Mommy Milestones #2

Ahh, last week flew by. Baby boy has rounded the 2-week bend. And even if I had still been pregnant last week, he’d be here by now since Friday was our 42nd week. According to Dr. Karp (of The Happiest Baby on the Block fame), only ten more weeks until Tucker is a proper, communicating infant. Hooray!

Most of the week has been good. Tucker had his second well-baby visit and logged a hefty weight and height increase.

But I would be totally lying if I said that it wasn’t a tough week. For all of us. Well, Jason and I joke that it can’t be too tough for the baby since his needs are being met and he’s still alive. But for Jason and me, it’s been hard. Lots of tears, and not just the fake baby tears.

If I haven’t said it here, I have said it to Jason: I’ve cried more in the last two weeks than I have in my entire life. I’m over the crying, but my postpartum, fragile emotions don’t seem to be.

I cry because I am tired. I cry because I feel guilty about needing a c-section. I cry because the baby seems to be suffering from a case of nipple confusion as a result of his stay in the NICU. This then leads me to cry about insufficient and inefficient milk production. I cry a lot. I hate it. My goal for the coming week is to cry less.

For the last two or so years, I’ve been reading this woman’s blog. Around the time I found out that we were expecting Tucker, she announced that she too was expecting. Her commitment to providing well thought-out information for her readers has no doubt helped me on several occasions.

Of particular note, she recommended an app called Baby Connect. This easy-to-use app helps me keep track of how long the baby sleeps, how many wet/poopy/both diapers he’s having, how often he nurses (and on which side), and it allows me to record his stats at doctor visits. I can even log baby’s medications (he’s only taking a vitamin D supplement since it’s not present in breast milk), and moods (although I haven’t done this). It is a paid app, but well-worth the investment.

Another victory this week: FaceTime can moonlight as a baby monitor. I attempted this last night while Tucker was sleeping in the bedroom and Jason and I wanted to enjoy some educational programs (History Channel…Ancient Aliens…fun to mock). It has been getting colder in the evenings and over night here, and being that our boiler has now decided to stop functioning all together… we employed our wood burning stove for the first time since about February. We use a blower attachment on the stove to push the warm air down the hallway to the bedrooms. It is loud. Obnoxiously loud. Since we did want to be able to watch TV and let Tucker sleep in his bassinet at the same time, I improvised.

I’ve never really used FaceTime except once to check it out. But it worked amazingly. Since we have both an iPad and an iPhone, I set up the iPad near the baby, dialed the phone, and ta-da: instant baby monitor. I muted the sound on my end so nothing would pick up on the baby’s end, then we went about our business and kept an ear open for Tucker squeaks, squawks, and whales. Totally worked and has staved off our purchasing an expensive baby monitor for the time being.

**Question: How did you stay organized during those first few weeks with baby? Who helped you out?**

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True Love and Big-Boy Pampers

On True Love:

I don’t talk enough about how amazing my husband is. He likes to remind me how I rescued him when I moved half-way around the world to be with him in Korea, but I never have quite verbalized the depth of my love for him.

Two weeks ago, I was in labor and preparing to welcome our first child into the world. What I wasn’t prepared for (not because I didn’t think it possible or Jason capable) was just how amazing Jason is. I say “is” because he’s still amazing, has been amazing, so it’s a constant.

While having a contraction half way out of the tub I had been in I began to vomit and Jason was there holding my hair. Previous to this, I had vomited during pregnancy and he did the same thing. I had really only associated this act with something my mother did. Even as an adult, if she heard me throwing up, she was there holding my hair and rubbing my back.

So when I think about love, I think about the people who stay with you, at your worst; when things are falling out of you that you don’t even want to mention.

Since having the baby, I’ve been on an emotional roller-coaster. This is actually a good thing because it’s allowed me to really evaluate my relationship with my husband in a new way; for me.

I still don’t have words to describe the depth of my love for this man. But, when your husband can hold your hair when you’re puking, watch you try to push an 8 pound baby out of you, not pass out when he glimpses your insides, and then sings cute songs and tells “modernized” versions of fairy tales to your newborn so you can get two more hours of sleep, you know it’s true love. And while I can’t put words to it, I know “my cup runneth over” every time I think of him.

On Big-Boy Pampers:

Happy 2-week birthday to our baby boy Tucker!

He’s closing in on 9 pounds, if he’s not reached that milestone already. On Tuesday he was just three ounces shy of the big nine-point-oh.

We had been noticing that his newborn diapers were fitting just a little more snuggly than before, so we tried putting him in the next size up. The number 1 Pampers are for 8-12 pound babies, while the newborn is supposed to fit babies up to 10 pounds.

Before having Tucker, we’d bought a big pack of the number 1 size, figuring that he’d probably be at least 8 pounds. The last weight estimate came in July so we really had no idea what to expect.

Tucker pretty much swims in these number 1 diapers. But the legs are snug, so at least we’re relatively safe from blowouts. Thankfully.

I’m still happy my little baby is a little baby though. And although I anxiously await the time when he’ll be just a little more self-sufficient (read: he doesn’t flail about uncontrollably is what I really look forward to), and better able to sleep soundly though the nights, I feel this time now is precious and I do value it immensely. Another example of true love for you.

Tuckerday

Today, being a Tuesday, is randomly Tuckerday.

Tucker digs crustaceans

It was an eventful day in the W– household:

Tucker had his second well-baby visit with his pediatrician, Dr. O. In the week since his last visit, little man has packed on a whopping twelve ounces! He has also gained just over an inch in length. The good news for us: if Tucker so chooses to sleep more than three hours–say 4 or even 5–Doc says he’s OK’d to do so. Previously, we’d been waking him up to eat at the three-hour mark. Since he’s gaining weight just fine, we don’t need to enforce that 3-hour time limit. This will help in the sleep department for Mom and Dad as well!

After the doctor, we all trekked across the river to make a quick visit to our insurance broker. Jason and I needed to sign paperwork to ensure Tucker had coverage; not only for the first 31 days (on my plan), but for every day there after (on Jason’s plan). We also got the paper work to put me back onto Jason’s plan at the end of the year so I could remain with my current OB for the postpartum visits.

From there, we made our way back to our side of town; beyond it actually. We had to drive over to Rio Rancho to get Tucker’s 3rd round of blood screening lab work done. Poor little guy got a prick in his heel and, all things considered, was a real champ about it. He only cried because the lab tech needed to hold and squeeze his foot. When she finished, he was fine again. The poke itself didn’t phase him in the least.

And the last stop on our Tuckerday outing was a visit to our neighborhood CVS to pick up a few baby essentials: Bigger diapers since our boy is growing like a weed, more pacifiers so we have … more, and a few other things that we weren’t able to grab because Tucker decided he was done before we were. Jason stayed in the store and picked up a few additional things for us, but the other baby items weren’t bought since CVS didn’t seem to have them anyway. Tucker and I retreated to the car for some cuddling time while we waited for Jason to finish and take us home.

After dinner, Tucker went down for a nap, most of which I was able to join him for (on account of us not getting much sleep last night). He’s still sleepin’ away, nearly 3.5 hours later.

**Question: What did you do today?**

Mommy Milestones #1

I wanted to change up a few things with the blog to reflect the changes in our lives. With that, I am going to be posting a weekly update on the milestones I achieve as a new mom. Here, I’ll talk about the trials and victories of being a new mom.

I don’t think I want to make this a full-tim parenting blog. I don’t think that really fits with how I’ve always envisioned this blog. It’s a living blog, so I do intend to maintain that theme.

As you, my readers, know, my little boy was born on the 12th. In this first week of his life, I can honestly say that it’s been nothing and everything like all our advice-givers have told us.

Trials:

I had a Cesarian Section after 12 hours of labor. In addition to my having major surgery, Tucker had to be whisked away to the NICU. The plan I had, the wish I had, of feeding him right from delivery and holding him skin-to-skin was not going to happen. This was and still is upsetting (It’s been over a week and I still get misty!)

I’ve never before had major surgery. The only time I’ve ever been under anesthesia was about 15 or so years ago when I had my wisdom teeth pulled out in the middle of 9th grade and that was just gas, not heavy drugs.

I remember laying there, and most people who know will say that I’m pretty stoic, and not the most emotional person. But as I was laying there, feeling the tugs and pulls of the doctors working on us to get Tucker out, I couldn’t help but feel waves of guilt for not doing more to get my baby out in a quicker and more healthful way. Then, when he was out, and I could hear him, I couldn’t open my eyes because I knew I would burst into tears and could be detrimental to the process of closing me up. I could still feel the tears stream out of the corners of my eyes, and the telltale quiver of my bottom lip.

Moments later, the neonatal pediatrician was at my side (or head, rather) letting me know that she was going to be taking Tucker to the NICU for observation because he was having a little difficulty breathing as a result of the meconium he had ingested before birth. Before they took my baby to the NICU, I got to see him for the first time. I don’t have words for that moment. I’m sure you can imagine the flood of emotions.

Jason first went to the table where they were cleaning the baby in the OR to cut his umbilical cord. Unfortunately for Jason, he took a peek at me on his way. He tells me he’s very surprised he didn’t collapse then and there. It’s not every day that you see your wife on an operating table with a large gaping hole in the middle of her. The doctors working on the baby redirected his attention to the baby so he could focus on his job. Apparently that, too, was pretty gross.

As for me, I kept my eyes closed but to look at Tucker that first time until I was in my recovery room.

Healing from a C-Section is not fun, at all. Not that I would have expected it to be. I just don’t like being in pain and having to rely on pain medication to function. This, coupled with caring for a new-born, was exceedingly difficult–because not only am I a pretty stoic person, I’m also a pretty independent person. I can’t even drive for two weeks, post-op. As the primary driver in our family, this isn’t only hard for me, but for Jason as well. He’s not a fan of driving…I should say he’s really not a fan of OTHER drivers.

We haven’t really gone anywhere since we got home last Monday. We had Tucker’s first well-baby visit on Tuesday, which was a big trial for Jason because of his needing to be able to drive us to the appointment. Driving not being the big issue, but the sleep deprivation playing a big part. At a point, I made Jason sleep several hours in our guest room, just so he would be rested enough to drive. The first night home with Tucker was…interesting.

Waiting for my milk to fully come in had been another major trial. For all of us. Remember how I said a few paragraphs ago that I wasn’t the most emotional of people? Well, postpartum hormonal imbalance has pretty much taken care of that. As my husband will tell you: these days, I cry at the drop of a hat. Mostly its in the middle of the night, after the baby has woken up after only sleeping for twenty minutes for the third time, and he can’t keep a latch, so we default to the single bottle of formula we’ve resolved ourselves to needing. This usually triggers my guilt from needing a C-Section, not being able to nurse until two days after Tucker was born, and blaming my body for not providing enough for my baby.

Victories:

My milk has come in! I’m even leaking, which is an odd sensation. I still feel as though I’m not producing enough, but I think Tucker has entered into his very first growth spurt, so that could account for his needing more nutrients than I am physically able to provide him with currently. Of course this still makes me sad, but I have come to better terms with the situation. When we left the hospital last Monday, they gave us a decent supply of the formula they’d been feeding Tucker throughout the duration of his stay. We also got a gift bag full of baby goodies, which also contained the powdered version of the premixed bottles they’d given us. So, for at least this first month or so, we’re set for feedings.

We’ve also just about figured out how this little guy operates. I can usually get him to sleep just by breastfeeding, especially during the day time. It’s at night–that 2-6 o’clock window–during which he is supper fussy and no amount of breast milk seems to do the trick. A 2 oz bottle of formula works like a charm. This leads to more sleeping time for Jason and me too. So, for now, we’ll continue to play this by ear and see if it sticks… or for how long anyway. I’ve read that the first 6 weeks are the worst of the first three months. Here’s hoping!

The swelling in my hands and feet has gone down so much, that I’ve been able to put my wedding ring back on. I don’t remember how far along I was before I had to take it off, but it was a sad day for both Jason and me. I had hoped to wear it longer, but it didn’t work out that way. When I showed Jason that I had put it back on, he said “Hooray, we’re married again!” This made me smile; something I needed.

While I was pregnant, the swelling in my ankles and feet got so bad that at one point, I’d gained nearly 5 pounds in a single week from the water retention. Now that Tucker is here, and my body has had a little bit of time to re-acclimate to normal conditions, my feet no longer resemble fat sausages, and I’ve actually lost about 1/4 of my baby weight. I’ve actually lost about half, but I give Tucker credit for half of that.

**Question: What are your Mommy Milestones this week?**

End of the Tunnel

**Editor’s note: I wrote this on the 10th and 11th, before going into labor and having my son.**

No pun intended… but we can definitely see the light at the end of the tunnel. We’re just hoping baby Tucker sees it soon, too!

I wanted to post one final belly pic, on account of my  not having posted one in about 5 weeks! Oops! It’s just been too dang hot that by the time we get home from the weekly OB appointments, I’m only halfway down the hall before I am peeling off the “leaving the house clothes” and getting back into my PJs. Working from home has some serious perks, let me tell ya.

I’ll post a side-by-side of the last two belly picks. It’s insane how much of a difference 5 weeks makes! When I was posting every other week, I really had a hard time seeing a big difference. And I definitely didn’t feel like I was growing; even though I could SEE it when I looked down and the OB would measure my fundus at a centimeter ahead of my week for nearly all our visits.

35 Weeks
40 Weeks

In those five weeks, we’ve been busy busy. I already shared our crib-building adventure. But afterward, Jason proceeded to paint the baby room. We’d decided on the color scheme months ago. We wanted a two-tone room. It would also be the very first room to be painted in our “new” house. Yes, we’ve been here eleven months and have only just painted a single room. But we had good reason: wedding, pregnancy…

We found all our paint and supplies at the Home Depot. Our colors: Millstream & Minted Lemon. The furniture was purchased with the help of many of our friends and family via my in-law’s store. We chose the Annabelle collection in espresso. The only pieces that weren’t bought from their store were the rocking chair (a yard sale find) and the freshly painted (in Minted Lemon) armoire we brought back from Seoul.

When Jason was in college, he worked for a time as an assistant painter. This, combined with the fact that we’re both a little OCD, made him an amazing baby-room painter. His precision with the paint brush allowed us to save on unnecessary painting tools like edgers. He did it all by eye.

The room was finished a week or so ago, and this past weekend we moved on to the final item for the baby room. The armoire. I was excited because I really felt I could help… help by painting the knobs and feet. But, in the end, I was wiping off green paint and watching Jason do a much better job. Maybe he’ll let me paint larger things like the walls with a paint roller when we get to our multi-tonal living room sometime early next year.

The rug, Radio Flyer rocket, and wooden educational toy were all purchased second-hand. The rug and rocket were bought from this local organization and the wood toy was bought (after a bit of haggling) at a yard sale. The baby bouncer was a gift from my cousin and his wife (don’t you love how it works with the color scheme?). Our bedding is from Babies R Us and was given to us by my aunt and uncle and their family at the baby shower (it was a registry item). We used a 15% off coupon from Babies R Us to get a few other things off the registry: the lamp and changing pad cover that matches the bedding, as well as the Twilight Turtle and a cute pack of swaddling blankets (to be showcased on the baby in our next post!

The only thing we had left to do in the room was stock the drawers with all the fun clothes we’ve been given and have bought over the last several months. The longer dresser is diaper central, and contains things like wipes and diapers, receiving and swaddling blankets, as well as toys and pacifiers the baby won’t get to use for a while. Since the closet is chock full of stuffed animals, the armoire is home to all the little button down shirts and overalls we’ve collected. It will probably function as storage for off season clothing.

Sweet Tuckleberry

I had planned on posting a nice long blog about the DIY project that was the baby room. However, before I could insert the many pictures, guess what happened?

Water broke!

So on Thursday afternoon, Jason and I headed to our doc and subsequent to that were admitted to the Labor & Delivery department of the hospital.

Mere moments after feeling the water break, I discovered a greenish tinge to it, so the emergency call to the doc was made and within the hour I was having 30-40 second contractions every 2.5-3 minutes!

At 4:30 my doc checked me out at 3cm.

By the time I had the on call OB in the hospital check me, about an hour later, I was 5-6 cm. I labored in the bed and in the tub. After vomiting and a series of coughing fits which resulted in more vomiting, it had been nearly 12 hours and still no baby.

At the 12 hour mark, I was fully dilated, but at 0 station. Baby wasn’t going to be traveling through the normal route to get to us. With each attempted push, his heart rate declined, and so we all agreed that a c-section would be the way to go.

I’m not that upset about needing to go that route. I had wanted a regular, vaginal delivery, but my baby getting delivered safely was more important.

After the whole thing (which I was awake for), our OB said that he was actually positioned in such a precarious way, that vaginal delivery was pretty much off the table anyway. We had made the right choice.

Tucker’s 1st day

Unfortunately, with that green tinge to my broken water, came the reality that Tucker had already had his first poo, and as a result, inadvertently ingested some of it. This meant that he wouldn’t be spending his first nights in my room, but in the NICU.

Tucker’s 2nd day

 

It has been a big trial for us. I’ve been working on using a breast pump the last two days (they all kind of merge together here). I am happy to report that we were able to get a good latch this afternoon. All of his wires had been taken away over the course of the evening, and this morning, his doctor said I could try nursing him. He latched for a solid 4-5 minutes. Formula was given after that so he could eat some real food since my milk hasn’t come in yet.

Tucker’s 3rd day

So, today he’s off the O2, IV, and antibiotics. We’re just waiting to get the OK from his doc that we can take him home with us tomorrow. Fingers crossed!

Week 38 = Bi-annual McDonalds Visit

So, ever since Micky D’s brought back their monopoly game and shows their evil chicken nuggets on my 55 inch television, I’ve been hankering for some.

Jason and I had an impromptu OB visit this afternoon, after which we headed back to our neck of the woods and the MacDo that is to be found there. The last time we even went to McDonald’s was probably just after I learned I was preggers, back in February. So, it was time. Of course now I’m kicking myself, but sometimes you just have to give into those cravings. Even at 38 weeks when you’re not supposed to have cravings anymore.

For fun; A list of things I craved while pregnant:

Grape flavored anything (especially bubble yum)

Chicken nuggets

MEXICAN FOOD (including but not limited to gallons of salsa)

Super sharp cheddar

Rice crackers

Soy nuts

Coconut water

 

And for that holy moly moment: