Monday, January 30, 2012

One Month- 1/30/12

Dear Hunter,

Today you are one month old. I cannot believe that one month ago I gave birth to the most perfect baby boy. In the month you've been here you've already brought so much joy to our lives. Your daddy and I love you so much and everyday thank God for blessing us with you.

The past month has been one of the most challenging and rewarding for us. We've never been so scared or worried as we were the first week after you were born and in the hospital but you came through like a champ and are growing and thriving everyday.  Your doctor is so impressed with how well you are growing and how strong you are already. You already are able to hold your held up well and your little legs are so strong your daddy is convinced you'll be standing on your own in a few weeks (I told him it may be a little longer before that happens!)

Mommy and daddy haven't gotten much sleep the past month but waking up every morning to your sweet little face and seeing your little smiles makes the sleepless nights totally worth it. I spend my days staring in amazement at this incredible little person that your daddy and I created. Each day you show us more and more of your little personality. You are such a sweet baby and you love to be held and snuggled. So long as you have a full belly and a clean diaper you are a happy camper. You love to smile and make silly faces at your daddy. Not a day has gone by that you haven't made us smile and laugh and count our blessings for having you in our lives.

Here are some of your one month stats:

Weight- at 3 weeks you weighed 9lbs 7ozs, almost 2 pounds up from your birth weight. I suspect you're right at 10 pounds now.

Eating- you LOVE to eat and can easily chug a 4-5oz bottle. You eat every few hours and are doing well with nursing though you prefer the ease of bottle.

Sleep- you are slowly learning your days from nights. You are now staying awake more during the day and sleeping in 3 hour increments at night. There are still nights when you wake up every hour or take a long time to go back to sleep but it's getting better everyday. You don't really like to lay flat on your back or sleep in your bassinet. You much prefer to sleep in your pack n play or on the boppy and your favorite is to nap with mommy or daddy on the couch.

Clothes- You can still fit into some of your newborn clothes but are rapidly growing out of them. The 3 month clothes are still a tad too big. It already makes me sad to see that some of your clothes are too small already.

Favorites- You love reggae music. Anytime you get fussy we put on some reggae music and you almost immediately calm down. You also love your pacifier, or as you daddy likes to call it, your mute button. You love to lay on the boppy and stare at mommy during the day. You love riding in the carseat and immediately go to sleep when riding in the car. You are slowly learning to enjoy bath time.

One month pictures

We love you so much Hunter!


Thursday, January 26, 2012

More Newborn photos

My friend Laura who took Hunter's newborn photos sent me a link to a slideshow with all the photos. I've posted the slideshow below showing all the beautiful pictures of my baby boy. I love them all and I'm tempted to wallpaper my house with these. The ones of Kristian and Hunter especially melt my heart. I couldn't love these two men anymore.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

No more tail

Kristian and I would always joke that the two wires that were connected to Hunter's chest and hung off his body and connected to his portable apnea monitor was his "tail". We always had to be mindful of the wires because if we pulled them loose this god-awful loud alarm would sound and scare the shit out of all of us. It made changing, feeding and just loving on Hunter more of a challenge and since we had to carry his portable monitor around with us we basically would just hang out in a small area of the living room or bedroom at all times. Hunter has only seen his own bedroom twice.

Well I'm happy to say after yesterday's doctor appointment Hunter's "tail" has been removed. After reading the print-out from the monitor which notes any breathing episodes that he may have had the doctor said he could be taken off the monitor. He didn't have any real breathing episodes, there were a few false positive alarms but nothing to worry about, which is fantastic news! Hunter is now a free man and I can't tell you how nice it's been to hold him without having to worry about his wires and be able to freely carry him around the house. So much worry and anxiety has now been lifted and our little boy is growing and thriving. He's also up to 9lbs 7ozs (holy chunky monkey!)

Friday, January 20, 2012

3 Weeks Old

Today Hunter is 3 weeks old. I can't believe how fast time is flying and that he's almost a month old already!

3 weeks old

We took Hunter to his pediatrician appointment yesterday and he's already up to 9lbs 3ozs (he was 7lbs 12ozs at birth) so needless to say we have a little chunky monkey on our hands. As you can see from his weight gain this little boy LOVES to eat. I'm still doing a combo of breast feeding and pumping/bottle feeding and every now and then we'll give him a small bottle of formula-- mainly at night to help him sleep. The BF/pumping definitely is a time commitment, I'm having to do one or the other (and sometimes both) every 3ish hours or I feel like I have two boulders on my chest.

The doctor says he's looking great and developing well and we're hoping once we see the pulmonologist he'll be able to get off his apnea monitor. We were supposed to have seen that doctor yesterday but had to reschedule due to delays with Hunter's insurance.

We're still working on the whole sleeping at night thing. Overall he's doing much better but there are still nights (like Wednesday night) when he's up ALL NIGHT. We've started a nighttime routine which seems to be working a bit. We try to keep him awake for at least two hours before bed, then we'll move him upstairs, give him a big bottle, change him, swaddle him and either lay him in bed with us until he falls asleep or rock him to sleep. The whole routine can take up to an hour or more and he's usually asleep by 10:30pm. He then will typically wake up around 2am wanting to be fed again and then again around 5am. We've had relative success with this and hopefully with time he'll get more used to it.

The doctor explained that a lot of babies his age hate to sleep on their backs, and this seems to be the case with Hunter, he hates sleeping in his bassinet. He has no problem sleeping anywhere else so long as he's not flat on his back. The doctor said it was fine to let him sleep in his pack n play (which has a cradle part) or even in his car seat. My concern is that he'll never get used to sleeping flat on his back and will make the transition to the crib even harder, the doctor said that as he gets older he'll get better at sleeping on his back so hopefully it won't be an issue.

Last night in an attempt for both Kristian and I to get some sleep I stayed in the living on the couch while Hunter slept in the pack n play and Kristian stayed in our room so he could get a good nights sleep. Hunter actually slept great and only woke up once to eat and be changed.

Hunter has also been staying awake more during the day which is nice however it also means that I'm not able to rest as much or get as much done around the house because he's always wanting to be fed, changed or held. Fortunately, playing Reggae music still seems to settle him down when he gets fussy, it's actually amazing how well it calms him down.

As for me, the area where my incision was is still pretty tender and gets sore but other than that I feel pretty much back to normal. I still have a good 15 pounds to lose to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight but my belly pooch gets smaller by the day. It will be nice once I'm allowed to start exercising again. I have noticed that since having Hunter my right wrist has been killing me and it's even hard at times to pick him up because of it. I've read that there is such thing as pregnancy related carpal tunnel syndrome and I'm pretty sure that's what I have. I'm hoping it will go away on it's own, if not I plan to talk to my doctor about it at my 6 week checkup.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Newborn photo sneak peek

This past Sunday we took Hunter to my girlfriend's house so she could do some newborn photos of him in her home studio. It's the same friend that did my maternity photos and as with my maternity photos I think she did an AMAZING job. She plans to send me a CD with all the photos from both sessions and I can't wait to see what other amazing shots she got. I have to say I think Hunter is a natural little model.

*I love the way my little man looks at me*

*His feet are so tiny in Kristian's hands*

*This is my favorite so far! I wanted a Christmas-y photo for my Christmas (week) baby and she even caught him when he was smiling!*

Friday, January 13, 2012

2 Weeks Old

Today Hunter is two weeks old and it's been one week since we brought him home. In some ways it feels like he was born just yesterday and in others it feels like he's been here forever. This first week with him home has definitely been challenging.

I had my one week follow up appointment with my doctor so he could check my incision which looks great. He said I could increase my activity level, which is good since it's hard to be too lazy when you have a newborn. I had also lost 20 pounds in 12 days! The nurse was quite impressed. My belly seems to shrink daily and I'm slowly starting to look like my old self but with bigger boobs. Breastfeeding and living in a 3 story house where I go up and down the stairs a million times definitely helps.

I've been a bit of an emotional mess the last few days. Yesterday I broke down in tears over someone's facebook status (it was one of those "repost this if you love your mother" ones). Yeah seriously. I was lucky during my pregnancy that I wasn't super emotional and didn't cry much but boy is it hitting me now. I'm still struggling with the whole way the birth went down and get upset whenever I see someone have a baby on t.v. because I'm reminded of what I missed. I'll get over it eventually. I hope. And as with most new mothers I'm sure, I'm constantly questioning my abilities as a mother, especially at 1am when my kid has been crying for hours and nothing seems to help. Yeah, that's been almost every night this week. It's hard. But logically I know it's totally normal. Emotionally it's a different story.

Hunter has been doing well except for the whole having his days and nights mixed up. Tuesday night was awesome he slept in 3 hour stretches and would fall back asleep after being fed and changed no problem. However, every other night has been incredibly frustrating and tiring. We try to keep him awake for a few hours before bedtime, we feed him a big bottle, change and swaddle him and even play some music for him (he LOVES Bob Marley and Reggae) but so far it doesn't seem to be working at least not until around 1-3am when he finally wears himself out. Monday night I had a total breakdown and started crying because I felt like a horrible mother who couldn't soothe my child. Poor Kristian was stuck dealing with a crying wife and child. Have I mentioned my husband is a saint because he pretty much is.

Other than that Hunter is a great little kid (during the day). He's still eating like a little piglet and breastfeeding well and everyday a little bit more of his personality comes out. We have an appointment next week with a pulmonologist to see about getting him off this Apnea monitor.

If anyone has any advice for making this kid sleep at night I'm all ears.

Below are some more pictures and a cute video we took last night of Kristian making Hunter smile.

First mohawk!

Bright eyes.

My two most favorite people.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Hunter Kristian

Since we decided to keep Hunter's name a surprise until he was born I never did write about how we chose the name. I wrote before about how Kristian initially wanted to name Hunter after himself, more specifically he wanted to name him Kristian, he didn't really care if he had the same middle name. You see, the name Kristian has been passed down now through three generations, it's my husbands first name and his father and grandfather's middle name. I was opposed to using it as a first name because I didn't want there to be constant confusion between my husband and son (Kristian also goes by Kris so even if we used the nickname there would still be confusion). Knowing how much it meant to him to have Kristian as a part of his son's name I agreed to use it as a middle name which made him happy.

As for the name Hunter, well it's actually the one name we discussed long before I ever got pregnant. I remember seeing or hearing the name somewhere and thinking to myself  "that would a fitting name if we ever have a son" (for those that don't know my husband LOVES to hunt and fish) but since this was back when the thought of having a child still freaked him out I just kept it to myself. Well literally a few days later Kristian randomly breaks out with "So I heard a really cool name to use if we ever have a son...Hunter". I couldn't believe it.

When I first got pregnant, in the very early days, I did feel like the baby was a boy (though thanks to all the old wives tales and signs I later convinced myself the baby was a girl) and I just automatically envisioned his name being Hunter. Well after we agreed on the middle name we went back and forth over and over again on the first name and the one name we kept coming back to and ultimately could agree on was Hunter. It just seemed to fit.

I'll be honest, Hunter is not my favorite boy name, there are several others that I actually prefer however when I tried to envision this child with any of those names it just felt wrong. He was a Hunter even before he was created.

Fortunately we've gotten a lot of positive feedback on his name from both sides of our families, everyone seems to really love it and think it fits him perfectly and I can't help but agree.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The first few days

We have now had Hunter home for four days and he's been doing great! On Friday we did our CPR and monitor training class along with both my mother and Kristian's mother since both will be babysitting at times. It was very informative and I feel much more secure having done both. We got home later that afternoon and he slept most of the day which we knew was probably a mistake but he was so cute we couldn't wake him.

The first night was rough and pretty sleepless but that was to be expected. Little guy has his days and nights mixed up so we're working on that. My mom came on Saturday to stay for the weekend and having her here was a huge help. We were able to get some sleep Saturday and Sunday night while she stayed with him in the living room and it was nice for Hunter to get some grandma bonding time.

This morning we took him to his first baby doctor appointment and he's already gained close to a pound in 12 days which doesn't surprise me because Hunter is an eater! He's already chugging 4ozs or more every 3ish hours. He did so well at the doctor, he didn't fuss or cry and the doc said he looks great.

As for the monitor, it's gone off a few times but due to his wires coming loose or us forgetting to plug it back in and the battery dying (which happened the first night and the alarm went off at 1am, awesome.) I believe he did have one brief breathing incident this morning but he was able to correct himself so the alarm only went off for a second. We're really hoping he'll be off this monitor soon because it's a pain having to constantly be mindful of the wires and carry this thing around with us.

I've been feeling much better, still sore but I'm able to move around much better and needing less pain medicine. I've also finally started to lose weight thanks to all the breastfeeding/pumping. When I left the hospital I was so swollen I still looked 6 months pregnant. Now I look maybe 4 months pregnant :) But I've lost around 15 of the 35 pounds I gained.

Here's a picture of me today, still a bit of a belly but my boobs have gotten much bigger so that's a plus! I'm still wearing maternity pants because my regular ones cut right where my incision is.

Here I was at 39 weeks 

Here are some pictures from when we brought Hunter home and this weekend including his first bath at home which he did NOT enjoy!

About to leave the hospital...FINALLY!

He's so teeny in his big car seat. 

Slept the whole way home.

Testing out his pack n play

Moxie LOVES her little brother. She's so protective of him and runs to him whenever he cries or anyone gets near him so won't take her eyes off him. It's really sweet. 

I kept joking that I was giving birth to a Moxie and as you can see I wasn't that far off, they are about the same size. 

Kristian with his sister and nieces and nephew who all love their new little cousin. 

Snuggling with grandma

His first bath. Not a fan. 

So fresh and so clean. 

I'm not gonna lie being a parent is hard and tiring but so worth it everytime I look into this little guys eyes. We are so in love. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Coming Home

Tomorrow we will celebrate Hunter's one week birthday by bringing him home from the hospital!!!!

He has done so well this week and even though he still has one of his breathing episodes a day they are very minor and the doctor feels comfortable sending him home on a monitor knowing that this is something he should grow out of soon. So tomorrow morning we will get trained in CPR and then on how to use the monitor he will be on and bring him home!

It's been a tough few days running back and forth to the hospital twice a day for a few hours at a time to nurse and just visit with him. The nurses have been absolute angels and I don't know what we would have done without them. We plan to send them a huge bouquet of flowers to thank them next week.

I'm so excited to get our little guy home tomorrow so we can just spend all weekend staring and snuggling with him. My mom will also be coming to stay for the weekend to help. I've been feeling much better as well, still very sore but better.

Here are some of the pictures from this past week.

His first photo

Daddy holding him for the first time.

The first time I got to see Hunter, I was barely awake.

Waiting in the recovery room while they sewed me up.

In the recovery room.

My mom meeting her grandson for the first time.

So happy with my boy.

Snuggling a few hours after he was born.

One day old in the NICU. Poor baby full of wires. 

Daddy is in love. 

Visiting him for the first time in the NICU

Midnight on New Years Eve.

Grandma holding Hunter for the first time. 

When my mom and I got back from visiting Hunter this is what we found, guess Kristian was tired. 

Celebrating that he had gotten most of his wires removed.

Three generations

Finally free of all the tubes and wires.

Visiting with his other grandma.

My sleepy angel boy


Love those eyes. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Birth Story- Part 3- Hunter

On Saturday morning after spending the night in the room with us, Hunter was taken to the nursery for his morning exam. After being gone for a while the nurse finally came back and told us that he had some issues with his temperature being low and also some breathing problems and they had taken him to the NICU for further evaluation. After what felt like forever a doctor from NICU finally came back to tell us that he was having some breathing problems and they wanted to keep him in the NICU for more observation.

The first time going to the NICU and seeing our little boy with a bunch of wires coming out of him was incredibly hard. It's not something any parent wants to see. We were both so scared but the doctors and nurses in the NICU are incredible and were very reassuring about Hunter's prognosis.

To make a long story short Hunter has been having issues with coordinating his breathing with his sucking reflex. Basically, there are times when he will be sucking on a pacifier, or a bottle or even when he cries really hard and he'll just forget to breathe. It's a coordination thing that all babies develop (preferably right away) but for some, like Hunter, it takes a bit longer. They ran tests, did Xrays and even another Echo and everything is perfect. The doctor keeps stressing that he's not a sick baby, he's perfectly healthy, it comes down to a developmental issue with his breathing.

They have no doubt that he will be fine and eventually won't have any issues with his breathing at all but it may take some time. Everyday he has progressively gotten better and has now had all of his wires and tubes removed other than the few they have attached to him for monitoring. He's been eating like a champ which is also a great sign. I've been able to breast feed him as well as pump and give him some formula to help supplement while waiting for my milk to come in. He's done very well at breast feeding so far and we were able to spend a lot of time with him in the hospital.

Unfortunately when we were discharged today Hunter was not able to come home with us. They decided to keep him for another day or two for observation and then hopefully he'll be able to come home, most likely with a monitor so that we can keep a better eye on his breathing. I can't tell you how hard it is to leave the hospital without your baby, again it's something no parent should have to experience. But we know he's in great hands and want to make sure he's 100% ready before bringing him home.

We are trying to look at the positives, which are that it gives me a few extra days to recover and get everything put away at home and focus solely on bringing him on whatever day that may be. We will be going to the hospital everyday he's there, multiple times a day to continue to help with his feedings and just to visit. I'm praying he'll be home by this weekend.

So needless to say the delivery and recovery are far from what I expected, even going in with a pretty open mind. It's been tough but completely worth it in the end to get our sweet baby boy and it really has brought Kristian and I even closer together which I didn't think was possible.

The Birth Story- Part 2- Recovery

After we were moved to our post partum room I was still feeling very groggy and drowsy from the anesthesia. We had a nurse come in to go over post partum information and see how I was feeling as well as go over what we would need to do for Hunter since he was staying with us that night, I could barely keep my eyes open or focus on what she was saying. The whole thing is a big haze to me.

I was able to hold Hunter a bit and wanted to breast feed but felt so nauseous and actually threw up a few times thanks to the anesthesia and all the medicine that had been pumped into my body. Let me tell you throwing up after a Csection is one of the worst feelings, your stomach already is in so much pain and throwing up just adds to it. Even the Zofran didn't really help much. Because of this Kristian had to give Hunter his first bottle and change his first diaper all while I just laid there. I felt like the worst mother in the world, not only had I missed my child's birth but now couldn't even help care for him.

It was a rough night and neither of us slept much, I was in so much pain and Kristian had to get Hunter every time he cried. Looking back it would have been smarter to just have him in the nursery but we wanted him close by.

My recovery in general has been slow, when people say that recovering from a Csection is hard they are not joking. For me, I was very nauseous from the medicine for two days and getting out of bed for the first time was one of the most painful experiences. Thanks to the Motrin and Percocet I've been able to function and I'm slowly starting to feel better but it was really rough the first few days doing the smallest things or moving in anyway.

I have to give Kristian so much credit, I honestly couldn't have made it through this recovery the past few days without him. He has helped me with EVERYTHING, even the grossest things like going to the bathroom or helping me change my pads or helping me use the breast pump. He's definitely lived up to the whole "for better or worse, in sickness and in health" part of the wedding vows. I really don't know how women do it when they don't have a such supportive partners.

I also have to give a lot of credit to my doctor and all the nurses that helped me in the hospital. Everyone was really amazing and helped me so much in my recovery. I feel much better now but still have a long way to go until I'm back to normal.

I will write about what's going on with Hunter in Part 3.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Birth Story- Part 1

*super long post ahead*

Hunter's delivery into the world wasn't quite as smooth as I had hoped. I should start by saying that I never really had a strict birth plan in place, my birth plan was to have the baby in the safest and preferably least painful way possible. Ideally I wanted a vaginal birth but knew that a Csection could happen and ultimately if that's what needed to be done I was fine with that. Both my doctor and delivery nurse said it's better to keep an open mind because if things don't go the way you hope you are less likely to be disappointed and upset afterwards. I also have to say from the start that I love my doctor and my delivery nurse was awesome. I can't imagine going through what I did with anyone else.

So on Thursday night I went to the hospital to get the Prostin Gel put in to help me start dilating on my own. I was still only 1cm and 90% effaced. I got released an hour later and that night was rough. I had a LOT of cramping and backache and got very little sleep.

Friday morning we got to the hospital around 7:30 and immediately got put into a room and got the IV started. I was only about 2cm dilated at that point. They started the Pitocin around 8am and I started having more contractions but nothing too unbearable. Around 9:30 they came in to do the epidural so that they could break my water and turn up the Pitocin and keep things moving while keeping me comfortable. The epidural HURT! Holy God did it hurt, both when it got put in and then feeling the medicine run up and down my back. The anesthesiologist decided not to wait for the Local to take effect and I was in so much pain. Poor Kristian almost passed out, according to our nurse, the epidural is when most fathers go down for the count. It was the first time he had seen me in true pain and just couldn't handle it.

After the epidural was in I couldn't stop shaking for a good half hour but they were able to insert the catheter (which didn't hurt and is pretty awesome, I didn't have to get out of bed to pee for two days) and they broke my water where they discovered the baby had already pooped and there was meconium inside me. Finally I got to the point where I felt nice and numb all over and didn't feel most of the contractions. Ironically enough we ended up watching "Knocked Up" which was on t.v. Fitting eh? I progressed quickly and around 6-7cm I could really feel the contractions again, they kept increasing the epidural but for some reason it wasn't working in the one area I needed it to. My mom and brother were with me as well and helping me breathe through each contraction. They finally got the dosage right and I was able to relax and even doze off a bit.

Right around 3:30-4pm they discovered that my temperature had spiked to 103! They gave me some antibiotics but they couldn't get the temp to come down and Hunter's heart rate kept rising. The doctor checked me again and I was 9 1/2 cm, he had me do some practice pushes to see if I could get to 10cm but unfortunately I just wasn't ready yet and he couldn't wait any longer, he had to take the baby out so as not to risk any damage to him from my fever (he doesn't know why I had such a high fever, it was very unusual). So he told me we really had to do a Csection for the safety of the baby. I was pretty upset, after all that time and the painful contractions I hated that I had to have a Csection but knew that was what needed to be done.

They got me all prepped in the room and Kristian came in right next to me. The doctor started the procedure and asked me at every stage if I felt anything, for the most part I just felt some pulling and pressure which was normal. However, the last thing I remember was saying I felt a little prick. Apparently when he got to my bladder the epidural hadn't really kicked in on those nerves and I could actually feel some of the pain (again very unusual and he doesn't know why that happened). Supposedly I started saying "Ow Ow Ow" and the anesthesiologist had to knock me out (I don't remember saying Ow or feeling the pain on my bladder). The next thing I remember was waking up and Kristian holding a baby up next to my face.

Soooo I missed the birth of my son. I missed his first cry. I missed when the doctor held him up. And I missed seeing Kristian's reaction to seeing his son for the very first time (which was one of the things I looked forward to the most). Needless to say I was and still am pretty devastated over this. I realize it had to be done and I'm grateful I didn't have to suffer but after 9 long months and a fairly painful labor to miss the grand finale is pretty heartbreaking. I remember waking up and I just kept repeating "I missed it" "I missed it".

And poor Kristian was just terrified because the doctor didn't warn him that they were putting me out, so one second we're talking and the next I'm out cold and he had no idea what was going on. He asked the anesthesiologist what was going on and he responded in his very dry, Russian accent "She can't talk, she is sleeping". Again I had prepared myself for the possibility of a Csection but not the possibility that I would miss the birth, whoever thinks that will happen?? I've been holding it together pretty well but I have a feeling this is going to really hit me later once I'm home and all is well.

Once I got to recovery Kristian put Hunter in my arms and I got to see him for the first time, however I was still so incredibly groggy that I could hardly keep my eyes open or really focus on him. Our families then came in and got to see Hunter for the first time but they didn't stay long before I was moved into my post partum room.

Since this is already so long I will post part 2 at a later time, unfortunately things didn't get much easier after delivery....

Sunday, January 1, 2012

My Son

Here are just a few of the MANY pictures we've been taking of Hunter the past few days. I will hopefully have his birth story posted soon. It's long and fairly dramatic but he's here and that's all that matters. He's also currently in the NICU but should be totally fine, however any extra prayers you may feel like throwing our way would be greatly appreciated. We are madly in love with this little guy and can't wait to take him home.

So happy that he was finally here. 

Friday night, we were both very tired after our little adventure.

Love that face.

Daddy is obsessed with his little boy. They are best buds already.

He's already had most of these wires removed and is making huge progress. 

We went down to the NICU to celebrate at midnight on New Years Eve with Hunter. He couldn't wear the little onesie I bought him but this was close enough.