Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Lessons Learned for the First 6 months

Sorry for ignoring my blog but I'm not gonna lie, I have no idea if I'll get better at it or not lol.  James is 6 months old today!  Wow!  It's been a trial but he is my everything.  I love him soo much!!  And things have eased out and life is more comfortable.  We're getting the hang of it!  Woohoo!

Here are the products that I've found to be absolutely necessary:

  • Exercise ball- I don't know what it is about these balls that almost every infant I've known loves!  They are a life saver to help them calm down, get to sleep, have fun bouncy time, they just love bouncing on those balls.  Absolutely necessary! (I don't actually exercise on it, but it is better than just sitting in a chair right? ;)
  • Boppy- Everyone has one so it's nothing new to hear, but I hate having to breastfeed without it.  My arms get so tired!  The pillow allows for hands free breastfeeding, very nice.  
  • Double Electric Breast Pump- I am not a working mom, nor do I leave James with a babysitter hardly ever, but I still think this is necessary.  If you are exclusively breastfeeding, you'll need some backup milk just in case.  The whole pumping process and learning how to involve that in your schedule still confuses me, but I have a small amount of milk stocked in case.  And at the very least, it takes the worry away if anything comes up.
  • Swaddlers- Any kind of swaddler is great.  Using a blanket is just not as good if you have a very squirmy one. I've used many different kinds. 
  • Swing- I think that any type of swing works.  You don't need the best.  I kind of wish we had gotten a simpler one.  He doesn't use it all the time, but when nothing else works, sometimes that does.
  • Excersaucer- I don't know how to spell that.  But what I mean is those big chunky seats with toys all around.  James loves his!  He loves standing and jumping so sitting is not his thing.  That's why these are so great for him.  
  • A Good Nursing Bra- Definately a must!  It took me buying 4 different bras and none of them worked.  I think I was trying to be cheap, but I had to bite the bullet and it made all the difference.  I wish I hadn't messed with the cheap ones.  Along with that, toga pants are great and completely fine during the first 6 months... and more :)
  • Nipple Sheild and Lanolin Cream- Some people don't like the shields but for me, they saved me!  I was crying all night until I got the shield.  It helped with the pain and after a month I was able to wean off it just fine!  ....Well, with some discomfort but that's just how it goes.  It's somewhat painful.  :/
I feel like you really don't need a lot.

Here are some things I want to do differently next time:
  1. A better excersaucer.  We have a hand-me-down that is just huge and bulky and I just don't like it.  I'll search for a better one next time.
  2. A better tub.  That was also a hand-me-down and it's just complicated.  I'll look for a good one next time.
  3. An Ergo carrier.  I have some good carriers, but I've just heard sooo many good things about the Ergo.  So I want to try that.
  4. Woombie.  None of the cheap swaddlers I have have worked great.  They were ok, but I have a woombie in the mail, yay, and I can't wait to try it!  Plus, they are not very expensive, so I'll have to get one in every size next time.
  5. Next time I'll get less clothes 3 months and under.  For the first 3 months James was wearing just a onsie and that's about it.  Haha.  Maybe I was just lazy but he didn't need fancy clothes.  Same with blankets, he has a ton and hasn't used some of them. 
  6. Lastly, no changing table.  We bought a cheap changing table from Ikea, and thank goodness we did because we never use it!  I change his diapers on the ground or on his bed.  Changing tables are expensive and not necessary, unless they are also a dresser.
I am starting to feel like I can do this again.  :D  Yay! 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Raising a baby is hard!!!  Last night I was able to get three 2 hour chunks of sleep.  And that was a really good night!  He usually sleeps for 2 hours at a time.  Sometimes more, sometimes less.  And it is really hard to be fully functional on tiny blocks of sleep.  And I hate that I get mad at him in the middle of the night for not going to sleep, when it's not his fault.  I hate it.  I love him and how sweet and tiny he is and I never want to be mad at him.  But I have to admit, this is hard.

Being nervous about my milk supply, unsure why he's crying, trying to establish a "schedule,"  figuring out night time, am I doing enough for him, too much for him?  It is hard.  I've realized that reading too much about babies is actually making it worse.  It was stressing me out trying to decide what was the "right" way to do things.  From now on, I am going to follow my instincts.  Easier said than done tho.

But this is not about complaining, this is about understanding.  Understanding all the other moms out there.  Now I know.  

I've started to read this book my cousin gave me called Carry On Warrior- The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life.  It is a wonderful book!  It is nice to hear an honest woman talking about her honest life.  And don't we all need to hear that we're all in this together.  We should not be competing to have the best life, the best children, the best body, the best husband, etc.  It's true that we only do this because we want to protect ourselves from exposing our fears and insecurities.  We don't want people to know that we are struggling.  They have it all together.  We don't want to be the one person who doesn't.  And like the woman in the book says, if we smile and dress nice, everyone will think we have it all together.  But we all have hard times.

I've discovered, along with the author of this book, that if I shed my armor and weapons, so will the person next to me.  If I let myself out and open myself up, the person next to me will realize that I don't have it all together either.  We can be real with each other.  I want to be able to be real with those around me.  I may even be a little too blunt sometimes.  But this will bring us all closer together.  And that's why I am admitting that this life is hard!

I have always wanted to stay home and have babies.  But I never knew this would be so hard.  It is hard to be stuck at home all day, it's hard to hold a screaming baby and not know why he is crying. It's hard to hold the responsibility of being the-one-who-should-know-what-her-baby-needs.  Raising children is hard.  The best help we can get is through the friendship and honesty of friends.  Thanks for everyone who has let me call them, and ask them questions.  I've had a lot recently.  Luckily I have a lot of friends who are willing to let me in on their secrets.

We are all in this together!

*Read this book friends*

Thursday, September 18, 2014

James 1 Month

Happy 1 month baby James!!!!  We love you so much!  Even though you did not want to take pictures today.

Loves: snuggling close with mamma, sleeping on daddies chest, when I sing (strangely), having a fresh diaper, eating, car rides usually, stretching out, bathtime!   Right now his favorite color is black lol,

Does not like: sleeping, gas pains, staying in the same position for too long, diapers that need to be changed.

He has just barely started smiling on purpose!  I love it!!  For his 1 month we went to Red Robin to celebrate; he slept the whole time almost.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The First 2 Weeks

I'm going to be completely honest here and say that the first 2 weeks have been harder than I thought!  It is made up of 3 categories: physical healing, emotional changes, and newborn care.  We brought our sweet bundle home, surprised that we were allowed to just take him home without any supervision or anything.  How can we be trusted to raise him??  There are no more nurses when I need them anymore.  That first night was hard!  I spent half the night crying because nursing hurt so bad that I had to stop feeding him for a little while.  He was waking up every hour or so and so I got about 3 hours of sleep.  The next morning I called a lactation consultant and we got everything sorted out.  I'm using a shield which is working great!  Has anyone else used one before?  When did you stop using it?  It's kind of a hassle, but I don't want to go back to that nipple biting pain.

Physical healing- Wow, that was probably the worst part!  I expected to need some time to heal, but man, it's been painful.  I got 2nd degree stitches and because of my 3 hours of pushing, I was VERY swollen.  I honestly didn't even want to look down there!  Basically it hurt to sit, stand, move, do anything.  Any small amount of pressure felt like my insides were falling out and my stitches were ripping open.  And since I was so swollen I couldn't even walk normally.  This includes my feet too, which were HUGE!  I was also bleeding so bad that I actually wore diapers so that nothing got anywhere I didn't want it to.  As embarrassing as it is, it worked great for the first week or so!  Plus, apparently redheads bleed more.  I also had to use hemorrhoid pads, numbing spray, a squirt bottle, stool softeners, and my large doses of pain meds.  Oh brother.  It felt like someone shoved a blender up there.  It's been over 2 weeks now and I'm starting to feel better.  It doesn't hurt when I sit or walk short distances anymore.  But I'm certainly not back to normal.  It's also been a little annoying to still look pregnant.  I am still wearing maternity clothes.  I'm hoping that I will be out of them in the next week.  And I can't wait to feel good enough to work out again.  My body has certainly gone through a lot, and I will probably never wear a bikini again.

Emotional changes- A lot of people get baby blues at the beginning.  So I wasn't afraid of how emotional I was.  My mom was there to reassure me too.  It just felt like I was about to cry at any moment.  And  I certainly did cry many times.  These mood swings only lasted the first 10 days, so I can laugh about it now.  The first time we took James out of the house, I cried twice in the car because I was afraid of being out.  I felt like we needed to be at home in case we needed anything and that I just didn't think we could go anywhere.  Lol, it was strange.  I've also cried because I was sad that he will be 1 soon, and soon he'll be 8, and then 16 and then graduating college...  Haha.  And for the first few days, I was so sad every time he cried.  I would get a little upset at my mom and Glen when he would cry with them.  Plus I worried that he would stop breathing or get sick or not gain enough weight, etc.  So many emotions.  Even Glen has experienced some baby blues.  But I feel great now, back to normal.  My normal self was pretty emotional as it was though.

Newborn care-  I have a good understanding of caring for children, but newborns are a different story.  Changing a newborn's diaper is hard, putting them in a carseat is hard, they are just so delicate!  Then there is the feeding every 2 hours so you can only sleep for an hour at a time, if at all.  I was very worried about his weight gain, he lost 11% after birth.  But he is doing great now.  We kept track of all his feedings, pee and poopy diapers.  I was worried that he was sleeping too much, cause it was hard to keep him awake for even 20 minutes to eat.  It takes a lot of patience to care for a newborn and a lot of confidence.  Honestly I don't know how young girls do it without support.  It can be pretty overwhelming.

It has definitely been an adjustment.  And yes, it's been hard.  But at the same time, James is SOO cute and little, and I love it when he curls up on his tummy on my chest.  I love his sleepy smiles.  I love seeing his face covered in milk and a full tummy.  I love his little body, and soft skin.  He is half me and half Glen, and I just love it!  To quote the movie What to Expect When You're Expecting, "He is my glow."  My reason to get up in the morning.  I love him!  I can sleep later.  :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

James' Birth Story part 2

Recap so far:
  • Saturday at 5pm - water breaks (well, leaks)
  • 8:30 - arrive at the hospital
  • 12am - start pitocin
  • Sunday 4am - contractions really start hurting
  • 9am - get some loopy meds
  • 4pm - finally get that epidural (12 hours of painful contractions)
  • 11pm? - get a fever
  • Monday 1am - dilated to an 8

So I'm finally at an 8!  Things are going pretty good.  I'm starting to feel relieved that I won't need a C-section (although half of me wanted one because then this would have been over with already).  They then informed me that another girl just came in at a 6.  The race was on!  Btw, when I arrived on Saturday night, I was the ONLY one in labor, by now, there were many in labor and a few already had theirs!  Anyways, about an hour later I was at 9 and then slowly I reached 10 cm!!!!!  

One of my favorite nurses came in and said let's start pushing.  It was strange because it was just me and her and Glen and my mom in the room.  It was quiet and simple.  I imagined the pushing part to be different.  I even said to her "Ummm, shouldn't we call the doctor first?"  To which I was informed that the pushing takes a while, and we call him once he's about to come out.  But the doctor was at his house.  Remember, it's 3 am.  So we started pushing.  I was surprised that pushing is so hard!  I guess, I thought that pushing would be easier than sitting around feeling my contractions getting worse.  But at least it meant it was the end!  So I was happy about that.  My legs were weak so I needed help holding them up.  And my mom counted to 10, while I pushed.  With all the pressure I was feeling it was hard to tell when a contraction came.  And they were 3 minutes apart, which is kind of a long time.  

We needed to get baby under the pelvic bone, I guess.  We were making progress, Glen could see his head, but we couldn't get himpast the bone.  (Also, they told me the girl next door had her baby already.  Seriously!?  At least I was close)  So I was pushing like my life depended on it.  I wanted that baby out!  But I was a little scared about how that would feel....  It felt like my eyes were going to burst!  So we started pushing at 3am, and by 6am they told me they would bring the doctor in.  I was actually a little nervous that they would have to do a C-section afterall.  That would be so disappointing after all that work!  But I didn't know what else could be done if I couldn't push him out.  I was seriously trying so hard!

The doctor came in, and told me he would like to use a vacuum to help him out.  Whatever it takes now!  He also said that he was going to bring in the NICU nurses just in case, since my water broke so long ago.  That was a little scary.  So in about 5 minutes the whole team was in my room.  I think there were 5 nurses and the doctor, plus Glen and my mom.  Suddenly I felt the urge to push, I actually don't know if the doctor was ready or not, but I started pushing.  And he worked his magic down there and after 1 push he told me to slow down and just do little pushes.  "Smaller push, smaller push" he kept saying.  He was very busy looking, like he was carving a sculpture.  One small push later and his head was out!  Another small push and the rest came out!  They immediately put him on my chest and I couldn't believe it!  

Here he was!  Out in basically one push!  Totally perfect and adorable!  He didn't look creepy or scary or anything.  And he was so warm, wet, and snuggly.  They did a few things with him and I don't even want to know what the doctor was doing, and then he was back in my arms.  At this point I knew the doctor was sewing me up, and it hurt a little, but I was holding my baby so it was ok.    The whole time, btw, Glen was down at my lower half watching the whole thing.  I guess he thought it was really cool.  But hearing about it later sounds disgusting!!  A few minutes later everyone that was on my room was gone, and it was just me, Glen, my mom and sweet new baby James.  They gave us 1 hour alone with no interruptions.  

In total, I was in labor for 37 hours, and had to push for over 3 hours.  My body was not ready for this, but baby James sure was I guess. He was born Monday, August 11th at 6:20am.  8 pounds 3 oz.  20.5 in long.  He was 9 days early.  The funny thing was that I had a doctor appt the day before my water broke and nothing was happening down there so we both assumed it would be a while.  I would have never expected this.  Because I had a fever and it was a tramatic birth, they wanted to keep me at the hospital for at least 36 more hours.  But I have to say that the nurses there were GREAT!  We stayed until 6pm on Tuesday.  

The birth and this recovery have been harder than I thought.  Being responsible for a little one has been harder than I thought.  But he is so precious, and sweet and I cannot believe we made this little being.  I would do it again for him.  He was a trouper through the whole process.  And so were my mom and Glen.  We did it!  
James Preston Chase

Monday, August 18, 2014

James's Birth Story part 1

It was completely unexpected!  Nothing like I planned.  And hurt like you know what!  But I would do it all again for my precious baby.  My mom told me that now my heart has grown legs and is out there, vulnerable to the world.  That is exactly how it is.  I cannot wait for everything, yet it scares me to death.

*This will include everything.  Read at your own expense  :)

On Saturday night, August 9th, we were invited to go to a friends house for dinner.  Just before, Glen asked me if I peed my pants, which was a crazy thing to ask.  But when I looked down, I realized that I was quite wet.  I told him it was nothing and we went to our friends.  While I was there, more fluid was coming out.... This might be my water leaking, I thought.  I talked to my friend, and asked for a pad, but it was getting more and more.  It was definitely time to go home.  This was at 5pm.  We decided to call the hospital and ask what they would recommend.  They said to come in.  I didn't want to go in, because I wanted to stay home as long as possible.  But we were both a little nervous and decided it was best to be checked out anyways.  With luck, we would be able to go home and sleep for the night.

Lol, nope, if my water breaks I'm there for the night.  Should have known.  But it was really fun getting lost in the hospital trying to figure out where to go and check in with my pants soaking wet.  Ha.  When we finally checked in, we decided to walk the halls a little to help the labor progress.  At this point, I was leaking constantly (poor hospital floors), but having NO contractions.  We walked for an hour, then I decided to take a dip in the Jacuzzi.  :)  Nothing was progressing and the doctor wanted me to start pitocin by midnight, so I had a bite to eat, because there's no eating once you go on pitocin, and we started the drip.  Boo, this was not in my birth plan!!

We started just at a level 1 for an hour, then level 2, etc.  I really wanted my body to get a jump into gear and start going on its own.  I never wanted pitocin.  Btw, it took them 4 tries to get an IV into me, I have huge bruises now, and that's when I knew this was going to be a long one.  By 4 am my contractions were starting to hurt pretty bad.  There was certainly no sleeping that night.  Luckily Glen was able to sleep a little.  By 9am I think I got some meds for the pain.  Which made me feel very drunk!!  It was nice at first, but then got really annoying.  And it didn't really make the pain better, it just made me loopy in between contractions.  I think my mom got there around 11, and that's when the pain really began!

Let me tell you, those contractions are horrible!!!!  I could barely breath!  I honestly started passing out in between them.  I would grab glens hand or pull on his shirt, and my mom would try to push on my back.  Nothing made any difference.  I was actually trying to hurt Glen.  :(  I'm sorry.  I was in serious pain!  Maybe I'm a wimp but it was killer!  And the loopy drugs didn't help, they just made it so I couldn't open my eyes or see straight.  I was just in this bad daze.  At 1pm, they said the doctor would be in at 4 to check me.  Btw, this whole time I was at like a 1.5 dialation.  Come on body!  But when I heard that, I almost couldn't take it.  3 more hours!!!  I could see the clock, and it was bad!  He was about 8 minutes late (I was watching) and I begged him to just give me an epidural now, I didn't want to be checked cause that hurts too!  Why do they have to shove it so far in!?  He didn't listen to me though, and checked me anyways.  I was at 3/4 cm!  I could get an epidural now!  Hurray!!!!  Otherwise I would have beat someone down, seriously.  And they better have that epidural for me in 5 minutes.  lol.

A couple minutes later the lady comes in and tries to explain my risks, blah blah blah.  I really don't care!  It takes her FOREVER to get things situated.  And then she pricks me in the back and it tickles and makes me jump.  And she gets mad at me and tells me not to move.  (Don't forget that I am barreling over in pain at the same time)  She needs to put her hand on my back first before she pricks me, how can I not jump when someone does that?  I do my best and feel a little sting in my nerves but it's all good.  And now it's done!  YES!!!   I don't know how long it took to work but within a half hour or so, I was doing better.  But I was still in pain.  I thought that everyone said that once you get the epidural there's no more pain, and it's all great!?  There was still pain, but I could breath through it.  So now we just had to wait.

They didn't want to check me too often because since my water broke there is greater risk for infection.  But we all thought the baby would be out by midnight.  :)  But by 10pm I was only at 6 cm dialated, I believe.  This is also when they mentioned the girl next door to us who came in earlier that day already had her baby.  Grrr!  Needless to say, we were not having a baby by midnight.  They continued upping the pitocin until I reached 18, the max is 20.  And they were starting to get worried because they like for you to have the baby within 24 hour of you water breaking.  We had passed that about 5 hours ago.  Probably about 1 am, I started to get a fever and the babies heart rate was increasing...or dropping, I don't remember which.  But it wasn't good.  My mom was rubbing a wet wash cloth on my face and they gave me some Tylenol.  We decided to get a blessing to help me and the baby be ok.  The next time they came to check on me (which was about every 20 minutes) the fever was gone!  And the baby was doing great!  I felt so blessed.  Blessed to have Glen able to give me a blessing and blessed with the faith that it would all work out.  But I was still worried about needing a C-section.  This was taking far too long.  By this time my water had broken about 32 hours ago.  But I was at an 8.  So it was getting closer.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Pulling Myself Together

Before I was pregnant I had all these aspirations of staying fit and keeping up with my normal routine and energy level.  I quickly realized that was not happening for me.  I blame getting so sick and tired during the first trimester (which was also in the dead of winter), for me not being able to keep up with working out.  And, as I've said before, getting back into it once I was already big was not easy.  I do yoga/pilates in the morning, but it just doesn't feel the same as a hard workout at the gym used to.  Sometimes even just walking around walmart makes me tired and my stomach is starting to get that pulling feeling.  Every once in a while I'll cup my hands under my stomach and hold it up; it's SO heavy!  Haha.

Anyways, I fully "plan" on getting back into it after baby comes.  I can't wait to feel more energy and for my stomach to feel lighter again.  Less than 12 weeks to go!  ...hopefully.

A HUGE thank you to everyone who gave us their old baby things and for all the gifts we received!!!  We went to Ikea last weekend and picked up a $30 changing table.  Score!  It's super simple but that's all I needed.  And now it's looking like all that's left are a few things and we're good to go!

Left on the list:

  • Stroller
  • Carseat/canopy
  • Side sleeper/bassinet
  • Diaper bag
  • Nursing cover
  • K'tan carrier ??
  • Nursing bra's ??
  • Breast pump ??
  • Noise machine
  • Small odds and ends
I plan to get the Eddie Bauer Endurance jogging stoller (cause I WILL be jogging...).  It's nice, compact and light, and very easy to maneuver.  And I'll probably need the carseat that goes with it if I want to put a newborn in it.  Right?
I love this side sleeper!  It's portable, cozy, and small.  It even rocks and vibrates.  I just plan on using it for the first couple months or something.

Diaper bag: love this one from Target.  Stylish, and not too "diaper-baggy."  Thank you Mindy White for letting me steal it.  :)

This K'tan carrier is nice cause I have a backpack type carrier and a baby bjorn front carrier, but this one is just a different style.  I like it.  

And every single one of these is at Target!  So easy since there's a Target by me now.  Yay!  Now I just need to know if I should get any nursing bra's or a breast pump???  I'll be staying at home, but will I need one if I want to go on a date without baby or anything?  

Our nursery is coming together.  Slowly.  It's so sweet and simple.  I love it.  Anyone else have any must-have items?