Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Baby H: One Month of Patrick

He... 

[+] weighs 8#12 according to our baby scale at home. His birth weight was 6#10 and two weeks was 7#0 and his lowest weight (the day we left the hospital) he was 6#5. He's definitely putting on the pounds and is a great eater. His belly is sure getting round, now if only we could get some rolls on those legs of his!

[+] is still wearing newborn sized clothes and diapers and he's definitely starting to fill them out now. On a whim we decided to buy Up&Up diapers and those are getting a little more snug than our usual Huggies are so hopefully we can use them up before he outgrows them.

[+] has been exclusively breastfed which is different than Mark who got many bottles from the beginning. So far nursing him is going drastically different than the first time around which I'm so thankful for. And clearly it's working since his weight gain is great. I've been pumping after he eats (usually once or twice a day) to start getting a frozen stash and so far have about 40oz saved already on top of satisfying him through the day.

[+] eats every 2.5 hours during the day even if it means we have to wake him. His last feed for the "day" is usually around 8pm, he'll go to sleep around 9/9:30 and then I'll wake him to eat one more time at 10:30 before J and I go to bed. From there we let him go as long as he wants and he's pretty much established a schedule of getting up again around 3am and then again for the day between 6-7am. Given that he's only a month old I'll definitely take this schedule! Plus he eats and goes right back down in the middle of the night so there's no extra shenanigans which is great.

[+] is sleeping in the rock n play in his rooms for naps and in our room during the night. Maybe once a day he'll end up napping somewhere else (the carseat, the swing, our arms, the Moby wrap) but he really does great when we set him down anyways so we don't feel like we're creating bad habits when he isn't in his room. We haven't even tried letting him sleep on a flat surface like his crib or the pack n play but I'm almost curious to give it a shot one day just to see how he does.

[+] went to the Denver zoo and the downtown aquarium this month to celebrate Mother's Day with the family. He's also been out to eat a handful of times, gone on tons of Target/Walmart/Grocery Store trips and a few trips to the park with big brother.

[+] has lighter hair and gray/blue eyes which is such a shock to this brown-eyed brunette momma. Mark immediately had dark hair and dark brown eyes (which have lightened slightly since he's gotten older) and I always assumed both my boys would have coloring like me since everyone in my family is like me or darker. I know his eyes will likely change multiple times in the next 6 months for sure so we'll see what they end up.

[+] nicknames: baby, Pat Pat, Patty-cakes, baby bird

[+] likes: being swaddled, nursing, the car seat

[+] dislikes: the bath, getting dressed, trying to poop and hiccups
I...

[+] feel so much more connected to this baby at this stage than I did to Mark when he was this old. It kills me to even say that but it's the truth. I don't know if it's because he's an overall easier baby or because I have the experience of being a momma under my belt or if it's just a different bond with this boy but it's very comforting. I never doubted my heart would grow the minute I laid eyes on him but it's been amazing experiencing this momma-son love for the second time.

[+] am down 17 lbs from my highest pregnancy weight which was a total gain of about 37 lbs meaning I have about 20 more to lose. For some reason it feels like my body is taking a longer time to get back to normal after this baby and it's really starting to bother me. I didn't gain that much more weight with Patrick than I did with Mark but was in much better shape pre-Mark which I'm sure is playing a factor now. Plus my body is just different this time because Patrick was so low in my belly for so long I think. It feels like my pelvis and the bones themselves are more stretched out, I have more of a lower belly pouch and I ended up with about half a dozen little stretch marks all below my bellybutton this pregnancy. And then there's the added joy that we're headed into summer (vs heading into winter when Mark was born) which means I can't hide and feel more comfortable in leggings and sweaters. I know it's all relative, that my body grew two beautiful boys in a little over two years, but sometimes thinking that just isn't enough of a confidence boost. Here's hoping breastfeeding keeps the pounds falling off and more of my clothes start fitting again soon.

[+] alluded to it above but breastfeeding is going lightyears better this time around and I am so thankful for that. In the hospital I knew more of what I was doing in those first few days and what to look out for in terms of good latch, damage, good care, etc. My milk came in a lot quicker with Patrick than it did with Mark which was a huge advantage. By the time it was in I was experiencing a tiny bit of damage already but instead of just pushing through I decided to start using my nipple shield exclusively. Not only did this prevent the damage from getting worse but it helped them heal, helped us avoid relying on bottles and pumping when it got too bad, helped Patrick get better at having a big mouth and helped me be so much less stressed (which I learned is HUGE!). Would I love to be at a point right now where our nursing relationship didn't rely on the shield? Of course. But I'll gladly take the shield and all it's annoyances any day than go through what I did with Mark in the beginning. I am a little anxious about how the transition will go once I have to start pumping more since my biggest challenge after the first month or so was low-supply but I'm hoping to nip it in the butt when I think somethings up and just trust my body more this time around.

[+] have been off school for the last month and it's been glorious. Since Patrick came earlier than we had planned, I do have an exam I have to make up, which means some studying earlier than I would have liked but I've been much more free this time around which has been great. J took three weeks off of work and it was like a little mini vacation for our new family of four being all together with no real responsibilities. I am a bit nervous about jumping back into things but thankfully get another month at home with board studying (a whole other battle in itself) before I have to actually be away from the house.

[+] am very proud at how Mark has handled the new baby's arrival overall. He is generally sweet with him, pointing out his body parts, wanting to know where the baby is, touching his hair and being concerned when Patrick gets really worked up. Mark will tell us when the baby is sleeping, crying, poopy and eating which also comes with him telling us Patrick eats boob! It's hilarious and we didn't even teach him that! We've definitely had our moments of hitting, head-butting, trying to stomp on him, etc but I try to remind myself in those moments that Mark's still little too. It's been helpful having more than one person here to be with the boys the whole time so we haven't really noticed any "jealousy" from Mark and it's hard to say if his acting out occasionally is from the baby or just because he's a toddler. Two-under-two is definitely challenging but very great too.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Thankful v21

Lately I've been thankful...
[+] for adult beverages after 37+ weeks without them

[+] for time off that literally felt like a vacation with my new family
[+] for amazing dad's and their sweet boy bonds

[+] for cul-de-sacs, kid energy and a husband who's always willing to play
[+] for sunshine on our skin, less jaundice and more vitamin D

[+] for a toddler who's smart and stubborn, independent and wild, sweet and cranky
[+] for healthy kiddos who are literally never at the doctors 

[+] for brothers, even if they don't seem to understand yet
[+] for moments of kindness and sharing amidst the hitting and squishing 

[+] for being a boy momma and confidently saying it's perfect for me
[+] for two boys in the same outfit less than two years apart

[+] for success breastfeeding the second go-around and being so much less stressed
[+] for someone putting on weight and someone losing it

[+] for the generosity of friends giving our baby something of his own
[+] for warmer weather, bare feet and sunlight in the evenings

It's been a while since I've written one of these posts but that doesn't mean my life doesn't have plenty of reasons to be thankful for. In fact it probably means I'm overflowing with gratefulness!

Mother's Day 2016

Being a momma to these two boys has been one of the best things in my life and it was such a celebration to be with all three of my boys on Mother's Day this year, celebrating the joy of our family. 

We started early with a day trip to the Denver Zoo on Thursday afternoon. The weather was supposed to be crummy on actual Mother's Day so we decided to go early when the forecast was better. And boy was that a good decision. The weather was perfect, 80* with a touch of cloudy to keep the sun slightly at bay, and since it was during the week there was basically no one there. We laughed that Mark wanted to hold all the animals, got to see the baby gorilla without having to fight a hundred people at the glass, enjoyed a few beers (daddy) and a twist ice cream cone (momma & Mark) and toted around our super chill three-week old who only fussed the tiniest bit when it was time to eat. We left the zoo and headed to a near-by park so I could nurse the baby and Mark could run on a playground before getting in the car and heading home a bit sun kissed and absolutely exhausted but oh so happy.
On actual Mother's Day we spent the morning at home enjoying a venti Starbucks picked up by the two biggest boys before I even got out of bed. J and the boys gifted me my coordinating ring with Patrick's birthstone to go with my wedding set and Mark's sapphire band. After Mark's nap we decided to hit the aquarium for the afternoon. The weather was a bit crummy like we anticipated and even though there were tons of people who had the same idea as we did, it was still a great afternoon. Mark loved running up to the glass to see the fish, called all the sharks "daddy" from one of his favorite songs and wanted to go in all the tanks with open tops. And just like we expected, our Patrick went along for the ride without a fuss proving he's just meant to be in our family!
While this year I didn't get out to the spa, still smelt like old milk and had to calm many a toddler tantrum it was the perfect celebration. Motherhood to two-under-two isn't easy or glamorous but this is exactly where I'm meant to be right now and I couldn't dream of anything else. Mother's day was technically for me but it was because of my boys and that's what truly matters. 

To Mark, my first born and the one who made me a momma. To Patrick, my baby and the one who grew my heart double the size. I'm forever grateful to have you as my sons, to get to hear the word momma from your tiny lips, to know what it's like to be willing to give everything for someone else. I'm a lucky lady getting to be your momma and I cherish it every single day.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Baby H: Two Weeks (times two)

I need to remember this season of life because goodness is it grand and among other things I've learned since becoming a momma 19 months ago is that this time is truly fleeting. It seems like yesterday that we were bringing home our first born and now we are a family of four and I want to remember it all. 
I need to remember how my heart grew in size (just like I thought it would) when I first laid eyes on my second son. I need to remember how it grew again when my first born met my baby. I need to remember how instantly connected I felt to this little boy.
I need to remember Mark's sweet voice saying "hold" and how he points out Patrick's tiny features. I need to remember how truly tiny these boys are in the beginning. I need to remember how Patrick's first spring was filled with more snow than sunshine.
I need to remember how much he doesn't look like his big brother. I need to remember how easy he is, just going with the flow of our family. I need to remember how he looks into my face with his grey eyes and how I feel like I already know him so well.
I need to remember how calm he is, content looking at the lights or out the window. I need to remember how sweet his snuggles are. I need to remember that it's okay to hold him all day and never put him down.
I need to remember that he was an early little bird but that he's absolutely perfect. I need to remember to push away shreds of stress because things are going to great this time. I need to remember how he hated the bath more than anything. I need to remember his sweet little face.
I need to remember the feeling of his little body tucked up against mine like it never left. I need to remember how amazing it is to be a boy momma to these two littles. I need to remember how handsome he is, perfect in his own way. I need to remember the ease that becoming a family of four really has been. 

It seems crazy that Patrick's only been in our lives for two weeks because I already can't imagine what life was like without him. He checked out perfectly at his two week doctors appointment and we are so proud of him. Our tiny one weighed in at 7# even and 19 3/4 inches which is quite a lot of growth! Breastfeeding is going the total opposite this time around... I've been so much less stressed about it, seems like I'm making plenty for our growing boy and remembering to give myself grace when things do have a hiccup now and then. It's amazing what a good nursing relationship can do for both momma and baby. I am so grateful to have all these boys to call mine. Life sure is grand. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Baby H: PRH Birth Story pt 2

Miss part one? Go here.

We finally made it to the check in desk in labor and delivery and I started filling out the little bit of paperwork and immediately got another contraction. I couldn't talk or stand still, was trying to concentrate on my breathing while gripping the edge of the counter. I'm not sure what the reasoning was (a slow night on L&D, a nurse with a good eye for someone in active labor, etc etc) but we were able to completely skip the triage room and got put directly into a labor room which I was so thankful for. On our short walk to our room we made sure to mentioned that I for sure wanted an epidural and to get the process started on that because of what a disaster it was with Mark trying to get one in a hurry. We also explained to my nurse that my first labor was under 7 hours and it was seeming like this one was taking the fast track as well.

Once in the room I was given a gown to which I immediately started changing into, before my nurse even walked out of the room. I think this was a sign to her that things were moving quickly! I finally got into bed to be hooked up to the monitors and she checked me for the first time. I'll never forget what she said, "Well... hmm, if I round DOWN then you're at a 9 and a half. I can only feel the tiniest bit of cervix in one place" Holy crap! Again, for the second time, I had progressed completely on my own.

At this point it seemed like word of my speedy delivery (and current progress) spread quickly because everyone started working at rapid pace. A nurse came in to start setting up the labor cart. My nurse drew my blood and hooked up my IV. She put a Stat order on my CBC because we couldn't start the epidural until the results were back and even called down to the lab to make sure they saw the order. The anesthesiologist came in and was brought up to speed about my history and everything going on and started my consent paperwork before the labs were done. Between the two of them things got taken care of so quickly and for that I'm so thankful. The anesthesiologist already had me draped and sterile before the results were in so that once she got the go-ahead (and I finished my contraction) she could boogie. Once I gave her the okay to start, she worked so quickly even saying she felt like she was holding her breath she was moving so fast. She gave me a bolus of meds through the catheter instead of immediately hooking up the pump system because that would take longer and I needed some relief. Two boluses later things were starting to change from pain to pressure and I gave a huge sigh of relief. In terms of timing, the orders for my labs were placed at 8:20pm and my epidural was finished by 8:50pm.
My contractions at this point were coming basically on top of each other and baby boy wasn't really liking them. So I was told to lay on one side to see if that helped which thankfully it did. A few contractions later and I was having the insane urge to push (which by the way blows my mind that the body just does that all on its own!) so we decided to do a few practice pushes. Two contractions and four pushes with J and my nurse and we decided to wait so we weren't catching a baby without a doc there. The on-call doc had been notified I was there and at this point the next step for me would be to break my water so she was called. J likes to say that she's a magic doc because she broke my water from the doorway when in reality my water broke on its own thanks to one really big contraction just as she was walking in. She introduced herself to J and I and started getting dressed. A nurse warned her that we hadn't done much pushing yet so she might not want to totally gown up yet so she told me to do one set of pushes with the next contraction so she could see what we were working with. Well one contraction with three pushes later and baby boy was here!

Patrick was born at 2116 on April 16th, 2016. Just under three hours after leaving his daddy's surprise party and 15 days early. We like to think he just wanted to join in on the fun! And I don't blame him.
This time around my new baby boy was placed directly on my chest and it was such a magical experience. I got to lay eyes on him, wrap my arms around him the moment he was born, stroke his hair and soft skin. It was so redeeming for me. And the coolest part of it all for this med school momma? I got to cut his cord! The nurses worked to dry him off and get a diaper on him while he hung out with his momma. In fact they didn't take him at all until after we had gotten our first feed in.
His APGAR scores were 9's and they told us he weighed 6#3oz and was 18.5 inches long. Unfortunately there was a bit of a mix-up with his birth weight and we don't actually know what he was at birth. When they did his 24hr check for jaundice, etc they weighed him a second time and he was 6#8oz which didn't make any sense. There was no way he gained weight in his first day. It turns out the scale in our original room was off. On discharge day he weighed 6#5oz so they estimate he was somewhere between 6# 10-12oz. For baby book purposes we're going with 6#10oz as his birth weight but it's strange to not really know.
We stayed in the hospital two nights until Monday afternoon and it was such a different hospital stay than with Mark. The first time around it felt like we were constantly getting help from the staff, nurses, docs, lactation consultants, etc. But this time it felt like we were just hanging out by ourselves with our new baby boy. Whether this is because Patrick is an easier baby or we had the experience under our belts already I'm not sure but it almost felt like a vacation. We snuggled in bed, watched movies, fed around the clock and watched the snow continue to fall outside. Both grandmas made multiple appearances to see the newest addition and most special of all was Mark coming to meet his baby brother. It's a moment I'll never forget even if Mark was more interested in baby brother's duck and the snacks in the diaper bag!
We were cleared for discharge around noon on Monday so after ordering one last meal from the hospital and doing one more round of checks from both our doctors we were headed home. The transition to a family of four has going fantastically so far and we are so thankful for our littlest boy. Thanks for making me a momma for the second time, Patrick Reece. I love you past the moon!

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