Monday, October 20, 2014

Baby H: His Name

Our son, Mark Jameson.

It still shocks me every now and again that he's our son, that he's here in the world and that we made him. One of the biggest parts about having a child is deciding on a name. His name is his identity. He'll have it for the rest of his life and J and I took choosing his name very seriously.

Before knowing the gender of our first born we had started talking names and it's a good thing Mark is a boy because we were lightyears away from deciding on a girls but came up with a boys relatively easily. We both agreed early on that we didn't want something trendy. We didn't want something that our child would have to spell every time they gave their name. We didn't want something that would continuously be mispronounced. We didn't want something that would fit a child but not carry through to adulthood. We wanted something classic and also something with meaning.

His middle name, Jameson, is a bit of a tribute to our honeymoon in Ireland and a bit "just because we liked it". We had picked his first name and wanted something with more than two syllables (okay maybe that was just me and my a-type personality). Jameson was easy and simple and just fell into place.

It's his first name, Mark, that holds all the meaning. I've written about it many times before but my dad passed away years ago and it's been one of the toughest parts of my life (and continues to be to this day). His name was Mark. And after thinking about it for only a short time we knew our son would be named after his grandpa. It just felt right. It's an honor to an amazing man, something our son can hopefully take pride in and it makes my heart swell each and every time I call him by his first name.

And to make it that much more sweet, I truly believe my dad knows his grandson carries on the memory of him. During my labor with Mark, after settling in with my epidural and beginning the process of delivering our first born, I asked J to turn on some music for me on his phone. My request was the James Taylor station on Pandora. Carolina in My Mind was the first song that played and I cried. It was the song from our wedding. The song I danced with my mom to, the song I would have been dancing with my dad to, THE song that is the epitome of my dad to me. And in that moment, early in the morning on September 25th, just moments before meeting my son, I knew my dad was there welcoming his grandson into the world with us.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Baby H: Two Weeks

Taking the time to blog is on the back burner for now with a newborn, a husband with a full time job and being in medical school but there are things I don't want to forget. These posts won't be perfectly put together, it's been months since I posted about anything other than our son/my pregnancy, and it might stay quiet around here as our world has been changed forever. 

But I need to remember this season of life.
I need to remember those first days in the hospital, sleep deprived, in love with our son, falling more in love with J each moment I saw him with his baby. I need to remember the feeling of success when we finally got Mark to sleep at home after hours of screaming and fighting sleep.
I need to remember making baby hats out of robe sleeves because getting out of bed could have woken him up and required too much energy. I need to remember snuggling our little boy on his due date and the first time he got a bottle from daddy. I need to remember his skinny arms and cross-eyed gaze.
I need to remember his tiny self, so much littler than we ever thought he would be. I need to remember his personality even in these early days, his pouty lip, his long fingers, his soft skin.
I need to remember how special being this little boy's mommy is and how he's only going to be little for a while. I need to remember how timid Ollie has been with Mark but more and more curious each day. I need to remember that getting out of the house might not be easy, we might be too hard on ourselves but that it's always worth it in the end.
I need to remember the way he looks at me, even for just a moment before staring off into space, because he already knows who I am. I need to remember the adjustments we're all making to make this all work. I need to remember his first bath and how he surprises us every day.
I need to remember that life is a balance now between my own goals and being Mark's mommy. I need to remember how tiny pants still are too big and how I could stare at him while he sleeps. I need to remember to give myself and my body grace, we've only been doing this for two weeks and it took 9 months to grow our little man.

Each day with our little boy is getting better and better and I just know the best is yet to come. His two week doctors appointment went off with flying colors as everything is checking out great and we've already surpassed his birth weight. Our little man is now 7lbs 6oz and still 20 inches long and we think he's growing like a weed. Breastfeeding has been quite the challenge, pain, lack of sleep, worrying if he's getting enough, trying to pump and store while also feeding a super hungry boy. I'm keeping up with it and hoping that it gets better with time. We survived the first two weeks and are finally getting our heads above water. What a journey this has been!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Baby H: Birth Story pt 2

Miss part one? Go here.

Once we finally made it to labor and delivery and quickly got checked in at the nurses station we were headed to a triage room to make sure that this was really happening. More of a technicality than anything else because I for sure knew this baby boy was on his way out. The nurse hooked me up to the monitors as I tried to lay in bed writhing in pain with each contraction. She checked me and I was between 5-6cm, up from 3cm five days before at my doctors appointment. It was confirmed that I was indeed in labor and I started the journey down the hall to our labor room. I glanced at the clock and it was 10:15pm.

Keeping in pace with the rest of the evening, once we got to my actual room things just kept on ramping up. I had gone into this whole thing not sure what to expect in terms of pain and what I wanted to do as far as meds were concerned. I didn't want to go into it assuming I would get an epidural because I had never experienced it before while on the other hand there wasn't a single part of me that felt bad or ashamed or less strong for wanting meds. I wanted to play it by ear with that part of labor and by the time I made it into the room I was already asking for an epidural. Epidurals however require an IV to be started and labs to be drawn before the anesthesiologist can begin. I literally couldn't even sit down during contractions which were coming only minutes apart at this point and it took every square inch of me to hold still long enough (while standing up, mind you) for my nurse to be able to put in the IV line and draw my blood. Then she gave me the worst news, it would be about 30 minutes for the labs to come back.

I literally almost lost it. There was no way I was going to be able to wait 30 more minutes. My contractions were stronger than ever at this point, I was already feeling the unstoppable urge to push and I was about to give in, things were getting so rough. There was one contraction in particular where I didn't even know what to do with my body and I told J I couldn't do it anymore. I asked for a birthing ball because we had learned in our birth class it can be comfortable. My nurse went running from the room to get one for me, I sat down and immediately stood up. That wasn't going to work. I tried sitting on the bed, I tried squatting on the floor, I tried bending over, clutching J's hand, shaking my legs, anything I could think of. My nurse became my biggest advocate at this point. She called the anesthesiologist seeing if she would start even without labs since I was healthy and had no pregnancy complications. No dice. I swear she must have stood at that computer continuously hitting refresh for my labs because finally, about 15 or 20 minutes later the anesthesiologist walked in with her glorious cart and started to prep me. Knowing that sweet relief was coming was like someone else took over my body as I sat completely still with my back rounded allowing her to work her magic when just minutes before I could have run around the room like a chicken with it's head cut off. I felt the coolness in my back and knew it would be better from here on. Time check was 11:20pm.
The first few contractions were still fairly painful but each one became progressively weaker and lasted a shorter amount of time.  I had 3 contractions after the epidural was in place before my nurse checked me again. I was complete. And I think I might have cursed in disbelief when she said that. Essentially I had progressed to active labor ready to push completely on my own without medication.

From then on it was time to move this baby down and out. I was thankfully able to still feel the pressure of each contraction and would look at J to tell him I was ready each time I felt a new one rising. With the help of my nurse and the constant encouragement from my husband we made progress towards meeting our son. Between the epidural, my hormones and the adrenaline rushing through my body I had shakes like I've never had before. J asked me why I was so freezing at one point and I told him I was sweating and that I couldn't help but shake. At one point they were worried about baby's heart rate and ended up attaching a monitor to the top of his head (which I had no idea they could do) since it seemed like the external monitor wasn't picking things up correctly. Once we were close the OB covering for my usual one came into the room and helped bring our sweet, sweet boy into the world.

Mark was born at 0049 on September 25th, 2014. Just six and a half hours after I thought I might be having real contractions. The nurses and OB jokingly told us that we need to head to the hospital immediately for baby #2 with the pace that my first labor decided to take.
I'm not sure if it was because his cord was around his neck or just because of a miscommunication and the lack of my regular OB but he wasn't placed directly on my chest like I originally wanted him to be. This was my only negative feeling towards my labor experience as a whole and thankfully we quickly demanded that I have him and the nurses placed him on my chest in one of the best moments of my life. J and I were completely smitten by him. He weighed a tiny 7lbs 3oz which was much littler than we thought he would be based on u/s estimates. His APGAR scores were 8 and 9 and he was the most perfect little thing we'd ever seen.

We spent the rest of the early morning visiting with the eager and ever doting grandmas who made their appearance at 3am just to meet this sweet little boy. I was still hyped up with energy from labor itself but we finally were able to get some rest as the morning progressed. Mark slept in the bed with me the entire first day as I couldn't fathom giving him up, not smelling his brand-new skin and stroking his dark head of hair.
We stayed in the hospital until Saturday and took full advantage of having so many nurses and docs around to get advice from. Breast feeding started off well, the pediatrician came by each morning and told us that he was as healthy as can be, he passed his hearing test with flying colors and even got his first bath while daddy watched. We definitely had our tough moments as we were given a pretty high-needs baby it seems making these sleep deprived new parents quite at a loss. Add in a few shifts of unhelpful nurses and we were feeling pretty defeated. Thankfully our last nurse, Sandy, was a godsend and turned our world upside-down with all her help and advice and patience and just general goodness.
We left the hospital around 2pm on Saturday afternoon with our precious bundle of joy ready to start on the adventure that is parenthood. Becoming this little boys momma early that Thursday morning was one of the most fantastic moments I have ever had. Mark was ready to meet the world in rapid fashion and we can't wait to see what the rest of his life brings.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Baby H: Birth Story pt 1

Mark Jameson Holland was born on September 25th, 2014 at 12:49 am. His birth was completely different than I expected it to be, surpassed my expectations about what my first labor would be like and challenged me in ways I never knew possible. He sure had a mind of his own, this little boy of ours, and his birth story shows just that.

I was 39 weeks and 2 days pregnant. I had been having Braxton Hicks contractions for quite some time that were increasing in frequency but not doing a darn thing. I was at home for the evening doing some studying upstairs in my office while J was making dinner for us when I thought I was having my first real contraction. The feeling was very different than what I was used to, it felt like a really strong period cramp throughout my entire belly and into my back. It didn't take my breath away with pain but it definitely got my attention. I finished what I was working on and headed downstairs for dinner where I proceeded to tell J that I thought I finally had a real one. This was at about 6:30pm on Wednesday night.

We ate dinner together, burgers from the grill and sweet potato fries, and I continued to have the same type of contractions. They still weren't strong enough to make me think it was really time but I ended up having to stop eating during them and just focus when they happened. After dinner I decided to start timing them. I had no other symptoms or signs that labor was imminent and the contractions were already coming at intervals less than 5 minutes apart. I was convinced at this point that it wasn't really happening yet. It was now 7:00pm.

Over the course of the next hour and a half I timed contractions that were progressively getting stronger and stronger. J and I were watching Bridesmaids on TV while I moved around, drank lots of water and eventually got to the point where I had to stop what I was doing and couldn't talk through them anymore. Contractions were averaging 3-4 minutes apart lasting about a minute each. We figured we should call the doctor at this point since this was the "typical frequency" that warranted a call. Unfortunately my OB wasn't available that night and had specifically called in one particular OB to cover for her. After speaking to her about what was going on she casually said, "come on in if you think it's time". We contemplated whether we needed to go yet. We knew this was the real deal but didn't want to be the couple that shows up way too early. So we finished packing the last minute items in our hospital bag and J took my picture which would end up being the last one with my big baby belly. Contractions were getting strong, strong enough to make me a bit concerned so we figured it was time to head out. The time was 9:15pm.
The puppy momma in me wanted to make sure that our Ollie dog was well taken care of especially since he was already on edge sensing that something was up. So I insisted to J that we grab his leash and a bowl of food and drop him off at my mom's house on our way. I told J it would just make me that much more comfortable knowing he wasn't home alone. We got in the car and let me tell you how much worse contractions are when you're stuck in a car seat not able to move or position yourself differently. We finally got to my mom's, got the dog out of the car and I told J to get to the hospital as quick as he could because I needed out of the car asap.

We pulled into the hospital parking lot at the ER entrance since it was after hours and the main doors were closed. Within ten feet of the car I had a contraction, leaned over the suitcase, breathed hard and was honestly a little bit freaked out about how quickly things were changing. I was finally able to walk again and made it through the ER and into the hospital lobby before having another contraction that was even worse than the last. I couldn't walk, couldn't talk, clenched my fists until it was over. J told me we needed to walk as quick as we could because he was worried we wouldn't make it upstairs. I had another contraction in the elevator meaning J had to hold the doors open on the 3rd floor before I was able to walk the last bit into labor and delivery.

Part two coming tomorrow....

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Baby H: Happy Birthday Little Boy

We are so in love and so thankful for our healthy baby boy. 

I'll be posting a birth story at some point but for now I'm gonna soak in his newness, smell his sweet skin and hold him as much as he'll let me. 


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