Friday, October 31, 2014

Andrew is ONE month old already!

How did THAT happen?
  Well 4 fast weeks have come and gone and our little guy is a whole month old already. I still feel like I'm going to wake up at any moment and realize this whole mommy thing has all been a crazy awesome dream! I'm not even kidding when I say it took me a full year to actually fully wrap my mind around the fact that 1, Eli was mine, 2, he was mine to keep, and 3, I made that little person. I think when he actually could call me "mommy" is when it all really sunk in. Weird, right?? I'm kind of in that place right now with Andrew too. I look at this perfect little human being, my heart swelling to max capacity, and I can't believe I made him. He's really truly here. One thing is for sure, I. Am. Blessed.

  Before I jump into his stats I'm happy to report that for those of you who followed my horrendous nipple pain issues with Eli, this time around, although by no means pain free, is WAY better! I mean night and day better! I don't dread nursing him and the pain is tolerable without needing prescription strength motrin. Halleluia! But, with that being said, I still wish I had a bullet proof vest or something to prevent even a wayward sneeze from accidentally sending a gust of wind my way. I like to think I have a high pain tolerance (heck I delivered 2 babies!) but this nerve type pain turns me into a whiney baby and it doesn't take much to make me want to cry out. Aside from the nipple pain/sensitivity, does anyone know when the rest of my boobs won't feel like I got donkey kicked repeatedly?? Anyone??? My girls look pretty amazing right now, but what a total waste if even looking at them hurts....

  Anyhoo, lets move onto what's new with Andrew, shall we?

Eli crashing Andrew's photo session. Andrew's like "hey, I thought this was about ME?"

Size: This kiddo has just gained 2 pounds in 2 weeks! If you recall, his birth weight was 8lbs 2oz and he's now up to 10lbs 10oz! So far he's beating Eli for age because he was 9lbs 9oz at one month. He's now filling out his 3 month clothing pretty well and I've since retired the newborn clothes (and no, I don't want to talk about it. **sniffle......snort...sob!**)

Likes: Naps, his big brother (he can't see a whole lot yet but he tends to track his brother moving around him like a maniac), being rocked, having his butt patted, eating, lying on his belly, and going for walks tucked snuggly in his wrap against mommy.

Dislikes: His carseat (I reeeeeally hope he grows to like this because the hysterical cries in the back seat that only subside when the car is moving and start back up at stop lights, is gut wrenching for the mommy all the way up in the front seat), and diaper changes.

Feeding: He is exclusively breastfed and for now I feed on demand being that he's a newborn. It took almost 6 freakin' days for my milk to come in so I made it a point to nurse as often as I could to prevent the jaundice issues we experienced with Eli and to encourage my milk to make an appearance eventually. He also had a tongue tie at birth like his brother so our pediatrician snipped that at our first well visit and he's nursing like a pro now.

Sleeping: He's a newborn! Enough said, ha ha. He eats, poops, and sleeps, in that order. During the day, he can only stand being awake for about an hour max (including feeding time) before he gets fussy and overtired and then he'll take a 2 hour nap. The past few days he's been able to stay awake a little longer, stretching it to an hour and a half or 2 hours in between naps. At nighttime he does his longest stretch first, sleeping for about 4hrs, then he wakes up 3hrs later, then 2hrs later and then 1hr until we're up for the day around 7:30. His morning wake time is still very erratic at this point but I'm hoping he'll start to fall into a predictable pattern soon.

Milestones: Rolls! He's starting to fill out nicely. Also neck and head control. I'm not even kidding but this kid could lift his head and turn it from side to side while laying on his belly from week one! He made it look so easy and I had to constantly remind myself how young he was because it makes him seem so much older! Even in my wrap, he would push off and hold his head up to stare at me! Hilarious! 

Rolls! That's some good eatin'

   So that's it! I'll try to find some more time here in the next few days to update you all on how it's been with 2 kids and how they get along.

   Here's some of our outtakes from our month one photo attempts:

Giving Eli the stink eye for crowding his picture moment, ha ha

"Wait, what am I supposed to do again here?"

Winner winner, chicken dinner!
Until next time...

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

My birth story!

**Disclaimer** This is MY personal story. I am NOT an OB/GYN, labor & delivery nurse OR Doula. This post is not meant to give medical advice. I'm just a momma with an opinion...and a blog.

He's just a couple hours old here

He has such great hair.
   Well naturally, having done this whole birthing thing before, I can't help but compare the two. So I apologize if jumping back and forth gets annoying. Both my birthing experiences were very similar, yet also very different. As you may remember from my first birth post, I had every intention of laboring at home as much as possible because I didn't want any hospital interventions (IV pitocin, breaking my water, epidural etc.) and my feelings hadn't changed this time around either. In fact I was even more certain of my choice to labor at home as much as possible. I didn't plan to go pain med free just so I could have bragging rights, but simply because I knew I could do it and the added bonus would be a quicker recovery for me and baby. I believe our bodies are designed to carry and deliver babies and the medical profession is complicating all that with unnecessary interventions. (Seriously about to get on my soap box with this topic so I better just move on. If you wonder what I mean, please watch Ricky Lake's documentary "The business of being born" and you'll see exactly what I mean.) And ladies, what's with us intentionally trying to scare other momma-to-be's with the pain of child birth? "You're gonna get an epidural right??" or "omygosh I thought I was gonna die until I got the epidural!" Stop. Just stop. Yes child birth is painful. It's one of the worst pains I've ever gone through but hear me when I say this, its TOLERABLE and it's WORTH IT. Do your research and I have no doubt you'll release that fear too.

  So with Eli's birth, I had just had the privilege of witnessing my best friend's birth 7 months earlier and after being admitted with contractions every 5 minutes, she decided to go home because she was barely dilated and did not want her water broken for her and pitocin started in order to "get things going." I remember thinking I would never have had the guts to get there and leave because I wouldn't want to inconvenience them. It was an eye opening experience for me. Her drive was only 7 minutes to the hospital but mine was 30. I couldn't imagine driving to the hospital with the contractions I was having and choosing to go home because I wasn't "progressing" as fast as they wanted, and do that drive another 2 times. So I waited. With Eli I waited until my water broke at home and thats when the contractions became super intense and I knew it was time to go to the hospital. I thought I'd do the same with this one but this time around, it was very different.

    I woke up at 11:30pm thinking I might have felt a little wetness, wondering if my water had broken. Sure enough I noticed my underwear was slightly damp but I showed no other signs that it had actually truly broken (ex: passing my mucous plug, bleeding or being soaked.) Also at this time I started to feel an achy sensation to both sides of my lower back, that would shoot down to my rectum and then wrap up to my lower belly where it felt like menstrual cramping. Pleasant. NOT! So. Much. Pressure. I was afraid of 2 things with labor; laboring through the night where I'd lose my beloved sleep (Waaah!) and the dreaded "back labor," and here I was starting it off with the two things I was hoping to avoid. This rattled my confidence a little, I'm not gonna lie, but then I just chose to focus on getting through each contraction (which were every 2-5 minutes from the get-go. No training wheels, no ramping up, just "go" time. Thanks uterus.) This is it. It's the real deal. No noticeable braxton hicks for this girl.

   I decided to let my hubby sleep for a bit before I let him in on the big news because I knew I wasn't ready to head to the hospital yet and I figured he had a long road ahead of him if I was going to labor for 16hrs like I did with Eli. I decided to text my mom instead because she's way more helpful when I'm in pain or sick than my hubby is. But just a few hours later at 1:45am I realized the pain was getting intense and that it was almost time to leave so I woke him and Steph. We actually didn't leave until 3:30am and that was only because the contractions were every 2-3minutes and super intense to the point where I thought I had to be close. I was disappointed my water hadn't broken yet because I really didn't want them to insist on doing this for me once I was at the hospital. 

  Once we got there, the nurse checked to see how far dilated I was and it felt like she shoved her whole hand up there which made me think I wasn't even close. I thought his head should have stopped her at some point if I was "close" but it didn't seem to. Sure enough though, she confirmed that I WAS just about there because once again I came in at 9 ½ cm dilated and his head was "right there". Deja vu. I'd heard those exact words over 3 years ago. Looks like I'd be having both my boys at 39 weeks and 1 day. Ha! Consistent, that's me! They called my doc and also decided to call the in-house on call doctor because they didn't think mine would get there in time. Turns out my doc and the in-house doc got there at the same time (within 12 minutes!) They had just gotten me to the bed, strapped the fetal monitor on my belly, applied the BP cuff to my arm, and helped me to lie down on my side when the craziest sensation ripped through my body. My water broke! Holy cow! With Eli it was a slow trickle that made me even wonder if it HAD broken, but with this one, it reminded me of the Coneheads movie where her water breaks and comes out in a torrential downpour and floods the floor! I'm not even kidding. The best way I can describe it is this huge release of backed up pressure like a giant water balloon being shoved through a small hole and finally giving way under the enormous pressure and exploding everywhere! Move out of the way, this baby was coming! My doc had enough time to put on gloves and this was how I welcomed her to the party. Hey doc! (In hindsight, I find it comical that I put on a pad "just in case" for the car ride to the hospital and what a joke that would have been if my water broke with such magnitude in the car. Oh. Em. Gee! We would have needed to buy a new car! Ha ha ha. But I digress...)

My "birth plan" that I asked Steph, Aaron and Jac to help me with

   During my mental prep and research about the best laboring positions and natural childbirth, I had read that even a comatose woman could birth a baby! The body WILL do the work and that technically you didn't even have to push--the contractions are THAT strong. I had also learned that for some reason, the united states was slow to respond to the current evidence that "coached" pushing or "blue pushing" (where mom holds her breath and "bears down" to a count of ten with each contraction, thereby denying herself and her baby much needed oxygen during a crucial time) was BAD for mom and baby and actually NOT recommended. How come with the 3 labors I attended, Jac's, Steph's and my own, we were ALL told to do this?!? Well that does it. I made up my mind that I was NOT pushing. No siree bob. With Eli, the nurse treated me like an epidural patient and told me when I was contracting (thanks, I feel that you know) and instructed me to push while counting to 10. My gut and body said it was wrong. It felt wrong and I had no desire to push, hence the reason she kept telling me I was "doing it wrong". There were only a select few contractions that made me WANT to push, but not all of them did. To me it was a waste of precious energy to push when my body said not to. My research has since indicated that the new evidence says that mom should only push when she feels the urge and not to push with every contraction simply since she's 10 cm dilated. I felt vindicated! Then I felt angry. Never again would I doubt my instincts.

   After my Conehead experience, (skip to 1:33 of the video if you want to know what I mean) I didn't have to do anything. No seriously. My hubby held up my leg, I moaned/groaned (a tight jaw=a tight perineum. Did you know that?? I didn't) and let that baby come on his own. I "pushed" (shhh, no I didn't) 4 times (read:4 contractions did the work FOR me) and he was out. I was admitted to the hospital at 4am, baby in my arms by 4:35am. Only 10 minutes after hitting the delivery room. Halleluia! Each nurse who took care of me during my short hospital stay kept saying "so I heard you barely made it to the hospital on time." Not true. I had no urge to push until I got to the hospital. We had time.

This is my so-relieved-to-be-done face

Meeting each other for the first time

Daddy cutting the cord

I can't even believe he's finally here!

He looks like he has a cone head here but that's because the blanket is covering part of it. He actually had a perfect shaped head!
Proud daddy, got a son that looks like him!
I present to you, Andrew Major Scicluna
  When I mentioned being consistent earlier, Andrew weighed in 1 ounce smaller than his big bro at 8lbs and 2oz. He's an inch smaller at 19 ½ inches but we joke that Eli had a conehead that gave him the extra height, ha ha.

  The best part of a natural labor was that I was up and moving around later that morning. I had zero swelling because I didn't get a ton of IV fluids to combat low blood pressure if I would have chosen an epidural, no spinal headache from said epidural, and no urinary catheter. Yay for that alone! I was ready to take on the demands of being a mommy of TWO!

  So yes, I mentioned how birth was one of the most painful things I've ever gone through but I chose to go without pain meds twice because it was the best thing for ME. I have friends who have had uncomplicated deliveries with an epidural and rave about them and I say more power to you. I get more discouraged when I hear stories of "I got xyz (insert: epidural, pitocin, cervidil, induced etc) because "they recommended it" or "that's just what they told me I had to do." Then my heart breaks when I hear of the adverse effects that follow and eventually leads to that "emergency" c-section. To go through the pushing stage in labor and endure contractions, only to end up with a c-section is my worst nightmare. I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

  I'd like to especially thank my hubby, my sister, Jac and my friend Caylan for their incredible support and guidance.  Just knowing that my hubby, sis and Jac were there to advocate for me gave me tremendous relief and my friend Caylan, although not in the delivery room with me, is a doula and mommy of 3 (with her 4th just born a couple days after me!) allowed me to pick her brain as often as I needed and gave me invaluable advice that ultimately gave me the most confidence. Muuuuah to you lovies! I can't thank you all enough.

Welp, that's my story. We're home and getting adjusted to being parents of 2 boys but so far its pretty dang awesome. Stay tuned for updates.


p.s   A super awesome natural birthing link that rocked my world regarding the pushing stage was this one. If you're pregnant, I highly recommend it.