Thursday, May 26, 2016

Bennett: One month!

Little dude turned a month old yesterday.
Seriously why do the last 30 days of pregnancy go by so slow, but the first 30 days of a newborn life go by so fast?!  Time is evil.
We have a happy and healthy baby boy on our hands!

Height: 22 inches (75%)
Weight: 10 lbs 6 oz (75%)
Head: 40cm (98%)

As his doctor stated, he just has a big head.
This month was crazy.  I've been beyond emotional and have zero patience for Helena.  This week seems to be going ok though, which makes me think that I'm not going crazy.  I've seriously thought I have PPD numerous times, but I feel it is difficult to distinguish the difference between PPD and just being emotional and upset because of the lack of sleep, the crazy things your hormones do post baby, and just life adjusting in general.  How do you know the difference?  I guess for me, I just feel like I'm struggling a hell of a lot more than what I remember with Helena, but that's obviously a big difference this time, is I'm not just caring for a newborn, I have a toddler too.  So in regards to me, I'm a work in progress.  It seems like most days I'm just in a sad blur, but then I have days like I've had this week where I feel like I'm ok.

I've had a lot of help. In fact I have yet to be home a full week with both kids.  The first and second week my mom was here.  The third week my in-laws were here.  The fourth week my mom was here again (because Chris was out of town - to Denver!).  And this week my sister-in-law has been here.  I'm extremely lucky that I've had the help that I've had!  I truly appreciate it.

Bennett is extremely handsy.  Even the nurses, right after he was born nicknamed him "hands" because he is constantly moving his hands.

He has a bad case of baby acne, that he got just after turning one week old.  It's clearing up some and some days are worse than others.

He has two birth marks on the back of his head.

Like with Helena a big struggle with Bennett is breastfeeding.  He latched on in the hospital, and was breastfeeding great that first week, but he was gaining any weight, but rather losing weight day after day.  So the doctor suggested we supplement and sent us home with formula.  We supplemented and did the SNS system, but it was a struggle, and honestly just a pain.  Having him scream and cry trying to eat for 10+ minutes was extremely difficult, that I finally "gave in" and gave him a bottle.  I have tremendous mommy guilt over this, because now he won't latch.  He just won't.  After his 2 week appointment when I heard how much weight he had gained and I knew he was getting stronger I thought breastfeeding would be easy.  But he just won't latch.  He literally screams and cries and screams some more while I'm tried to feed him, that I usually end up crying with him.  So then I "gave in" again and just this week got a nipple shield.  He won't take that either.  I'm struggling so bad because it wasn't like this with Helena.  She would at least latch and feed.  Not Bennett.  Even when I go to lay him to have him latch he gets upset.  I seriously thought the nipple shield would do the trick, but no.  So now i'm pumping and pumping and pumping.  And my supply is low.  He usually gets about two 4 ounce bottles from me a day.  I know that Bennett is the one who can bring it up the most, so we are still trying.  But I hate it.  I hate every single aspect.  There is of course the pumping.  Horrible, painful, and boring. The bottles.  Cleaning the bottles.  The formula.  It isn't cheap.  None of this was part of the plan.  I'm just so frustrated because I WANT to breastfeed, and I know that he CAN breastfeed.  He just won't.

Bennett is extremely observant.  In the swing he'll look up at the turning cows, and the lights.  Helena never even noticed something was above her head!  We already have a little bit of a routine down.  He loves his mornings, and is super alert and awake from about 7am - noon.  He loves his bath, and loves the water.  He hates getting out of the bath!  He gave us the longest stretch of sleep last night, and slept from 10pm to 4:30am!  It was so nice.  He is usually up anytime between 1am and 3am, then again anytime between 5:30am and 7am.  Sometimes he'll go right back down in the middle of the night, sometimes he is awake and wants to be held.  A few nights ago I was up with him from 3am to 4:30am.  Helena loves him and wants to play with him so badly.  When I lay him on the floor she goes over to him and wants to lay with him.  She'll show him her toys and I can tell she wishes he would interact with her.  He's going bald on top of his head.  His hair is literally falling out, it's weird.  Overall the month has been crazy.  Some good times and some sad times.  I feel like I can cry and/or go crazy at any given moment.  I'm still healing, although going to the bathroom isn't as painful as it once was, but  I still can't go pee like normal.

He's in size 0-3 month clothing and graduated to size one diapers at two weeks old.

I'm truly enjoying getting to know Bennett and seeing how different he is to his big sister.  He's a joy and I love him.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Helena turns 2!

tricycle from Grandpa and Grandma Sweat

dancing with Grandma Sweat at Caliches

enjoying ice cream on her birthday!

Grandma Sweat made the dress!!!

Great Grandma Sweat, Grandma Sweat holding Bennett, Chris holding Helena, Grandpa Sweat holding Hope.

she loved opening all of the presents!

Almost two weeks ago Helena turned two!  It was a great day.  My in-laws were in town the week of her birthday and having them here was wonderful.  My mother-in-law is great with both kids and she did all the cooking!!!  ...I am so spoiled!!!!
The day itself was pretty low key.  I actually left Helena at home with her grandparents while Bennett and I went to a MOPS meeting.  Chris got home early and we had an early dinner so we could leave for a special ice cream treat at Caliches.  ...Caliches is an amazing custard place, and probably the one place I'll miss when we leave Alamogordo!
That Saturday was her birthday party.  Who knows why I thought it would be a good idea to throw a birthday party with a newborn in the house, but I'm crazy like that, and there were hardly any details.  I wasted $20 on an etsy printable of invitations, a happy birthday sign, and cupcake toppers.  The theme was Curious George.  I knew I wanted the party to be outside, so we set up a little pool, a water table (her birthday gift from us), and we got lots of bubbles.  Overall we had a great turnout!!!  I just ordered a cake and pizza from the local grocery store, and that's it.  Oh and a fruit platter.  We had about 18 kids and Helena was thrilled to have all of her friends over.  My parents came down for the party and I was thrilled that Helena got all of her grandparents together!
It was a great day!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Two Weeks

taken 5/1/16
My baby boy is 15 days old.  I'm trying to stay in the moment as much as possible as I know this is most likely my last baby.  I'm now fully aware of how quickly time passes, and how his newbornness will be so incredibly short lived, but then at the same time wanting to sleep through the night and have a routine.  It's a mental struggle and time is such a blur that I want to remember these moments because I know how short lived they are.
Bennett for now is proving to be more high maintenance than his big sister.  Although I'm trying to tell myself that he is indeed only 2 weeks old and that things can change so so quickly.  When we got discharged from the hospital his jaundice levels were near the borderline of being able to be discharged or not.  But they were technically under, so we went home, and were advised to make an appointment with the pediatrician sooner rather than later.  So I made an appointment for the next day.  On Wednesday 4/27/16 we saw the doctor and he immediately told us he has jaundice and to go get his levels checked again.  He also lost more weight.  So we went to the lab for them to collect some blood and it was horrible.  They poked his right arm and were basically fishing for a vain with the needle inside of this arm!  That was unsuccessful.  Then they did a heal prick and were collecting blood that way.  By this time I left the room, which was a good thing because I found out after the fact that the nurse collecting the blood dropped the vial and the blood went everywhere, so they had to start over.  By this time another, more experienced nurse came over and collected the blood from a vain in this right arm!  The doctor gave a prescription for a blue-light blanket to help with his jaundice and we started that right away.  Thursday we were back at the doctor with another weight lose and his jaundice levels only slightly up (which was surprisingly good), along with another visit to the lab for more blood...thankfully we got the more experienced nurse right away, and got his test with just one poke.  Friday was another doctors appointment with his jaundice levels now decreasing (!!!!!!) but his weight also decreasing.  At this point he was down to 7lb 2oz (he was born at 8lb 5oz).  So we were sent home being told to supplement to try to get him gaining weight.  This was heartbreaking for me.  At that point breastfeeding Bennett was a struggle but we were working on it.  He was latching but wouldn't really stay latched (specifically on my right side).  We were so much further along compared to what my breastfeeding journey was with Helena when Helena was not even a week old.  I felt like I was going to get the breastfeeding experience I wanted, and being told to supplement almost broke me.  So the doctor sent us home with formula and a SNS to use, and a follow up appointment for Monday (thankfully no lab work was needed).  The trouble of using the SNS system and both of our frustrations from getting Bennett to latch with the SNS system was extremely trying.  I can't remember which day, but I eventually caved and had Chris make Bennett a bottle, and we got out the pump.  I cried and cried.  I didn't want my baby to have a bottle, and damn it, I didn't want to pump.  But that is what happened.  It seems all worth it as last Monday he weighted in at 7lbs 8oz!!!  At that appointment we were given the "all clear" of having a happy and 100% healthy baby boy!  Over the last week breastfeeding as still been our biggest struggle.  Like Helena did when she was given a bottle, Bennett is now a lazy sucker.  But today (for the first time) he has gotten more of me, and is latching much much much better!  At yesterdays 2 week appointment he was 8lb 12oz!!!  Officially over his birth weight and getting stronger!
It's so easy to have this tunnel vision with a newborn, to be so focused and upset about every little thing.  Thankfully things change so quickly with a newborn that a worry from today could easily be forgotten about by tomorrow and replaced with something else.  I'm constantly trying to remind myself about that.  That one day all of these worries will be gone and new worries will be in their place.  That's what I'm really hoping about my thoughts on Bennett being "high maintenance".  I'm hoping that before too long he'll transition into this laid back easy go-lucky baby.  For now I enjoy staring at him and enjoying my newborn regardless of his demeanor.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Bennett Martin

Please welcome Bennett Martin!
Born Monday April 25, 2016
Weight: 8 pounds 5 ounces
Height: 20 inches

Here is Bennett's birth story:
I feel that his birth story should start off with the birth of his sister.  Helena was born via scheduled c-section at 39 weeks in fear of big baby.  At her 36 week growth ultrasound the tech advised she was already 9 pounds, and with 3 weeks still to "cook" we were looking at a 10 pound baby.  At that moment I wish I had gone with my gut in knowing that this baby would not be 10 pounds.  Even though I am a bigger person I am small boned...I have small wrists and fingers, and Chris is small boned too.  My gestational diabetes was insulin controlled and I just knew this baby wouldn't be 10 pounds.  But I chose to believe my doctor and the ultrasound tech when they said the c-section would be best, even though my doctor knew I desperately wanted a vaginal birth.  As a first time mom you just believe what you are told.  Now I know that the further along you are the less accurate those growth scans are and now know that at the very least I should have been given the option to at least go into labor. At the time I prayed and prayed I would go into labor, but that didn't happen and the scheduled c-section went as scheduled.  Helena was born weighing 7 pounds 15 ounces.  Nowhere close to her 10 pound prediction and I was extremely disappointed, as was my doctor.  But it was too late.
Jump forward two years and I'm pregnant again.  The beginning of my pregnancy with Bennett was in Denver where I went to go see the doctor who delivered Helena.  I advised her I wanted to do a VBAC and her response was supportive but then advised she herself wouldn't do a VBAC (she's had two c-sections herself).  In my gut I knew I would need to find a more VBAC friendly provider but put it off.  Then we found out we were moving.  To a small town with no big hospital or resources.  I took my prenatal care to a doctor here in Alamogordo starting at 14 weeks to 32 weeks.  They were VBAC friendly, but would not induce.  So I either had to go into labor on my own or I would have another c-section. In my gut I had a feeling that this doctor was just telling me what I wanted to hear and in the end would end up with another c-section.  Plus the hospital in Alamogordo didn't have the care available and had a nasty VBAC consent form, plus no NICU, so if something were to happen to baby, baby would immediately be airlifted to El Paso.  I just didn't want to do that.
After meeting lots of mom's and almost immediately after meeting asking them "where did you have your baby?" I was referred to Dr. Reddy at Mountain View hospital in Las Cruces (an hour away).  I saw Dr. Reddy for the first time at 33 weeks and was immediately more confident in his approach to VBACs.  He advised I had a 70% of having one and that the number would dramatically increase or decrease depending on if I went into labor on my own.  I was so much more comfortable with him and felt that he was really going to give me a shot at this whole VBAC thing.  I of course, hated the drive and the feeling of the unknown, but knew this was where I was suppose to be.
Deciding to do a VBAC in and of itself is scary.  Chris and I prayed a lot.  It's so easy to just schedule another c-section.  With that scenario I knew what to expect.  There was no guess work.  Plus I kept telling myself, What if I do this and just end up with another c-section anyways?  It was an extremely emotional decision to make, and honestly one I doubted until they brought the doctor into the room to deliver my baby (more on that later).
I had one last growth ultrasound in my 39th week and the ultrasound tech said he was 9 pounds.  I took that information with a grain of salt and went with my gut that I should have with Helena, that this baby wouldn't be "big".
The Tuesday before my due date (4/19) I thought I was in labor.  That morning I thought my water broke, and was having contractions all day.  Chris called my mom at 5am to have her come down (she was scheduled to come down the next day).  Chris went to work and my mom arrived by 8:30am.  Chris was home by noon, I did a lot of bouncing and rolling on my exercise ball, went for a long walk, but nothing ever became regular about my contractions.  I had advised my doctor that I thought my water broke, so by that evening he said I needed to come get checked out.  So we made the hour drive to Las Cruces said good night to Helena (that was SO hard).  I got checked at triage just to find out my water was still intact and that my cervix was still closed and post-terrier.  I was devastated.  I immediately started doubting my body and what in the world labor was.  Every woman says "Oh you'll know what a contraction feels like."  So every time I thought I was having a contraction, but didn't know that it was indeed a contraction, I dismissed it and told myself it wasn't a contraction.  I was playing mind games with myself and I hated it.  At that time I already had my induction set for the evening of my due date.  So we were discharged from the hospital and drove the hour home.  The rest of the week was normal.  I continued to do things that I had hoped would put me into labor but nothing.  So we made the drive again to Las Cruces Sunday (4/24) night.  Upon arrival I was checked and still nothing.  My cervix was shut.  I spoke to Dr. Reddy and he advised that at 40 weeks pregnant and to not even be at a 1 my chances of a VBAC were decreasing.  As the nurse said: My cervix was unfavorable for a vaginal delivery.  At that point I called my doula.  I asked her if she had ever seen someone with an "unfavorable" cervix go forward and have a successful VBAC.  She said no.  At this time I was not hopeful.  I was given three options: go forward with the induction (all they could give me was pitocin), get a c-section, or go home and come back in another 3 or 4 days.  I immediately ruled out the last option.  I was ready to have this baby and didn't want to drive back home and have yet another good-bye with Helena.  Plus emotionally I didn't want to deal with all of that.  So in my mind it was either be induced or have a c-section.  Chris and I prayed about it and decided we would do the induction and if I hadn't progressed by morning then a c-section it would be.  At this point I was already mentally preparing for a c-section.  By 9:30pm the pitocin drip was up and running.  Mild contractions started immediately along with the shakes.  Oh the shakes, the horrible horrible shakes.  I got checked at midnight and was at a 1 (or maybe a 2 I don't remember).  The cervical check was horrible and incredibly painful.  The nurse advised that if I couldn't handle the cervical check I wouldn't be able to handle the foley bulb (now an option to get me dilated more, now that I was officially progressing).  She suggested an epidural.  My first thought was I must be a chicken to be getting an epidural so early in the laboring process!  Also knowing it was so early in the process I knew getting an epidural would mean I would be stuck in bed.  Then the nurse told me that if I did get an epidural it would help me sleep.  That sold me.  So I got an epidural.  Dr. Reddy came in and put in the foley bulb, and just as he was walking away I told the nurse, "Something just fell out".  The foley bulb fell out immediately.  So she called back in the doctor and they discussed putting in a bigger one, which I guess is something they don't keep on hand because they are rarely used, but then eventually found a bigger one, and put that one in.  That got me to a 4 or a 5?  And Chris and I were able to sleep some.  I got checked again at 8am and was at a 6 I think?  At 9am they broke my water (I had meconium) and I called my doula and she arrived by 10am.  At this point I was in disbelief that this was really happening.  That I was really dilating, that I was really in labor, that I was really progressing.  Everything was pointing to a vaginal birth, not a c-section.  I honestly couldn't believe it.  The whole morning I had my eyes closed.  I think that was my zen.  I wanted the room silent.  Whenever one of our phones would get a notification it just bugged me.  So I had Chris turn our phones off.  I just kept my eyes closed and breathed.  I thought about having some music on, I had specifically thought about Mercy Me, but I never got around to asking.  I got sick at some point in time which was horrible.  And I kept telling everyone I had to poop...because of the epidural they also put in a catheter.  Carrie (my doula) kept telling me that was the baby descending.  They let me know the baby was already at a + 1 station and that meant less pushing for me once that time came.  I felt so much relief knowing my body was responding to being induced!  When I got checked at 1pm I was complete!  I can't tell you how it felt to know I had progressed all the way to a 10!  I remember the doctor telling the nurse to come get him when I was two minutes out.  I had the go ahead to start pushing which I wanted to do right away!  It took a few contractions for me to get the feeling of pushing correctly and my doula had advised that first time vaginal deliveries the woman pushes for 2 to 3 hours.  I immediately told myself no way am I pushing for that long.  Even though I was thrilled to be progressing throughout my whole labor I doubted myself.  I tried to back out probably more times than I care to admit.  Both Carrie and Chris had to remind me constantly why I was doing this.  I wanted to give up many times.  Once I got the right sensation of the pushing things were definitely a "go".  I had the nurse in between my legs, Carrie holding one leg, Chris the other.  I was so hot that I had wet cloths on my forehead and behind my neck.  Between contractions they would be fanning me.  I knew that things would get serious once the doctor was called.  I of course had to sense of time but I knew it had to be close.  Then finally the moment I was waiting for: the nurse called the doctor and they brought in the table with the vacuum and forceps etc...and everyone was telling me "It's real.  The doctor is on his way."  It really wasn't until this moment that I truly believed I would be having this baby vaginally.  I think I had 3 or 4 contractions with the doctor and I remember him looking at me telling me you're going to have this baby.  I had no desire to touch his head or to watch with a mirror, but I could see the reflection of everything going on from the TV in the room.  I rarely opened my eyes, but when I did I couldn't help but look, and in that moment of him coming out that moment of pure ecstasy I saw my baby leave my body and be put on my chest.  It was so euphoric.  Honestly the feeling of him coming out didn't really hurt all that bad.  It was like this pressure gone.  I pushed for a little less than an hour and baby was born at 1:54pm.  He was placed on my chest but only for a few moments as they had to take him to check on the meconium, but he was right next to me and I got to see him the whole time.  I immediately started crying.  I couldn't believe it!  I got my VBAC!!!  While baby was getting checked the doctor kept working and I asked a few times if things were ok.  He said they were.  I got a 2nd degree tear inside.  Which I've been told is better than an external tear, and that internal tears heal easier and quicker.  Before too long my baby was back on my chest and we did an hour of skin on skin and he latched for the first time.  Then Chris got to hold him and named him Bennett Martin.  It was such an amazing moment.  Then baby got cleaned up, my doula left, and we were now a family of four.
Today honestly has been a turning point in my recovery, because just two nights ago I was questioning if this was all worth it.  All I can say is that I'm in pain...down there.  It is horrible.  I can't go to the bathroom like normal and as the day progresses it gets worse.  But today, today isn't as bad.  I'm 9 days postpartum and my stitches will be gone by Monday (2 weeks) and hopefully everything will be back to normal.  I know that a 2 week recovery is much better than a 8 week recovery.
I still can't believe it.  It feels extremely empowering to do something you say you are going to do.  And I honestly feel like this is the first thing in a long time where I actually did what I said I was going to do.  Bennett came out beautiful and the nurse even said my cervix was meant to birth a baby.  How crazy is it to go from a "unfavorable" cervix to a cervix that's meant to birth a baby?!  The doctor immediately told me I could do it again if I wanted to.  Now knowing what I know I feel so robbed of my birth of Helena.  And even the doctor said at the very least I should have been given the opportunity to labor with my first pregnancy regardless of size.  I obviously can't change the past, but I feel amazing that I was able to have my second baby vaginally.  We were able to go home the next day and Helena is a great big sister.
checking into the hospital to be induced at exactly 40 weeks