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Friday, January 21, 2011

Mommy's Little Helpers

Well, I'm sitting here on my bed while the cleaning lady works in the other part of the house, and it's just now really hitting me that on Monday I'll be on my own since Michael is going back to work!  The boys are in school right now, and Michael went into work for half a day while they're in school, so the house is quiet and peaceful as it's being primped and prepared for our big day on Monday.  It's the calm before the storm.

I'm a bit nervous because I know that the boys know how to take advantage of me while I'm busy with the baby.  My plan of attack is....dun dun dun....to take away their toys.  No timeouts, no spankings, no flying off the handle.  I'm simply just going to take away the toy that is their current favorite and give it back when they've changed their tune.  I think it's a pretty good plan.  We'll see if it works.

My hope, however, is that they'll be sweet little helpers, loving their baby brother like on this day...
 I don't know that baby brother liked it so much, though.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Cuteness

I may have said this before, but potty-training Levi has been a test in perseverance, to say the least.  (I'm going to wait until almost 3 to potty-train Isaac.)  He totally knows what he's doing and has complete control over himself, but he goes when he wants to go.  So we've finally realized that he works well with a reward system.  We give him a new toy to open whenever he goes poop in the toilet, but we take away a toy if he goes in his Pull-up.  We'll give him back one of his confiscated toys when he goes in the toilet, too.  So on this night, he had just gotten out of the tub and asked for one of his toys that he wanted to sleep with.  Said toy had previously been taken away, so he pushed one out real quick and got it back.  He's such a little stinker, but I love him.  


On an unrelated note...are you ready for some Isaac cuteness?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Hope

This morning Michael and I were talking about what a funny thing hope is.  Last week was one of the hardest weeks of my life.  (I consider the first week of Samuel's and Levi's lives to be the other two hardest weeks of my life - but equally as joyous and miraculous.)  The stress and pain were just so great, and when you're in the middle of it, things really seem hopeless.  It just felt like there was no end in sight and that things would never get better.  It's easy to feel so hopeless and down when it feels like someone is sawing off your nipple every time you try to feed your baby.

Michael kept on trying to tell me, "Everything is going to be different by Monday," but I never let myself believe him.  I don't know why I was choosing to not have hope.  I was just depressed (post-partum hormones didn't help).  But that's when hope is most needed, in those situations that seem like there's no end in sight.  Everyone needs a little something to hold onto.

But guess what!  By Monday, everything really was different.  I was able to nurse Isaac all day and all night (and not pump and syringe feed him) for the first time in days.  The latch still hurt, but it went away almost immediately after.  I'm SOOOOO incredibly thankful and elated that things have turned a corner.

I love this little boy SOOOO much, and I'm just so happy that I get to enjoy him now.  There are a couple of minor issues that I'm going to work on with my lactation consultant today, but we are leaps and bounds from where we were last week.  I'd say we'll be completely out of the woods in another 3 days.

So thank you, Mellanie (my LC).  Thank you, Dr. ENT, for the tongue clip.  Thank you, everyone who made me and my family dinner (everything was amazing!).  And thank all of you for your all of your prayers and encouragement.  I'm so beyond thankful!

P.S.  I forgot how much I adore wearing my babies.  Look at this precious boy!  Will you judge me if I say that he's my cutest newborn?  (My other two are cute now, of course.)  I need to take more pictures.  I'm pretty smitten, though.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Isaac's Birth Story, Part 2: Getting Over the Hump

I titled this one "Getting Over the Hump" because, for me at least, that's what the first two weeks of a baby's life is for the parents.  The challenges of breastfeeding are a test in one's stamina and determination to say the least.  I honestly don't judge those that choose not to breastfeed after trying it.  (I'll be honest, though, when I say that I'd like it if they at least tried it.)  It's hard, and I don't really know anyone that didn't have any challenges with it.  I've wanted to quit many times this week, but I have to keep reminding myself of the reasons that I do it and that I just have to get over this two week hump.  So here's the rest of my time-line up until now.

1/6/11
The ENT graciously got us a 10:30AM appointment for that day, so we loaded up the van and drove to Dallas.  He first discovered that Isaac had a sinus infection, which was kind of weird.  So he suctioned his nose and gave him an antibiotic prescription and a nasal spray.  Then he clipped his tongue and had me nurse immediately after.  It was a bit of a bloody experience (not too bad, but not something you want to see while nursing).  I couldn't tell yet if the clip worked or not.  I talked to my lactation consultant, and she said that sometimes they have to relearn how to suck after a clip.  So she gave me some exercises to do with him to retrain his sucking habits.  (As of now, they seem to have helped a ton.)

The other challenge, as I mentioned in my last post, was baby blues.  I was so distraught over this nursing relationship being so challenging, so I would just cry and cry and cry.  I decided to cancel my sip 'n see which was scheduled for Saturday because I just wasn't in the place to have to worry about 1) getting my house in order for company and 2) nursing in front of others while I was still at the least grimacing in extreme pain at every latch.  Canceling it gave me a lot of relief, so I knew it was the right thing to do.

1/7/11-1/9/11
We were just trucking along all weekend, waiting for me to heal and waiting for Isaac to relearn his suckle.  There is a little more progress made each day.  Yeah, it's not going as fast as I'd like it to, but it's going in the right direction.  I'm still pumping and syringe feeding him about 2/3 of the time and then nursing about 1/3 of the time.  Yeah, it kind of sucks, but at least I'm able to preserve our breastfeeding relationship this way, so I'm fine with it.  I think everything will turn around soon.

Some materialistic things that are helping me get over the hump are:
  • my awesome Canon Rebel T2I with zoom lens that Michael bought me for Christmas.  It's so nice to have good pictures of the kids with the baby.  I love it!
  • the Medela Symphony breastpump that we rented for a month from the hospital.  It's SOOOO much better than the Ameda Purely Yours that I took a risk on this time around.  I hate the Ameda, just for the record - should have splurged on the Medela Pump In Style again (sold my last one).
  • My Breast Friend pillow.  I like it so much more than any of the other breastfeeding pillows that I've had.  The Boppy I didn't like because it was always letting the baby roll right off of it.  And while I loved the Blessed Nest, it always seemed a bit heavy and difficult to adjust once it was in position.  But I love how the My Breast Friend clips around you and allows for good posture while nursing.  That's definitely something that every other pillow lacks.  And baby doesn't roll off and is positioned perfectly.  I love it!
  • Pampers diapers with the wetness indicator.  These are my favorite diapers for newborns because they have that yellow line down the front that turns blue when the baby is wet.  This comes in handy greatly when you're charting the input and output of baby to make sure he's on track.
And these are the beautiful moments that get me over the hump:

I was so afraid at how Levi would react to Isaac, but he has been SO incredibly good and loving.  And I'm really happy about that and love seeing the bond that's already growing between these brothers. 
Michael and the boys came home with balloons (the boys' idea), roses and coffee (Michael's idea) to make me feel better after school on Friday.  It definitely did the trick.  I love my boys! 
Samuel is such a natural little caretaker.  He loves his new brother and helping Mommy take care of him.  He has a servant's heart that just melts mine. 
Levi wanted to hand the roses to me again just before throwing them on the floor.  Haha.  He loves his mommy, though; I know that. 
Before bedtime the boys included Isaac in on their nighttime prayers.  They prayed that he'd learn how to nurse properly soon.  It was so sweet and special.  If this image doesn't get a mommy over a hump, nothing will!  I love my boys.  :)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Isaac's Birth Story, Part 1: Pain

Childbirth is painful, no matter how you slice it.  Natural birth is painful; recovering from anesthesia and episiotomies is painful; C-sections are painful.  There's no way to really escape the pain of bringing a life into the world.  Then after the fact, breastfeeding is painful.  I know it's natural, and I believe in it heart and soul.  But man, the first two weeks is rough.  So after I finished this play-by-play post of Isaac's birth, I realized that pain was the theme.  I'm going to write a second part that focuses on the better aspects, but for now...

1/3/11 3:00AM
After just 4 hours of sleep, I woke up to go pee and couldn't go back to sleep with all of the excitement of the day, so I decided to stay awake.  I knew that I'd be paying for it later.

1/3/11 8:00AM
With no breakfast or anything to drink, I served the boys theirs.  We took them to stay with their aunt and uncle and cousins for the night (they live about 45 minutes away).  We unforgivably forgot Samuel's pillow-pet and comforter, so we had to go back home to take it to my mother-in-law's house so she could give it to them later.  Problem solved.  :)

1/3/11 10:30AM
I went through admissions, and they had me wheeled upstairs by an older lady, a volunteer, for whom I felt guilty for having to wheel me since she was old enough to be my grandmother.  (It's a silly hospital rule.)  They then did all my blood work and prepped me for surgery.  My OB had already talked to my anesthesiologist about my fears and concerns of having another spinal, so the anesthesiologist had already pulled my file and looked at the dosage the last guy used and came up with a good plan for me.  He sat and talked with me and Michael for 15-20 minutes, making sure we felt completely comfortable.  I did.  It was great.  I was truly grateful for him and my OB for working all of that out.

1/3/11 12:30PM
They wheeled me on my bed into the operating room.  I started getting pretty nervous at this point, so nervous that I was shaking and clattering my teeth unavoidably.  The coldness of the OR didn't help, either.  He did my spinal (which is quite uncomfortable but not really as bad as people make it out to be), laid me back, gently put towels over my outstretched arms with tape loosely applied over it so I didn't grab anything, put an oxygen mask on my face, and put the drape between me and my belly.  It's a very out-of-control feeling.  I asked if I could have my right arm for a minute to adjust my mask.  He granted me permission, and I kept my arm out the whole time with the promise that he could tie it back down if I was irresponsible with it.  The spinal was really good.  It didn't numb too much or too little.  I was very pleasantly surprised with it.  It was still uncomfortable because it's such a weird sensation to be numb and not be able to move your legs and yet still feel tugging, but it wasn't unbearable at all.  I really can't believe that I almost didn't have another kid for that whole reason.  You have to really be in control of your mind during it all, though or fear will grip you, and it's hard to turn away once you're there.

1/3/11 1:05PM
My sweet baby Isaac came into the world.  Michael was snapping pictures like a sports photographer, giving me a play by play of what was happening.  Then I finally saw my baby, and I was instantly in love.  I knew he was a biggun' when I saw his little rolls, and I was proven correct when they weighed him in at 10 pounds and 3 ounces and 20.5 inches.  I felt very vindicated at that moment (too bad he wasn't 55 pounds, though...).  I absolutely loved having him there by my face, being able to calm him with just my voice and the touch of my cheek. It was a very special moment, something I wasn't able to have with the first two.

1/3/11 2:00PM or so
I don't remember what time exactly, but they wheeled both me and the baby into the recovery room together, something they didn't used to do.  And since his glucose level was low, they gave him some glucose water and a tiny bit of formula.  It wasn't ideal, but I dropped the ball on hand-expressing some of my colostrum at home, so we had to do what was best for him.  He was difficult to begin nursing.  The nurse had to help me a lot because he was so sleepy and didn't want to latch, and I was still very numb and not able to maneuver very well.  He eventually did nurse, but I still decided to pump when I got into my room because he was being a bit lazy.

1/3/11 3:00PM or so
I don't remember what time exactly we got to my room, but oh boy, that's when the fun started.  I was in SO much pain.  Two different nurses told me that post-partum uterine contractions are worse with each subsequent baby since the uterus has a harder time contracting and getting back down to size (as evidenced by my still-huge belly).  Wow, those contractions were somethin' else!  They just took my breath away.  He was a great nurser, though, which was encouraging.  Michael was snapping away, so to the right is me having one of said awful contractions.  Lovely.

1/4/11 12:00AM
That night was rough.  Thank God Michael was with me.  Not only was I high on morphine with people coming in the room every five minutes for God knows what, but I was trying to nurse this sleepy newborn while in extreme pain with tubes and hospital bracelets everywhere while I could not get comfortable in any position due to my incision. It was much worse than I remember it with Levi, but part of that is because I had my tubes tied, too.  I know all of my natural-birth sisters are shaking their heads, saying, "I told you so," about natural birth being better, but what do you do?  I don't think I had a choice, really.  (Maybe I'll write a post defending my stance one day.)

1/5/11
The nursing was still going good and my wonderful friend Megan stayed that night with me to relieve Michael to take care of the boys, but early that morning is when the pain really set in.  I started to wonder if he was tongue-tied like Levi was.  Every nurse and the one semi-lousy lactation consultant that came in said that his latch was great and not to worry, and one of the pediatricians said that it didn't look like he was tongue-tied.  So where was I going wrong?  That's why so many people quit breastfeeding so early on.  This first two weeks is hell trying to diagnosis every little thing, wondering how much pain is normal.  Well, they discharged me by about 1PM that day, and when I got home the pain was so great that I was wailing every time I nursed him.  I had my own favorite lactation consultant come out to the house that night for a consultation, and she said that he did look he had a posterior tongue-tie.  So she recommended me to an ENT in Dallas that specializes in hard to spot tongue-ties. I just kept telling myself that I had to make it through the night.  More sobbing ensued, and we decided that I would pump all night and Michael would syringe-feed him.  Isaac wouldn't latch anyway because of the pain he was in, so it worked out.  To say that I was having baby blues was an understatement.  I was having quite a rough time, and my swollen eyes proved it the next morning.

...To Be Continued...
 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Tomorrow's the Big Day!!!

Well, tomorrow is indeed the big day.  I'm very excited and nervous at the same time.  It seems that the 39-40 weeks goes by at a snail's pace, and then all of the sudden it's there!  It's all very surreal as I sit here on my glider with my feet up, reaching around my big belly to type uncomfortably on the laptop that's just a little too far away from my lap.  It's so weird to think that in roughly 18 hours a doctor will be slicing open my abdomen to pull my baby out of it while I'm completely awake (hopefully).  I guess I just kind of have to put it out of my mind in a sense or it will make me crazy.

My surgery isn't until 12:30PM, so I know I'm going to be hungry and thirsty, but I'm so anxious that I don't have an appetite right now and am just a bit nauseous.  I still have to pack the boys' bags for their sleepover at their cousins' house and pack Michael's bag for the hospital.  Then there are just a few minor things around the house that I have to finish.  All in all, we were quite productive this weekend, though.

So if you're the praying type, I'll feel free to go ahead and leave you my laundry list of requests.  ;)  And if you're not, then I'll gladly accept your good vibes and positive thoughts.  ;)  

  • Please pray that I would be able to safely have a spinal for my anesthesia and not have to be under general anesthesia.
  • Please pray that my anesthesiologist would properly anesthetize me with not too much or two little anesthesia.  (With Levi, as you will recall, I had too much and felt like I was suffocating the whole time.)  It would also be great to not have the shakes too badly.  I remember my teeth chattering so greatly that I felt like I would break them.  
  • Please pray that mine and Isaac's breastfeeding relationship would get off to a GREAT start and that I'd be able to nurse him within the first hour of his birth with a great latch and no problems.  And if there do happen to be any problems, I hope we can diagnose them quickly! 
  • Please pray that I'd be able to get off of morphine fairly quickly so that I can focus on nursing Isaac more alertly.  
  • Please pray that there would be no surprises (unless they're good ones) and that I and my sweet baby Isaac would be completely healthy and well, body, mind, and soul.  
Thanks, y'all!  I really do appreciate it!  And shoot me an email if you want to come to my sip 'n see on Saturday but didn't get an Evite! 

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