Some New Firsts in Motherhood

Over the weekend, I experienced a couple new firsts as a mom. We drove up to surprise my stepmom for her birthday at this wonderful restaurant called Joseph Decuis (http://josephdecuis.com/ - check out the Vineyard Luncheon Series). It was about a 2-2 1/2 hour drive from Greenwood, so if you're looking for a new, unique dining experience, you'll get one there! :) On the way up, I had to pump in the car in order to be able to participate in the festivities when Danette arrived at her surprise luncheon. It's one thing to feel like a dairy cow in your own home, but it's pretty hysterical when you are driving 70 mph on the highway, pumping breastmilk under a "Hooter Hider" (compliments of my friend Beckie!). That was definitely a first for me. We had a great time at lunch and enjoyed all FIVE courses from about noon until 2 p.m. YUM! Before driving back to Greenwood, I had to feed Noah. So Ryan found a nice quiet church parking lot for us to just hang out in so that I could feed the little man. That was another first for me! Forty minutes later, we were back on the road and on our way home.

At church on Sunday, the choir and band performed a song to recognize the soldiers who fight for our freedom since it's nearly the 4th of July. During that song...it hit me. I'm the mother of a son...a son who may someday choose to join the military. I know if I had a daughter, she could also make that same decision, but I think because men in the military is so much more well-known in history, it hit home with me. It is scary to think what Noah might choose to do with his life, and all Ryan and I can do is just help guide him and encourage him with his natural gifts and interests.

The last experience I want to share with you is just HYSTERICAL, and what a better way to share the story then to show you a picture that says it all:

HAHAHA! After taking a nap, Noah woke up and starting tooting up a storm. This is his usual way of saying hello to us when he wakes up! :) After I thought the coast was clear, I started changing his diaper. As I was changing him, he let out a couple more toots, but they had just a little bit of poo, too! So, I just wiped that up and kept going. All of the sudden, Noah has this HUMONGOUS TOOT, and he shot poo out of his bum in a 2-3 foot stream!!! I have NEVER, EVER seen anything in my life like that before. You should've seen me...it was like slo-mo...I leaned back, put my hand out to block the poo, and was like, "Noooooooo!!!" Ok, so it wasn't that dramatic, but I definitely jumped and closed my eyes to protect myself! I'm pretty sure Noah felt a lot better because he's calm as a cucumber in this picture, while both the carpet and I are covered in poop. Ryan had just woken up and FORTUNATELY got to witness the whole thing!! He was like, "What should I do??" I just said, "You've gotta grab the camera!" We worked on the stain in the carpet for awhile, and then Ryan ran our "Spot Bot" over the stain, too. It's mostly gone, but I'll probably work a little more on it today. As for the pair of pants I was wearing (sorry Kelli!!!), that is yet to be determined. I am hoping that the good ol' bottle of Shout will get it out. We will see! Doesn't it just make you wonder how something so GROSS and HUGE can come out of something as beautiful as this little guy below:

Ryan and I both had such a great weekend! We went out for dinner Friday night while Noah slept in his carseat on the table at Texas Roadhouse. We had a nice family road trip on Saturday and some great family time on Sunday, too. This was the first weekend that it felt like we were settling into our new lives as a couple with a baby. During the previous weeks, everything was new and full of firsts. Now we're getting into a routine and are just able to enjoy things more with Noah. It is a great feeling, and I'm so happy to have arrived here! I love my boys!!!


Six Weeks Later

Wow!! Can you believe that six weeks have gone by since Noah was born? It's hard to believe that many women go back to work after six weeks. I'm so thankful that I will have around 12 weeks at home with Noah before having to go back to work part time. If I had to figure out pumping enough breastmilk for a sitter right now, I think I'd go bananas! I just put Noah down for a nap, so hopefully I will have at least an hour of uninterrupted time to write this blog and to get a few things done around the house...although what I'd really like to do is take a nap! I fed Noah his last feeding of the day at 11:15, and he finished eating around 11:50 or so (he's getting a little faster). I rocked him for a few minutes, swaddled him up, and put him in his crib by midnight. Well, he was having some stomach pains, so I gave him some gripe water (the best concoction on the planet!) and finally got to sleep around 12:45 a.m. He woke back up at 4:15 to eat again, and we finished around 5 a.m. Well, his belly still was bothering him, so by 6 a.m., I was ready to pull out my hair from just being so tired! Ryan woke up and gave Noah more gripe water, walked him around the house, and put him in his crib a little while later. I got to sleep from about 6-8:15 a.m. when Noah woke back up to eat again. So...I got a little over 5 hours of sleep last night. I really shouldn't complain, though, because Noah has slept ALL NIGHT three out of the last seven nights...can you believe that??? I'll feed him around 11 p.m., and he'll sleep until 6-7:00 a.m. It was wonderful! Of course, I wake up thinking, "Wow, I got some great sleep last night", which is quickly followed up by the thought, "Oh my gosh, is he alive?!?!" Needless to say, he survived! :)

I went to my six week check up with Dr. Soper, and all looks well!!! She said I've completely healed up and can resume life as usual. I really wasn't wanting to get back on the birth control pill, but I'm also not looking to get pregnant again any time soon! We're talking 3-4 years before having more kids probably. I didn't have her write me a prescription, but I'm actually thinking about going back on the pill afterall. We'll see how it goes with breastfeeding because many women don't have a period while they breastfeed. Dr. Soper said that birth control pills are safe for babies when you are breastfeeding (progesterone only pills...not the ones with estrogen), but I'm really not looking to expose Noah to a bunch of progesterone. I have really tried to keep unnatural substances away from him (other than the processed food I eat and drink), so why stop now? Some exciting news from my appointment...I only weigh ONE POUND more than I did before I got pregnant...BOOYAH! That means I lost 25 pounds in the past six weeks. I have to give all the credit to breastfeeding because you burn 200-500 calories per day to produce breastmilk. Obviously, I also lost weight when Noah was born, too, since he weighed over 7 lbs...plus the weight of any water, the placenta, etc. Anyway, I'm just counting my blessings right now because losing weight is just one less thing I have to concentrate on right now! :)

Things have really calmed down in the past week or so. Noah started latching on without a shield the day after Father's Day! That has been SOOO nice! I've also gotten a better handle on what his cries mean...which ones mean "I'm in pain", "I'm tired", "I'm uncomfortable", "I'm bored", etc. Now I don't always get it right, but it's definitely good progress from where I was. The extra sleep has definitely been nice, too, with the exception of last night. I think I figured out why he had a belly ache, too. A lot of babies don't process cow's milk very well, and I hadn't had any milk for a week or so except on cereal because I wanted to see if that bothered Noah's tummy. Well, he didn't have any issues last week. I had a glass of milk last night with dinner, and sure enough, Noah was really fussy last night. He was pulling his legs up and arching his back, which are tall tale signs of a belly ache/gas pains. We gave him some gripe water, and it really relaxed him enough to get some sleep. I know that at least for awhile longer, I won't be drinking milk until Noah's belly and digestion is a bit more developed. :)

The best thing I can write about are Noah's smiles. I just feel SOO good when he smiles at me. Oftentimes, I will say, "Noah do you smiles for the milks"...like I'm making a deal with him that if he smiles at me, I will feed him. A lot of times, he does smile really big! Other times, he starts crying like, "Lady you better give me your ;milks' (as we call it), or you're going to have a HUGE tantrum on your hands." Haha! I love that kid!

Ryan and I have been out a few times just the two of us. First, we were able to get some ice cream one night while my stepmom was in town. Second, we went to a friend's surprise birthday party for a couple hours when Ryan's parents were staying over with us. It was so fun to spend time with people our age and just laugh and feel like we were more than just Noah's parents. Third, we went on a REAL DATE last Saturday night, and my mom and her husband watched Noah. Ryan and I ate at BJ's Brewhouse and then saw the new Indiana Jones movie. I had to pump a gazillion times throughout the week in order to have enough milk for Noah for Saturday. It is just so hard because I have to pump at the end of a feeding in order to not take his milk, so sometimes I might get an ounce or so...but others I get only a few drops. I have woken up in the middle of the night a few times to pump, which has worked all but one time. I had pumped at 2:30 a.m. and was hoping Noah wouldn't wake up until 4:30 a.m. so that my milk would come in again for him to have. But no luck...he woke up at 3:30 a.m. instead, and Ryan had to give him the milk I had pumped. I still haven't given Noah a bottle because sometimes babies refuse to take a bottle from their mom's who are breastfeeding. They say until he is really great with breastfeeding to avoid giving him a bottle myself. Ryan likes doing it, and boy can Noah drink that milk FAST when he's using a bottle. Back to the date...see, breastfeeding just consumes me!! We really had a nice time away just the two of us. We left around 5 p.m. and didn't get home until after 10 p.m. It was great! I can't wait to do it again soon. Enjoy the newest pictures I'm posting!!!


Breastfeeding...What They Don't Tell You :)

Hello again! So sorry for the delay in writing in the blog again. So much has happened, and it's hard to believe that Noah is already a month old. He continues to just grow and grow, becoming more alert every day. At his pediatrician appointment last week, he weighed 8 lbs., 9 oz., which is nearly 2 lbs. more than he weighed when we left the hospital. I imagine that he weighs around 9 lbs. today. It's wild when you are breastfeeding to think that all of Noah's weight gain and growth is because he is getting all of his nourishment from my body...crazy! God sure did design out bodies perfectly, huh?

Speaking of breastfeeding, all I can say is WOW! Actually, I have so much to say about breastfeeding because even though I read a lot about it prior to Noah's arrival, I have been completely amazed by just how difficult it can be! When I would see notices for breastfeeding support groups, I just didn't get what kind of support those women were needing. Now after having a baby, I COMPLETELY understand!

After Noah was born, and we were still in the hospital, he had a really hard time latching on to eat. I worked with two different lactation consultants (who were wonderful!), and they felt as though Noah wasn't sticking out his tongue far enough to get a good strong latch. They gave me a 20 mm. contact nipple shield (http://www.medelabreastfeedingus.com/products/breastfeeding-devices) in order to help Noah latch on. This shield is the only reason we were able to get started with feeding, and it was wonderful...for awhile. Quickly, I became really frustrated with having to use the shield. It would fall off me at times while getting Noah situated to eat. Then, he would sometimes rip it off of me while it was full of milk, spraying milk all over both of us. This was especially frustrating when nursing him in front of other people because I had to cover up with a blanket. Trying to juggle Noah, the shield, the blanket...while trying to help him latch on...it was just frustrating! I started attending this breastfeeding support group at Community South Hospital to try to get more help with weaning him off the shield. They gave me a 24 mm nipple shield to help Noah learn to open his mouth wider in order to work on his latch since his tongue placement had improved. We continued to use the nipple shield up until probably the one month mark, June 15th. HOORAY!!! My son has overcome his first big challenge!!!

Now, that part of breastfeeding was a little frustrating. What I wasn't prepared for with breastfeeding is how TAXING it is...physically, emotionally, and mentally. When I would read in books that he would need to eat 8-10 times a day, I thought, "Ok, no problem." What I didn't know was that Noah would require 40 solid minutes of eating per feeding! If you take into account changing his diaper, feeding him, burping him, etc., it can be an hour long process. This means that anywhere from 8 to 10 hours per day I am feeding Noah! Yeah and I thought I was on maternity leave. Breastfeeding alone is a full time job right now. For some reason, I just assumed it would take half the time that it currently does, but boy was I wrong! I hear he will get faster at it, and I'm definitely looking forward to those days.

Physically, breastfeeding can definitely take its toll, too. No matter how well your baby latches, those initial several seconds when he/she first latches on just plain ol' HURT! It feels like pinching...youch! Starting last Wednesday, I started getting these body aches that just got worse and worse Thursday and Friday. My right breast started hurting really bad, too, leading me to think that I probably had Mastitis (
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/mastitis/DS00678). Not only did I have a lot of pain, but I also had a fever of 102.3. So, one call to my doula (hooray for postpartum support!) and another to my OBGYN, and I had a prescription for penicillin. Fortunately, my step-mom was in town Wed-Fri, so she was a HUGE help with Noah! Ryan took a half day off work on Friday, too, so all I had to do was feed Noah, and then I would fall back to sleep.

At 3 weeks old, Noah went through this growth spurt that about took the life out of me...haha! Everyone told me, "Now he will go through a growth spurt and will want to eat all of the time." Well, it's not that I didn't believe them...I just had no clue what it meant to have a child wanting to eat all of the time. It was CRAZY! Let me preface this story with saying that Wednesday, June 4th Noah got the worst gas pains of his (short) life. He was SCREAMING...and when I say screaming...I mean he was ballistic! There was no consoling that little guy. He would finally get comfortable, and then he would start crying hysterically again. We felt so bad for him! Ryan's sister was staying overnight with us, so she helped with him, too. We tried the Milacon drops, but they seemed to only make things worse. Noah finally got somewhat comfortable around 2 a.m. and fell asleep on my chest for the night. I was afraid to move him because he had been in such pain, so I slept sitting up with my eyes half open all night! In other words, mommy didn't get much sleep before heading into Thursday...which is when the all around the clock feeding began. He started eating every hour and a half, which meant that if he ate at 10 a.m., he began his next feeding at 11:30 a.m. Since he takes 40 minutes to eat, Noah would eat from 10-10:40 a.m. Unfortunately, he cried most of the time between 10:40 and 11:30 when it was time to start eating again. This went on for two days, and by the time Ryan got home from work on Friday afternoon, I was in tears. I was just beaten down, exhausted, and overwhelmed. This was probably the lowest I have felt since Noah's birth, and I'm glad that is behind me! Needless to say, when Noah began eating every two hours this past Monday and Tuesday, I was much more prepared. I just said to myself..."Ok, we're going to just sit on the couch and eat all day long." It was much easier that time around!

So anyway, that's about all I have to say about breastfeeding right now. I know that it's the best thing I can do for Noah right now, and that motivates me to keep doing it! Plus, I'm sure you would all agree that I'm one stubborn and determined person, so by gosh, we are going to do this! :) Now I understand why people say to give breastfeeding six weeks before you throw in the towel...and I understand why so many people use formula instead of breastmilk. Sure it's really expensive, but it also is less demanding on your body. They say that you shouldn't quit anything on your worst day. I try to remember that when times are tough with breastfeeding!

Noah has smiled at me a couple times now, which totally melts my heart! Hope you enjoy the new pictures. :)


Long Time No Blog

Daddy combing Noah's hair after his first bath

Wow! It has been forever and then some since I last wrote in this blog. I have been tempted to give it up, but I know that having my thoughts and experiences recorded will be such a great way to remember this time in my life. The past three and a half weeks have been filled with great ups...as well as pretty low downs. I'm quickly learning the roller-coaster ride that is motherhood. :) Let me tell you, I have GREAT respect for every mother out there! I know it sounds crazy, but I even have a weird respect for women who aren't even very good mothers because I am realizing how difficult this job can be at times! The first week home was mostly filled with being amazed at this little baby boy who had been growing inside me for 9 months. Noah slept most of the time, with the exception of eating. He was pretty fussy overnight, and Ryan and I took turns taking care of the little man. When Noah would cry for what seemed like an eternity, I'd go wake up Ryan and "tag" him in...in order to keep my sanity and vice versa. We would bounce him, swing him, rock him, put him on a vibrating chair, etc. Noah would usually be calm for a while and then would start crying again. Finally, after putting our heads together and getting some good information from Babywise and an audio book called "The Baby Whisperer", we attempted to just swaddle Noah in an actual swaddle blanket and to let him cry for 5 minutes. We decided that if he cried longer than 5 minutes, he must need something. This trick worked wonders!!! We were sleeping a good 5-6 hours each night for the second week of Noah's life...unheard of for newborn babies. During the daytime, I was feeding Noah every 2 1/2 to 3 hours (from the beginning of one feeding to the beginning of another), which typically left me 1 1/2 to 2 hours to get something else done (e.g., shower, clean, etc.) before he needed to eat again. We were in a routine, and life was good!!

Well, that was all fine and dandy until Noah hit the 3 week mark. This is when a lot of babies go through a growth spurt. He began eating every 1 1/2 hours, leaving me only 45 minutes to have a break from feeding. Not only was my free time much shorter, but Noah would often stay awake crying between 2-3 feedings before finally taking a nap. AHHH!!! I'm telling you...those were trying days, and we will probably experience plenty more of those, too. It's not the easiest thing...listening to your newborn baby cry...and cry...and cry...and cry. I felt HORRIBLE that I couldn't console him...like I was a bad mother or something. I'm thinking to myself, I'm his mom. I should know how to help him. Ryan could hold Noah when he was crying, and the little guy would stop right away! That's fine in the evenings when Ryan's home, but when I have Noah to myself all day, it's a nightmare. I watch Ryan, trying to figure our what he is doing differently and trying to learn his secret to calming down our son. I just felt like my breastmilk was all I was good for! I know that sounds silly, but seriously...that's how I felt (and still might feel depending on how things go this week). :) At church, one of the members said something about how life is full of peaks and valleys. While we are having a great time during the peaks and celebrating life, everything feels great, and we should praise God. Then, when we hit a valley, that is when God is really going to see what we are made of. How we respond to those difficult times tells a lot about our character. Getting through those difficult times only gives us greater strength to get through the next challenging moments. When I was in labor, I kept thinking, "Labor gives a woman strength to be a mother." I really believe that now even more than I did before! I feel myself growing stronger as a mother each day, even though some days are definitely harder than others.

Mommy snuggling with Noah

Today, fortunately, has been an easy day so far! I got 5 hours of sleep before feeding Noah at 4:15 a.m. I slept another 2 1/2 hours and fed Noah again at 7:30 a.m. He went straight back to sleep after that, and I was able to take a shower, straighten my hair, and put on make-up (HOORAY!). :) Then I got the dishes done and the kitchen cleaned up. He woke up again soon after that, and I fed him around 9:30 a.m. We just hung out for a few hours, and I fed him again at 12:30 p.m. Noah was pretty tired after that, so I swaddled him, gave him a pacifier (this kid likes to comfort suck!), and put him to bed. He's been sleeping for 2 hours, which has given me time to surprise Ryan with a homemade chocolate cake (not the box kind). That's right...I used flour, sugar, cocoa, etc. and made him a birthday cake!! His birthday was actually May 22nd, the day we put Layla to sleep. So as you can imagine, we didn't celebrate anything that day. He decided that he wanted to celebrate it tonight! I hope Noah is in a pleasant mood this afternoon and evening and cooperates with the birthday celebration. We will see! I hope to blog again more often about the adventures of being a new parent. Stay tuned!

Daddy giving Noah some love

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