Friday, May 28, 2010

I'm obsessed with his little hands

-- Posted via iPhone

Few photos

Yesterday we went to Target. I cried a bit. Mom rushed to get her stuff.

This time I handled the ride well. The day before I screamed around the beltline and while I waited with Grandiddy in the car while mom went to DMV. Mom says most babies love to ride. I'm not sure of my opinion on it just yet.

Here I am today. Hanging out. Wearing myself out because I am not good at falling asleep. Ever.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

My breastfeeding experience

Could also be titled: Why I'm super proud of myself! Or: This is way tougher than I thought! Or: Follow your instinct as a mama!

When Asher was born, he was born big and hungry. The lactation ladies assured me that my colostrum would be enough to fill him until my milk came in. I had my doubts. He also didn't latch on well. He was so hungry and so frustrated to latch and get nothing much in return for his hard work. By about day two, the nurses would bring him to me from his nursery assessment and say "He's starving. Can you feed him before we do this?" I would start crying right along with him. I didn't have anything to give him. But I kept trying.

The third night one of my nurses woke me up and said, can we give him some formula via a syringe to get his little tummy full? I said, yes. Please make him comfortable. His crying and hunger had gotten the best of my emotional stability. I felt like I couldn't provide for my child. So, they gave him some formula and I started pumping every few hours to try to bring my milk in faster.

The next morning, he was settled. You could tell he was more willing to play the latch game since he had a full tummy. The pediatrician noted that he was dehydrated during her visit that morning. She said the formula supplementing was the right thing to do until my milk came in. Sigh, we did the right thing.

But then, the last night, he was starving again. He wouldn't be settled. It was awful. I finally asked the night nurse to bring me a bottle and formula. I was Asher's mom and I was going to feed him. I didn't care what I was feeding him, he just needed food. That was my responsibility. They brought in a tiny bottle. I fed him and tears of joy streamed down my face. I felt like a mother for the first time - I was feeding my baby. He was happy, and so, so hungry and I could help.

We go home the next day with formula in hand. The lactation consultant gave me a hard time before I left, saying that supplementing was not necessary and shame on me for letting them talk me into it. Rusty jumped in and explained that the pediatrician said Asher was becoming dehydrated. The consultant then said "Well, ok. That's a different story." (These lactation people sure are passionate about this stuff, aren't they?) She then showed us how to take the formula and drip it onto my breasts to encourage Asher to latch on. It was quite the process.

By the time we were home, we were exhausted. We gave Asher a few formula bottles the first day and night; my milk still wasn't in. And the drip game to get him interested took too much energy at that time. And honestly, the formula was easy.

Our first morning at home (after a long, rought night), I looked and Rusty and said I didn't want to give up. I could feel my milk coming in. I asked him to help me take the more difficult route and try to give breastfeeding a fair shot. And then it began. We had our process down. He changed diaper and stripped Asher (to wake him up good). I arranged no less than five pillows in the positions I was taught to prepare for Asher. Rusty got the formula bottles, the feeding tracking app and a bottle of water for me. And we worked at it. Every two hours. As a family. And eventually, a day or so later, Asher got the hang of it. We no longer had to trick him with formula.

So, the engorgement hurt. My nipples felt like they were on fire the first few minutes of every nursing session. But now, almost four weeks later, they feel ok. The only time I feel full or painful is if I miss a feeding or Asher goes longer between feedings and my body is a little confused. Asher is gaining weight. And I'm doing it! I'm producing enough milk for my big baby and I'm helping him to be healthy. I had every excuse and opportunity to give up on this. I could have walked away from the challenge without guilt, really, because it was in Asher's best interest to start that formula. But I'm so proud of myself for sticking with it. And I'm so proud of my body for being able to do this. Going through the neverending (seriously) feedings of his three week growth spurt this last week put my body to the test, and I think I passed. It's pretty crazy that my body knows how to do all of this. It's amazing.

So, to those out there who may have to supplement in the hospital - it's ok. Or for those who have a baby that doesn't quite want to latch. Keep at it. It can still work. It's not really the easiest thing, but so far it feels pretty worth it. (I'm not going to lie, I'm ready for the feedings to be shorter in time and longer in between.)

I went into this pretty clueless. But with Rusty's support, my family's support, my friends' support (big shout out to Tisha!), the lactation nurse at the ped's office and a lot of educational reading (not googling!) - I think we're on the right path. And I hope that I can be of assistance to my many mama-to-be friends in the months ahead.

Middle of the night cuteness

4:25 am. Still freaking adorable.

-- Posted via iPhone

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Cuddled up with memory of Cille

Cille had this blanket on her lap for many months before she passed away. My mom brought it to me for Asher to use. It's perfect for snuggling and he naps in it everyday now. Makes me smile.

-- Posted via iPhone

Milk drunk adorableness

-- Posted via iPhone

Friday, May 14, 2010

Update from our crib

But not an update literally from Asher's crib, because he doesn't sleep in it. Because he hardly sleeps ever, anywhere.

Yes, we seem to have disappeared off the face of the planet. We've been wrapped up in this little blessing. This little blessing that likes to be awake and/or fussing a large part of the day and night. Every day. (Last night, though, he did well. No fussiness! Maybe this will be the new trend.) The doctor says we may be looking at colic (eek!). She gave us some things we could do to help settle him, all of which we were already doing. She was impressed. We were thinking, uh oh, now what?

Our little guy just loves to be awake and alert and held and soothed. The doctor said some babies are so alert that they cannot settle themselves into sleep, nor stay asleep. Sounds like Asher. It's adorable when we have some energy and patience to just sit and entertain him. It's exhausting all the other times. (Not to mention it's hard to 'entertain' a newborn.)

Bless his heart. Asher just wants all of our love an attention. And that's just what he's getting.

(photo by Liz Cooper Photography)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Dr. Willey called Asher a tank today.

He's up over his birth weight and I've been released from waking and feeding him every 2.5 hours. Now if he would only sleep for more than an hour at a time I could get some rest. Yep you read right. My kid is awake and squirmy fussy or just looking fir action for ridiculous lengths of time.

And we are lucky if he takes a two hour nap at some point in a day. He is super alert and apparently is afraid he will miss something. Bless his heart.

Anyways on to the stats: 95th percentile for weight, 90th for height and >97th for head size. It seems I grow 'em big.

She said not to leave him unattended on a flat surface because he is so strong he could already wiggle himself off. Wow.

Big boy we love you.

-- Posted via iPhone

Monday, May 10, 2010

Our baby = precious

A friend from childhood came over on Saturday and took pics of our little family. Here's a link to a sneak peek of the pics.

Liz Cooper Photography

Sunday, May 9, 2010

What we've learned: Two weeks in

1. The first night was the worst. We were up all night, a whole 26 hours. Asher couldn't be settled, I was still very much in heal mode, Rusty was tired and frustrated. It was a nightmare. We took the next morning to regroup and created a schedule. We stick to that and we're doing better. Rusty is primary care giver (minus the nursing) during the overnight hours. I take early morning while he sleeps. This will need to change when he goes back to work full time. Any advice on that schedule from mommies out there, please share!

2. The dog doesn't get it. And it's not his fault. Patience is key.

3. Poos can be loud!

4. Let others help you. Letting someone else watch Asher so I can take a nap with Rusty is one of my favorite things. Having my mom come over and help with laundry, linens, showers, organizing is more valuable that you could ever imagine.

5. I cry. A lot. I cry if someone says something sweet. I cry for no reason. I cry if I'm tired. I cry if I'm rested. I cry reading to Asher. I cry when Rusty sends me a sweet email.

6. Appreciate a husband that's a great daddy. I know I do.

7. Watch/read the Happiest Baby on the Block. It works.

8.  Swaddle.

9. Your baby's sounds change each day. It's adorable.

10. If you have a big baby, screw the newborn and most of the 0-3 month clothes.

11. Get out and about. It helps you mentally.

12. Make sure you have a lot of PJ's you like. Because you live in those. I avoid my maternity clothes but nothing else fits for sure.

13. Babies have their own time table. And it's not very consistent. I knew this all along, but now I really know it first hand.

14. This is way, way, way more work than even I imagined. But we're handling it. One feedling session and burping session and changing session and sleeping (or not sleeping) session.

15. Babies are amazing. Our baby is beyond amazing.

16. Nursing is not easy. At. All. But worth it once you get the hang of it. Well, so far anyway. :)

17. Use your friend resources. You're going to have 19 zillion questions ranging from legit to ridiculous. Have a support system you can look to for answers.

18. Be prepared to be worried. Being a mommy means worrying. Being a mommy with OCD tendencies means worrying even more. Lean on your husband for help with this.

Baby necessities: Total Baby app

If you've got an iPhone or an iTouch and a baby - download Total Baby. This app tracks feedings, pottyings, sleepings, doctor appointments, growth, and anything else you'd like to input. And it's amazing. It's helped me track all things nursing with sleep deprivation, and I don't know what I would have done without it.

For each doctor appointment, I type in the questions we want to be sure and ask while we are there. And, I can upload pics and notes about Asher's days and nights whenever I'd like. Rusty can sync up with me, too. It's $4.99, which makes it the most expensive app I've ever purchased, but totally worth it.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Baby necessities: Target nursing bra

I pretty much hate all things nursing bras. Except for this one kind at Target.

It's their sleep nursing bra and it feels heavenly. It's so comfortable all the way around and I wear it all the time (not just for sleeping). It's available in stores and online.

(Their nursing tanks are good, too.Not as fabulous, but still good. I have three.)

Gilligan & O'Malley Nursing Sleep Bra

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Pics from today

--Posted via iPhone

Baby necessities: Breast Relief Packs

They go warm. They go cold. You'll need both. Just trust me. They are heavenly.

Gerber Breast Therapy Warm or Cool Relief Packs

Baby necessities: Cradle 'n Swing

Ok mama's. We're in week two here with little Asher. There are items that are quickly moving up the 'gotta have' priority list. I'm going to record them here along the way, in the hopes that they'll be helpful to others.

Up first, the Fisher Price Cradle 'n Swing. This thing had awesome reviews both online and via friends. So, I decided it's the swing we'd go for. And boy am I glad we did. It's built for infants and can be reclined back like a little cradle and can rock three different ways.

Asher loves it. It soothes him and most nights, when he decides he may sleep a few hours, it's in this swing. He snuggles in and we all get a few minutes of sleep.

Buy it. It's worth it.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Going home - Asher and Cille

For all of his life, Asher will carry a part of Cille with him, a part of him. And we will do all that we can to keep her memory and traditions alive in his world. I know that Cille and Asher never met here on earth. I think they met somewhere far more beautiful in a way that's far more amazing than you or I may ever realize.

You see, I've written that while Cille's alzheimers progressed, she always remembered me and my pregnancy. When things took a turn for the worse months back, I had this feeling that she would leave us at the same time that Asher joined us. I don't know how or why, it was just a strong feeling. Towards the end of my pregnancy, I visited her and she no longer knew me. I took pictures of her and my belly to show Asher one day, in case they never met in person.

Throughout my labor and Asher's first few days, Mom was often with us, and we both knew that is how Cille would want it. She would visit Cille before coming to Raleigh each time. Just in case. On Friday, we were packing up to leave Rex Hospital and bring Asher home. My mom came to Raleigh to help us get organized and settled. As we were walking out of the hospital, we see my dad standing there. We didn't realize he was coming, and I was glad to see him. Then I saw his face. I'm not even sure what he said to Mom. I just remember them crying and looking at me in the wheelchair holding Asher with tears in their eyes. I don't remember if they told me she had passed or if I just knew.

I think Cille waited until she knew Asher and I were ok and on our way home. And then she went home. To be with God and grandpa Paul and all her other loved ones who have gone before her. I told Mom that I always had a feeling something like this would happen. She said she felt the same way. Mom assured me that she had told Cille goodbye that morning and was happy that she was with us when Cille passed. That's what Cille would have preferred.

The power of this story is hard for me to grasp or put into words. When I think of the magnitude of losing such a big part of my life at the same time as gaining another huge part of my life, the emotion bowls me over. It's a story of life and death that few will ever witness.

I believe that Asher and Cille met. I think their spirits met and she passed on an enormous amount of love to him. And I think he looked at her with these wide eyes that we are blessed to see each day. I know she's watching over him. And I know that through both of them going home, we have all experienced something huge. For that, and for Cille and for Asher, I thank God.

Yay! He liked bath time!

Asher liked bath time today!

This goes along nicely with Rusty's waterskiing plans for the kid. And also with my OCD need for clean.

Of course it was only a sponge bath but the kid loved it. So alert. Just taking it all in.

-- Posted via iPhone

My heart swells

My heart swells with love for my husband. I married a natural daddy. Asher was born, and along with him, his father.

Rusty soothes him, burps him, changes him, sings to him, plays music and videos for him, stays up with him, everything. He also tends to Jax, shows unbelieveable patience, takes him on walks, encourages him and plays with him. And to top it off, he soothes me, cares for me, nurtures me, loves me and helps me.

I feel like all I've done for the last week is ask him for a thousand things. Over and over. Water bottle, pump parts, bottle, paci, help getting dressed, shower, lotion on my feet, drink, medicine, phone. You get the point. And he's not lost patience with me. Instead, he lovingly says yes and moves along to do what needed doing.

Last night, somewhere around midnight, I was feeding Asher. Rusty had changed him, brought him to me, helped me position him, brought me two water bottles and my phone for tracking the feeding. And then, he starts putting up laundry and emptying a trash can. The same laundry basket and trash can that had been urking me, but I cannot do those things while I'm healing and I didn't want to ask anything else of him. But he took care of them. In the middle of the night. After hours of baby tending.

And I haven't changed a single diaper. That says a lot.

Last night, I went to bed for some sleep while Rusty stayed up with our night owl. He has relocated his office to the couch. He had everything all set up, was doing work and had Asher on the couch next to him in the bouncy chair. Asher was staring at his dad. And Rusty was talking to him and taking pictures of him. My heart swelled.

And keeps right on swelling.

I am so very blessed.

Sweet, sweet Asher

Just can't get enough...

The story of Asher's arrival

This is Asher's birth story. The story that will probably make pregnant moms a little paranoid (it would have for me) and remind us all of the miracle of childbirth and the benefits of modern medicine. The story of me becoming a mother and Rusty becoming a father. The story of this husband and wife team trooping through a rather eventful labor and are stronger now because of it. The story of our son coming into our arms.

April 26: We went to our 41 week check up. Asher performed well on the non-stress test and ultrasound. He seemed to be content in there. The doctor scheduled an induction for us at Rex, but there was no rush. I simply requested the quickest appointment, which turned out to be the next morning. Because my cervix was not showing signs of dialation despite being full term and weeks of contractions, I had to go in the night before the induction for cervadil. This is placed on your cervix to encourage dialation so that they can actually begin the pitocin induction the next morning.

April 26, 8 pm: We check into Rex. Didn't seem real. Hooked up to the monitors. Felt immediate relief that from that moment on, I had a team of people keeping an eye on Asher. Until now, I was his sole protector. I liked knowing that others were monitoring his every move alongside of me. Dr. Gaines applied the cervadil around 10 pm and thus began the contractions. The nurse said we may have a baby sooner rather than later since it appeared the cervadil was putting me into labor.

Side note, having to use the bathroom during this process was awful. We had to unplug about 6 different things and take the IV pole to the bathroom with us. Which meant Rusty had to go potty with me everytime. He loved that. Add in contractions and pain and it was not a fun experience. Fast forward 8 hours of no sleep and lots of contractions and we find ourselves in the morning.

April 27, morning: The cervadil didn't really do much, but in theory, it prepared my cervix so we began the pitocin. Minutes later, contractions worsen. Rusty was by my side holding my hand through each and reporting their intensity and frequency from the monitors.

Throughout the day, the nurse kept saying that Asher was 'flat' on the monitor. Meaning, his heart rate stayed right at 150 and never varied. In babies, they like to see spikes in the heart rate with their activity. They had me turn this way and that in attempts to see a difference in his rate. It didn't seem to be working.

Dr. Anya came in sometime mid morning and broke my water. And boy did the contractions start rolling in. Wowzers. They were coming about every minute and a half. As they came, Asher's heart rate would drop. They had to turn down the pitocin a little to get things under better control. It was a balancing act, keep Asher happy, keep contractions strong enough to progress labor and not slow everything down to the point we were stalling.

I had an angel of a nurse that had just had a baby herself a couple months ago. She knew the tips to easing nausea with an epidural and understood the relief I could have as soon as the epidural arrived. She was in rapid speed mode getting the epidural in place.

There was mention of Asher's size and how he was certainly big. He was moving lower into postion, yet there was something definitely still knocking around up by my rib cage. The nurse said, oh this is a big baby.

Meanwhile, the contractions were very intense but I only had to suffer the bad ones for about 45 minutes until the epidural angel arrived. I had the head of anesthesia and the nurse assured me I was in awesome hands. It didn't hurt. There were some crazy sensations involved, but all totally tolerable and fast. They allowed Rusty to stay right there with me and it took all of 4 minutes. Seriously, piece of cake.

April 27, early afternoon: Then came the bliss. Not only did the epidural numb me from the belly button down, but it's like this amazing all-body relaxation came with it. They encouraged us to nap, which we did. And I was thrilled that after months of having to pee every two seconds, that the urge to do so completely left me altogether. Ah.

As they upped the pitocin, the contractions were hard and fast. And Asher's heart rate continued to drop. I tried to not stare at the monitor, being the information nerd I am, I knew these things happened. And I knew it meant Asher wasn't tolerating labor well. The nurses would fly in the room and help me roll side to side to try and make Asher happier. So much for resting.

Then, came the oxygen mask. This is the point where I started to get really worried about Asher. The extra oxygen didn't register with his heart rate either. The nurse said to keep things going, they would need to put in an internal monitor. Asher was continuing to be stressed and we would need to monitor it very, very closely if we were going to continue this route. She went to get my doctor who came back and smiled and kindly said she'd recommend we stop and do a c-section. The two of them showed us the heart rate of the baby down the hall and the little peaks that showed the baby was handling labor well. Asher's definitely wasn't doing that. They said they truly felt that if we kept going this route, Asher would be worse as the hour went by and we'd end up in an emergency situation later in the day.

I cried. I cried because I was relieved they were watching over him so closely and were able to see how he was handling things.  I cried because I had been there so uncomfortable for hours and it was going to be a c-section. I cried because I had been getting increasingly nervous about the moment of pushing and realized that moment wasn't going to come. I cried because I had 18 zillion things on my mind, but it was most important for me to relax and keep breathing in the oxygen. That wasn't easy to do, but it was best for Asher.

Within 5 minutes we had a c-section scheduled for about 30 minutes later. The prep was in high speed. They upped my fluids to the point the IV pole was bouncing around beside me. The nurse explained the more fluid I had, the less likely I would be nauseous on the table. (Again, she was an angel sent to me from God to help me through all of this. She explained things so well and was so kind and trustworthy. Her name was Jenna.) I had a good epidural so they were going to use that to numb me up.

We cruised down to the operating room, it was all happening so fast even though, thankfully, it wasn't an emerency situation. Rusty was getting on his scrubs. Again, handling this all very well. My nurse said her intuition all day was that this baby wouldn't fit out of me the natural way . She said she thought we'd end up with a stuck baby or a big mess trying to deliver vaginally. (She called it a vaginal c-section. No thanks.) She was saying all the things I needed to hear. And besides, I had said all along this baby was big but no one really listened. She told me that going forward with future kids, I will likely always have scheduled c-sections and earlier. Thankyouverymuch. I'm ok with that, I think.

Anyways, they wheeled me into the OR. Those ladies were awesome and put me at ease. I requested they turn up the radio because Asher always liked music. So, they did. ('Evacuate the dance floor' was playing when he was born.)

The c-section was unpleasant. That thing hurt. And I mean, hurt. I don't know if it was worse because he was so big. I think there were multiple people forcing down on me to try and get him out. They were calling him Bubba because he was so big. It felt like someone was tugging around with my internal organs and laying them around the table. But they assured me that wasn't the case. I squeezed the crap out of Rusty's hand. I kept saying this hurts, this hurts, should I feel this? They said pressure and such was normal. Nothing about this felt normal, but I trusted them.

April 27, 2:32 PM: I heard Asher cry. He was here, safe. And he was big! 9 pounds, 5 oz. 22 inches long. With a head full of hair. What a blessing.

They showed him to me and Rusty had to leave to be with him. Then, that's when the pain really began. I don't know what they were doing in there, but it hurt. I felt lots of pain high up on my abdomen. In thinking back, I think what they were doing down low was just attached to things higher up. Being that above my belly button wasn't numbed by the epidural, I could feel this tugging and such. It hurt. Like hell. Just saying. I asked for more meds, and they helped some.

I was wheeled to recovery where Rusty and Asher were waiting for me. He was watching Asher's bath. He informed me Asher had already pooped twice since birth. (That's my child!) The nurses from the OR were coming by and marveling over his weight. My labor nurse came by to ooh and ahh over him. I remained in a lot of pain. It felt like I was on fire in my mid-section. It sucked to be drugged up and in pain during such a big moment, but I was thankful to have Rusty and Asher both there with me. Eventually the pain calmed. I held Asher, I think. It all gets blurry at this point, understandably.

April 27, evening: We were in our room with our baby. Rusty had to be a very involved daddy early on. (And it came naturally to him.) I was too out of it to do anything. I was seeing double and triple. But, our baby was here, healthy. It was all worth it.

In looking back and holding Asher now, I feel panic at the thought of him suffering in there through contractions. I wonder what he was thinking? How was he feeling? What if we had kept going? What if we had opted not to monitor him so closely, how would we have known?

I'm thankful for modern medicine and the awesome team at Rex for recognizing that Asher may have been in danger and encouraged us to bring him to this world and into our arms sooner to be sure he was ok. I'm thankful to Rusty for hanging in there and not (noticeably) freaking out. I'm thankful that his calm, laid-back attitude balanced well with my worry-wart attitude and kept me from flipping out too much over everything that was going on.

Our Asher is here, safe and sound, healthy and adorable. I'm thankful to God for watching over us all and bringing us this little miracle.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Day 5

Oh the cuteness.

-- Posted via iPhone

View from here

Yes that pillow is a boppy. Rusty loves it for his own. And yes it's 4:14 am. And Jax is locked in crate three rooms away and I can hear him whining. Welcome to motherhood. :)

-- Posted via iPhone
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