Wednesday, February 27, 2013

M's Life {Weeks 1-4}

A lot has been happening here in the Alvey household, none of which I want to forget. Here is an outline of what we've been doing the last 4 weeks. It's been packed with feedings, diaper changes, sleep (by some), yummy food, and lots of good company. Here goes:

M's Life- Week 1: Jan 25-Feb 1
My mom and younger sister were able to be here for the first week that M was here. I can't say enough good things about their visit! They kept PK entertained during the day, did laundry and cleaning for me, and even took baby M around 4AM every morning so that I could get 2-3 hours of good sleep before he needed another feeding. It was marvelous!

This week was a bit rough for PK, as was anticipated. He had a hard time going to sleep most nights- I think because we had guests he didn't want to miss out. He would get out of his bed and lay back on the ground in front of his door and kick it. This usually lasted less than an hour and he would end up falling asleep right there, so we would go in and move him back to his bed. Honestly, I was pretty happy about this (let me explain). I knew that something was going to happen, and this was a lot better than what I was expecting. I also did want something to happen- meaning, I wanted to him to show us that he knew something big had happened, rather than completely ignoring it. So yes, the kicking was pretty annoying, but I just kept reminding myself of what he must be feeling. Nap-times were usually a bit more rough as well, but I was able to go up and help him fall asleep while my Mom or Alyssa cared for M.

This week we had 2 doctor's appointments. 1 to check M's weight- which he was gaining just fine! And another to the lactation specialist. (I may do a post all about this later- it was AWESOME!)

We worked the first week on keeping M awake to get a full feeding. Meaning, I would do whatever it took for him to not keep nodding off so that he would actually get a full feeding rather than eating for 10 minutes and wanting to nurse again in an hour. Usually putting him on the ground for a minute when he fell asleep would work, but sometimes I needed to undress him or even change his diaper. Of course there were the times when nothing I did would keep him awake, but I knew that it was important to do it if I wanted him to have a good schedule in the future.

He slept in our room this week (in the pack n' play) and got up every 2-3 hours to eat. Often he was wide awake and wanted to be held in order to go back to sleep (which meant little to no sleep for Jed and I).

(Put him in here for a second... look how tiny!) 

Sisters :) 

M's Life- Weeks 2 & 3: Feb 2-Feb 18
After my mom and sister left (and several tears were shed by me), Jed was able to have 2 weeks of parental leave from work. He still had classes to go to, and he still went in to work for a few hours, but mainly he was at home helping.

PK and I went to the library this week. It was nice to get to spend time just the two of us. I was sad on the drive home (rushing to feed M) that PK was no longer my baby- that that time in my life was over. I'm so glad that I did have over 2 years with just the two of us. Those years are so precious to me. Anyways, M was crying when we walked in, and those feelings were quickly replaced by the reminded of my current situation, which is different, but still very fulfilling.

I went to church when M was 2 weeks old. Jed gave a talk in sacrament which was just the motivation I needed to get to back to church. It was really nice to be surrounded by such supportive women, and M did very well. He LOVES being held, so as long as he was in a comfortable position, he was just fine. I was also able to have a nice conversation in the mother's lounge with a new mom and it reminded me of how fond my memories are of mother's room chats with friends back in Provo. I guess that's what happens when 1/3 of church is spent feeding.

PK didn't kick his door that much these 2 weeks (that I can remember), and took a nap most days as well. I let him have some "alone" time with M also (I stood out of sight, watching.) He liked to hold a pretend car and run in up and down his brother's legs, saying "Don't worry, M" if M started crying (haha). He did have a few time outs from being too rough with his brother, but also some melt-momma's-heart moments too.

M slept in PK's room at about 12 days old. I transitioned him by having him take day time naps in that room, and after about 2 days, had him sleep over night in there as well. PK loved sharing his room, and often I could hear him saying, "Don't worry, M" if M was upset.

We had M wear a swaddler (a blanket with velcro so they can't kick out of the swaddle) and he slept so much better! He would go 4-5 hour stretches at night! I felt like a whole new person (though still pretty tired) but really hopeful for a full nights sleep in the not too distant future. I focussed on feeding him every 3 or so hours, still working on getting full feedings each time, and focussed more on keeping him awake a bit after his feedings before naps.

These 2 weeks we also spent doing some shopping (and learning more about M's personality), planning the blessing brunch, and cleaning the house in preparation for our next visitors.

(Out shopping- just nursing in the car)

(Working on projects)

(Valentine's Crafts)

(My boys)

(Pk and daddy)


(that's more like it)

(homemade matching PJ's)

(PK and daddy playing play-do)

M's Life-Week 4: Feb 19-Feb 25
Jed's parents were able to come to visit for a week as well. Kate did most of the cleaning while they were here, and of course kept Parker busy with books, walks, stories, and long naps (they wore this kid out!) It was sad because Jed had to work this week, so he wasn't able to spend quite as much time with them, but it was nice for me to get to know them better. We packed lunches and went and met Jed for lunch one day, and another day Kate and I shopped for a few hours. It was so nice having them here- I definitely wasn't ready to be by myself yet!

Baby M did just fine in PK's room by this week, and slept 6 hours two nights in a row! I really credit this to working on his schedule from the get go, the swaddler, and his own need for sleep (he's like his momma!) PK kicked his door a bit this week too, but Grandma and Grandpa wore him out so much, that naps and bedtime came a lot quicker than before.

The Saturday of their visit, some of my family came to visit because they were staying in a hotel until the baby blessing the next day. None of them had seen M yet, so it was nice to continue to show him off!

The next day was the baby blessing, and it was the perfect day. The morning wasn't rushed, we had all slept well, and getting ready went pretty efficiently. Kate, Eric, and PK went ahead to the church to save everybody seats, and I was able to get myself ready, feed M, and then get M all ready.

The blessing itself was given by Jedediah, and was so perfect. I was overwhelmed by the feeling of gratitude for my sweet little family, for the family that was there, and for the family that wasn't. After sacrament meeting, we took some family photos and then went back for a brunch.

Everything went exactly how I imagined, and it was so nice to have so many loved ones here.
From throughout the week:

("Grammer" & PK)

(M with a new blanket from Grandma)

(Play-dough with "Gramper")


(Everyone at the blessing)

(Headed home after church)

(Oma with M)

(Grandma Ashley)

(Look how cute!)

(Grandma with M)

(Our family of 4)

(4 Generations)

(Gramper with M)

(Happy 1 month!)

(My job is pretty awesome.)

The first month of baby M's life was a crazy one! So much happened! At his one month check up he weighed 10 lbs 8 ounces (HOLY COW!!) and was 22.5 inches long. I can't believe he's already a month old. Time has gone by so fast- I'm just so grateful for all the help we've received- it wouldn't have been the same without it, that's for sure.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

My 2nd Delivery Experience (Part 4)

{If it isn't obvious enough yet, this post is about my labor and delivery experience- so if you don't want to read about... birth, then go ahead and move on. I'm not advocating for any specific method of birthing, this is merely my own experience with my second delivery. Enjoy. For Part 1: here, Part 2: here, Part 3: here.}

The next 30 or so minutes are all a blur for me. I was feeling so much pressure that I couldn't feel the contractions any more. I was laying on my back, and Jed and Vanessa were each holding my thighs. She kept telling me to wait and push when I felt that it was the right time, but I didn't know when that was- it all felt like one very long, intense, contraction at this point. When I felt what I thought was a contraction, I bore down, with deep birthing breaths initially, and then I ended up pushing at the very end. {Hypnobirthing encourages using birth breathing to birth the baby rather than pushing, as pushing tightens those lower muscles so instead of letting those muscles help bring the baby down, it constricts them from doing their part.}  

The pushing was much harder this time than with PK (I had had an epidural with him- though it had worn off hours earlier), and I definitely screamed several times while pushing. I looked over at Jed, and told him I was done, that I didn't think I could do it anymore. That poor guy looked back at me and said, "You are doing great, Aubrey. He's almost here! He's almost here and you're going to get to hold him." Between that and Vanessa saying that it was less than 5 minutes away from him being there, I was reminded what I was doing, and why I was doing it.

I gained a bit of composure during those last few contractions, and I remember the very last contraction. I knew that if I just kept pushing, he would be there. So I bore down with everything I had, and with some energy that wasn't my own, and my handsome, slimy boy was here. The midwife student caught him, and placed him on my chest. In that moment, I was overcome with happiness. Happy that he was here, that delivery was over!, and that Jed was right there with me the whole time. 

We waited for the cord to stop pulsing (about 8 or so minutes) and Jed cut the cord. I kept looking at baby M, trying to soak every part of him in- and to distract me from all the other gross stuff happening. I was even able to nurse him minutes after delivery! He totally latched right on, and nursed for about 15 minutes- what a champ! I delivered the placenta while nursing him, which wasn't as painful as it was with PK. Luckily, I didn't tear at all (YAY!!) so there was no need for stitches. Baby M didn't really cry the whole time I was holding him (about 40 mins), but as soon as the nurse took him, weighed him, cleaned him off, he sure let out a few wails.

My births with PK and M were night and day different. I wasn't able to get up and use the restroom or take a shower after PK's birth, because I had had an epidural meaning I still had little use of my legs. I tore quite a bit with PK, which made everything painful for several weeks. Not to mention being on Percocet after he was born- which literally made me hallucinate (I've since learned that is a common side effect, and they don't usually perscribe that after delivery any more). And though it definitely wasn't the only reason, disappointment and even guilt about his birth attributed to post partum depression. Hormones can really mess with your brain! 

However, 95% of this labor was exactly what I wanted it to be. I was totally in control. I was able to help my body stay relaxed, allowing each contraction to bring baby that much closer to birth. This was what hypnobirthing taught us. I was able to learn deep relaxation techniques, proper breathing, and the mechanics of labor & delivery, so that walking into the birth I felt confident and prepared. It was almost magical. The midwife, nurses, and the student were in shock that even when I was dilated to a 10 I was still laughing and chatting {but really, does that come as a surprise to you? :)} In between contractions, I was comfortable and excited, and during the contractions I was deeply focused and ignoring my surroundings completely. 

None of this was possible without the best birthing companion ever, my hubby. I almost wish I could loan him out to others- because he could totally be a doula. HAHAHA. Just like we practiced, he tickled my legs and arms, reassured me with confident, powerful phrases, and made sure I was well hydrated. Over the last 2 years, I have made it- a little too clear- that I was upset about how we interacted (or didn't) during my first delivery. Apparently he took all of it to heart because he was awesome! Beyond awesome. He was a rock star. Future doula, I'm tellin' ya :) That was another thing I really wanted in a labor method- I wanted the hubby to be as involved as possible. Luckily, even with as gross as some parts of labor are, Jed was able to push all of that aside and help make labor easier for me. 


There are still a few things that I would want to do differently. {Does the "perfect birth" really exist? I don't know, but I'm sure going to try!} I'm really considering a water birth. Honestly, the contractions were so much more bearable in the water! I just don't know if I can get passed... all the ickiness. If not in water, I would definitely want to look into different birthing positions. Being on my back and holding my thighs is not the right position for me. I've done it twice now that way, and I still think there is a better position to help with birthing the baby, I just haven't been able to find it yet. I told Jed some of the birth positions weren't very glamorous- to which he quickly said, "Nothing about birth is glamorous." I guess no matter where I am, or what I'm doing, I'm still just a girl :) 

** If anyone is more interested in learning about hypnobirthing, I would be happy to chat with you more about it- though nothing would be better than taking a hypnobirthing class and reading the book. I highly recommend this method especially if you interested in a natural birth, but even if you are planning to be medicated, there still is lots of very helpful information!