18 August 2013

Brotherly Love

When we found out we were going to add another boy to our family,
I was super-excited to see how these brothers would get along.
Now that Miles is here, it has been quite interesting to see how Max interacts with him.
I'm sure it will be even more interesting once Miles gets a little older!

We talked about Baby Brother for most of my pregnancy,
about how he was growing in Mommy's tummy and
some day he would come live with us at our house.
In the last month before Miles' arrival, I think we read and re-read
all 10 (seriously, we had a LOT) of Max's big brother books what felt like 100 times.
He was just as ready as we were to meet this little one!
So when my mom brought Max up to the hospital to see us,
 the first thing Max said was not, "Hi Mommy" or "Hi Daddy"
but an excited "Baby Brother!" So sweet. :)

Here is the first time for them to meet:
In my sleep-deprived stupor, 
I didn't get a video of this moment. Bummer :(

Fortunately, Max is still enamored with Miles. :)
He always asks to hold him, and has been so good
to help Mommy by fetching burp cloths or throwing away dirty diapers.
My favorite is when Max asks,
"Baby Brother, you want play with me?"

In the mornings, usually the first thing Max asks is, "Where is Baby Brother?"
and he insists on saying goodnight multiple times each evening before bed.
It warms my heart to see how Max already cares so much for Miles!

He is still learning, however, about how to be gentle
and using his quiet voice and quiet feet when Miles is sleeping.
We have had a few incidents where Big Brother
wasn't being very careful...but we'll get there eventually. :)

And just for fun, here's a few (accidental) copycat brother photos
I found while uploading pics the other day...

Max at one week                            Miles at one week

Daddy snuggling Max                         Daddy snuggling Miles

Mommy kissing Max                                  Mommy kissing Miles

I am so excited to see how these two brothers
continue to grow in their love for each other!

16 August 2013

One Month

How is it possible that this little guy is already one month old???!!

Miles continues to grow like a weed.
At his two week check, he weighed 11 pounds 1/2 ounce and measured 22 inches long.
I am sure he has since added to both those numbers!

Newborn diapers were a joke - he didn't even wear those in the hospital!
And I am already thinking of switching to size 2s
since he's almost out of the weight range for size 1s.
 The 0-3 month clothes didn't last long, and we've already pulled out the 3-6 month set.
Hopefully he won't outgrow Max's hand-me-downs too quickly... :)

Miles is so laid back and doesn't cry much at all.
 The things that make him cry are: changing clothes, getting out of the bath,
when Max steps on him/ pokes him in the eye/ gives him a good shove in the swing,
and if he's got a stubborn gas bubble that Mommy didn't quite burp out. :)
He'll sometimes fuss for a minute or two when I put him down for a nap.

He nurses about every 3 hours during the day (I usually have to wake him to eat).
We are still working on extending those nighttime feedings. :)
He made it to 5 hours the past few nights. Hooray!

I am always amazed at what newborns can sleep through - 
and Miles has to sleep through a LOT! 
Toddler tantrums, noisy air conditioners,
the washing machine/ dishwasher, musical toys, 
big brother's Riverdance impressions.
Thank goodness for white noise!
He is a good sleeper despite all the ruckus, and for that I am so so glad!

We swaddle him anytime he's going to sleep,
but I soon plan to switch over to sleep sacks (for naps, anyways).
Miles also likes his WubbaNub but doesn't always need it to fall asleep - yet.

When Miles is awake, he is loves to look around with his big blue eyes.
I predict they will stay blue! Thanks, Daddy. :)
He has also shown us his adorable little smile...
either that or he's really gassy!

He is getting better at tummy time and tolerates it for about 10 minutes twice a day.
I am so impressed with how strong he already is - 
turning his head well and occasionally pushing up onto his forearms.

Although we have learned a lot about sweet Miles in the past month,
we have realized there is still a lot to learn!
We look forward to getting to know more about this sweet baby boy. :)

12 August 2013

MCR: The Birth Story

I debated whether or not to post the birth story here...
and obviously I decided to go ahead with it, mostly for myself. :)

With that said, continue reading at your own risk!

So July 5th came and went without so much as a contraction.
It was really difficult to process that I was past my due date,
especially since I had been told that as a VBAC I wouldn't be allowed to make it that far.
But we knew that my greatest chance of a successful VBAC 
was if my body went into labor on its own...so we waited. And waited.

I had several midwife appointments to check my "status"
and even had a sonogram to check on Baby Brother. 
He was just fine - and going to be a big 'un, they predicted! - 
so we were not worried medically-speaking about the waiting part.
(Physically and emotionally, that was a different story...)
There wasn't much progress, or so I thought - I had only dilated 2cm.
I wasn't having many contractions, which was equally as disappointing.
The clock kept on ticking and Baby Brother just stayed put!

Monday, July 15th I had an appointment with the midwife and asked her to do a membrane sweep. 
I was very skeptical it would work, especially since our doula had warned me
that it wasn't a guarantee labor would start on its own.
But I was determined that we wouldn't need our scheduled induction that Wednesday
and was up for trying just about anything - except castor oil.
(By this point I was drinking several cups of red raspberry leaf tea daily,
taking evening primrose oil supplements, going on lots of walks,
bouncing on the exercise ball, doing squats...and a whole host of other
"natural labor inducers" that didn't work.)
So when I had a contraction sitting in the exam room, I was totally shocked!
Still skeptical, but shocked. :)

The contractions continued that afternoon intermittently (like one every hour or so),
and I tried not to get my hopes up too much. But soon they tapered off
and I went to bed that night feeling really frustrated, almost resigning myself to induction. 

About 2:30 Tuesday morning, I woke up with pretty consistent contractions.
I started timing them about 3:00am, and they were 5-6 minutes apart and lasting about 1 minute.
I was super-excited and continued to time them for the next few hours.
About 6:00am I texted our doula with an update and told (a very sleepy) Clay about
the exciting developments, so he decided not to go into work that day.
We both got up and proceeded getting ready for whatever the day would bring.
But the contractions tapered off again. I was so bummed!

My mom came over that morning as planned.
She helped entertain Max while Clay did a little work from home.
As we were finishing lunch, the contractions started up again - this time much stronger.
I decided to lay down for a bit, and it wasn't long before the contractions were 3-4 minutes apart.
After Max woke up from his nap, my mom whisked him away
so that I could labor at home without scaring him.
We also texted our doula to come over - by this point I was wanting some help
to get through each contraction. Deep breathing was not cutting it anymore!
So about 3:30 the doula arrived at our house.
(Her assessment, which I didn't know until later,
was that I was only about a 4 at that point.)

The contractions continued to get stronger, and I could really feel them in my low back.
Sometimes it seemed another would start before the previous one had ended!
Between Clay and Jamie doing hip squeezes
and applying warm rice socks, I was able to keep going.

Then I started feeling nauseous along with my contractions.
I vomited several times over the next few hours,
mostly just bile since I had not eaten much at lunch.
Let's just say those were some not-so-pretty moments.
That really took it out of me, so I wanted to lay down for a bit.
Jamie suggested using the peanut ball (looks just like you'd think)
between my knees as I laid on my side in the bed.
That really intensified the contractions - or so it seemed!
About 7:00pm, I felt a little pop and my water broke.
I was not expecting that to happen!
Clay and Jamie had been debating about how much longer to wait
before heading to the hospital, and that just made the decision easy. :)
So after I changed, we hopped into our cars and headed to Harris.
(That was the longest and most uncomfortable 15-minute car ride of my life!)

The contractions were coming every couple of minutes at this point,
so I had to stop periodically as we walked
to the elevators that would take us up to labor and delivery.
We were quite a sight, I'm sure - Clay the sherpa with all our luggage standing by
while I leaned against a wall through contractions as Jamie put counter pressure on my low back.
Finally we made it to check-in, and they quickly got us to a room.
(We were very lucky to get in so fast - apparently they were very busy that night!)

Lindsay was the midwife on call, and Jamie had been keeping her up-to-date via text.
It was awesome because I didn't have to explain anything once we arrived -
though I'm not sure how I would have done that through contractions. :)
Once I got hooked up to the monitors, Lindsay checked me and I was at 7cm.
I remember asking Clay, "If I'm only at a 7 now, how am I going to make it to 10?!!"
But both he and Jamie were so good to encourage me to keep on going.

I continued to labor in the hospital bed, which I didn't think I would do.
They had me alternate between the hands and knees position (which was most comfortable)
and lying on my side with the peanut ball between my knees.
I really made our nurse Shannon work to keep track of Miles with all the moving I was doing!
At one point they were concerned because his heartrate dropped,
I think because I was dehydrated (from the vomiting) and I was not breathing properly
(yes, I was one of those screaming pregnant ladies).
So they put me on oxygen, which kind of freaked me out a bit.
But I really didn't have a lot of mental space to think about it
because I was so focused on getting through the neverending stream of contractions.

Eventually I felt the urge to push as the contractions were peaking,
and for a while I pushed on all fours.
They had me lay on my back and as the baby started crowning,
a couple of other nurses showed up to hold my legs up while I pushed.
It seemed like I pushed forever without making much progress,
but I had lots of cheerleaders helping me through each push.
After about an hour of pushing, I was completely drained.
Clay said that I was crying (don't remember that part) and saying I couldn't do it.
At this point, Lindsay could tell he was a big boy
so she did a quick episiotomy to give him a bit more room.
One last push, and at 10:40pm Miles made his entrance!
The cord was wrapped around his neck, but Lindsay quickly untangled him
and the nurses rubbed him down as they laid him on my chest.
That first little cry was the sweetest sound ever!
And then Miles lifted his head up to look at me
(which is pretty amazing for a newborn), and I was in love. :)

We decided to delay the cord clamping, so I got to hold Miles
for about 30 minutes before they cut the umbilical cord and took his stats:
9 pounds, 15 ounces; 21 inches long; 15.35-inch head circumference.
The nurses all joked I had given birth to a toddler!
After that I was able to nurse him for a bit while we waited for transport
to come take us to our room upstairs.

Clay and I were both in total shock by this point - we had just been initiated
into the all-natural childbirth club and whoa! what a ride. :)
(Plus it was maybe 2:00am. Definitely been awhile since we'd seen that time of day!)

But in the midst of that exhaustion, I distinctly remember looking over
at Clay who was standing there with Miles in his arms,
when he turned to me and asked, "So, are you ready to do this again?"

I'm crazy - but not that crazy. I think. :)

The words that our doula Jamie spoke to my fear and frustration just one week earlier
turned out to be so, so true: this waiting seems long, but it will all be worth it.
I look back now and those 10 days seem like the blink of an eye.
We are so glad we stuck it out,
and so very very glad to have Miles Christopher finally here!