Saturday, May 26, 2012

One Month of Joy!

My sweet baby boy,
Today, you are one month old! I can hardly believe you've been here that long, but on the other hand, it's so hard to imagine life before you arrived! You have made your daddy and me so incredibly happy; it's really hard to describe. I have watched your daddy turn from this big, strong, manly man turn into a sappy, mushy guy who snatches you from my arms and tells you all evening long how beautiful and perfect you are. I melt inside when I see my two guys bonding!
I get visions in my mind of you throwing a football back and forth in the yard, grabbing your fishing poles and heading to the lake, and, the one your daddy is most excited about, taking your hunter's safety course so you can go sit in a tree stand together! I cannot wait to see the little guy you're going to become!
 Here are a few things from this month that I'd like to remember forever!

Arrival: You joined us a little early (you were only 36w, 4d!) at 2:52am on Thursday, April 26th. You had turned yourself around the previous weekend, so when the doctor discovered you were breech, a quick c-section was scheduled and here you were! You weighed 6 lbs, 6.9 oz... if you had gone full term, you would have been a big boy! :) According to your birth certificate, you were only 17 3/4 inches when born. However, knowing how tall your daddy and I are, we doubted that a little, and asked for you to be remeasured that evening. When the nurse told us you were really 19 inches long, that sounded more like it to us! Too bad the birth certificate papers had already been processed. Oh well... we know the truth!
Height/Weight/Clothing size: Now, one month later, you are 20.8 inches long and weigh a whopping 8 pounds!! Baby boy, you grew SO much this month... I can't even imagine what the next few months will bring us! Luckily, you still look nice and teeny tiny to me, so I'm not having too much of a hard time with your growth spurts. You still wear a newborn diaper and newborn clothes! Your sleepers are starting to pull a little when you stretch all the way out, but when we put you in a 0-3 month size, you're swimming! You just have nice long arms and legs that take up space, but in your onesies and regular clothes, a newborn fits you so perfectly. 
 Eating: You are an EATER (as evidenced by your weight gain this month)!! You started off nursing every 2 hours for about 15-20 minutes. That worked out so nicely for a while, but then you started chugging too fast and you'd spit up when you were finished. When I talked to the doctor about that, he said to limit you to 10 minutes at each feeding. This means that sometimes you're hungry faster, but you're able to keep most of your milk in your tummy this way. You still spit up a little bit, but you're not in pain over it, and you seem to stay satisfied for about 2 hours. Sometimes, you want to eat after just an hour and half, but other times, you'll go three hours before letting me know you're ready for more food! You'll get a regular schedule down pat here soon enough, so in the meantime, I'm soaking up every minute I can of this special time with you!  
 Sleeping: We are still working on a regular sleep schedule for you, baby boy. There are some days when literally all you want to do it eat, get a diaper change, and go back to sleep. Other days, you'll wake up and want to eat, but then you'll stay awake for an hour or more before needing to take a nap. On average, you sleep about 2 hours at a time, both day and night. We are working on a new nighttime routine with you, and last night, you stretched your sleeping to 2 1/2 - 3 hour chunks all night long! Woohoo! Here's to hoping that during your second month of life, you'll start to love your nighttime sleep as much as your daddy and I do! :)
You slept in a bassinet next to our bed for a few weeks, but right before the four-week mark hit, we started putting you in your crib overnight to sleep. You did great! You listen to a loud heartbeat sound all night long to help soothe you when you awake, and we're still trying to decide if swaddling really helps you or not. You love to move your arms and legs so much that you wriggle out of your swaddle almost every time!! At nap time, you'll sleep in your crib, in the bassinet, in your swing, or (everyone's favorite) on mommy's or daddy's chest. The heartbeat sound really helps you to conk out, little guy!
Playtime: You don't do too much playing right now, but when you're awake, you enjoy being on your play mat. I think the different patterns and hanging toys keep you interested. I can't wait til you start to notice all the fun colors, too! In the past few days, you've really started to notice the mirror and you'll try to focus in on the cute boy who's looking back at you - like you want to be friends and have him come play with you!

Tummy time isn't your favorite activity, but it's working because you have one strong neck! You'll lift your head up so high sometimes to make eye contact with whoever's holding you... and then you headbutt their collar bone. Good thing this doesn't seem to hurt either party, yet! When doing tummy time, sometimes you'll find it relaxing to be on your stomach, and rather than practice using your muscles, you'll pass out right away! I love to see you looking this peaceful! :)

Sweet baby Joey, you have made such an impact on your daddy and me in the short time you've been here with us. Our little family of three makes my heart so happy that sometimes I can't help but just sit back and smile and, yes, even tear up a little at how blessed we are to have you. I pray every day for you and your future - that you become a kind, respectful, God-fearing man who loves to serve others just as your daddy does. I pray that God gives us the wisdom we need to parent you in such a way to allow to you grow into the man you're meant to be. However, we'll take it one step at a time and make sure you become a sweet little boy who loves to laugh and run and play before you get too big... ;)

I love you with all of my heart, Joey. You truly are the light of my day!!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Oh, Happy Day!!

Like I mentioned earlier, my due date was May 20, 2012. This was PERFECT because the last day of school was scheduled to be May 22! I did, however, decide to take off work beginning on May 4, just so I could get things ready here at home and get in as much last-minute rest as I could. :)

Towards the end of the pregnancy, my blood pressure was beginning to elevate slightly, and my feet were beginning to swell tremendously! I attributed most of it to the fact that we were having a very warm/humid spring here in Kansas, so I did my best to prop my feet up whenever I could. I also began teaching while sitting down... not my favorite, but I also didn't care to have ankles and feet the size of my calves by the end of the day!

On April 21, my brother's family, my parents, and us had a joint garage sale at my folks' house. We sat outside all day and collected money from people who wanted our junk - woohoo! My feet continued to swell as the day went on; so much so that my mom made me prop them up and she put bags of ice on them. I looked so nice as people came up to pay for their new treasures... a big ol' preggo lady sprawled out with bags of ice over her feet. Sigh. Oh well, it felt good and made my mom feel a little better, too!

That afternoon/evening as we were winding down and packing up, I started to feel... odd. I had pressure down *there* like I hadn't had before, and I was very tired. The pangs remained throughout the weekend, and on Monday, when I got to school and had a few different people ask me if I was feeling alright, I decided to call the doctor. He assured me it wasn't labor but essentially put me on bed rest once I was home from work - no dishes, no cooking, no cleaning, and feet up! I followed his directions on Monday and Tuesday, and Hubby was a superstar (as he was through the WHOLE ENTIRE pregnancy), and took over some stuff for me at home.

On Wednesday evening, we had our pre-admission appointment at the hospital so they could show us where to go when we needed to come in to have the baby and get some paperwork signed and such. I made a wise-crack on my Facebook page as we were heading up that "when they saw my swollen feet, they'd probably just go ahead and admit me right then and there." Well, that didn't happen, and after the appointment, we headed back home (about 8:30) and relaxed a little bit before heading to bed (about 10:30).

And then...

I awoke with a start at 11:30 - and quickly exclaimed, "Ummm, honey, I think I wet the bed!" I tried sitting up, but I couldn't without more fluid coming out, so Hubby so graciously got me a towel and I hopped/skipped/jumped to the bathroom, where I called the on-call doctor and he told me to come on in because my water had broken!! I was in a bit of denial - after all, it was only April 25 and due date wasn't until May 20! Our hospital bags weren't packed yet, the nursery wasn't finished (our furniture was actually scheduled to be delivered the afternoon of the 26th), and my long-term sub wasn't supposed to start until May 4!

As I was trying to let all of this soak in, I was telling Hubby where to find all the things I wanted in the hospital bags, so he was fetching all of that so nicely for me. I called my parents to let them know what was happening and told them I'd give them an update once we got checked in and knew mroe information. Then I decided I wanted to take a shower before we left for the hospital, just in case it would be a while before I got to take one there!

So... water broke at 11:30, and we got on the road about 1:00am to head up to the hospital. On the way up, I started noticing my contractions, but they weren't too bad. They were about 5 minutes apart, and they lasted about 1 minute. I was able to breathe through them no problem, but the talking ceased while I was experiencing one! We got checked in at 1:45, and very quickly they determined I was, indeed, in labor. When they did an exam, the nurse reported I was 4cm dilated and 100% effaced. On our way!! Then, she asked:

"Is he head down?"
"Yes... at my last appointment 2 weeks ago he was!"
"Well, I think he flipped. We're going to do an ultrasound to double-check, but I think he's breech."
"That explains the pains and pressures I was feeling last weekend!"

Baby had, in fact flipped... so C-Section it was for me!! Once hubby and I realized how quickly this was all going down, he called our parents and they all headed up as soon as they could - but not fast enough to see me before I was brought back to the Operating Room. After a very painless spinal and lots of hand-holding between me and Hubby, at 2:52am, my screaming little boy was held above the drape for us to see!! Baby Joey was 19 inches long and weighed 6 lbs, 6.9oz.

Since Joey was only 36 weeks, 4 days when he was born, he was technically considered a preemie baby and had to go visit the NICU for several hours. They just needed to monitor him to make sure that everything was okay, and it was! By that night, our sweet little boy was down with us and we were able to begin our time bonding as a little family of three! We were in the hospital for 3 days, and they were packed full of great visitors and friends/family oohing and ahhing over our little addition.


I cannot begin to describe how wonderful it felt to have my boy in my arms and his daddy by my side - this life of mine is truly blessed and we are so very lucky to have such a healthy, handsome boy!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Getting Ready for Baby!

{Disclaimer: This is a LONG post! But, it has to cover 9 months since I didn't keep up with it as I went :)}

As we went through the pregnancy, things were going as perfectly as possible! The doctor was very reassuring that Baby was growing just as it should, I was doing everything that I should, and this pregnancy should be perfectly normal! My due date was determined to be May 20, 2012. My heart had never been happier :)

Of course, Hubby and I jumped at ANY and ALL opportunities to see our little "pumpkin" via ultrasound, and we got our first chance at a mere six weeks! This was to confirm the viability of the pregnancy after my inital bloodwork came back so wonderful! We were able to see the fetal pole (would eventually turn into Baby) and see the heartbeat!! The heartbeat was at 135, which seemed low to me, but the technician simply said that she thought the heart had just started beating a day or two earlier - it would get faster :) Here is what our first sneak peek looked like:

To some, it's a mere blob on the screen... to Hubby, my mom, and me, it was a miracle and blessing.

As time went on, things still progressed perfectly! Hubby and I were so excited to get to hear the heartbeat for the first time at 13 weeks - I recorded it on my phone and turned it into an mp3 file so I could keep it forever!! This time, the heart rate was at 160, and it was very strong! I think I kept a smile on my face for the next several days... I was over the moon!

FINALLY, the big day came... we were going to find out if this little pumpkin was a boy or a girl! Hubby and I were honestly okay with whatever the outcome was; as long as Baby was healthy, we were happy! This was grandbaby #19 on Hubby's side and #3 on my side - and odds were, it was going to be a boy. ALL of our siblings (7 in all) had boys first, and on my side, the other two babies were boys, also! Now, my mom and sister in law were pulling for a girl so they'd have someone to dress in bows and dresses, but I knew deep down Hubby was praying for a little guy to teach how to hunt and fish and play sports. On January 3rd, all of the curious minds were put at ease:

We were, very CLEARLY, having a little BOY!

Tears of happiness flowed, and it looked like Hubby was going to burst with pride, right then and there! {He had told me, on our very first, blind!, date, that he had always wanted to have a "Junior"... so once we saw on the screen that it was a little boy, we no longer had to be thinking of any names. The decision had been made long, long ago!}

From the doctor, we went to go start revealing the results to our family - first to my brother/SIL, then to Hubby's mom at work, and then onto dinner with my parents. Everyone got an envelope with the following inside, and they had to verbally make a guess before they scratched off the silver:

After they scratched, it revealed:

My brother and my dad guessed correctly - everyone else guessed girl :-) NO ONE was disappointed, though!! There were so many happy moments that night; it was so much fun! After dinner, we had to run home so I could prepare the reveal cupcakes for the staff at school the next day. We had a morning meeting that everyone was to attend, so I knew it'd be the perfect chance to let everyone in on the secret of boy or girl - and who doesn't love a sweet treat early in the morning?!? I stuffed each cupcake with blue frosting and put them out with the following poem and sign-up sheet. Before they could eat a treat, they had to mark down their guess!

(sorry, I can't get it to turn for some reason!)

Once they marked their guess - which, as you can see, most people guessed BOY! - they got to take a cupcake and bite into it. Once again, many happy memories from that day :)

Like I said, Hubby and I jumped at any chance to see our little man on the screen and to get sneak peeks at him, so when it came time for our 3D/4D ultrasound, we made sure to invite the family, as well, so they could all share in our joy. We loaded into the room, I hopped on the bed, and we watched our boy squirm around on the screen! He waved, he smiled, he yawned... and all the while, he had his legs back behind his head, crossed at the ankles! Very flexible :)

We soaked up every minute of the 3D/4D sonograms session, and we even purchased a DVD of the whole thing so we could watch it whenever we wanted to! Since this took place in February, we thought it would be the last time we got to see Baby until he actually arrived... but...

On the morning of March 7th, I woke up with some spotting, which, given my history, was super scary for me. I immediately called the doctor, and they told me to head up to the hospital so they could check me out. After a couple of hours of tests and a very in-depth sono (yay - got to see Baby again!), it was decided that I was most likely going into pre-term labor, at 29 weeks! I was admitted to the hospital, and they hooked up monitors to watch Baby's heart rate and to see if I was contracting at all. After a few more hours, and some VERY nervous grandparents!, it was determined that I was, indeed, NOT going into labor, and we were just fine! A blood vessel probably burst or something, but neither Baby nor myself were showing any signs of anything odd. Since they had admitted me already and started some steroids in case Baby did come early, I had to stay overnight. Even though the whole ordeal had quite a few people worried and panicked, it turned out to be okay, and I got yet another peek at my boy. :-)

During the sonogram, Baby was measuring 2 weeks ahead, so my doctor decided that I would have another sono at 37 weeks (on April 26th) to see how big he really was and to figure out if he'd need to be delivered a little bit early. I was anxiously looking forward to that day!!

Little did I know I'd learn to love that date for a whole other reason...