Tuesday, March 11, 2014

{Tuesday Truths} Real Life with Baby

Hey everyone!!

I know its been a while since I last popped in, because real life with a baby is dang busy! I had no idea that just keeping myself, hubby and our little human fed, clean, and well rested would be so time consuming! But here we are, just a few days into Henryk's second month of life and we are all doing great.
 A little selfie comparison for you... 8 weeks on the left, and newborn on the right... 
 We are preparing to take our first road trip to Portland and Hood River for a couple days, so that will be an adventure to say the least. If you have any sage travel advice, please leave it in the comments.

When Henryk was almost 2 weeks old, we had some newborn photos taken. Of course, he displayed his stubborn side and didn't cooperate as we planned. Luckily, the photographer is a friend of mine, Elena at Golden Trail Photography here in Bend, so we had a beer and caught up while waiting for Henryk to play along. As expected, I got peed on #lifeofaboymom, but I love the photos Elena captured and her style of editing. I can't believe this was already almost two months ago and he is 9 weeks old today.

This is my favorite photo Elena captured. My baby looks so tiny, especially compared to the giant baby he is now! 

So, you maybe be wondering... how is it all going? Really?

The truth is... Being a new momma is not easy. It is frustrating, messy, tiring, and often a bit lonely. But its also unbelievably fulfilling, joyous, and revealing. I say revealing in that you uncover a new side of yourself that you had no idea existed. I spend my days desparately trying to meet the needs of a human who can't communicate, and to see him thriving fills me with a joy and love that cannot be expressed in words. I would die for him. Sometimes, when he is in his car seat sleeping and we are out, my body literally aches to be cuddling him. Its borderline scary, but now I understand  my own mother so much better, and I appreciate every little thing she ever did for my brother and I, and continues to do for our little sister.

Another question we get asked a lot, is how the dogs are handling the new being in the house.
The truth is... they are doing much better than we expected, and our expectations were high to begin with. We have a lot of friends with kids, so they have been around children of all ages and are generally comfortable with them. If they could talk, they would say the hardest change has been not getting as many walks or adventures. But I have to commend hubs and myself, as we have been doing pretty well about getting them out a few times a week, and not totally neglecting them. They still get lots of cuddles and treats too.
They are good about giving Henryk his space, and I don't worry about them stepping on him or nipping at him. I wouldn't say they are overly protective of him, but I do feel comfortable leaving him napping in his crib to take a shower while we are home alone. They would definitely protect him if necessary.

Breastfeeding is a huge part of our lives, and I feel blessed to be able to provide the healthy nourishment our baby needs. But...
The truth is, breast feeding is a journey, and not an easy or natural one. The first week or so was ROUGH. Between nipple chapping and then engorgment once my milk came in, I was in some pain! But, with advice from a lactation consultant, a bag of frozen peas, and lots of lanolin, we pulled through and have found our stride in breast feeding. I produce LOTS of milk, which is great, since I will be going back to work in three weeks (sob). I generally wake up before the baby to pump one side each morning, then we are usually caught up for the day. Since the beginning, he has had a great latch and can nurse anywhere, even with a cover over his head. He has nursed in numerous restaurants, at friends houses, in the back of our car, in the Ergo while I wear him, and of course at  home. We are still working on a bottle with him, he likes a wide nipple with a slow flow, so we have tried a few different brands, looking for the magic bottle. But hubs has fed him successfully a few times, so I'm not too concerned about that when I go to work.

Having a new baby throws a major wrench into hobbies and adult time...
And the truth is... I am going on my first mountain bike ride in 9 months TODAY! Hubs has gotten a couple rides in since baby arrived, but I have stuck to walks and some short jogs. Its going to be tiring and probably a little frustrating, but I'm looking forward to spending some adult time with hubs, and the mind release that biking is for me. We are leaving Henryk with our good friend Ash, who has a 10  month old and will be watching Henryk a few hours a week when I return to work. I'm so thankful to have friends with babies who can trade childcare!

Ashleys son Anders, and Henryk
 Which leads me to... The truth about friends and babies! I feel so blessed to have a group of friends here that I've known for years who have happened to have babes around the same time we did. We spend a ton of time with them, and its so nice to be able to not worry about the kiddo making a fuss, because your friends understand.
I've also been blessed to become a part of an awesome mommy group (What up BAM's!). What started as a small group of mommies getting together weekly has grown into a larger group of mommies who go on walks, swap childcare and clothes, and support each other through this crazy journey of motherhood! We all connect through a private group Facebook page, and each mommy can add other moms they know, so the web is ever expanding! Its been an awesome support system, and I look forward to watching all of our kids grow up together.

This photo was from our Valentine's Day mommy group... and this was only half the babies there that day!! It was our biggest group yet!

I will finish off with the most FAQ about new mommy life, are you getting any sleep?
The truth is... yes. Henryk is an awesome sleeper and has been pretty much since the beginning. I don't want to sound like I'm gloating, so I will stop there.

The truth is, Hubs and I won the baby lottery and we are head over heels in love with our son. No, we aren't even considering #2, so please remove the thought from your head. : )

Any other real life questions you have? Leave em in the comments! And if you need more cuteness in the form of my son, follow us on Instagram (@lololalala)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

January 7th, 2014

The day when life changed forever.

After much anticipation, we welcomed our perfect son, Henryk to the world at 8:57pm, on January 7th.

He was born weighing 8lbs 1oz, and 22" long. Long and skinny, just as I predicted.

(WARNING: Birth story follows and is somewhat graphic in description.)

I was starting to get VERY tired of being pregnant, and had decided to get acupuncture the day before (the 6th) to see if I could encourage him to get the labor train moving. I enjoyed my treatment, and went about  my day per usual, meeting some friends from out of town for a beer (yes I enjoyed a 10oz glass. Like I said, I was over it), and then getting some dinner with the hubby. I complained to him that my lower back was really sore, but didn't think anything of it.

This was my last bump photo, taken two days before Henryk was born
We went to bed on the 6th at our normal time, and I got up around 2am, again as usual, to use the bathroom and let the dog out. Once I laid back down, I felt a small burst of fluid and thought, "well there is no way I peed my pants, I just used the bathroom!"
So I got up, and the gush became gushier. Holy shit, I thought. This is it! I went back to the bathroom and put on a maxi pad, and examined the fluid, which was pinkish in color. This confirmed it, my water had definitely broken.
I wasn't having an contractions yet, so I went into the living room and called my Doctor. She said, yep thats it, come down to the hospital whenever you are ready. I went back into the bedroom to wake James and he was already stirring.
"Is it time?" he said groggily. I responded yes, and started gathering all the final things we would need for the hospital, toothbrushes, champagne glasses, you know, the important stuff.

We got to the hospital around 3:30am, and went right into triage. A nurse came in and asked a bunch of questions, and began monitoring my contractions and the baby's heart rate. She also checked my cervix, and we were bummed to find I was still around a 1, as had been the case for the last few weeks. Nonetheless, when your water breaks, they don't wait to admit you due to the risk of infection so we were put into a room within an hour of arrival. The Doctor shift change was at 7am, and we were pleased to see Dr. Carlson who would ultimately deliver our baby, was on call. A very nice coincidence, as we had seen him once during our prenatal appointments and liked him quite a bit.

Once in our room, we rested and Dr. Ahmed came in to check my and see if anything was happening. I hadn't dilated and my contractions were still very mild, so we discussed started pitocin around mid morning to get things going. Like I said, with a water break, they don't waste any time. James and I got up and walked a few laps around the hospital, and that really started my contractions. I was happy that we might finally be getting somewhere, without the synthetic hormones. Once we got back to the room, my normal OB stopped by on his way into the office for the day - I was scheduled to see him that morning and had cancelled, obviously. I was shocked to see him, it made me very happy since he is a busy man.

We started pitocin around 11am, and at that point I had dilated to a 2. Of course, I had heard all about pitocin horror stories and asked about an epidural at this time. I wanted to make sure I was on the 'list' and that when the time came for one, I wouldn't be waiting hours for the anesthesiologist. The drugs definitely got my contractions going, and by 2pm I was begging for the epidural. The contractions were so strong that I could barely breathe through them, I felt like the undead. I couldn't control the sounds I was making as I worked through them. My labor nurse checked me and I was only at 3. I think I was so tense from the pain, I was preventing my progress. Within 15 minutes of asking, the anesthesiologist was there and got me started. The pain relief was immediate and amazing. James and I both napped for about 2 hours, and when we got checked again around 4:30, I was at a 7! Finally some progress!

My contractions were coming very close together in groups of two or three, then a longer break. The nurse upped the pitocin again to try and regulate them, and check me again about 45 minutes later and I was at a 9.
"Its almost time to push!" she said, and I couldn't believe it was almost time to meet my baby. As my contractions strengthened, I could feel them more and more and the pain and pressure in my hips told me he was moving into the birth canal.
Dr. Carlson came in about 20 minutes later as they finished getting the room ready. We did a couple rounds of pushes and he said the baby was still very high and I had some work to do. He left, and the nurse and James and I continued pushing. I'm not sure if my epidural was turned down or didn't totally worl, but I had pretty decent control of my legs, and could lift them almost totally on my own. I pushed with all my might for another hour, until Dr. Carlson came back to check again. Baby had moved some, but not nearly as much as needed to use the vacuum extractor to help ease him out. He told me to push for another half an hour, and we would see where I was at. He also mentioned a C section, if I wasn't able to get him any lower. I had been pushing for almost two hour at this point.

The nurse and James helped maneuver me into several different positions to push, and none seemed to help. I was exhausted, and in pain and I could feel the baby wedged into my pelvis, not moving even though I was giving it everything I had. When Dr. Carlson returned, I caved. A C section it was, and I felt so defeated. I couldn't deliver our baby naturally, I felt like a failure.

The nurses flew into action, and a new anesthesiologist was called and turned my epidural way up. Unfortunately, all this was happening around 8pm, after the night shift of nurses came. So my wonderful nurse who I had labored with all day (and also happens to be the mother of one of my co-workers), was done. She offered to stay, off the clock - bless her-, until I was out of surgery. As much as I wanted her to stay, I said no, and I didn't see her again through our stay.

I was off to surgery within a half hour of caving. Once in the OR, James was suited  up in scrubs and waited in the hall until I was prepped. They put a tent over my midsection and strapped my arms down to boards so I couldn't reach into the surgery area. Then James came in, and it was go time. I was aware the whole time, and could feel some pulling on my stomach, but that was it. The anesthesiologist kept a commentary going, and within a couple minutes he said, ok its almost baby time! About 90 seconds later, at 8:57pm on that wonderful Tuesday, I heard the first cry from my sweet boy and that was it! Ten fingers, ten toes, a full head of brown hair and one big boy!

They took him with James to tidy him up and cut the cord, while I was stitched up. Our first photos of him are all with James, as I was prone on the table. After they got us both put back together, they brought him over to me and laid him by my head on the table. It was so awkward as I had to look totally 90 degrees to see him, but I still wept with joy that he was here and healthy and it was finally over.

 We headed back to our room and things quieted down. I was finally able to hold him and nurse and have my skin to skin. He was so perfect and I was absolutely in love, so was his papa. I was just beside myself with joy watching James with our son. I have a whole new level of love and attraction to my husband, as I watch him. He is everything and more than I could have wanted in a life partner.

Dr. Carlson came back to discuss the surgery and my recovery. It turns out, Henryk had been pushing against a membrane that was acting as sort of a vacuum. So every time I pushed, he would move down and when I released pressure he would move back up. There was pretty much no way I would have been able to push him out. That made me feel a little better about saying yes to the surgery. I guess Mothers intuition is right, I knew I wouldn't be able to do it when I gave the go-ahead for the C section. 

I was trapped in the bed until the next morning, with a catheter and these pumps on my legs that kept blood circulating. They pretty much prevented me from sleeping at all, and every time I needed the baby to feed or change a diaper, I had to ask James. I didn't change one diaper until almost 48 hours after Henryk was born.

We stayed in the hospital until Friday the 10th, my actual due date. Henryk passed all his tests and I was gaining my strength and awareness steadily, so we were able to head home and begin our new life as a family of three!

Its been three weeks now and I feel like we are hitting our stride. I will save all that for another post, but it has been an incredible journey so far, and I can't wait to see what the future holds for us!

In the car seat for the first time, to go home! 

Everyone says he looks more like Daddy!

Henryk has a lot of personality for such a little guy 

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