Max – 7, 8, 9, and 10 weeks!

 

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Well I think an update is warranted, especially after yesterday. We had our 2 week check up (a little late, as he’s 10 weeks today.) Little man is perfect! Weighing in at 15 pounds, he’s full of cute little rolls. He is 92% weight, 80% height. Harper also started out in the higher percentiles at first, averaged out around 6 months, and then was in the lower. But, she didn’t weigh what he does until at least 5 months. Thus, I don’t carry Max into places in the carseat very often. I use the stroller or the Ergo. Our double stroller is so heavy that I only save it for special occasions when I know they both need to ride. Our biggest feat lately is Max sleeping through the night. It is ah-mazing! I know I’m very lucky, but I give all the credit to the Halo SleepSack. He was sleeping for several hours at a time in the Rock N Play, so I decided to try to crib. Also Harper’s been back in our bed, and he can’t be also, so I knew crib would be best. He would sleep in there like 3 hours at a time, or less. I thought to try swaddling. We didn’t with Harper, but I know lots of parents who use this method. Magic, for us! The SleepSack was actually a complimentary one we received at the hospital, which velcros around baby and their arms so they are snug. So I gave it a try, and he slept through the night! Ever since, for a few weeks now, we have used it. I love knowing when I put him to bed at around 8, he’s not going to wake up until at least 5 am usually. I can get stuff done, have a glass of wine, or sleep! Last night he slept 9 hours. I just wish there was a way to reward babies, because Max would get ALL the stickers!  At his doctor’s appointment, he just smiled and cooed, even at Dr. Mishu. And so far, so good, on his shot reactions. He seems to be feeling just fine, maybe sleeping a bit more than normal.

Other news: As you can see in the pictures, time is still flying, and he’s just getting more handsome. We got the “Baby Crack” Piano Mat after hearing rants and raves over it, and sure enough, Max loves it. It keeps him entertained for quite a while sometimes. He spends more time in his swing lately, than the RnP, but is napping less during the day overall. He gets bored easy, but always smiles again when I (or most anyone) talks close to his face. He loves riding in the Ergo, and always goes right to sleep in it. I use this for grocery shopping, and push Harper in the cart. He prefers this over the stroller, usually. Breastfeeding is still going well. I feel much more comfortable this time around. No trouble latching or anything, and figured out how to use the covers, so I’ve even nursed in public (NIP.) Mainly at our small group, and around family, but I consider that public since it’s not shut behind closed doors alone, also at Harper’s preschool gymnastics class, where it’s mostly SAHMs doing the same. I just feel great that I have enough confidence to do that and not have to be left out of conversations anymore. Hopefully one day breastfeeding won’t be such a shock to the general public, where girls in skimpy bikinis seem to be more accepted. Biggest challenge will be getting him to take a bottle. I’m late to work on that, so he rejects it. I want to try fresh pumped milk soon to see if that works, and I have two different bottles to try. That would allow me to leave him for a couple hours and do errands, need be. Or maybe a date night eventually?! ;)

Anyway, April is a fun month for us. Besides being spring and the weather warming up, there’s Kyle and my birthday, and Easter. Kyle took off two days last week, and we enjoyed a day relaxing at home, and then a day out shopping at Opry Mills. We didn’t get to do much shopping, but we did get a peaceful lunch at Chuys! Kyle and I love to eat there, and haven’t been in quite a long time. The kids stayed asleep in the stroller while we had our Baja Shrimp Tacos..mmm! Then Harper woke up, and had a quesadilla. After a trip to Build-a-Bear and Carter’s, they were ready to go. Guess I’ll have to make a solo trip to get any REAL shopping done! ;) The kids and I got Kyle a guitar for his birthday. He’s been wishing for one for like two years now, so he was excited and has been practicing and teaching himself every day since. I have a nice day planned for my birthday, going to eat with my Dad and Grandmother, then maybe some more shopping.

6 Weeks on the Outside

Our mind is blown with how fast our little man has grown! Though it seems he’s been here way longer, these six weeks have flown by. Max weighs 13.1 pounds, up about 4.5 since he was born. This means he only fits in a few of his 3 month clothes, most of the sleepers still, and I will be washing 3-6 month clothes for him this week. He’s already wearing 6m pants to fit around that belly! I love his little rolls, much different than Harper, as she never had any. That or hair, which you can see he still has. 

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Max mostly sleeps in the rock ‘n play, beside our bed, and wherever I put it throughout the day. He sleeps about 4 hours, then 2, then more 2-3 more if I let him and we all sleep in. I suppose I’m used to it or have still just been getting enough sleep, because I’m no more tired than usual. He loves bath time, and riding in the Ergo carrier. Also, if he’s in the carseat, he will sleep the whole time for hours. Wherever we’re at, he’s always asleep in the carseat and I have to wake him up to show him off.

These last couple of weeks have been good. Kyle and I decided to simplify our lives a little by getting rid of cable. It was a mutual decision, brought on by our annoyance and awful customer service of Comcast. Since we have Netflix, and don’t watch much TV any way, it was an easy choice, that saves us $100/month. We still get high speed internet, and local channels, so we watch that some. The Bachelor is safe! (Although can we not talk about how horrible of a season it was.) Then, I further decided Harper doesn’t need to be watching much TV anyway, so I try to keep it off all throughout the day, when it’s just us here. That has been great! It’s much more time consuming for me, to keep her entertained, but that’s what I’m here for! She’s been doing more make-believe, reading, playing outside, etc. And best part, she doesn’t really miss it! She doesn’t ask during the day, and only occasionally, which is what we want. I’ve definitely had to keep reminding Kyle and explaining to him how excessive TV and iPhone games can be detrimental to little one’s brain development, attention span, and all that. Nap time.. still going strong! I’m one happy mama.

All this, and the little attempts I make to keep the house clean, plus weekly errands, doesn’t leave much extra time for anything else. I’ve yet to go in my craft room to work on anything in there. But…I did start working out! 6 weeks means I’m 6 weeks postpartum and can add much needed exercise to my life. It will be a big challenge, but I hope to be able to complete the p90x3 program, which is the 30 minute version. It would mean a lot to me to actually stick to, and finish, a program, so that’s the goal I’ve set for myself. The first 30 days will end on my birthday, so I’m anxious to see some good results. It’s hard on one’s emotions, pride, and self-esteem to go through motherhood and two child births, and then look like I currently do, in a bikini. I’ve also decided to give up sweets and desserts this first month, so I’m looking forward to both challenges. I’d like to be back to pre-pregnancy weight as soon as possible, and to start doing something I haven’t done in years, and barely at all- weight training. I’m motivated now more than ever. 

So, that’s our world. Just loving on our little bundle and our growing 2 year old. Today reminded me that I also need to be taking pictures of her! She doesn’t always cooperate with the camera, but she’s having milestones now too. And, extra bonus of less TV and more play, she’s definitely been more positive toward me lately and that makes my heart smile so much! It’s okay to be daddy’s girl, as long as she’s mommy’s girl too! ;) We have spent a few days lately with Rachel and Malichai, as they are preparing to move to Las Vegas. Sad day, but excited for her new journey, and hopeful that it’s everything she wants it to be. They are leaving Wednesday, so one more day to get things packed.. we may go help again, and score some more goodies that she won’t be taking with her.

It’s finally ALMOST spring ya’ll!! No more cold weather after today, hopefully. Here are his 5 week pics too!

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Mommy Magic

Kinda feeling like supermom at the moment, as far as nap time goes! All four days alone, the kids have successfully napped simultaneously, and early in the day. And I was worried! Gives me a little peace and quiet :)Image
Day 2: they both fell asleep on me, on the couch. I was able to wiggle out, luckily!

Our first week solo has been going well. I even got out of the house Wednesday to visit my grandmother, and then Harper started gymnastics that evening. It was also in Hendersonville, so Kyle met us there. This is her first time taking a class of some sort, so Harper and I both were really excited. I was totally the slightly obnoxious  proud gym mom, coaching  watching from the sidelines, cheering her on at every station. And of course capturing it all via iPhone, while little brother slept the whole time.

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We had a slight meltdown during the middle of class, where she decided she would rather walk away and go play in the “playroom” she saw upon entering, that had a few doctor’s office type toys in it. She ran out and I followed behind her, trying her coax her back to finish the class. It was time for the big trampoline, and she was timid. My gym mom dreams were quickly fading away, as I realized we wouldn’t be back if she quit right now. Lol, so we got her back participating, and she finally wanted to do the big trampoline. The teacher held her hands and they bounced all the way to the end, and then I heard: “That was fun!” Yay! Mission accomplished, and we are going back next week. :D

Thursday, I attempted to venture out to the grocery. I promised Harper a kid buggy that she could push herself and help me fit in everything we needed. I saw them at one of the Kroger’s I was at recently, and I thought it was Goodlettsville. She fell asleep as soon as we got in the car, so I decided to do some errands. Drove though the bank, treated myself to Starbucks, and then got to Kroger. Ended up sitting there for a whole hour in the parking lot, because she never wanted to wake up and I knew she needed a good nap anyway. You may think that’s crazy but trying to shop + extremely whiney sleepy toddler + newborn =/= a good time. She finally woke up, and we went inside to low and behold, not find a kid buggy. I tried the little cars they ride in, but Max’s carrier barely fit in the cart, and then no room at all for groceries. I said come on, let’s go try Publix. The things I do for that girl! Then, surprise surprise no kid buggies there either, but they at least had bigger kid-friendly carts that we chose, as well as complimentary pink balloons. I guess the customer service makes up for the over-priced groceries. Anyway, we survived and learned grocery shopping isn’t for the weak! We may continue our search for kid buggies next week.

Now it’s Friday! What could be better. Hope everyone has a great weekend springing forward ;)

MAXaroni- 1 month down

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Yay I kept a newborn baby alive for a whole month! Time is flying!! I knew it would. Our little man has already been here for a month, and is growing like a weed. Coincidentally since February is a short month, also 4 weeks today. So I don’t have to choose between the 4 week and 1 month pictures..makes it easy. He has been great. Nothing really new to report, other than our 3 week check up. Max was weighing in at 10 lb, 10 ounces. He’s in the 75th percentile for both height and weight. So was Harper at first, so I still don’t think it really determines anything. However, we have a quick growing boy right now! I’ve started stocking up on 6 month clothes because only 1.5 lbs to go before he’ll be in that size. Goodness! Though I already miss my little “tiny” newborn, I’m so excited for the next couple of months. I’ve got a couple grins from him, and we will keep seeing more of that. And can we say….SPRING! 2 weeks away, people. I love love spring and Easter and hope the weather warms up to go along with it. We have our birthdays to also look forward to next month, and then comes all the other new babies! :)

Speaking of spring, today’s Max’s second snow day. For some reason.. I’m not adamant about getting pictures of him in it, because it’s ehm.. super cold! Maybe I will later. In honor of that.. here’s a picture of both of the kids’ first snow days, when they were each about 3 days old. Is that the same kid?!

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It was supposed to be my first day solo with two kids, but we got to keep Kyle one more day! I know he and I both are looking forward to him going back, though we will miss him getting to stay home as well. Naptime with Harper will continue to be a struggle I assume..interested to see how she does with ME in charge again! Maybe it will go better… Fortunately she loves her new baby brother! It took her a few weeks to get used to him, but she always wants to help out and check on him. She’s even reminded me to change his diaper ;)

This next picture I wanted to include, to show off his pretty skin, no baby acne here. He’s perfect! And still only wakes up about 2 times per night, so we are all happy. Gas troubles sometimes can be the stressful thing. I gave him a paci (wubbanub) for the first time today, and he liked it. We don’t want him to be reliant on those, but if it helps him self-soothe, hey I’m open to try! And then his giraffe pic, looking too big and mature!

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Week 3

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1 day v 21 days (not much change in these!)

Three weeks have come and gone, and I have a super special milestone to report.
Harper is showing more interest in her bubba! And me, for that matter. This makes my heart smile! She’s been a total Daddy’s girl lately, and not wanting much to do with me when he’s around. She always likes Max, but still from afar. The last two nights she has been extra loving, wanted to sit with me on the couch, and asked to hold him. Yay!! The start of sibling love, indeed.

We had a challenging few days with her. Though Daddy’s been around to give her plenty of attention, it’s definitely a big transition for everyone, and I am glad she is finally getting adjusted.  She’s full-time in her own bed, so that’s a change. And we have began implementing an actual bedtime routine as well. Still working on the naps being “regular,” but to Kyle’s amazement, we are making progress there too. She’s starting to become okay with the process of going to sleep. I think once he goes back to work next week, we will get in an even better flow, schedule wise. The rough days were when our schedule was completely off, and she would nap late, or not nap at all, causing her to be grumpy and extra whiney. Harper? No way! ;) I felt bad for Kyle at times because she is literally 24/7. Clinging to him all day. Then bedtime would take hours some nights, and she’d wake up in the night and he’d be back in there, and wake up early too. Oh well, that’s what he signed up for! He says if that’s the worst thing we have to face as parents right now, he’ll take it! Everything else has been pretty great. Four whole weeks of him being off spending time with us is awesome, and we will be sad when he goes back.
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Now for Max-

Big boy! Doctor said she expected him to gain two pounds next time we go back, and she’s right on the money. He is already at 11 pounds! Thriving. I love it, means I’m doing something right. Can’t imagine what the 3 and 6 week growth spurts will be like, if we haven’t had one yet. His check-up is Friday, and I’m guessing he may get a couple shots. :( Already size 1 diapers.

This week, we’ve visited with all four sets of the great-grandparents, he and I went to Wal-Mart, and today to Kohls and scored several cute outfits (for him) on-sale! I figure I’m not sure how much longer he will be able to even fit in the 0-3 month stuff, so I’m buying 6 months, to be prepared!

He still sleeps A LOT. He’s awake more, but naps for hours at time throughout the day. At night, he usually wakes up twice to nurse, like 1:00am and 4:00am, then 7:00am and we get up.. or not and sleep in! That’s been nice. I’ve learned cabbage beef soup is a no-no for me to eat. That night he was up crying with gas pains, no fun.

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Still has to sit propped up and slouched. But look at those big feet and belly!

He’s a pretty special little fella. Next week I’ll have to find some motivation to be productive, but right now I’m just gonna stay on the couch and cuddle my loves. Image
(Repeat pics from FB, but I like them here too.)

XO

Max is 2 weeks old!

Max is two weeks old! Sure seems like he’s been around a lot longer.
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Here are some stats:

Birth weight: 8lb, 10oz
1 week: 9lb, 5oz
2 weeks: 9lb, 15oz
Big boy! Though he seems tiny to us. I guess he’s getting enough to eat. In size 1 diapers, and 3 month clothes.

First trip to the pediatrician- Harper was glad it wasn’t her!
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He eats and sleeps all the time. Starting to cry more; sometimes has gas and tummy aches. Anticipating the “3 week growth spurt” soon, and will be thankful Kyle is still off work then! He plans on taking the rest of this week, and next. Nighttime hasn’t been too bad yet, Harper is the one right now crying in the night.

Harper still keeps her distance for the most part. When daddy is holding him and she wants to play she says “Hand him to mommy!” When she’s in the mood, she will check on him, bring him a toy, sing, or give kisses. Cooper loves to smell him any chance he gets.

Max loves: being held, sitting in the rock n play, staring at the high contrast pictures behind the couch, laying in the crib but not the cradle

Nicknames: big guy/man and Sir Maxwell (Kyle’s), catbaby (Harper’s), little buddy, squishy, bubba, Maxy

Milestones: Max has a belly button as of yesterday! First official bath will be today. He finds them relaxing, and sleeps very good once he’s dry and dressed. His hair gets curly, dries wavy/straight.
First holiday was Valentine’s day. We didn’t really do anything to celebrate but make daddy a craft..and cuddle a lot!
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His first public outing was this Saturday, at Uncle Roge and Aunt Stephanie’s gender reveal party. Max is getting a cousin! Another little guy to join the family, and they will be five months apart. There was about 50 people at the party, and we had lots of fun. I wore Max in the Ergo, and he slept the whole time. Harper had a great time playing with other kids her age, and still talks about them everyday. Image

Newborns make funny expressions! Experimenting with different photo ops.
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And weight loss to date: about 25 pounds. It fluctuates a lot, but 15 more to go! Hoping it will mostly continue to drop off before my 6 week postpartum appointment. Then I will be cleared for exercise. Really looking forward to it, and starting to eat better. I’m good throughout the day, but then at night I want to eat everything in sight! Good thing I burn about 500 calories daily, just breastfeeding ;)
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Have a great day everyone! Spring is finally coming. We are going for a walk.

Birth story- the follow up!

It’s now been over week since we’ve been home from the hospital, and Max is 11 days old. Next time I write will be all about him, but I wanted to do a follow-up postpartum post, for those interested in my well being ;) and reflections on my labor process. Also, I’m using this blog as basically a journal for myself, to be able to look back on these moments and remember the special details of the most wonderful time of our lives, so this is an important post to me. Last Valentine’s day was a day after I found out about our miscarriage, so it was a pretty gloomy day. This Valentine’s day, Kyle and I haven’t even gotten out the house to get each other anything to celebrate, yet I couldn’t feel more happy or blessed to be at home with him and our two wonderfully amazing and beautiful children.

Starting where I left off, the night Max was born Kyle and I experienced a whole spectrum of feelings: from me being at the most vulnerable position I’ve even been in, an adrenaline rush, helplessness, and exhaustion, to extreme happiness and relief that our baby was here, amazement at the process we just went through and how perfect he was, and many others. We were overjoyed yet shaken up. Honestly we were both a little traumatized afterwards. My first question to moms who went natural was always: “Would you do it again?” Everyone answered yes. My answer that night was “Hell no!” so I was worried of being left with a negative memory instead of my ideal wonderful, peaceful, natural birth experience I had desired. That night, I got cramps from nursing, and cringed with fear every time, thinking it would bring on another awful contraction. I looked over at my once favorite cup that I drank out of during labor, and cringed at the memory, vowing I never wanted to see it again.

We got a little rest that night, finally at 3 am, once little man was bathed, swaddled and asleep. And within the next few days, the “traumatic” memories had began to melt away, as we fell more in love with our son. Though it seemed like 10 hours, we were at the hospital only 2 1/2 hours before Max arrived. That’s exactly how I wanted it to be. We may have not been fully prepared for that last hour of superintenseandextremecrazypressure contractions, but I did it! I felt bad knowing I had asked for the epidural, but learned that’s part of it: a mental breakdown, a test. It was baby and God’s plan for me to do it the way I wanted, and fate came in with perfect timing to allow that. When it was finally time to push, that’s what the whole thing is about. It was the greatest, most rewarding feeling ever. I’ll never forget it and that moment, literally feeling your baby exit your body and enter the world. It was awesome, and to know that’s what I accomplished.

I’ve seen childbirth be compared to running a marathon. A long and hard process, with a great reward at the end. It takes endurance and mental toughness, especially the last 6.2 miles in a marathon and the transition period of labor, when you think you’ve hit a wall. Even I, someone who never ran a day in her life, trained for and made it successfully through a half- a 13.1 mile race. It was empowering! Lots of people can run that race, if you set your mind to it and want it. But I knew someday, I would want bigger goals, and a bigger medal. I know I am just as capable of doing the FULL marathon, as long as I have the time and make the effort to train for it. Phew, 26.2 miles seems like a long way to go, though it’s the training that’s the hardest part. Natural labor was fuel to the fire. Now that I’ve pushed myself through the hardest thing there is, I know I can run a marathon, or anything else I choose to pursue. I had one chance to accomplish the huge goal I set for myself, (if and until I had more kids) and I did it! Two and a half hours later, I got my medal, and the biggest reward- my baby. THAT is what I look back on and think about now. Thousands, well I guess billions of women over time, have done the same thing. A natural and beautiful way to bring a baby into the world, and I am a part of that.

People ask, why? Why would you want to go through pain if you don’t have to? Technology is there, enabling you to feel nothing and enjoy the birth experience painlessly. That’s what I was asking myself at the end, too. Why am I doing this when I was relaxing, playing Words with Friends, right before it was time for Harper to be born? I was sleeping, hanging out, feeling good, and pushed with ease. It was also an awesome, happy birth experience. Kyle didn’t understand, if it went so smoothly, why mess it up? But why run a marathon? Why put the strain on your body and crazily run 26.2 miles? What’s wrong with 5 miles or even 13? The medal, the honor, the pride, the journey, the test, the experience, the empowerment. You still get the greatest gift either way- going all natural, being induced, having an epidural, a planned or emergency c-section. The most important thing is having a healthy baby, and I applaud everyone who’s been through any kind of childbirth, because they all have difficulties, and that’s just the start of how hard it is to raise a child.

There were also other reasons why I wanted to go natural. Just the thought of the baby and God choosing when he wanted to be born is cool. I was in such a hurry with Harper, anxiously wanting to meet her, that I would have been induced the moment the doctor said I could. I wanted to experience what it was like for my water to break, or strong enough contractions to head to the hospital. For Max to choose his own birthday. I definitely did not want to be induced, and if I was, it would have made natural birth more challenging. A documentary: The Business of Being Born, sheds light on the fact that having babies is a business for hospitals in the US. They want you in and out, as quick as possible, to make more money. Pitocin, the induction drug, helps with this, and it’s administered to the majority of women giving birth in America. The movie touched on the fact that epidurals have led to an American culture shift, for the “easy way,” thus disabling women to feel confidence in their own child birthing abilities. The media and tv shows portray childbirth as something torturous, scary, and painful, with women just screaming in pain. It doesn’t always have to be like that, and I wanted to see for myself and do it the way women have for years before now. And for health reasons: it’s obviously better for the baby to not have unnecessary pain medications pass through their system, and they are born more alert. Pitocin causes unnatural, stronger contractions that can be hard on the baby, and also raises the stakes for having to get a c-section. I’ve seen so many moms recently with that fate, because they were induced early and their bodies not ready for it. Further, the ability to move around freely: I didn’t want an IV, needle in my back, a catheter, or to be bed-ridden! I hated that I couldn’t feel my toes last time, along with the uncontrollable shaking. And finally, I desired a faster recovery. I was able to get up from bed much sooner this time. I had less ripping because I could feel how hard I was pushing. Overall, the recovery, which I didn’t know what to expect in comparison, has been awesome! I had a couple pain meds in the hospital, mainly for cramping, and have needed nothing else since. It’s been a very quick recovery, which I am thankful for, and credit the natural labor along with it being my second child. (I feel like I just wrote a college essay.)

Looking back now, I have a different opinion than the night right after. It’s been an experience that brought my husband and I closer together, because if he can see me through that, I feel comfortable with anything. He also learned what to expect for next time! ;) Wait, what? Although I wouldn’t change this one, I still don’t know if I would do it again. Only time will tell, several years from now. I love that both of my children have completely different, but equally special birth stories.

Now let’s talk postpartum. During the last several weeks of pregnancy, my anxiety levels were way heightened. I’m sure it’s normal for pregnant women– the nerves of first time moms, or even second or third time moms, adding another person to their family. I felt like a crazy person, and Kyle thought I was a crazy person. This whole pregnancy wasn’t the easiest to go through, mentally. After a loss, and then the down’s syndrome scare, changing doctors, and the home life of a busy Etsy shop, demanding toddler and dog, taking care of my grandmother, attempting to keep up with household chores, and maintaining a romantic relationship with my husband, without getting any alone time and staying busy with routine. It was a lot of work! And yet, many women do all of that, along with full-time jobs. I couldn’t imagine! Luckily, I do get to stay home, so I had some downtime. Everything was perfect and easy health wise for me and baby, so that’s a blessing. However, toward the end, being pregnant was naturally wearing on me. It’s hard when you’re so big anyway, don’t have the energy to do what you used to, and can’t even reach down to tie your shoes!

My anxiety included: my new and unwelcomed stretch marks ALL over my stomach, feeling huge and not at all sexy, getting my notorious to-do list finished, trying to get Kyle to help with said to-do list and get on board with natural birth, getting mad when he didn’t understand the point of doing such things, that Harper (already extremely Daddy’s girl) wouldn’t like me anymore when the baby came, that she wouldn’t like the baby, that we would not get to video tape her meeting Max, that he would be born with a deformity, health issue or something, that I wasn’t practicing Hypnobabies enough, if I could handle natural labor and how that would go, if I could possibly love another baby like I did Harper, that my boobs would be so sore for weeks, that the nursery would never get finished, how we would handle bedtime for two, how we would have time to be a couple, how we can afford everything, on and on. Mostly normal stuff, but I was really concerned about getting baby blues or postpartum depression (PPD). “Baby blues” is a normal occurrence among new moms, due to all the change in hormones, and includes anxiety, crying spells and mood swings. PPD involves a more severe, long-lasting depression. I even cried at the hospital the morning we were supposed to leave, because Kyle was rushing me and I wasn’t ready yet.

I said all of that because I just want to brag on my baby. I feel almost bad to say it, because so many women struggle with newborns, especially with lack of sleep and breastfeeding challenges. But, we are happier than ever and doing wonderful. Max is the easiest baby. He sleeps all day, eats often when he is awake, and sleeps most of the night. He barely cries. He’s healthy, and gained not only back to his birth weight, but a whole pound extra. Breastfeeding is obviously going well. Way easier than last time around, now that I’m experienced I guess. I have less engorgement, way less soreness. It’s funny at the hospital, the lactation consultation said I was doing the “advanced hold,” not the one for beginners. But Max has definitely caught on, and I even feel confident to nurse in public or around people in general, with a cover. I get more sleep now, than I did before he was born. It helps that Kyle has been off for two weeks, and still has two more weeks off. How awesome and is that. But, Max and I have been sleeping in until 8:30, while Kyle gets up between 6-7:30 with Harper. Added bonus: he’s super cute too! And cuddly. I could just do sit on the couch all day and hold him. I know it won’t always be this easy. The doctor said expect him to eat even more around 3 weeks, and be awake more. We are trying to establish a routine with Harper, while Kyle is home, to make it easier for everyone. She fights naps and bedtime with a passion. Her adjusting has definitely been the hardest part of it all. And whether we had a baby or not, it was going to be this way because she just turned two and it going through changes, becoming more independent yet also more whiney.

At home, with all the anxiety, I also felt alone at times. Going through my birth preparations myself, and then the fact that anytime Kyle is home, Harper only wants him, and Cooper is the same way. It hurt my feelings some. Well now, I have my own little buddy! He needs me, and I need him. A new meaning for life. This is definitely why I am on Earth- to be a mom and live and spread God’s glory through my children. Over the past couple of weeks, I have felt SO full of love. It’s overwhelming and wonderful. I tried to cherish every last “only child” moment with Harper over the past few months, held her close, and now I’m so excited to begin life with two. She doesn’t show much interest in him yet, but I know they will  become best of friends (sometimes), and we’re looking forward to making many exciting family memories.

Thanks for reading my novels :) In a few hours, I will find out whether I’m getting a new niece or nephew this summer. Also getting a new niece in May, and everyone else I know is having boys. So excited about all the babies!!!!

He’s Here! Max’s Birth Story

I can’t believe it’s been a whole week since we were at the hospital. I’ve been looking forward to writing this, even before Max was born, so here’s our [super long] story:

Or you can just skip to the short story and pictures at the bottom.

I guess it technically starts on January 31.. my due date. I had a doctor’s appointment that Friday morning. She said I was 1cm, 50% effaced, which was progress from the week before, but meant he still was not ready yet (although he could be at anytime). She estimated early the next week, Sunday or Monday. I decided to go ahead and have her strip my membranes, to hopefully ensure I would avoid induction the following Friday. Harper and I pitied ourselves celebrated reaching 40 weeks with a trip to Krispy Kreme. I made sure Kyle had printed my birth plan and brought it home from work that night. The next two days I spent getting last minute things ready, along with a few more various attempts to naturally endure labor, like using the breast pump and eating pineapple. Fast forward to Sunday, we watched the first part of the Super Bowl in agony, and decided having a baby would have been a much better alternative than finishing the game. Glad I didn’t end up buying Max a Bronco’s outfit, since he wasn’t here anyway. I honestly swear..as soon as I marked the very last thing off my to-do list that weekend.. contractions started! Saturday night began mild ones, which leads me to think my tactics were working, and were on and off until Monday morning.

At 6am Monday, I was woken with noticeable contractions, ones I could tell when they started and stopped. This was pretty exciting, because it’s what I had been waiting for, so I texted a few family members that morning to say today was probably the day. Kyle was scheduled to be off starting that day, so it worked out well. They began 8-10 minutes apart in the morning and progressed to 6-7 minutes apart through the afternoon. Sometimes they would range from 4 to 9 minutes apart, so I knew I wouldn’t be ready to go until they were at least 5 minutes apart for an hour, like they recommend. I wanted to stay home as long as possible, because I planned to go natural. Waiting at home, with the ability to eat and be mobile is much better than being at the hospital. My doctor told me I could wait until 4 to 5 minute apart contractions, so that was the plan! People were starting to worry I wouldn’t make it on time and have a baby on the way, but I knew it would still be a while. Contractions were pretty intense at times, but I could still talk and walk around. This was maybe 2:30-3pm.

For several weeks, I had been practicing Hypnobabies, a “childbirth using self-hypnosis” technique. It involves pain management by relaxation, meditation, and keeping your subconscious mind positive and clear of fear, negativity, and worries. Exactly my kind of thing, because it goes along with my belief system of thoughts becoming reality, and I know my mind is strong.  A friend was kind enough to let me borrow the CDs and corresponding workbooks, so I tried to practice as much as possible, though I usually ended up falling asleep or not having time. I was as ready as I was going to be. I haven’t openly discussed my natural birth desires much, because it’s important with Hypnobabies to keep the positive mindset, and not subject myself to negative comments and feedback about it. When I was in the moment, I didn’t want to be thinking of those things people said, or have negative images/thoughts about things I’ve read or watched. However, that didn’t always work well since Kyle wasn’t really on board. I tried to make it clear over the past few weeks that although I would consider keeping my options open to an epidural, going in with that mindset was not happening. Anyway, during the time we were waiting at home, I finally got a quiet place and was focusing on the CD. Contractions started being about where I wanted them to be, so I called the hospital and told them we were heading in. I found out Dr. Brown was on-call, instead of my doctor, but I was okay with that. He’s the senior of the practice and I have heard great things of him. I still was hoping Dr. Rossell would make it, but was glad it was him if not. I knew the ride there would be rough, so I was just ready to get it over with and be at the hospital. Kyle’s mom was at our house at about 4:30 or so. She was staying there with Harper and Cooper while we were gone. I stayed in my room to focus until we left, during a break in contractions.

Finally getting to the good stuff… Got the hospital around 5:45pm. It took them what seems like forever to get me checked in because there were other girls in front of me, and all rooms on the “night time side” filled apparently. I got to triage, and the nurse asked me if I had an induction date scheduled, just in case. I told her I did, but I was hoping I was further progressed. Was a little worried I would somehow only be like 2 cm still. (Last time around when I went to the hospital with Harper with irregular contractions, I was only at 1cm. They just let me stay and be induced, since it was my due date.) She checked me, and said, “Well you won’t be needing that induction.” I asked how far along and she asked if I really wanted to know. “Yes! Of course.” 6 cm. This made me feel great, that I was able to wait that long at home, and this was the real deal. She immediately started taking me serious and calling to get me a delivery room. I wanted a labor tub, so they accommodated that. I really liked that nurse, except for the fact she had to do my hep-lock twice (IV not connected to anything, so I could move around). She was helpful during contractions, but unfortunately was leaving soon at shift change. Dr. Brown came in to meet us, and read over the birth plan. He said he’d be around, waiting!

I finally got in the labor tub, until I had to be monitored again in 30 minutes. It didn’t really help me relax. I was adamant about trying it out, to see how it was, but I hate getting out of water and being cold, so that wasn’t fun. My new nurse was nice, but provided little encouragement to help me relax. I found out after the baby was born that she didn’t see the birth plan until afterwards; that may have helped. She did bring me a birthing ball that I wanted. At some point, Dr. Brown came to check me again. I was still at 6 cm, after at least an hour had passed. That was discouraging! Hypnobabies says it’s better to not find out, and that’s probably true. Unfortunately, I was not listening to the soundtrack anymore, and was just doing my best to get through each contraction on my own. I “couldn’t stand the lady in my ears” anymore. Throughout the whole day I kept imagining my cervix like a flower that was opening, and that was one image that stuck and got me through. Pressure was SO intense and I was getting pretty miserable. Poor Kyle! I brought him the kindle, magazines, handheld video games, laptop, everything to keep him entertained but he didn’t use any of them. He just sat there, feeling sad and helpless for me. I think he was just waiting the whole time for me to ask for drugs and not be in pain. I kinda felt bad for him, even though I know he could have prepared himself better. He was good, doing anything he could to help me though. The biggest thing was staying hydrated and they let me keep drinking on my water. He would bring it to me every few minutes, but otherwise kept his distance, per my request. I didn’t want people touching me. I ended up spending a lot of time just sitting in the bathroom on the toilet, to be focused alone, and because the pressure there was insane. I was also hoping my water would break. Basically, I was doing all of this mentally alone. So, during that time in bathroom, in my head I finally accepted defeat. I didn’t want to feel pain anymore when I could be relaxed and enjoy the rest of the night waiting for my baby. This was the time I really could have used a pep-talk, because apparently lots of women at this point going natural want think they want drugs. Many have people to talk them out of it, like a midwife, doula, or birth partner. In hindsight, I wish I would have gotten a doula for support. It’s crucial. But I had decided, if he checked me and I wasn’t much further progressed, I would ask for an epidural.

At 7:45pm, Dr. Brown was already back to check again anyway, so perfect timing. He said I was at 7-8cm, but baby was sitting on the bag of water, so it was in the way of me progressing. I just wanted to know how much longer, and he said it could still take a couple hours if it kept on like this. He said he could break my water but it would be even more intense. Or I could get the epidural and then he could break the water; labor wouldn’t be stalled by it. I knew I couldn’t take much more, so I asked them to call anesthesia, and Kyle was obviously supportive of the decision. I was torn and felt sad and really defeated, but was crying and screaming in pain so wanted it to be over. Kyle said it was like I just lost focus, and I had. When he checked me, it must have done something though, because I immediately felt leaking. I told them something felt like it was leaking, but I wasn’t sure. They had to connect my IV and get a bag of fluid. Anesthesia got there, and I’m lying on my side in bed, or had to turn that way for the girl to get to my back. No way I was going to be able to sit up. I kept telling her to wait until a contraction finished. She was kind of flustered Kyle said, and had to wait until the main anesthesiologist got there to put it in since I was lying down. So, during this time, my water definitely broke! She was poking my back with her fingernail, to show me how the needle would feel. But immediately I told them to stop because the baby was coming! Or I probably was yelling it. They also saw meconium (baby poop), so had to call in NICU for precaution. As well as the extra nurses, and doctor, for delivery. There was probably at least ten people in there, though I don’t remember even seeing anyone, maybe my eyes were closed. I was so glad it all happened fast and I didn’t have to get an epidural. After the whole entire day of contractions, and months of preparing, I didn’t want it to end like that at the last minute. Anyway! They kept saying not to push, though he was crowning, pretty impossible not to. We were waiting on the doctor to get in and get his gloves on and stuff. A delivery nurse came in and took over, and let me stay on my side, (which was part of my plan anyway to push in whatever position I needed). When they were ready, I pushed that baby out in about 4 contractions! Born at 8:25 pm on Monday, February 3rd, Max was 8lbs, 10 ounces, 20.25 inches long. I was so proud of that! I was hoping he would be a good 8 pounds at least. It felt amazing to feel him being born. That’s exactly what I wanted, and would have been more tolerable, if it wasn’t for that killer hour beforehand, combined with a whole day of labor. I told everyone, I probably wouldn’t do it a second time, but I am glad I got this experience. I will talk more about it in my next post. I definitely got my happy, joyous cry moment, and we were so glad he was here.

I didn’t get the immediate skin-to-skin because they had to suction him real good, but once they did that I finally got to see my new baby. What a journey! Kyle went over to take pictures when he was getting cleaned up, but with all the people in there, heat cranked up, everything that had just happened, and him not eating all day, made him feel pretty light headed and almost pass out. He had to sit down a few. Kinda bummed I didn’t have any pictures taken during labor, though I’m not sure that part is something I want to remember much of. Both of us were just soaking in the fact of that our wonderful son was here. Max had a head full of hair, and I was immediately in love. I didn’t think he looked like any of us though. We bonded and breastfed, naturally he was great at it right off. Since it was so late, we didn’t have an entourage waiting for us at the hospital. Kyle’s grandparents who insisted on coming anyway were there, but I was glad. It was really special for them, and they were excited to see him first. A prize worth the couple hours wait I suppose! No one else had gotten an update since the 6cm, because it all happened so fast. Once we got settled, we let everyone know he was here. My dad, mom, and sister all came that night. It all worked out well, because I was so tired and just wanted to rest after that. Rachel brought me a double bacon cheeseburger and chocolate shake I asked for. I wanted Harper to come in the morning, so she and we could be fresh! About 10 or 11pm, I got to move upstairs. We visited til about midnight. Then, the baby nurse was waiting for Max’s temperature to get warm enough for him to get a bath, while we snuggled with him so he would warm up. We did all that and got to sleep about 2 or 3am. Talk about a long day!! Originally, we went in planning to name him Maxwell Denver, but I kept being skeptical once we told his grandparents the name. I still like it, but after talking about it that night Kyle and I decided on his full name as Maxwell Kyle Herndon. Finally we were in agreement for the first time over it, and that the meaningful name perfect for him.

The next morning, my dad came back to visit. Roger and Stephanie came, and were ready waiting with video camera for when Harper got there. She came with Granny Dee and G-Mama. All the people and new place made her skeptical, but she shyly met her baby brother. It was a special and sweet moment. She sat with us, as the pictures show, but then wanted to walk the halls with Daddy. Everyone visited a while. We had many more visitors throughout the day– my dad and Starr on her lunch break, Zack and Kyle went out to lunch at some point, Jessica came, and Steph and Patrick stopped by after work. Also Max was visited by our pediatrician, lactation consultant, and got a hearing test. Good day, but once again we were tired and were able to get some rest that evening. We got to spend a lot of time cuddling and loving on little boy. Of course, I had to take lots of pictures in several outfits. Nursing was going great. The next morning, little guy got circumcised, and we were cleared by Dr. Mishu and Dr. Rossell to go home by about 2pm. Kyle was tapping his feet ready to go by 11am, so that was good. It took a while to get paperwork from the nurse and everything packed up and ready. I gave out my last nurse tumbler, and she escorted us to the car and off we went, a new life in tote. It was time to bring him home to meet Cooper and kitties, get adjusted back at home, and begin a new journey raising two children: a sweet new baby boy along with an awesome big sister.

Short story: I was going for a natural, med-free birth. Contractions started at 6am Monday morning, I labored at home all day. We checked in the hospital about 6pm and found out I was at 6cm. Happy about that. About 7:45pm, the doctor checked me, I was at 7-8cm. I was too miserable and didn’t know how much longer it would take, so regretfully, I had them call anesthesia. Luckily, I didn’t end up needing it, because shortly after, my water broke. While the anesthesiologist was prepping my back, I told them yelled at them to stop because the baby was coming! I had to wait for the doctor and everyone to get ready, and with four contractions of pushing, he was here! Weighing in at 8 lbs 10 oz, 20.25 inches long, Max was born at 8:25pm, so that whole thing happened very quick. But he was perfect and had a head full of dark hair!! The all-day contractions and last hour of super intense pressure was the worst part, and I think if I had a doula for support, I wouldn’t have caved and asked for meds. All in all, it was quite the experience and Kyle and I were extremely happy to have our son. We had a few visitors that night, and then it was time for Max’s bath and well-deserved sleep, with our wonderful new baby.

Here’s our story in pictures:

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40 weeks, 3 days
ImageImageImageImageImageGood size baby!ImageHere was funny because I was worried about him being “upside down.” They told me, it’s okay, he’s been upside down for months.ImageImageImageImageJust feeling happy and relieved. ImageImageThat sweet face!ImageImageImageImageImageImageIMG_6039 IMG_6029 (1)IMG_6030IMG_6104ImageImageImageIMG_6167ImageImageImageIMG_6070 (1)ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageIMG_6153IMG_6134IMG_6132ImageIMG_6138ImageImageImageImageIMG_6172ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

Anytime now, Maxwell!

Hang on to your hats…. yes, Max is still baking. I am 40 weeks today, and seemingly more patient than I thought I would be, and compared to most everyone else. Everyone’s anxious to meet our little guy! Although, Kyle would probably disagree about me being patient because it’s all I talk about and some nights I’m like “just get this baby out!!!” But overall, I’m not in miserable pain or super uncomfortable, as long as I can stay on the couch ;) Maybe it’s because I’m just now feeling ready. Packed our bags this past week, and have finally got everything checked off my list, except maybe 2 or 3 items. I put off a lot of stuff but got it all done! I even made another freezer meal tonight that I had gotten the ingredients for. I just like the idea of him coming when he wants to and having the full experience of going into labor on my own. We thought he would come sooner than Harper, since it’s the second baby, but he seems pretty comfortable. A due date is just a guess anyway. They have to put a date on it, but really it should be a “due month” because a baby born 38-42 weeks is “normal.” He’s not considered late until 42 weeks..yikes! But my doctor prefers to no go past 41 weeks for health reasons, so the induction is still set for Feb 7 if he doesn’t come before then. We will still try to avoid pitocin, but I plan to update on the birth story, once it’s happened! My prediction is still valid until tomorrow! :)

We will let everyone know in a timely manner so don’t worry!

My appointment today showed some progression, but I still haven’t had any contractions at all. I’ve had cramps, but nothing saying labor is imminent. Harper and I then treated ourselves to a donut at Krispy Kreme, since no baby today. I had a coupon for a dozen free, so my plan is/was to take the extra box to the hospital for the nurses, if he comes this weekend. If not, I will have 12 extra donuts to eat! :-O Then, I didn’t really feel like doing much, so we just sat around and relaxed.. Just reflecting on the past two years and previous birth, the journey through pregnancy, and anticipating labor and what our life is about to be like four family members, and how Harper will react to all the changes. This time is so surreal because any night could be our very last, with an only child. Within hours of labor starting, we could be on our way to meet our son.

It’s hard to be and feel completely “ready” but spending some time in God’s word yesterday made me even more excited. I’ve always loved the verse in 1 Samuel: “I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him.” (1:27-NIV). I didn’t realize that was the story of Hannah, and her words about her son. She had not been able to have children, and asked God to help her. When he was weaned, she gave him up to serve the Lord. It’s a good story! We’ve prayed for this baby, and our prayer will be officially answered shortly. Another verse I posted on Facebook: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” -Psalm 139:13-14. How amazing.. to know you and I, were created by God, fully planned out, as tiny little babies not even born yet. There’s plenty of morals here, like knowing God created us individually, exactly the way we are, and we should treat ourselves as such..his beautiful and perfect creations. But also, that we have a purpose. God chose to create you. He chose to create everyone, and currently he’s been working on Max! Max has a purpose on earth and purpose for God; and no pressure, but it’s our job as parents to guide, teach, and raise him to be good Christian man. From a tiny infant, to a toddler learning to walk and talk, to a little boy hitting his first home run, making his first tackle, scoring his first touchdown, to a young man getting his first girlfriend, his driver’s license, a diploma, etc… I am so ecstatic to think about having a son, a brother for Harper, a little wildness to the family, and ultimately man of God. This little baby will grow up and start a family, have a wife, and kids, and have to be the leader and spiritual role model for them, and help take care of us when we get old! And I look at Kyle, his brother, and other great men in my life, and think.. we have to create that. So blessed to have wonderful influences for him. It’s our job and opportunity to mold this little person into the best he can be.. and it all starts next week!

39 week update

Stay put baby! Everyone’s been asking of course about when Max will show up. He’s due on the 31st, so now only 5 more days! Exciting that it’s finally here, within a week of the due date! I was literally pregnant almost the entire year of 2013 so physically and emotionally we are SO ready! Mentally.. maybe not ever! Haha, but it’s finally starting to sink in that we will soon have our baby on the outside to hold and hug! And my to-do list is dwindling down to just a couple more things. My doctor told me to feel free and have him this weekend, because she will be there the whole time and we can hang out. Kyle said, “this weekend??!” I said… yes, it could happen!! Reality check for sure because he planned on having this weekend to get final things done, and relax/play video games I’m sure. Luckily, he’s gotten his wish. Tomorrow we will finish packing hospital bags, install the carseat, and be ready ready! Glad we haven’t had to rush to the hospital yet with all that still to do.

The plan is to go into labor on my own, so it could be anytime in the next 13 days. Crazy to see the number typed out. February 7th is the eviction date. I have an induction scheduled just in case, but the doctor and I both think he will come before then, and I definitely want to avoid induction. I think dilation and all that is a pretty personal thing that I won’t flash all over social media, but like I’ve said all along, I think it will be very close to the due date. Besides dilation doesn’t mean much because someone could be at 3cm for weeks, or go from 0-10cm within several hours. Kyle’s guess is the 28th and mine Feb 1st, but any guess is as good as the other. It could happen anytime and when it does he will likely come quick. I will be laboring at home for a while this time, unless my water breaks, and we’ll go straight in (granted he’s at home, but he’s only 45 minutes away if not.) I’m so excited! I love labor and the whole experience, so I’m looking forward to it. And did I mention the room service yet?! Haha. We are definitely only hoping to have a two night stay, versus three. I can’t stand the thought of being away from Harper for that long or Kyle having to leave me to go tend to her and Cooper. At least I’ll have a new buddy to keep me company!

So why stay put? Why am I not doing everything I can to try and induce labor, because I totally would be trying various techniques.. Well, poor Harper got another virus. Thursday morning we wake up, and she seemed less energetic. I didn’t think much of it, but Kyle had a notion she didn’t feel well, and we were around sick people the night before, which made us paranoid. Well, after breakfast she vomited and felt warm. Sure enough, fever of 101! I was so upset, because she had just gotten over her sickness and we’ve been trying so hard to avoid the flu. These were flu symptoms so I immediately called the dr and got the first available appointment. Kyle met me at the office that afternoon. Fever was now 102, but strep and flu tests were negative! Happy about that, but poor girl had to get another finger prick and all at the doctor, for the second time this week. Said she had another virus! :( Which means..no antibiotics, we have to wait it out, and she would be contagious until no fever for 24-48 hours. I would be heartbroken if she was not at the hospital to meet her baby brother, so no rush!! However, ever since this morning, she has been fever free! Yay! So as long as she is still good in the morning, we’re ready to go!!

Anymore guesses?? Or for the height and weight?

I’m going to say 8 pounds 3 ounces, 20.5 inches. Sounds good :)
Harper was 7lbs 11oz, 19 in.