Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My First Day

Today was the first day that I was alone with my sweet little man. David was, of course, at work and our family and friends have gone back to their own lives. Overall it was a great day! He napped well between feedings all day so I was able to shower, do my hair and makeup and take a nap. I actually felt human :).

Napping in the swing while Mommy got ready.
He also spent some time awake so I got to spend some quality time with him too. I read him a couple of books and we talked all about the bright sunlight coming through his window that intrigued him so.

Lying on My Brest Friend, mesmerized by the sunlight, after a feeding.
If you've been following me from the beginning of this blog, you know that I was a teacher and I didn't go back to school this year. Over the summer I started babysitting a little girl, who turned 1 in September, three days a week. I watched her until the 1st of January then took the last couple of weeks before my due date to nest and rest. From June through December I felt like my life was on hold. Like I was just going through the motions waiting for the time to come when I could start my dream job as Mommy. Though Ayden was born 9 days ago we hadn't really gotten a glimpse of what our new life would look like because David took a week off from work and we had a lot of visitors. Today was officially the big day!! I am still healing so I'm not filling my new role fully quite yet (David's still taking care of a lot of the household chores and meals). I did get that glimpse I was talking about, though, and it sure was sweet. I am so very grateful to my husband for supporting this dream of mine. I've known since high school that I wanted to be a stay at home mom someday, even got my degree in Early Childhood Education because of it, and he is making it possible for me to live that dream.  I can't wait to see what's in store for tomorrow!

Our snuggle bug and me after our nap today.


Monday, January 30, 2012

All Is Well, Baby!

We took Ayden to his first pediatrician well baby appointment today and heard what every parent wants to hear... He's just perfect!

At birth he weighed 7lbs 1.75oz and when we left the hospital he was down to 6lbs 13oz.  Babies can loose up to 10% of their birthweight in the first few days while they wait for the mature milk to come in.  Then you have two weeks for them gain it back.  At the pediatrician today, he weighed in at 7lbs 3oz, we passed his birthweight in just one week!  

This is one proud breastfeeding mama :).

My midwife said now that he's back up to his birthweight, we can let him determine his nighttime feeding schedule.  This both excites me and scares me.  I have to say that I have found comfort in waking him at regular intervals, not only to feed him but to check on him as well.  I may set an alarm just for checking on him but still let him decide when he wants to eat.  He's been sleeping so well that I know that I'll get more sleep this way.  I am also hoping that it will help him feed more efficiently through the night.  He's so hard to wake up and his feedings drag on because he's half asleep for them.  

His pediatrician also said that he had great focus for his age and that his arms, legs and hips are very strong.  We were just beaming with pride! They didn't do the standard percentile measurements.  I suppose we'll start getting those at his two month appointment?

Our big boy at the doctor!

The doctor makes me sleepy!
On another note, since his one week birthday, Ayden has been spending more time awake during the day.  He has had two or three episodes each day since where he'll be alert and content for a good 20-40 minutes.  We've had so much fun talking to him and reading to him.  David even took him on a tour of the house which was really sweet!  It's kind of given us a glimpse of what is to come which is exciting.

Taking it all in :)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Out and About

Today was a big day!  We got out of the house for the first time since we came home from the hospital.  
We went for a quick grocery run:

I put the Moby Wrap on before I left the house then took him out of the car seat and put him in it when we got there.  It was perfect.  He fell asleep before we even got into the store and slept the whole time.  He likes being snuggled so close to his mommy!

We also went for a walk and used our City Mini stroller.  We loved it!  It's going to be so easy to walk the dog and stroller at the same time.  The fresh air was amazing!

David's parents got us this blue LL Bean bunting for our stroller for Christmas.  It really does keep him cozy and we'll be able to use it until he's 3 or 4.  Here he is snug as a bug :).

Today was a great day overall.  Some of our good friends were in town from Nashville and they brought us lunch then we had taco salad night with my parents and sister. I felt better emotionally and we are looking forward to starting to find our new routine this week. Now we are cuddled on the couch watching Heros on Netflix then it's off to bed.  See you tomorrow with a pediatrician update!


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Week 1 Reflection

Our little boy is 1 week old today.  It really has flown by and I've spent most of it trying to savor every sweet moment because I know that in a few months, or even a few weeks, it will all seem like a blur.  I've taken a lot of pictures and video as well as writing these daily posts to help me always keep these memories as vivid as possible.  Here are some thoughts from our first week as parents:
The car ride home
Emotions run high (and low):  I've never been a very emotional gal but becoming a mother (as well as the crazy hormonal changes I'm undergoing at the moment) have made me a sap.  I just look at my baby or get a kiss on the cheek from David and tear up.  Today was probably the most emotional day by far.  For us, just the reality of it all setting in makes us feel happy and excited for what's to come as well as a little sad for the life we have left behind.  It is important to know that this is okay and normal.  I know that soon we'll wonder what we ever did without him!

Support: My husband is absolutely AMAZING!  He has taken over all of the household responsibilities which has freed me to focus on myself and the baby.  He has done the dishes and the laundry.  He has also prepared the freezer meals that I had made ahead of time on the nights that family and friends didn't bring us dinner.  He has been so helpful with Ayden, changing diapers and talking/singing to him.  It is so sweet to see him as a father. Our family and friends have also been wonderful bringing us meals and visiting with us to help the time pass.

Cave dwelling:  I feel as though we have become cave dwellers since we came home on Monday.  We've been keeping the blinds shut so I can nurse when/wherever without neighbors getting an eye-full and haven't left the house (except to go on a walk on Tuesday).  Needless to say, I'm starting to get a little bit of cabin fever.  We want to give Ayden a chance to build his immunities from my milk and weren't planning on taking him out for two weeks but I think we are going to run to the store to pick up a few things tomorrow.  Fresh air will probably do us both some good!

Healing:  Post partum healing is interesting.  I was fortunate enough to not endure any trauma down below (besides the usual swelling and pelvic achy-ness that any lady might experience after pushing a baby out of there... sorry if that's TMI).  That being said, I've felt well enough to walk around and do some small amounts of house work, etc.  so it's been difficult to make myself take it easy. I can say that I am very tired of wearing what I've deemed "diaper pads."  I'm looking forward to when things are back to normal in this department...

Breastfeeding:  My mother breastfed my sisters and myself and always spoke very openly about it to us.  Because of this, my sisters and I never had a doubt in our minds about whether or not we'd breastfeed our own babies.  Ayden is the 6th grandchild for my parents so I've also been able to witness my sisters nurse all of their babies before I had mine so it really wasn't too difficult to get the hang of.  Ayden had a little bit of trouble with his latch on the left side at first (he likes to keep his cute little bottom lip tucked in) but with some advice from my midwife, we've managed to get it straightened out.  The first few sucks when he initially latches on are the only time I notice that I'm a little sore because the milk hasn't let down yet and he's trying his very best to summon it.  Other than that we are doing great and I just love gazing down at him with his little hands clasped under his chin and his eyes closed just nursing away.  It makes me feel so good that I can provide for him in this way.

Cloth Diapering:  It's going okay.  We are using pre-folds until he grows into his pocket/hybrid diapers and the covers seem to be  irritating his umbilical stump :( .  We had some newborn disposables from my sister and the hospital so we've decided to use those every now and then to give him a break.  I've already done 2 loads of diaper laundry and have had some trouble figuring out the right amount of detergent for the size loads we have.  I suppose it'll be trial and error for the first little while.  We are counting down the days until that stinky umbilical stump falls off!!  I can't believe I haven't taken a picture of him in his cloth diapers yet...

Sleep:  Our first night home, Ayden woke up a lot.  He really only slept well if he was in the bed with us.  I know that co-sleeping is something that a lot of people do but it just makes us nervous.  Starting the second night home, though, he has done much better with sleeping in his rock and play sleeper for 2 solid hours between feedings.  I on the other hand am still a nervous wreck.  I wake up every 45 minutes or so to check on him.  I just can't help it!  Napping is also difficult.  I try (and fail) everyday to "sleep when the baby sleeps."  I am hoping to do better with this when David is back to work next week.  We'll see...

Napping in the Moby Wrap

Falling head over heels in love:  Getting to know our newborn has been unlike anything we've ever experienced before.  Ayden is our love personified.  We look at him in awe and just can't get over the fact that he's a little bit of each of us and that he's ours to keep.  We love him so much and want to be the most amazing parents for him.  We can't wait to show him the world and are also excited to see what he teaches us along the way.

Ayden has his first pediatrician appointment on Monday and I'll be taking him by myself since David will be back to work... Should be interesting! :)

Rock 'n Roll!!

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Little Things

Tomorrow Ayden will be 1 week old. I know it's cliche but time really does fly! If I were to sum up the past week in two words I would say exhausting and wonderful. Waking up to nurse him every two hours is hard but at the same time just feels right. My midwife has suggested that we stick to a two hour feeding schedule until he has regained his birth weight. After that we can let him decide his feeding schedule. Since I do spend so much time feeding him I also get to spend time memorizing his tiny features. I love the blonde peach fuzz he has along his jaw line and across his back. I love the way he smacks his lips when he un-latches and my absolute favorite part is the milk coma that takes over when he's had his fill. This is when he makes the most adorable facial expressions and even gives me a little smile now and then. I know it'll be a while before he smiles at me on purpose but for now these accidental smiles melt my heart just the same. Now it's time to tackle the nighttime feeding routine! Goodnight. :)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Birth Story of Ayden Matthew

We finally took the time to put all the details together to write our birth story.  If you didn't know already, our plan was to have a home birth.  Lets just say that plans can change and you have to be able to go with the flow. 

We had just gotten in bed at about 9:50 on Thursday night (January 19th, 2 days past our due date) and I felt a slight pop and tingling sensation that I had never felt before.  I got up and went to the bathroom and as soon as I sat down my water gushed right into the toilet (conveniently enough).  We called our midwife to let her know and her advice was to start monitoring my temperature every 4 hours and to get some rest.  She asked if I had felt any movement since it broke and I hadn't so she told me to do a kick count for the next hour.  I didn't feel any movement for that hour so she came to our house for a listen and Baby was doing just fine.  She told us to try to get some sleep and that she would check back between 10 and 11 am to see where we stood.  I had been trying to take daily naps since Sunday, but Tuesday and Wednesday nights I got only small amounts of sleep and then did not get a nap on Thursday.  So I started my labor already behind on sleep.

We went back to sleep at midnight on Thursday night, however the contractions made it difficult to sleep so we got up around 3:30 on Friday.  For early labor I just focused on breathing through each contraction and keeping my whole body as relaxed as possible.  All day Friday we tried to various distractions including watching a movie, baking cookies, and some computer work.  Our midwife came back around 11 am and listened to the baby.  We told her that contractions had been consistently 4 minutes apart and about 40 seconds long.  She told us to try to get some more rest and to stop timing them.  Sleep wasn't really an option for me because in order for me to stay on top of my contractions I needed to prepare mentally as they built up.  But waking up during a contraction made them unmanageable.

Our midwife left to run some errands and came back around 3:30 along with her two assistants (one of which was a young midwifery student).  At this point our midwife decided to try to get things moving.  So I did some hands and knees with some butt shaking, walked up and down the stairs, and did some lunges.  This definitely took my contractions to the next level.  David and I would walk around the house, and then when a contraction came I would drape my arms around him and go as limp as possible while breathing through the contraction.  However, through all this I still didn't seem to be heading into active labor.

So around 8 pm we tried a hot shower, some more lunges and other positions, as well as a bath.  But nothing seemed to work.  Finally my midwife suggested a herbal labor tincture that encourages the progression of labor, only if your body is ready.  After a few doses and some time, sure enough, it worked!  Our midwife said that we would "know it" when I finally went into active labor and she was definitely right!  Contractions came back to back and their intensity went to a whole new level.  At this point I could no longer just breath through them and began to moan while keeping my hips moving in the hands and knees position.  This continued for about two hours or so and everyone began to get excited about the birth of our child.  The assistants started setting up and we discussed how everything would happen.  Finally my midwife asked if I felt the urge to push.

Around 2 am (or sometime early Saturday morning) I started to push.  However, my contractions just seemed to spread farther and farther apart.  We tried pushing in multiple positions but nothing seemed to be very productive.  After a while our midwife decided to do an internal exam (we had been avoiding internal exams due to increased risk of infection since my water had broken so early) and could feel our baby's head.  This gave us some hope.  I took a couple more doses of the labor tincture, however after a few more hours it seemed as though my body was too exhausted, and my baby was stuck in the wrong position and couldn't get past my pubic bone.

After 33 hours of labor, we finally decided that I need to transport to the hospital to get some rest with hopes of still achieving a vaginal birth.  We had set up a back up nurse midwife at Frankfort Regional Medical Center because they are more home birth friendly and our midwife would be able to come in as our midwife and not just a friend.  So after making sure my temperature and the baby's heart rate were good (which we had been doing all along), and that there was no emergency we decided to drive to Frankfort.  Interestingly enough during the excitement of gathering our clothes and heading to the car my contractions picked back up and we think the baby shifted into a better position.  So during the entire 30 minute drive I was having very strong and regular contractions.  Our midwife's assistant rode with us and monitored the baby. 

We arrived at the hospital emergency entrance and rushed up to the labor and delivery ward.  Our midwife had called the back up midwife and briefed her on the situation.  Our plan was to try to get an epidural, get some sleep, and then proceed safely.  The hospital was a buzz with all the excitement of a "home birther" coming in after 33 hours of ruptured membrane labor.  The doctor that was there came in and checked vital signs and decided that our plan was safe.  Our baby's heart beat remained "perfect" the entire time.  Dealing with the contractions while being hunched over and very still for the epidural was extremely difficult.  But finally it gave me some relief.  Our back up midwife showed up shortly after and we discussed the plan.  When she examined me she determined that I had closed back to 7 cm.  So I got around 4 hours of sleep and when I woke up I was 9.5 cm and felt that I got the rest that I needed.

Our home birth midwife and the backup midwife discussed with us, and we decided I needed pitocin to give me the contractions necessary to push the baby out.  At first I was hesitant to accept it because I hadn't had as much as a tylenol during my whole pregnancy.  Our midwifes told us that my current contractions were not regular or strong enough to get the baby out.   My husband and I decided that our hopes of a completely natural unmedicated birth were not important any more, and that now our only goal was to have a safe birth while hopefully avoiding a c-section.

At around 3:30 my contractions were where they needed to be so the team of nurses assembled and began to get me and the room ready for delivery.  After about 40 minutes of pushing our baby was finally in my arms!  This part of the labor seemed to go flawlessly, including no tearing!  David was able to catch the baby and bring him to my chest.  This was the most amazing feeling.  There was so much emotion and excitement and we were just so happy that we were able to get the birth/post birth experience that we wanted.  Frankfort Regional was so wonderful in letting us have delayed cord cutting, skin to skin and never separating us for exams or observation for the duration of our stay there.  Because we were home for most of the labor and the hospital complied with our birth wishes, we ended up with the birth experience that we had wanted.  Our story is the perfect example of how interventions are sometimes necessary and we are completely at peace with how things turned out, especially with how our baby boy is strong, healthy and in our arms!  

From water breaking to baby in arms, my labor was a total of 42 hours.  From my perspective, the time really flew by and I had no perception of how long it was taking.  I know for a fact that I wouldn't have been able to make it through any of it without such a supportive team.  David was absolutely amazing from start to finish.  He was so loving, caring and supportive and the rock that I needed to make it through.  I am so lucky to have such an amazing partner and seeing him as a father has taken my love for him to a whole new level.  

First family photo!
For those of you who are pregnant or trying to conceive, please don't let our story scare you or hinder your own birth experience.  I am a rare case and can say from 33 hours of experience that natural labor is manageable and as long as your body cooperates, you can do anything!

Would do it all over again!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Who's Who??

The first thing someone does when they meet a new baby is think, "Who does it look like??"  We spent 40 weeks daydreaming about what our little man would look like. To be honest, when Ayden came out, David and I didn't really see either of us in him...  Before he was born I rounded up our newborn pictures so we'd have them for comparison purposes.  Here they are:
Newborn Sarah
Newborn David

Newborn Ayden awake
Newborn Ayden asleep
What do you think?  I think that he looks a lot like my baby picture but when people meet him and tell us who they think he looks like they tell usually tell us David.  This makes me so happy because it tells me he is the perfect mix.  He may look like me in pictures or at certain times but it also says that his mannerisms or certain facial expressions remind people of his daddy.  It will be so fun to watch him evolve as he grows.  The best part of it all is that, though he may remind us of one or the other at times, he'll actually be his own little person.  I can't wait to see what he has in store for us!  It's so tempting to want to freeze time and preserve him in this utterly adorable newborn stage but if we did that, we'd never get to see the person he will become.  We can't wait!


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Got Milk?

A few big things happened today. We watched Ayden's birth video (which is amazing!), we went for a walk (hadn't seen the sunshine in days) and my milk came in (it looks like I've gotten a boob job). I noticed yesterday that the girls were starting to get fuller.  I told David that I thought my milk would come in within the next couple of days and I was right...  During my first post-partum appointment today, they went from kind of full to completely engorged.  This was in a matter of a hour or two.  Luckily my midwife was with me while it was happening so I was able to get advice on what to do right away.  My instructions were to nurse often, use a warm compress right before feeding, take a hot shower and massage any knots (which could be clogged ducts) and as a last resort, pump just enough to take the edge off.  You see, breastfeeding is a supply and demand system.  When the milk first comes in, it is typically more than your baby needs.  Then the body somehow keeps track of how much milk your baby consumes over the next several days and then adjusts accordingly.  The human body is absolutely amazing!  So, here I am at 11:00pm and heading into a night where I'll be encouraging Ayden to nurse as often as I can wake myself up for and I'm sitting here writing a blog post.  It's going to be a long night!  Here is a picture of my new little love enjoying one of his first true milk comas.  I know I'm biased but I think he's pretty darn precious :).


Monday, January 23, 2012

Settling in...

We are enjoying every second as a little family of three. This morning, the reality of what we have accomplished truly set in when I saw my husband and my son lying on the couch together listening to music. Both of them were equally fascinated with each other and it felt amazing to witness such a special father/son moment. It is just a dream come true. We are filled with emotion and love and just couldn't be happier to be starting this new chapter of our lives. We are still getting settled in but I will write Ayden's birth story very soon!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

So in love <3

This little man has captured our hearts. He has quite the birth story. We are going to take some time soon to recall the details for another post or two before we forget. We just can't get over the fact that we made this perfect human from scratch. A little of me and a little of the love of my life. No words can describe it but since a picture can say 1,000 words:

Saturday, January 21, 2012

He Is Here!!

Ayden Matthew
7lbs 1 3/4oz and 20" of pure cuteness. 
He arrived today at 4:03pm.  
Welcome to the world baby boy!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Still Waiting...

Soooo our due date came and went yesterday (surprise, surprise).

 We had a midwife appointment last night and everything still looks great! The best news is that our little guy is fully engaged in my pelvis (never really crossed my mind that such things would one day be so exciting). Here was my friend Whitney's response to the post-midwife appointment update text:

Haha, love her! :)

I'm lying in bed right now because I can't seem to get more than an hour or two of sleep at a time. I figure if I hang out here, I can take full advantage of any sleepy opportunities that may present themselves. It's also still only 8:53am and I think most normal people who don't have to go to work, or have young children are still in bed at this time anyway. One upside to being over-due is that I still belong in this category.

In a recent post I had said that I'd accept any discomforts with open arms because I was concerned that the "loss" of my pregnancy would keep me from fully embracing labor. Well bring. it. on! Last night, Ayden got in the most terrible position! My back was aching in the most indescribable, uncomfortable way and he was shoved up into BOTH sides of my ribs (a first as he's usually considerate enough to only crowd one side at a time). I also was having some mild, yet crampy contractions. To top it all off, it all happened at bed time (and then continued all night long). Needless to say, after another night or two like that I'll totally be on board with my anxious husband and family members who WANT THIS BABY OUT!

But, at almost 9 am on the day after my due date, my comfort level is good again (comparably) and all seems quiet. Now I shall summon the patience that every parent needs to find to let their babies do things in their own time and in their own way. I want to be the best mother I can possibly be so in the spirit of finding the bright side, I shall look at this great waiting game as our first true test. We love this baby so much already and can't wait to have him in our arms but it will be on his own time and in his own way and that is as it should be.
~ Sarah

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Great Waiting Game...

Tomorrow is January 17, 2012... our estimated due date. I've been experiencing some interesting symptoms since Friday (a couple of spells of crampy contractions as well as some pelvic pressure) but nothing too crazy. David and I got all bundled up yesterday and took Maverick for a brisk 3 mile walk and I've been bouncing on my birth ball and engaging in... other physical activity as much as possible ;). I know all of these things are supposed to get the baby in position, and possibly even induce labor, but at the end of the day our little guy is going to come when he's good and ready. Until then I'll continue to try to encourage things to get moving as well as do as much of this as possible:
Snuggling with my cat, Polly
...because I know relaxing just may become a thing of the past very soon! I am actually using the Blogger App on my iPhone to write this and think it will definitely help me post much more often!! See you soon!