has it really already been a month?

I cannot believe Hudson is a month old already!  In some ways it seems like he was just born, and in others it feels like our terrible first week was ages ago.  So this is what we’ve been up to this month (warning: tons of adorable baby pictures ahead!)

IMG_3151At nine days old, Hudson got his newborn pictures taken.  I showed you those here, but couldn’t resist reposting two of my favorites (plus showing a behind-the-scenes-peek).

profilecoverIMG_7932We watched just about every event in the winter Olympics since we spend pretty much all day every day in the recliner nursing or napping (him, not me…I think I’ve taken two naps total since he was born.  I’m just not much of a nap taker).IMG_3163my favorite boys!

IMG_3168love those sweet, sweet lips

IMG_3169he sleeps with his mouth hanging wide open much of the time

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IMG_3184This was one of the first days he was really alert and awake for a long period of time.  We definitely don’t have a routine down yet, but he is usually pretty awake for a while after he eats “breakfast” (what’s breakfast, really, when you eat all day and night…?) and likes to play on a blanket in the floor for a while.

He tries so hard to roll over but just can’t figure out how to get his shoulder out of the way.  He does not like to be on his back and he usually rolls to his side if you lay him down on his back.

IMG_3186I see this “I’m hungry” face pretty often.  Check out those adorable forehead wrinkles!

I always heard “watch for hunger cues and feed him before he gets to the point of crying”.  Umm, nope.  This one goes from zero to screaming.  He doesn’t show those hunger cues usually (sometimes, but not always), and will just start shrieking with hunger.

IMG_3187After I sort of freaked about the Rock ‘N Play, thinking that he would lean his head forward and stop breathing, I decided we needed a flat place for him to sleep.  He has a crib in the nursery, but I’m not ready to put him in there yet so we needed something for our room.  This Arms Reach Co-Sleeper is the ideal situation – it bumps right up next to the bed so he’s sleeping next to me but not in the bed (something I’m really trying to avoid).  We found a gently used one for sale and got it all set up.

Let’s just say that I’m glad I bought a used one and didn’t spend a lot of money because so far he hates it.  Well, to be honest mostly he just hates being set down anywhere at all…swing, Rock ‘N Play, bouncer, co-sleeper, anything.  He just wants to be held 24/7.  We put him in the cosleeper several nights but he’d only sleep for a little while and then we had to find an alternate place (usually in someone’s arms in the recliner).  I think the longest he slept in the cosleeper was two hours one night.

He won’t go to sleep in there at all if I’m not touching him, so for two nights (as long as he would sleep in the cosleeper) I slept with my legs in the cosleeper right alongside his back so if felt like I was laying next to him.  Not the most comfortable of sleeping positions.

He’s gotten better about needing to be held at night, but we’ve had to go back to the Rock ‘N Play because he sleeps much better in there than the cosleeper.  I think the cosleeper was just too big and he kind of rolls and flops around a lot.  The Rock ‘N Play is more snug.  So right now the cosleeper is just something that gets in the way when I try to make the bed, although he will tolerate me laying him down in it for a few minutes during the day while I get ready.  Maybe someday he’ll be able to sleep there, too.

My mom has been a lifesaver because she gets up in the middle of the night with Hudson and holds him once he’s to the point where he won’t lay down on his own anymore.  That allows us to catch a few hours of much needed sleep without having to keep one ear open for him.

IMG_3188 IMG_3194IMG_3219Hudson’s first Valentine’s day was pretty uneventful (this is the only red item he had that was remotely small enough for my little munchkin to wear, so that’s what he wore for Valentine’s).  His Uncle Riley came to visit on Valentine’s and stayed the weekend with us.

IMG_3226He is definitely a mama’s boy right now but he loves to snuggle and play with his daddy, too.

IMG_3233I thought we might have thrush because I was having quite a bit of pain and was seeing white chunks in his mouth.  Turns out, the white chunks were just little milk curdle spit up thingys (gross, sorry) and not thrush, but we went ahead and used the gentian violet just in case.  That was a big mess and I’m glad we’re done with that!

IMG_3236We introduced the paci when he was about three and a half weeks old.  Our hope was that it would soothe him and help him sleep better at night.  Unfortunately he doesn’t seem to care for it that much.  He has a really hard time keeping it in his mouth so unless someone sits there and holds it in it just falls out and makes him mad.  We try it some every day and he’s getting a little better, but he certainly didn’t take to it like I thought he would.

We started swaddling him again as well.  When we first got home from the hospital he acted like he hated being swaddled and would bust out each time.  We tried this swaddle wraps but he kept getting out so we quit for a while.  I think he was actually too small for them and that’s how he was able to get out since we couldn’t get the swaddle tight enough.  Now that he has grown some we’ve gone back to using the at night and it’s going much better.  He doesn’t break free or fuss about them anymore.

IMG_3250One of my favorite crying baby pictures :)

IMG_3255keeping me company while I ate breakfast one morning

IMG_3262sleeping so sweetly

IMG_3266a friend and co-worker of mine made this hat for Hudson and it is a hit – it’s one of two hats that he doesn’t cry when we put it on (he pitches a fit if we try to put on any of the rest of his hats) and everyone that sees it thinks it’s just the cutest thing ever!

IMG_3330We had a week of warm-ish weather (50′s and 60′s) so we took advantage of it and went strolling a few days.  It felt amazing to get out of the house!  At that point I hadn’t left in two straight weeks.

IMG_3331He hated our first stroller outing, but only because he was hungry.  The other times we went out that week he mostly just slept the whole time we walked.

IMG_3269Of course, with warm weather comes tornadoes (at least, in Kentucky).  Hudson had his first (of many, I’m sure) tornado warning closet experiences.  We put him in his carseat (which he hated) and got in our closet (one of only two ground floor, interior, no window rooms…the other being the tiny half bath).  I’m not usually afraid of storms at all, but having a baby in the picture totally changes things.  I was much more nervous now that I have a little one to think of.

IMG_3270IMG_3332Seriously.  I just sit and stare at this sweet little face all day.

IMG_3284 IMG_3290On his one month birthday, wearing the gown that his daddy came home from the hospital in.

I didn’t get a picture, but we also took him to church for the first time the day he turned a month old.  We didn’t even attempt to make it to Sunday morning service, but we did go Sunday night.  We literally started getting ourselves ready around 2:00 Sunday in order to make it to church on time (6:00).  Everything just takes so much more time with a baby!  Then of course he peed all over the cute outfit I picked out for him, then spit up all over his monogramed bib.  And then in the car on the way to church he spit up again and had to be changed yet another time.  But we made it on time (early even!) and it was wonderful to be back at church.

He is still in newborn diapers but he finally, right at a month old, outgrew some of his newborn outfits.  In fact, I think we put him in his first 0-3 month outfit for church on his one month birthday.  It was bittersweet to pack away those first few too-small sleepers.  Of course I’m thrilled that my little guy is growing, but I want him to slow down, too!  I am glad, though, that we’ll have more outfit options now (he only had about six newborn outfits that we rotated through for that first month…I just wasn’t expecting him to be so very small!).

To recap, here are things Hudson dislikes:

- wet or dirty diapers
- getting said wet or dirty diapers changed
- baths
- his carseat
- the swing, bouncy seat, cosleeper, or Rock ‘N Play (usually…but we’re getting much better!)
- being set down anywhere, basically
- being hungry

 What Hudson likes:

- eating
- being held
- being wrapped in the Moby Wrap (pretty much the only way I can eat a meal sometimes)

The first two weeks were really, really hard.  Breastfeeding was an absolute nightmare and there were many tears and much frustration (from both Hudson and me).  We finally, finally seem to be getting it figured out.  It was a really hard process but I think we’re getting there.  Now we’re battling some gassy/fussy/colicky issues as well as trying to get little man to sleep on his own for at least part of the night.  We’re making progress on both fronts, but we’re not quite there yet.  This parenting gig is hard!

Even with all the frustration and lack of sleep and inability to do pretty much anything but hold him (so sorry to my poor blog that I’ve sorely neglected), I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  I am blessed beyond measure with my little family.

Hudson’s newborn pictures

I got my 27th birthday present a month early in the form of one Mr. Hudson Michael, but today on my actual birthday I got another good present in the form of his newborn pictures!  We got these done when he was nine days old and I barely even remember it because I was such a zombie.  It was a fun surprise to get to see all his pictures today and remember the cute little poses and backdrops and such.

Hudson did not want to cooperate that day!  He was usually such a sleepy baby but that particular day he didn’t want to sleep at all, and we really wanted him to sleep for the pictures (although the ones of his big beautiful eyes ended up being some of my favorites!).  But after lots and lots of work and something like four hours (and a ton of diaper changes…we used up every diaper I had packed, little stinker!), we got some really amazing pictures.

Check out my handsome little guy!

IMG_7749 IMG_7759_2 IMG_7768_2 IMG_7791Not the best picture of my post-partum self, but I just can’t resist this sweet yawn :).  Nobody is looking at me anyway, I’m sure!
IMG_7812 IMG_7816 IMG_7838 IMG_7849 IMG_7859 IMG_7870 IMG_7877 IMG_7878_2 IMG_7886 IMG_7896 IMG_7910 IMG_7914_2 IMG_7927A precious smile!
IMG_7932 IMG_7946Thanks to Pinterest I found the cutest picture of a baby with Harry Potter glasses and knew we had to recreate it.  I love how it turned out!  We’re definitely putting this one up in our office/library.

Can I just say that I could never be a newborn photographer?  Our photographer was so incredibly patient.  She and her assistant would work for 30 minutes getting him quite and sleeping and posed just right, just to get a few shots.  She was amazing.  (If you’re in Bowling Green and need a photographer I highly recommend Shelley at Sweet Dreams Photography!)

40 (ish) weeks of belly pictures

Taking my belly pictures week by week was fun, but you just don’t notice the changes since they happen so gradually.  When I look back at the pictures from the beginning of my pregnancy it’s amazing how much I changed!  I put my pictures together in a collage so I can have them all in one place.

week by week collageIt’s funny to me how big I thought I was back when my belly first popped out, or even at 28, 29ish weeks.  I just thought I had a big belly – ha!

Here’s a fun comparison from my first belly picture to my last:

4 weeks vs 39 weeksI remember when we took that first picture, the day after we found out I was pregnant, that I thought “Look at how my belly sticks out!  I already look pregnant!”.  Oh my, I look back now and just wish my belly was that small!  Maybe someday…

What fun this journey has been!  It’s so nice now to be able to bend down, to not have the back pain, to have more than five items of clothing that fit, to not waddle, and to change positions quickly…and yet, I kind of miss my pregnant belly.  It was wonderful to feel him moving and kicking inside me, knowing that my body was growing a little human.

It’s pretty amazing to hold that little human in my arms now :).

Hudson’s first week

Maybe this post should have been titled “my first week as a mommy” or “our first week as parents”.  Wow.  Talk about a roller coaster few days!  In some ways it feels like he was just born hours ago and in other ways it feels like a month or more has gone by since his birth.  It’s been scary and difficult and exhausting and emotional and amazing and full of love.

Here’s a little about how that first week went.

Friday

Friday we spent most of the day doing thisIMG_3080and this

Photo Jan 24, 2 04 03 PMand staring at this little guy

IMG_2649and enjoying our new family of three

IMG_9102We had a few visitors, and our room felt like a revolving door with all the nurses who came in to check on me and Hudson.  They were fantastic, but it gets old having to get your vitals checked every hour or so.

Much of our day was spent nursing, or at least trying to.  Breastfeeding has been a big struggle, but I’ll save that saga for another post.

Basically we just stared in awe at our precious little boy.  A friend of ours described having a baby as a new chamber in your heart opening to make room for all that extra love.  He was spot on – I can’t even describe the love we feel for Hudson and it’s so overwhelming that it feels like I might burst.

Saturday

Saturday was our second day in the hospital post-partum and again spent mostly like this…lots of snuggles!

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IMG_9118IMG_9120The hospital photographer came by on Saturday to take Hudson’s pictures.  I didn’t plan to purchase any, but I thought I’d let her take some anyway and then I could take some, too, while he was in his cute little outfit.  Oh, y’all.  After she took the pictures she plugged them in to this little slideshow with music and quotes about babies and it was just too much.  They’ve got their marketing down pat – show sappy slideshows to emotional new moms.  I was a crying mess.  So yeah, we bought the pictures…but they are really good (I was very impressed with how good they were with no special lighting or backdrop or anything) and I can’t want to print and hang several of them.

This is one I took – not nearly as good as the photographer’s, but still sweet.

IMG_2666Since he was born at 7:55pm on Thursday and typically they don’t release you for 48 hours, we weren’t quite sure when (or if) we’d get to go home on Saturday, since that’s a pretty late hour to get discharged.  Hudson’s bilirubin levels were a bit elevated so they tested him with a heel prick Saturday afternoon.  They must have come back okay (or at least low enough that they couldn’t justify keeping him overnight) so they sent us on home with instructions to call our pediatrician in the morning to check in.  In hindsight I wish they had just kept us….

We dressed our little guy in his first “real” clothes and I was surprised at how much too big his newborn clothes were!  I had packed a few newborn things and a few 0-3 month things, not knowing how big he would be.  Turns out, even most of his newborn stuff is too big!

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IMG_3097The nursery nurses make these sweet little hats for all the babies.  Doesn’t he just look adorable??IMG_9124

Leaving the hospital was really emotional for me.  Let’s be honest, I’ve been emotional since the moment they held my little guy up for me to see.  But for some reason, leaving the hospital hit me hard.  We had the best experience and all the staff was so fantastic to us.  I was of course very ready to get home, but at the same time it was nice being in our little bubble at the hospital.  It was kind of the same bittersweet emotion I feel when I leave church camp in the summer  - ready to be clean and in my own bed, but sad to leave the people who have become my “family” for the week.  So as Michael loaded up the car with our stuff, I sat in our hospital room and rocked Hudson and cried.

All packed up and ready to go in his carseat.

IMG_2674IMG_2679When we got home we unpacked some, showered the “hospital ick” off of us, and got ready for bed.  I’d done pretty good up until this point, but bedtime that first night home was a nightmare.  We swaddled Hudson as well as we could and put him in his Rock ‘N Play next to our bed.  I was just terrified that he’d scrunch his neck down and stop breathing, or that his swaddle would creep up over his face and smother him.  We tried to lay down to sleep but I just starting crying.  Michael was absolutely amazing and sat up with Hudson the whole entire night so I could sleep in peace.  I have the most amazing husband in the whole world, for sure.

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 Sunday

Our first full day home was pretty good.  My mom watched Hudson so we could go back to bed and get a few hours of sleep, which was great especially since Michael hadn’t slept at all.

We spent the rest of the morning just hanging out.

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He loves this position, all curled up in a ball on someone’s chest.  I’m pretty sure that must be the position he was in inside my belly because it’s definitely his favorite!

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Sunday morning we were supposed to call to check in with our pediatrician about Hudson’s jaundice.  We called her and she asked us a few questions but didn’t really seem too concerned.  However, as the day wore on, Michael started to think Hudson was looking really yellow so we called her back and she wanted us to come in and get lab work done.  So our nice quiet Sunday got interrupted by a trip back to the hospital in the cold, cold weather for another heel stick.  My brave boy slept most of the time and only cried a little through the heel prick.  I was able to hold on to him and snuggle him a little while they did the pricking.  And when I say “heel prick”, that is much too mild a description.  They stick their little heels and then squeeze and squeeze for what seems like five minutes until they have filled a little vial with blood.

His bilirubin level was 15-something and so we went on home.

Look at our long, lean boy!  He has the longest, skinniest arms and legs.  Not to mention big ‘ole feet (just like his mama!).
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We’ve been calling him “little bird” and “little pterodactyl” nearly since he was born.  I think you can see in these pictures why we call him “little bird” – his mouth is like a bird looking for food.  It is adorable.  And we call him “little pterodactyl” because his cry sounds like a pterodactyl (or what they sound like on tv).IMG_2702IMG_2703We also decided to clip his little fingernails because he kept scratching himself and us.  I didn’t end up clipping much – I was afraid I would hurt him, and instead resorted to using my file to file his nails down.  His first little manicure!

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Sunday night I did much better about bedtime.  We didn’t swaddle at all and put him in a footed sleeper instead, so that we could buckle him in and not have to worry about the swaddle coming undone.  That night, Michael sat up with him for about 30 minutes, long enough for me to fall asleep with peace of mind, and then he went on to bed, too.

Monday

Monday morning we had our first pediatrician appointment.  Our pediatrician schedules newborns first thing in the morning (8:00am) to get them in and out before the sick people show up.  I appreciate that for sure, it’s just hard to get up and out so early with a newborn!

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This started what was probably one of the hardest days of my life.  Birth was the hardest physically, but this was the hardest emotionally.

IMG_3109IMG_3112IMG_3116He did so good at the doctor – he hardly cried through his check up.  His weight (according to their very old fashioned scales) was 6 pounds, 3 ounces and his length was 19 and 1/2 inches.  The pediatrician was concerned about how yellow he was, so she ordered another blood test.  Rather than have us go down to the lab and be among the germs, they had the lab tech come up to our room.  That was a great plan, until the lab tech got there and said they were all out of the heel prick things.  Instead, they were going to draw blood from the crook of his arm.

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That was absolutely horrible.  I sort of held Hudson – he was still lying on the table, but I could hold on to him.  That way I could hold his other arm down and try to comfort him, but it was awful to hear him crying so hard and to see them drawing blood from my tiny baby.  I just laid my head down next to him and cried along with him as I tried to comfort him.  I’d never felt so helpless.

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After the blood draw we went on home.  We knew sunlight was good to help jaundiced babies so Michael sat with him in the sun once we got home.  It was too little, too late, though.

IMG_9148Not too long after getting home, we got a call that his numbers had jumped up to 19.5 and that we needed to come back to the hospital immediately.  There was talk of an IV and supplementing with formula and overnight stays.  As soon as I hung up, I started bawling.  Looking back, I know that this wasn’t the end of the world, but at the time all I could think of was what a failure I was as a mother.  That I wasn’t able to provide the food my baby needed in order to get the jaundice out of his system.

We packed up as quickly as we could and headed to the hospital.  We got admitted and they put Hudson under the lights immediately.  The plan was to leave him under the lights at all times except for when he was eating, and to get him to eat as much as possible to flush out his system.  They really wanted me to supplement but I said that I was going to nurse first, then feed him my pumped milk, then we’d go to formula if we had to.  I think that ruffled some feathers that I stood up to them and it may have made for a less-than-pleasant experience overall, but it is what it is.  Breastfeeding is very important to me and I have hurdles to overcome already in that area, so I didn’t want to do anything that would mess that up – formula, bottles, etc.

IMG_9151IMG_2730It was so hard to see him under the lights.  We could reach in and touch him, but I just wanted to hold him all the time, you know?  Fortunately, the warmth of the lights and the fact that he was lethargic from the jaundice made it so that he mostly slept while he was in the box and didn’t fuss too much (not that it’s good he was lethargic, but it definitely helped when it came to getting him to stay calm in the box).

They checked his levels again after he’d been there an hour and they were still high – 18.3.  When we I got the call with the results, the doctor started pushing for an IV and using (what I felt like were) scare tactics talking about blood transfusions and cerebral palsy and such if we didn’t do an IV.  I fell apart halfway through the call and had to hand the phone off to Michael because I was crying too hard to talk or listen.  I didn’t want to do the IV, I knew it would be so hard to see my tiny baby like that, but ultimately it was the best decision.

They came in and thankfully took Hudson somewhere else to do the IV.  I hated letting him leave us, but I don’t think I could have handled seeing him get that inserted.

We stayed up nearly all night nursing, pumping, and changing diapers.  The tiny stretch of sleep we did get was not restful because I woke up every time he moved to check on him in his little bili light box, and I was constantly worried that his little mask that protects his eyes would fall down.

We also had the most amazing night nurse ever.  Every time it was time for Hudson to eat she would come in and help make sure he was latched correctly and actually nursing.  She was better, in my opinion, than any of the hospital lactation consultants, and definitely the only person there who acted like we could actually take care of our child.  I am so thankful for her encouragement and support that night.

 Tuesday

Where he spent most of that 24ish hour time period

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My little bright-eyed boy with his humongous IV.

IMG_3130Sometime during the night we started supplementing with my pumped milk fed from a syringe.

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At 8:00 am they did another blood test.  His numbers had fallen from 18.3 to 11.9. I just bawled – I had just prayed for a 15 and never dreamed it would drop so low.  I think that surprised everyone greatly.  I know most of it had to do with the IV, but I was still very proud that we’d had such a significant drop without using formula and only a tiny bit of supplemented breast milk (less than an ounce, I think).

The doctor wanted to test again that afternoon, but they went ahead and took his IV out (left the port just in case, but no longer hooked up to a bag).

That afternoon I asked to meet with one of the hospital lactation consultants.  That was probably a mistake.  One of the first things she did was tell us to start bottle feeding (with my pumped milk) immediately.  She said that it was important to get this jaundice cleared up before worrying about breastfeeding.  While I agree that we needed to get the jaundice taken care of, I really thought the point of a lactation consultant was to help you with breastfeeding, not immediately put your baby on a bottle.  She did show us how to feed him with the bottle so that hopefully it wouldn’t confuse him.

IMG_9152After she left, I sat on the edge of the bed and pumped with tears pouring down my face as Michael feed Hudson a bottle.  Yet again, I felt so inadequate that I couldn’t supply my son with what he needed.

At 3:15 they came in and did his blood test.  His numbers had gone down to 10.2 and we were discharged from the hospital.  I was so incredibly happy to get to go home.

In hindsight, this wasn’t as bad as I thought while I was in the middle of it.  Having to do the IV wasn’t as bad as I expected, and even supplementing with formula wouldn’t have been the worst thing in the world.  However, at the time with all the emotions and hormones and exhaustion it seemed insurmountable.  The majority of the people at the hospital acted like we were idiots for not asking “how high?” the second they said “jump” and for trying to make informed decisions for ourselves.

And I know it could be so much worse.  A 24ish hour hospitalization is nothing compared to those parents whose sweet babies are in the NICU for days or weeks or months and who can’t hold their babies.  We are very blessed that ours was a very short ordeal and very small on the scale of things that would go wrong.  But that also doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a big deal to me.

I felt stressed to my max trying to figure out what on earth to do with this tiny baby.  I felt pressured to make decisions about my child that I wasn’t comfortable with.  I was exhausted and overwhelmed and scared.  I felt like a huge failure for not being “good enough” to provide my baby with proper nourishment.  I was frustrated that we weren’t given any indication that the jaundice issue was a big deal, until that urgent phone call Monday morning.  I was tired of hearing people tell me “you need to take care of yourself – you can’t care for your baby if you don’t take care of you”…how could I care for myself when we were back in the hospital and I was feeding around the clock?

I didn’t realize that letting him sleep long stretches without eating was bad.  I’ve always heard “never wake a sleeping baby” so I wasn’t waking him up to eat as frequently as I should have to try to flush the jaundice out, especially since that made him extra sleepy and he wouldn’t wake up to eat on his own.  I didn’t know that when they asked how many wet diapers he was having, they meant saturated, not just a few drops.  He had plenty of pee diapers but they weren’t enough pee and I didn’t know it.  I didn’t know that his long breastfeeding sessions didn’t necessarily mean he was actually eating much.  I didn’t realize that I was on the way to having mastitis because my milk had just come in and I hadn’t even had time to notice the symptoms.

I’m pretty educated and have been around babies quite a bit, and I still felt this way.  Plus I had/have a wonderful, encouraging support system.  I can’t even imagine how much scarier this whole process would be for people without that support.

Not trying to throw myself a huge pity party, but I know if I feel this way than others probably be do, too.  Parenting is so hard and scary.  I have cried more and doubted myself more since Hudson’s birth than I can remember.

Wednesday

We were just so happy to be home and not have to go anywhere!  And we were so happy to get to hold our little man as much as we wanted.

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IMG_9158IMG_9163Mostly we just spent the day relaxing, but we did give Hudson his first little sponge bath to try and wash all the “hospital” off him.

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Thursday

Thursday we had to go back to the pediatrician for another check up.  Everything looked good – we was back up to 6 pounds 11 ounces.  His pediatrician would like to see him back up to his birth weight (6 lb 14 oz) by next Thursday.  His bilirubin was fine (10 something…didn’t even have to get blood drawn this time!).  Everything else checked out fine and we go back in a week.

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It was hard for me to believe that this was actually my due date.  I was convinced I was going to go past my due date…and then here we were, having had Hudson for a whole week and I can’t imagine life without him now!

He loves to be held all curled up in the fetal position.  His whole little body fits in Michael’s hand!

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His uncles sent him this monkey as a get well present when we has re-hospitalized – so sweet!

Photo Jan 30, 12 45 39 PM

IMG_2747He also likes to keep his legs crunched up like this.  I wonder if that’s how he was folded up inside of me some of the time, because he really likes that pose.
IMG_9184And this is how we rounded out his first week…wide awake in the middle of the night.  He seems to like to eat from about midnight until 3am right now, which is quite exhausting.  Hopefully he’ll get his days and nights straightened out soon or else we may be zombies for the next few months.

Photo Jan 30, 11 42 38 PMWhew, what a week.  Some parts were so incredible and others were horrible, but we survived.  There is no way I could have made it without Michael.  He has been a rock and held me as I’ve cried too many times to count.  He has handled all the medical stuff when I was too torn apart to talk about it, he sits up with Hudson so I can sleep.  He gets up with me for every feeding to help, changed a million diapers, and more.  He is amazing.

I also have to say I don’t know what we would have done without my mom.  She has stayed with us since we got home from the hospital and cooked for us, cleaned, done errands, dropped us off places so we don’t have to carry Hudson through the cold, and sat up with him at night so we could both sleep.  I can’t believe I thought we could easily handle all this on our own…now I don’t want her to ever leave!

I’ve also had so much moral support from friends of mine who have answered my million questions, brought us meals, and checked up on us.  I am so thankful for the love and support that has been poured out!

Parenting is hard, plain and simple.  We’ve looked at each other several times over this week and asked “what have we done?”.  I love Hudson more than I can ever describe, but that doesn’t take away the scariness and difficulty of being his mommy.

I hope this doesn’t come across as a sad, woe-is-me post.  That’s not my goal.  But I needed to share the emotions that have accompanied this week, as well as share some adorable pictures of our sweet boy :).

 

pregnancy update – week 39

Obviously this post is a little behind…Hudson was born at exactly 39 weeks!  I had already typed most of this post earlier in the week before I usually post, and then while I was in early labor I finished up the post, however, I was in hard labor when my actual 39 weeks day rolled around and I just never thought to post it (imagine that, being a little distracted by labor…).  But I wanted to make sure I kept the notes for my own memories, even though they are a bit belated.

My post-birth notes are in italics if I had any comments looking back after writing this.

How far along: 39 weeks – full term!  Many say 37 or 38 weeks is full term, and that’s the old thinking, but recently the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have changed that to say that a baby is full term at 39 weeks. So here we are!

How big is baby:  I haven’t had any of the third trimester ultrasounds to try to estimate size, and my doctor hasn’t really guessed, so all of this is still according to BabyCenter.com – supposedly he is about 20 inches long, a little over 7 pounds, and about the size of a mini-watermelon.  It will be interesting to see just how close to the “average” size our Hudson will be when he is born and if this BabyCenter stuff has been accurate at all.

Baby Center was pretty close…Hudson was 6 pounds, 14 ounces and 19.25 inches long

My symptoms:  We almost headed to the hospital Saturday night – not because I thought I was in labor, but because of the shooting pains I was having in my belly.  I think I’ve mentioned before that I’ve had this weird pain that comes up sometime that starts at the top of my belly bump and runs in a line down near my belly button.  My doctor wasn’t concerned and thinks it’s probably a weak muscle or a pinched nerve-type thing.  That same pain, times 100, started happening Saturday on the left side of my stomach and kept happening.  It didn’t really feel like a contraction (not that I know what they feel like, but the pain happened when I moved and when I pushed on certain areas so it would seem like if it was a contraction I wouldn’t be able to invoke that pain).

I wasn’t too, too concerned at first because I figured it was just aches from my stomach growing, or another weak muscle, or maybe even Hudson changing positions.  However, it just kept happening and it was so painful that I got a little afraid something was wrong.  Michael called the on-call doctor at the hospital and we told him what was happening, he asked some questions, and then said it was probably just ligaments or muscles stretching to prepare for birth.

The pain continued on through Sunday, so Sunday afternoon after church I tried to stay still and rest a lot.  By Sunday evening it seemed to be gone.

Saturday afternoon the pain had started when I moved to get out of the bed after my nap and I’m wondering if I moved too quickly and pulled something on the left side of my stomach.

Weight/belly:  No idea on the weight but I’d guess about 50 pounds gained total based on last week’s weigh in.

38w6d38w6d

Movement:  Lots and lots.

Sleep:  Still good!  Other that getting up to go to the bathroom and change positions a few times, I’ve had good sleep.

This weekend when we had our babymoon staycation I slept a lot.  Good nights of sleep each night, plus naps each day.  On Saturday while I was napping I had the craziest dream.  I dreamt that right at the end of pregnancy my doctor discovered I was going to have twins.  Because of that, he had to do surgery to remove them.  They put me under and he cut the babies out.  When I woke up I kept asking to see the babies because we didn’t know the gender of the second baby and I wanted to know if I was having two boys or a boy or a girl.  They kept putting me off and trying to get me to eat brownies instead, but I kept insisting.  Finally they rolled two baskets covered with blankets over to me and I uncovered the first blanket.  Inside the basket were rows and rows of babies that were kind of square like bags of sugar, four babies to a row.  The second basket that the same.  34 babies in all.  34!!!  They all had on mis-matched clothes – one would be in a full length fleece sleeper and the next would be in just a t-shirt and diaper.  Apparently when the doctor cut me open he found 34 babies inside me.  My first “thoughts” in the dream were “We don’t have a big enough car for all these babies!”, “How are we going to hold them all?”, “How am I going to nurse them all?” and “How on earth did this happen?”.  It was slightly horrifying and when I woke up from my nap and felt only one baby kicking inside me, I was pretty relieved.

Best moment(s) this week:  Our babymoon staycation was wonderful!  We basically did nothing, which was exactly what we wanted.  Lots of eating out, sleeping, reading, and watching Criminal Minds.  Monday afternoon we did do a little bit of work (I cleaned the house, Michael did some car stuff), but other than that we were just lazy, lazy, lazy.

Funny comments:  My students are so curious about when I’m going to have the baby, and even though we’ve talked about how babies come when they are ready and it will be a surprise they still ask me constantly things along the lines of “When are you getting your baby out?”.

When my preschoolers came into the library this week, one little girl said “still haven’t gotten your baby out yet?  You need to get your baby out!”  Then she proceeded to tell me that I needed to go to the hospital and they would help me get the baby out.

Obviously her words did the trick since my water broke less than three hours later.

Several people recently have mentioned that it is so sweet that I’m already rocking Hudson because they’ve noticed me sitting and rocking back and forth…I hate to disappoint them but that’s not the case at all.  I’ve rocked slightly for as long as I can remember.  In fact, at my high school graduation I was on the front row on the stage and was told that I rocked all through the ceremony with my graduation tassel swinging back and forth.  So unfortunately I’m not consciously being all motherly and rocking my little guy, but I’m sure he likes it and will want lots of rocking once he gets here!

I feel like a ticking time bomb.  Like everyone is just watching and waiting for me to explode.  Some of the comments I’ve gotten about my impending delivery:

- “How many more days?”, “What’s the exact date again?”, and “How much longer?” are crowd favorites.  I’m tired of saying, “Another week or so” or “January 30″, but then having to qualify with “but babies come whenever they want, so….”

- “Well, you haven’t had that baby yet”.  Nice me just smiles and says “Nope”.  Sarcastic me wants to say “Yes I did!  I just happen to still have the huge belly, and, oh yeah, I left the baby at home”

- “You’re still here!” (I got that one a bunch at church on Sunday).  Well, yes, and I plan to continue coming to church until he arrives, which could be a another week or so.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that people love me and are excited.  It just gets tiring hearing the same things over and over.

What I’m looking forward to:  Remember how last week I was so excited about getting a massage Friday afternoon to kick of babymoon weekend?  Well, that got cancelled.  I was so disappointed that I almost started crying when I got the message – not only because I wanted a relaxing massage, but also because my back had been hurting to the point of almost not being able to function and I was really expecting the massage to help.

That was the third time that girl had cancelled on me and needed to reschedule, so I finally got fed up and decided to schedule somewhere else.  There are very few people in Bowling Green who give prenatal massages and getting an appointment at the last minute was difficult.  One wonderful salon worked with me and was able to fit me in on Saturday.  Fingers crossed that I haven’t delivered yet because I really want that massage!

Well obviously the rescheduled massage never happened, and neither did the pedicure I was planning to get.  I actually had to call the massage people from my hospital room the day after I delivered and let them know I no longer needed a prenatal massage…since I was no longer prenatal!

Baby items purchased or prepared:  We had a Babies R Us coupon and used it to purchase a few more little things we hadn’t gotten from our registry, but basically we have all the important baby stuff so we’re just going to wait until he gets here and see what we need before we buy much else.

Labor signs:  Every week at the doctor they ask if I’ve been having contractions and every week I say “I don’t know”, because I’d never felt anything that seemed like a contraction.  Thanks to the belly pains I talked about earlier, I can fairly confidently confirm that I have been having contractions, I just haven’t noticed them.  There were several times during that 24ish hours I was havinng the muscle pains that my belly would get really tight and that pain would shoot and intensity.  I’m assuming that I was having a contraction, which was pulling on that stretched muscle and making it really hurt.  It happened once in church and I couldn’t even stand up to sing the closing song.  Now that the pain from my stomach seems to have gone away, I haven’t been noticing anymore contractions, but I figure they’re probably there.

Of course, by the time I actually hit 39 weeks, I was laboring away with contractions where there was no mistaking them!

Thoughts:  I actually utelized the Babies R Us expectant mom’s parking this week…about time!

Babies R Us parking

I can’t believe pregnancy is over!  I know it just drags for lots of people, but for me it flew by.  I am beyond thrilled to have Hudson here, but I think I will miss being pregnant (most of it at least, not everything!).  This has been such a special experience.

Hudson’s hospital pictures

We never intended to purchase the hospital pictures, but when we saw how good they were…how could we not?!?

I only wish we had known we were going to get our pictures taken as well – Michael hadn’t shaved and didn’t have his contacts in; I was wearing a huge, junky shirt from Goodwill.  Oh well, we still got some winners!

{0c34156e-d1cd-47d7-b363-e0551bd4840b}_1I’m definitely getting this one (in black and white) blown up and framed
{0c34156e-d1cd-47d7-b363-e0551bd4840b}_2 {0c34156e-d1cd-47d7-b363-e0551bd4840b}_3 {0c34156e-d1cd-47d7-b363-e0551bd4840b}_4 {0c34156e-d1cd-47d7-b363-e0551bd4840b}_5This one captures his little personality so well!

{0c34156e-d1cd-47d7-b363-e0551bd4840b}_6I melt…
{0c34156e-d1cd-47d7-b363-e0551bd4840b}_7 {0c34156e-d1cd-47d7-b363-e0551bd4840b}_8Love that sweet face!!

Hudson’s birth story

our Bradley method birth story

*warning: some personal, semi-graphic details ahead.  If you are male, related to me, or otherwise think you might never be able to look at me the same, now may be a good time to stop reading…I’ll go ahead and tell you the punch line – Hudson was born after 32 hours of labor*

As you know if you’ve been reading my blog, my plan was to have a natural childbirth.  We attended childbirth classes to learn the Bradley method of natural childbirth.  Before birth I was fascinated by other people’s natural childbirth stories, especially because it gave me an idea of what to expect.  Judging from the amount of people who have asked to hear Hudson’s birth story, it seems like many of you like to read them, too.  Like I mentioned, I’m going to go into some detail.  Nothing too graphic, but there are things I’d have liked to know ahead of time so I want to include those as well.

One other thing, my labor was atypical.  There were several strange things that happened that I think don’t happen normally, so please don’t let my experience scare you away!

It starts with my water breaking in the middle of school and ends a long, 32 hours later.  Thirty-two hours of labor makes for one long blog post, so grab a snack…this is going to take a while.

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You know how it’s always really dramatic when someone’s water breaks in a movie, but you never hear about things like that in real life?  Well, here’s a real life example for you…

Wednesday, January 22 started out as any other day.  I was 38 weeks and 6 days along, and not at all expecting to go into labor.  I had only been dilated 1 cm at my last appointment, and I hadn’t felt any contractions (that I could tell).  I felt just a little crampy that morning, like mild period cramps.  I’d heard before that some people felt crampy before they started labor so I took tiny note of it, but figured it meant nothing.  I also had a few of what I assumed might be Braxton Hicks contractions, just very mild tightening of my belly.  Not uncomfortable and hardly noticable.

At 11:30 I was in the library teaching my 5th graders.  On this particular day, “teaching” them meant they were sitting in the library classroom listening to/watching an e-book.  I was sitting in the back of the classroom in a chair with the kids in the last row.  

As I was sitting there, I felt a little bubble of liquid.  I assumed it was a little pee escaping as, unfortunately, sometimes randomly happens during pregnancy.  However, that little bubble of “pee” quickly picked up speed and went running down my legs.  I sat there in shock as it just kept running and running.  Then I finally picked up my phone and texted our school nurse and said “Come fast my water just broke I think”.  Next I texted both Michael and our doula to tell them that I thought my water had broken.

As I was sitting there waiting for Ashley (our nurse) to come help me and hoping that the kids wouldn’t notice anything amiss, I felt two more big gushes of water.  A minute or so later Ashley comes into the library and I heard her call my name.  She didn’t know we were in the classroom and she called my name again.  I finally called out to her so she would know where to find me.  Of course that made the kids all turn and look so I just tried to wave them off and get them to turn back to their book.

I told Ashley that I thought my water had broken and that I was sitting in it and didn’t know what to do.  Obviously there really wasn’t anything she could do, I just needed some moral support I guess.  I sent her to get our guidance counselor because I knew I needed someone to watch my class.  Then I got up and grabbed the chair I’d been sitting in and backed out of the classroom, dragging the chair with me.

When I say my water gushed, I mean there was a puddle on the floor and my shoes were filled and sloshed when I walked.  As one of the 5th graders described it to her teacher later, “her water broke and it was like she pee-pee’d in the floor!” (so much for them not noticing, huh?).  Gross, I know.

From the time my water broke until I left school, the timeline is a little bit of a blur because I was so shocked.  I remember sloshing around in my wet shoes logging off the computers, packing up my lunch and my belongings, locking my office, and talking to a few teachers who came by after hearing the news.  I felt like a bit of a spectacle!  I called Michael because he hadn’t answered my text.  He didn’t answer my call so I called his work phone and told him that my water had broken and I would meet him at home.  He said he knew when he saw my number on his work phone that it was go time…I never call his work number unless it’s an emergency.

Everyone around me was freaking out that I needed to go to the hospital or that I shouldn’t drive myself home, but I was pretty much calm.  I just felt like I still had plenty of time (boy did I ever…)  I did have Ashley pull my van around front so I wouldn’t have to walk so far, and someone else helped me carry my belongings to the car.

When I got to the car, I was SO thankful for the “in case I go into labor and I’m not at home” bag that I had put in the car a few weeks ago.  I bought some of those puppy pee pads and stuck them in my labor bag – I laid one in my seat and another on the floorboard under my feet.  I’m so glad I was able to protect my leather seats!  I hopped in the car and off I went!

I called my mom on the way home to tell her what happened, and then called Michael to give him more details.  On the way home I finally figured out that I was having contractions.  I only knew because I would notice a new gush of water after a tiny belly tightening…so I figured that the belly tightening was a contraction.  Again, very thankful for the pee pads that caught the water (I had at least two, if not more contractions on the way home).

When I got home Michael came out to the garage to help me in.  Thus started the “Michael cleans up way more of my bodily fluids than he ever expected before age 80” theme of the next 30ish hours.  He helped me to the bathroom so I could shower off and while I was showering he cleaned up the trail of amniotic fluid that was following me around as well as dumping out my fluid-filled shoes and washing them off for me.

After I showered, I changed into some dry clothes and another favorite weird-but-necessary labor purchase: Depends.  I’d actually bought them for after delivery to help with bleeding, but I ended up using a bunch of them during labor because your water just keeps on breaking, and all evening long I kept a pretty steady flow.  Having the Depends to catch them was great – I could just throw them away when I got wet and not have it running all down my legs.

Seriously, if you’re pregnant, just go ahead and buy some puppy pee pads and Depends.  Use the self check out if you need to, but just do it.

At this point, I was not in any pain and I totally planned to ride out the next few hours at home until labor got hard enough for me to go to the hospital.  However, since my water had broken we knew we needed to call the doctor.  They said I should come on in to the hospital to get checked, so we went ahead and packed up all the bags (don’t worry, my “what to take to the hospital” list will be coming up in a later post…) just in case they kept us.  To the hospital we go!

IMG_9073Last belly picture – 38 weeks, 6 days; about to head to the hospital

IMG_3053on our way to the hospital – last picture as a family of two!

When we got to the hospital around 1:30 they put us in a room and a nurse came in.

A little back story: a coworker’s wife had just delivered a baby at the same hospital maybe a week or two earlier.  She’d had a horrible experience with a particular nurse doing a cervical check that resulted in an emergency C-section because of hemorrhaging.  He warned me about her so I’d know just in case.

Well, who do you suppose walked in?

I just about had a heart attack on the bed there.  I was trying to silently communicate to Michael that this was THE nurse, but he thought her name was something else so he didn’t get it right at first.

She was actually pretty nice and asked me a million questions (most which we had already filled out in our pre-registration paperwork but had to go through and answer again…so what was the point of pre-registering?).  She hooked me up to the monitor (just two strips that velcro around your belly – one to monitor your contractions, the other to monitor baby’s heart rate).  She also had to check the fluid to make sure it was amniotic fluid.  I let her do that (it was non-invasive, just touch a litmus-type strip to my leg), but I declined the cervical check she wanted to do.  It was in my birth plan to limit cervical checks anyway, so it wasn’t too strange of a request.  I didn’t want to be rude and say “you almost killed my friend, you can’t touch me!”, although I would have if it’d come down to that, but I tried to find tactful ways to keep her hands off.

I told her a few times that we’d really like to talk to our doctor because I wanted to go home until labor really picked up, so they paged my doctor and we waited for him to get there.  When he got there he wanted to do a cervical check to make sure the umbilical cord hadn’t fallen down in front of my cervix and I let him (I trust him much more than the nurse!).  I was only dilated to 2cm.  He had us do an ultrasound to make sure Hudson was turned head-down.  Everything checked out, so they let us go home with the orders to come back at 9pm to get monitored again, and then again at 6am.  If nothing had happened by 6am, he said they would start me on an antibiotic so that I wouldn’t get an infection from my water being broken for so long.

We left the hospital around 3:00.  I called my chiropractor from the hospital and cancelled my 3:30 appointment.  Although, in hindsight I think I should have kept it…I could have used a last minute adjustment!

On the way home we stopped and ran some errands.  I wanted to make a batch of lactation cookies to take with us, but I was out of brown sugar so we stopped at Kroger for sugar.  I had a package to mail to the Gaines’ so we dropped that off at the post office, and then we took some returns to Babies R Us.  It was funny at Babies R Us because the lady behind us was wearing a mask over her mouth.  She must have thought that worried me because she said “It must be coming up soon!  Don’t worry, I’m not sick, I’ve had chemo so I have to wear this mask to keep the germs away from me, but I’m not contagious”.  I just smiled and said I wasn’t concerned but inside was thinking, if only she knew I was actually laboring away right in front of her.

When we got home I went to work making my lactation cookies, running a load of laundry to wash my amniotic fluid soaked clothes, and taking pictures of Hudson’s nursery.  I had just finished the last part of the nursery (the lamp) the night before and I really wanted to get that post done.  I already had most of the writing done, I just needed to add in the pictures.  I also washed some dishes and tidied up a little bit.  While I puttered around, Michael paid some bills and got some of his things done.  I also found out that my friend who was planning to come be my doula couldn’t make it due to the weather conditions where she lives.  So Michael and I were on our own!  (He was a fantastic birth coach, by the way)

Not that you can plan these things, but I’d hoped that I’d go into labor, be able to labor at home privately, then go to the hospital and *surprise!* baby is here!  I just didn’t really want everyone in the world to know and be waiting for news.  Well…when your water breaks at school and news travels fast, that kind of shoots a hole in those plans.

Several people from school were commenting on my Facebook page and of course everyone could see that and started asking questions.  So I went ahead and just posted an update on Facebook letting everyone know what was going on and asking for prayers.  I figured it was better to get accurate information out there than have everyone sitting around speculating.  So much for laboring quietly though…

Once I had all my little housekeeping chores done, I got down to business trying to get labor started.  I really didn’t want to be induced and knew that if my labor didn’t progress fast enough that my doctor would start pushing for an induction.  So I started sucking on Dum -Dums (there is a pressure point on the top of your mouth that can help start labor…using a sucker is a good way to press it), walking circles around our house (it was way too cold to go outside), having Michael massage another pressure point on my ankle, using my breast pump, and using essential oils that were recommended to help speed up labor.

Around 7:00 pm I finally started feeling some actual contractions.  They weren’t hard yet and I couldn’t tell a clear start or stop time, but at least I could tell I was having them.  I walked around in circles in mild labor until time to go back to the hospital at 9:00pm.

At the hospital they put us in another room and put the monitoring bands on me.  By that point I was actually having to focus and relax during contractions.  They weren’t horrible, but they required my focus.  The nurse ran the monitor for a while and said everything looked fine and we could go home.  We were starving for supper, so we ordered a pizza to pick up on the way.  We got to Domino’s and Michael went in to get our pizza.  As he was in the restaurant, I got a call from the hospital – it was the nurse saying that some of the other nurses had looked at Hudson’s heart rate strip and were a little concerned.  They wanted me to turn around and come back.  So back we went.

We each ate a slice of pizza in the car and then threw the pizza away in the trash on our way back in.  What a bummer to throw away a fresh, hot pizza…but didn’t want to stink up the car if we were there for a while!  We went back to labor and delivery for the third time that day, they strapped on the fetal monitor, and I laid there for a good long time while they monitored us.  They did another cervical check and I was 4 to 5 cm dilated.  My contractions were intense and painful and required lots of focus and relaxation.  Most of the time the nurses would wait until the contraction was over to ask questions or do anything, but this one nurse just chattered away at me during one until finally I said “shhhh shhh shhhh” really loud at her.  I felt rude, but I really needed the quiet.  I was very shaky while we were there; my whole body shook uncontrollably like I was cold.  The nurse called them labor shakes but I’m thinking they were the beginning of transition.

Everything checked out fine and they let us go home, with the plan that if nothing had happened by 6am I had to come back to the hospital no matter what.  We left the hospital around midnight.

When we got home we both got ready to bed hoping I might be able to sleep through the contractions (yeah, right) and Michael sat his alarm for 5:00 for us to get up and go to the hospital.  No sooner had we flipped the covers off and Michael climbed into bed did the contractions hit hard.  From everything we learned in our Bradley class, transition hit soon after.

Transition is the part of labor that is the most intense, where most people want to give up.  It doesn’t usually last long and if you can make it through that then you’re good to go.  I am fairly certain that this was my transition, with the exception that usually transition signals that you are close to the end and I definitely was not close to the end.  I still had many hours to go.

But during this time, which was about twenty minutes long, I showed many signs of transition.  My contractions were long and very close together.  I knelt on the bed draped over my birth ball and rocked side to side.  At one point I got really nauseated and told Michael I was going to throw up but I never did.  He says I also kept saying “Make it stop”.  I was so focused that I didn’t even realize he had gotten the car ready for us to go to the hospital.  Another traditional transition-thing is the loss of modesty.  I fit this as well; when it was finally time to get dressed to go to the hospital, I just slipped a dress over my head and put my coat and shoes on – no bra, no leggings.  My dress wasn’t that short, but somehow I must not have pulled it down far enough because it was as short as my coat and I walked into the hospital like that in the freezing weather and didn’t even notice or care.

Fun fact for my own memories…on the way to the hospital the check engine light came on the van.  Michael didn’t tell me until later, of course, but I know he was sweating it the whole way there!

We got to the hospital right at 2:00am.  The nurses checked me and I was dilated to 6 or 7 cm.  They inserted my hep-loc and just left us be to labor away.  From 2:00am until 11:00am I labored, trying to relax through my contrations.  When we got there at 2:00, Michael and I both thought that we’d have a baby in our arms by 6 or 7 am, since things had moved so fast previously.  That was unfortunately not to be.  At 5:00ish am I had to get an antibiotic since my water had been broken for  over 18 hours.

Honestly, the contractions themselves weren’t too bad.  They were intense but not painful.  What was painful, however, was this horrible hip pain that I had.  It was right in my hip flexor area and it was so incredibly painful.  It was hard to relax during the contractions because of that.  I had Michael applying pressure with a tennis ball on my back to try to counteract the hip pain and it helped some, but not enough.  I think if it weren’t for the hip pain, labor would have been much, much easier.  I don’t know if Hudson was turned weird and hung on my hip, or if he was pressing on a nerve, but something in there was messed up.  I prayed and prayed for a release from the pain.

At 8:00 am Michael encouraged me to try rocking my hips to help with the hip pain.  I knelt on all fours on the bed and swayed from side to side, then stood up and leaned on Michael and swayed.  Finally, finally the hip pain subsided, so that must have shifted whatever it was causing the pain.  I just wish I had known to do that hours earlier!

Michael was such a trooper.  He wiped amniotic fluid off my legs countless times when I would change positions and it would come leaking out.  Having a full bladder makes contractions even worse but it hurt too bad to sit on the toilet to pee.  He laid down a pee pad on the floor and helped me hover to pee on the floor.  He dealt with more bodily fluids than he ever expected to this side of eighty years old.

At 11:00 I had finally dilated to 1o cm and was given the go ahead to push when I felt like it.  It actually felt good to push through the contractions – like I was doing something productive.  I alternated between squatting on the end of the bed using a squat bar and leaning back on the bed and lifting my legs into the “classic” squat position but putting my feet on the squat bar and pushing against it.  However, my contractions just didn’t seem to be doing anything.  They were pretty far apart and the pushing wasn’t that intense.  We were even able to take little cat naps between contractions.  I labored like that for hours with no progress.  My doctor started getting concerned and really wanted to give me Pitocin but I kept trying to hold him off, thinking things would progress on their own.  After a while I did allow them to send some saline and glucose water through my IV to try to help if dehydration was the problem.  Apparently that wasn’t it because the extra IV didn’t do anything.

 sleeping during contractionssleeping in between contractions

Oh and for those of you who are afraid you’ll poop on the delivery room table…yeah, well you probably will so get over it.  And it may not just be at the end.  I mean, hopefully you won’t push for nearly 8 hours like I did, but if you push for a while, you will probably push some poop out.  And pee on yourself.  Because that pushing you do to get baby out is the same method that eliminates waste.  And the nurses aren’t in the room with you all the time so your champion husband may have to help clean you up after pushes.  I’m just sayin’.

Let me tell you, I have no dignity left after childbirth.  It is gross and messy and primal and at the time you just don’t care.

Anyway, my doctor was getting really worried after I’d been in labor so long.  He was afraid that if we waited any longer, Hudson’s head would swell and not be able to get out of my birth canal and we’d have to do a C-section.  Michael was worried that I’d be too exhausted to push him out when the time came, so he was encouraging me to get a little help.  Finally, at 5:30pm I consented to a little Pitocin to try to kick things into gear.

We started small, just 2 ml per hour.  Every twenty minutes they bumped it up – 4 ml per hour, then 6 ml, and then 8 ml.  I’m not sure that the bump up to 8 ml was necessary.  My contractions were intense and hurt and I really had to bear down when I pushed.  I think my doctor, once he got the go ahead with the Pitcoin, really wanted Hudson out of there as soon as possible.  He sent the nurse in for one more bump up to 10 ml per hour.  That was really the only thing I had a problem with in my labor is how much Pitocin they shot through me in such a short amount of time.  That stuff is strong!

My contractions were coming less than a minute apart and I pushed like there was no tomorrow.  The nurses came in and started getting things ready.  The turned me on my side and had me put one leg up in the stirrup to push for a little bit rather than on my back in the classic pushing position.  At this point, Hudson was still turned sideways or face up, and they really wanted to get him turned face down for delivery.  That position must have worked because within a few pushes I felt a strange pressure then release and they said he had turned.

After that things moved very fast.  They turned me back over and my doctor came in – he said I was just a few good pushes away.  He said he was going to help me out some so he put his fingers in and kind of held me open (I’m sorry, I know that’s way too much information, but I wish I had known some of these things).  I assume to kind of stretch things out so I didn’t tear.  It hurt like nothing I’ve ever felt before and for the first time I started screaming.  I screamed bloody murder, just like you see on tv, all through that contraction and kept yelling for my doctor to stop.  After that contraction my doctor tried to calm me down and told me that he didn’t mind my yelling but that he really needed me to direct my breath into my pushing instead of using it to yell.  The next few contractions (I really don’t know how many, maybe three or four?) I held my breath and pushed instead of screaming.  It was so very hard.  The pain was indescribable.  My doctor was yelling “good, good, good” and Michael was counting in my right ear and the nurse was saying other nonsense in my left year.  It was chaotic.

During one contraction I remember my doctor said, “He has a lot of hair” and I yelled “He better, as much heartburn as I’ve had!”.

At 7:55, Hudson Michael was born.  When he finally came out I felt his head emerge and then the rest of his body just kind of slid out.  I didn’t have to push any after his head popped out.  I had kept my eyes closed during most of the last bit of labor because I was so focused and overwhelmed so it took me a second to realize he was here and I needed to open my eyes.  The doctor held Hudson up so I could see him and he was all purple-y and bloody and gross and perfect.  He was absolutely the most amazing thing I’d ever seen.

My doctor clamped the cord and Michael cut it.  They laid Hudson on my chest and the pain was worth it.  I promise.  People say that you forget the pain; I’m going to have to say nope.  Not anytime soon.  Not after 32 long hours.  However, the pain is totally worth it when you hear that first cry and see your baby.  He came out crying but as soon as they laid him on my chest, he stopped.  Like he knew I was his mommy and that everything was okay now that I was holding him.  It was the most amazing experience of my life.

In our birthing class we watched some videos of natural childbirth.  I was so intrigued by the fact that these women were nearly silent during the pushing (not screaming like on tv, or like I did during that one contraction), but as soon as their babies were born they babbled nonsense like they were on drugs.  I thought they seemed so ridiculous.

Well, add me to the list of ridiculous people (fortunately I’m not caught on tape) because I did the same thing as soon as Hudson was born.  I kept saying “That’s my baby, that’s my baby!” over and over again and then just said all kinds of silly things as they laid him on my chest.

My doctor pushed on my stomach and stuff to help me deliver the placenta (it kind of just came sliding out, it didn’t hurt like I thought it might).  I had one interior tear; I don’t know how large or what degree or anything.  He stitched me up and of course, since I didn’t have an epidural I could feel it.  I think he used some numbing stuff but I could still feel them.  But honestly, all the stuff that happened after was a blur because I was so focused on Hudson.

They let us lay there for a while and then they took Hudson across the room to be weighed and measured.  Michael got to go with him and take pictures.  They wiped him off with a towel and then brought him back to me so we could do skin-to-skin for a little while.  They administered his Vitamin K shot and his eye goop while he was laying there on me.  He did so good and didn’t even cry.  Michael got some cookies out of our snack bag and I ate several (this was the first I’d eaten since 10pm the night before, except for one tiny granola bar that I snuck during labor while the nurses were out of the room).

IMG_90826 pounds, 14 ounces; 19 and 1/4 inches long

After a while they took him to get his bath and took me to our post-partum room.  Michael got to carry him to the nursery to get his bath and then stand behind the glass with our parents and watch.

IMG_3068

first bath

The nurses wheeled me to our room, helped me clean up, and showed me how to take care of my stitches.  I still had my IV in, so I couldn’t really change clothes but they did put me in a clean gown.  They had to go over some care procedures about pain medicine, my IV, how they would come check my stomach, etc.  I got in the bed and waited for my boys to get back.  I was so shaky and nauseated and felt absolutely awful.  No wonder, after 32 hours of labor!  I texted Gina and she said to drink some orange juice.  Duh!  That’s a Bradley thing that we learned in class.  I never really understood why everyone drank oj after labor, but we had packed some anyway.  It was in a cooler in the car so after Michael got back I sent him out to get it.

Michael came back a little later, but the nurse wouldn’t bring Hudson in from his bath until they had gone over some procedures and such with us (hospital policy on him rooming in, who was allowed to transport him, etc.).  I know they have to do that, but I was about to jump out of my skin to see my baby.  They finally finished and brought him in and we were able to start our life as a little family of three.

IMG_9089So happy to have this little guy in my arms!

IMG_3075drinking our Bradley orange juice

_____________________________________________________

Time is so strange when you’re in labor.  I used to hear people say that they pushed for two hours and think “Oh man, I would die.  That sounds so awful!”.  Well, I pushed for eight but it wasn’t eight straight hours of excruciating pain (just about 20 minutes of that…), so it didn’t seem that terrible.

Trust me, it felt like a long time, but then at the same time, it went by much faster than I expected.  32 hours of labor is so long.  I’ve had three friends recently who have been induced and all three of them had much quicker labors than me.  So much for natural childbirth being faster since there are no drugs to slow things down!  But I think the time passed much faster for me than for the people outside of the labor room.  Several people mentioned how worried they were since my water had broken Wednesday and they still hadn’t heard anything on Thursday.  I just had a weird, slow labor, that’s all!

I hope I haven’t scared you away from natural childbirth.  I really think I had an unusual experience that is much worse than most people’s.  Obviously I don’t have anything to compare it to, but I’m pretty sure I’d still choose natural over medicated.

I’m praying that my next labor is much shorter though!

People have asked me if I got to have the birth I wanted.  Well, yes and no.  My ideal would have been to labor easily and quietly at home, wait until the contractions get more intense and then head to hospital, be ready to push when I get there, and push him out with little pain in a very short amount of time.  Obviously that didn’t happen.

However, I was able to have a completely natural childbirth with no epidural.  I only needed Pitocin for the last hour and a half of labor.   I am not one bit disappointed in my birth, and I feel like it was a true natural, Bradley method birth.

Besides, at the end of the day we had a healthy baby, healthy momma, and that’s what matters.

IMG_3064

welcome to the world, Hudson Michael!

Hudson Michael born Thursday, January 23 at 7:55 pm.  He weighed 6 pounds, 14.25 ounces and was 19.25 inches long.  Little squirt took his own sweet time making his entrance into the world but that’s a story for another day.  He’s finally here and we are both doing well.  Michael and I are more in love with our darling Hudson than we could have ever imagined!

Some pictures from his first 24 hours:

IMG_3068Michael taking Hudson to the nursery to get his bath about an hour after birth

IMG_9087Exhausted but thrilled

IMG_3060our first family picture

IMG_9094checking out Daddy

IMG_3062so tiny!

IMG_3064selfies with Hudson

Photo Jan 24, 2 04 03 PMproudest dad ever

IMG_9102happy family

We’re busy learning how to be parents but I’ll be back later with more details and pictures.

Hudson’s nursery

Ahh Hudson’s nursery is finally all done!  I’m so excited to show it to you!

big H

First: my goal.  I did not want the nursery to be baby-ish (think pastels, teddy bears, etc.).  I wanted something that could grow with him as a toddler and a little boy.  I also didn/t want to use a theme or any characters, just a color palette.  Later when we discover what he is crazy about (trains, sports, whatever) then we can add those elements into the nursery, but I didn’t want a whole themed nursery to begin with.

green and navy nursery

My inspiration was (don’t laugh) the cover of a Sports Illustrated for Kids magazine.  Back before we even knew we were having a boy I had my girl nursery colors all picked out (I’ve had those for years) but didn’t know what I wanted to do for a boy.  I went to my school mailbox one day and the library’s monthly copy of Sports Illustrated for Kids was there.  I care not one bit about sports and usually never give it a second glance, but this particular month I was struck by the beautiful color scheme.

sports illustratedI snapped a quick picture of it and then after we found out we were having a boy I just couldn’t stop thinking about the beautiful apple green and navy…thus our nursery colors were born.

The next thing to do was to pick fabric and paint.  We decided to paint the walls a very light blue, and then use green and navy accents around the room.  I was afraid a green or navy wall would be too much, and I think the light blue is a great background for the rest of the colors.

nursery fabric

I found most of my fabric at this great little fabric store near Bowling Green called Whittle’s.  They have tons of beautiful fabrics at great prices (they also have an online store if you want to check them out).  I was able to get fabric for the curtains, sheets, and quilt (and I knew I’d have leftover from the quilt to use for smaller things, like pillows).  The fabric for the crib skirt I found at JoAnn’s.  It is a heavier, decorator fabric (I think that’s what it’s called) and I think that helps it hang straight and crisp.

The first thing I made was the quilt.  I know babies don’t even need quilts, but I feel like it’s the anchor point of the nursery, plus it’s a special keepsake that I wanted to make for Hudson.  I looked at tons of baby quilts online but I kept coming back to the same design – just straight pieces of fabric in varying patterns.  It’s such a simple design and almost too easy, but I just love it.  My main inspirations were this quilt and this quilt (plus tutorial).

green and navy nursery crib

After searching quite a bit online for crib sheets and not coming up with anything that I just loved (most ready made ones were pastels and boring, the custom ones were way too expensive), I decided to make them myself (well actually I complained to Mom that I couldn’t find any I liked, she said surely we could make them ourselves, and then proceeded to find a tutorial online for me to use).  I made three sheets using some of the fabric that I got at Whittle’s.  The tutorial that I followed was so very easy and I whipped those suckers up super fast.  I was a little intimidated by the elastic part, but Mom walked me through the first sheet and once I realized how easy it was, I was good to go.  A little tip if you decide to ever make your own sheets…buy your fold over elastic at Hobby Lobby if you can.  I started off ordering from Walmart.com, but then found some later at Hobby Lobby where I didn’t have to pay shipping and could use a 40% off coupon, so I bought the elastic there and returned what I got from Walmart.

green and blue nursery

Let me tell you, making all this stuff for the nursery was a fantastic learning experience.  Not only did I get to learn how to make crib sheets, I also made my first set of curtains.  They were ridiculously easy and I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to make any!  The ironing is a bit tedious, but as long as you can sew in a straight line you are good to go.  I just made a basic floor length panel curtain with a pocket at the top.  I used this tutorial to help me with the main part of the curtain, and then these instructions to see how to make the pocket.

The crib skirt was the easiest of them all.  I made four panels, basically the same way I made the curtains, and then attached them to the crib by tying them to the springs on the bottom.  This is the tutorial I followed.

green and blue nursery changing station

I forwent the traditional changing table and decided to use a dresser so I could have storage plus a changing station on top.  My grandparents had one in their basement that belonged to my mom when she still lived at home that I was able to use.  We took off the original hardware, Mom painted it this beautiful blue color, and then Michael put on new knobs that I found at Hobby Lobby.

changing station dresser

After all the big stuff was done, it was time to decorate!

Michael has been such a trooper – first I requested the stripes that were way more difficult than I ever dreamed, then I decided to make some string art for the nursery.  I saw this awesome name sign for sale on Etsy (via Pinterest of course – Michael is going to ban Pinterest if I keep coming up with more projects!) and decided that I could make it myself.  As always, my “simple” project took way longer than expected.  The wood took multiple days to dry after being stained.  Then, because it was such a hard wood, Michael couldn’t hammer the nails in without them bending, so he had to pre-drill a hole for every single nail, then go back and hammer in the nail.  Then, the nails were longer than the board and stuck out the back, so he had to saw off the ends of each nail that had come through the back.  He worked so hard on it and I love how it turned out.  Then I got the easy part…putting the string on!  I know there has to be some sort of mathematical method to making the letters with the string, but I didn’t care to spend time figuring it out so I just randomly wove the string around.  I’m very happy with it and think it turned out great!

nursery string art

Inspired by some mobiles I’d seen on Pinterest, my brother helped me whip up this super easy mobile – an embroidery hoop painted to match, and circles of scrapbook paper sewn to ribbon.  My father-in-law cut out the big “H” for above the crib.

green and navy nursery mobile

I also wanted something to go above the changing table so I wrapped four 12×12 canvases with leftover fabric and used my Silhouette Cameo to cut out some cute “art”.

nursery canvases

My original plan was navy and apple green with some light blue.  You may have noticed a little red thrown in.  Here’s why.  We have this little bookcase, which was in my brothers’ room when they were little and I’ve used all through college and since as extra storage (you might remember it from our bathroom in the before pics).  I knew I wanted to use it in the nursery so we put it in there until we could get around to painting it.  Well, for one I ended up really liking the red, and also I felt so bad asking Michael to do so much stuff to get ready for Hudson that I just couldn’t bring myself to ask him (or my mom, or my father-in-law) to paint anything else.  But I actually love it, and I just then incorporated a little red into other areas of the room to tie it all together.

red bookcase

I looked for a nightstand for what seemed like forever.  I couldn’t find anything that wasn’t super expensive, until I stumbled upon a great deal on Amazon – this nightstand was on sale for $8.  Eight dollars!  I snapped it up immediately and it works perfectly.  Plus it has extra storage – added bonus!

I also really wanted a red lamp but we looked high and low without finding one (plenty of red lamp shades, no red bases), so finally I just bought a cheap-o from Lowes and painted it red with craft paint.  Don’t look too closely because it’s not the best paint job in the world, but from afar it looks pretty good.

polka dot end table

I love, love, love how everything turned out!  Now we just need a Hudson to complete the space :)

A few more pictures for your viewing pleasure:

Hudson's nurserylooking in to the nursery
Hudson's nursery 2nursery string art 2his closet on the left, attic access on the right

nursery closet

baby books

 

master bathroom before and after (how to maximize your tiny bathroom)

before and afterI love our house, but like every house (unless you custom build, I suppose) it isn’t perfect.  One of my biggest problems is that there is only one closet (and one pantry, which I guess sort of counts) for the whole downstairs – master bedroom, master bath, entryway, living room, kitchen, dining room, and half bath.  ONE closet.  The one in our bedroom.  It’s a big closet, but still…

The lack of storage space downstairs has been a challenge, so I made it a big priority to fit as much stuff into our master bathroom as possible.  Thanks to Pinterest and my handy husband, we were able to come up with some easy, fairly cheap solutions.  Now everything bathroom related (even some rarely used things that I had been storing in the upstairs bathroom or elsewhere in our bedroom) is all nice and organized in our bathroom.

Here’s the bathroom before – the generic “builder beige” color that our whole entire house was painted when we first moved in.  Not the worst color in the world, but a little boring – especially when that’s the color of your whole house.  Other than putting the towel bars on the door so we had a place to hang our towels, we hadn’t done anything else to the bathroom.  We stuck that little red bookcase in behind the door to use as storage until we decided on something permanent.

master bathroom beforeMy huge nesting to-do list included painting the bathroom, so Michael, his dad, and my mom all had a hand in getting our bathroom painted (apparently despite their small size, bathrooms are hard to paint – who knew?).  We went with a light blue gray color that was about two shades lighter than the color of the walls in our bedroom.

bathroom being painted

Once the bathroom was painting my job (the fun part) began…getting everything organized and decorated!  Our bedroom is a blue-gray, with neutral (mostly white) bedding, rug, curtains, etc.  I’m using gray and yellow as accents, but I kept the “big” stuff mainly blue and white so it would be easy to redecorate later on down the road.  I did the same with the bathroom – a lighter blue-gray and neutral (tan/white) with a few hints of gray and yellow.  I’m pleased with how it turned out!

hanging towels on doorOne of the first things we did, before we even started the organizing and decorating process, was hang towel bars on the back of the bathroom door so we would have a place to put our towels.  I love that the towels are hidden (the bathroom door is usually open so the towels are kind of behind it) and that it keeps us from having to hang them on the wall (I don’t like the idea of wet towels against the painted wall).

shelves above doorMichael built this shelf above the door for us to store our lesser-used items.  He bought a piece of wood at Lowe’s, painted it, and attached it with the brackets.  The three baskets contain our extra bed linens, spa/pampering type things that I don’t use much, and extra items (extra toothbrushes, floss, body wash, etc.) for when we run out.

I love utilizing this out of the way, wasted space.  A word of caution though – it is somewhat hard to get to the baskets.  I’m 5’7” and I can barely get them down, especially the heavier ones.  If you are short you may want to skip this (or keep a step-stool handy).  That’s why I put the things we rarely use up there, other than the extra bed sheets but they are so light that it’s pretty easy to get that basket down.

laundry nooklaundry sorterThis laundry sorter is another new (and very well worth it) addition.  We previously just used one large laundry basket in our bedroom and then I had to sort through it each time I needed to do a load of laundry.  Thanks to all the new storage and organizational things I was able to get rid of that little red bookshelf, and this fit perfectly in its place.  Now the dirty laundry doesn’t have to be out in our bedroom anymore and it’s mostly hidden by the door when it is open.

I also am so happy that we now sort as we go.  We have a section for colors, whites/Michael’s work clothes (we don’t usually have much of either of those so we combined them), and delicates.  Now I can see at a glance which group of clothes needs to be washed and I don’t have to dump everything out to sort and collect them.  Also, those bags lift up off the frame so that I can just carry a pre-sorted bag upstairs and dump it right into the washing machine.  Genius.

I hesitated spending money on a new laundry hamper when we had a perfectly good plastic one already, but this has definitely been worth the money.

vanityThe vanity really wasn’t that bad to begin with, and I don’t like having lots of stuff out that I have to clean/clean around all the time, so I tried to streamline the best I could.  It’s hard to get a good picture due to the dark wood, but there are four drawers (two on each side) and one large cabinet-thing with doors under the sink.

q-tips and cotton ballsThis little three-tiered metal thing from Hobby Lobby is perfect for q-tips, cotton balls, and hair accessories…all things that we use frequently.

make up organizerA makeup organizer was another little splurge that I’m so happy I got!  My makeup used to be in three different bags that I had to open and dig through every morning.  Now it’s all out and easy to access.  It shaves a bit of time off my getting ready process and my hit-the-snooze-button-over-and-over-until-I’m-running-late self appreciates the extra time.  I still haven’t put my lipsticks in there yet, but everything else is nicely organized and easy to find.

bathroom sink organizationThis is one of my favorite parts of our bathroom.  I was inspired by this post and knew that using all that vertical space under the sink was imperative to us being able to store everything in our bathroom.  These little stacking bins from the Container Store are amazing and have added so much extra storage space to this area!  I wish I had a before picture, because I couldn’t get nearly this amount of stuff under the sink (and definitely not this organized!) before.  It makes me happy for everything to have a home.

shelves above toiletProbably my favorite part of our bathroom re-do are these shelves above the toilet.  My handy-man steps in again – he cut, sanded, painted, and installed these shelves for me.  A word of advice in case you want to DIY, make sure that the shelves, or at least the bottom one, lifts off so you can get to the toilet tank.

Adding these three simple shelves gave us so much more storage space!  I now have spots for extra bath towels, hand towels, wash cloths, toilet paper, etc.

towel baskettoilet paper basketI used my new Silhouette Cameo to make labels for all the baskets.

you are my sunshineI’m not really big on decorating bathrooms, but I did make this cute little yellow and gray “You are My Sunshine” sign.

yellow and gray rugAnd finally we finished it off with a cute new rug to replace the old bath towel we were using as a bath math.

I am amazed at how different and much more functional the bathroom is now!  Not only is it prettier, but we are able to neatly store tons more than we were able before.

This is the first room in our house that I can finally say is completely done!  It’s about time, dontcha think, since we’ve lived here for over a year?  Stay tuned for my next finished room reveal coming later this week…Hudson’s nursery!  I’m so excited to show it off!

Source list:
- laundry sorter (Target): here
- striped baskets above the door and toilet are from Bed, Bath, and Beyond (I looked all over their website but couldn’t find them; they were in the stores very recently so I don’t know why they aren’t online): similar (same basket, different print)
- makeup organizer: here (I actually found the exact same one at Bed, Bath, and Beyond for cheaper than the Amazon one I linked to, but again, I can’t find it on BB&B’s website…check in the store though because it’s been within the last month that I bought it)
- gray and yellow chevron rug (Target): here
- vertical stacking bins for under the sink (Container Store): here