Friday, November 30, 2012

six weeks of liam

Liam turned 6 weeks nearly a week ago, last Sunday, 
better late than never with his adorable-ness!
In two days it'll be seven!

Mr. Liam:
You are getting so big and growing so strong so quickly! This week you were able to wear a few THREE MONTH outfits! Three months, and you're not even TWO months old yet. Mama is sad that you can't wear most of your itty bitty newborn clothes anymore, it went by so so fast, just like everyone said it would. 
Sad, but at the same time, excited to see all the fun that is yet to come!
This week, you had so much fun hanging around with your Grammy & Grandaddy Pope. We showed them around the island, but I think they were most excited to see YOU over anything else.
You are doing so good at sleeping longer and longer stretches. This week, we tried really hard to nail down a routine, and you did wonderfully! You slept 6 hours straight nearly every night!
Even when you do wake up in the wee hours, you have been giving me the biggest smiles, so I don't mind being up at all.
You make every single day brighter for me.
You are so so much fun, and you always leave me something to look forward to.
your mommy

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Liam's Birth Story

Friday, October 12, 2012
I woke up this Friday morning in a little bit of pain. I was already 6 days overdue at this point, so I was watching for any possible sign of labor. I had a lot of cramps that morning, but I’d had cramps several mornings before so I wasn’t too hopeful. I got up about 9 or so (Keith was long gone to work) and right away that morning I lost my mucus plug. I was so happy! I text Keith right away, and he was very excited. We both had a strong feeling that Liam would be with us before the weekend was up.
Keith worked until about 2, and then we headed in for my 40 week appointment. At the appt., they were going to check my cervix and strip my membranes (which can sometimes help to bring on labor.)I was almost 2cm dilated, about 80% effaced, and we scheduled my induction for the following Monday just in case. I absolutely did not want to be induced, but I was already almost a week late, and didn’t want to wait much longer. Still, I was still holding out hope that Liam would come on his own.
Since I was about to hit 41 weeks, the OB clinic sent me up to Labor & Delivery for a Non-Stress Test (something I guess they do with all pregnancies once they are a week overdue). That went great, everything looked perfect & healthy. Liam had a good, strong heartbeat, was surrounded by ample amounts of fluid, and the doc estimated him to be about 7 and a half pounds.
 (yes, that is the T.V. remote in my hand)
That night, Keith & I went and played mini-golf with some friends, and then went out to dinner. Little did I know, that delicious Italian food would be my last meal before my son entered the world!
Saturday, October 13 (Keith’s dad’s birthday...)
About 3:30 Saturday morning, I woke up with some very intense, painful cramping. (I’d only gone to bed at 1 a.m…so I didn’t get much sleep!) My first thought was that maybe they were contractions. I tried to go back to sleep, but the pain was too severe. I took a hot bath, and started timing the contractions. At first they were sporadic…20 minutes apart, then 10, then 20 again. Everything I’d read/heard said that contractions lasted about 90 seconds-ish, but my pain was going on for sometimes over 3 minutes, so I was a little confused.
During all of this, I’m in and out of the bath/shower, up and down the stairs, bouncing on my exercise ball, just trying to do something to keep my mind occupied. Keith had gotten out of bed and loaded the car immediately at around 4:30 am when he realized I was having contractions. He was so excited. :)
About 6 or 7, I was going to try to eat breakfast. That didn’t work out...I was so sick to my stomach from the pain that I couldn’t eat anything except a little soup. I made some hot tea and put in Bridesmaids to try and put my focus somewhere else. Let me tell you…when you’re having contractions, especially ones that were lasting as long as mine (We’ll later learn that even the L&D nurses were marveling over how long they were lasting) it is very, very hard to focus on anything else.
Keith got out of bed around 7:30 and got his parents on FaceTime. Then he went to get us Starbucks…I really think he just had a hard time sitting still. I talked to one of my friends on the phone for a while, and did a TON more pacing around the house. Keith came home with the Starbucks, but again, I was too sick to my stomach to even drink any of the coffee he brought. You know it’s bad when you can’t drink coffee!
My contractions had started getting closer together, at this point 8 or 9 minutes. The hospital had instructed us in our childbirth class not to come in until they were about 5 minutes apart. (I was totally ok with laboring at home as long as possible). I decided to get up and get ready since I knew we’d be leaving for the hospital that day. Yes indeed, I did my hair and my makeup.
I knew we were going to have to leave soon because the pain was getting really unbearable. (It was about 9:30 a.m.) I gave myself one more hour before I was going to tell Keith we needed to leave. Throughout all of this, we were both very calm & relaxed, just making sure we had everything ready to go.  We even decided to take the dogs for a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood. (I kid you not…that is the last walk they have taken since then. Poor things. I’m sure they hate us now.)
The previous week, friends of ours had often joked about my water breaking when we were at the movies, the mall, mini golf, etc. etc. and I kept telling them that only a very small percentage of women’s water breaks on their own (true story!). Well, at 10:55 am on the 13th, I became part of that small percentage! I always wondered what it would feel like, and I’m glad I got to experience it. It was a HUGE huge gush of water (thankfully, I felt a small trickle first and ran to the toilet, so most of it went in there).  After grabbing a few last minute items, away we went!  I was so happy my water had broken. After nearly 8 hours of regular contractions at home on about 2 hours of sleep, I was ready to get the show started! On the way to the hospital, my water ‘broke’ again…  another HUGE amount of fluid came out. I’m telling you, it was like Niagara freaking falls. There was so much!
On our way!!
We got to L&D and they sent me into triage to be checked. They took a sample of the fluid (to make sure it was actually my water breaking). The midwife on call came in and told us that it was (I mean, did I mention it was like Niagara Falls?!) but that there were traces of meconium in the fluid (meaning Liam pooped inside there). It wasn’t a huge deal, but what it meant was that I might not get to do skin-to-skin right away with him like we were hoping for. If he wasn’t crying right away, they’d have to take him and suction the meconium out of his mouth so it didn’t get into his lungs.
We waited in triage while they came and started an I.V. and got me a hospital bracelet. L&D was super busy that day, so they actually sent me off to another small room to wait while a delivery room was cleaned for me. While we were in there, my pain got so bad that I actually had to throw up. Pretty much all I had in my stomach was water at this point, but up it all came.  Keith was such a sweet, sweet husband, holding back my hair and holding the trash can at the same time. He even put my hair up in a ponytail for me...most awkward looking ponytail of my life.  :)

My best 'smile' during a contraction.
Finally (glory hallelujah) the nurses came to get us and told us our room was ready.
My original plan was to go as long as I could without the epidural. Well…I’d gone as long as I could. I was so exhausted and sick to my stomach from the pain that I was absolutely miserable. I told them they could give it to me as soon as the anesthesiologist was available.
While we waited for her, I bounced on the birthing ball some more and answered some of the nurse’s questions—family health history, etc. etc. She eventually decided to stop asking me the questions and wait for the epidural…during contractions, I literally could not even talk to her. 

I’m surprised at how quickly the anesthesiologist got there--it was probably 20 minutes from the time I had asked for the epidural. It went in without a hitch, and wasn’t nearly as bad as I’ve heard some people say it is. I barely felt a tiny pinch at the beginning and then it was over! Let me tell you…I WAS SO GRATEFUL FOR THAT EPIDURAL! I felt like a new woman! I felt like I could run up and down the halls, but my dead weight legs said differently…

After that, all we had to do was wait! I don’t remember the exact order of everything for the next 12 hours or so, but it was a lot of nurses coming in & out, checking checking, a few (very small) cat naps, and one very excited husband. 
(Side note, we had the MOST AMAZING nurses the entire time we were there! Seriously…lucked OUT! I loved every single one of them. )
Keith was such an entertainment the whole time. We brought my laptop, and he logged on to my facebook to update everyone with the ‘minute-by-minute’ of what was going on. I just re-read through all the comments (there were 180 total!) and I’m so glad now that I have that to look back on. In between facebook and making me laugh, he was facetiming our far-away family, and even our friends right here on the island. I’m so glad that, even though not many people got to be there, he found a way to include them in our special day. My husband really is the best.

Well, throughout the afternoon, my epidural started to wear off, so I asked for more drugs. It was partially because they had me lie on my side, and all the medicine pooled up on that side of my body. (Liam had never really dropped before now, so in order to help get him into the right spot, I had to lay in the most uncomfortable position with my leg up on a table).
I progressed pretty well…not super fast, but not too slow that I ever had to be given pitocin (hallelujah! I was so glad.) Liam had a strong heart rate the entire time.
Eventually Keith went down to get some food (he didn’t want to bring it up since I couldn’t have any) and I got a good hour or so nap.  Around 8 or 9 the shifts changed, and a midwife came in to check my progress. I was 100% effaced and 6cm dilated. They were estimating Liam’s arrival to be about midnight….(he ended up coming sooo much later!!) We did some more facebooking (well, KEITH did) and I sent him out about 8 times for ice. I was SO parched the entire time. I kept asking for ice & chapstick and sneaking as much water as I could when the nurses left. Actually, CHUGGING as much water as I could.
My epidural wore off again (actually, it kept wearing off…I think I asked for more drugs at least 4 times.) At one point, the nurses were in staring at the little chart that measures your contractions saying they had not seen any as long as mine before! Some were lasting 6 minutes, and when I started to be able to feel them again it was RIDICULOUS PAIN.  I threw up again at some point. I was gripping the rails of the bed and my hands started to shake, so the bed started to shake…I wasn’t going to ask for any more because I actually felt like I was ‘bothering’ the nurses, but Keith took one look at me and got the nurse right away. The anesthesiologist finally gave me a stronger drug. GLORY. I’m not kidding, I wanted to give him a hug.

Well, the night wore on..slowwwlly….I kept thinking, ‘He’ll be here in the next few hours’…and then a few more hours would go by! Man, babies sure do have their OWN agenda to follow, what’s up with that.
Sunday, October 14 – Keith’s brother’s birthday
Liam’s estimated arrival time (midnight) came and went. I was still progressing, so the midwife said I still didn’t have to get any pitocin. Keith decided to finally take a nap, and I think I got a bit more sleep myself. Part of the reason that it was taking so long was because Liam never really did drop, & they wanted him down a bit farther so I didn’t have as much work to do. They must have thought I was really lazy or something. :)
Roxy (the amazing night nurse) and the midwife, Diane came in around 1:15  to check me, and I told them that my epidural had worn off again! Argh! They checked and I was about ready to push, (finally!!), but that meant there would be no more epidural. Thankfully it hadn’t worn off completely. I could feel a lot of pain from the contractions, but not nearly as bad as before.
Keith was snoozing in the corner, and once he joined the land of the living, he was in dire need of coffee…No joke, he stood up and asked the entire room, ‘Can we get some coffee for dad?!’ …well, at one in the morning, there was no place to get any…but then they told him I was ready to push, and all of a sudden, coffee was no longer necessary.
I started pushing at 1:45 with what I thought were going to be practice pushes…but weren’t! We didn’t do any ‘practice’, just went right to the real deal!
The whole time I was in L&D, we had Owl City playing on Keith’s iPod. With the dim lights, it was the most perfect, relaxing, peaceful environment. I’ll never forget it. There was absolutely no stress or tension, and that mood continued when I started to push.
It’s crazy how much time passed in what seemed to me like a flash. Before I knew it, I looked up and I’d been pushing for an hour. At some point shortly after that, Keith asked if I wanted the mirror, and though I’d been undecided before, I definitely did. (Best decision ever! Seeing my progress really helped me and gave me the strength to give some fantastic pushes).
I kept on truckin’, and though to me it seemed like there was no change, Roxy said there was so I took her word for it. I seriously think Keith was on the phone or facebook every other push updating someone on the progress. 
Before I knew it, I heard Diane (my midwife) tell Roxy it was time to call the Pediatrics staff, that it was a matter of minutes! All of a sudden, the room was flooded with people! Man…what a feeling! I knew I was minutes from meeting my son. Keith was excited, too. In addition to being such a phenomenal coach, holding my hand and cheering me on through it all, he was actually going to get to help deliver Liam.
Well, there I was, pushing away, and it seemed like it was. Taking. For. EVER. (IT WAS!!) The pediatrics staff were kind of just standing around waiting…(they had to be there for Liam’s delivery because of the meconium) and I heard a nurse tell them sorry, that they shouldn’t have called them so soon, they thought he’d be here by now. That was all I needed! I was so sick of pushing at that point, sick of the pain since my epidural was worn off, and really didn’t want these people to have to stand around and wait on me. Couple that with the fact that I had been able to see Liam’s head and FULL head of hair in the mirror for an hour, and you had one determined mama! They had been coaching me to do three big pushes and then we’d take a break until the next contraction, but at that moment, I decided there would be no more breaks, I was giving it all I had until he was out! And that’s what happened. I pushed with allll my might…and a few pushes later, I watched my son enter the world. Most beautiful sight I’d ever beheld.

3:46 am, after 24 hours of labor and two hours of pushing, Liam Greyson changed our lives.

We thought we’d cry. No, I was sure I’d be crying my eyes out, and that Keith would be crying his eyes out, and that Liam would be crying his eyes out, and that we’d have one big ole’ emotional family cry fest. WRONG. Instead, I found myself laughing! Keith was laughing! (Liam was not laughing.) I was just so happy! After all the anticipation, all the work, & all the pain…dang! He was here.
He was originally supposed to go right on my chest for awhile so we could do skin-to-skin and try to nurse, but they had to check him out first because of the meconium.
When they finally brought him to me, I took him and was thinking I’d have him for a long while, and we’d do this beautiful mommy/baby look like you see in the movies...when all of a sudden….CRAP! SOMEONE TAKE THIS BABY BEFORE I BARF ON HIM!! Yes indeed, I had not been barfy my whole entire pregnancy, yet I now found myself throwing up like it was goin’ out of style! Damn! AND I had the worst headache of my life to boot!
SO I’d nearly barfed on my newborn baby, felt like my head was going to explode, had several people all up in my biz-ness in the land down under doing who knows what with those tools, hadn’t slept for over 24 hours…And still this was my happiest day.
Finally I got to hold my Liam.

**Just a side note about the amazing hospital I delivered at. I know sometimes military hospitals get a bad rep, so I wanted to say what a great experience I had at mine. I would definitely choose to deliver there again in a second! They are a very baby friendly hospital, with 24 hour rooming in as the only option, as the hospital doesn’t even have a nursery! That’s right! From the time Liam was born, he slept right next to our bed in every single room we were in. They are very pro-breastfeeding, and provided us tons of education, including a class given by a lactation consultant. I truly feel like they really focus on helping your baby get the best possible start, and I’m grateful to have been able to deliver at such a place!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Five Weeks of Liam

You're not sick of seeing posts about Liam yet, are you?! GOOD! Because there is no end to them!
I'm playing catch-up (Liam turned 5 weeks on Sunday). Since Gammy & Grandaddy Pope are here visiting, mommy has been spending less time online & more time doing other wonderful things. (Thankfully, the boy has to eat sometime, & I've finally learned to multi-task!)

But here he is in all his glory, my little treasure who changes so much every week!

Li Li, L Pop, L-man, Mr. Piggy, Little Lion Man: 
(He already has SO MANY nicknames)

MAN your mama loves you! You really are the light of my life. Every day I get to delight in watching you grow and take in new things. I learn something new about you every day, and in doing that, you teach me something new about myself!
You are growing WAY TOO FAST! Like a weed! You're already out of several newborn outfits & Pj's, and the 'too-small' pile just keeps growing!
I nearly cried when I realized that your socks were too small. 
The only thing that makes me less sad about you growing is the fact that I get to see all the exciting milestones I know are to come! And I plan on soaking in every single one!


Sunday, November 18, 2012

One Month Old!

Man, it's crazy how much less time you have to blog... and how much less time you have to do anything else once you have a baby. If you weren't a flexible person before, trust me, becoming a parent will teach you to be flexible! 
Liam turned a month old on the 14th... and clearly this did not get done on the 14th.

Weight: 10 pounds, 12 ounces.
Height: 22 inches
Clothing size: He's starting to fit in 0-3 month now! NOOOOO!!! :) Actually I'm kind of glad. I have so many cute clothes for them, but mostly they're bigger sizes. I didn't get many newborn clothes, so I'm glad he's growing out of them. And sad at the same time. He'll never be that small again....
.........*tears* seriously. ok...I thought I was okay with it....
Diaper size: Size 1
Feeding: He's starting to really get on a feeding schedule after he came down off his growth spurt. He's been eating about every 21/2-3 hours for about 20-30 minutes. Still breastfeeding, and it gets easier every day! whoo hoo! mama's happy.
Sleep: He is really only waking up once a night (if you don't count the midnight snack, which I don't because I usually stay up until I've given it to him). He's pretty regular with his sleeping patterns, with the exception of a few nights. He goes down at 9, gets his midnight snack (I'm considering moving his schedule around so that his late night feeding can be a little earlier) and then wakes up about 3:45 to eat. Then he sleeps til 7 or 7:30. So I am usually getting an okay amount of sleep, just not consecutively. I'm hoping that changes this month!
Milestones: He's really starting to pick his head up off whatever he's laying on, and hold it up for a bit longer each time! He's become much more alert this month, smiling more and more every day!
Adventures: Liam had so many adventures his first month! He went to Target for the first time, went to a few restaurants with mommy and daddy, went to a pumpkin patch, and saw the ocean for the first time when he took his first boat trip! He's destined to be a world traveler for sure!
 Mommy and Daddy could not get through the first weeks without: LOTS of babywipes. I knew we'd go through tons of diapers, but I'm actually surprised how quickly we've gone through the wipes!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

First Month Favorites for Mama & Baby

I've officially made it through ONE MONTH as a parent! 
This has been a whirlwind of emotions, a learning rollercoaster! There are some parts of becoming a parent that you can kind of prepare for...but for the most part, it's a learn-as-you-go type of trade.
Babies don't really come with an instruction manual (don't we all wish!?) and aside from the advice we get from our parents, relatives and friends, some things we're just left to figure out on our own.
I've done a lot of 'figuring out' this past month, along with a lot of taking precious, treasured advice from my beloved network of bloggy/IG/local mommas. (Seriously don't know what I'd do without you guys).
I'm passing on some things I've learned--products that made our first month a little easier.

Most wonderful 'toy' ever made! This little stuffed guy comes with a sound machine with several different soothing noises to help baby sleep. It's pretty small, (we got the travel version) so it's easy to grab and set in the carseat/stroller where ever we go, plus Liam sleeps with it every night. There's one sound setting called 'calm' and it calms him down almost immediately.
LOVE this. I had this recommended to me by so many other moms, and I'm glad I took the advice and got it! It's relatively inexpensive, but we actually decided this was something we could find on Craigslist for even cheaper. (Especially since they'll only use it for maybe 6 months.) This is the most perfect contraption to put right next to your bed. It folds up easily if you want it out of the way during the day, and it's super light. You can rock it back and forth to help baby sleep, and from the reviews I've read, most babies love sleeping in it. (I know for sure ours does!)
Can I just say Glory Hallelujah and a standing ovation for these wipes! 
I'm actually mad I bought anything else (I have about 5 months worth of wipes in Liam's closet...and I wish they were ALL THESE!!) Ok, first of all, the scent. I got the cucumber and green tea, and I could seriously rub them over my body as perfume. I'm not joking. 
Second of all...the name 'One and Done' don't lie! These pups are so so thick. One wipe does the trick. I don't feel like poop is going to jump through the wipe and attack my hand like I do with some other wipes. 
Once I run out of my Doomsday Preppers stash of other insignificant wipes, these are all I'll ever buy again!
(Our favorite diapers are Pampers Swaddlers. They fit him very well, and we love the little wetness indicator that changes color when he's wee'd.)
At first Keith was like, 'Uhm, why did you get Liam nightgowns?' And I was like, when it's 3 a.m. and you don't have to unsnap anything to change his diaper, you'll thank me.
You're welcome. :)
We originally put this in our room since Liam was sleeping in there because we thought it was cool and we're kids at heart. 
Turns out it not only seems like Liam sleeps better with that tiny bit of light, it's provides just the right amount of light for us to see anything in the room and not wake him up, or in the middle of the night when I want to nurse and not be blinded.
Listen to me closely when I say:
You will never have too many of these.  
We use them for everything! They're in every room of our house. I'm not exaggerating, we have at least 20. And you will probably dirty 3 or 4 a day. Like I said....You. Will. Not. Have. Too. Many.
They work great as burp cloths, we add them to his swaddle if he seems cold, they're small and compact and fit perfectly in the diaper bag. The uses are about as endless as the amount of laundry a newborn produces!
7. Boppy
Ahh, the Boppy pillow! So many great uses. Perfect for those just learning to nurse that aren't very coordinated (like me!) It really does help to have that extra support to hold him up. The boppy is also perfect for sitting/propping up baby for awake time.

And all the hurting nipples of the world breathed a sigh of relief!
These things are AHHH-maze-ING. If you're breastfeeding, your nipples will be sore, especially the first few weeks! (trust does get better)
These things were my life support. Just when you think, omygodmynipplesmightfalloff, slap these suckers on and it's a whole new world.
Again, your nipples will be sore! This stuff is like chapstick for the nipple. Slather em' up, you'll need it. Might as well buy several of these, one for each room you plan to nurse in. It will prevent any additional chafing from bras/clothing, and it's safe for babe to ingest.
You will use them in groves. It's been a month and I've gone through two boxes of 60 each. One night, I thought, oh my boobies don't seem that full tonight, I'll skip the nursing pads.
BAD IDEA. I woke up in, literally, a pool of milk. It looked like I peed the bed from my boobs.
So, yeah. Nursing pads.
4. Water Bottle
My trusty Starbucks Tumbler is always by my side. Whether you're nursing or not, you need lots of water. It's important to stay healthy and keep up whatever energy you possibly can.
Besides. I don't know any new mom who has the time to take herself to the ER due to dehydration. :)
5. Reading materials
These books have been recommended to me by someone along the way, and all three have taught me something valuable so far. Happiest Baby is really good for learning ways to soothe your crying newborn. Definitely learned things I'd never even heard of! That one comes in DVD form as well. Ina May's Guide to BFing really helped me when I was trying to get Liam to latch properly. Babywise I'm currently reading through--I've had so many people suggest it to me for sleep training, and so far I really love the things I'm learning from it! In just a day of really trying to get Liam on a schedule and implementing suggestions from the book, I can already tell a difference.
All these books are relatively easy reads. I typically just skim over the parts I think I'll get the most out of while I'm nursing Liam.
At first I thought, 'I won't really need a nursing bra, will I?' Wrong! You will. Though they're far from sexy (let's face it, if you're breastfeeding, it'll be awhile until you're back in your sexy bra collection) these are sooo commfortable. Anything that is comfortable on your boobs will have you jumping for joy. At night, I often only wear a bra to bed, and these are perfectly soft and not too tight. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Liam's Newborn Photos!

When Liam was 8 days old, we had his newborn photoshoot! 
Back in April, I'd scoured the web for local newborn photographers, and my absolute favorite portfolio was of a photographer a friend recommended. 
Let me tell you, folks, until you've been present at a newborn photoshoot, you have no clue the work that goes into it! On the day of the shoot, Liam was not in a good mood at all, to the point that I would have really loved to reschedule, but that's just hard to do with such a short time window to capture the 'newborn-ness'. 
The shoot is supposed to last three hours...ours went five....I was peed on twice, the photographer once, poop was shot clear across the studio... Liam just cried and cried and cried when he was 'supposed' to be sleeping sweetly. (This just goes to show you that newborns never do what they're 'supposed' to!)
We later discovered that there was a problem with his circumcision and had to take him to the ER...He was in pain all day, so that was the reason for all the fussing. Poor thing :(
Anyway, all that to say, Chantelle from Simply Blissful Photography was patient beyond words! Definitely born to do what she does! She gave up her afternoon to stay very late with us, and from the photos you see here, you would never guess that L man had a bad day.
Thanks again to Chantelle for her patience and kindness, and for giving us photos we'll treasure for a lifetime!