Friday, July 29, 2022

Out and About

I have managed to make it out of the house for my first outings without the little man. This feels like a pretty huge accomplishment since up until this week we had spent literally every minute together and I was definitely a little worried about how I would do leaving him for the first time. My parents came to town for a few days this week and since I was due to go to the dentist it worked out perfectly. They were able to keep him for the hour I needed to get my teeth cleaned (not that I wasn't looking for any excuse not to go to the dentist- I hate it!). I grabbed a bunch of snuggles and kisses before heading out the door and only worried about super unlikely emergencies a little bit. My parents are excellent grandparents and so I knew he was in good hands- they played and then he took a little nap and I was home just in time for him to be ready to eat. 

Two days later my hubby also had the chance to have some one-on-one time with our boy. There was a women's fellowship event with ladies from church that I wanted to go to and luckily he got home from work in time to allow me to go. It was his first time just the two of them and they had a great time! JB has done great taking a bottle so dad was able to feed him, he took a little nap and then dad introduced him to some of his favorite classic country music. Watching the two of them together is still one of my favorite things about parenthood. 

And even though it feels good to know both him and I can manage being apart for a little bit, I still want to spend almost every minute with my little guy. He is just the sweetest, most fun little person I've ever met! 

Sunday, July 17, 2022

One Month

It's been one month with our precious James Boyd. We are still completely smitten with him and are just loving life with him in it. We've been getting to know him and trying to figure out this whole parenting thing over the last few weeks. 

One month Stats:

Weight- The most recent weight I have on him is from two weeks (9lbs 7oz). He doesn't go back to the doctor until two months so we'll have to wait on an updated weight for now. But I feel confident he's probably nearing 11lbs at this point. He's a chunky little thing and loves to eat! 

Likes- Being held and being in motion. He wants to be rocking or bouncing or rocking or swaying and he always knows if you try and sit down. He likes to eat, be sung to and loves to take a nap on mom or dad, he's grown into a fan of bath time and any sounds of running water. He loves to be in the car as long as its moving and most of the time enjoys going for walks in his stroller. He loves to look out of our big living room windows at the clouds and in general loves to be outside. He likes tummy time most of the time and is pretty impressive at lifting his head and looking all around.

Dislikes- Anything that is not listed above. Kidding. Sort of. He isn't what we would describe as a super laid back baby so he can get a bit fussy if he isn't be held and bounced, eating or sleeping. But he's settling in more and we're all finding our groove. He does not like to be put down or be still- my mom tells me  I was like this also. We love the snuggles and are definitely getting our steps in! He doesn't like to be hooked into his carseat (he loves to be in the car but getting buckled not so much). He doesn't like to wait for food once he decides he's hungry (typically as soon as he opens his eyes from a nap). And so far he isn't a big fan of the swing either. 

Sleeping and Eating - During the day he eats pretty much every 2-3 hours followed by a short amount of awake/play time and then hopefully down for a nap. Daytime naps are a bit tricker than nighttime right now and he mostly wants to sleep on me. Which I love! But also, trying to get him napping in his bassinet or crib at least once during the day. At night I no longer wake him to eat and he is kind enough to usually give me one slightly longer stretch of sleep at the beginning of the night. Last night- his first official night as a one month old he slept from 9:30 to almost 2:30! It was glorious. The rest of the night he usually wakes after about 2 1/2 hours. He definitely loves to eat and is growing, growing, growing! As you can see he already looks almost too big for his little milestone blanket...1 year will look interesting! 

Favorite Moment- Well obviously this month this is an easy one- his birthday! But a few of my other favorites would be all of our first outings like first time to a restaurant and first trip to Costco. I love doing things as a new little family! Also, watching my husband with him is my favorite always! He's so sweet with him and it gives me all the feels. 

Overall month one has been exciting, overwhelming, exhausting and amazing. We can't wait for what's next! 


Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Catching Up

It’s hard to believe we’ve had our little guy for 3 whole weeks now! (Also, we've actually had him almost 4 but I started this post when he was 3 weeks- motherhood is busy y'all!). It’s amazing how fast the time feels like its going by. We have been so fortunate with how well JB has done and he is truly such a sweet baby. We were lucky to be able to bring him home from the hospital the very next evening after he was born. The hospital is not a place to get rest, what with the nurses coming in all the time to check on you so we were happy to be able to get home to our own space. 

On Saturday, at just 2 days old we had our first little scare. We noticed that the skin around his umbilical cord was looking pretty red and we became concerned about a possible infection. After talking with the after hours nurse at his pediatrician we were advised to take him to the children’s ER to get it checked out. Unfortunately due to his age the urgent care centers wouldn’t be able to see him so the ER was the only option. Nothing like being 2 days postpartum with a tiny little life you’re responsible for and being told you need to load them into the car and head to the ER. But fortunately everything was fine and it was determined the redness was probably just irritation from the clamp that hadn’t been removed yet. We definitely felt like over anxious new parents but always better to put your mind at ease right? 

Those first few days were a blur of diaper changes (mostly by hubby because he’s amazing), baby snuggles, figuring out nursing, and sleeping whenever possible. JB did more sleeping than anyone else though. He was the sleepiest little guy for about the first week. It was a challenge just to keep him awake to eat and of course that had my new, first time mom self all worried that he wasn’t getting enough milk, or that maybe there was something wrong or that he would start losing too much weight. Well rest assured that was not the case- he was back up at birth weight at 6 days old. And at his 2 week appointment he was already 9lbs 7 oz, almost a whole pound heavier than his birth weight. So he seems to be eating like a champ! They tell you when you’re pregnant that breastfeeding will be harder or more stressful than you think and they’re right. But we seem to have it mostly figured out now and for that I am oh so grateful! 

He had his first bath once we were home and was not a huge fan- although he has since come to realize that bath time is not so bad. He's been for his first stroller ride and tried out the swing. He's worn all the newborn outfits we have, multiple a day it seems and has now pretty much graduated to the next size up. He's definitely a chunky little guy but still feels itty bitty to me! 

We were so fortunate to have plenty of help in the first 10 days with both my parents and my in-laws coming to stay for a few days each. My parents came the day we went to the hospital so they could watch our dog and be there when we first got home and then about 6 days later my in laws came to stay a few days as well. Everyone was so helpful with things around the house, laundry, holding the baby so I could shower or rest, meals- you name it and our people took care of it. Adjusting to life with a little one is a challenge but having such great support was so helpful as we figured it all out. 

At 9 days old we had his newborn photos taken and they are my favorite thing ever! Our photographer did a wonderful job capturing some sweet moments and I know we'll treasure these. James did so well for the photos, sleeping most of the time but waking up just enough to get some shots of those baby blues! I can't get enough of him! 

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Welcome Baby Boy!

Whew! It has been a whirlwind of a few weeks over here. If you follow me on social media or read my mom's blog then you know that we welcomed our little boy into the world on Thursday, June 16th. And since then we have been in a delightful baby fog that is full of snuggles, baby watching, sleepy eyes (ours and his), more snuggles and figuring out the whole parenting thing. I have all kinds of things I want to share about these first few weeks but before I forget all of the details (mom brain is even more serious than pregnancy brain!), I want to record his birth story. Birth stories are not for everyone so feel free to skip this post if you don't care to read those details. But June 16th was the most wonderful, life changing day and I don't want to forget a minute. Be forewarned that it's lengthy!

Leading up to his birth, I had been so anxious for things to get started. Hoping every twinge I felt was the start of contractions or that a new symptom I was experiencing might mean labor was right around the corner. At my 38 week appointment I was already dilated 3 cm and was 70% effaced. This felt huge to me! I was already 1/3 of the way there and things hadn't even started! And certainly that meant things would be starting soon. So I let my doctor do a membrane sweep in hopes of helping things along and headed home. Well all the sweep did was cause some bleeding that had me concerned and back at the doctor 2 days later to check on baby boy. Everything was fine, and I wasn't having any signs of labor so they sent me home telling me not to worry. Ha! The bleeding continued on and off over the weekend and really picked back up the following Wednesday- a whole week after I'd had the sweep done. This made me think something else was causing the bleeding, again causing me to be a bit panicky. I had my 39 week appointment that afternoon and my doctor assured me he saw no signs of anything being wrong and it was most likely just my body getting ready for labor. 

The next morning I woke up around 4:30 to get up to go to the bathroom and when I sat up in bed I felt a gush. It was dark so I couldn't see exactly what it was but upon further inspection I determined I thought it might be my water breaking. There was still some bleeding but it definitely seemed more like water. Luckily my mom had suggested I sleep with a towel under me this last week- thank goodness because that at least helped with some of the mess. I woke hubby and told him I thought my water had broken and we may need to go to the hospital. I originally had planned to labor at home as long as possible before going to the hospital but since I wasn't having contractions and I wasn't even entirely sure if it was my water or not, and there was still the bleeding to consider I decided to call my doctor and get his opinion. He encouraged me to come on in to to labor and delivery and get checked out. So we go up, threw in some laundry, ate a quick breakfast, packed the car and headed to the hospital. The timing actually worked out perfectly because we didn't have the added stress of hubby already being at work. 

We arrived at the hospital around 6:15am and they brought me back to triage. Hubby wasn't able to be with me for this part which I didn't love but the staff was great! They did an exam, asked me a million questions and put me on some monitors to check on baby and observe any contractions I might have been having (at this point I still wasn't aware of any). Baby boy's heart rate was good but my contractions hadn't really started- just a few intermittent ones that weren't even strong enough for me to distinguish from braxton hicks. I was about 4cm dilated, and the nurse practitioner who checked me said it was possible my water had broken because she couldn't detect the bag during the exam but she wasn't positive. However, she felt like the bleeding I was still having made her too uncomfortable to send me home to see if contractions got started on their own. So she conferred with my doctor and they agreed it was probably time to admit me and get things started.

I had a very specific birth plan in mind and multiple printed copies in my bag and one of the first things listed was I did NOT want to be induced or have my labor augmented. But when the NP shared her and my doctor's thoughts with me I didn't even hesitate to agree. I just knew today was the day. Plus I was a bit nervous that everything was ok and I just wanted to get him here. Hubby was brought back to me and we headed to get settled into our room in the labor area. I knew they were hoping to start me on a low dose of pitocin, and knew that meant I wouldn't be eating for a while so I decided to have a snack before things got started. My nurses were great and gave me time to eat while we waited for my doctor to come chat with us. They also got me hooked up to the fetal monitors and my IV for some fluids. My doctor arrived and talked through the plan- start on the lowest dose of pitocin to see if we can kickstart my body into labor and go ahead and break my waters (or confirm they're already broken). I was very nervous about the pitocin but my doctor assured me that if my body started contracting on its own we could turn it off. So we agreed to the plan and he went ahead with breaking my waters. We determined my waters had partially broken but he was able to fully rupture them for me. And then around 8:30ish the pitocin was turned on.

About 10 minutes later contractions started and as I expected with the pitocin, they came on fast and furious. Everything you read and prepare for tells you that contractions will build, starting out lasting about 30 seconds, increasing in length, and strength but these started out lasting at least a minute, and very intense with not much time in between. They were also all in my back, I didn't feel a thing in my abdomen. I labored through these for about 2 hours and then truly doubted that I could continue for what I was sure was hours more. My husband was great throughout! He put counter pressure on my back during each contraction, let me know when the peak was over, and told me repeatedly what a good job I was doing. When I started to doubt myself, I was getting no break between contractions and they were lasting 1.5-2 minutes a piece-he encouraged me telling me that probably meant I was getting close to the pushing stage. I told him there was no way, it had only been a short time and that this was just what pitocin contractions are like. (In hindsight I maybe should have listened to him!). 

At this point I decided I wanted an epidural. This was not my original plan. I had hoped to have an unmedicated birth but I just felt so overwhelmed by the intensity so I asked my husband and nurse to please get me an epidural. Everyone asked me multiple times to be sure I was sure, which I appreciated and I was sure. I hadn't really used a lot of the tools I had intended to like the shower or my hypnobirthing tracks and looking back I'm not sure why- labor makes your brain a bit scrambled! The anesthesiology team arrived super quick and was phenomenal. I had some fear about the epidural due to my pretty substantial scoliosis but it was super smooth and worked effectively with no issues. At this point it's about 10:45am. My nurse came back around 11 and did a cervical check and I think my jaw hit the floor when she told me I was 10cm. I looked at her and said "I am not!" and she assured me I was. So it seems my husband may have been right and I was almost to the pushing stage. Initially this disappointed me, I had been so close and maybe I could have just kept going a bit longer. I had considered asking her to check me before I got the epidural but decided that it was irrelevant once I had decided it was what I wanted. But looking back now and seeing how things continued to progress I am happy with the choice I made. 

When she told me I was 10cm she also let me know that baby boy was still sitting way up high in my pelvis, at zero station. Because I had the epidural and was comfortable they were able to allow me to "labor down", basically letting my body labor on its own while I was comfortable to see if he'll move down before beginning to push. So they set me up with a peanut ball and I laid on one side that way for an hour and then on the other side for another hour. This also gave me a little time to rest which was good, because I was going to need it. Unfortunately when they returned he really hadn't moved down much so the nurse let me try some practice pushes just to see what would happen. I pushed for about an hour, with little progress so again they had me rest, in a different position to see if we could get baby boy into a better position to move. Because I'd been having back labor my nurse thought perhaps he wasn't sitting in the best position. An hour went by and we got back to pushing. After about an hour of pushing, my doctor came in to check on me. I was finally making some progress at this point so he said we were good to keep going. And so we did, for another hour and a half. Which if you're keeping count puts me around 3.5 hours total of pushing. My contractions had really slowed and weakened at this point so they turned the pitocin back on to see if they could give them a boost.

My doctor was in and out during this time, keeping an eye on my progress. Around 6 he came in and stuck around for several pushes. I could tell on his face he was beginning to worry about how long I'd been pushing, and the amount of progress I still needed to make to get baby boy out. My doctor knew that I wanted limited intervention. And he knew that so far my plans had not gone at all like I had hoped. And I cannot thank him enough for how gently he approached this next part with us. He talked through some of what he was seeing, what it could mean, asked how I was feeling (in regards to having the strength to keep pushing) and said he wanted us to begin considering whether an instrumental delivery might be a good option for us. This immediately terrified me but I also knew he was right- I was exhausted even though I didn't want to admit it. And I wasn't sure I could get him here on my own. So when my doctor suggested using the vacuum I looked to my husband who reassured me and we agreed. 

They got everything set up for the delivery and let me rest for a couple contractions while they got organized. The NICU team was brought in- standard procedure with an instrumental delivery- but as soon as they arrived I could feel myself tear up. My husband held my hand and assured me everything would be fine. Then it was time to push again. It still took 4 more contractions, even with the assistance of the vacuum but at 6:44pm James Boyd McIntyre FINALLY arrived. 

He was placed on my chest while they gave a him a quick once over- no NICU assistance needed. The amount of relief, joy and love I felt at that moment is indescribable. As we were all admiring him, we agreed his size may have contributed to his stubborn exit. He was definitely a chunky little guy- we hadn't weighed him yet but nomone in the room thought he was under 8lbs. When he was finally weighed, he clocked in at 8lbs 10 oz. And 19 inches long. Whew! But he was pure perfection with the chubbiest cheeks and a head full of hair! 

JB's birth went pretty much nothing liked I had planned or hoped. I could be disappointed with that but how could I be disappointed when I have the most precious, perfectly healthy baby boy snuggled in my arms. I'll share more about our first 2 weeks at home over the next few days I hope so stay tuned for all the cute baby pictures!