Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Milk Machine

I love, love, love breast feeding! I recommend it to anyone who is expecting. It's an amazing bonding experience for you and baby plus it's the healthiest option for your little one. It's the easiest way to feed at 2:00am and you certainly can't beat the price! The biggest draw for me is that you can't duplicate with a bottle the way that your baby looks at you while he or she is on the breast and their eyes meet yours and he grabs your finger. Love. It's the sweetest! Formula feeding is not bad for baby. Let me just clarify that before anyone jumps all over me. The strides that have been made in recent years to ensure that formula feeding is as equal to breast as possible are awesome! And for many mothers formula feeding isn't even an option. They have to due to an array of issues. I personally don't produce milk very long myself. I made it to 5 months with my first baby and 6 months with the last. Then my supply dried up. So I had to formula feed. My boys are healthy and strong! And I'm hoping to make it to 7moths with this baby!

So with that said, I'm gonna get to the flip side of breast feeding. When moms talk about breast feeding it's all unicorns and rainbows flying around while mommy and baby bond and share that magical moment. Seldom do they talk about the cracked nipples, the pain while baby is learning to latch on, the leaking, the engorgement, or the inability to plan your life past 2 hour increments because you will need to find a spot to sit and feed your baby!

I am a mother of 3 breast fed babies. My first was by far the easiest. He latched on like a pro right out of the womb! No pain, engorgement, or cracked anything. It was an adjustment for me, at the age of 20, to get used to the new found functionality of what had previously been fun. Fun to dress, fun to play with, fun to use as a supreme source of power over the opposite sex! Yes, they were no longer these things. They were now milk machines. Then my next 2 babies came out tongue tied. Meaning that the tendon that holds your tongue in their mouths extends all the way to the tip of their tongues and makes learning to latch on quite a trick to learn! Here's where we got to the pain, cracked nipples, and engorgement! But in time- and with enough breast feeding paraphernalia- they both got the hang of it. But I tell you, while they are learning those first few sucks on each breast felt like they were trying to extract my spine through my nipples!

Yes. There is a side of breast feeding that isn't so glamorous. And there are times where you will love it and times where you won't. Then there will just be days where you feel like a dairy cow! But overall its an amazing experience that I wouldn't trade for the world!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

3 Miracles

When my husband and I found out that we were pregnant in January it was a surprise. There wasn't any work that went into it. It just happened. And I remember telling him I was a little sad because this baby happened so effortlessly that he wouldn't have a miracle story. You see, I had felt that my other two boys each had a miracle story. That they were on purpose. So why did this one just fall in our laps. Lesson #1 for the year, don't speak too soon.

Miracle #1~ I was 19 when I conceived my first son. No one would have pegged me as the perfect candidate for motherhood at that time. I was living it up in the San Fransisco Bay Area and having a great time. I often say that there was a lot of trouble to get into in the Bay Area and I tried to get into all of it. I was at dance clubs and raves regularly and hanging with people who were not child friendly. I was horrified when I found out I was expecting. This didn't fit into my life! But the night I found out I was pregnant I was at a friend's house and her father, who was a former pastor, was there. I was crying and lamenting over what I should do. I told him that I had promised God I wouldn't have an abortion if I got pregnant but that now I just don't know. I will never forget what he told me. He said that If I break my promise to God, he will forgive me. But that if I delivered on that promise (which was honestly more scary at this point!) He would lead me down the right path and take care of us. And that He has. My oldest son is a miracle because from the moment that I decided he would be mine, he saved me from myself. I lived for him and stopped being a "kid" and started being a mom. To this day I refer to him as m Angel. When you are young, single, & pregnant people feel free to ask you if it was an "accident". This was insulting to me. My son was on purpose. So my response was always that "Cars get in accidents. My son was a surprise." My son has taken equal care of me. He is the reason that I fell in love with my husband. We met when my son was 2yrs old and seeing my husband care for him and love him painted a picture for me of this man's character. I remember when we first started dating he said to me "If you ever put me before your child, I will walk". After a hearty laugh I told him it will never happen. But it was a sign that this man understood and respected who my son was to me and to us. My son is a miracle!

Miracle #2~ My husband and I dated for 6 years before getting married. We had been successfully (depending on the day!) raising our first son and were excited about the prospect of getting pregnant right after our wedding! Literally- I planned to get pregnant that night! But it didn't quite happen that way. So we kept at it with the light hearted outlook that at least trying was fun. But anyone who has suffered with trying to conceive will tell you that after a while, even the trying becomes work. Over the course of the next 2 years we tracked ovulation, suffered miscarriages, I was tested for a myriad of things, blood was drawn and Josh even went in for testing. After 2 years we were on the verge of IVF when we found out that we were pregnant again. My miscarriages were all early on so we rushed to the OB when we tested positive and he put me on Progesterone supplements 3 times a day in an effort to keep this baby in. I was told to rest often. My husband was told to do everything so that I could stay off my feet. And we made it through the first trimester & started enjoying what was coming! Then our little impatient baby dropped at 34 weeks and I was placed on modified bed rest in an effort to keep him in until lung development at 36 weeks. He was born at 37.5 weeks perfectly healthy! He was also a miracle! When I look back on the 2 years of trying and the miscarriages, I can now See that the timing wasn't right. But with this pregnancy the timing was perfect! He was on purpose! And he was perfect!

Miracle #3~ So skip to this pregnancy. If you don't know the story you have some catching up to do on my blog! Needless to say that my theory of this baby not having a miracle story was short lived. He has been a fighter from the beginning. He has turned our lives upside down. And we wanted him even when we didn't know it! He IS on purpose and he IS a miracle!

I know that every mom believes that their children are miracles. But each of my children have a story to back it up. They are the greatest of all miracles to us. God has strategically placed each of them in our lives. They are all on purpose. I am amazed to see them and kiss them every day. There literally isn't a day that goes by that my children don't hear "I love you" several times a day. Love is like food to children and mine are well fed!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Delivery Day!

After a looooong and suspenseful pregnancy, our sweet baby boy was safely delivered September 7th at 11:01pm! And boy was he ready! Our sweet baby boy arrived at a hearty weight of 9lbs 14oz and stretched out at an amazing 22" long! I guess I am just TOO good at bed rest!

I was scheduled to be induced at 39 weeks and 3 days on Tuesday the 7th. My contractions started on their own the Friday before. They were strong and pretty regular. I almost went in for a labor check by Sunday night but decided to wait and see if my water broke. I mean, it was only a few days until induction. And with my last pregnancy I had the same contractions 3 minutes apart from December 26th until January 3rd when our now 3yr old was born. I went into the hospital 3 times with our 2nd and all 3 times they confirmed I was in labor and sent me home since my water hadn't broken. Therefore when the contractions started this time we decided to wait it out.

The night before I was induced I took a sleeping pill (standard issue by my OB to ensure that mommy & baby are ready for the big day) and hit the sheets. We had to be up at 5:30 to get ready for our 7:30am check in time. But at 4:00am I was awakened by extremely strong back labor. By 4:30am it was time for my hubby to wake up and rub my back! No sleep for mom- no sleep for hubby! But even that didn't help. Induction or not, this baby was coming today! So we got up and started getting ready. We dropped off kids at school & daycare and headed to the hospital.

We checked into St. Francis at 7:30am and got settled in. Our friends arrived and once school was out the children also arrived. In all there were a total of 10 people who joined my husband and I at the hospital just waiting for this baby to make his appearance! Six of those were children ages 1yr to 14yrs and they did an amazing job waiting!

We have an amazing hospital and that extends to the two amazing L&D nurses that joined us that day for our delivery. Yvonne & Evelyn were just amazing and I think we were just as much of a gift to them as they were to us! As I am not a screamer or yeller when I am in labor, we were all able to enjoy the day. We joked, laughed and even watched "Swamp People" while I was pushing! The nurses had a fun day and so did we! The nurses took such amazing care of me while I was in labor and even took care of all of our visitors. At one point one of them delivered Popsicles and Graham crackers to all of the children waiting so patiently in the waiting room!

When it came time to push our 14yr old decided to stay in the room for the delivery which I was so excited about! He was there for the birth of our other boy so it felt complete to me to have them there again. And while I was on bed rest I spent a lot of time prepping our 3yr old for what would take place during delivery as it was my hope that he would also be in the room. We talked about how the baby comes out and even discussed C-sections in case that happened. While he wasn't in the room at the moment that the baby arrived, he did spend a good amount of time in the room while I was pushing. And while my 14yr old chose to stay safely at the headboard of my bed to avoid further mental scarring, our 3yr old bravely chose to be at the business end so he could see what was taking place! At one point I was mid push and I heard my 3yr old say, "I gotta get out of here". I lost it and we all started laughing!

So after an hour of pushing our baby's head emerged! Whew! Hard part's over- right? Nope. Someone has daddy's shoulders. One of his shoulders got stuck and the doctor had to twist and pull and prod to get him free. Finally I looked down and saw this massive hand sticking up. Our baby was here- and he was BIG! When they placed him on my chest I was in a bit of shock. I was amazingly relieved. But I later told my husband that it was like we were on that show "I didn't know I was pregnant"! We spent so many months keeping mental distance from this day just in case it turned out badly. So to be at this moment... to have him in my arms... so see him healthy and big and strong... I can't even explain it. It was surreal. But I couldn't exhale just yet. My husband and I had dreaded a part of delivery. We were scared that when it was time to deliver the placenta, the very thing that was the source of all of our issues, that I would hemorrhage again. So I couldn't totally relax until I knew it was out. Usually new mom's miss that whole part of the delivery because they are so infatuated with their new baby. But I was waiting. And when I felt it pass I asked the doctor if it was out and if I was okay. He confirmed both. At that point I relaxed. Were we really done? Was it really time to be happy?

It's been almost 2 weeks since he arrived and I can't stop looking at him, kissing him, telling him I love him, and thanking God that he is here! He truly is a surprise we never knew we needed! My family is complete. I have 3 healthy boys, an amazing husband and I have made it out healthy and able to enjoy them all.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Last Day

So tomorrow is a day we didn't plan for. Since March 2nd we have had only one plan for our baby's birth- keep him in as long as possible! And now we have reached as long as possible! We will be induced tomorrow! Baby will FINALLY be coming home! It's weird to plan his birth and know what will be happening for the first time this whole pregnancy.

The plan today is to enjoy our last day at home as a family of 4. If all goes according to plan (wouldn't that be Divine!) we will have today to do last touches and baby preparation, pack the kids bags for their night at Tauntie's while we are in the hospital, as well as getting the guest bedroom set up for my mother who will be here the first full week home (YEAH!!!!!). Then we can have a great dinner, maybe watch a movie, and mommy has a special treat of an Ambien so I am rested before our labor day! Then tomorrow at 6:00am we call to get our induction time!

It's surreal now to look around the house and picture our baby taking up these empty spaces. The bassinet next to our bed will have him sleeping soundly in it soon. The swing in the living room will keep him happy while I make dinner. The Boppy Pillow will help hold him while he nurses. And then there's all of our arms. They have been empty in anticipation of this little boy for so long. I can't wait for them to be full of this little boy!

Yes. It's surreal after so long to know that he will be home soon. There is still a part of me that is worried something will happen during delivery so I keep praying- hard. I won't fully let myself embrace my excitement until he is home safe with us. Until I can hold him and smell him and kiss his little (or big!) head. Until I know he is real and ours. So please keep us all in prayer. We are at the end of an incredibly long and turbulent journey. It's the last day.