Monday, May 25, 2015

1 Month Postpartum Update

Happy 1 Month Buddy!
Weight: One month postpartum and I am 10 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight, weighing in at 135 pounds. I still have a little bit of a tummy pooch, and I feel like my inner thighs and booty have a little bit extra too! I'm really optimistic that breast-feeding will continue to help me shed some of those remaining pounds, but it is hard because I am trying to keep my calorie intake rather high to make sure I'm producing enough breast milk.
1-month Postpartum: Still a little bit of a tummy!
Working out: Besides stroller walks, I haven't started working out again yet. I'm waiting until my six-week doctors appointment for the go-ahead but I'm definitely feeling antsy to start working out again. I miss my Pure Barre! I can't wait to do hot yoga again too since I wasn't able to do hot yoga while pregnant. I'm hoping somehow I find the time to go to my workout classes with the help of my husband and grandparents babysitting. That is probably the one thing I will not be shy about asking for help with. I know if I feel good about myself, it's better for Landon overall, and sets the example to stay healthy and physically active.

Help: Boy do we need it! haha But I've actually really not asked for help with much, which is probably really stupid of me. Lots of laundry and keeping the house straightened and the other random household chores I've mainly been taking on myself. I think with the next baby I will definitely be asking for more help, if I had one to watch and a new one to be taking care of at the same time. My mom has been great! She's brought over a bunch of dinners that she's made for us, and I really appreciate that. My mom and my grandma and grandpa have also both babysat a couple times just so I can run out and do some errands. We had a wedding to attend as well, and we had our first date night out for our one year wedding anniversary, so I really appreciated them coming to babysit Landon those two times. Also, we have a cleaning service that comes every two weeks, just to do the dusting and vacuuming mopping & overall upkeep of the entire house. I love it. It makes it wayyyy more manageable for the in-between time. 
I just love my little man.
Schedule: We have absolutely no sort of schedule yet. It's basically just feeding on demand whenever Landon cries, or figuring out what he needs and doing it. Every day has been completely different, even though I have been keeping all of the data on an app so I know exactly when he's had a feeding every single day, how many diapers he's gone through, etc. But still nothing that's any sort of a regular pattern as of yet.

Sleep: Getting adjusted to life with baby mainly means not sleeping for more than one hour consecutively. Everyone tells you sleep when baby sleeps but I have never been a napper my entire life so it is really difficult for me to nap during the day when Landon is sleeping. I also have this strange sense of needing to get housework done while my husband is at work because I feel like I'll look like I hadn't accomplished anything during the day if I slept with Landon was sleeping. I wish I could get over it, and I have sincerely tried to nap when Landon is sleeping, but it is literally impossible. I just cannot nap.
At least Landon sleeps well :)
Breastfeeding: I feel incredibly lucky that breast-feeding has come very naturally to both me and Landon. I know that it is something that often times is a huge struggle for many many moms. I really do owe it to the lactation nurses at the hospital because right after delivery, they got us to a great start and continued checking in to make sure that everything was going smoothly for both me and baby. It was painful at first though- yikes!! It probably stopped hurting after 2 1/2 weeks, so for the last week I have a felt just much better and more comfortable with breast-feeding in general. I was very, very sore in the beginning and liberally applied nipple balm after every single feeding just to help with the tenderness. I've started pumping and had a small supply in the freezer just because we had a wedding that was out of town. I was gone for about 12 hours, so I out of necessity had to make sure I had plenty of milk for the little guy. I over-prepared, pumping about 60 ounces.  However it is really hard for me to consistently pump just because Landon feeds so frequently that it's hard to have even a two-hour stretch where I could pump at the hour in between feedings, so that is something I'm definitely going to try to look into. I need some advice to figure out how I can be pumping more regularly to build up a supply in the freezer. It is just nice to have more freedom to be able to run errands or have date nights, etc. Also, I want to make sure I've got a good supply for when I go back to work, making sure that I have at least a days work stockpiled at home and my Gramma's so that when I am pumping at work, he's already got enough on hand for when my Gramma watches him.

Baby: Landon has gained over 2 pounds and grown over 3 inches! It's incredible to see our little guy slowly but surely get bigger. It's also eased my first-time mom worries about whether or not he was getting enough breastmilk and growing, so it's really reassuring to know that he's on track. He is one hungry baby!! I call him the "milk monster." He loves to eat, and I sort of feel like his first word very likely could be "boob" or "boobies" just because my husband and I are constantly saying, "Oh he wants the boob!" or "He wants boobies!" He also is a very talkative baby- he coos, gurgles, grunts, & makes a lot of noise all the time. Even at night he snores a bit. For the most part he's a happy little guy. He loves music, and he loves the sunshine. If it's a sunny day, you can just tell he lights up the second I take him into the nursery and he feels the sun on his face through the window when I lay him on the changing table. He also loves going outside for walks or even when I just take him outside on our back patio for my coffee in the morning. Or in the afternoon I'll take him on our front porch and read with him, and he just instantly relaxes the second we step outside. 

Mr. Sunshine 
Love Life: Since it's only one month, there is no sort of monkey business going on yet. I'm waiting until I get clearance from the doctor for that. I do have such a deeper bond and connection to my husband having gone through the birth experience, and every day looking at Landon and feeling such a sense of pride that we made this incredible human together. That has brought me so close to him. However, lack of sleep and just feeling on call 24/7, especially since he's gone back to work, I would be lying if I didn't say I have a slight bit of resentment that he gets a break. It feels like he gets to escape during the day. Not that I feel like Landon is a chore or that I don't want to be with Landon, because when I'm not with Landon I FREAK OUT, and I feel an incredible urge to always be with Landon. But there are moments of sheer exhaustion when I am in zombie cow milk giver mode that I would just love a 30 minute break. I think those are the times that I can be difficult or extremely stressed or short tempered with my husband, and I do feel guilty about that. We're trying to figure out a schedule or a division of responsibilities that prevents me from feeling that way. We don't have it all figured out quite yet, but we're trying to figure out what will work best for us. And I love him for trying and putting up with me when I'm crazy and cranky. 

Our 1-year Wedding Anniversary Date
Hardest Part: I think for me the hardest part has been feeling like I am not as intellectually stimulated as I normally am. I feel like when I was at work every day there was a new challenge or something I had to think critically about evaluated or make a tough decision. And while being a mom is definitely tough and challenging, I think it's more physically exhausting and draining- especially breast-feeding. It often feels like I'm just on autopilot, and I am a cow who is just there to pump out milk. And since my husband has gone back to work, unless I have visitors, there's no sort of adult conversation that occurs during the day, so that can get lonely and make me feel very unlike myself.

Best part: I absolutely love getting to spend so much time with my baby. I am in absolute denial that July 20 will ever come, and then I will have to go back to work, because I really truly relish every minute that I get to cuddle, snuggle, read, and do all sorts of activities with Landon. I absolutely love getting to nurture him, teach him things, sing to him, ask questions, be silly, and see his reactions. Just watching him grow- it's amazing how every single week he's gotten more and more alert, and you can just tell he's absorbing so much every single day. 
I just love being Landon's mommy <3

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Landon's Birth Story

Landon's Birth Story
It's been over a month, and I'm finally getting to writing your birth story. You sure have kept Mommy busy with lots of feedings about every 90 minutes- you're a milk monster! And whenever you are sleeping, Mommy never wants to put you down, and neither do you. You're a cuddle bug. However, since Daddy loves snuggle time with you too, Mommy is finally taking a break to blog.

I went into actual labor around 5:30 pm on Sunday, April 19th. Daddy, Auntie Kali, and I all ordered Bob Evans for dinner, and I started having real contractions en route to pick it up. Mommy got the steak and egg platter, so she had a protein-packed last meal before your arrival. I'd been having some Braxton Hicks contractions, but I could instantly tell something about these were different. It was sort of like an ocean wave- it started coming up, hit a high point, and then receded. Mommy turned to Daddy right away and said, "These feel different. I think this might be it."

We came home, and all ate. Auntie Kali and I put on Kardashians to distract me, and I bounced away on the birth ball Daddy got for me. At my last appointment I was already 3 cm dilated, and the doctor told me to call the hospital if my water broke or if I was having contractions 5 minutes apart for a minute in length. Mommy's plan was to have a natural birth, so I was trying to stay at home as long as I could possibly stand it. By 9:30, I was having contractions about every 4 minutes, each lasting around a minute. They were definitely intensifying, and Daddy was a great coach reminding me to breathe and encouraging me. By 10:30, my contractions were 3 minutes apart, each lasting a minute, so I called the hospital, and the nurse on call said to come in.

On the way to the hospital, my contractions intensified even more. I had to have Daddy stop every time I had a contraction because if he hit a bump or pot hole, I was writhing in pain. In the ER parking lot, I had a contraction as we parked, and the car door unlocked automatically and bumped my arm and I shrieked in pain. It was the craziest, out-of-body experience where literally every muscle in my body felt clenched and tightened, so even the littlest thing felt extremely painful.
Birthing socks
When we checked in to the triage unit for the maternity ward, the nurse checked how far dilated I was, and I was still at 3 cm. She had me and Daddy walk the hall for an hour. My contractions got worse and even closer together, coming about every 2 minutes. Daddy was even counting down, they were coming on cue. However, at the end of the hour, I was still only at 3 cm dilated. The nurse called in the doctor, and we were shocked when she told us to go home. "How will I know to come back if my water doesn't break?" I asked, knowing I wouldn't be able to check myself to see how far dilated I could be. She couldn't give me an answer, and just repeated that we should go home.

This threw me for a total loop. So far, I'd mentally prepared myself for a lot of pain, but now I was scared that if I went home and progressed quickly, I wouldn't make it back to the hospital. We didn't really know what else we could do though, so Daddy and I drove home.

On the way home, I was bawling. I was increasingly in so much more pain. Daddy had to keep stopping every contraction. Then at one point a truck was blocking the road, and I lost it. "I don't think I can do this naturally any more," I cried to him. However, Daddy had been totally supportive of however I wanted the birth to be from the beginning. We'd learned all of the options, and he told me that he trusted me to know my body and whatever I needed or could handle.

We got home around 1:00 AM and laid in bed. The contractions were still every 2 minutes apart, and the pain just kept getting worse. Around 2:30, I had such a strong contraction I didn't realize it at the time, but my water broke in bed along with passing an extremely large blood clot (larger than my hand). We had no idea if this was normal or not, as this was not something that was in any of the classes, apps, or baby books we'd read. I was terrified something was wrong. Adam being a great coach reassured me that I would be okay, and drew me a bath. However, on the way to the tub, I started vomiting. The mixture of intense pain and fear of what had just happened made me so sick. I eventually made it to the tub, which offered brief comfort. By 3:00 AM, we decided to go back to the hospital.

At the triage check in, the nurse checked me again. I was almost 7 cm dilated. They admitted us, and I immediately asked for the epidural. At this point, I was so traumatized by being sent home and exhausted from the pain, I could not fathom having to push out the baby without any rest or pain relief. Plus, the OCD in me was so upset that I'd basically ruined the house that I had left immaculate for the baby, knowing that there was blood, vomit, etc. all over our bedroom, hallway, and bathroom. The totally unglamorous reality of child birth. I needed drugs.

They took Daddy and me to a wonderful birthing room. He had to leave the room during my epidural, which lasted about 30 minutes for the total procedure. By 5:00 AM, it was finished, and I morphed into an  entirely different person. The pain was completely gone, I suddenly had my mental sanity back, and I could relax and smile and feel excited about meeting you. I could sense how relieved Daddy was too when he returned, as I'm sure it was scary for him to stay so composed when I was in such incredible pain for those hours.
All smiles after the epidural

My mom, your Gramma LoLo, and sister, your Auntie Kali, arrived to the hospital around 6:00 AM. My mom was shocked to see me smiling and relaxed, as she had delivered both me and my sister naturally and knew my birth plan. "I feel great," I told her. "I just can't wait to meet him!"
Mom and sister cheering us on!
The nurses encouraged both Daddy and I to take a nap and rest up before pushing time. We napped for a few hours, visited with LoLo and Kali, and by 12:00 noon I had dilated to 10 centimeters. We were so close to meeting you, Landon!

It was just the nurse and Daddy in the room when I told her I felt a lot of pressure in my lower back. She told me it takes most first timers one to three hours to push, and gave me a play-by-play on how to properly push. Then she asked Daddy to grab my leg and told me to try what she had just explained to me.This was not our plan, as we decided Daddy would stay up by my shoulders, but I figured this would likely take awhile anyways. Boy, was I wrong. On my second push, Daddy exclaimed, "You can see the head!"  The nurse was astonished, and rushed to go get the doctors and the rest of the delivery nurse team. Four pushes later, you joined our world at 12:30 PM. This was the best moment of my life.
Best moment of my life
You came out with a strong, hearty cry. It was the most beautiful sound I've ever heard. The doctor immediately laid you on my chest, and you immediately stopped crying and curled into me because you just knew who I was. You just knew I was your Mommy. I couldn't help but cry (even writing this part, I'm bawling, haha). I've never been more proud or more in awe in my life. You were perfect and beautiful- 10 fingers and 10 toes, and your complexion was so clear and your skin was so soft. From all the baby books and apps, I was expecting you to look a little messy or cheesy or blotchy, but you were literally like a movie baby. It was so surreal. There is no doubt in my mind God exists after watching your birth. It was such a miracle to see your life begin right there. Happy Birthday, Baby! April 20th will forever be the greatest day of my life.

Daddy cut your umbilical cord (which has turned into the cutest little innie belly button). You were 7 lbs, 5 oz, and 18 3/4 inches long with strawberry blond hair and greenish eyes. You are so handsome. I cannot believe you're ours! Daddy and I said, you are our greatest accomplishment.
Happy Birthday!
While I am a little disappointed I wasn't able to have a completely natural childbirth and have endless respect for those that do, I will say for future births, I will get the epidural again. I tore, and I know how it really hurt for weeks afterwards. I can't imagine how it would feel getting stitched up for a half hour after delivery without the epidural. Plus, Daddy and I got to enjoy the birth together. I will never take back a second of the pain of this experience. We got you, Landon Brian, and I couldn't have asked for a better more beautiful baby boy. I thank God every day since for blessing us with you baby and this healthy birth.
Our Beautiful Baby Boy

Friday, May 1, 2015

What to Buy for a Breastfeeding Bedside Box

I thought I was prepared for everything when it came to bringing baby home, but I realized within the first 24 hours of being home I was not prepared for breastfeeding. And since you'll be breastfeeding for what can feel like every hour of the day, especially if your little one cluster feeds like Landon, you'll wish you had this made beforehand. It's not fun gathering things from around your house or realizing you need stuff from the store when you're very sore and recovering from delivery. Make this in advance if you can!! This also helped me adjust to breastfeeding very quickly. I have breastfeeding boxes next to my bed, by the rocker in his nursery, and downstairs next to the couch. This way, no matter where I'm feeding him (which is CONSTANTLY- he's a milk monster!) I have supplies at hand, since at least one is always occupied with baby boy.

Here are the things I have at every nursing station.

  • Water: You need to drink a TON to keep your milk supply up, and I swear, I get dry mouth as soon as Landon latches. I chug at least one  bottle of water every time I nurse. I keep bottles or the jug the hospital gave me at every station.
  • Nipple Balm: This stuff is magical. Especially that first week when you feel like your nipples might fall off after a feeding. I have both Boob Ease by Bamboobies and the Honest Co. Nipple Balm, and I'd recommend either. Both are organic as well. I apply after each feeding, and after 10 days, feedings aren't hurting anymore. These are more buttery in consistency, and are very smooth and not as sticky as Lansinoh. The Lansinoh still works and is cheaper (I have it at one station), but just not as silky smooth to rub on, and my fingers get really sticky after using it, and I can't always run to wash my hands, whereas the Boob Ease or Honest Co. balm rubs off easily on a burp cloth.  
  • Tissues: For some reason, every time I breast feed, I feel like my nose is running. This helps to take care of the sniffles. Or if you happen to have one of those lovely, postpartum hormonal cries, you're prepared.
  • Medication/Vitamins: You might be so busy and overwhelmed those first few days, you forget to take your pain meds or your prenatals, both of which you will need to help ease your recovery and ensure your baby is getting the nutrients he needs from breastfeeding. It's easy for me to pop my Motrin or my prenatal while I am sitting there for a feeding, and since I have time to check the time for when I should be taking another pain pill. 
  • Lip Balm: Same as the strange sniffles, I feel my lips are extremely chapped at every feedings, so it is great to have lip balm on hand. Especially so I have soft lips to kiss baby with after each feeding. xo 
  • Reading Material: Magazines, baby care books, or my cell phone- anything to help pass the time, since you will start to feel like all you're doing is putting your kid on your boob. This helps me feel less like a cow and more like an intellectual human being. 
  • Breast Pads: I don't always use these- it depends on what I'm wearing. But if I'm using them I'll change these out after a feeding. I got the resusable ones, and they get itchy after a few feedings, so I keep them handy to change them out. 
  • Burp Cloths: Keep at least one at every station. You never know when your little one may need to be burped or projectile vomit all over that cute outfit you just dressed them in. 
  • Cell Phone App/Last Feeding Time: With everything in my brain that I have to do to take care of baby, I would never remember the time of the last feeding or which side I ended on. I made a dry erase frame to have the time and the side, but I also downloaded an app called BabyNursing. I prefer the app just so I can keep track on the go, but you'll definitely need something, especially at the beginning so you don't overuse one nipple. Trust me. Plus, you might want your phone to catch some of those adorable faces your baby makes after a feeding before falling into a milk coma. :)
Happy Breastfeeding! :)

These are the items that have helped me adjust to breastfeeding my little one. If you have any other tips or advice, let me know!