Friday, September 30, 2011

Setting the Record Straight

If you recall, I admitted several weeks ago that Extra-Strength Awesome is now a mommy blog.  Due to this new and exciting change, I feel like I should blog about the things mommies typically blog about in regards to their newborn child.  However, thanks to my insufferable need to be honest (just ask Lewis whenever he's telling an embellished story how insufferable it is), my account of Jack and his personality may be a little different than those on other mommy blogs.  But you may note that I will touch on the same topics.

Jack is adorable.  This is true of pretty much all babies, but is particularly true of mine.  The fact of the matter is that I made one dang cute kid, abundant baby zits and all.  (He just wanted to match his mommy and her hormone changing-induced acne.  Sooooo sweet!)

Exhibit A
Jack did not start sleeping through the night since day one as seems to be the case for an inordinate amount of mommy bloggers, nor has he slept through the night even once.  Now to be fair to the little monkey, he is probably capable of sleeping through the night.  But he was born to a hypersensitive, paranoid mother with not one but TWO degrees in mommyhood (Marriage, Family, and Human Development and Elementary Education) who unfortunately knows more than is useful about how kids grow.  The reason he has never slept through the night is because I won't let him go longer than four hours between meals and frequent is the night that I wake HIM up rather than the other way around.  DEAL WITH IT.

Jack does not nurse like a champ.  One of the reasons for this is because I don't even know what that is supposed to mean.  I do know that however he nurses, it's certainly not of championship calibre.  For starters, the little poop bucket flat out refused to eat a calorie until he was twelve hours old.  And then he only started breast feeding because our nurse at the hospital tricked him into it with a syringe full of formula.  To date he still won't eat without a nursing shield (use your imagination) and he seems to have a personal problem with my right side.  Srsly, when he's fussy, as he is every night before bed, he will not eat from that side no matter how hungry he is.  It's like that side did something to deeply and personally offend him.  Subsequently I produce weird and am lopsided.  Thanks, kid.  And I thought milk was milk.

Jack cries.  A lot.  Often to the point where I cry.  Especially if it's late at night/quite early in the morning.  I mean in general he's a pretty chill baby, but
he's still a baby.  And all babies cry.  A lot.  So whatevs.  It's cool.

We are a happy family!
And yet... No matter what he does, I'm just crazy about the little stink bug.  Which is strange cause if anyone else in the world put me through the stress this little one does, I would... Well, not like them very much.  But I just love Jack to pieces. I love him even when he's screaming/refusing to eat/not sleeping/pooping on me, anything.

Cause I'm his mommy, darn it.  And this is my blog.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Size Doesn't Matter

When I was a little girl I was smart enough to determine that there would be mountains of laundry in my future.  I was actively aware of the fact that my mom did a lot of laundry and that when I had a family of my own, that would become my fate.  I just never thought it would be so soon.

Since we've been married, I've been the primary laundry-doer.  This is something I'm okay with.  I'm not perfect at it (re: I've been known to leave a load in the dryer for longer than may be necessary, procrastinating the inevitable: folding) but I've gotten it done.  With just Lewis and me, I've been able to get by doing two, maybe three loads a week.  No biggie.

I figured that after Jack was born my laundry would increase, but not that much.  I mean he's little, right?  How much laundry could he produce?

Hoo boy.

It's my bad, really.  I forgot to factor in burp cloths that he spits up on, clothes of his he's peed/pooped on, clothes of mine he's peed/pooped on (I typically don't wait to launder those), extra layers to keep him warm, teeny socks and mittens that get stuck in the washer, towels we lay out on the floor to change his diaper on in the middle of the night when we're too lazy to walk down the hall to his changing table that he subsequently pees/poops on, clothes that I've leaked through because my child likes to eat a lot and I therefore produce a lot... etc.

Not to mention the fact that now that his umbilical cord has come all the way off, we're starting him on cloth diapers that I will now have to launder as well.


Today's haul.  Please not that my darling spouse and adorable child are sleeping on some of it and there's even more on the other side of the basket.

In conclusion, I am really glad we did not have Jack when we were living at Wymount and subject to a coin operated laundromat.  How people with kids there can stand it, I know not.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Life's Little Miracles

Over the past few weeks (since about a week and a half before Jack was born until yesterday) we have been very much blessed to have my mom stay with us.  She cooked, she cleaned, and she took care of Jack when I needed to take care of myself (shower, eat, etc.).  It was a HUGE blessing to have her and my little brother here (he was really helpful too) and I was super bummed when she had to leave.  I've really been missing her and her absence is noticeable.  Case in point: I didn't shower until 1:00 this afternoon and lunch wasn't eaten until about 45 minutes ago (it's 4:10 now).

Because she had to leave yesterday, we decided to bless Jack then.  It was a large family event; I believe we had 37 people total in our little house yesterday.  There were lots of opportunities for stuff to go wrong. Luckily almost everything when right.

When Jack was born, he was super chill.  Lewis and I thought we had scored an easy ride.  He didn't cry very much and would just cuddle with us when he was awake and not eating.  It was awesome.  Little did we know, this was merely jaundice-induced lethargy.  Jack struggle quite a bit with getting his bilirubin levels down.  When they finally did start going down, the fussiness came up.  Swell.

To be fair to our adorable wee one, he's typically awesome at night.  Most nights I have to wake him up to feed him (I won't let him go more than four hours between meals) and then he'll go right back to sleep.  I'm tired, but my sleep hasn't suffered as much as it could.

During the day, though, this kid eats A LOT.  He cluster feeds happily in the morning, eats leisurely throughout the early afternoon around napping, then cluster feeds fussily in the evening (often with loud crying and refusing to eat even though it's clearly what he wants.  It's like he's saying, "I'm so hungry I can't even eat!").

And then there was Saturday.  He was fussy and wanting to eat ALL. DAY. LONG.  I was frustrated.  He was angry.  No ones was getting any sleep.  Of course this was the day my extended family was to come down from Idaho to meet him.  We had planned to go out to dinner with everyone to celebrate my birthday.  Jack was not doing well by the time we were ready to go.  This did not bode well for his blessing day.  We had nearly 40 people coming over to meet this kid and the forecast was predicting a gloomy time.  (For the record, Jack fell asleep on the way to the restaurant and slept through all of dinner.)

Sunday morning dawned quite early.  I was still tired from the day before, but since church is at 9 AM, I was up by 6, getting Jack fed, extra milk pumped, the house straightened, and both of us dressed.  (Again, having my mom here was a blessing - the house was in pretty darn good shape thanks to her.)

As I mentioned, church was at 9.  Something you much know about my child is this: he always wants to be eating at 9.  Always.  Incredibly worried was I.  Lewis and I left for church at 8:45.  Jack was asleep. The blessing was at about 9:10.  Jack slept through it.  We all came back home at 10:15.  Jack was still asleep.


He woke up pleasant when we got home and I handed him and a bottle to his Great Grandma.  He ate happily and stayed awake and pleasant for pictures.  Then he finished his bottle with his Great Granny.  Then he pooped all over his nice blessing clothes, but luckily NOT on the very nice wool blanket his Grandma Young made him.  Phew.

After that he went back to sleep and allowed everyone to pass him back and forth and drool all over his cuteness.

Let me tell you what: this was all a miracle.  He was an absolute angel.  Later he screamed for quite a good little while, both at his grandparents' house for dinner and the picking it back up when we got home.  But when it mattered, when there were 37 people there to see him, he was a peach.  Thank you for that Jack.

And thank you for finally napping today so that I could write this blog and remember that you are an amazing little baby.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The iPad = Perfect Tool for Nursing Mothers

I'm typing this blog with one hand.  I do a lot of things one-handed these days.  This is because I have a child whose favorite thing to do is to eat.  And since his food comes exclusively from me, I spend a lot of time with one arm curled under his little self holding him up.  So yes.  Lots of one-handedness.

A year and a half ago when we won our iPads, I was pretty excited.  I mean the iPad is a really cool thing. But now... oh goodness, what did women do while nursing before they existed?  Die of boredom?

See cause you only need one hand to work an iPad.  I can play games.  I can read books.  I can watch shows.  I can listen to music.  I can surf the internet.  All with just one hand.  Or sometimes even no hands!

But that's not all!  The iPad sits nicely on my lap.  It doesn't get hot or make weird sounds when it's trying to load something.  It doesn't have to be attached to any cords.  Plus it has a battery that will last for ten or more hours.

Yesterday I tried to read a paperback book while Jack was eating.  It sucked.  I had to hold the book there the whole time and any time my hair fell in my face or I had an itch I had to stop reading, put the book down carefully so I wouldn't lose my place, take care of whatever the problem was, pick the book back up, drop the book and lose my place, spend an annoying amount of time flipping through the book with one hand trying to relocate where I was, finally find my spot, read one sentence, and repeat the whole process because my hair was back in my place.  Reading was exhausting!  Who needs all that?

But with the iPad... Well, I like the iPad.  Makes the zillion hours a day Jack spends eating lots less boring.

Friday, September 16, 2011

My Hips Lied

I had a really easy pregnancy.  Morning sickness was tolerable (and in the evening, so it didn't effect my job), I only threw up a grand total of three times, and it was gone as soon as I entered the second trimester.  I didn't get any stretch marks.  I never retained much water, just maybe a little bit towards the end - at least my wedding ring seemed a little tight and my right ankle was a little less defined.  I gained weight, obviously, but it all seemed to stay in the womb area.  Yes, the lack of space in my super-short torso made it rather uncomfortable for the last few months (every time I went to the doctor in the last month they would remark on how low my baby was.  If that's the case then why did his bum never seem to leave my ribs?), but it was no big deal.

When we got down to it, I felt confident that I would recover from this adorable little parasite invading my body relatively unscathed.

Jack was born a week and a half ago.  In that time, my tummy has been steadily shrinking to the point where I thought I might be able to squeeze my newly little self into a pair of pre-pregnancy jeans.

And I was right!  My stomach did not get in the way at all!

My hips, on the other hand...

It would appear that my hips are now significantly wider than they were a few short months ago.  Like, the actual bones.

Now there is a little bit of fat stored on my hips.  But it's a muffin top's worth, really.  And I'm pretty sure it was there before Jack was, so... yeah.  Looks like I'll be in pajama bottoms, basketball shorts, and maternity pants until at least the next paycheck.

The funny thing is, I'm none too chuffed about it.  Sure I was a little irritated that not only do I have a little more junk in my trunk, but my trunk is now shaped differently..., but then I looked at this:

Worth it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Birth of Jack

As I type this, my baby is four minutes away from being one week old.  In some ways, I still can't believe he's here and not still in my belly.  In others, it feels like he's been with us for ever.  But that could just be the sleepless nights talking.

I woke up early Tuesday morning and noticed some unusual pains.  Now it's important to remember that I had been having contractions for a whole month by this point so I was an old pro at not getting my hopes up about anything.  But this was different.  So at 3:44 I woke Lewis up to tell him what I thought and that I was going to get in the shower to see if that slowed things down.  The pains were coming about every two minutes.

As I showered, Lewis pulled out his computer to write some hurried sub plans in case he wasn't going to make it to school that day.  I found that the shower did nothing to slow down the pains and they kept coming at the same pace.  I'm using the term "pain" here loosely.  Yes, it hurt, but not very much.  Again, no hopes were to be gotten up by me.

As I was getting dressed after my shower I pulled out my last pair of clean underwear.  Shoot.  I can't come home from the hospital and have no clean underwear!  So I put a load of laundry in the washer.  Lewis thought I was nuts.  Our washer takes about an hour to do a load so I told a mildly annoyed Lewis that if I was still contracting by the time the washer was done, then we could go to the hospital.  I couldn't leave wet clothes in the washer for so long, after all.  The contractions were still coming every two minutes and were maybe slightly more painful.

I decided to go wake up my mom (she's staying with us and is heaven sent) to tell her that things might be happening.  She seemed thoroughly uninterested.  Whatevs.  It's only her first grandson and all.

The contractions continued and while I was finishing packing my bad I found myself getting tentatively more excited.  Could this actually be it?  I was already almost a week overdue and was scheduled to be induced on Thursday.  I knew I would love it if my body would do it on its own.

The washer finished and I rotated the laundry to the dryer.  Then I agreed to let Lewis take me to the hospital, convinced they were going to send us right back home.  I could still easily talk through the contractions after all.  As we hauled everything downstairs, Mom came out of her room to ask how frequent the contractions were.  When I told her two minutes she flipped.  I suppose that would have been useful information.  I told her to not worry, we would call from the hospital if they let us stay.

On the way there, I called Lewis' mom to tell her what was going on.  She laughed and told me that Monica (Lewis' sister) was just getting an epidural.  Her baby wasn't due for two more weeks, so thank goodness he decided to come the same day as Jack and not before - I would have been so mad.  This was just awesome, though.

At the hospital a nurse checked me and declared I was 4+ centimeters dilated.  We would be staying.  Hallelujah.  The contractions were getting markedly more painful, although they were still only two minutes apart.  In the delivery room they hooked me up to an IV and put monitors on my belly to keep track of Jack's heartbeat and my contractions.  Jack was very fond of kicking them out of place.  They told me I could have an epidural right then and there but I declined - for the time being.  Another nurse came in as I was giving my response and said that it's a good thing I didn't want one then because the anesthesiologist had just been called in to a c-section.

Now the epidural was a tricky subject for me.  I spent much of my pregnancy tentatively determined to not have one, but also knowing that I am a total wuss when it comes to pain.  It wasn't some moral or philosophical reason that I didn't want to get one - I just wanted to see if I could do it without one.  I wanted to try hypno birthing, but we couldn't afford the classes, so I really was not well prepared to do this natural.  My reasoning for ending up getting the epidural is this: the first labor a woman goes through is supposed to be the longest.  If I am ever to do it without pain meds, why not do it on a shorter labor?

While we waited for the anesthesiologist, my doctor came in an offered to break my water.  I decided we should wait until after the epidural because I'd heard labor gets worse after the water breaks.  My contractions were still two minutes apart but were hurting like crazy.  Poor Lewis was having his fingers squished during each one.  At some point during all this my mom showed up.  We listened to Bill Cosby talk about labor and delivery on her iPod.  Good times.  At some other point Lewis' mom also showed up, with the announcement that Monica had given birth to a healthy baby boy.

After I had gotten the epidural (bliss) and my doctor had broken my water, there was nothing to do but wait.  I was hooked up to about a million things:

-The IV to keep my hydrated
-The fetal heartbeat monitor around my middle
-An internal contraction monitor
-The epidural
-A catheter
-Some kind of fluid that was flushing out my uterus (there was meconium in the water and this was to clean it out)
-A blood pressure cuff that went off every three minutes

When they broke my water (10:00) they checked my progress.  I was at a 5.  Crap, crap, crap.  This was going to take forever!  My nurse (Judy - she was amazing) told me if I felt the urge to push then I should let her know.  She described it as feeling like "the biggest bowel movement you've ever had."  Awesome.  Yeah, I'll call you back in a million hours.

Not too long after she left I felt something that might have been the urge to push (looking back, I'm positive it was).  But I thought for sure that I was mistaken cause, you know.  I'd never done this before. Judy came in and out occasionally.  Once after watching my contractions on the monitor for a few minutes (they were still two minutes apart) she said I was in "active, active labor."

This is me in active labor.  On my iPad.  Facebooking and chatting.  I'm awesome.
Finally at around 11:30 she checked my progress again.  Instead of a number I heard her say, "Oh there's the head" and announce that we would begin pushing soon, after she had spoken with my doctor.  She came back at noon and we began.

Pushing sucked.  I think the epidural was wearing off, cause it hurt pretty bad.  Mostly, though, it was just so tiring.  I always wondered what the ice chips were for.  Now I know.  They were heaven.

With the help of Lewis, Mom, Lewis' mom, and Judy I pushed for about an hour and a half.  Actually Judy left a couple of times to page the doctor and other stuff and we pushed without her.  That was cool that she let us do that.  My doctor arrived for the last half hour of it or so (okay, I have no idea how long he was there).  He was pulled out of a meeting to come and was delighted about that fact.  Shortly after him came a respiratory specialist and a NICU nurse, because of the meconium.  They'd have to make sure Jack didn't have any meconium in his mouth and nose right quick when he was born.

And then all of the sudden, he was here.  He came out all at once; once his head was finally all the way out, the rest of him just followed.  The doctor flipped him around and clamped the cord in no time flat and let Lewis cut it.  Then Jack was whisked off and soon he was crying loud and healthy.  He was perfect.  Soon he stopped crying, but the rest of us continued.  I was so grateful to have him here.

You'd be screaming too.
Jack weighed in at 7 pounds, 14 ounces.  He was measured to be 20 1/2 inches long, although the nurses joked that he'd probably be shorter once his cone head went away (I don't know if this is the case - his length hasn't been measured since, but he seems really long, everyone says so).  After stubbornly refusing to eat for the first twelve hours of his life he now wants to do little else (except pee: see previous post).  Seriously, he's already back up to his birth weight and most babies don't make it back to that until their two week doctor's appointment.

Don't you just want to cuddle him?
He's a heartbreaker.  Just look at that hair!
As for me, I feel fantastic.  There was an abundance of soreness for the first several days, but that's mostly gone.  I'm so grateful we finally have our little baby with us.  Lewis is the best dad ever, srsly.  And we both just love him to pieces.  Even when he's a stinker and doesn't fall asleep when I want him to.  Like at 4 am.  But he's just so cute, I forgive him every time.

I love my Jack.
My boys.

Monday, September 12, 2011

What Jack has Peed on

1 hospital gown.
3 pairs of my pants... All in one day.
1 of my shirts.
1 of Daddy's shirts.
1 towel.
1 pillowcase.
1 bed sheet/matress cover.
1 duvet cover.
1 bilibed... Twice.
2 onesies.
Countless receiving blankets.
And 2 pairs of pajamas... Tonight.

We're all still waiting to be pooped on, but I'm sure that's coming.

Friday, September 9, 2011

You Can't Spell Parent without a Little Paranoia.

So on Jack's second night at the hospital the nurses decided to check his bilirubin early since he was looking a little yellow.  Usually they don't do this until the day you discharge, but it was a good thing they did because his levels were indeed high.  He spent that night and the next day (until we left) under their lights to get all the jaundice out.  That super sucked because he's adorable and we wanted to cuddle him, but they only brought him in to eat.  They tested his levels again that morning and it had gone down, so when they told us we still had to have him on lights at home, we were confident that he'd kick the issue in no time flat.
Under the lights at the hospital
They told us about this new-fangled bilirubin blanket that we could use instead of the big, bulky lights.  He just had to be wrapped up in the blanket at all times and we could still hold him and everything.  This sounded great!  We were thrilled at the idea.  And then the guy from the company that rents them showed up at our door.  With a bed.  Darn.

So Jack has to stay in the bed all the time unless he's eating (which he has been doing a LOT).  Last night before going to sleep, Lewis and I were trying to decided where was the best place to put his bed.  This was the start of a very long night...

Lewis: What if I get up to go to the bathroom and I step on him?

Me: It's a bright blue light.  I'm pretty sure you'll see him first.

After hemming and hawing over it, we finally decided to put the bed in the corner between our dresser and the bathroom.  On the dresser was a somewhat large but quite stable stack of picture frames.  It is not there anymore because what if they, which have been up there for months, suddenly decided to tip over?

For the first half hour, either Lewis or I would jump up every couple of minutes to make sure the blanket wasn't blocking the fan or the cord and plug were out of Jack's reach or the blanket wasn't covering his face or he was warm enough or any combination of those.  Or just Lewis would get up and I would call out something for him to check, which of course is what he had gotten up to check in the first place.  It was like a weird dance.

Because he's on the lights, I have to make sure to feed him frequently (every two to three hours) even if he doesn't wake up hungry.  This would invariable start the whole process of checking and double-checking all over again.

At some point in the night, each of us took a turn trying to sleep on the floor next to his bed just in case his pacifier fell out of his mouth and he started getting fussy.  This was not planned by either of us, nor did either tell the other of their decision to do that.

Right before one of the times I fed him, I checked and he had a clean, dry diaper.  He ate (not for very long, he had just eaten like twenty minutes before) and I saw the line on his diaper turned blue to indicate he was wet (he has to wear disposable diapers right now because they cover less skin than his cloth diapers).  Shortly after I handed him to Lewis to change, Lewis started frantically saying, "Help! Help! Help!"  I was confused of course - it was just a diaper.  Then I looked at the vast amount of poop this tiny child had produced.  Holy Hera.  It was a miracle it had all stayed in the diaper.

Jack on the bed at home
Some time around five am I saw - I saw! - a huge spider glowing with blue light crawling across the ceiling towards my baby.  This was unacceptable so I insisted Lewis wake up to go after what turned out to be the smoke detector.

Through it all Jack was a total champ, never letting our crazy paranoia get to him or prevent him from sleeping.  All but one of the times I fed him he was still asleep when I got up.  He is definitely more rested than either Lewis or me, but it's okay.  He needed the extra help after the day we had today.  But that's another story...

He is still on the lights today, much to our dismay.  But he'll be tested again tomorrow and - fingers crossed - all will be well and we can get this nefarious, cuddle-hating contraption out of here.
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