Thursday, April 30, 2009

1 month old

Dear Jack,

I can't believe you're 1 month old already. This last month has flown by in a blur of sleepless nights, lots of cuddle time, and an inability to get anything done but to feed and cuddle you. Everyone agrees that you are the cutest little thing. Of course your dad and I think you're the most beautiful baby ever. And sometimes we even "fight" over who gets to hold you. I've been completely enjoying holding you as much as possible and cuddling you, even when you sleep. I can only do this for the first little bit of your life because we want you to actually sleep in your bed and at this point in your life you are too little to actually form habits.

We do put you in your bed every night now. I never thought I would be one to co-sleep, not because there's anything wrong with it but because babies make so many little noises when they sleep. However the first night you were home from the hospital we found you in our bed, snuggled between us. It was the only way we could all get a little sleep at first. Now you stay in your bed until the early morning hours when you come to nurse and stay in the bed with mama while dad goes in the other room and gets a good chunk of sleep. Almost every night now you do a good 4 or 5 hour stretch and we all appreciate that. Four hours at a time is the most sleep I've gotten since you were born and as I can't wait for you to sleep through the night I will also miss our middle-of-the-night cuddle time.

At this point I think we finally have the breastfeeding thing figured out. You had no problems from the start but it's been a little challenging for me at times. Everyone says that it isn't supposed to hurt. Well, they're full of crap. It has gotten less painful, but it's still uncomfortable. The good news is that I think the hardest part of it is over and you are clearly thriving. I took you to the doctor when you were exactly 4 weeks old and you weighed 10 pounds and 10 ounces.

You also hit a milestone today. We were getting you ready for your bath and you were having some naked tummy time in the bathroom. While you were squirming around you rolled over by your self for the first time. That kind of this usually doesn't happen until at least 2 months for most babies but you are a little advanced. Daddy and I both cheered and I'm glad that both of us were there to see it. It's okay to slow down though, you've got plenty of time to grow up.

People always ask me if being a mom is different from being a nanny. And to some degree it is. The biggest difference is breast feeding. After that it's the physical reaction I have to you crying. It never did bother me when other people's kids cry but when you cry I leak milk and when you really get going it actually makes me physically nauseous. Those are the only differences so far. The truth is that I've been a mom for a long time, I've just been a mom without a baby. And the reason is because I was waiting for you.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A sample of pictures

Click on the link to see a sample of some of the pictures from the photo shoot.

They are so good. I'm getting a CD in the mail and as soon as it arrives I'll post them. I can't wait!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Water baby

There is no doubt that this is my kid. He loves the water. Before his little cord fell off we could only give him a sponge bath and to say that he wasn't a fan is an understatement.

Here are a few pictures from his first real bath:

Now I find it easier to just get in the tub with him. I can just put my hand under his head and he relaxes and floats. This way I make sure to get cleaned too and I don't have to worry about what day I'm going to get a shower on. He screams when we take him out but he seems to like having lotion massaged on him.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The cutest thing ever!

He is just beautiful. This is one of the pictures from our photo shoot last Friday, and it's hysterical. He's the sweetest cutest baby I've ever seen. And I'm a professional, I know what I'm talking about.

These last three weeks have been wonderful. I'm a little tired, but I also have the most wonderful little person ever.

Friday, April 17, 2009


Here are a few pictures I took yesterday. Lots of people comment on how great my pictures are, and these did turn out great. There are just a few things you should know about how I get such good photos.

1st - I take a TON of pictures. I took a total of 40 pictures during this shoot and I like 4 of them so roughly 10% turn out. And that's an extremely high %.

2nd - The camera and lens do matter. And just having them isn't enough, you have to know how to use them. I'm no expert, but I have a good basic understanding of what mine can do. I know there's more that I don't understand yet but I do have a general understanding of how it works. Also, take that camera off of automatic mode and use natural light. Both make for better picture.

3rd - Editing is half the art form. Getting good pictures into the camera is only 1/2 the battle, getting them to look good out of the computer is another. I have 2 different editing software programs and sometimes I use both of them to edit one picture. For example, this is how one of the pictures looked coming out of the camera.

And after running it through 2 different software programs, I got this.

Okay, enough with the lesson, now enjoy the cuteness!

2 week dr's visit

On Tuesday we took Jack to the doctor for his first well-check. It turned out to be a big day. First, he lost his umbilical cord that morning. Finally. I had been waiting for it to fall off so we could start using the cloth diapers, which make him look really big by the way.

I also needed an actually nursing bra as I only had sleep bra's so we were going to stop by the maternity store before the appointment because I had Jonathan to watch the baby and we tossed lunch in there too just because.

So lunch went fine. We went to Boomerang's because it's quick and very yummy. Then it was off to Special Addition for some bra shopping. This is now the only maternity store I will go to. It's locally owned, the people are extremely helpful, they have a return policy (unlike most other places) and I can find affordable things there if I look hard enough. At one point Jack got a little fussy, I think from being in the car seat for so long, and Jonathan was able to rock him and he was fine. Of course I was leaking milk everywhere because of the fussing, which makes bra shopping a little more tricky, but we managed. I now actually have a nursing bra.

His appointment was last on the list and unfortunately he was starting to get a little hungry as we got there. We put him on the scale and he was up to 9 lbs 7 oz! Holy Cow! Almost a pound above his birth weight already. I expected him to be at his birth weight, but that far over it was impressive. He's 75% for weight and 50% for height and head. And the doctor said he looks perfect. We're not going to worry about the tongue tie issue unless we start having problems, but so far I think we're good. The poor guy was screaming by the time the appointment was over so I found a place to feed him and was able to nurse before heading home.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Picture up-date

Everything is going well, I'm just very busy and don't have much time to give up-dates. I'm lucky to get a shower so I'll just post a few pictures.

We're going to get pictures taken tomorrow and Tuesday is our first doctors visit. Jonathan is back to work part-time right now and will return full-time as of Wednesday. No one is looking forward to that.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A birth story

I know this is long, and please don’t feel obligated to read it, but I want to have everything I remember written down.

First, I should mention what the “plan” was. My biggest thing was that I didn’t want to have a c-section. I’ve fulfilled my quota of surgeries lately and didn’t want to have to recover from another. Because of that, I wanted to do everything I could to encourage a vaginal birth. I know that being induced greatly increases the chances of a c-section. Also getting an epidural, especially getting one too early, also increases the chances. Because of that, the plan was to go natural for as long as possible and hopefully avoid an epidural all together. I would do things that would naturally induce labor if my body was ready but I wouldn’t medically induce. I also wanted it to be just Jonathan and myself in the room during the birth and I didn’t want our family listening at the door. All of this was laid out in writing and we knew that it was just a plan.

Everything started on Monday the 30th when I had my weekly doctors visit. We got there on time but the doc got called away for an emergency surgery and a delivery and because I was past my due date they wouldn’t let me see a nurse, it had to be the doctor. When they finally took me back they hooked me up to the monitors to make sure the baby was doing okay. The only thing that was close to being worrisome were his fluid levels, they were still in the OK range but just. The doctor was vigorous with the exam to try and get my cervix to do something. I was still only ½ cm dilated but was now 25% effaced.

Up to this point I had tried everything I could think of to help start labor, accept one thing… the dreaded castor oil. So when I got home from the appointment I broke down. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I took ½ the amount recommended mixed into a chocolate shake. I figured at worst I’d spend some time on the toilet.

Nothing happened for a few hours after I took it. Then I took a few trips to the bathroom and had a few contractions. It was still light out so Jonathan and I took a walk. Shortly after, the contractions became very regular and got stronger. I think it was about 8:00 pm at this point. That’s when the contractions got strong enough and regular enough for me to decide to start tracking them. I had a contraction timer application on my iphone that I used and they went from 4-7 minutes apart to 2-4 minutes apart. Once they had been 3 minutes apart for a few hours and I really had to concentrate and breath through them we headed for the hospital. I though it might be a little early to head in but Jonathan was reading the instructions from the doctor that said to call when they were 5 minutes apart and he was getting a little anxious, so we went.

The car ride was horrid because I couldn’t move. At home when I could move I could find positions that would work and could focus on relaxing during the contractions. In the car I noticed that the whole lower half of my body would tensed up and there wasn’t anything I could do about it. It was about 1:30 am when we got there and checked in. The nurse we had was awesome. She hooked me up to the monitors but would let me stand next to the bed, move where the cords would allow, and sit on the birthing ball. Unfortunately the contractions slowed down at the hospital and my cervix hadn’t changed therefore classifying it as false labor. They gave me the option of staying and being induced because I was past my due date but I knew the chances of a c-section greatly increase with induction so instead we did the walk of shame and went home.

It was back into the car to head home. As we were leaving the hospital the contractions picked back up and started coming 1 ½ minutes apart. Contractions are timed from the beginning of one to the beginning of the next meaning I had about 30 seconds rest between them. We got home at about 3:15 am and I told Jonathan to get some rest and I would try and do the same. I had no luck at all. The contractions stayed 1 ½ minutes apart and great increased in intensity. I got into the tub and tried to relax there. We think this is where my water broke because when the doctor went to break it during labor he couldn’t find it. I only stayed in the tub for a bit because sitting didn’t work well for me and the intensity of the contractions was getting worse. I could feel the baby moving down and I felt like I was sitting on his head. I was moaning through them and I found that the only way I could get through them was to have the exercise ball in the laundry basket so it was about waist high and then lean over that. I was also wearing my tens until which helped a little too.

Around 6:00 am I started to get a little panicky. How in the hell could this be “false” labor? Before even waking Jonathan up I called the on-call doc and told him what was going on. I’m sure he could hear the panic in my voice and he told me to get back to the hospital. I either wanted this to get going or I wanted drugs and I had been up all night at this point. I also knew that if we waited much longer we would have to wait several hours longer to avoid traffic.

Another horrific car ride later and we were back at the hospital. I remember telling them that I wanted drugs as soon as the nurse walked into the room. They hooked me back up to the monitors but the nurse I had this time wouldn’t let me out of the bed. I wasn’t happy about that. The contractions slowed to about 3 minutes apart though so at least I had a bit of recovery time between them. When they checked me I was 1 ½ cm dilated and 80% effaced. YAY! Because I had made progress they were keeping me and I was having a baby.

From here, my time line gets a little blurry. The nurse that I had also had an intern with her and this was her first day in the maternity ward. She was the one who started my IV, which I was very nervous about at first but I figured whatever pain she inflicted couldn’t be any worse than what I was already in so I just went with it. I insisted on not having the IV in my hand, which the main nurse wasn’t thrilled about, but I didn’t care. She said it would be harder to start elsewhere and I told her I didn’t mind being stuck a few times if that is what it took. The intern was clearly very nervous but she got it on the first try and did just fine. While taking blood after she stuck it in she had some issues with holding it still but she eventually figured it out. Shortly after the IV was in they gave me some kind of pain med. It instantly knocked me out for about 20 minutes. After I woke up I still felt really groggy but was getting no pain relief from it at all. They said they could give me another dose but I could only imagine if it was doing that to me what it must be doing to the baby so I said no.

I think my doctor came in at this point. He said the baby’s head was low and everything looked great. Sometime in here I asked for the epidural. Had I been allowed out of the bed I would have gone longer but I remember looking at the clock and calculating that I had been in labor for about 15 hours at this point and awake for about 25. I needed rest and had determined that the hospital is not conducive to natural labor. Plus I think the IV drugs weakened my resolve a bit. Sometime after that the anesthesiologist came in and administered the epidural. Getting the first part of it where they put the stent in wasn’t a big deal, but putting the little tube into that was horrid. I had shooting pains down my right leg plus the contractions. I just remember making a lot of noise and Jonathan almost passing out. He wasn’t even looking but he got really woozy.

After that the intern put in my catheter and checked me. She got instructions from the nurse and did fine with it. She was really excited when she checked me and could feel the baby’s head. It was very cute. I was 4 cm at this point and I think they started some pitocin to speed things up a bit but I don’t think they left it on for long. The nurse was a little overly cautious about the baby’s heart rate. She though he was having what they call d-sells meaning that with every contraction the baby’s heart rate slows a little but takes a little longer than normal to catch back up when the contraction is over. When the doctor came in he said the baby looked perfect and wasn’t concerned at all.

At some point my mom came in and hung out with us for a while. Jonathan was able to eat and give the people in the waiting room some up-dates. I continued to rest and get rolled from side to side. We went through 4 different nurses total so there were some shift changes happening too. I remember getting checked and I was 7 cm dilated. I don’t know if the doc tried to break my water at 4 or 7. Either way he couldn’t find it and we determined it had broken on it’s own at some point. The next time the doctor came in I was 9. At this point it was about 5:30 pm and he thought I’d be pushing by 6:00. Sometime toward the end I developed a low-grade fever but I don’t remember when.

My cervix was thicker on the right side so they left me on my right side longer. All of the epidural meds drained to the right and I could feel the contractions on the left, and they were strong. I had a button that I could push for a boost of the epidural but I knew I was getting close to pushing and I wanted to be able to feel enough to push. Plus while laying on my right side the meds would just drain to the right and not go where I needed them to go. Eventually I was allowed to sit up which helped a bit. I was breathing and moaning through the contractions and the nurse pressed the boost button twice during contractions. I couldn’t tell her not to because I couldn’t talk. Shortly after they laid me on my left side and Jonathan discovered that the boost button wasn’t actually plugged in. Jonathan plugged it in and I pushed it once. It took a while to kick in but eventually I got a little relief. They talked about having the doc give me a big boost of the drugs but I refused because we were close. It took forever to get from 9 to 10, I think about 2 hours. But I also felt the baby moving down a bunch during that time. The doc originally thought we’d be pushing by 5:30 but we didn’t start until 7:30.

When the doc came back to check the nurse told him that the baby’s head was still high. He said that baby’s head was right there and had me push a few times. Jonathan got all excited because he could see the top of his head. The doctor left and the nurse got everything ready and we started pushing. Jonathan stared to get emotional at this time and I had to tell him to cut-it-out, I couldn’t take being emotional and pushing. They told me that one way I pushed was more effective than another but I couldn’t really tell the difference. I asked for the mirror and when I could see what was going on and what worked things went much faster. I was also shocked to see hair on the top of that little head!

The pushing part was the best. I was motivated, I could see that lots of progress was being made, and I knew it was almost over. I could feel each contraction coming on and knew when to push. It was two steps forward and one step back for a while. When I could push he would come out some and when the contraction was over he’s go back up a bit. The contractions were almost 3 minutes apart so I had plenty of time to rest between pushes. After about 20 minutes his little head crowned and there was suddenly lots of commotion. About 7 people were in the room. They had a neonatologist (preemie/newborn doctor) there because they hadn’t seen my water break and so they didn’t know if the baby had his first bowl movement in-utero.

When the doctor was there and they told me to push again I think it took 2 contractions to get his head out. The doc suctioned out his nose and mouth and all the fluid was clear. With the next contraction the rest of him slid out and this little wiggly person was placed on my chest. He was perfect in every way. I was stunned that a whole person had just come out of me. A nurse was there rubbing him down to clean him up a bit and encourage him to cry and clear his lungs. Jonathan cut the cord and they took the baby to get him cleaned up and do his first checks.

The doctor collected the cord blood and then delivered the placenta. I felt so much better after that thing was out, and then the doc stitched me up. I had a small tear. We spent a little time with the baby, nursed for the first time, and then had some family in to meet him.

The whole experience was very surreal. I’m still amazed that I grew this whole person and that he came out of me. The only thing I can think to compare it to is sky-diving. There’s tons of suspense and anticipation followed by the biggest thrill you can imagine.

Overall I’m very pleased with how things turned out. I’m glad that I got the epidural and I’m also glad that I waited as long as I did to get it. I’m not thrilled that everyone had their ears pressed to the door listening to me give birth, as I had specifically listed in my birth plan that I didn’t want that, but there’s nothing that can be done about it now. IF I were to do this again I would want a doula to help things go more how I want them to and to help me go naturally a little longer.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

1 week old

Today Jack is 1 week old. It's hard to believe that he's been here a week already.

He's doing very well and so far things have gone about how I expected them too. Our nights are hit and miss. Last night he ate every 3 to 4 hours and actually slept between feedings so both Jonathan and I got some rest. The night before however he ate for 20 minutes every hour from midnight to 6 am so I got very little sleep. Some nights he sleeps, some he doesn't, that's about what I expected.

The first few days were tough. Mostly because I didn't have milk. He would nurse for an hour and then scream because he was still hungry. We hooked up this thing called an SNS. I have no idea what that stands for but basically it's a little tube that I would tape to my breast and when he would nurse he would get some formula from it. I would let him nurse for at least 30 minutes before adding it in and it was a pain to get set up, but it helped. And now that we have plenty of milk, he's a happy boy.

Jonathan is going to start back to work part-time Thursday so we'll see how that goes. I'm a little nervous about making sure I get enough sleep, but I think it will work out okay.

Jack has pee'd on both of us several times now. Sunday we gave him a sponge bath. Jonathan was holding him and I was washing his hair when he bathed Jonathan. I laughed hysterically but I got mine later that day. And with it he got my shirt, pants, the sheets, and his clothes. We make sure to cover him as soon as we take the diaper off but sometimes he still gets us.

We keep talking about how cute he is. I still can't believe he has so much hair. And it seems like something is new every day. He's smiling in his sleep now. I'm guessing he's either dreaming about eating or he has gas but it's so cute.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Jack Thomas

My little man finally arrived!

Jack Thomas Kubala was born March 31st at 8:02 PM after 24 hours of labor. He weights 8lbs 8oz and is 20.5 inches long.

I'll post a full birth story later but here are some pictures!

He is perfect and beautiful and we are doing great.