Monday, January 30, 2012

Our First Week Alone

Whew! It's been another whole week since Eli was born.  Tomorrow he will be 2 weeks old and I can't believe how fast time is passing already.  I know that he is growing already and it almost breaks my heart that I can't stop time and keep him in this teeny tiny phase for just a little while longer.  I suppose that will always be the case though.  Time will continue passing and I'll watch him grow every day wishing that I could somehow slow the process down. 

This was our first week at home by ourselves.  Brian had to go back to work because he had a project due so Eli and I were on our own.  Monday night was a long night.  Eli was up most of the night (10 pm to 2 am) and the only real sleep I got was when I gave up and laid down with him on the couch holding him.  He had his days and nights a little mixed up from the get go and it all culminated on Monday night.  He was completely inconsolable by 2 and I was at my wits end.  I sat rocking him and crying from about 2am to 3am out of pure exhaustion and frustration. 

When he finally let me lay him down in his pack-n-play around 6, we had a diaper leak.  So I cleaned him up and put him in the bed with me so that I could finally get a little sleep.  I slept about 3 hours then he was awake again to eat and I was up the rest of the day washing trying to get clean sheets for the pack-n-play so that he could sleep Tuesday night.  The exhaustion continued all day Tuesday... I could pretty much have fallen apart any time all day.  Tuesday was definately our low point thus far.

Tuesday night my mom came over to babysit so that Brian could study while I went to 50's show practice.  It was my first (and only time) thus far to be away from Eli since he was born.  I enjoyed getting out for an hour or so but was really ready to get home so that I could get Eli in bed and get some sleep.  Tuesday night was a little better than Monday night... at least we weren't up all night. 

Wednesday and Thursday I decided that Eli and I needed a schedule (or at least a routine).  So on Wednesday we started getting up earlier and working a routine.  Now every day we are getting up at 5 with Brian. I give Eli a bottle and then he goes back to sleep for a couple hours (I ususally sleep too!).  Then we can get up between 7 and 8, have another bottle then another nap (this time I get to check email, blog, do some dishes, etc.).  By 10 he's awake and it's time to eat again then we try to do some activity (play with the dogs, read a book, dance, etc.) The rest of the day goes eat, activity, sleep until bedtime around 8 or 9 depending on how the timing works out.  Thus far, the schedule is working pretty well.  We haven't had any more sleepless nights.  Days can be difficult at times, but at least I'm able to sleep for 2-3 hours at a stretch at night. 

Friday, Eli and I had our first trip out with just the two of us.  I was very nervous at first, but eventually I mellowed out and we had a nice safe first trip to Fayetteville.  We played it pretty safe and went to the courthouse to pay our property taxes and to Hair Co. to visit with friends there.  We made it without any major meltdowns and even managed to do a feeding and a diaper change while we were out.  Friday night Papa Rick grilled us a steak for supper and Eli got to go visit Joey and Papa Rick's house. 

Brian worked most of the weekend and Eli and I stayed in trying to keep things calm.  Now it's Monday again and Eli and I are compeltely on our own.  We are having some difficulty during the day from time to time.  Eli gets very fussy some days and refuses to let me put him down for more than an hour at a time.  Those days can be very stressful and really wear on me.  But I'm working on relaxing a little and going with the flow more. 

That is pretty well it for now.  I'll try to get a picture and post it in the very near future but today is one of those fussy days and Eli is awake again and crying now.  It's taken me two days just to write this post.  Gotta go!

Monday, January 23, 2012

1 Week Old

It is hard to believe but this time last week I was in a nice happy, sleepy place just waiting on time to begin the delivery process of Labor and Delivery.  Eli was not yet even born.  At this point it is hard to believe that he hasn't always been with us.  As I sit here typing I look over and Brian is watching a movie and Eli is napping by his side snoozing happily making his little baby cooing sounds.  The dogs are asleep in the floor at our feet and life if just about perfect. 

Today Eli is 1 week old.  The original plan was for Brian to drive us to our doctor's appointment then come home and head to work.  The day didn't really work out the way Brian had originally planned, but for Eli and I things worked out even better.  Our doctor's appointment took a little longer than expected.  By the time we got home and ate lunch, it was pretty well too late for Brian to bother going into work for an hour or two.  So Brian spent one last day at home with me and Eli. 

The doctor's appointment went well.  Eli had gained 3 ounces and mommy had lost roughly 20 lbs since Eli's birth.  The doctor said that Eli was absolutely perfect and that I appeared to be healing well.  The doctor asked how the breastfeeding was going (it's not thanks to an impatient baby) but said that all in all there are still healthy formula fed babies and that Eli appeared to be doing just fine on formula. 

So that's where we are.  Both Eli and I are doing really well and we don't go back to the doctor for another month.  Then we'll have another checkup.  I guess that is all for now.  Tomorrow Brian goes back to work first thing in the morning and Eli and I are on our own.  It's going to be a bit of an adjustment for us to only be the two of us but hopefully we'll make it.  I'll update again sometime later this week and let you know how things are going for us as we make the adjustment to just two of us. 

Have a great week.

Our First Week at Home

On the morning of Wednesday January 18 we were discharged from the local hospital and headed home to start becoming a family of 3.  We had a very busy first few days with lots and lots of things to do. 

Fastened in the car seat and ready to leave the hospital.

Meeting my dog, Spankie.
The first job at hand was introducing Eli to his doggies, Spankie and Rocky.  Eli didn't show too much attention to the dogs, Rocky was happy to see me and Brian but really could care less about Eli, and Spankie was very interested in this new thing that had come to his house and is just a little bit jealous of all the attention Eli's getting that Spankie isn't. 

A man's gotta eat.
The next day or so consisted of Eli doing lots of eating, sleeping, and pooping and mom and dad doing lots of feeding, diaper changing, but very little sleeping.  We also had the help of Gran-Gran/Grandma Deb/etc (that person who doesn't have a name yet).  It was great to have another set of hands to help with Eli and fix us some yummy meals and it was great that she could spend some time with her new grandbaby. 

So far, this bath thing stinks.
Then one afternoon we had a diaper leak and an excuse to have our first bath (not a real bath, but a sponge bath).  Eli was not terribly thrilled with the prospect of a bath and Mommie got her first shower courtesy of Eli.  We'll have to work hard to get better at bath time. 

The rest of the week pretty much consisted of more of the same... eat, sleep, diaper change, eat again... For the most part we didn't have any visitors for the first few days and life was pretty calm.  Joey (my mom) came by Saturday night to visit for a few minutes but we've pretty much had a nice quiet few days at home. 

Then on Sunday afternoon we had a whole house full of visitors.  Brian's mom, brother and sister-in-law, and grandparents came up to visit for a few hours.  They ate lunch with us and we had a photo session with Eli.  We played around with some different picture ideas that we've seen online and got some really cute shots.  Here are just a couple of the ones we took.

Baby, Mommie, and Daddy

The best gift ever!

Ordered Birth Announcements

Thanks to some coupons and discounts I ordered some birth announcements for next to nothing.  Normally, I wouldn't have bothered sending out birth announcements, but since I got them super cheap I figured that I might as well send a photo birth announcement to our family and friends. 

During the checkout process there was an option to embed the photo into a blog and get $10 off the next order.  I've gotta take advantage of that, right? So here are the birth announcements for our little man.  I can't wait to get these in the mail.

Cubes Sky Baby Announcements
Personalized invitations for babies, high school graduations, & more.
View the entire collection of cards.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Eli's Birth Story

On Monday 16 January at 12:30 am, we checked into the local hospital to be induced.  By roughly 1 am the paperwork was complete and we were settled in to begin the process of inducing labor.  After an hour of monitoring to be sure that both me and the baby were well, they gave me a dose of cydotec to encourage ripening of the cirvex.  In order for the cydotec to properly work, I had to lie very still nearly flat for 1 hour, then lie for another hour reasonably flat but I could adjust my position slightly.  During the 2 hours, I was on monitors for both contractions and the baby (belts around my belly), had a bloodpressure cuff going off every 30 min, and had an IV pushing large volumnes of fluids (which made me want to go potty). 

At 4 am my lockdown time was complete and I was given 2 hours off the monitors to sleep and let my body continue to react to the medication.  At 6 am, the nurse checked to see how my labor was progressing.  There was absolutely no progress so the nurse suggested we wait until the shift change at 7 then let them discuss with Doc and probably do another dose of cydotec and effectively start over.  The nurses said that they had talked with Doc and that I could get up and walk some to see if we could get gravity to help some. 

So I started walking.  I walked for about an hour and 15 minutes until Doc came by to check things out.  She was a little disappointed as well but said that I could eat breakfast, walk some more, then do another dose of cydotec.  So that's what we did.  I ate some breakfast, walked another 15 minutes then told the nurses I was ready to try again (and get the 2 hour flat on the back wait over ASAP). 

But before they could give me more meds they had to monitor me to be sure I wasn't contracting too much and that baby was still happy.  Well after about 30 minutes they said that I was on the border between getting the meds and having too many contractions even though they didn't seem productive.  So we waited and monitored some more and around 9:30 or 10 am my water broke all on its own.  Thank God I walked so much. 

After my water broke things began moving a little faster.  Faster in the sense that they got more intense.  I had been having contractions at 2 minute intervals the entire time I was there, but they were just little bitty contractions.  By lunchtime things had gotten much more intense.  I was still working without pain meds and it was taking everything I had to cope.  By 1 pm I was at my limit and nearing exhaustion.  The nurses came in and checked and said that I was at 5 cm and 90% effaced.  90% was good to hear, but knowing that I still had another 5 cm to dialate was enough to help me make my decision.  I told them to call for the epidural. 

While waiting for the anesthesiologist to arrive things got to the point of just about unbearable.  Then I had to sit still on the edge of the bed while the anesthesiologist put in the epidural.  It was extremely tough but we got through it and once the meds were flowing I wasn't feeling a thing.  I was finally able to sleep for the first time in 2 days and I slept pretty well straight through the rest of labor.  By 6:30 I was done and ready to start pushing but doc suggested we wait until after the 7 pm shift change.  So I said goodbye to the lovely ladies who had gotten me through the day and at 6:50 the new nurses and doctor had be ready to start pushing. 

After I began pushing I had a sudden strong nauseated feeling and began throwing up.  At least when I was throwing up my body was tightening enough to result in some good strong pushes.  That was about the first 10 minutes.  Then we had about another 50 minutes of trying to push while unable to feel anything below my waist (I said the epidural was great).  That 50 minutes was very tough and resulted in nothing. 

Then after one last little bit of help from the doctor and one last good push, Eli came sliding into the world at 8:02 pm.  His head was covered with more hair than I've ever seen on a newborn and he was just about the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen.  The nurse took Eli and got him cleaned up while the doctor and another nurse got me finished up and put back together.  Then Brian went with the nurse to measure and weigh Eli and put him in the nursery window so that the family could see.  Eli weighed in at 8 lb 1oz and was 21 inches long.  Within a few minutes they were back in the room, I was cleaned up, and we were ready to let Eli properly meet his grandmothers.  Mommy and Daddy were pretty well instantly infactuated.  I know that I personally could never have expected to be so instantly in love with someone.  It is the strangest and most wonderful thing but I don't know that I'd change it for anything.

So that is how Eli made his grand entrance into the world.  Causing his mother roughly 18-19 hours of labor, causing his father unending worry during those hours, all followed by boundless joy for both mommy and daddy as they met their little man. 

Eli Mitchell Hamilton - Just a few minutes old.
About 1 day old showing off all that dark hair.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Determining Eli's Brithday

On Friday, Jan 13, we had a weekly checkup with the doctor.  She measured by belly and said, "My God, you are about to pop." (and she wasn't referring to my still barely an inne belly button).  So after another minute or two and listening to the heartbeat she asks me why he hasn't dropped and what I want to do about it.  My response was something like, "This is your show, you're in charge."  Doc very quickly suggested an induction then proceeded to check my cervix for progress to discover that there was none. 

After discovering that there was no real progress, she decided that it was time he came out just so that he wouldn't continue growing and result in a very difficult birth.  Before I knew what had happend, she and Brian had the induction scheduled for 12:30 am on Sunday morning (effectively the next night). 

We left the doctor and I'll admit I was freaking out.  I was suddently terrified and anxious and worried and a whole flood of other emotions except for excitement.  I cried the whole 25 minute drive home and on and off again through the rest of the night.  Brian was very understanding of the fact that I was freaking slightly, but to tell the truth I'm pretty sure he was as excited as a kid who just got to pick what day Christmas came and realized he could almost pick the very next day.  I understand his excitement, but it kinda ticked me off at the time because all he really has to do is show up... I'm the one doing all the hard work here.  Anyway Eli's birthday would be Jan 15 and it was done.

Saturday morning the world wooked a little brighter to me.  Brian had to go into work so that he could be in good enough shape to take next week off to hang with Eli so I was pretty much on my own getting things together.  It was probably for the best.  Even though I was feeling a little better than Friday night, I was still very moody (not helped by the fact that I slept almost none Friday night).  So while Brian worked, I cleaned the house, did laundry, grocery shopped, and generally tried to prepare the house for Eli's arrival and for lots of potential guests. 

The work helped to calm my mind significantly and unpacking and repacking both my bag and Eli's (having to do about 6 small loads of laundry in the process).  Then Brian called and asked if he could take me on a date Saturday night so that we would have something to do to help us stay awake until midnight.  I decided it would be a welcome distraction so we made plans. 

At this point I should say that all Friday night and Saturday we were calling the few family members that we decided to let in on the action before there really was any action (mostly Brian's family that we expected to come up from Birmingham).  Brian kept telling them that they should probably wait until Sunday morning to come up because given our luck we would get to the hospital and be told that there had been a rush on babies and we should go home and come back the next night.  Given our trouble last year getting into Vanderbilt before my brain surgery, I couldn't say I disagreed with the potential assessment but I didn't really expect that to happen either. 

So Saturday afternoon when Brian got home from work we took care of a last couple of items on the to-do list and noted that I didn't quite get everything done that I wanted but that it would be okay in the long run.  Brian packed his bag, we ran one quick errand, then changed clothes and headed to Huntsville to get something to eat and watch a movie.  We bought our movie tickets first for the 7:30pm show at the Monoco then walked over and ate at Red Robin.  We then tried to walk though the outdoor mall for a few minutes but discovered that it was too cold to bother so about 7:00 we went back into the theater to warm up. 

Within 10 minutes of being at the theater my cell phone rang while we were standing in the lobby talking with some of my cousins we'd run into (cousins who definately weren't aware that we were to be induced 5 hours later).  The doctor said that another patient of hers who is a "problem child" had gone into labor and she didn't really want to be stretched too thin with us coming in to be induced if she didn't have to.  So Brian's prediction came true and we rescheduled the induction for the next night. 

Then we had to again start making phone calls and by 7:20 things slowed down enough for us to realize that going to the moving Saturday night would leave us nothing to do Sunday night while waiting on time to go to the hospital.  We decided to exchange our tickets and come back the next night to see the same showing of the movie.  Then we went back to the car and headed home realizing that now Eli's birthday would be Jan 16. 

Jan 16 is an unusal coincidence for Eli's birthday.  This year, it was the Monday on which MLK day was celebrated.  I had jokingly promised one of Brian's coworkers that I would schedule the birth for MLK day so as not to interfere with his planning for Brian to be at work.  I had also laughed with Sara Jo at 50's show practice about letting Eli be born on the 16th because it was Elvis' birthday and calling him Elvis instead of Eli.  (By the way, Sara Jo, we'll keep the birthday but not the name!). 

So Brian's prediction about the induction came true, my promise to the coworkers to have Eli on MLK day came true, and Sara Jo's prediction of Elvis' birthday (which until Saturday night I didn't realize was MLK day) came true.  So that's how we decided on Eli's birthday.  I guess all in all, Eli's birthday was pre-determined to be Jan 16.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

38 Week Update

38 weeks and I'm still pregnant.  I guess that is probably better than some alternatives, but right now I think I'm ready to be done.  I'm trying hard to maintain a positive attitude, but it's definately more difficult than it was a couple months ago.  I feel huge, like my body has been invaded by an alien, and most days like this is never going to end.  I just keep reminding myself that it will be over soon.  Some days I need more reminding than others.  At some point during the pregnancy, I think I told someone that I wasn't really thrilled with the thought of inducing labor.  I felt like things could just be left alone and let to happen when the time was right.  Now I'm thinking that may have been the dumbest statement anyone ever made.  I still hope we don't have to induce, but if it comes to that I guess it does.  Of course, I would prefer for Eli to decide to come out on his own.  Inducing would mean that I had to spend all that time in labor in the hospital instead of just showing up when things got more serious.  But honestly, at this point if it means that this whole thing ends sooner, I'm open to anything.  On to the status update. 

How Big is Baby: Just like last week... he is the size of a watermelon and won't get much bigger (thank goodness)

Total Weight Gain: I won't discuss actual numbers, but I will say that since I was scolded about some sudden weight gain a few weeks ago I've managed to hold steady and stay right around the 30 lb mark for the whole pregnancy.  I'm really hoping that I can hang on another couple weeks without adding any more.

Maternity Clothes: Still a yes and no.  I've just about managed to make my regular wardrobe stretch throughout the whole pregnancy.  I don't have enough regular clothes that I could have avoided maternity wear entirely, but it's definately nice to be able to supplement the maternity clothes with some other things. 

Stretch Marks: Hmmmmm.... I have the marks on my upper thigh that I've mentioned before, and this morning I noticed a couple of small lines on my sides (not my belly but my sides).  I immediately reached for my Palmers' lotion and I've filled my water bottle up this morning.  If I can just keep those things under control for 2 more weeks....

Sleep: The sleep thing varies from night to night.  I've greatly improved my situation lately by keeping a small neck pillow in the bed with me to use wherever I need it.  It's small enough not to be in the way, but big enough to give me some support.  It ususally spends a few hours a night between my knees and a few hours tucked in around the small of my back.  I lost it in the bed the other night and was really having some back pain by morning without it.

Best Moment this Week: Took Eli with me to 50's Show Practice last night (as if I had a choice!).  He really enjoyed the music and had his own little dance party to prove it.  I really enjoyed getting to see some friends and especially enjoyed getting to chat with some of the ladies who've been like second moms to me.  It was great just to have some knowledgable conversation with other ladies who've been where I am now. 

Worst Moment this Week: Not terrible, but Doc told us that Eli needs to drop about 4 inches.  So I've been doing everything I can to help him move south.  I've been rocking lots, doing some squats, trying to walk more (though I haven't had time really to spend on the treadmill), and on and on. 

Food Cravings: Nope.  I guess we're done with those.

Gender: Still a boy.

Labor Signs: I think I've been having some pretty intense Braxton Hicks contractions, but those aren't really anything to get excited about.

Belly Button: We still haven't popped.  I guess that means this little turkey isn't quite done yet.

What I miss: This week, once again, I miss having a glass of wine at the end of the day.  Last Friday was super busy at the office and got a little stressful.  By the time I got home I really could have used the help winding down some. 

What I'm looking forward to: Another doctor visit on Friday (we're going weekly now).  I hope this week's is better than last week's and we get some idea of when to expect things to change. 

Weekly Wisdom: Sometimes kiddos are stubborn and there is nothing we can do about it.  Apparently Eli is content with hanging out in his current home because no matter what I've done he just doesn't seem to want to move down so that he can come join us. 

Milestones: 14 days left before the due date.  I really hope we don't make it that long.

Baby's now the size of a watermelon!

The last bits of vernix caseosa (the white goo keeping baby's skin moist) and lanugo (downy hair) are slowly shedding into your amniotic fluid. Baby's head is about the same circumference as her abdomen, and her head could be covered in an inch or so of hair.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

37 Week Status Update - Full Term!!!

How Big is Baby: New Picture Alert!!! We are now the size of a watermelon and a watermelon he shall stay.

Total Weight Gain: Still refusing to weigh in at home because I'm happy in my state of denial about how big I'm getting.  But due to the doc's instruction to watch the weight, I did step on the scale this morning but I didn't really have a comparison in the last 3 weeks.  So we'll ignore the weight for now. 

Maternity Clothes: Thus far this work week I've worn nothing but maternity pants.  I did wear a non-maternity top yesterday, but it was one of those baggy tops that is really cut more like a maternity top than a regular shirt.  I can't really predict what I'll wear the rest of the week except that I'll be in my maternity jeans on Friday. 

Stretch Marks: Still a no thus far.

Sleep: After I bragged last week about how much better I was sleeping, it has become completely impossible to sleep through the night.  I'm uncomfortable, I'm up every hour to potty, I'm having heart burn, back pain, etc.... By the time 3 or 4 am rolls around I'm so exhausted that I sleep dispite all those factors, but the alarm goes off at 5 and I have to get up.  Cat naps through the night are preparing me for motherhood.

Best Moment this Week: Got lots done on the nursery including finding the exact curtains I've been looking for since we bought the bumper pad material last fall.

Worst Moment this Week: Nothing bad to report this week other than some mild back pains but those are supposedly normal.

Food Cravings: None.  Nothing really even sounds appetizing

Gender: Still a boy.

Labor Signs: I think I've been having some pretty intense Braxton Hicks contractions, but those aren't really anything to get excited about.

Belly Button: Still just barely present.  Brian told me the other day that it might be like those plastic thermometer things they put in turkeys.  When it pops it's done! We'll see how right he is.

What I miss: Sleeping on my belly... oh what I wouldn't give to curl up on my bed laying comfortably on my tummy and sleep for 8 uninterrupted hours.  Fantasy I know, but maybe someday.

What I'm looking forward to: Doctor's appointment on Friday... we'll see if there is any real timeline for when Eli might decide he's going to join us on the outside.

Weekly Wisdom: So I'm still not very wise this week... go figure.

Milestones: We made it to full term and just 21 days to go.  Yay!!!

Baby's now the size of a watermelon!

Your full-term (yay!) baby is gaining about 1/2 ounce a day and getting his first sticky poop (called meconium) ready. He's also brushing up on skills for the outside world: blinking, sucking, inhaling, exhaling, and gripping (it's getting strong!).

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Nursery Update

Great progress is being made on the nursery.  I had 10 whole days off work between Christmas and New Years so I tried to make good use of it and accomplish some thing in the nursery.  I still have a few things to do and clean up to finish, but it's definately making some progress.  Here are the pics I promised in last week's update.

One of the big things I still needed to do was to go through the huge bag of bottles that I picked up at the consignment sale last fall, wash everything, then make room in the cabinet.  Mission accomplished.  Now Eli has lots of nice clean bottles ready for feedings. 

I also got to do some organizing in the closet.  I went through all the clothes we have so far and put them away in drawers or hung up some of the nicer things.  There are plenty of other nice cute outfits but they are size newborn or 0-3 months.  Just incase Eli is a big guy, I'm not washing any more cute newborn clothes until he is ready to wear them.  That way if he outgrows them before he gets to wear them I can exchange them for bigger sizes.

And finally, the nursery thus far... I picked up some curtains this week and managed to get them hung.  I also put together the new bouncy seat and high chair we were given as shower gifts.  Everything else is getting close too, but I have some tidying up to do before I post pictures of the dresser and chest of drawers.  Hopefully I'll get those cleaned off and done next weekend.

I have another update coming tomorrow as we hit the 37 week mark and reach full term.  Then we go back to the doc on Friday.  Hopefully, we'll get some idea of how much longer we have before Eli arrives.  See you tomorrow.