Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Atlanta Trip Memories

We arrived in Atlanta to visit our family just a mere three days ago, but we've already had enough fun to make a ton of unforgettable memories. The kids are livin' it up at Omi's house. They've baked, swam, built forts, swung on swings, skinned up toes, banged up chins, eaten popsicles and swam naked. Even the baby is having fun! He has been held by numerous sets of arms and has slept in Omi and Opa's heirloom cradle.

I couldn't help but to share a few pictures mid-trip. Enjoy :-)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Gaining, gaining, gaining

My little N is finally on a roll.

He is gaining weight like he is supposed to.

Breastfeeding is going well.

I couldn't be any happier!

Yesterday N turned a month old. Has it really been a full month? It all seems like a bit of a blur. We've been to the ER twice (once for me and once for the little guy) and to the hospital several times for weight checks.

With this being my third baby, I thought I'd have this labor, delivery, breastfeeding, and diaper changing thing all down pat.

But it seems that I still have things to learn.

Our biggest challenge has definitely been N's eating and gaining weight. He was born at 8lbs 2 oz. At first he only lost a couple ounces, but by his 2 week check up, he was still 6 oz under his birthweight. I was devastated. I didn't want to supplement with formula, but I knew that is what the pediatrician would tell me I needed to do. Fortunately, she gave me a plan to make him eat more. Basically, I needed to feed him every 2 hours during the day and at least every 4 hours at night. I was going to have to wake him even more than I already was for more feedings.

I did this plan as best as possible and then went in for a recheck the following week. I was just sure he would have gained weight.

But...he hadn't gained a single ounce!!!

This time I broke down in tears in the pediatricians office. I KNEW she'd make me supplement. I felt like a horrible mommy. I felt so sad that my little 8lb 2oz baby was still well under 8lbs. at 3 weeks old. He was still so tiny and newborn looking.

I pretty much begged the doctor to let me go upstairs and meet with the lactation consultant before making me use formula.

Let me back up. I am not against formula. Both my previous babies were mostly formula fed. It was (still is) just my very strong desire to breastfeed this baby long term. I knew I needed to establish my milk supply. I knew I needed to continue to improve latching and bottle feeding just wasn't going to help. Plus, formula is expensive. I didn't want to go down that road AT ALL.

Okay, back on track. I guess my tears worked because the doctor agreed to let me see the lactation consultant. She actually told me I didn't even need a follow up appointment the following week. She left me in the lactation consultant's hands...I called her before I left the doctor's office and left a rather frantic message.

By the time I got home, the lactation consultant returned my call. Of course I burst into tears when telling her that my now 3-week-old was still so far under his birth weight. She had me turn right back around and come see her.

I love lactation consultants.

She put me on a very strict plan of feeding, pumping, and supplementing with the pumped milk. She taught me how to use a syringe and a tube that ran along my body and down to the breast and right into N's mouth so I could avoid bottle feeding. She also told me it seemed that N had a "poor suck." He just wasn't an effective sucker. I could only pray that he would eventually learn how to suck better. I came home armed with a hospital grade breast pump (rented for FREE - Thank you Tricare!!) and a renewed sense of hope.

After several days of pumping, feeding, and recording every last thing I did, I returned for a weight check. I was so nervous. What if he hadn't gained weight? What if none of this was working?

8lbs 2oz! Yay! He had gained 6oz in 4 days!

I was so incredibly happy. But I still thought it was a fluke. The lactation consultant instructed me to come back again in 3 more days.

8lbs 6oz!! I could officially stop pumping and supplementing...

And just to make sure everything was still going well, I returned today (4 days later).

8lbs 13oz!!! Praise the Lord!

I finally feel that breastfeeding is going well. My little guy is latching well. He is draining my breasts when he eats. He is more alert. He is more content. He is peeing and pooping regularly. Most importantly, he is gaining weight. I can't even express how relieved I am about this whole issue.

I wanted to breastfeed so badly. I am absolutely thrilled that it seems like I am actually going to be successful!

I even returned the breast pump today :-)
(Don't worry, I have one of my own. Its just not as amazing as the hospital grade one, haha)

Check out how big my precious baby is getting...okay maybe "big" exactly the best word. He's still pretty little!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Family Recap

There has been too much going on in my house over the last couple weeks to give a full recap, so I'll be brief.

The baby wasn't gaining weight. In fact, by the time he was 3 weeks old, he was still 6 oz under his birthweight. This is not a good thing...and the pediatrician wasn't pleased.

I had to pump and supplement and wake him for just about every feeding to begin to fatten him up a bit. Thankfully, he did begin to gain weight and now at 4 weeks old, he is slightly over 8lbs once again. I anticipate that he will get chubby quickly now that breastfeeding seems to be going much better :-)

My mom has finally come in town to help us. I couldn't have been more excited to see her at the airport!!!

We've done a lot of playing out in the back yard since the weather has been so nice.
My husband went back to work last week. On my first day alone with the kids, I got a flat tire. Seriously, a flat tire. He had to come home early to get it fixed.

Then yesterday, my van wouldn't start. We had to have it towed out of my driveway this morning. Seriously.

Since we were stuck at home today, we wandered down to the playground to let the kids play. Then, we came home and let the kids jump in the sprinkler. They had a blast!

It wore them out :-)

And then we gave the baby a bath. Fortunately, I had a lot of helpers.

Oh, and C has been playing soccer three days a week. Which is A LOT of soccer for a 5 year old!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Few Firsts

Being that N is only 12 days old as I write this, most things that he experiences are still his "firsts." I thought I'd share a few of the big ones with you :-)

He has had his first bath...a sponge bath.
He has worn his first cloth diaper...a prefold with a newborn cover.
He has gone on his first walk to the playground in the new stroller.
He has been toted around in our new baby carrier for the first time.
This was technically the second time he was in the carrier, but I liked this picture more since I actually had on makeup and real clothes!
Yes, this is why babywearing is awesome...so snuggly!
He has spent his first Mother's Day with our family.
He has even slept through the night for the first time - he slept for a full 7 hours!! I'm not sure if its okay for him to be doing this...we'll find out Tuesday at his 2-week doctor's appointment!

I know this list of "firsts" will only continue to grow longer and longer as the days and weeks pass. I have already had a bit of a cry because as all these "firsts" pass for N, I am experiencing many "lasts." Being that N is pretty definitely our last baby, each thing he experiences for the first time and each milestone he reaches will be the "last first time" for me as a mom. That may seem dumb to many of you, but really, I am having a hard time with it.

I am adamant to make breastfeeding work long term because this is the last shot I'll have at it.

I am already carrying N around WAY more than I carried the other two. I even tried to start typing this entry with him swaddled and in my left arm...it just didn't work, so he is now snoozing in the bouncy seat.

You get the idea though...he has "firsts" and I have "lasts."

Motherhood is hard. Watching my kids get older is even harder. I don't want these children to grow up. Can't I just freeze time for a little while?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Birth Story

N's birth story is a bit of a whirlwind which is why I really want to get it written down and recorded. I don't want to forget it...not that I think I ever could or would, but you know, just in case :-)

I had a midwifery appointment last Tuesday, April 26th at 10:40am. I dropped C off at school and then dropped D off at a friend's house to play while I headed to the appointment. At this point I was already 39 weeks and 3 days pregnant. My husband's family was coming in town to help us with the baby in 3 days. I was extremely uncomfortable doing my normal daily activities. Overall, I was ready to get the baby out.

At my appointment, I was already 4cm dilated and 75% effaced. I had the midwife "strip my membranes." She assured me it wouldn't guarantee that I went into labor within the next 48 hours, but because my cervix was so "favorable," it was likely that it would happen.

When I stood up and hopped off the table, I felt a tiny gush of fluid. She assured me it was probably just the gel she used during the exam. She said the membrane stripping wouldn't cause my water to break...it would cause contractions if anything at all.

As I walked downstairs and out the hospital door (the midwifery office is in the hospital), I began to have a contraction. I had been having contractions for the past 2 days, but they weren't extremely painful and they certainly were not regular. This particular contraction hurt more than any other one had hurt.

As I ran to pick up D, spun through the McDonalds drive thru, and then headed home (around 11:40am), I had a handful more contractions. When I got home and began to eat, I quickly texted my husband to let him know I was having contractions. I began to time them...10 minutes apart.

Though 10 minutes apart isn't very frequent, I knew I was already 4 cm and 75% effaced. I called Labor and Delivery and asked them if I should come in. They said I probably should come in and get monitored - especially since I had just had my membranes stripped. I texted my husband and told him he needed to come home. As I was doing all of this, the contractions were seeming to get more painful. I started to get a bit concerned. I called our pastor's wife (who would be watching our kids while we were in the hospital) and told her that today was looking like it may be the day. She said she would feed her kids lunch and be over asap.

I quickly threw D in the car and headed back on-post to pick up C from Pre-K - an hour before school was out. She resisted leaving, but her teachers quickly helped me usher her out the door when I told them I was having contractions. It was now 12:30ish.

When we got home, I tried to get D down for a nap. I quickly gathered together some toiletry items for myself and made the beds before our sitter came over. I wiped down the kitchen table and straightened up. D was refusing to nap, so I was fighting with him to try and make him lay down.

I texted B and asked him if he was almost home. He was in the neighborhood. I hung up the phone and....GUSH. My water broke.

Today was now officially THE day!

B walked in the door. I told him what had happened. He quickly changed out of his ACUs (Army uniform) as I changed my clothes from my water breaking.

I gave up on D taking a nap. I let him get up.

Our pastor's wife arrived. I ran through the house with her and gave instructions for how to care for the kids and the dog while we were gone.

We finally left the house around 1:45 to head to the hospital. When we arrived, I was examined by the midwife where it was confirmed that my water had indeed broken and I was now 5cm dilated and 90% effaced.

I got into the labor/delivery/recovery room at 2:30pm. I knew I didn't want an epidural right away since I REALLY wanted to be able to move around and get out of bed. As the nurse took all my medical history and the anesthesiologist started my IV, the contractions got more frequent and gradually more painful. I complained about having an IV because I didn't want any fluids until the one bag I got immediately before I received an epidural. The nurse said she wanted to give me the one bag of fluids now so that I could have the epidural as soon as I wanted it. She said things could move fast, and she wanted to fluids to already be in me.

They then unhooked me from the IV and all the monitors to let me get up and walk around. I stood up and had a contraction. I was paralyzed in pain. I then walked to the bathroom to use it one more time. I had another contraction and was once again paralyzed in pain. I walked back to the bed. Had a contraction. Paralyzed in pain once more....I am not sure why I am smiling in this picture.
I hopped back in the bed and got re-hooked up. I didn't want the epidural yet, but the contractions were now 3 minutes apart and they were so bad that I began to cry each time I had one. It was at this point that I decided I needed the epidural now - before they got any worse and I wouldn't be able to sit still for the anesthesiologist to administer the medicine. It was now shortly after 3pm.

After I received the epidural, I felt a million times better. I was able to rest a bit. My husband was able to eat a quick dinner. I got my cervix checked - 7cm!

Soon, however, I felt the contractions once again. They were getting bad quickly. The anesthesiologist came back in and re-administered more medication. I then immediately began feeling the pressure to push. The midwife came in and check me...I was complete!

Ready to push at 5:25pm :-)

This is the turning point in my labor. Up until now, everything was rather under control and fairly easy. Pushing just didn't go as well.

I pushed for about 30-40 minutes and just didn't seem to be making very fast progress. I was tiring out very quickly. My pushes were weak. I knew I wasn't pushing well. I asked the midwife if I could take a break and let my body contract and push the baby down on its own. She thought it was a great idea and she stepped out of the room. I "rested" for about 30 minutes and let the baby work his way down. I felt pressure with each contraction but I didn't give any extra pushing strength.

The epidural started to wear off again. I was told I had a button I could push every 8 minutes for extra medicine. I pushed it a couple times in the 30 minutes. By the time I was ready to push again, the contractions were once again getting pretty painful.

I started to push again around 6:35ish. The baby had moved down quite a but but still had a ways to go. It was looking like he had a big head. It also turned out that I wasn't going to be delivered by my midwife, but rather by a young female Family Practice resident making rounds in labor and delivery. My midwife was present, of course, as was my nurse and a nurse for the baby.

Turns out that I wasn't really any more rested. I still didn't feel like I was pushing well. I no longer was bothered by feeling the contractions, but quickly became extremely bothered by the pain down in my bottom. The baby's head was pretty much stuck at the "crowning point" of labor. He was so far out that you could see lots of his nearly bald head. They even got me a mirror so I could see. They also encouraged me to feel his head. Both were awesome experiences!

Too bad I was now in TERRIBLE pain. I couldn't put my legs down between contractions and pushing spurts. His head was literally "in the way." I felt no relief when I was pushing, I felt no relief in between pushing.

I begged for more medicine. Anything. A local anesthetic. I pushed the epidural button again. I was desperate. I was crying...and begging for some sort of help.

They kept telling me he had a big head! I kept thinking, "Hello! I can feel that!! I can't push him out!"

I am pretty sure he sat there at that point for probably 20-25 minutes before I finally got "mad enough" to push through the unbearable pain and get him out. Feeling his body slip free of mine was the best feeling I could have ever felt at that moment.

There was a slight moment of concern when his shoulders got a bit stuck and my midwife jumped up and she and the nurse hoisted my legs back further. It was then that the baby's nurse told me she'd be taking him to the warmer rather that putting him on my chest.

Then he let out a wail! The time was now 7:39pm.

On my chest he went....
Turns out the cord was wrapped tightly around his neck and his color wasn't good which is why the nurse was going to have to take him, but as soon as he let out a cry, he perked right up. His color improved and on my chest he went.

And on my chest he stayed - for about 45 minutes! It was so special. He felt incredible.
He was eventually taken to the warmer to be weighed and measured. 8lbs 2 oz and yes, his head measured pretty big.

I was able to nurse him for the first time within an hour of delivery.

B and I were in awe that our new son was finally here! Our family was now complete. Thank you, Lord for this blessing. A blessing better than we could have ever imagined.
Welcome to the world, little Nathan Jeremiah...

The Baby is Here!

Its been a little over a week since I've blogged, and if you can put two and two together, you probably guessed that its because our little baby has arrived!

He was born on April 26 at 7:39pm (last Tuesday) after a relatively quick and pretty intense labor and delivery. I will be writing his "Birth Story" within a few days both for you to read and for me to record and remember it.

For now, I wanted to share a few pictures of my beautiful 8lb 2oz, 20 inch baby Nathan...