Wednesday, July 31, 2013

1st month as a mommy

Good lord, where does the time go.  These last few weeks have blinked by faster than I can believe.  Amazingly my body has adapted to the 2-3 hour sleep schedule and wakes itself up on its own.  All our wonderful, super helpful family has left and I've somehow managed to eat, clean the house, shower, dress myself, run errands and sleep all by myself.  The first few weeks required quite a learning curve.  Here's a recap:

Week one - We got home from the hospital.  Pax nursed like a champ... from only my right breast.  Nurses and the lactation consultant all tried their hardest to help, but Pax wanted nothing to do with it.  My milk came in and I literally cried my boobs hurt so incredibly bad.  I made my husband go out that day and buy be a manual pump and I've been exclusively pumping my left side ever since.  No, this is not ideal.  The first few days/nights after nursing for 45 minutes and then sitting in the dark hand pumping while everyone (including the baby) was asleep brought me to frustrated tears.  It's terribly time consuming.  But, the pediatrician, nurses and LC all said to keep trying that left side and eventually he'd get on it.  So, I kept trying.  I don't know what I would have done without the help of my family the first few weeks.  I swear to God.  Absolute godsend.  Angels.  Beautiful beacons of hope.  They held the baby, let me shower, fed me every meal, snack and kept all my water bottles full.  They kept me company as I nursed. Even if I was too tired to talk they sat with me in the nursery and were just there for me.  They cleaned the house, did a ton of home projects for us, ran errands for me, kept the fridge stocked with food and made every meal.  At the end of week one we all went out to see 4th of July fireworks! 

Week 2 - Once again, don't know what I would have done without my family.  The start of week 2 was ... yes, I'll say it.  Terrible.  Paxton quit nursing.  Just like that.  He wouldn't nurse.  Of course this happened on a weekend when I couldn't call the pediatrician and the wonderful, super helpful LC that had helped me so much was on vacation.  He would not eat.  He was screaming because he was hungry.  I couldn't get him to nurse.  The first week of nursing I was SUPER careful about what I ate.  I was so worried something I would eat would make him sick or unwilling to nurse.  I didn't eat dairy, spicy or acidic foods.  I was so strict I felt like I couldn't eat anything.  If my family wasn't here I'm pretty sure I would have eaten nothing.  But, they fed me and took care of me.  Best. Family. Ever.  Anyway, back to the nursing strike.  I was desperate to figure out what was going on, but nothing I was trying would work.  My wonderful mom stayed up through the early hours of the morning holding and rocking my upset baby that was too hungry to sleep.  Like I said before, she's an angel.  Desperate for help I eventually asked a baby expert friend and she advised me to give a bottle of my milk.  That he's too hungry to concentrate on nursing.  She told me to offer the breast, if he refuses it's ok just give him an ounce of bottle breast milk, and keep trying the breast every ounce or so and just see if he'll take it.  The first time putting that bottle in his mouth was scary for me because I was worried he'd never nurse again.  The hospital went on and on about nipple confusion.  But, on the other hand I was SO RELIEVED when he started gulping down the milk.  He needed it so badly.  He was just so hungry.  He drank down (and kept down) 4 ounces.  Each feeding I tried to get him to nurse, but had the bottle ready and did give the bottle for 4 feedings or so, but always offered my breast through the bottle feeding. And then just as suddenly as he quit nursing he started nursing again like there had never been a problem.  Praise be.  When he went to the pediatrician for his 2 week check up he was back to nursing like a champ and had surpassed his birth weight.  When Pax was 2 weeks old he went to his first air show on Pensacola Beach!

Weeks 3 and 4 were easier.  I got better at being a mom and got to know my son better.  He is nursing like a champ... still only on one side, but I'll take it.  Since I'm pumping one side I have a big stash of frozen breast milk stored up already.  (My parents even bought me a deep freezer!)  He's growing like crazy.  Changing every day.  I'm in total awe of this little human.  I am soaking up every beautiful baby moment. 

The love I feel is so beyond what I thought my heart was capable of.  I always heard from moms that the love you have for children is absolute, unconditional and overwhelming.  And I can attest to that!  It's such a special, beautiful, new kind of love.  It's a love that I always wanted to experience and the reason I fought so hard for a baby of my own. Getting to be this lil mans mom is the best thing ever!!

It's amazing how much he changes so quickly!  He's gotten SO BIG and so much stronger.  He's grasping things, smiling and staying awake so much longer now.  The first toy he's really shown interest in is Sophie the Giraffe.  I just can't get enough of his big, happy, goofy smiles!  He is the light of my life! 

 For more pictures and more frequent updates be sure to follow me on Instagram! Link has been added at the top right of the page. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Newborn Photos

Nicki Smith Photography did a wonderful job once again on our newborn photos.  She rocks!  Hope you enjoy getting to see us with our beautiful little guy only 5 days old.

Brad flew this flag on his missions while in Afghanistan and he gave it to Paxton.

My sweet, little 4th of July baby.

Light of my life!

Proud parents.

We are so in love with our family's new addition!

My parents are awesome grandparents.  Pax loves them!

Pax and his traveling Aunt Mame that has promised a safari trip when he's older.

Me with my sister, Mary.
These first few days home with our new baby was so amazing.  I've never been happier in my life!  We are so overwhelmed with love for our little blessing. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

And just like that, I became a MOM!

Paxton Connor
Born June 27, 2013 at 11:26 am
8 lbs 5 oz
22 1/4 inches long 

I'm overjoyed to share with you the birth of our son, Pax.  He's here!   

On June 27 we had a scheduled c-section due to my placenta previa.  It went awesome!  I had such a great experience and feel so fortunate that I was able to still have a birth that made me feel involved, empowered and bonded to my new baby boy. 
I had a great experience, but I really had to put in the work and research so that I was knowledgeable on subjects I previously knew nothing about.  I read books, blogs, forums, and got advice from friends and family.  I not only had to switch OBGYN's due to moving from Okinawa to FL, but I had to switch my mindset at around 30 weeks from wanting a totally natural birth and interviewing doulas to having a totally surgical birth and picking a surgeon.  When I found out my previa wasn't resolved I probably was not anyone's favorite person at the Naval Hospital.  I came to appointments with huge lists of questions/concerns and my appointments with my midwife and doctor were rarely less than an hour of just talking.  

I was determined to do everything I could to still have the birth I felt great about.  It was so important to me to be able to touch and hold my baby after surgery and I wanted to have the immediate skin to skin so badly!  The Naval Hospital here did an amazing job accommodating my wishes.  As it turns out I was the FIRST patient that was allowed to have skin to skin right after surgery.  I had a wonderful midwife, doctor, nurses and medical team! 

The hospital staff did so much to make sure I had the birth experience that was special for me.  My doctor was amazing and went above and beyond for me!  

Sure, there were times at the hospital when I was less than thrilled at my situation.  We got there early in the morning, but had to wait hours more for emergency c-sections to go first.  Waiting was nerve wracking!  And the worst part was I was super hungry and thirsty.  They let me eat ice chips and I was so thankful.  Made a huge difference.  When it was go time it all happened so fast.   Getting an IV hurt more than I feel like it ever should.  And then because of my previa they wanted 2 access points so they needed to put in a 2nd IV.  They couldn't get it in, so they ended up putting one in my hand after my spinal was put in and I hardly even felt it.  As for my spinal... holy moley, it took at least 3 tries to get the dang thing in correctly and I was using every calm, relaxing breathing technique and finding that happy place in my mind while gripping the nurses hands off.  I knew that if they couldn't get it in I would have to be put under and I didn't want that!  Finally it went in, Brad came in and they started to get the baby out.  Well, baby was still sitting high and I never expected how rough it would be to get him out.  At one point I was terrified because they were rocking me so hard on the table and there was so much pressure on my lungs that I couldn't breathe, but then he was out and they held up my son and my whole world changed in a moment.  They took him over to quickly wipe him down and Brad went over to cut the cord.  And then a moment later he was on my chest and in my arms!  I hardly remember anything about getting put back together because I was in total awe and in total love with the just born little human cuddled up on me that was just IN ME.  Totally blew my mind.  It was the best moment of my life!   

I only had to spend 2 nights in the hospital.  The first night was not my favorite ever.  There was morphine in my spinal and I did not like the side effects.  I was so hungry, but couldn't keep anything down.  I didn't want any more medication, so I was hoping it would pass.  But, that night after surgery after barfing up all my liquids and a few bites of crackers yet again I went ahead and took the anti- nausea meds.  And, I was itchy.   Like massively itchy.  (I ended up giving in and taking a pill for the itchiness the next day because I was going to rip off my skin.) And I was still attached to my catheter, IV and these calf squeezer things to help prevent blood clots.  The leg squeezers were awful.  I was SO HOT and sweaty and itchy and the plastic leg squeezers made me want to loose my mind.  Not the most comfortable night of my life!  But, really it hardly mattered because I was so very happy with my baby snuggled up in my arms!  I did get up out of bed that night as soon as they would let me.  I got to get up and go into the bathroom and I took a sponge bath and got to brush my teeth.  And I got to take the leg squeezers off for a little bit! Made me feel like a new woman!  My awesome doctor let me get unhooked from my IV and catheter early the next morning at like 4am and I wanted to kiss her.   The next day I was up walking laps in the labor delivery ward pushing my baby in the bassinet.  The nurses were so surprised and made comments like "wait, didn't you just have major abdominal surgery less than 24 hours ago?!"  Oh, and of course there was the flood in our room... I was SO excited to take a shower the 2nd day and I had just finished washing my hair when I realized that the shower wasn't draining.  All the water ran out of the bathroom and into our room.  I wasn't in there long at all, but by the time I realized what was happening and turned the water off I had made a huge mess.  Oops!  Not the relaxing shower I was looking forward to! 

Proud new Daddy

Pax meeting Grandpa
Meeting Grandma
Going home!
They let us leave the hospital to go home as early as they could.  All my labs and baby's labs came back perfect and things were going well.   I really expected to be bed ridden for at least a week after this surgery.  I thought I would be in the worst pain ever and that had really scared me prior to having this surgery.  I don't know if I'm really lucky, if I was really mentally prepared, had a really good doctor, or what.  But, I've been feeling pretty great considering. 

So, at this point he's already 2+ weeks old.  I have so much more to fill you in on, but have been a tad busy!  Just enjoying every moment!!