Tuesday, March 29, 2011

One Year and Houston

This weekend we headed to Houston. The reason for the trip was the anniversary of my brother's passing and what would have been his 25th birthday.

Remembering Austen, there's a lot I could say. This year has been a whirlwind of both joy and sorrow. Not to mention busy. A lot has happened - so much that sometimes it seems like he's been gone longer than a year... I guess because I've gotten used to not seeing him... as much as I hate to say that.

Holding my daughter, the pain lessens. She brings a lot of joy to my life. Still there are times when I look at her that I get a lump in my throat. Watching her grow I see how much Austen is missing. You see, my sister Anabelle was beside herself when Lilleigh was born. She couldn't stand that she was sick and had to stay home when I had the baby. So the first chance she got, she raced to Dallas to hold Lil in her arms. ...When talking about this, Brendon said something to me that I know is true. He said, "It's funny to see Anabelle so excited - because as excited as she is, Austen would have been more." It makes me smile to think of how much Austen would have loved Lilleigh. Like I said, he was determined to be the godfather to our child. Oh how he would have loved her! Sweet wishes.

And sorry to be abrupt, but back to Houston... Despite the reason for the trip, it went well. It was also Lilleigh's first Houston trip. She got to endure a 4 hour car ride... which turned into more like 5 1/2! Ugh. She also got to meet lots of friends and family.


These are my grandparents and her great grandparents - GG and Bill.

Will, who was Austen's best friend and will forever be a friend of our family.
Seeing him hold Lil made miss my brother.

William, my 18-year-old brother who just decided he's going to UT! Hook 'em!

My brother-in-law Ryan and sister-in-law Tarryn with our little nephew Connor!

Blakely, who has been one of my best friends since I met her on our street riding bicycles and said "Who are you?"

Connor! And the cousins meet! How fun to have a cousin so close in age!

Papa, who is my great grandfather and therefore Lilleigh's great great grandfather!! How many people can say they are a great great?

Also how great is this new addition to the house? SMom came home from the rodeo petting zoo with Bun Bun! She hops around the house like a dog!

Anabelle feeding Bun Bun a carrot

I was featured!

I was featured on my favorite craft blog, KojoDesigns! Check out the post here.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Smile!

Lil turned 6 weeks yesterday! And just a few days before that she started responding to us with coos and smiles!! Love it! Here are some pics and a great video!



video


Also Lil loves looking at herself in the mirror! I'll lay her on her playmat, and she'll just stare at herself. So intrigued! I'm not sure if she realizes it's her or not... I'm pretty sure she doesn't. But either way, she loves staring at herself! Especially while listening to Mr. Seahorse.

I also recently made her this awesome bow!


...which she then pulled off!


I'm linking up my little craft...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Mommy Lessons from the First Month

I've been thinking I need to do a post like this all month. And because I have only been jeeping mental note, I know there's much I have forgotten that will be left out, but here it goes...
  1. Always have a diaper ready. When changing diapers, quickly remove the old and pace the new underneath... can't risk any accidents...
  2. The 5 minute rule. I now have a 5 minute rule when it comes to Lilleigh's poop diapers. Baby poops are loud, so when I hear her, I have to wait 5 minutes from the last poop sound heard before changing her... that's just the safe bet.
  3. She has only worn Huggies twice, and both times she's had blow outs. Just saying.
  4. While we aren't officially cloth diapering yet (I'm waiting till the amount of diapers slows down.), I am amazed at how well they hold it all in on trial runs that we've done.
  5. That said, when a cloth diapered baby is wet, they'll let you know.
  6. Those $10 Amazon coupons are handy for buying wipes for free! See how I did it here.
  7. Always have a burp cloth nearby. Or on the shoulder is even better.
  8. Cloth nursing pads are a good idea. (I didn't think disposable were comfortable.) I prefer these: BabyKicks Nursing Pads - Jersey, Set of 3
  9. But sometimes there's still nothing that will do the trick. I've only had issues at night though... no embarrassing leaks.
  10. Stocking up on healthy snacks in a must when breastfeeding... both because I'm hungry constantly and I need a good middle of the night snack during her feedings... speaking of which, it's time to go find that banana.
  11. It takes time to lose baby weight. I should have known this. It's taken all my friends time to lose their weight. But since I'm not someone who has ever been able to gain weight (and I've tried!), I figured surely I'd lose it all quickly and be back to my normal weight within the month... yeah... right.
  12. I can survive on less than eight hours of sleep. Who knew? And I'm still in a good mood too.
  13. Sleep when baby sleeps. Having said I can survive on less, I must still say that naps are amazing and a must.
  14. When Lilleigh is sleeping, just because she makes noise does not mean she is waking up or that she needs me. She was in a bassinet in our room for the first 3 weeks, and I woke up at every sound, convinced she needed to be fed. So I'd get up, change her diaper, by which point she was wide awake, and feed her. Turns out babies make a lot of noise in their sleep. So at 3 weeks we moved her to her crib in her room. Greatest thing ever. I am now getting two 3-3.5 hour stretches of sleep. Wonderful!
  15. As for naps, the swing buys me so much time. We just received the Fisher Price Cradle n Swing, My Little Lamb as a gift, and it's been just that - a gift! She loves being cradled side to side. Totally worth whatever cost the constant use of batteries is going to be.
  16. It's hard work getting a baby out of the house! So much preparation. I'm starting to think it might be easier to just stay home...
  17. But when we do get out of the house, the sling keeps her very content. We actually made it to the grocery store, just us, on Monday - Lilleigh in sling. I got a ton of grocery shopping done - probably an hour's worth - and was able to coupon shop some too. She just slept in the sling. She even stayed asleep for the car ride home and while I unloaded groceries. That's my girl!
  18. Taking a walk each day makes me feel human. And it prevents me from going stir crazy.
  19. As great as I am at saving money - Miss Thankfully Thrifty, I know - we save A LOT more when I am house-bound.  
  20. People are going to give you their advice or two cents no matter what. No matter how annoyed you might be at a perfect stranger, just smile and nod. One lady in the grocery store asked if I was afraid Lilleigh was going to fall out of the sling and then went on to tell me how she hates it when moms leave their babies in the carseats in grocery stores, especially when the baby starts to cry. Right... I'm thinking she's forgotten how hard it is to go anywhere with a baby.
I am writing this during a late night feeding, and now that Lilleigh has fallen asleep, it's time for me to sleep! There will be more mommy lessons to come. Feel free to share yours in a comment below!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

One Month

Lilleigh Bear is one month today! My time flies! Here are some photos from our little photo shoot.





An Apology

I am realizing now that something I said in the birth story post came out in a way I had not intended. When I mentioned my theory on milk coming in, I in no way meant that as a diss towards anyone who chose (or had the decision made for them, for that matter) an epidural. Reading some of your comments and rereading my post, I can see how that must have sounded. But I hope that in my story above it was clear that I totally get why moms choose epidurals, even though for me the benefits of natural outweighed the pain endurd without one.

What I had meant in my comment was that from what I have heard from my midwife, lactation consultants, and moms who have had both natural and medicated births is that generally (not always) natural birth babies are more alert at birth (relatively speaking) and, thus, active eaters. (You can see why a lactation consultant would know that last part.) So hearing that and having a baby that on that third day would not. stop. eating. made me wonder if maybe all of this was associated with pain when breastmilk comes in. But correlation does not equal causation. There will always be exceptions on both sides, and yes, I know of both. Please remember this is just my thought, my curiosity, not an area I've studied.

I hope that clarifies. And I hope you'll accept my apology if that statement did come across rudely. I am sorry. That was not my intent.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Spring DeStash

It's Spring DeStash over at KoJoDesigns! That means it's time to use up that stash of craft supplies that have been sitting there, orphaned to other projects. So I took this opportunity to use up a yellow onesie and some jersey-knit shirts that I had sitting in my project bin to create Miss Lilleigh a dress! I loosely followed this tutorial from KoJo to do it. Then I added a rosette!


I would have included a photo of Lilleigh in the dress, but she's sleeping. And if I don't post this while she's sleeping, it may not get posted at all... I'll try to update with a photo of her in the dress soon though!

I'm linking up...



Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Few Lilleigh Pics

This is my favorite. She so loves this glowing seahorse. Mr Seahorse makes diaper changing time so much better.

Lil's first stroller ride. We are loving the Snap N Go. So light weight and easy. So glad we didn't register for a travel system.

Big yawn!

Look who's awake!

Mommy giving Lilleigh a bath.

Daddy and Lilleigh after the bath. I just love how she's looking at her daddy. So sweet.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Birth Story

The birth story, as promised...
For the few days preceding labor, I had woken up in the middle of the night to premenstrual-type cramping. So when I woke up on Super Bowl Sunday to this cramping again I didn't think too much of it until a few hours later when the cramps were still there and consistent - whether I was sitting down and eating, walking around, or trying to sleep. I figured I was in labor. Still, the contractions really didn't hurt. My back ached though, since the baby was turned on her side. 
Around lunch time Brendon, Sammy (the dog), and I went on a long walk around the neighborhood. By the end of the walk, it was getting more uncomfortable for me to walk, and contractions were growing stronger and closer together. We went home and watched Freaks and Geeks (great show), while I leaned over the birth ball. My back pain was becoming much more intense - more so than the stomach pain, which paled in comparison. My back began aching so badly that I figured it surely must be time to go to the hospital. (I clearly had no idea what was coming.) That was at about 2:30 PM.

When we got there, I was only 3 cm dilated! Seriously? For all that back pain! Being strapped down to that fetal monitor was torture. So when after an hour I hadn't progressed, we talked to Cecily, my midwife, and decided it might be best to go home and labor. As nice as Baylor's remodel is, the wood floors weren't working for me and the birth ball. Plus we know you progress better at home, so home we went.

We got home at 4:30 PM. I took a hot bath for maybe 15 minutes - max. And it was pretty much downhill from there. I got out, put on whatever clothes I could find (which I later showed up to the hospital in  - white tank, mesh shorts, and Uggs... humorous really), and then basically threw myself onto our bed, on all fours, propping up pillows underneath me.

The contractions were suddenly way more intense - both in the front and back - and within a couple minutes of each other. And with the baby moving further down, I pretty much had to go to the bathroom in between every contraction! Running from the bed to the toilet was becoming hard and painful. I would basically get to the toilet (like 10 ft away) in time for another contraction. It was at this point that I remember thinking, I so get why women get epidurals. I was screaming and crying...

Brendon was actually really helpful during this whole thing. He'd be rubbing or kneeding my back, which really was just guess work for him because I couldn't form words to tell him what was helpful... not that anything was really. I just screamed whenever he left the room for him to come back.

When I began bleeding, I started freaking out. We called Cecily, who of course was so calm and just asked if we were ready to go back to the hospital, to which all I could think is You must be kidding me. Yes. We must go NOW. This was at like 6:30 PM.

We got in the car, and I sat in the back because I figured I had more room if I needed to be in a weird position to manage the pain. It was strange though because I was suddenly calmer, just trying to breathe and dig my fists into my lower back. We were about halfway to Baylor when I started feeling the urge to push. So I kept looking up. I heard somewhere that if you look up, like when you need to sneeze, that your body won't let you push. I'm not sure how long that would have worked, but it did until we got there. And I do remember thinking, When we get there and I'm a 5 (which I was expecting because on average in the hospital you dilate at 1 cm/hr), I don't know that I can pass up that epidural. Worst. Pain. Ever.

We made it to Baylor and were in the L&D room by 7 PM. The nurse did put me back on the monitor, since they have to when you come in, but she did it loosely so that I didn't have to stay laying down on the bed. And I didn't have to have an IV, which I loved! I told the nurse I had been wanting to push, so the nurse checked me and said that I was barely a 9, almost a 10, so if I wanted to push, I could. Thank God! (Proper use of that phrase of course!) No wonder the pain was so bad - transition phase! This was all in a matter of minutes, and Cecily actually ran in a few minutes later, since she had been driving from Rockwall to get there.

I pushed for an hour and 45 minutes. For the first part, the back of the bed was upright. I was actually on my knees on the bed, facing the back and leaning over it. So when I pushed, I could bear down. And the second half I was laying on my side doing basically side crunches and pulling my legs up with my chest. And I didn't scream... I was mainly grunting... trying to breathe and work with my body (though let's face it, how do you even concentrate on that?) rather than freak out... which is what I do when I scream.

They tried to show me a mirror of her coming out as she was crowing. As great as that was to see momentarily (though honestly I didn't care at that point - I just wanted her out!), I don't get women wanting to watch because it's kinda discouraging how they come out and then back in... Either way kinda cool momentarily. I do remember at some point the nurse saying "Okay you're about to feel fire." And then probably about 5 minutes later I yelled, "FIRE!" which looking back Brendon thinks is funny because I didn't scream at all until then, and that was my one outburst.
 
Brendon said that as she was coming out the cord was wrapped around her neck twice (while she was inside, before the neck had come out). I think that's pretty common since I here of it happening so often among friends. Cecily was quick to have her hand inside me unwrapping it as I pushed her out.

She was born at 9:02 PM. And Cecily placed her on my tummy right away, mess and all! Brendon was supposed to call out the gender, but I think he was just so overwhelmed by the whole moment that he missed that. I looked down and was really excited to see my little baby was a girl! I think Brendon was shocked because he was convinced it was a boy. :) He got to cut the umbilical cord, which I thought was neat.

Then there's the after birth, which wasn't painful at all. The placenta just slid right out. Kinda cool to see!! 

Really the easy recovery for both me and the baby has been so rewarding. It makes me so thankful I went natural. There's a lot I could say about it... such as being able to move around faster, not tearing a lot, very little bleeding in general, not being drugged when people came in after... but I really loved how alert little Lilleigh was. She actually has been an avid eater from the start, so when my milk came in, it wasn't painful... and I've heard nothing but horror stories from friends about the pain of milk coming in, but then again, none of them went natural.

Another thought... In the fall I did Beth Moore's Revelation study. There's a lot that compares end times to child birth. I found this fascinating. I'd be lying if I said this wasn't part of the reason I wanted to go natural. I'm a dork, I know.  But if God cares enough to compare what we will go through to labor pains, I figure I should try to know what He's talking about. (Okay let me just clarify that this is only a small reason that I decided to go natural. Many others that I'm glad to share with you if you want to know.) And yes, during that terrible transition phase, I did have the thought, And this is just the beginning of end times - we're in trouble! It was a fleeting thought.

Final note... For all of you that I've scared I'm sorry. Don't be scared. I found others' birth stories encouraging pre-labor because I felt more in the know with what to expect. The transition phase is painful, yes. But as you can tell from my story, it doesn't last long. And it's at the very end, before pushing. Once I was pushing I felt like there was something I could do to manage the pain, unlike in that phase. Again, I'll just say I do think the benefits of what I experienced after labor (even now!) by far outweigh the hardship of labor.

To prepare, I recommend drinking raspberry leaf tea (read reviews on Amazon - amazing. I attribute it to less bleeding and a shorter labor.) and practicing breathing through pain. My hubby loves giving painful massages (I think they're painful anyway...), so I took those opportunities to breathe through it and to force myself to relax. I think that helped A LOT. Plus just studying about labor, hospital procedure, natural methods, etc really helped me to stay informed. If you don't have a midwife, I recommend a doula to help with the pain AND to learn from. A doula taught our childbirth class, and that was so beneficial! Feel free to ask questions. Like I said, this is not intended to scare anyone, but I know our society hypes up labor, making it this big scary deal that it's not... so being fearful is inevitable. But it's a natural process, which God created. Your body and the baby already know what to do. You just have to trust in the process.