2 on the pain scale, and some days none at all), but this was enough to wake me up. I laid there wondering...could this be the start of labor?? I stayed awake and did feel some strong tightening of my belly come and go in waves, but it was not consistent and there was no more pain. So I went back to sleep, and nothing else happened. I guess these are just the experiences of my body getting ready for labor, but my body sure does try to trick me! :)

A few of you have asked if I will post when I do go into labor, and I will! Thankfully I can post from my phone so I can at least give you a quick head's up that we're at the hospital, and also announce his arrival.

Friday, June 1, 2012

{38 weeks}

38 weeks

Size of baby: leek (approx. 19.75" and 6.8 lbs.)

Total Weight Gain: +35 lbs
Continuing symptoms: slight nose congestion, back ache if I stand too long, acid reflux (less this week!), aches, pains, and discomforts (especially while sleeping), infrequent but increasing Braxton hicks (experiencing more and sometimes I feel a little crampy with them!), charlie horse leg cramps at night, really tired, frequent urination, stretch marks, snoring, skin tags, hot
New symptoms this week: Numbness in my left hand at times (particularly my pinky)
Maternity Clothes: Still feel the most comfortable in dresses, but I did try to add some variety into my wardrobe and managed to squeeze into my maternity jeans...

Sleep: I haven't experienced any insomnia this week (yay!) and the acid reflux has decreased. However, I am getting up 2-3 times a night to go to the bathroom and am so stiff and sore. I feel like it takes me five minutes to roll over! And my sleep in general feels more restless. But I can't complain - I'm sleeping decent overall.
What I'm Eating: My appetite feels relatively normal.
Cravings: Yeah, still ice cream :)
Movement: I think he is big enough that I really can tell what body parts are where most of the time now. He pushes his bottom out of one side and stretches his legs out on the other and it feels so strong! His legs also kick upwards sometimes, too. He does flip from side to side, although tends to prefer keeping has back/ bottom on my right side more often.


Labor Signs:
He has dropped and is head down (yay!). I really think he dropped at 36 weeks and 2 days because his movements felt lower that day. I am also feeling some pressure, although I certainly don't feel like there is a bowling ball between my legs. I just feel heaviness. Experiencing more Braxton Hicks and even occasional crampiness. It's funny that this is the one time in life when cramps are good and exciting. :)


Special pregnancy moments: It's JUNE!! The month we have been waiting for!! I really was hoping to have a June baby, and since I can't go more than two weeks past my due date he will be born in June. It is currently the month of my baby's birth - eek! :)

Loving this "any day now" territory and all its hopeful anticipation! However, as my husband put it, we now feel like we're in a bit of a time warp now and he will never come. We've been waiting a LONG time for him (9 months or 4 years depending on how you count!), but these last few weeks look endless. We are praying we don't get impatient!

There were/ are quite a few pregnant women in my church expecting at the end of May through mid-June. As a friend put it, it feels like we were all lined up waiting for our turn to dive off of a diving board, and now suddenly I am nearing the front! So far, ALL of them have had their babies before their due date which is surprising to me. Part of me wonders if that leaves me to be the one to help the statistical odds and and go PAST my due date - oy! I know it doesn't exactly work like that, but seriously stop having your babies early! :) I think there is only one left who was ahead of me due June 9, and one due a couple days after me...

Counting down: 2 weeks until my due date, and 4 weeks (at most) until this boy is in my arms!