Monday, January 25, 2010

Centering Reunion!

I forgot to post about our Centering class reunion the other day!! It was so great to see everyone!! There were two baby boys and four baby girls! The boys were Malachi and Zion! The girls were Isis, Olivia, Tilda and Shelby! All the moms & dads seemed to be doing well after their deliveries! There were two cesarean section deliveries, one delivery with an epidural and forceps and three natural deliveries with no medication. Everyone had fun sharing their different experiences! It is so interesting to see how the experience is for each individual person. I now have so much respect for the female body. It's incredible!

Here are some pictures from the night! I'm not going to post names with the pictures to protect their privacy on the internet!

Working on a Schedule

Now that I'm over the baby blues, I've been stepping my game up. I've made a schedule for us and I'm working to keep Isis on it. I'm not being crazy strict or anything, just trying to get her on about an every 3 hour feeding schedule with a consistent bedtime and get-up time. It's going pretty well so far - with the exception of a growth spurt she had the other day when she wanted to eat like every hour or so!! But the rest of the time, it lets me & Isis know what to expect throughout the day. I can also get some stuff done now when she's napping because she's doing a little better at night, so I can sleep a little more and don't have to take like 3 naps during the day. Today I organized her bedroom and her bathroom, did a load of laundry and now I'm blogging! It's very exciting!

She's starting to make these little noises like she's found her voice. She's only made a couple of them, but it's exciting every time! I'm sure within the next week or two she'll be making little oo's and ah's as opposed to just the squeaks she's been making all day and all night so far! She's also growing like a weed!!! We bought a scale & weighed her the other day and she was 8 lbs 10 oz! And only 3 weeks old! (She was 6 lbs 12 oz when she was born.) Also, her umbilical cord stump finally completely came off today! The main part had come off last week, but there was still a little piece left, so we couldn't give her a real bath yet. I was getting a little bored with the sponge baths, so tonight is going to be her first real bath!! I'm going to take pictures and a video because that's very fun!

Overall things are going good here in our third week with Isis! She's super sweet!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tummy Time!!


We've been trying to put Isis on her tummy for a little while everyday to see if she can start trying to lift her head up. This is her a couple of days ago! She had the hiccups, too!

Feeling normal again, making some changes

So I finally feel over the baby blues. I have felt like myself the last few days & I haven't cried in several days! I've been fixing my hair & putting on makeup & getting out of the house a little bit with Isis. Things haven't necessarily gotten easier with sleep & routine & things with Isis, but I'm definitely much more prepared for everything! I can handle it now. Lewis is having a hard time at night with her being up & crying & things like that. It's so hard because he has to work.

So we both agreed that it was about time for her to sleep in her own room. I thought that I would leave her in our room for the first several months, but it turns out we are not the parents who can handle that. She makes all these little sleep noises right now, which is totally normal, but it really keeps us up a lot. We know now that she's okay and we know what to listen for, so we have decided to just use the monitor in her room and let her sleep there. She's asleep in there right now for her nap & she actually didn't cry or fuss as much being in there. Maybe she needs her own space, too.

She's not sleeping very well at night. She just doesn't like falling asleep. She'll fight it so bad, but once she's asleep sometimes it's hard to get her to wake up for her next feeding! But she's also so alert when she is awake! Her umbilical cord stump finally fell off! That was really exciting! There is still a little piece left, so we can't give her a bath yet, but we have put her in the cloth diapers!! We were waiting for the stump to fall off so that the cloth diapers didn't rip it off prematurely. She's in a cloth diaper right now & it looks so cute!! I'm excited!

So I've stepped it up. I'm making an effort to do some things for myself and I'm letting Isis sleep in her own room. I'm handling the very little sleep thing pretty well and I don't feel completely exhausted all the time. Things are getting better! They're not necessarily predictable or anything yet, but I'm definitely able to handle everything much better!

Also, I've found a great blog that I really like! Check it out if you're a mom!!
Chronicles of a Babywise Mom

Also, I had my 2-week follow-up appointment yesterday and they said everything was great! Nursing is definitely just melting off the baby weight! I have 9 pounds left to lose to be at my pre-pregnancy weight! Woo hoo! And tonight our Centering class is getting together for a reunion with the babies!! So I'm going to take pictures and post them later! And we bought a Flip camera! My dad gave us an awesome digital camera which we will use for all our big video stuff, but we wanted the Flip camera so that I could just keep it with me in my purse or diaper bag and just take videos of little things as they happen! I'll post some videos soon too!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I thought of one more...

One more surprising thing...

5 - I miss being in the hospital!!!
In the hospital, I got 3 meals a day prepared for me. I had constant help from nurses if I needed it. There was always someone who could answer my questions. I didn't freak out about anything because I had so much help. I love love loved my nurse in the mother/baby unit! I just felt safe. I miss being there! Although, I didn't like the shower and I missed my DVR.

Either way, I keep thinking about how I miss being in the hospital! haha!

What's been surprising...

I knew that there would be all kinds of things that would be different than I expected, but it's interesting what things stick out to me. Let's make a list...

1 - Breastfeeding is messy!!
I'm so happy to be nursing Isis. It was something that was really important to me & Lewis. Luckily it's gone fairly well so far. I know several people who really wanted to nurse their children and for whatever reason weren't able to or it didn't work out well after a little while. So I'm hoping things continue to go okay. But can we just talk about how the "let-down" thing is just crazy! I went to dinner the other night to say goodbye to my friend Katisha who is student teaching in Australia and while at dinner, I started leaking! By the time I got home, it was literally all over the left side of my body. There was nothing I could do about it but hide it with my scarf and coat. And then even when I'm at home, I'll wake up from a nap and my shirt will be totally wet. And when I'm feeding Isis on one side, the other side will let down and I'll be trying to find the closest burp cloth to keep things under control! It's just hilarious.

2 - Baby blues are a little out of control.
Things are definitely getting better every day, but baby blues hit me hard and I was not expecting it! Now that I'm starting to come out of it, I can see several things that contributed like the obvious sleeplessness and the fact that I had to postpone student teaching and deal with all of that stuff at UK all in the first week of coming home with Isis. Then there's the anxiety and worry that comes with being a new mom. I've never felt so insecure in myself in my whole life. I question everything! I'm learning to just go with my instincts and take it easy. That's why everything keeps getting better with baby blues.

3 - Physical healing.
I guess I just never really thought about how my body would physically have to heal after delivery. I was thinking about breastfeeding and about taking care of Isis and about getting enough sleep and things like that. Healing from stitches and just stretching and things is more than I had expected. They send you home with Ibuprofen and Percocet and I've definitely used it! It's funny that I use all the pain medicine AFTER labor & delivery! I feel like I went through my tough experience and I got through it and I know I'm able to handle whatever, but now I just want to relax and take the medicine and let things get better.

4 - Marriage changes.
I have the most wonderful husband. Really, the experience of pregnancy just did so much for our marriage. We got so much closer over those 9 months! I didn't think it was possible to love him any more. And then we had Isis and it's like a whole new level has been reached. Even though we are both sleeping less and even though we don't have a lot of time to be alone together and even though we're falling asleep around 9pm every night, I feel closer to him than I ever have before. Watching him with Isis is just the most amazing thing and I'm so excited about raising children with him. I just didn't expect things to get even better than they were!

That's about it for now. I'm sure lots of things will keep happening that are unexpected. Today I finally really cut Isis' fingernails! Maybe she'll stop scratching herself and I can stop making her wear little mittens everyday! Yay!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Great Day! Horrible Night.

Yesterday was the first day since Isis was born that I didn't cry at all! I was so relieved! Maybe the hormone changes really aren't permanent! haha I feel like nothing will ever be the same again - not with the baby, I mean obviously that changed everything - but with MY emotions. But I went to bed last night so relieved because Isis had eaten really good all day & she had slept well during naps and everything had gone fairly smooth! It was a great day!

Well, then came the night. Our nights have been great the past couple of days - I mean, all things considered. She had gotten up to feed about 3 times in the middle of the night each night, but had done pretty good at going back to sleep. She hadn't cried much if at all, just made her "I'm hungry" noises to let us know she wanted to eat! Well, last night, she ate around 7pm and we ended up waking her up at 10:30pm to eat. We couldn't get her to go to sleep until around midnight. We put her in the cradle, but she just got kinda fussy and wouldn't sleep. She finally fell asleep and woke up at 2am to eat. She ate for 20 minutes - which is really long compared to what she's been eating! She's been eating just maybe 10 minutes total every time she eats. I was worried about it, but she poops and pees all the time and she's already gained back her birth weight! So the lactation consultant at CBH said that she was fine and that some babies just get more in less time or don't need as much.

So after the 2am feeding, we couldn't get her to go back to sleep. She would kinda doze off for about 10 minutes or so and then get really fussy and end up screaming. She did this over & over. We checked her diapers, we tried to feed her again, we tried to let her just cry it out and nothing worked. She ended up eating for 10 minutes at 4:30am and then for 7 minutes at 6am. By 7am, I was a complete wreck. She hadn't really slept at all since 2am. Lewis finally took her downstairs to just let her cry for a little while because we didn't want the neighbors in the townhouse next door to get mad. When Lewis took her downstairs, I just lost it. I started weeping for at least 10 minutes straight. I think she had gas because I had eaten broccoli for dinner and she didn't really poop for the whole time she was awake like that. I felt like it was my fault and that I couldn't give her what she needed. We didn't have any Mylicon and I had tried everything to help her with the gas.

After I gathered myself, I went downstairs and took her from Lewis and just rocked her in my lap until she fell asleep. Then we carefully took her back upstairs and put her in the cradle. She slept until 9am and then ate. She stayed up for a little while after that, but then fell asleep around 10 or 10:15. Lewis and I went back to sleep until noon. It feels different to wake up and deal with things when it's daylight outside. Something about nighttime makes me feel isolated and much more easily upset.

I know this is just a stage and that both us as parents and her as a new baby are learning what she needs and how we need to do everything. But last night was hard. I expect many more hard nights, but does anyone have advice?? I started questioning whether I should have woken her up at 10:30pm to eat or just let her sleep and go to sleep myself until she woke up on her own. Then I obviously feel like I shouldn't have eaten broccoli because I had read that it bothered babies and I just didn't think about it. Someone brought us a wonderful dinner and I ate it without thinking about breastfeeding. I guess I need to be more careful and aware.

On top of that, the snow outside makes me sad and I feel like I'm trapped in my house. I haven't left at all since coming home with her on Monday. I was going to go to Target with Diana today around 11, but obviously I couldn't handle it after the night we had. I'm just still getting used to everything.

I like this blog because I feel like I can have an outlet. I feel better after I get it out. Sorry if my posts are too long.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Hormones, Husbands & Help!

We came home from the hospital on Monday. Diana met us at our house when we got home and helped out with a few things as we got settled in. Lewis' mom came over that night and brought us food and helped us give Isis a bath. That night, we went to bed ready for several feedings & very little sleep. It was a little worse than we expected...

Monday night, we went to bed like normal - turned all the lights off and put Isis in her little newborn bassinet thing that's on the top of her pack 'n play. That night, she woke up screaming several times. I couldn't figure out what the problem was. She fed several times and would sleep if I was holding her, but other than that, she was just having none of sleeping on her own. I ended up holding her and trying not to fall asleep for several hours at the end of the night. Thank goodness Diana came over at 9:30 that morning to take care of Isis for a couple of hours so that Lewis and I could sleep a little.

I spent the entire day Tuesday just terrified that I had taken on more than I could handle. I cried about 4 times and when it started to get dark outside, I got this big knot in my stomach thinking that nighttime was coming and I was scared. We went to the pediatrician on Tuesday to get her bilirubin levels checked because she's a little jaundiced. It wasn't enough that we had to do any special treatment in the hospital, but they wanted to check it out the next day to make sure the levels were not going up. I talked to the doctor about the night routine and about her feeding and everything, too. After reading some stuff online at BabyCenter and talking to Diana and some other moms, I made a couple of changes to our nighttime routine, including a night light, watching tv at night so we wouldn't feel so lonely in those middle-of-the-night feedings and trying to put Isis back down quickly rather than holding her to make her go to sleep. Tuesday night was immensely better than Monday night! Lewis got to sleep about 7 hours total and by 11:30 the next morning, I had managed to sleep about the same amount of time - thanks to Diana coming over at 9:30 again to help out for a coule of hours so that we could sleep in the morning. Isis didn't even cry at all throughout the night Tuesday night. She makes these little noises when she wakes up before she starts actually crying and the noises sound different than the ones she makes when she's sleeping, so we were able to get up and get her to feed before she was at the point of crying. She went back to sleep pretty easily after eating and everything went fairly well!

Wednesday we went back to the doctor to check her bilirubin levels again because they had been a little higher on Tuesday. This time, when she was weighed, she already weighed an ounce more than her birth weight!! So I guess feeding is going pretty well since she's also pooping & peeing around the clock. Lewis and I had some visitors throughout the day and then we spent some time watching tv and eating dinner together that night while Isis slept. Lewis has been so amazing through all of this. Seeing how I still cried about 4 or 5 times on Wednesday, he is basically having to take care of me more than Isis sometimes. It's hard to explain that I just feel overwhelmed and keep crying about nothing. I don't even feel sad - quite the contrary - I feel really happy everytime I hold Isis and everytime she eats or sleeps or just sits there and stares at us. She's my favorite thing in the world and seeing Lewis be a dad is just the most amazing thing, too. I feel like I'm falling in love with him all over again. It's like he's a new person that's even more amazing than the old pre-dad version. But still somehow the hormones are out of control and I still cry about everything and nothing at the same time.

Wednesday night was the same as Tuesday night. We both got to sleep quite a bit overall. Diana didn't get to come over Thursday morning, but we did okay! We've spent the entire day at home together - just the three of us! Katisha came over to visit even though it was snowing! We had a little snow day! I've had a couple of crying breakdowns today, but not as many or as intense as the last couple of days. Maybe hormones are balancing out a little. I've heard it takes a couple of weeks for them to really even back out. I'm looking forward to that!

So overall, things are good. Nights aren't too bad. Days are so fun now that it's the three of us. Her bilirubin levels are going back down and she's still feeding and having diaper changes pretty regularly! I look forward to getting on a regular schedule, but as for right now, I'm just happy that she's so laid back! She rarely ever cries, which is so lucky! The pediatrician in the hospital even commented on how laid-back she is. She's amazing. I feel so blessed. Our family and friends have been so wonderful and encouraging! So many people are excited for Isis to be here!

We'll see how my mood changes once Lewis goes back to work next week and it's just me & Isis. I'll confess that I'm completely terrified. But we'll make it work. I gotta say, I've prayed so much in the last few days. I know that God has a plan for Isis and that He has a plan for our family. I'm excited to see where everything goes from here!

3 days early...Birth Story

She's here!!!! As this blog will serve in a lot of ways as my personal record of my life with Isis, I'm going to tell you my story!

First of all, I knew on New Year's Eve that something was going to happen soon. I just had a feeling. After we got home from dinner with some friends for New Year's, I took a bath and shaved my legs, did laundry and cleaned a little. I also slowly & carefully painted my toenails - it was not easy. haha

Good thing, too, because I woke up at 9:00am on January 1 with contractions. They were painful and kept coming the whole hour, so around 9:45 I started timing them. They were about 6 minutes apart at that point. I stayed in bed with Lewis just relaxing and watching TV until about 11:00. By noon, my contractions were about 4 minutes apart and were getting stronger to where I had to focus a little more to breathe through them. They still weren't too bad, though and I just tried to relax for the next few hours. I took a bath and watched Buffy and spent some time just hanging out with Lewis. Finally around 3:00, I told him I needed him to help me a little more through the contractions. He stayed with me from that point on and the contractions were coming about 3 minutes apart. I had been keeping in touch with my nurse-midwife through text message throughout the day. Around 5:30pm, my contractions were about 2 1/2 minutes apart and I started to feel a little more uncomfortable being at home. The nurse-midwife told me to go ahead and go to the hospital. The drive to the hospital was less than fun as I did not enjoy the bumps or just being confined to one position throughout the ride.

We got to the hospital around 6:00pm and my best friend, Diana, met us at the hospital about 5 minutes after we got all settled into our labor & delivery room. I was lucky enough to get the only room that the hospital has with a tub! It was very exciting! I had decided before that I wanted no IV and that I wanted intermittent monitoring throughout my labor as long as that was physically possible and safe for me & baby. After the initial 20 minutes of being monitored and being checked - 4 cm, 90% effaced - I got in the tub. From that point, I was monitored for 20 minutes every hour, so I spent 40 minutes in the tub, then 20 minutes being monitored while I sat on the birthing ball. I labored like that from about 6:00pm to about 4:00am. I also took a walk around the labor/delivery halls to speed things up. I was dilating about 1 cm every hour & a half to two hours.

By 4:00am, I was at 7 1/2 cm and they decided to call the nurse-midwife to come in and break my water to speed things up and hopefully be ready to start pushing soon. I had told the labor nurse that I was doing ok laboring with Lewis and Diana, so I didn't need the nurse-midwife until this point, but after my water was broken, everything changed. Everything went really fast from there. Between 4:00 and 5:00am, I dilated from 7 1/2 cm to 10 cm and it was the point when the pain became really bad. I labored for a little while on the birthing ball and then ended up on my hands and knees on the bed. I also got very vocal at this point in terms of just having to basically groan through the contractions. My nurse-midwife told me to do this because she said it would help me to get through it easier and it did. I never expected to make so much noise while in labor! At 5:00am, I started pushing and that next hour was the absolute hardest thing I've ever done in my life. The pain was excrutiating and by the end of the hour, Diana and Lewis both literally had to basically lift me up to curl my body around the baby to push. I was exhausted.

But finally, after 21 hours of labor, she arrived!! Those first cries were really crazy to hear. It was so fast that one minute she was in me and the next minute, she was laying on my belly just crying and wiggling around. I thought I would cry, but I was just so overwhelmed that I didn't hardly make any noise at all. I was just completely taken with her. After she was cleaned off, weighed and measured, she was given back to me and we got to bond. She was 6 lbs, 12 oz and 18 inches long. Her APGAR scores were 8 and 9, so she was perfect!

I feel very blessed to have had such a wonderful pregnancy and labor and delivery and a healthy baby. I'm very aware that it doesn't happen quite so easily for everyone. The natural labor and delivery was by far the hardest thing I've ever had to do and the pain in those last 2 hours was absolutely the peak of what I can physically handle, but in the end, I have a happy and healthy baby girl who is so much better than I even imagined! She looks a lot like me, but I can see Lewis in her, too. She's just the perfect addition to our family.

I have more stories and experiences from the last few days as labor was just 5 days ago. But as for right now, I need to go feed my baby!!
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