Tag Archives: infant

Wordless Wednesday: E's 6 week checkup with our midwife

Over the weekend we made the 4 hour drive down to Summertown, Tennessee for our 6 week checkup at The Farm. We got to stay in our midwife’s cabin again, the same one Everly was born in. I had her right there on the floor where the rocking chair is in this photo. Ah, the memories.

We had some playtime upon arriving at the cabin. We figured letting Everly stretch out on the bed would be a nice change from being cramped in the carseat all day. E had fun playing as you can see in the above photos.

We learned that an increase in humidity impacts a baby’s bottom. Poor Everly got kind of rashy while we were in Tennessee so we put a potty pad (left over from the birth kit) under her and let her go naked for a bit. She liked being free but was also startling much more without clothes on. The fresh air and sunlight did help with the rash though.

The checkup went well and Pamela was very excited to spend time with Everly as you can see. You can read more about how the checkup went in this post.

We had a great time on our trip, it was a time for us to reflect on Everly’s birth and we also made some good memories while we were there.

Been new parents for 7 weeks now…

… and nobody ever told us that we would be doing chores during nap time, as N pointed out this morning. We did dishes, fed and watered the animals, hung the laundry to dry, stuffed cloth diapers and ironed a few of N’s dress shirts while Everly slept for an hour.

Nobody can ever really make you understand just how much your life changes once you have a baby! I am not gonna lie, we are so looking forward to when our free time increases a bit once she’s older. Right now the constant need to be held is rough on us.

Finding the time to feed and care for ourselves is verging on impossible with little 7 week old Everly. That comes with the territory though, that’s what we’ve been told at least…

We had a good 6 week checkup with our midwife at The Farm this past weekend. We stayed in the cabin that Everly was born in, it was so cozy and quiet. We relaxed a bit but things weren’t quite as leisurely as we had expected.

Turns out little E doesn’t like being away from home right now. She was extremely overstimulated and had a pretty hard time going down for naps and sleeping at night. We even brought her beloved swing that she falls asleep in at night but the different surroundings left her acting uneasy and unable to relax, even in the swing.

Pamela examined us and said we were both very healthy and doing great. E got weighed and she was too big for the baby scale (almost 11lbs). She’s also gained 2 inches in length since birth so her growth is great which means breastfeeding is going great too.

My 4th degree tear repair was done very well according to Pamela. She was very impressed with how nicely the stitches healed up and she says my pelvic floor is very firm and all back together. By 3 weeks postpartum my bleeding had stopped and the tenderness of the stitches was gone, that is apparently remarkable healing for such a bad tear.

All in all things are on track following labor and delivery, we are glad to hear this. I still can’t believe we are parents though. Staying in the cabin and looking at the spot there on the floor where I delivered E is surreal.

Our midwife was telling me that she’s been sharing my birth experience with all her students too. She thinks it was pretty great how I was “in a trance” and so relaxed during labor and transition. She tells everyone how calm Everly’s birth was and keeps complementing me on it.

I still can’t grasp it all, I know I had a baby but it still hasn’t sunk in how truly huge and amazing that fact is.

Anyway, now we are home and getting back in to the swing of things. E seems much more relaxed and comfortable now that we are back too. She slept great last night and we had band rehearsal today which went well. Tomorrow E and I will have a day off to relax and get caught up on some stuff before another busy day on Thursday. Fun, fun!

Missing the signs of my overtired baby…

We read that tired babies are fussy and can often seem gassy or colicky when all they actually need is to sleep more. We’ve learned this the hard way.

We bought Gripe Water, Mylicon gas drops, we made catnip & lemon balm tea for her, gave her digestive enzymes and basically tried everything to cure what seemed like tummy pain that caused her to fuss and cry inconsolably.

Turns out she was awake way more than she probably should be and she was getting so overstimulated and overtired that getting her to relax for sleep was practically impossible by the end of the night.

When we headed home with her everyone was all “babies will tell you what they need when they need it”. I nursed on demand, let her sleep when she wanted to, changed her when she screamed. All that resulted in was a fussy, rashy, unhappy baby that would sleep right through the night and fuss all day.

Once we figured out that babies typically shouldn’t be awake for more than about 2 hours at a time it was easy to see what the problem was…

She was getting overly tired and overtired babies only have more issues going to sleep which is probably why E would only doze off in my arms but would not fully sleep or let us lay her down for a nap. The whole time we were thinking she was fussing and crying in pain, it was just exhaustion though.

We committed a baby signals interpretation fail! Poor E.

Now we have made a few changes to help Everly with falling asleep and staying asleep per our reading.

Things like keeping our bedroom dark, changing her and feeding her in the dark when sleep should follow and building a bed time routine have helped. Also, we are having to swaddle her and also place her in the swing to get her to initially fall asleep at night.

The good news is she is actually napping during the day these days which in turn makes her easier to get back to sleep thought the day and night. A well rested baby fights sleep much less and isn’t as fussy. It is amazing and kind of “duh” all at the same time. This revelation is all thanks to reading, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

Some parenting books have been very helpful reading material, I’ll admit there is quite a bit of conflicting info out there though. We were lucky enough to find some helpful stuff this time. If you’ve got a parenting book you love please let us know @laurensnellings from twitter recommended the above mentioned book to me and boy are we glad she did.

People just don't get it sometimes…

Today I saw a news report about a woman who was homebirthing here in Indiana whose baby didn’t make it. The story portrayed all homebirths as unsafe and crazy. It even incorrectly referred to the birth as unassisted (midwives were present) and did nothing but scare people. While the story did have a tragic outcome it’s not a accurate representative of most homebirths and that is why they story upsets me.

Homebirth is not for every woman and every pregnancy which is why there needs to be adequate laws and regulations in place to protect women and midwives (like there are in Tennessee). Homebirth should be an acceptable and viable option for most but thanks to one sided stories, scare tactics and profit driven laws it is not. This is sad and maddening to me.

Israeli Mothers Attend Breast Feeding Classes After Powdered Milk ScareAnother thing that is wearing on my nerves is breastfeeding ignorance. Everly is just over a month old and we are exclusively breastfeeding. We haven’t introduced the bottle or a pacifier because we don’t want to cause “nipple confusion” and disrupt the working breastfeeding relationship (you are supposed to wait until 6-8 weeks). For some reason people who hardly know me can’t wrap their minds around this and it is annoying me. (If you are reading this, it’s not about you I promise!)

Sure bottles and pacifiers would be more convenient but they aren’t best for E at this time (in my mind) and I’ve chosen to commit to breastfeeding, why can’t people understand and respect this? Plus she wont have anything to do with them anyway.

Speaking of respect, my ex-doctors office (remember the bad OBGYN?) sold my info to formula companies without my consent. I’ve been receiving formula vouchers like crazy and I’ve got free formula coming out my ears now!

Sure, free stuff is nice but not when you wont use it and the only reason they are giving it is to get you to mess up with breastfeeding and to get you hooked on their products. It is like they are tempting you to give up on breastfeeding. And don’t even get me started on how little support exists for breastfeeding moms…

Can you tell I am running on major lack of sleep? I am all irritable and full of complaints today.

Headaches, electrolytes and fussy babes.

Everly is screaming and has been doing so, consistently, since yesterday. I am just sitting down to try writing a blog post and I can’t for the life of me remember what it was I was going to write about now, figures!

E shot more poop around this morning while I was changing her. Every time she does it I just can’t help but laugh. Now I am washing a blanket from the bed and scrubbing some orange poo spots on the carpet when I get a few free moments.

*drinks some cold grape powerade*

Ah, yes! The powerade. So I lived in hot, miserable, Phoenix, AZ for 22 years of my life. 100+ degree temperatures were the norm and I wasn’t the best at staying hydrated. I was like a camel, didn’t have to drink much water, didn’t sweat too much and could just keep going and going in those hot temps.

Now that we’ve moved to a more humid area my body isn’t so resilient! Actually back in Flagstaff I would get some dehydration headaches every now and then thanks to the altitude and the wind (drys you out quicker).

Anyway, while I was in Tennessee waiting for labor to start I began to get pretty dehydrated and swelly. My midwife informed me that the humidity takes more out of you than just water (which I’ve never experienced before). She urged me to get some electrolyte drinks and I argued that I drink more than enough water now and I shouldn’t be dehydrated.

Well the drinks totally did the trick for my swelling and got me all geared up for labor! I guess humidity can really suck the electrolytes out of you as opposed to the dry Arizona heat I am used to, go figure.

Now that I’ve been home for a month with my babe my appetite is going back to normal. I am eating and drinking most anything I want now that I’m not limited by the pregnancy. I am sure I am not drinking enough water now but recently despite my increase in water intake I’ve been plagued with killer headaches that last several days.

N had an amazing idea, we should drink some powerade to see if the headaches go away… So we stocked up and they are working on the head pain, it is crazy what a difference the humidity makes…

Of course there is the other ear piercing, head pain causing fun -> poor crying E.

She’s having another fussy spurt. It began yesterday evening, it was nice for N to get to experience it since they only seem to happen when E and I are home alone and he only sees her “angel” side. LOL.

She’s just not sleeping very deeply, she’ll fuss and scream off and on. About every 10-15 min or so. They aren’t the “I need something, the world is ending” crys. They are more whiney like “I am uncomfortable and so tired but can’t sleep”.

Doesn’t matter what we do she still dozes off for like 10-15 min then wakes up shrieking and will doze right back off again. It’s hard to endure because we want to comfort her but nothing works. She can get quite worked up too which just causes her more discomfort.

She has some really good days where she’s happy and not screaming or fussing, then she has those other really bad days. Today is another bad one, unfortunately.

So I am drinking my powerade and taking some tylenol while I try to calm and comfort her as much as possible, poor thing.

We did have some fun with E over the weekend too, I’ll share more about that in my upcoming Less-words Wednesday post though. Stay tuned.

I am back! Almost back to normal that is…

It’s only taken me 25 days but I believe I am almost back to my normal self again. Dang, those postpartum hormones are killer! Add them to the 4th degree tear and to the normal new parent postpartum stress and healing and you’ve got yourself one bloody, stitched up, stress filled emotional mess of a person.

It was a rough three weeks getting used to our new roles, especially for me and my crazy after birth hormones. I am feeling good now (hormonally speaking), the postpartum bleeding has just about stopped and my stitches (from what I can see) are practically healed up.

As you can see from the photo, I am getting good at holding Everly in one hand while doing the internet thing with the other. I am still struggling with the self care while caring for a newborn thing though…

You see I’ve lost about 40lbs in 25 days which brings me very close to having my pre-pregnancy body back. I am attributing that to genetics and the fact that I am breastfeeding. I wont be comfortable loosing much more weight though.

Also, I am having a very hard time finding time and freeing both my hands so I can prepare food to eat. That probably has something to do with my quick weight loss too. We are working on that, it’s just hard to walk away from Everly while she’s fussing.

Yep, she’s still fussing here and there. She’s a great sleeper and a very good baby when she’s not uncomfortable. The problem is she’s still got an immature digestive system (like all newborns) and she doesn’t like pooping or passing gas for whatever reasion.

She’ll fuss and struggle and wont sleep when her tummy hurts, she startles in apparent pain whenever she starts to doze off. I’ve tried eliminating common allergens from my diet (which leaves me starving), we’ve tried digestive enzymes, gas drops, exercises, tummy time, burping and massage. Nothing helps her poop and pass gas without the fussing and struggling. She’s fussing a ton today actually.

The nighttime nursing and exhaustion aren’t even bothering me all that much, it is the fussing that is the worst. Other than the fussing things are going really well.

She’s smiling more and playing mimicking games with us these days. Her red hair is getting pretty long in some areas and she’s getting so big! Almost 11lbs it seems according to our bathroom scale.

In just a few weeks we’ll be heading back to The Farm for Everly’s 6 week checkup and we’ll have an exact weight for her then. I am pretty excited to go back. Pamela, our midwife, is so calming and supportive so we can’t wait to visit with her. We’ll probably stay there a day or two if N can get the time off work. The quiet time together will be a nice bonus too.

In other news we got Gabby, our newest kitty, fixed today (finally) and am so darn glad! Now Boner just needs to be fixed and we’ll have all the pets spayed or neutered. It’s good too, we don’t need anymore madness going on around here. Everly’s fussing is enough.

A mothers dilemma: Keep sleeping or wash off the sour milk?

I know this is just one of the many dilemmas I’ll have to face as a parent. This one is significant because it’s the first one, you know a milestone. So humor me okay?

Babies vomit. Mine in particular loves to be at the breast 24/7 which inevitably leads to overeating, which in turn results in an overly full stomach and projectile vomiting. Awesome!

She’s shot vomit everywhere exactly 3 times. Once from her swing on to the floor. Once while cuddling me in bed, it went right down my shirt, arm and all over my side of the bed. Then this morning we were both back asleep after a long early morning feeding when she began to quietly fuss…

Half asleep I was verbally consoling her but had my back to her. She’ll calm down after hearing “you’re okay” or “shhhh, it’s okay”. So, I am consoling her and an explosion of vomit hits my back, my hair and once again soaks my side of them bed.

I shot up, wiped her face, arm and the bed. Made sure she wasn’t choking on vomit. Then I stood there looking like “someone killed my puppy” as N put it while I pondered my next move.

Did I want to lay some receiving blankets down over the wet vomit spot, wipe myself off and lay back down to sleep for a few more hours or was it shower time?

There was warm sour milk dripping from my mop of crazy hair, down my back and also from my left arm. Keep in mind she did this same thing to me the day before and I’ve becoming increasingly sensitive to the sent of sour milk on myself now.

After several seconds of deliberation I choose to shower off and wash the sour milk from my hair. If it hadn’t soaked my hair I so would have opted for sleeping some more but having baby vomit in my hair was just too much for me to ignore, this time.

So, I headed off to the shower at like 5am and thought to myself… “Pretty soon sour milk in the hair will be something I am used to living with, I am just not there YET!”

Winding down: First 2 weeks of parenting comes to a close.

This weekend has been somewhat enjoyable. Having N home to take some of the pressure off me is nice. Everly seems to be doing better this weekend with her fussiness too.

We’ve been doing much experimenting with my diet and other causes of her fussiness and gas. The first thing I did was take dairy out of my diet since I know many other moms (like Veronica) have shared their own issues with breastfeeding and dairy.

Everly’s gas and fussing didn’t improve when I went without dairy for several days. Now I am going without chocolate to see if that is the culprit. Much reading has indicated that chocolate is a problem for many breastfeeding mothers. We are also going to try removing coffee/ caffeine from the diet after we finish testing the chocolate theory.

We’ve also spent the last few days allowing Everly to dictate her own schedule. For a while I was worried that she wasn’t getting enough to eat so I would wake her for feedings and diaper changes. She can sleep for several hours on end during the day, we are talking 4-6 hours sometimes. If only she could sleep like this during the night!

Anyway, it seems allowing her to sleep and feed on her own schedule makes her a much happier baby and she in turn sleeps better at night and fusses much less. Last night she slept from 10pm-2am and then went back to sleep from 3am-7am… That is two long stretches of sleep during the night which makes me super happy and feeling well rested (amazingly).

Last night we spent the evening outdoors and grilled some ribs, it was nice and relaxing for us. Everly was well behaved and fell asleep shortly after 9pm which allowed us to enjoy a meal together. Also, she actually had a good night Friday and on Saturday with more long stretches of sleep. This means we did get to sleep some, just not during the times we would prefer to be sleeping.

We went to several stores on Saturday with her in tow and she just slept the whole time. She loves car rides and is pretty good in her carrier while we are inside stores. I am not quite ready to venture out with just Everly and I yet. Having N along insures we’ve got each other’s back in case she gets fussy or needs anything while errands are in progress.

I am still feeling unlike myself with the hormones and all. Can’t wait for things to get back to normal, it’s been nice to have N home to help out and has made me feel much better. Makes it all that much more do-able with him around.

Now we are off to give Everly her first bath now that her umbilical stump has fallen off!

Oh, if you want to read N’s version of Everly’s birth story (Pt. 1) & N’s version of Everly’s birth story (Pt. 2) are now up over at his blog! I am still working on my long version of the birth story. Posted my short summary version already, it can be read here.

Reflections on parenthood, 16 days postpartum.

Our baby girl was born 16 days ago. She is adorable and is very healthy. I was fortunate enough to have an amazing natural birth experience and she was afforded the best possible start in life.

The crazy thing about childbearing is that after birth they really just hand the baby over to you to figure it all out on your own!

It’s crazy to think about how little guidance first time parents get before taking baby home and how scary that really is. I was in labor for about 18 hours and then voila I am responsible for another living, breathing being and on my way home 4 days later.

I still think it all hasn’t fully sunk in for me. Sure the love and attentiveness is there but the gravity of the fact that we are now parents to our daughter, not so much. It is hard to explain really. It’s overwhelming, exciting, lonely, scary and fun all at the same time.

I am overly emotional these days. Talked to my mom and brother on the phone yesterday and cried like very 5 minutes for no reason (other than that I am tired and at a loss). I am still kind of sore and healing still.

We’ve been trying to get out and to continue our regular routines with Everly in tow. Today we grocery shopped and visited my chiropractor.

Unfortunately, Everly is still fussy and it’s hard for us to not have a way to ease her discomfort. I chatted with my chiropractor/ nutritionist today about her troubles and he had some good solutions for us to try.

We are also still in touch with our midwife from The Farm and will be heading back for Everly’s 6 week check up in the beginning of August.

I’ve also been informed of a local breast feeding support group that has weekly meetings in our area, I plan to attend the next meeting.

Basically we have many good info resources and are just learning as we go, which is how everyone does it. It’s just a trying, exhausting and scary process along the way.

Just having a relaxing 4th of July here at home.

Just spending the day in bed today with Everly and N. This is our first day as just the three of us, all the family is done visiting now. Everly was up all night fussing so a lazy, napping day is just what we need.

It’s a rainy 4th of July here. We’ll see if any neighbors set off fireworks tonight like they were doing last night, probably not since it is raining. It’s all good though! Everly got to see her first fireworks last night in our backyard. The neighbors have been setting them off for days. That is enough for us.

Oh and for those of you who entered the baby weight contest I’ve got results! Sadly only 5 people entered the pool. The morning my water broke I weighed in at a whopping 151lbs!

When I weighed myself a week after delivery I weighed 115lbs. The combination of the two weigh-ins totals 266. That means Maiden53 and Teeni are the winners of the cash pool since their guesses were the closest to 266, I’ll get the money to your paypal accounts ladies!

Here is the list of the entries.

last 4 of transaction/ Person entering Weight at labor (lbs) Weight 1 week after labor (lbs) Total
# 903K (Donna B.) 130 115 245
# 290P (Teeni) 132 126 258
# 003W (MoM) 137 113 250
# 3901 (Maiden53) 151 129 280
# 281A (Jerry B) 131 116 247

Hopefully everyone is having a safe and fun 4th of July and hopefully Everly will sleep well tonight. Take care!

Our breastfeeding journey so far… A first time mom learns the ropes.

Immediately following birth Everly and I laid skin to skin for about 20 min. The skin to skin contact is said to improve breastfeeding outcome and facilitate bonding between mother and child. While we waited for the umbilical cord to stop pulsating and the placenta to deliver Everly and I just laid there in all our messy glory enjoying each other’s company.

Once the umbilical cord stopped pulsating N cut it and she began to nurse right away. Nursing within the first 30 min or so following birth is highly recommended by lactation consultants when it is possible so we held off on taking her weight and length measurements so I could nurse awhile.

When the time came to inspect the damages Everly and I went our separate ways, she got her measurements taken and I had my tear inspected. It was eventually determined I needed to make a trip to the emergency room since the midwives have never stitched a 4th degree tear back together.

Everly rode with us to the hospital in her new car seat
that N’s family unexpectedly bought for us and she slept the whole time. Once we arrived at the hospital I resumed nursing her.

I’d read that frequent nursing was the best way to guarantee my milk supply and to nourish Everly especially since my milk was not yet in and the small amounts of colostrum she was getting was her only source of nutrition and antibodies.

Unfortunately getting her latched on and feeding properly following my repair work was hard! Since I was unable to sit up the only position I could feed her in was the side-lying hold which isn’t that easy. You only have one hand to position baby and it’s pretty hard to see if you are position baby properly.

Breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt. I got that memo crystal clear from all the reading I did. My breastfeeding was hurting though and one nipple was starting to scab and bleed so I knew things weren’t going as they should. We saw a lactation consultant about three days after Everly was born because I was worried about her not latching on properly.

This breastfeeding malfunction was stressing me out and making me pretty worried, this is why I was so eager to see a consultant and get some hands on guidance.

When mothers have trouble getting the hang of breastfeeding it is very emotional. Baby cries more and is fussy because it is hungry. Then factor in how feeding hurts mom, frustrates her and makes her feel like she is a failure. It is no wonder so many moms give up on breastfeeding!

Luckily for us there was a lady living right there at The Farm who was a lactation consultant that came out to see us. She showed us how to really jam baby on the breast and how N could assist in breastfeeding. The hands on session really did help me and now I feel like we’ve got a handle on getting Everly latched.

The first day and a half following birth Everly had black meconium poop. By day 2 Everly showed signs of adequate colostrum intake with her first greenish poop. We were stoked and relieved to see her poop changing. We also watched her urinating closely.

The lactation consultant informed us that a wet diaper at lease every 24 hours is an important indicator of her heath and food intake. By day 3 my milk changed from colostrum to actual milk and her poop turned orange and “seedy” and has been that way since.

Feeding is no longer hurting. Things are going well if you overlook Everly’s napping during feedings which is a minor inconvenience for me.

We are planning on not using a pacifier. Actually we have several and even tried offering one once but she spit it right out and wouldn’t have anything to do with it. We were advised that allowing baby to suck our finger was a better option.

Also, for feeding she suggested syringe feeding, cups, etc. as opposed to using a bottle when other people are watching/ feeding her. In the early breastfeeding days nipple confusion is a big concern, this is why bottles and pacifiers are avoided until breastfeeding is well established.

What did you learn during your breastfeeding experiences?