Mom-Life Updates

Long time no post! Ugh, life with a baby is seriously boring. And because I’m really not super big on sharing pictures of Jackson online, it’s not like I even want to get online to share how absolutely freaking adorable he is. But trust me when I say that he is absolutely freaking adorable. I’m definitely getting adjusted to our life. It feels a lot more manageable and less like my life is ending. I still go a little stir crazy at home, but not nearly as bad! I’ve also somewhat adjusted to getting 5 hours of sleep in 3 different increments and usually get up at 6:30 or 7:30 with Jackson for the day, which helps with getting things done! Although, I’ll be honest, I still kind of resent Jon for getting 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep on a regular basis, even if he is working full time! I would be so happy to go back to work for a week just to get 7 hours of sleep EVERY NIGHT! That sounds delightful! But of course, due to pumping, that isn’t in my future for another 2 months.

School is out in 3-ish weeks! It’s actually not out till the end of April, but my last big project is due on April 17th, and I need to get in my portion of our other big paper within the next few days. After that, I’m really looking forward to venturing out more with Jackson. I still feel a little housebound since I’m juggling Jackson, pumping, keeping the house in order, and school! But once I’m out for the summer, I’ll be able to at least have one outing a day with him without trying to squeeze in school. I can’t believe I have 2 years left of this BS! Ugh. This semester has been way easier than last semester though. It was way less writing intensive and I think I just didn’t care nearly as much. Instead of spending so much time making sure my assignments are perfect, I just sort of throw some stuff together at the last minute and call it a day! Priorities definitely change once a baby comes!

I put in for daycare this past week! There are waiting lists all over the Atlanta area for infant daycares, so I’m on the wait list. They said that it will probably be June or July before I end up getting a slot. Daycare is just under $1000 a month, which is insane. If I work my minimum hours, I’ll basically break even after taxes and my 403B. I’ll probably work at least double my hours (so that’s still only 86 hours a month) just to make sure it’s worth it. The benefit of this daycare (or the downside) is that there is no part time daycare. It’s all full time. So I basically have a babysitter from 6a-7p Monday-Friday! I’m super excited about getting back to my own life a little bit, but honestly, it is way harder already than I thought to have to let some random people watch my baby along with 10 other kids! I have a feeling I’ll really struggle with leaving him when the time comes, although I already decided we’ll ease into it the week before I go back to work, just so I can be a phone call away while we see how he does. So, my plan is basically to put him in daycare while I work 2 days a week, and then I’ll probably put him in either one full day or maybe 2 half days during the week, since we pay for it anyway. I figure if I work every Tuesday and Thursday like I used to, plus maybe put him in on Monday and Wednesday mornings from 9-1ish (HELLO GYM!!!!!!!), that’ll still give me time with him and will also make my $1000 a month worthwhile! I technically don’t have to go back to work, but I want to. I’m ready. If I get to a point where I decide I’d rather be at home with Jackson, then we can take him out of daycare and I can stay at home with him. But right now, I’m just not there yet. I’d rather work, and we also want to move out of our condo and could use a little extra money to get us there!

I’m also itching to get back to the gym! My 6 week postpartum appointment is in 2 weeks so I hope to get the go ahead to work out then! There’s a CrossFit gym super close to here on Groupon for $50 for 6 weeks! Um, yes please! Super cheap! So I’ll do that, and then hopefully I’ll be back to work and can pick up ClassPass again or join a CrossFit gym full time. I don’t have any abdominal pain or anything, but my incision is still really tender to touch. The skin is so irritated! I’m sure I’ll be taking it easy when I finally get back to working out for awhile, but I don’t even care. I just want to be active and do something I love again! And not related to working out, but I fit in my pre-pregnancy pants again yesterday! Woohoo! They’re my looser pants, but I am still so happy! Hopefully that means once I get back to the gym I’ll be able to fit into all of my pants again!

Tom (my cat) is sick again. For those of you who read back in December when he had pancreatitis, it came back with a vengeance. Back then the vet said that his numbers were the highest they had ever seen. Well, they were way higher this time around. So I spent two days in a row taking him to the vet since he was getting worse as time went on. He’s still there now since they said he wasn’t ready to come home tonight, but hopefully I’ll be able to pick him up tomorrow. This dang cat is so expensive. We’re going to put him on a prescription food (which is $60 per bag for a 17lb bag- JEEBUS) and hopefully that’ll help, but I worry that this is going to be an ongoing issue because it’s so severe. Let me just put it this way- I could have flown to Australia with what we’ve spent on vet bills between his December bout of pancreatitis and this one. And then some. So, you know, perfect timing while I’m not even working and we just had a baby.

My 30th birthday is a month away! My good friend’s baby shower is on my actual birthday (May 1st), so Jon and I are heading out the weekend after. I jokingly asked Jon the other day what he was doing for my 30th birthday and then I guess he started looking! He booked something tonight. He wanted to fly somewhere but I didn’t want ask my mom to take that Friday off work since a month later, she is taking a day off work to watch Jackson for us. So, I have no idea what we’re doing now. I think he’s kind of nervous I’ll be disappointed, but I told him I don’t care at all what we do- I just want to spend time with him!

It’s amazing how much I can miss him when we still live together and see each other daily. The dynamic of our relationship has changed so much. Instead of enjoying our evenings relaxing together, we’re juggling a baby. He gets home from work and I’m baby-d out, so I hand Jackson over for him to take care of him. Usually while Jon puts him to bed, I end up doing my last pump and get into bed for the night. Jon used to give me back massages all the time and he gave me one the other night and it was just like, wow, I have missed this. I miss us. I posted this about our late night Shake Shack run the week before Jackson made his arrival, and I really do miss moments like that. Everything is so planned out now and there is no way we’d ever leave our house at 9pm for a shake now. I mean, I’m in bed at 8:15 some nights. And our weekends are spent with each of us trying to get some alone time, grocery shopping, and spending time at my parent’s, so we rarely get time to feel like a married couple anymore. Or maybe this is just what marriage feels like now.

We went to Florida this past weekend for Easter. Well, we went so the family could meet Jackson. We ended up not getting there till 1am on Saturday morning and then I was exhausted Saturday! Luckily the drive was smooth and the room we slept in was pitch black, so Jackson even slept later than usual. Jackson did really well, although he was fussy in the afternoon just from being overstimulated I think. The kids all wanted to hold him and they were constantly moving him around and feeding him how 5 year olds feed babies, and I think he just had enough. So putting him down took awhile, but Jon’s mom ended up sitting with him and getting him to sleep, which she loved. And then Sunday we came back!

Alrighty, well Jon just finished up on his conference call so I’m off to make some broccoli while Jon cooks us up some chicken. No lie- this is the first time I’ve cooked a fresh vegetable since Jackson was born 4 1/2 weeks ago. Let’s not even talk about my diet. Although, it is improving some. I actually got tired of eating chocolate.

 

3 Weeks of Jackson

The thought of making blog posts isn’t really very exciting right now, hence the lack of posts. My days are pretty much the same right now. I wake up around 7:30 with Jackson, feed him, lay in bed and try to nap till about 10 with him, feed him, pump, attempt to get him to nap, wash bottles, eat breakfast, feed Jackson, attempt to get him to nap, pump, shower, try to get Jackson to keep napping, feed him, pump, attempt to get Jackson to nap, maybe eat lunch, maybe do homework, feed Jackson, pump again, Jon gets home, try to clean up, do more schoolwork, and then I go to bed around 8pm. And then I wake up two more times at night to feed him and pump. That’s it. That’s life.

It’s boring as hell. I also absolutely hate exclusively pumping. I went to a baby shower this weekend for a coworker and was beyond happy to get out of the house! I was also reassured by all my coworkers with babies who told me that the newborn phase really does just suck and it gets so much better from here. I already knew that, but still nice to hear! However, when I got home, I had to pump immediately and told Jon that I hate pumping. He got upset that I wasn’t “grateful” and only focus on the negative.

Hello. I pump ever 3 hours. For 30 minutes at least. FOUR HOURS A DAY I spend hooked to a milk machine! Then my nipples hurt and are so sensitive that wearing a shirt irritates them. They leak milk everywhere. All over the place! I usually have to keep a cloth diaper in my shirt to absorb all the milk! I get sharp pains in my boobs nonstop. They get full and uncomfortable. If I don’t pump, I get clogged milk ducts that hurt like crazy and decrease my milk supply. My boobs are on my mind 24/7. Sorry I’m not positive about this whole pumping thing, dude. I just keep telling myself that I only have to make it to three months and then I can start cutting back on my pumps! Maybe even to the point of sleep all night long!

Aside from all the pumping hubbub, Jackson is doing well. He was definitely easier as a sleepy newborn, but now he wants to stay awake more and doesn’t really like going to sleep for his naps so much. I can barely get anything done during the day in my many attempts to get him to nap. He doesn’t cry much, but he’ll fuss and unfortunately, he’s too young to let him cry it out yet. No self soothing capabilities at this age. While I find our schedule horribly monotonous and seriously dread every single weeknight where I have to do all of his feeds, I also love his little faces. I love when I go to burp him and he whispers little secrets into my ear, or how when he sneezes he ends with an “Aaaahhhh” that is the cutest thing ever. I love his little hands that flail all over and his cute little hands and feet. I love holding him and having him fall asleep on me. I love when he looks at me while I give him his bottle and he holds onto my fingers or holds onto his bottle too. He really is absolutely adorable while I can’t wait for this newborn stage to pass so we can just feel more like normal people who can actually sleep all night, I also know I’ll miss how tiny he is and I’ll miss the faces he makes and how he fits right on my chest.

The weather has been amazing here in Georgia but I haven’t been enjoying it much! I’ve gone on a few walks, but I feel the need to try and get schoolwork done and by the time I get a minute to myself during the day, it seems like something else comes up. I’ve been wanting to start venturing out with Jackson alone and honestly have just been so busy at home doing absolutely nothing (/caring for a newborn) that we haven’t made it yet.

Tomorrow evening I’m hanging out with Laura though and Thursday, Gina is coming over. Friday, Jon and I head to Florida so that his family can all finally meet Jackson! I’m super excited to get back down to Florida but also nervous about traveling with Jackson. Not even about having him out of the house, but just about trying to keep him on some sort of schedule with kids around and showing him off to family. If he doesn’t get enough sleep, he gets fussy and then he really won’t go down for a nap. So, we’ll see… It may be completely exhausting, or it may just be really nice to get out of the house for a few days since I’ve had major cabin fever in here.

I need to go pump again and maybe go outside for a few minutes before I go to bed. I’m getting tired and want to spend some time with Jon too!

Randoms

It has been so nice here in Georgia! I am seriously loving this weather! We’ve had our windows open the last few days and it’s amazing! I’ve also been enjoying walks with Jon and Jackson on a fairly regular basis! I really hope this weather sticks around and that some horrible cold front doesn’t move in!

I had my first two outings alone this past week! I left on Thursday night to go to book club (we read Sweet Tooth- I do not recommend this book) and it was SO NICE leaving my house alone! I got teary eyed just for a second thinking again about how much my life has changed. I mean, I actually enjoyed sitting in Atlanta rush hour because I was alone. For the first time in 13 days! I went to Babies R’ Us to make a few returns and get some items for a baby shower I’m going to next weekend and then headed to book club, where I had adult conversation and it was wonderful.

Yesterday Gina came over to hang out with Jackson for a bit and we went and had coffee and ran some errands. I feel like my conversational abilities are lacking now because literally all I do is take care of a newborn. How much is there to say about that? I think I mentioned my boobs 1000 times because all I do is pump and think about my boobs and when I have to pump next. So lame. But again, very nice to get out of the house and feel like a person again.

I’m so grateful for such a helpful husband who is totally fine with staying home with Jackson. But I wish I could go to Europe or something for awhile. Just to get away 😉

We’re supposed to be going over to my mom and dad’s today so my brother can take newborn photos of Jackson. We need to get them done cause he’s already outgrowing the newborn look! But I think my brother may need to cancel (he’s still asleep now and was working last night so we never fully figured it out) so I’m not sure what today will consist of. Other than grocery shopping. Jon is out to brunch with Andrew right now, so hopefully he comes home sometime soon so we can get this show on the road! Tonight I have a meeting with my grad school group online at 8:30pm, but I feel like whenever we have to meet, it gets messed up. I hate group project so much! Also, as a random side note, people charge like, $300 to take newborn photos. I wanted this girl to do them and holy cow, is that’s a lot of money!

Anyway, this is another boring update. Because my life is boring now. I need to start getting back into a more normal routine where I leave the house on my own to do things like grocery shop! Because clearly, that would make my life more exciting… Haha. Okay, time to go do some schoolwork!

The thing I’ve learned about newborns is that they eat all the time. And really, I haven’t learned much. Most of what I’ve “learned” comes from the multiple Facebook groups I’m now a part of. Breastfeeding Moms, Breastfeeding and Pumping Moms, Exclusively Pumping Moms, MOMents, Cloth Diaper Science, BabyWise Mamas, etc. See what I mean? You come home with a baby and have no idea what you’re supposed to be doing.

But I have learned that they need to eat every 3-4ish hours according to BabyWise and my breastfeeding group, so we basically follow eat, wake, sleep (also EWS in BabyWise). I gave up on nursing pretty quickly. Jackson would latch but it would take 10-15 minutes and then he never seemed satisfied. I had no idea how much he was getting from the boob, so I gave up. I never thought I would enjoy breastfeeding, honestly, and I was right. It felt weird. It felt unnatural. I found myself dreading feeding times because it would take 45 minutes or longer to feed him, and then I’d still feel lost as to whether or not he was hungry. So I’ve gone to exclusively pumping, which means I pump literally every 3-4 hours. It should be every 3 hours for the first 3 months, but I need some sanity. Sometimes I extend it. And then I leak milk all over myself, but who cares? Milk is everywhere in this house. In the bed, on the couch, on the floor… I still hate pumping. 100% HATE it! I feel like my time should be spent with Jon and Jackson or being productive and getting schoolwork done or the number of other things I want to finish in 2 hour increments, but I am constantly pumping. Feed Jackson a bottle for 20 minutes, pump for 20 minutes. And that means I have to stay plugged into a wall (although I need to get a car charger for my pump because that could be a game changer). It means when family comes over, I go sit in Jackson’s room and pump alone. But breast milk is free and Jon has actually stated numerous times he really hopes I can stick out the pumping so that he can have breast milk, because breast milk is better. I tend to pump 1-1.5 extra bottles every time I do (my freezer stash is pretty big already), so I’m hoping if I just pump for the first 3 months which is crucial for your supply anyway, then I can seriously drop down how many times I pump per day. The worst part is that even if Jackson does start sleeping longer, I still have to wake up at night to pump. It’s important not to drop the middle of the night pump before 3 months because I need to regulate my supply now… It’s a hassle.

And Jackson is gassy. And miserable. Despite his discomfort, he still is a great baby. It just means I need to cuddle him to sleep in my bed in the mornings and lay him down in his rock n’ play to keep him elevated a bit while I get the last little bit of sleep after Jon leaves for work. Sometimes I need to rock him to sleep during the day. He needs a little extra love and comfort from mama, which is cute, but also super time consuming when I have work to get done.

Other than that, I feel like I’m on house arrest. Jon and I did venture out for coffee this past weekend while my parents babysat! It was fantastic and it was a beautiful day! We went on a walk one evening. I made it two miles, even with the incision. We ventured out to Whole Foods the other day and to Target yesterday. But I’m still very hesitant to go anywhere alone and Jackson was not a fan of his baby carrier at all, so I need to try it again around the house and get him accustomed to it. I’m trying to get out with Jon and Jackson as much as possible so we can get used to it, but I’m so nervous for that time he starts crying while I’m out and I have to unstrap him from his car seat and figure out what’s wrong! I do have my 3 week OB appointment next Wednesday that I’ll be venturing to alone, so that’ll be interesting… And maybe even good for me.

The emotions are definitely much more calm now. I don’t even know when I cried last. I feel like I’m getting used to this life, although I still really miss my old life and can’t wait to be able to work out again or cut out all these pumping sessions. I know these hardships will be replaced with new ones (like instead of rocking Jackson to sleep, he’ll want to be awake and playing while I’m trying to work on grad school). I miss leaving the house and grocery shopping and hanging out with friends. I even miss working and am looking forward to picking up a few hours here and there once I’m fully healed up.

Alrighty, just wanted to make a quick update of the things that literally consume my life right now. I’m off to do some more school stuff since I have a meeting with my group tonight for a huge group project.

Jackson James- 1 Week

Well, we made it to a week today! This is going to be a long one, but this is for my own memory.

I woke up on Saturday morning as a new mom. I was in a bit of pain but honestly just wanted to get to the NICU to see my boy! Jon had already been up to see him but I had to wait until 12 hours from birth before I was allowed to get up. I actually had a meeting with my grad school group via Google Hangout, then had breakfast and the nurse finally let me get up to try and walk around. Thankfully, I still had an epidural, so I was getting a constant supply of narcotics plus I could have two bolus doses every hour as needed. I passed the walking test and got my foley taken out and was finally able to go see my baby!

Seeing Jackson again for the first time without so many drugs in my system was pretty emotional. I have no idea if I’d call it instant love, but it was definitely overwhelming, which is the theme of my week emotionally. I started crying right away and was thrilled to see him. I got to breastfeed him and then we had to formula feed him after since he was there for low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). That day was spent literally going up to the NICU every 3 hours and feeding, pumping while Jon gave him a bottle, holding him, and then taking naps between that. That was it. I was utterly exhausted still. My parents came by for a few in the evening and brought me food, but they didn’t stay long since I was still so tired.

I sent Jon home that night since his back was killing him from being in the hospital for two nights on horrible cots. He really didn’t want to leave Jackson or me, but there was nothing for him to do with Jackson in the NICU anyway. We did a 9:30 feed with Jackson and got back to the room around 11, so Jon left and I climbed in bed for the night. It was a bit of a restless night since they had to wake me up to pull my epidural at 11:30 and they kept checking my vitals and drawing blood. I was also having to wake up every 3 hours to pump and send what tiny little bit of colostrum I was making to the NICU. I was still having a hard time moving and I was super surprised that all night, I was able to get in and out of bed to the bathroom alone.

Jon came back at 7:30 the next morning with breakfast. He helped me get up and shower before heading up to feed Jackson again. Our morning looked the same again. To the NICU to feed and then back to the room to nap. Still super drowsy that day… Around 2pm, Jackson was finally able to come back to our room since his blood sugars had been great even without the IV fluids he was getting. Jon’s parents showed up for about an hour from Florida, my parents came, Billy and Crista came, and Jon’s friend Andrew came. All at the exact same time. It was a bit overwhelming as we had to feed as soon as they got there and then we also had a meeting with the lactation consultant, so I felt bad that everybody came and we had to do all of that stuff.

I did homework that evening for awhile and then Jon and I crawled into bed for another night of waking up frequently to feed. Luckily, it was a low key night as far as nursing care goes.

The next morning was tough. Breastfeeding had been difficult the night before and I was wanting to do schoolwork so I didn’t get behind. I didn’t feel like Jon was being very supportive of my decision not to take a semester off school and my hormones were clearly going crazy postpartum. I literally bawled my eyes out for probably 30 minutes. Like, sobbing out loud like a crazy woman. And of course, right as I finished and my face was even more swollen (I got insanely swollen during and after delivery- my entire body was so full of fluid! I also got super anemic so I was white as a ghost) with big red eyes, both my OB (MY actual OB, finally!) and the pediatrician came to see me. I assume it must have been obvious that I was crying since my OB reassured me that the first week after delivery is filled with tears- “For mom too.” My OB released me from care and the pediatrician was going to release Jackson on Tuesday, but I was allowed to stay until Jackson was released.

I had asked Jon to run some errands for me but with how hard breastfeeding had been, I was nervous to be left alone with Jackson all day. Luckily, Gina was off work so she came for 4 hours in the afternoon while Jon went home and napped and had lunch and got some more stuff together for me. You totally lose all modesty with a baby. The lactation consultant came back and I was so desperate for help feeding that I just sat there for an hour with my boobs out while Gina and Kassie were there (Kass came on her lunch break).

The evening was stressful again with the feeding. It was just Jon and me and luckily, we had a fantastic nurse (we had some subpar nurses while we were there) who was so willing to help and chat with us. She did all of our discharge teaching for the next day and we were able to go to sleep, although people were literally in and out of our room for the entire night.

The next day we got to go home FINALLY! The morning was super busy getting everything together and packing things up, but I think we got home around noon.

I think between Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday, I cried more than I have in my life. It was an all day thing. About everything. About how much I already care about Jackson, about how much I miss my old life, about how hard breastfeeding is, about how we have no idea what we’re doing, about how much I HATE feeding every 3 hours! I just cried and cried and cried. And cried. And cried some more. I expected hard, but nothing could have prepared me for how I felt coming home. I missed being in the hospital with so much support. I missed being pregnant so much. I just wanted to feel Jackson in my belly again. I looked at a picture of us from Thursday in the waiting room at the hospital before I got checked in and lost it. The amount life had changed in those few short days was just beyond overwhelming and I can’t even begin to put into words how I feel about it.

I told Jon yesterday that I almost feel like I had PTSD from the birth. Like, I have life before the big event, and I have life after. I would be absolutely devastated if anything were to happen to Jackson, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wondered if having a baby was a mistake and if I will ever enjoy being a mom. I don’t want to make it sound like I don’t enjoy having Jackson here. I love seeing his face. I love hearing his little sounds and he always takes two breaths in really fast and then sighs and it’s seriously the cutest thing ever. It breaks my heart hearing him cry, even though I know babies do that. I love watching Jon take care of him. But I’m still so hesitant to accept this new role as “Mom” and it’s just… it’s hard. I don’t know how to put it. It’s scary and it’s daunting and honestly, the thought of having to feed him every 3 hours makes me want to stab myself in the eye. It’s unbelievably cumbersome to have a baby, and I am a woman who likes to be unencumbered. I have missed “our time” so much between Jon and myself. I miss sitting on the couch with him without having anybody to tend to and just being able to relax. I miss my morning coffee and sleeping in and going to the gym. I miss ME. I feel like I went from being myself to JUST being Mom. And there are so many times where I just really don’t think I want to be “Mom” at all. I just want to go back to my old life. And when I look at pictures of myself when I was pregnant or of Jon and me before we were pregnant at all, I just want that back. I want it back more than I want to be a mother. But then, I love Jackson too…

Overall, things have improved some. I cry far less (I think yesterday maybe 1 or 2 times in the evening before bed and today I teared up listening to a song that always made me cry while I was pregnant). I asked Jon how we know if this is normal or if I have postpartum depression (PPD). That has always been huge fear of mine because of my history of depression, but so far, I feel like things are kind of easing off and I’m adjusting. I do want to start seeing a counselor for PPD just in case, but I don’t think I’m set on if meds would help. I’m sure my OB will ask me at my 3 week appointment since she came in after I was crying my eyes out, so I’m curious what she’ll have to say.

The one thing I have been really pleasantly surprised with is Jon. Aside from when I cried my eyes out in the hospital (and a tech came in after that who was AWESOME and talked to Jon and me for awhile and then Jon ended up apologizing), he has been just incredibly amazing. I was crying to him the other night and finally he said, “Do you want me to try and help you find answers or do you want me to just tell you that it’ll be okay?” and I said I just need somebody to tell me that it’ll be okay. And he has been 100% supportive. He has told me how much more he loves me after seeing what I went through to give him a child and how strong I’ve been. He’s understanding when I cry and he’s patient and kind and just everything I honestly did not expect. And not that I’m surprised by this, but he is an absolutely amazing father. He stays calm with Jackson and seems to have all the answers. He can always figure out how to fix what’s wrong. He has really just amazed me overall throughout this process.

And Jackson has really been a good baby. Aside from some breastfeeding problems which seem to be improving daily, he almost never cries unless we’re changing him or he’s hungry. He sleeps all day long and we wake him every three hours to get changed and eat and then he usually goes back to sleep. At night, he has been up every 2 hours to eat, so he eats for 1 hour, sleeps for 1 hour, and is awake again. Last night was a bit better, so maybe we’re getting over that hump… I think feeding him a bottle of breastmilk helps instead of getting him frustrated over latching in the middle of the night (I’m breastfeeding and feeding pumped bottles, obviously). He tends to just want to latch and unlatch repeatedly when he feeds and he doesn’t latch for long before becoming drowsy, so I was worried he wasn’t getting enough to eat. But he had his 1 week appointment and had gone from 6lbs 14 oz to 6lbs 15.5oz, and they don’t expect babies to be above birthweight until 2 weeks. And my pediatrician said as long as he eats 1.5-2oz of breastmilk at a time, he is all set and he’s eating 3-3.5 with a bottle. He’s also 75th percentile in height and 20th in weight, so I’m REALLY hopeful that he got Jon’s height too! I’d say the 75th percentile is a good indicator because the kids in my family have never been that high on the growth charts!

Alright, I have 45 minutes before we feed again. I also have a TON of schoolwork to get done but it’s hard to concentrate. I’m going to go nap for a few minutes and then it’s back to the boob for baby.

Jackson’s Birth Story

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I have quite a bit to post on- mostly how motherhood has completely turned my world upside down, and not necessarily in a good way. I literally cried more yesterday than I probably have in the last year combined. I honestly never could have expected it, and I thought I set fairly realistic expectations for how hard the transition was going to be. It has been every bit as hard as I thought it would be, x10,000.

Wednesday night I was telling Jon that I felt like Jackson wasn’t moving like his normal self. I laid down in bed to watch 2 hours of TV and tried pushing him around but he barely moved back, which is really abnormal for him. I told myself it was fine and that he would be okay, but I was still uneasy on Thursday morning so I called my OB. At that point, he still hadn’t really moved, so she told me to drink coffee, do a kick count, and hold tight till she called me back.

She called me at 12:30 and asked me to come to the doctor’s office at 1:30 for a fetal non stress test since he still had only moved about 5 times in the last hour, even with coffee. I showered, grabbed some stuff “just in case,” texted Jon, and left.

The non stress test was a bit concerning cause I had already drank tons of juice and coffee in preparation for it, but still felt barely any movements. His heart rate maintained 105-125 (he has always had a lower heart rate- I like to think it’s cause of his fit mama). The monitor also showed steady contractions every 4 minutes, which I knew I was having, but I never realized it was so frequent and constant. Jon arrived just as it was finishing and we were going to the exam room to meet with the doctor.

Jon was super stressed because his nephew has some developmental delays, and we never knew this before, but apparently he aspirated on meconium in utero and his heart rate decreased but they took too long to do a c-section. So his delays stem from that, apparently. Jon got me all stressed out and I was crying by the time the doctor came in.

She said because he still wasn’t super active and we were so concerned, we could go to a perinatal specialist for a biophysical profile. We left directly from her office and went for that test…

The ultrasound tech said Jackson still wasn’t moving much but that he was measuring good and passed most of the test but would have the doctor come look. The doctor came in and took a look at him and said she was concerned that he wasn’t “practice breathing.” I guess babies in utero start expanding their lungs to prepare for delivery. She said that because I was 38 weeks and 6 days, there was no practice breathing, and I felt like he wasn’t moving as much, she wanted me to go to the hospital for induction.

Jon and I left there to head to the hospital I wanted to deliver at, but the doctor immediately called and said my OB said I needed to deliver at the Atlanta location because I couldn’t be induced at the other location. Since we had time, we ran home to pack a bag and headed back out to the hospital.

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Headed to the hospital. 38 weeks, 6 days.

We waited over an hour for a room and then they took us back. The nurse said they’d put cervidil in my vagina to soften and thin my cervix and start the pitocin to dilate me at 7am. I was allowed to eat between 11pm and 5am, so I ate McDonald’s at 11pm out of desperation and then attempted to get some sleep.

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Jon and I took this outside in the waiting room. This picture makes me so emotional because we never could have really understood here just how much our life was about to change…

At 3am, I “woke up” and wasn’t having any contractions anymore according to the monitor. I decided to go to the restroom and noticed when I went, I was having contractions again. I laid down and by 3:30, I went into active labor. And it was PAINFUL. It went from Braxton Hicks-like contractions to full on, send me to my knees, contractions. I also got really nauseated and vomited once. I asked the nurse for pain meds and we decided that since I was only 2cm dilated, I’d wait on the epidural and get IV fentanyl instead.

The first dose didn’t help. I decided to shower one last time and was told that may help the pain anyway, but it was miserable. I was crying and barely standing for my entire shower because I had such consistent contractions with standing. I felt like having diarrhea. I wanted to vomit. It was awful. The second dose of fentanyl helped for about 30 minutes, and by the time I got my third and last dose, I told the nurse we needed to see about getting anesthesia in the room to do my epidural before the fentanyl wore off.

I had to wait awhile for the epidural and I was miserable. Then the CRNA stuck me twice, which I was so surprised about because I’m super thin and should be easy. The second time he stuck, he didn’t numb me first and I jumped. Then I felt it all in my left leg and when he pushed the meds, there was so much pain in my lower back and pelvis. It was crazy.

The nurse checked my cervix to see if I was dilating at all and I was 2cm. My water also broke all over her hand. She noticed that the fluid had meconium in it (meconium is the first poop), which increases the risk for the baby during delivery.

I started to feel better after the epidural. I didn’t feel any contractions for awhile, but continued to have nausea. I really hated the feeling of the epidural though because it makes your legs feel asleep. I couldn’t tell when I touched them. I kept telling Jon it was like touching a dead person. And I could barely move at all. People had to roll me from side to side and move my legs for me. It actually made me feel really anxious. I tried to get some sleep, but Jackson’s heart rate dropped while Jon was out of the room (I think maybe he went home to get something or went to get some lunch? I honestly don’t even remember). I was bawling cause I thought something was wrong with my baby and I was so scared. But it all ended up being fine- I just couldn’t lay on my left side at all because his heart rate would drop every time I did. My parents showed up after they worked 1/2 a day. I was still feeling really weird from the epidural, but no pain…

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Feeling numb and super tired.

Kassie came to visit for a bit (I actually completely forgot about this until she reminded me after the delivery). I was so hungry  and just literally exhausted. I just kept closing my eyes and drifting off to sleep but never fully could fall asleep. Kass was there briefly, and by the time she left, I was starting to feel contractions again. Within a few minutes, it was awful again. Like crying in pain and miserable. I had my parents leave the room and just Jon stayed with me till anesthesia came back to give me another bolus through the epidural.

Whatever they gave me was horrible. It made me upper back hurt so bad and I could barely move my neck. I couldn’t get comfortable and was so upset. Finally, the epidural kicked in and I got comfortable again.

After a few hours, my OB came back to check me. He said I was 10 cm but Jackson was still too high. He said he’d come back in 30 minutes so we could try to push till he came down.

During that time, my nausea and contractions came back. I asked for more pain meds and more nausea meds, but in the midst of shift change, I never got it.

The doctor came back around 7:15 with the night shift crew and we started pushing with basically no meds at that point. It was awful. I mean, downright awful. I couldn’t lift my head up to my chest because my neck hurt so bad from the previous epidural bolus and I had no energy and the pressure and pain was just unbearable. I told Jon about 1,000 times how I couldn’t push anymore. Finally, the nurse said she’d call anesthesia cause she said my pushing was ineffective because of my pain.

Anesthesia came and medicated me again. He was super rude and didn’t listen to anything I told him about the last bolus dose and I ended up with super intense upper back and neck pain. My contractions felt better though so I pushed once or twice before the room filled with people.

My OB came back to the bedside (he left for all the pushing) and they were concerned that Jackson’s heart rate had dropped into the 60s. He also said I was pushing but Jackson’s head was stuck in my birth canal and they could only see the back of it and it was turning purple and not coming any lower. He was also concerned about the meconium. Honestly, at this point, I was so out of it I barely remember anything. I felt nothing. I wasn’t scared. I was basically just there. Jon started freaking out (calmly) not knowing what was happening to his son in my belly. The doctor mentioned an emergent c-section and I didn’t even ask any questions. I was so exhausted from pushing that having a c-section sounded like the best thing ever.

My mom came in and got our belongings together and Jon and I went off to the OR. I was shaking so bad from the epidural (I had been shaking almost nonstop since my epidural was placed, but this was more intense) and could barely keep my arms still to keep them out of the sterile field. The anesthesiologist medicated me and Jon came to the head of the bed with me and then I felt pressure and heard Jackson crying.

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Yup, that’s my belly and my baby boy. Cone head is pointed back, so you can’t tell how oddly his head is shaped.

Jon was staying with me and I told him to go follow Jackson and take pictures of him so I could see him too. I was still so scared that something was wrong with him and I kept asking the anesthesiologist if he was okay. He said he was. Jon came over and had tears in his eyes and said he was the most beautiful baby boy ever. After a few minutes, they brought Jackson over to see me, although I honestly don’t remember what he looked like at that point. I fell asleep until they took me to recovery, where Jon and Jackson were.

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Jackson and I had some skin to skin time and I learned how to breastfeed (or just started learning- I had a LOT more learning while I was there and still do). I really loved seeing him and just holding my baby and felt so overwhelmed and in awe of the fact that Jon and I created this little guy. I wouldn’t call it instant love by any means, but it was a feeling I’ve never felt before. I kept saying how beautiful he was and how that was our baby. I was also still more tired than I ever have been in my entire life and could not wait to drink water. I asked Jon for a million ice chips.

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In recovery and barely awake.

We went to our room and my mom and dad came up to see me and meet Jackson. They left around 12:30 or 1 and then Jackson went to the nursery for his assessment. He had a low blood sugar, and at 2am, he went up to the transition unit (must be a step-down from NICU) and Jon and I finally fell asleep for the night.

It was 17 hours of active labor, about 1 1/2 of pushing, and a c-section. I didn’t eat for a total of 36 hours and didn’t sleep for 37 hours straight.