Thursday, August 21, 2014

Winston is One Month

Poor kid. I just don't even have time to shower, much less blog. But I want to make sure I keep record of his first year just like I did for London, so here's a snapshot of Winston Dare's first month. 

Sleeping: right around a month, we started getting some 4h stretches of sleep which quickly turned to 5h. When I think about the nights that he was up every 25m, 5h straight is amazing! That's what London was doing at this age, too. It makes such a difference. I just need to do a better job of going down when he does! We normally do Jammies  & swaddle around 10pm and he'll sleep until around 3, then it takes a long time to get him back down (sometimes almost 2h) and then he sleeps another 2-3h. There's a skylight in his room and I think that may contribute to his morning waking, because he seems to do better on days when it's cloudy or raining. He is sleeping in the Rock 'N Play, which I hate. We were so big on only ever letting our kids sleep in their crib, but he spits up so much that he needs the incline. At least he's in his nursery - he is the noisiest sleeper ever so there is no way we could room share. Naps are a total crap shoot with this kid. Sometimes he falls asleep nursing and I'm able to transfer him to the couch / bed, or even the RNP, but rarely. He sleeps to prefer belly sleep for nap, which means I basically have to stand there and watch him the whole time. Car naps are a rarity and even more so that I'm able to bring him inside and stay asleep. He looooves to sleep in the ring sling - thank God for a sweet friend who loaned it to me because the kid lives in that thing! The days when he does nap midday (not on me) I try to kid a 30 minute nap while both kids are asleep. So needless to say, my house chores are being really neglected these days!

Eating: we are still using the nipple shield for all feeds, but are weaning away from the bottle so I'm thankful for that. At 2w our schedule was: nurse, bottle feed, nurse, bottle feed, pump - it took about 1.5h and I did it every 2.5h. Exhausting!! We are quickly moving to just using the bottle for bedtime feeds to make sure he's well fed before sleeping. I returned the hospital grade pump (that thing is awesome!) but I'm going to try to pump once a day most days, to help stock up for our trip in November. 

Weight: At two weeks, he was down to 7lb 6oz but had grown almost an inch to 21.6" long. We began the pumping / bottle feeding regiment that day and he started gaining weight immediately. We got his tongue & lip clipped shortly after that and his weight gain continued! A few days shy of one month, he was up to 8'12, a full pound over his birth weight. 

Activity: getting some sleep smiles, but not as much as I wish and no sleep laughter. I swear he's smiled while awake though! He enjoys and does well with tummy time, and has great neck strength - we're working with the chiropractor to make sure it stays even. He puts up with a ton of kisses from big sister and loves to be worn in the ring sling anywhere we go. He's been to church and out to dinner, to Marbles kids museum, library story time and parks. 

Clothes: he's already outgrowing the newborn onesies because of his length - gonna be tall & thin like his daddy! He's worn several things that belonged to London, a sleeper that was Tyler's, and even an outfit that belonged to Ben! London loves to pick out his bibs and insists he wear shoes. Poor kid, at least he'll be stylish! I do try to put him in bins every day because of all the spit up, poor darlin. 

Here's hoping the second month gets a bit easier, these were a tough four weeks! But I love this sweet little man and I can't wait to get to know him more. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Winston Dare: The Birth Story [part two]

I left off with asking for the epidural, which felt appropriate because it seems to be a turning point in my labors. I guess my body just needs that relief to relax and progress on its own. After finally requesting it, every minute seemed to crawl by. I prayed during each contraction that it would be the last one before the epidural. 

Side note, is it just me or are anesthesiologists kind-of mean? The one I saw with London was fine but this guy was a jerk; when he finally showed up, he was snapping at the nurse and wasn't particularly friendly to me either. I think I had 4-5 more contractions while waiting on him to get everything set up once he was in the room - let me tell you how hard it is to labor while bent over the side of the bed and not allowed to move. (Hint: really freaking hard!)

Once it was in (just like with London, I didn't find it terrible to have put in!), I was able to relax and calm down - I even did my makeup! At that point, somewhere around 7:30am on Sunday, I was at 5cm so I was hoping things would move along quickly - which they did, just not as quickly as I would've hoped! At some point my water broke and they found meconium, so the nurse (who, while very sweet, was brand new to the hospital which meant extra staff, extra questions, and a few other issues along the way) alerted us he would likely have to go straight to the special care nursery. Not exactly a great thing to hear when so many of my birth wishes revolved around the first few minutes after he was born! Honestly though, I was really calm about the whole thing and didn't let myself freak out about it (thanks epidural!) because it was 100% out of my control ... That doesn't sound like me, does it?! But I really don't think I brought it up at all to Ben, or if I did it was just talking about what that meant. So, a pat on the back for my type A self giving up control. 

Things progressed, slowly and uneventfully. Where, with London, they were saying "you'll have a baby by dinner. No lunch. No breakfast. Just kidding she's here!", with Winston it was more "sometime tonight. This morning. Hopefully today?" but again, I didn't freak out too much. It gave us time to name him and for me to do my makeup (a luxury I didn't have during my labor with London). They worried I may need pitocin, as the fluids that accompanied my epidural really slowed things down, but once those had run though te labor picked back up again and thankfully didn't have to be augmented. 

We updated our parents of my progress at various points. I sipped ginger ale and had a Popsicle at some point, another luxury I was not offered the first time. I may have even snuck a piece of candy that I had packed for Ben. It was all very casual and calm, until they decided it was time for me to push. Yes, THEY decided. Issue number one, right? Before I knew it, they were wheeling in warmers and tables and FOUR nurses (plus Dr. Segal & me and Ben in a suddenly-very- tiny delivery room). The temperature jumped about 20 degrees and Ben nearly passed out from the chaos and heat. 

Another stark difference in my deliveries; with London, it was calm & quiet, one nurse and the doctor, both of whom we loved. I felt totally in control, even though I was in pain and overwhelmed, I had the reigns. This time, I didn't know the names of half the people in the room, there were questions being asked and orders being given, and they were telling me when and how to push. It all felt very medical and scary. I had no feeling whatsoever in one leg, and absolutely no pressure or need to push. As they began to coach me through some "practice pushes", Dr. Segal discovered there was another bag of waters that needed to be broken. Luckily, this one was clear (no meconium) so they said it was likely he would NOT have to go straight to the NICU (praise God!). 

I'm thankful that it wasn't too long or painful but it was extremely disheartening to not feel in control of Winston's delivery.  I really don't remember how long or how many times I pushed, but it was less than 30 minutes. They wheeled out the mirror to help me focus my pushing, so I was able to watch him be born, all purple and gooey and tiny and perfect. So tiny, I kept saying; he's so tiny (he wasn't; 3oz bigger than his sister! but tiny in comparison to the 30lb toddler I was used to lugging around, yes). He didn't have nearly as much hair as we expected but his head was a lovely shape and his tiny lips favored his daddy. Actually, everything did - almost immediately I noticed how he looked just like Ben! 

They immediately put him on my chest and he latched right away while his umbilical cord was still pumping; such an amazing feeling. He nursed while I delivered the placenta - much easier than the first time! - which they preserved to be encapsulated for me. We kept his arrival and his name to ourselves as we chatted with the nurses through his bath, measurements, tests, etc. and got to know our new son. He had no problems finding his voice and had a sweet raspy cry just like London's. 

We made it back to our recovery room just in time for the start of the World Cup championship game, and he was introduced to his immediately-smitten big sister and the rest of our family & friends via social media. He was just perfect, and our family was complete! We are so lucky to have our beautiful girl and our handsome boy, both healthy and happy. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Winston Dare: The Birth Story [part one]

Oh, second babies. You get shafted in so many ways. I mean, sure, there's the benefit that your parents are more relaxed and you'll probably get away with more stuff in the long run, but the downside of that is hand-me-down onesies with spit-up-stained necks and me popping your pacifier in my mouth after it falls on the floor instead of sterilizing it in a steamer. So, you know, I'm sorry. But I digress, it's a month (boohoo!) tomorrow since this kid was born and I have yet to blog his birth story. Or make a single entry in the baby book. I remember feeling guilty that I wrote about London's birth story too late and I think it was only two weeks. Yeah, second kid syndrome. Anyway, here it goes. May be a multi-part story depending on how long the kids sleep... Praise God for both kids napping at the same time, am I right?

My cervix started to dilate & thin out at my 36 week check-up, which I thought was a great sign considering it never did either of those on its own with London. As it turns out, it meant nothing, because I was somehow LESS dilated & effaced at my 39 week check-up (which was a Friday). I asked the doctor if she could strip my membranes, and was told my cervix was too high for her to reach, so basically "good luck, you're going to be pregnant forever!". She to me to expect some irregular contractions that day but that they meant nothing, so I ignored them for the rest of Friday and most of Saturday. Ben volunteered to take London out to his parents' house so I could run some errands & relax, so I spent Saturday leisurely getting ready and checking items off my to-do list, sans toddler, which was basically a Caribbean vacation at 39w pregnant. 

By Saturday afternoon, I noticed the contractions seemed to be coming a bit closer together. Ben was painting the changing table while London & I made brownies, when I told him casually I was going to start timing them. Eight minutes, ten minutes, sometimes twelve. I thought / hoped this was the very early beginnings of labor! I continued to contract as we went to a friend's house for appetizers and drinks (I even had a hard cider!) but was able to work through them so I knew I had awhile to go. When a friend of ours asked about the baby pool, I (only halfway) jokingly told him to pick tomorrow! We came home & put London to bed, and when the contractions started coming closer together, the on-call OB advised we come in to make sure he was head down. 

The problem with a second baby is that you can't just quietly sneak over to the hospital to see if you're in labor, saving yourself the false alarm embarrassment from family and friends. Someone has to sit with the first baby (who was sound asleep and oblivious to the impending arrival of her baby brother). We had friends come over while we went to Rex (I was tidying up the house before they arrived - should've known it wasn't the "real" thing!) and the doctor & nurse confirmed that there was no change from the day prior - too high to even check dilation, not in labor, you're going to be pregnant forever, etc. So frustrating and embarrassing for a second time mom who had been having regular contractions for eight hours!

We sent our friends home and got into bed, with the discouraging news that these quasi-contractions could last for days or longer! No sooner had I fallen asleep than an intense cramp woke me up. I couldn't lay down, couldn't stand up, couldn't find a comfortable position. It passed, I fell back asleep, then another one. And another. I asked Ben to help me time them because they were so intense - three minutes apart. I was sick to my stomach and had terrible cold chills, and I remember telling Ben, "If this isn't labor, I think I have the flu!". After a few hours of alternating between the bathroom and being doubled over our bed, he suggested I take a shower - I think it took me 45 minutes because I kept having to stop & brace myself on the wall. Each contraction, I prayed to let them be "real" (productive) or let them stop. Around 3:30am we decided to call the doctor back (who reluctantly instructed us to come back in) and Ben's parents (who drove 40 minutes to stay with London). At this point, the contractions had been around three minutes apart for close to four hours. They started to build, one right on top of the other. I could barely move, much less speak, and I thought for sure I was going to walk in and have them tell me I was 6 or 7 cm dilated. 

The drive to the hospital was excruciating (I remember asking Ben to drive carefully but quickly!). The look from the hospital security guard, knowing we had just been sent home a few hours earlier, was almost as painful! But when the head nurse, who was our angel delivery nurse with London, saw me come back in, she took us back to the room without any questions and could tell I was in active labor. This was encouraging, I thought ... Wrong. Three freaking centimeters. After two days of contractions I had progressed a centimeter?! But baby was head down and engaged, so that was something, and they were willing to let me stay even though I wasn't at 4cm yet (which is their normal policy). With that discouraging news, I began to heavily consider an epidural, which I finally got about two hours after getting checked. After hours of that intense pain, I just didn't want to do it anymore. I was hoping for a natural labor this time, but I was also hoping for the super quick second-baby labor the nurses & doctors kept talking about - so since that wasn't happening, I went ahead and asked for the drugs. 

[to be continued]

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Terrific Two's

London is so ... Two. She's defiant, stubborn, messy, and constantly negotiating with us to get her way. But she's also so clever and funny. Today, she was in the playroom with Ben while I was in the living room with Winston. She climbed up to the piano and gave the following performance:

"First, itsy bitsy spider!

The itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout. 
Down came the rain and washed the spider out. 
Down came the rain and washed the spider out. 
Down came the rain and washed the spider out. 
Down came the rain and washed the spider out. 
Now London knows my ABCs!"