Wednesday, April 30, 2014

April in Photos

Mommy snuggles

Tombstone's controller pillow xD

Vince's favorite lamp

Bath time!

Playing on the activity mat

Passed out again after sleeping nearly 6 hours straight!

"Mommy, this paci tastes like lemons..."

Meeting Great Grandma and Papa

Stripe Kisses!

Meeting the Easter Bunny

Vincent and Uncle Timmy playing video games

New swing from Great Aunt Loretta and Uncle Mike

Happy First Easter!

Super full Buddah belleh

"Hi, Mom!"

Case of the Mondays

But first...let me take a selfie
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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Pregnancy, Labor, Delivery and Postpartum - What You May Not Know

I'm a first time mom - the whole experience of pregnancy, labor and delivery and life postpartum was completely foreign to me and I had no idea what to expect. I had never been around pregnant women growing up and had only ever held a baby a few times. So the time spent between the bed and the toilet, especially in the first several months of my pregnancy, I spent doing my research. Pregnancy groups and forums, blogs, books, apps...I looked just about everywhere and just spent a lot of time reading and asking questions.

But even all that research didn't fully prepare me for what was in store! Some of the things on this list I was aware of; others came as a complete surprise. So here are the things I came up with, that you wouldn't think to expect while you're expecting! 


1. Morning sickness is not necessarily just in the morning. It can hit you like a freight train at any time of the day and it can be ruthless. And unfortunately for many women, the saying that it "goes away after the first trimester" is a lie. An evil lie. For me, the vomiting lasted until a few weeks into my third trimester, then picked right back up during the last three weeks, lasting until the day I gave birth.

2. Don't rely on the heartbeat to determine the baby's gender. My son's heartbeat was 160 bpm at my first few appointments, making me think he might be a girl, then it dropped to the 140's after we found out the gender! The heartbeat really depends on how active the baby is at the time. 

3. Honestly, lack of sleep does not start when the baby is born. It starts much, much sooner. If you're lucky and aren't dealing with a lot of pregnancy symptoms in the beginning that are preventing you from sleeping in the first trimester, you will be able to take some serious hibernation-like naps, all with drool and crazy dreams. Otherwise, you'll begin to get up just about every hour at night to use the bathroom. Even when decreasing your fluid intake, you're still going to be getting up often. (And you really shouldn't decrease your fluid intake anyway.) It tends to get a little better in the 2nd trimester, then get worse than ever before in the 3rd. I got to where I could actually partially sleepwalk to the bathroom with my eyes closed, just to make it easier for myself to fall back to sleep when I got back to bed. 

4. Acid reflux. It haunted me for the entire second half of my pregnancy, finally letting up a tad once the baby dropped. Acid reflux just plain sucks. It seriously does. There were times that it was so bad, it would keep me up all night and cause me to throw up. It wasn't until I started stacking my pillows up high in the bed, cutting certain "trigger foods" out of my diet, that it became tolerable. Drinking a glass of milk or eating a yogurt also helped take the edge off for me. 

5. Just because you didn't see a single sign of stretch marks for the first 8 months of your pregnancy, does not mean they won't show up in your 9th month! Happened to me. 

6. Let me sing you a little song about something called "diastasis recti" or "abdominal separation". I did not even know it was even possible for your abdominal muscles to split apart until I went to lay back on the table at my midwife's office and saw my stomach shape itself into a pyramid, which was basically my uterus bulging out between my muscles. Just the thought of it makes me cringe. Apparently it's very common, but I had never heard of it before! I am guessing the cause of mine was likely due to poor posture.
It won't necessarily happen to you, but it's definitely something to be aware about. Unfortunately, once you have it during pregnancy, there isn't much you can do to help it until after baby has arrived. But there are precautions you can take and several exercises to do postpartum to assist the healing process. I wish so DESPERATELY I had seen this pin on Pinterest several months back, but I of course didn't think to look until after I was aware. This page has some great exercises and tips: 

7. Besides a growing belly, you will notice lots of other changes! A few unexpected ones for me were: I only had to shave my legs once every two weeks, because the hair stopped growing! However what didn't grow on my legs, began to show up in other unexpected places! Haha! Another was that my hair would not get greasy very often at all, so I didn't have to wash it as often. 

8. Your sense of smell is heightened during pregnancy. So things that you normally might find pleasant smelling (perfume, candles etc.) can become way too strong. I also found my sense of taste was heightened. So I would have to brush my teeth about 4 or 5 times per day to help get rid of the nasty taste in my mouth! 

Labor & Delivery

1. This is one thing I was not prepared for: Even though it may not be active, labor can last for weeks! I went to the hospital two times for false labor, prior to actually giving birth. I started having real contractions at around 37 weeks that stuck around no matter what I did, unlike braxton hicks, which usually stop if you lay down and drink water. These were close together and fairly intense, but would eventually end up spacing off.

2. Just because you're dilated, does not mean that you're going to give birth the next day or even several weeks. As mentioned above, labor can last for weeks and all those braxton hicks or practice contractions are actually dilating you slowly! Every woman is different - some women will not be at all dilated or effaced and go into labor the next day. I was 1cm dilated and 60% effaced at 36 weeks and went past my due date.

3. Your water doesn't necessarily break on it's own! And when it does, it might not be the only time it does! I was 9cm dilated when my midwife broke my water and she had to do it again not only once but TWICE after she did the first time! I had no idea your water could be broken so many times. Apparently it has layers.

4. Contractions aren't always several minutes apart. Once I got to about four centimeters, my contractions were one on top of the other, because I was dilating so fast. I barely had 30 seconds in between them to breathe. This is what ended up causing my decision to get an epidural, because I just couldn't take it anymore. 

5. You may choose ahead of time to get an epidural. However, be aware that you have to be at least 4cm dilated to get it.

6. Yes, you are going to poo in front of people. And no, you're not going to care. You will be so preoccupied with pushing something the size of a watermelon out something the size of a lemon, that you won't even have time to think about it. I'd say you wouldn't notice it, but I did - which actually gave me a much needed laugh!

Postpartum Recovery

1. Recovery can be pretty painful, especially if you tore or had an episiotomy. Witch hazel, tucks pads and dermoplast will be your best friends! Also a peri-bottle (used to squirt warm water on your lady parts while you do your business), which most hospitals provide and send home with you. 

2. You're going to bleed. A LOT. And it can last anywhere from 2-6 weeks. At nearly 8 weeks postpartum, I am still spotting a little bit. It's definitely a good idea to stock up on some maxi pads before giving birth, because the ones you will (most likely) receive from the hospital won't last very long!

3. Contractions don't stop after giving birth, because your uterus needs to contract back to it's normal size. You'll feel them especially while you're breastfeeding, which is why I put a heating pad on my abdomen every time I nursed my son for the first two weeks. It seemed to really help. Also ibuprofen. LOTS of ibuprofen!

4. Your belly takes a while to shrink back to it's normal size! You won't just pop out the baby and BAM - there's your pre-pregnancy belly. It took about a month for my belly to shrink back down to it's "normal" size and it can take a lot longer than that. And once it does shrink down, it will be pretty wrinkly and squishy, especially if you ended up getting stretch marks.

5. Breastfeeding is HARD. I am not going to lie. Especially in that first month, it is very painful and exhausting. And once your milk comes in, engorgement is an added struggle, until your milk supply regulates itself. This can take several weeks. There are SO many times I've wanted to give up, especially in the middle of growth spurts and Vince wanting to nurse constantly. And you can't just hand your boob over, so someone else can take over a feeding. You can pump your milk and have someone bottle feed, but you have to pump to make up for that missed feeding, so your supply doesn't drop. So it's still the same amount of work, if not more, because you have to wash the bottles and pump supplies. 

6. Breastfeeding does have a lot of pros though! One, it helps you lose the baby weight! I had heard this many times before giving birth, but had no idea to what extent. It REALLY helps drop the pounds. Two, no washing bottles or mixing formula in the middle of the night! You can feed in a side-lying position to where you can both just crash right out after the feeding. Three, it is said to help prevent postpartum depression, because of the release of oxytocin.

That's just about everything! If there's anything I left out that you didn't think to expect while you were expecting, leave me a comment below! :)

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Monday, April 7, 2014

1 Month Postpartum Update

I was actually planning on making a 2 week postpartum update, which then turned into 3 week update and has finally become a 1 month update! Haha! I've quickly come to realize that all "plans" fly right out the window as the parent of a newborn, especially a NEW parent. So unless scheduling a mandatory appointment, there is absolutely no sense in trying to plan anything, even if it's just to fold some clothes or take a shower. 

And if you know me personally or have been following my blog for a while, you probably know that I am an organized neat freak who makes WAY to many OCD to-do lists for everything. So you can imagine how upside-down my world is right now. But honestly, it's okay. :) I am learning to let things go, as hard as it can be sometimes. I'll get my routine back to some extent eventually, but now is not the time to beat myself over the head about it. Especially when I get to spend every day with this adorable little sir!!

So! To the actual update:  

Weight loss: I am really VERY surprised. It was clear to me I'd loose quite a bit of weight just by giving birth, but I had no idea that breastfeeding would help me loose so much more, especially in such a short amount of time. When I weighed in at labor and delivery before I was admitted, I weighed 172 lbs. Today, I weigh 144 lbs. That's 9 lbs less than I weighed pre-pregnancy! That being said, I've been eating a lot healthier. So I will definitely continue to make that a priority, especially since I'm breastfeeding. 
The thing I have not lost however, are my stretch marks. I spent so much time getting upset over them during the end of my pregnancy. But without these stretch marks, I wouldn't have my baby boy, so I have no shame in showing them! :) They will fade eventually.

Physically: I was planning on making a separate post about this, but see issue mentioned above. Haha! Just one day over a week post partum, I started having severe abdominal pain and was advised to go to the ER. It turned out I had a bad infection and, what was thought, pieces of the placenta left in my uterus. I ended up having to have a D&C that night. It turned out that they were just blood clots, but it was good that they were removed and I was put on antibiotics with as bad as the infection was at that point. So my midwife extended my recovery time by a week, not allowing me to lift anything heavier than the baby or drive until three weeks postpartum. I am feeling MUCH better now than I was and I haven't been having to take ibuprofen for a little over a week now. 
To the TMI part: My episiotomy site is healing well and although I am still bleeding, the abdominal cramping has stopped, or at least gotten to a point where it is no longer painful and I am not as sore anymore. I'm also FINALLY able to walk without a waddle again! Woohoo! :D

Emotionally: I will admit. This has not been easy. Between having a newborn, being a new parent in general, the infection and surgery, Mike leaving for Midland on the 18th to look for work (he started a new job last Monday!), exhaustion, hormones, getting the hang of breastfeeding and the list goes on....I've been a bit of a mess. I think I am dealing with everything pretty well under the circumstances, but there are some days I just don't know how to begin to cope. But I know it has only been a month and things are starting to get a little easier, now that Vince is slowly but surely starting to get into more of a routine and I am getting a bit more sleep. 

That's pretty much it as far as the postpartum update goes! It is still uncertain exactly when Vincent and I will be moving down to Midland, but we're still thinking it will be at the end of April. I can't WAIT to be together as a family again. I don't like being away from Mike and he definitely does not like being away from either me or his son. My mom will be leaving tomorrow and I appreciated her help SO much!
As far as Vincent's update, I made a separate post, so be sure to check that out! :)  
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Vincent's 1 Month Update

Height/Weight: At his last appointment (March 21st at 2 weeks old), he weighed 8lbs 19z, was 20.5 inches long and had a head circumference of 14.5 inches. He has got a big noggin'! :D According to my home scale (which of course won't be quite as accurate), he weighs 10lbs 2oz! I used the measuring tape to measure his length and it looks like he is just a tad over 21 inches long now.

Daily: He has got a very similar "routine" to what I described in his 1 week update; Eat, play, sleep and repeat. I've begun to wake him up every 2-3 hours during the day for feedings. Afterwards I burp him (or at least attempt too - he has trouble burping), change his diaper and hold him for a bit, then I play with him for a little while before he goes back to sleep. Since I've started doing this, the feedings haven't been as frequent at night, which is awesome! I will lay him down on one of the activity mats to do tummy time for a little bit, then flip him over to look at some of the toys. In the evenings before bed, I try to do a night time routine with him as often as possible, though I need to really start doing it every night. I usually feed him first before doing anything else, since he tends to make BIG poops during or after feedings. Hehe! After (or in the middle of) the feeding, I put a fresh diaper on him, then lay him down on my bed to put a bit of lotion on him and sing to him. I finish feeding him first if he isn't done yet. I put on his pajamas and rock him until he is just barely awake, before transferring him to his napper. If he is super fussy, I have to bounce him for a while, so that he will settle down. After night feedings I tend to have to use the actual bouncer, because I very quickly run out of energy to bounce him in my lap! I try every night to put him down before he has actually fallen asleep, so that he learns to fall asleep on his own and a lot of the time, he is able to! Once he is a little older, I'll start giving him a bath every night as well.

First time in the bouncy chair!
First time doing "tummy time"
Play Time!!

Sleep: His sleep has definitely become more regulated. Ever since I started feeding him every 2-3 hours during the day and actually waking him to do so if he is sleeping, he has begun to go 3-4 hours between feedings at night. While I rock him and sing to him at night before bed, I turn off all other lights besides this glittery lava lamp I use as a night light. I also turn on a fan sound from my "Sleep" app and use it as white noise. Vince has begun to associate these things with bedtime and they almost always help him settle down for the night. As you can see in the photo, he LOVES looking at that lamp! 

Eating: Vincent now eats for 10-20 minutes per feeding every 2-3 hours during the day. At night, he goes 3-4 hours between feedings. I've begun feeding him in the side-lying position at night. It is just easier for both of us! I am not sure exactly how much he is drinking per feeding, but I feed him until he is absolutely not interested anymore. I usually store 2.5 oz per freezer bag of milk when I pump. My mom took over a feeding so I could take a nap on Wednesday and he drank the whole thing...when I got up just a few minutes after the feeding, he wanted more! So I fed him again. I'm thinking he may be up to 3-4 oz per feeding. 

Sizes: He is still in newborn sized clothes and diapers, but he has never been able to fit in his newborn hats. I'm a bit bummed, since some of them were VERY cute and I was looking forward to him wearing them! But that's okay. :) We got him an adorable hat with bear ears and it will fit him for quite a while. He is fitting in newborn clothes okay, but they are getting pretty snug. The newborn diapers are getting snug as well, especially when I change him after a feeding. I am probably going to cry when I have to bust out the box of size 1 diapers! lol

Milestones and Changes:
  • Umbilical cord came off on the 22nd of March
  • Vincent has definitely begun to find his voice - he is a LOT louder when he cries and fusses! I'll admit it's a little scary! lol
  • Went 5 1/2 hours between a feeding for the first time on Saturday night! When he woke me with his cooing, I thought I wasn't seeing straight when I looked at the clock. Then I fed him and immediately afterward:

  • He is getting really strong! When he is lying on my legs, he will grasp onto my thumbs and when I pull up a little, he will pull with his arms and lift his head! Not for terribly long of course, but it's very cool. :) He is able to lift and turn his head during tummy time as well. I like to put my foot or my hand down by his feet for him to push off of and he will push himself to the edges of the activity mat.

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