Friday, February 2, 2018

Timothy's First Month

It has flown by! There were a lot of difficulties, but it has been so sweet and rewarding too. 

We discovered he had tongue and lip ties, so we had those revised at 7 days. That made it so we could finally nurse without a nipple shield, but it was still difficult, and I struggled with cracks, plugged ducts, a milk blister, and mastitis. Mastitis is AWFUL. I woke up at 1am with chills, a headache and a fever and pain on the left side. We did lots of nursing, but the pain spread to my right side, and I spent about 24 hours fighting it with herbs and natural remedies. I am very thankful to have avoided antibiotics! It tried to flare up again a few days later, but after a visit to my naturopath to get even more remedies, I think it's knocked out, and now I know to be more diligent about clearing blocked ducts!

Thankfully, in spite of all those problems with nursing, Timothy has never had any difficulty gaining weight! He was already getting into 3 month size clothes at 3 weeks old! At his one month visit, he weighed 10 lbs, 5 oz, which was just 5 days after the LC had weighed him and estimated that he should weigh between 10-2 and 10-4. He gained a whole ounce per day!

He's very strong lifting his head, it's really neat to watch during tummy time how he seems to get stronger every day! He's also become very interested in using his hands, grabbing things, and even tried to push my hand away when I was washing his face! He is tall enough that when I lay him on me to try to burp, he can "jump" off my legs and bang his head on my chin, and he likes to do that a lot. He was active in utero, and he is still very active! He's going to be fun to keep up with once he's mobile!

He makes some pretty funny expressions, especially when working on poops, but I'm not sure we've caught a real smile yet. There are definitely some that look like smiles, but when accompanied with grunts, concentration and a red face, I'm pretty sure they're not social smiles. He is very vocal, with some cute "aaah"'s and one adorable little sound that made me realize why people say babies "coo." That's exactly the way to describe it, even though it's an unmistakable and inimitable baby sound. He also grunts and snorts like a little pig, makes a "phfff" sound through his lips, and blows bubbles. When he's starting to wake up for feeding he makes whiny little "eh" sounds. Matt jokes that girls are supposed to be talkative, not boys!

Timothy loves looking at things, he is fascinated by the ceiling fans (very dark brown against our light ceilings) and sunny windows. He makes great eye contact, and will hang out looking at me and "talking" which is so fun! He also enjoys a crocheted black-and-white bullseye that my great-grandmother crocheted for me when I was a baby. We hung it from his swing mobile, so he gets to look at it as he rocks. The mobile doesn't move quite as far as the swing, so he has to track it, turning his head a little (our swing goes side to side) back and forth to keep it in focus. 

Car rides and walks are great, as long as the motion doesn't stop! We'd been doing a lot of walks in the stroller, but Matt wore him in the Lillebaby carrier just the other day, and that was great, he liked snuggling with Daddy and napping while we walked. Much better than being buckled into the car seat and stuck in the stroller! I've also been wearing him in the Boba wrap, and he took a great nap yesterday while I took a short walk, and then did some chores around the house. 

Matt is the best at swaddling in blankets, and Timothy always calms down when Daddy wraps him up and bounces him, sometimes with shushing. We have a yoga ball that is great for sitting and bouncing. Timothy is having more fussy evenings, and fights sleep for his pre-dinner nap, and fights going to sleep at bedtime too. 

We just recently started attempting to establish a bedtime routine, and that is still a bit rough. Sometime around 8pm (last night he decided it should be 7:30) he gets his bedtime feeding in the nursery. We have an amber nightlight that isn't supposed to suppress melatonin production, a diffuser with lavender (approved by his pediatrician), a humidifier and a white noise machine. I change him, swaddle him tightly in a velcro swaddle sack and feed him until he's practically asleep, rock him a few more minutes until he is asleep, and then try to put him in the crib. That's when he somehow goes from conked out, to awake, and we have to start over, with another couple minutes of nursing to calm him down, more rocking, more careful attempts to put him down in the crib without waking... it gets very trying. Last night "bedtime" took an hour and 45 minutes. But then he slept until midnight, and that's when I transfer him to his co-sleeper next to our bed. Lately he's been waking at midnight and 4am, then getting me up around 7-8am. Which really isn't bad! Especially since he tends to go right back to sleep after each nighttime feeding. 

Overall, it's been a bit of a bumpy month for Mommy and Daddy, but Timothy has been thriving, and we've definitely been enjoying the cuteness! The trying times have really been growing our patience, but he is quite a joy, and a sweet little man. I'm so blessed with my two wonderful guys!


Monday, January 8, 2018

Countdown to Baby Finale: Timothy's Birth Story!

Well, my 39 week post got delayed and is now unnecessary! Timothy Arden is here, born December 26th at 7:14pm. He weighed 8 lb, 2 oz, 21 inches long and had almost an inch and a half of fine red hair! Now he's 13 days old already, I can't believe it! It's been a lot of work (breastfeeding isn't quite as easy as it seems it should be) and sleep deprivation (although I'm sleeping better than I expected!) but overall it's been even more amazing than I anticipated it would be to have my own baby! I'm sure I'm not at all biased in my belief that he is the cutest thing in the whole world.

(This is my fairly detailed recount of the birth, so if you're not into that sort of thing, the rest of this post will be uninteresting to you... I did try to keep it fairly ungraphic, though)

On Christmas day, 39 weeks, 3 days, I started having contractions. Looking back on it, I probably felt so lousy on Christmas Eve because it was already getting started. I was happy that I got to spend Christmas Eve with my family, but annoyed at how lousy I was feeling, and wondering how much longer I could stand to be pregnant. I had a little bout of contractions between 3-5am, but they tapered off right when I was starting to wonder if I should maybe wake Matt up, so I went back to sleep.

Christmas morning, Matt and I had fun making breakfast together, taking some pictures in front of our tree, and opening our gifts to each other. All the while I was having very random, sporadic contractions, which weren't really bothering me and felt a lot like what had been happening during the past week anyway. But then after lunch, when we were getting ready to go over for the Bass family Christmas celebration, they really started getting to me. I went to use the bathroom, and then ended up just sitting on the bathroom floor, not wanting to move. The contractions were fairly spaced apart, but were really long, 4-6 minutes, and I was pretty miserable during them, so we decided we needed to stay home.

I started letting myself think that maybe this really was labor, but I was also in denial, because I didn't want him to come on Christmas day! My plan was to enjoy the Bass Christmas, come home and get some sleep, maybe wake up in the early morning in labor, and deliver by dinner time on the 26th. Of course it was silly of me to have a plan for what I wanted to happen. It's pretty funny that he did actually arrive on the 26th, though!

So Matt and I spent Christmas afternoon in bed, watching one of my Christmas gifts, Sense and Sensibility! He brought me things to eat and drink, and I tried to relax and breathe through the contractions all afternoon and into the evening. We timed the contractions, and kept in contact with my midwives. The contractions had never really settled into the typical pattern that you're told to look for, the spacing continued to be erratic, but they were consistently 2-3 minutes long, and took all my concentration to relax and breathe. 

Around 8:45pm my doula/midwife's assistant came to see how I was doing, and after observing me through a few contractions, said that she thought the midwife should probably head on over. I had vomited twice (which was extremely unpleasant) and even though I still hadn't settled into the active labor contraction pattern, I really wanted them to be there. Somehow it felt like their presence would legitimize the contractions and help me progress. By this point, I knew he probably wouldn't arrive on Christmas day, so I was definitely ready to get things moving! 

Around 1am they checked and I was 7-8cm dilated, so we asked my mom, sister and mother-in-law to come over and be ready. I wanted them to be there immediately after he was born, and was feeling hopeful it might be soon. Unfortunately, my labor stalled there, and that's where things start to become a bit of a blur. At 5am I was 7cm, having made no progress for 4 hours. They had me try a pretty uncomfortable position that I had to stay in for 30 minutes to help baby reposition more favorably. Matt patiently answered my repeated question, "how much longer?" every time I asked. 

I finally reached full dilation and got the urge to start pushing about 8:30am, but after pushing for a while and not seeming to make any progress, my midwife checked me and found a lip of cervix still in the way. She tried pushing it back, having me push while she held it back, and had me try a bunch of different positions, but nothing was working. Then they did some research, and found a series of positions to try. The series started with Rebozo belly sifting, with me on hands and knees my doula/midwife's assistant holding my belly up with a sheet and "sifting" back and forth. This was around 1:45pm. That felt great! Then I had to push through 3 contractions in a series of positions, and that finally did the trick. Baby's head was past the cervix!

That made me hopeful again that he'd arrive soon, but there was lots more pushing to do, so I got back in the tub. He moved down very, very slowly, probably because I was so tired. I was pushing with everything I had, but it was hard for me to be sure if it was effective, because he was moving so slowly I couldn't tell he was moving at all. Finally, a bit of his head started to emerge with each push, but it would slide back in. Eventually, enough was out that my midwife could see his hair swirling in the water, it was so long! She had me reach down to feel, and that gave me renewed energy. 

I tried extending each push by exhaling with a forceful moan instead of just releasing, and that was the most effective. It still took nearly 30 minutes of crowning, with the burning "ring of fire" sensation for me to get his head out. I was reclined in the tub, but felt like I'd get better results if I let gravity help bring him down, so Matt sat on the edge of the tub and supported me with my arms over his knees. Every muscle in my body was constantly shaking from the exertion. As we got to the end, my midwife decided I should move to the bed, which sounded good to me, although I wasn't sure I could stand. My legs crumpled under me when I tried to step out, so the three of them basically carried me to the bed.

Not too long after moving to the bed, he finally popped out at 7:14pm! It was such a relief. He had the cord wrapped tightly around his neck, and they couldn't loop it over, so they had me quickly push him out and somersaulted his body away, keeping his head close to me. The cord was so short that he had to lay on my belly, it didn't reach all the way up to my chest. He struggled a little with some mucus and trying to breathe, but he was doing great 2-3 minutes later. Two minutes feels more like twenty when you're watching your newborn struggle and can't do anything to help besides talking to him and holding him! I was completely exhausted, but never happier in my life than when he was clear of the mucus, calm and safely here. 

It was the longest 31 hours of my life, but worth every minute for our precious little peanut! My midwife had anticipated I would tear, but thanks to crowning for so long, I escaped. I also didn't have excessive bleeding, which they were also concerned about due to my long labor. In line with the rest of my extremely slow labor the placenta took a whole hour and a half to deliver, partly because of Timothy's disinterest in trying to latch. They coaxed it along with some herbs and I got to eat a couple brownies! 

The cord around his neck probably contributed to the length of time I spent pushing. I thought it was funny that I had been worried the whole pregnancy that he'd have the cord wrapped around his neck, because I had my cord wrapped around my neck twice when I was born. His heart rate did drop a little during the pushing, but they didn't tell me (thank goodness, I probably would have panicked) and it was never dangerously low, so really, it was a great birth. 

Matt was an awesome labor coach, he made me feel safe just by being there, and kept me calm and focused. It seemed like whenever I was starting to lose it, or wanting to just take a break, he knew exactly what to say to help me keep pushing forward with everything I had. While I was dilating I kept fluctuating between hot and cold, and he diligently switched from box fan to space heater whenever I complained of being too hot or too cold... often seemed like only a minute or two between. He was my rock, and I definitely couldn't have done it without him. I only found out afterward how worried he was about the long labor and how tired I was, during the labor he strengthened my confidence that I could do it, no matter what obstacle I had to overcome. 

I'm so thankful that we were able to have the home birth I wanted, and didn't have to even consider transferring to the hospital. It really was a wonderful experience, and as my midwife said to me, one of the things about being a woman that truly is "empowering." It was so very hard, but I did it, and it was beyond worth it! I'm so in love with our adorable baby, and excited to start on our journey to parenthood with my amazing husband. 


Monday, December 18, 2017

Countdown to Baby: Only 2 more weeks!

My mother-in-law came over and helped me paint the dresser and night stand in the nursery, so that's a great check off my list! I had almost given up on getting it done, because I figured it wasn't very important, but I'm so happy and thrilled that we did it, both pieces of furniture look so much more fresh and cheery now! We also went shopping to get new handles. Matt installed them, and it's made them look like new pieces of furniture! Now I just need to get in there and decide where best to keep everything and get it all organized in the drawers. 

My mom and I are continuing to work on the curtains, which are becoming a bigger project than expected. I thought I already had black-out backing, but it was "thermal" not black-out, so we had to go buy black-out liner for the curtains. We worked on them some today but they're still not quite finished. Hopefully tomorrow we'll get them all done! As for the crib skirt, I think I might just skip it. The striped material I have for the curtains doesn't look right behind the slats, and now that the mattress is in, it doesn't look so bare and desperate for a skirt. Maybe I'll wait until I have a baby girl and make her a ruffly, girly one! 

As I'm typing this, the used diapers are soaking in their bleach bath. I'm so scared the colors will all come out ruined, but I'm following the instructions, so fingers crossed it works properly! I hope it was worth collecting so many used diapers... I really didn't want to spend $200-$300 getting the size stash I thought I'd need, used was so much cheaper. 

I doubled some pumpkin bread that turned out SO much better than the zucchini bread. I should just always make pumpkin bread instead. But I'm still slacking a bit on actual dinners. Although I did find a quick, easy one that we've been enjoying the past couple of weeks: Korean Beef! I throw some rice in the rice cooker, steam some broccoli, and by the time I finish browning up the Korean-seasoned beef, dinner is ready. (It's on the menu for tonight!)

This weekend we celebrated our first wedding anniversary! Matt took me to a fancy French restaurant, it was so romantic and relaxing, and he gave me a beautiful necklace. It was a lovely weekend, with lots of time to relax. And that's my excuse for this post appearing so late on this Monday!

Continue doubling meals
Research and prep all cloth diapers
Organize nursery
Sew curtains


Friday, December 8, 2017

Countdown to Baby: Only 3 weeks left!

We had our "birth class" appointment with our midwife yesterday, just going over generally how everything's going to go, how to handle the different stages of labor, and they even had a model pelvis and a baby doll to demonstrate! It was a good appointment, Baby is measuring a week ahead again, and she said he was pretty far down. But still hasn't officially "dropped." He's keeping up the enthusiastic squirming, kicking and punching!

I tried to double some zucchini bread, and it was a massive failure. I baked and baked and baked it, until the outside was nearly burned, and the inside was still gooey. I think my zucchini was too juicy. I've been eating toasted slices and it's tolerable, but I'm afraid it's going to go bad before I can finish it, and it's too unappealing to freeze and eat later. Besides that, I made some more freezer waffles, but I've definitely got to amp up the meal doubling these last few weeks. I still have space in the freezer!

Finally buckled down and did the research about the cloth diapers. Unfortunately, I have to buy a different detergent than we've been using for our clothes. And I have to buy some bleach to properly disinfect the diapers that I bought used. And after I buy those two things this Sunday, I hope I'll finally get the diaper prep off my list! It's not vitally important that I get it done before Baby gets here, because we'll be using disposables for a little while at first, but the more I can get done before he gets here, the better.

The crib mattress arrived today! Its impending arrival finally motivated me to start organizing a bit earlier this week, so the nursery is a little more tidy and I pre-washed some sheets and receiving blankets, but I still have lots of organizing/decorating that I probably won't finish until after the dresser and end table are painted. I wasn't sure I was going to try to paint the dresser before Baby's arrival either, but we found an end table finally, and it could really use a new coat of paint too, so that's on the to-do list.

My mom spent the morning working on sewing the curtains with me, we got them cut out, and she did all the sewing because I couldn't get my machine to cooperate. It's old and probably needs a tune-up. So while she sewed the side seams and tabs, I gave up on my machine and just ironed what she had already finished. We had lots of fun, and it went pretty quickly! All that's left now is for me to find the black-out panels that I left at their house somewhere, and then we can sew the tabs, curtains and black-out panels together, hem and be all finished with the curtains! I'm rethinking the crib skirt because of how much more complete the crib looks with the mattress in it finally, so I'll keep thinking about that.

I am also excited to share a few of the maternity photos my sister took!

To do's left:
Continue doubling meals
Research and prep all cloth diapers
Organize nursery
Sew curtains and crib skirt
Paint dresser and end table

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Countdown to Baby: 4 weeks to Due Date!

Monday was a nice errand day, picked up some supplies for the birth and bought some fabric stiffener for the snowflakes I've been crocheting. Later in the afternoon/evening Matt and I made hot chocolate and did some Christmas decorating. All the ornaments on the tree (except the snowflakes that I'm making) and stockings hung, wreath on the door. The decorating is continuing in a very slow trickle, but I'm marking it as a check on my list!

Midwife appointments are now weekly! I can't believe that (assuming he arrives on time) we'll only have 3 more appointments before delivery! Everything is still going along normally, he's still in the perfect position and growing just like he should be. After palpating, my midwife estimated he's about 6-6.5 lbs right now, and therefore will probably be around 8 lbs at birth. 

He's pretty active in the early evening, and his movements are definitely visible from the outside! It's a little freaky to see my whole belly squirming and wiggling. I keep accidentally startling him with loud noises, it's so cute when he jumps but I also feel bad. I wonder what it's like to be just hanging out and suddenly hear a loud noise from the world outside that he can't see. 

We finally bought a crib mattress! It actually wasn't the one that I thought we had settled on. I just happened to come across a list of healthy crib mattress recommendations, and figured I'd look over it just for kicks... there was exactly one that I hadn't already looked into, and when I checked it out, it was 65% off for Cyber week, and looked even more awesome than the one we'd been thinking about, for half the price! So I ordered it.

Also, our registry fulfillment order arrived, so I've got everything now, which means it's time to finally buckle down and organize and decorate the nursery. There's nothing else to wait for, and I really should get it done before he gets here! Even though he'll be sleeping in the co-sleeper in our room for a while, it will definitely be easier to just get it done.

Prepping the cloth diapers is a separate item from organizing the nursery on the to-do list because it's so daunting to me... I have to make sure I use a safe detergent, correct water temperature, and get them thoroughly clean, since most of them we bought used, without accidentally messing up their absorbency. Hopefully it'll be easier than I'm anticipating, but I admit I have been procrastinating terribly. 

I'm afraid the curtain and crib skirt project will end up being an "after he arrives" item, as it's definitely lower on the priority list. But I might get around to it if I can convince myself to do it instead of crocheting some time! I'm just having too much fun with these snowflakes!

To do's left:
Continue doubling meals
Research and prep all cloth diapers
Organize nursery
Sew curtains and crib skirt 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Countdown to Baby: 5 weeks to Due Date!

On Saturday we finished our Christmas shopping, and got everything wrapped except for a few gifts that haven't arrived yet... so that's an item off the to-do list!

Sunday we got our Christmas tree! Usually that's a weekend-after-Thanksgiving event, but we decided to go ahead and get it done before, since we could. Our Christmas tree farm was even open just for the weekend! But unfortunately, their hours on the website were wrong. When we got there, their last few customers of the day were just leaving, and they let us slip in and pick out our tree quickly. Thankfully, we found one with a lovely shape almost immediately. Probably the quickest Christmas tree shopping ever! We got the lights put on, but other than that it's not decorated yet, so that will be our after-Thanksgiving event most likely.

Monday I had appointments like crazy, but one was my pre-natal massage, and I felt great all day. Tuesday and Wednesday were primarily Thanksgiving prep and the usual household chores around the house, but we also finished ordering the last few items we need from Amazon before Baby's arrival. And I had an appointment with my midwife which confirmed that Baby is still growing just like he should be.

Baby's new thing is pushing his feet out and then moving them around, which is insanely ticklish to me! It's so weird to be tickled from the inside with no warning. He also gets the hiccups usually at least once a day, sometimes more like 3-4 times a day, which gets pretty distracting for me. 

Thanksgiving we had a very fun day with Matt's family, we got started in the morning, visiting and getting last-minute preparations, and then ate the Thanksgiving meal around lunch time, napped a bit in the afternoon, and then celebrated my brother-in-law and sister-in-law's birthdays, his birthday was actually Thanksgiving day, and hers 3 days later. It was so fun just relaxing, and getting to see our nephew on his first Thanksgiving!

Then Friday morning we got up early and drove up to VA for Thanksgiving with my mom's side of the family. While at my aunt's house, I got the opportunity to figure out some of my great-grandmother's crochet patterns for snowflakes and a cute little bell! My mom and I had already been making some new ones, but she hasn't found her collection in her Christmas stuff yet, so we weren't able to closely inspect any of Great-grandma's ornaments until now! I've been enjoying crocheting because it's something I can do when I just need to sit on the sofa, but I still get to feel productive. So after a second lovely Thanksgiving meal, we walked around the farm, and finished scattering my granddad's ashes. This was our first Thanksgiving without him, and it was pretty strange. 

Friday evening Matt and I headed over to Williamsburg. We spend one night in our favorite Williamsburg hotel, and spent some time at Williamsburg Saturday morning and afternoon. We went to a neat reenactment of Christmas Eve with Martha Custis, 2 weeks before her wedding to Colonel Washington. The weather was great, we walked around quite a bit, and I handled it pretty well which was nice since sometimes I have a hard time with walking due to Braxton Hicks. We went through the George Wythe house which we hadn't done before, and they had a scientist and Mr. Wythe doing reenacting inside, which was neat. Mr. Wythe at one point said to me, "Madam, you are behaving as if you are being kicked." Which, of course, I was! Later, upon observing more reactions to kicks, he commented, "You appear to be growing a gymnast." I was very amused. It was fun to go to Williamsburg again. Next time we go we'll have our little guy with us on the outside! 

To do's are:
Decorate Christmas tree
Buy crib mattress
Continue doubling meals
Research and prep all cloth diapers
Organize nursery
Sew curtains and crib skirt 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Countdown to Baby: 6 weeks to go!

We had a busy, but fun weekend with a visit to Gates County to spread my granddad's ashes (he passed away back in February) and visit with relatives, stopped at a friend's party on our way home, and then lunch and Murder on the Orient Express in theaters with my family after church on Sunday (read my sister's review here!) I was a little worried going into a long day of driving (we spent about 5 hours in the car on Saturday) that I would be uncomfortable, but it went great! I've been feeling somewhat like this pregnancy has made me an invalid lately, so it was nice to make it through like a normal, non-pregnant person. Besides a few extra bathroom stops, anyway!

On Monday, Sarah and Mom met us at a nearby park to take maternity photos! It was a little colder than I was expecting, it seems like we've skipped fall and went straight to winter! But there were still some nice fall leaves, and I think Sarah got a lot of great shots! Can't wait to share a few once they're edited and ready. Here's a few photos Mom took during the shoot:

Matt: "Our faces aren't in this one?? So I can make this face?"

The posing of the hands for this shot was much more difficult than it should have been.

The things a good photographer will do to get the right angle!

Checking out pose ideas on my Pinterest board.

Tuesday I took it easy after all the busyness. But I did double the lasagna we had for dinner, so another frozen meal in the freezer! We're running low on freezer space now.

We got almost all our Christmas shopping done, and I'm really starting to think we might actually finish before Thanksgiving! They just won't all arrive before Thanksgiving, but we can finish wrapping the ones that are still on the way after Thanksgiving. 

We still need to buy the crib mattress and finish out the necessary purchases left on our registry, and I still need to wash my cloth diapers, organize the nursery, and if I have time, sew the curtains and crib skirt!

So, my to-do's now include:
Buy crib mattress
Order last items from registry
Continue doubling meals
Buy all Christmas gifts before Thanksgiving!
Research and prep all cloth diapers
Organize nursery
Sew curtains and crib skirt