Friday, March 21, 2014

Isaiah's Arrival

A little backstory: 

Our older son, Jackson, was born 22 days early, so we've been expecting an early arrival for our second little man. Given my history of early labor, my midwife preferred I stop nursing Jax early in the third trimester because of the chance for contractions. However, I was determined to make it as far as possible, so we could continue to give him what we felt was best. That said, despite lots of supply issues and doubt, we made it a few weeks past his first birthday. Then, around 34 or 35 weeks of pregnancy, the contractions came and they were intense. I had mostly Braxton Hicks, but nursing would kick them up the most. So finally, we ended our nursing relationship mid-January. A few weeks later, I "dropped" with Isaiah. When Jackson dropped a month early, I wasn't aware of it, but in retrospect I now realize he was born 5 days later. So, given my history, the contractions, and then Isaiah's drop at 35 weeks, we were definitely certain little man was coming early, we just weren't sure how early. This time we had our bag packed, and started watching every little sign. With Jax I missed all of the signs of early labor, like fatigue, soreness, nesting, energy burst, all of it. This time however, I was paranoid. Was my back sore from early labor or from third trimester? Were my legs sore and fatigued from bowling or labor? Was I feeling energized because of a good night's sleep, or from labor energy burst? It was a different experience full of anticipation. Once we made it to 37 weeks, mentally I said "game on" and prepared for the big day.
Left: Pre baby drop at 34 weeks.
Right: Post baby drop at 35 weeks. 
An evening at the beach as a family of 3
Bowling a few days before delivery
It's time:

Tuesday I had the privilege of cooking a meal for some friends who just welcomed a new baby girl, which allowed me to indulge in nesting and celebrating hitting the 37 week mark! Wednesday night, this exhausted mama took an early shower and went to bed at 8:30pm while my wonderful husband cleaned up the leftovers and dishes. Shortly after 11pm, I woke up for a bathroom break. (As any pregnant woman can vouch for- a good night's sleep involves multiple bathroom breaks, especially in the third trimester). I sleepily emptied my bladder and returned to bed. Only to feel a small trickle/ urge to urinate again. "Ugh," I thought. After my repeat bathroom trip, I again felt the urge upon laying down and a small trickle. I hadn't felt any pop or breaking of water, however with Jackson I had a "slow leak" with no contractions until about an hour after water breaking, and I labored a total of 8 hours. So, I got up, and had repeat bathroom breaks over the next hour or so. Dan asked me "did your water break?" I responded "I"m trying to figure that out now, I'm not sure, maybe?" While waiting to see if contractions would start and labor would progress, I decided to curl my hair. Why not right? I mean, I'm up, and if this is false labor, I'll already be partially ready for work in the morning. And if it's true labor, well then at least I can pass the time waiting for contractions to start.

To go or not to go:

As I curled my hair, I began to feel easy contractions. I wanted to labor at home as much as I could, because I don't see the purpose of rushing up to the hospital with hours and hours to go. If I have to hang out and wait for things to happen, I may as well wait at home. With my first labor, I labored at home for 2 hours, then when contractions were 3-4 minutes apart we went to the hospital and were admitted at almost 2 cm and 80% effaced. At this point I knew I was starting at 3 cm, but by OB had not said anything about effacement at my 36 week appointment. By midnight we determined we were definitely in labor, and I finished packing the can't-be-packed-until-the-last-minute items into our hospital bag. At this time we notified family via text that it may be baby time, and we debated when we should call our babysitter for Jackson. Labor progressed and about 12:45 am I was on the phone with the on-call OB. The conversation went something like this:

OB: So you're having contractions? Is this your first child?
Me: No, this is my second. My contractions are about 45-60 seconds long, and timing about 4 minutes apart right now.
OB: Are the contractions painful?
Me: Well, I mean, they're uncomfortable, but nothing like they're about to be in the next few hours, right?
OB: (silence)
Me: Anyway, we will likely be heading to the hospital within the hour or so and will call my provider then.
OB: OK, we will see you in a little bit.

At this point I've moved to the bed and contractions are really getting persistent. By 1 am I told Dan "OK, time to call the babysitter. Let's get this show on the road"

"You didn't get help?":

Over the next 45 minutes, we waited for our babysitter to arrive to watch Jackson so we could head to the hospital. After about 30 minutes I was really starting to feel the pain. At this point I asked Dan to call our friend who was going to be our birth coach- I had texted her about midnight, but didn't hear back. Our friend said she would meet us at the hospital and leave when we did (she lives about 10-15 minutes further than we do). Dan loaded up the car, and I said I was going to take myself to the car so that when the babysitter arrives we can just go. At this point contractions were about 2 minutes apart, so when I got a break, I made for the car. Once in the car I leaned the seat back and continued to labor in the fetal position. The babysitter must've come (I didn't even realize or say hello- how rude am I?), because Dan appears in the car and we leave for the hospital. It's 1:45 am. We live about 5-10 minutes from the hospital, even less at 2 am when your husband runs every red light and there's no traffic. The only entrance open after hours is the ER entrance. During our short drive I am almost crying, and tell Dan there is no way I can do this without an epidural. I HAVE to get one. Dan reassures me, and I insist that second children are harder and this is unbearable. I must be at least 5cm. Our pre-labor doula with Jackson told us 5cm is the worst pain, and after that it just becomes more constant (something I found true about my labor with him). I have to at least 5cm. There is no way I'm not, this is just too painful. This has to be the worst it gets. Please let this be the worst the contractions are going to get.

As we pull into the ER entrance, I ask Dan to go inside and get me "a wheelchair, a stretcher, anything. I can't walk upstairs like this" Dan returns after what seems like an eternity, and I haven't even moved from the fetal position. I am in almost constant contractions and on the verge of tears. My back is to the passenger door, and I ask Dan what he got. "I got a wheelchair" he says. "You didn't get a stretcher? Did you at least tell them I was here?" "No," he replies, "You said get a wheelchair, so I grabbed one and came right out." "You didn't get help?" I cried. There was no one to move me from the car to a stretcher. I was going to have to move on my own, and sit up. This is going to be awful. It's 2am.

The finale:

Dan pushed me in my wheelchair through the ER and the hallways to the main lobby elevator, with a stop or two for contractions. We finally get up to the labor and delivery floor and ring the bell to the secured unit. We buzz in and I say "Hi. It's baby time. Page anesthesia" The nurse kindly tells me I need to fill out paperwork, and tries to hand me a stack of papers.

Me: I filled these out already. During my preregistration. I turned them in last week.
Nurse: You have to fill them out every time you come.
Me: I haven't been here yet, I just turned them in for this admission a few days ago.
Nurse: I'm sorry, you have to fill these out before we can admit you.

At this point I start to cry. I know for a fact that 1. I filled these out already. 2. That the entire REASON for preregistration is to NOT have this upon admission.

Me: (almost crying) I promise I will fill out whatever you need, but please put me in a bed so I can lay down. (I'm totally embarrassed and humiliated, but I am in so much pain that I am almost begging. I'm convinced the nurses must be judging me for being such a weak, laboring woman)

We enter the labor and delivery room accompanied by nurses to help me change, take my vitals, get my registration information, etc. This seems like a terribly long process when you have near constant contractions. I manage to move out of the wheelchair towards the bed, but must crouch next to it at the exact moment they ask for my social. I can't speak. I hold up the fingers as Dan calls out the numbers one by one. This is getting really intense. "Can you page anesthesia?"

With my first delivery we were admitted at almost 2cm, labored for 6 hours before delivery, and I was able to get an epidural at 9cm. This time seems so much more intense. I manage to crawl into the bed and the nurse checks my progress. 8cm. No wonder I was in so much pain!! "Have you paged anesthesia?" The nurse kindly tells me we have to get me admitted and an IV placed before we can do that. I hold out my arm and let her know "my veins are like highways. Nice and wide and they don't roll." We place an IV and I again say "we need to page anesthesia." I am determined to get this epidural. I know it's not common to get so late, but they did it last time. But we are moving fast. I need them here soon.

After a few minutes, I am again in the fetal position. Mind you, I am trying to labor quietly but can't help but moan. The nurses tell me to breathe through the contractions. "Focus on blowing out that candle," they say, "picture that candle and blow it out for me." I'll give them something they can blow out their rear ends! I don't care about the stupid candle! I suddenly feel pressure. "I think I'm going to poop," I cry to Dan, again humiliated. He reassures me "it's ok. It's normal. It just means Isaiah is moving down into the birth canal." "I know that," I snap, "and it there's not enough room for both, but that means he's moving down and it's almost time! Have they paged anesthesia?!?!" I feel the pressure release and the nurses very quickly clean me up. "I'm so sorry. That's so gross," I apologize to the nurses and Dan. "It's not a big deal at all," reassure the nurses. "I didn't look," says Dan. "Thank you," I cry. Some small preservation of dignity in front of my husband.

I cannot stop pushing downward. Every contraction I feel the need. The nurses ask me not to push, not to bear down. "I can't not push!" I snap. "I can't not push!" Again I am not able to use my midwife to deliver. Last time she was sick, and today I have no idea if they even called her. I know they haven't called anesthesia! (Our birth coach still has not arrived, but praise God she did not come in when I pooped! My butt was to the door!) The on-call doctor comes in and says, "Ok Heather, we can see the baby's head. It's right there." "No kidding, I can feel THAT," I thinkAs I assume the position the nurses again remind me about the stupid freaking candle. "I'm going to burn this place down with your damn candle," I promise them in my head. I get the clearance to push, and realize that I am doing this without anesthesia.

After that things moved very quickly. Three big pushes, less than 5 minutes, and Isaiah James Campbell was here! Between pushes 2 and 3 the OB coaches me to push through the burn. "What am I going to do? Put him back in there? Of course I'm going to push," I think to myself. Side note- laboring Heather is very sarcastic and crass. Isaiah comes out screaming, strong lungs wailing away. 2:32am. I've been at the hospital for 30 minutes. I've been in labor less than 4 hours.

I hold Zay for a minute and suddenly feel pressure again. "Oh no, I think I'm going to poop again," I warn. "No, that's just the placenta." Thank God. I don't want to poop for an audience again. The doctor delivers the placenta and starts to clean me up and place a few stitches. The nurses take Isaiah, for what I assume is cleaning up and stats. Within a few minutes, more people join Isaiah's team of caregivers. They inform us that they can't get his breathing regulated and he is going to the NICU on CPap. I hold him for a few more moments, and our dear friend snaps a few phone photos. Then he is whisked away. Dan hasn't held him. We don't even know how much he weighs or how long he is. We anxiously await his stats while I begin recovery.


We spent a little over 48 hours in the NICU for breathing problems. The first 18 hours he was on CPAP and IV nutrition, and had a feeding tube placed. We were unable to nurse, so I started our breastfeeding relationship alone in my hospital room, with a pump. Thankfully, I've just finished a year of breastfeeding and pumping for Jackson, so I am familiar and comfortable with the equipment, but how traumatizing it would be for a brand new mother! Dan left us to take Jackson to preop for his ear tubes placement. It was a hard decision for him to leave, but Jax had been so miserable- there's nothing that could stop us from getting these tubes placed and helping little man feel better! Dan's mom drove to town in the middle of the night and arrived early morning, and my mom arrived the next afternoon. They were God sent as we figured out how to care for a baby in the NICU and adjust to newborn life again. The first day we somehow managed to have a bunch of visitors (most of whom couldn't see Isaiah in the NICU), but we kept our sweet boy's arrival off the social networks. We were trying to absorb everything going on and weren't prepared for the onslaught of questions if we posted a picture of him full of tubes and lines. By evening the first day, we were cleared to stop the Cpap and pull out the tube feeding so he could nurse! I had pumped a few times by then, and had even brought some frozen breastmilk from home (I had very little left of my freezer stash, but when the NICU staff said we may need to supplement my pumped colostrum with formula, I asked if we could supplement with milk I'd pumped a few months earlier and frozen- and they said yes!) Once we were cleared, Isaiah nursed well right away that first time! The next few days were spent filtering in and out of the NICU for Isaiah's feeds and procedures, the L&D floor for my meals and meds, and receiving visits from friends and our moms with Jackson.

Finally, after 48 hours, despite a high bilirubin showing signs of jaundice- we were home as a family of 4! Those first sweet moments at home of introducing our boys to each other were captured by our moms on photo and video, and we are so grateful for that! By the grace of God we are home, happy, and adjusting as a family of four with lots of prayer. We are daily reminded of how blessed we are to have our boys, each other, and our families and friends who selflessly volunteer to help us so often. Life is good.
Isaiah James Campbell
2:32am, 7lb 15oz, 21 inches 
Sweet baby in the NICU
Kangaroo Care for some skin to skin right before we were cleared to initiate breastfeeding. This was our trial period of removing the Cpap to see if his numbers would stay up without the support. 
First family picture without all the tubes and lines! Only monitors on at this point. 
Free to go! 
Heading home!

Family of Four
The three loves of my life together for the first time

Friday, March 14, 2014

Doctors galore

So Isaiah James Campbell is here. His birth story and more details to follow. But for now just know that our oldest, Jackson, had tubes placed last month and Isaiah has reflux that required hospitalization for breathing issues last month as well. Between childbirth and two sick kids, we go to the doctor alot. Tonight I counted. Here's our list:

Jax Tubes pre op (a few hours after Isaiah was born and sent to NICU)
Isaiah NICU follow up
Jax Tubes appt- cancelled and sent to Ped
Jax Pediatrician for congestion
Jax Tubes appt- tubes placed
Jax Tubes follow up
Isaiah hospitalized for weekend, then hospital discharge follow up
Jax Tubes follow up
Isaiah Pediatrician for worsening reflux
*OB postpartum check
*2 mo/ 15 mo well babies and shots sibling visit

* appts scheduled in the next few weeks.

That's 11! Unless you count sibling appointment as 2, then it's 12. 12 doctor visits in 8 weeks. We are exhausted. Add to that an eternally cluster feeding newborn for comfort from reflux who needs to be held upright to sleep 24/7. Also add a 14 mo old who still doesn't sleep through the night. No wonder we feel so defeated. It seems never ending.

Praise God we have amazing friends and family who are so willing to serve us and help us, we would never make it through this without their help!

Monday, June 10, 2013

5 months old!

We can't believe our little man is 5 months old already. He is the love of our lives, and we are so blessed to have a healthy, playful, handsome guy. He's teaching us about love, patience and ourselves everyday. Here's some of the most recent happenings.

Size: Jackson is now in size 6-9 months clothes. 3-6 were getting tight, he's really on the borderline for sizes, but we've moved him up. Target brand diapers are abnormally huge, so we've been able to stretch the size 2 for longer, otherwise we'd be in size 3 for sure. We haven't weighed him in a few weeks, but we've definitely already doubled our birth weight (goal by 6 mo), and he's weighing in somewhere near 17 pounds! Growing so much!

Health: Jackson has been healthy all month- praise God! No more ER visits, we haven't had to use the nebulizer or even the humidifier. Even with daycare, travel, and family visits our little man has stayed healthy as can be.

Sleep: Sleep habits are pretty much the same still. He usually gets in a longer nap late morning/ midday and then takes a late afternoon and an evening catnap. Bedtime is 9pm and on occasion he will sleep through the night, but majority of nights he's still getting up to nurse once, which gives me extra cuddle time with my little man :) Since he's still waking up some, Jackson is still in the pack and play in our room. I'm not ready to transition him across the hall just yet, but we have practiced naps in his big boy crib. It's so funny how the baby's room HAS to be ready, and noone ever goes in there except to grab clothes. Go figure.

Schedule: Schedule is the same as before. Thankfully Jackson has put himself on a regular schedule, and even with travel, visitors and everything else, he has managed to stick to it most days:
6am: Wake up/ breakfast
730am: Leave for school/ work, catnap in the car
9am: mid morning feed
10am-12pm: long nap
12pm: lunch time!
130-2pm: afternoon catnap
3pm: mid afternoon feed
5-530pm: catnap
6pm: dinner!
730pm: nurse then last catnap
830pm: bath/ shower
9pm: nurse and bedtime
2am: nurse

Social: Our little man is quite the big flirt. He's always smiling and laughing at Mommy and Daddy, teachers at school, and any friends and family he gets to meet. Just recently he's really become interested in Wally. He will often follow Wally around the room with his eyes, and smiles or gets excited when Wally likes his entire face. Last weekend Jackson threw his first fit, and Dan and I didn't know what to think. I don't remember exactly what happened, but it was something to the effect of Jax being impatient and frustrated when we didn't respond right away. He stiffened his arms and legs, then let out a short but loud yell. It happened to each of us over the weekend, and when Jax did to to me I said, "Well, excuse me sir, but there is NO need for THAT." Oh the joys heading our way...

Diet: Still breastfed! Jackson is doing great at nursing and I'm really enjoying the extra cuddle time with my monkey. I am, however, looking forward to starting him on foods. Our pediatrician supports our decision to exclusively breastfeed, and like the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics both recommend, we plan to wait on foods until 6 months.

That said, the checklist of milestones for trying food include good head control while sitting and/or sitting unassisted, interest in foods, ability to turn head away from bottle or breast when full, motor skill developed for putting everything in his mouth. Jax has met all of these milestones, so we're patiently waiting for the right time to start foods. We did let him try some pureed, frozen bananas last week and he LOVED them! He was lunging for the spoon and very eager, so I think we may be trying foods sooner than 6 months.

Crying: Usually only when sleepy, and at 730pm- that's fussy-30 at our house. Otherwise, happy, giggly, smiley boy :)

Milestones: Sometimes sleeping through the night, sitting up great, trying foods soon, everything goes in his mouth, and he can flip over tummy to back. Note: he won't roll over for mom and dad because he knows we will give in and flip him, but we've seen him do it for other people :) Stubborn little booger.

Mom and Dad: Doing great. Lots of exciting changes in both of our careers, but less and less 'us' time. Taking a marriage class during VBS at church, and it's lending great insight to the institution of marriage that will hopefully help us for years to come. For the most part, we focus our time and schedules on family time, chores, and sleep. We are hoping that sometime soon our schedule will regulate and we will have more time for each other, working out, and just plain down time. For now, we are just too busy being Mom and Dad and loving our little monkey!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

A Special Day for Mom

This year was my first year having the privilege to celebrate Mother's Day, crazy to think I'll celebrate this day every year for the rest of my life. Here's a recap of how my first, very special Mother's Day went.

First, Saturday we demolished our kitchen. Like, literally we tore out the cabinets, counters, moved the stove, everything.

So, after understanding that we had NO kitchen, it makes this first part of Mother's Day extra special. Jackson and Wally woke up early, about 5:30am. Normally I try to allow Dan some extra sleep when that happens, but this morning he took the boys to the living room and let me sleep in- until 8am!!! That extra 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep was a Godsend. I woke up without an alarm, to the sunshine coming in through our brown curtains in the dark, cool bedroom. Ahh.... amazing. I then hear Dan in the kitchen puttering around, and Wally running in and out of the open sliding back door. I pull myself out of bed and wander down the hall to find Dan in our shambles of a kitchen, oven plugged in and slid to the middle of the room, cooking me pancakes for breakfast. Wally was frantically running around trying to get someone, anyone, to throw his Kong and play with him. Jackson was in his bouncer, telling Daddy everything about his morning and his dreams. The kid was talking more than we've ever heard before! He rambled on with his coos and ahhs and smiled when he saw me walk into the kitchen. The room was a little hazy and slightly smelled like smoke, which I later learned was a result of the first batch of pancakes- burnt to a crisp. I scooped up our beautiful boy and returned to the bedroom for diaper change/ get dressed/ Jackson eat breakfast, and Dan brought my golden and perfect (second batch) of pancakes to me in the room. Two blueberry and one banana chocolate chip. It was a perfect start to the day.

The next hour went per routine with us alternating playing with the baby while we got ready for church. We headed off to Sunday School in separate cars, and Dan told me when we arrived that Jackson continued to talk his ear off the whole drive. After Sunday School we left before service, the boys heading home, and me heading to an hour long massage Dan had booked for me!! I drove out to the shopping area by the beach (where we were when we went into labor with Jackson- such a fond memory) and headed for my massage while enjoying the warmth of the abundant sunshine. My massage went great, and was actually very painful and uncomfortable- in a good way. My massage therapist was able to pinpoint all of my stress spots, even in my pulled IT band, and work them out without mercy. I left the massage sore, dehydrated, and feeling gross as the released toxins flooded my bloodstream. Even with as rotten as I felt, it was such a treat and she did a great job.

I headed home to my boys, we grabbed a quick lunch of refrigerator leftovers before heading out for some essentials. 10 X 10 EZ canopy and a wagon (to be bought later) to head to the beach! That's right, abundant sunshine and a house under construction means we were free to enjoy the sunshine! Jackson did great at the beach, and wasn't sure what to think of the waves crashing up around his waist and face while he and daddy sat at the water's edge. Although our beach trip didn't last long, it was a great success!

That evening we grabbed a quick drive thru dinner and headed home to unwind and enjoy our time together before starting the rat race in the morning. Jax was talkative all night, and full of smiles and coos. It was the first day we've really had him talk all day. And blow lots of bubbles. It was a perfect, wonderful day and my boys made it very special for this mama. Dan has once again spoiled me, and set the bar high for future special days for each other :)



Thursday, May 9, 2013

4 months and some change

Working moms don't always have time for some things... like monthly updates to their blogs! So we're skipping 3 month update and lumping it in with 4 month update. Here's hoping I can keep this up on a semi regular basis...

Size: Clothes are 3-6 months. Our tall monkey is quickly outgrowing the length in many of these outfits, but still has room to grow in his tummy. Diapers we're still in size 2, but we can make the size 3 transition soon. At our 4 month well baby, Jax measured in at 15.2#, 26 inches. That's the 50%ile for weight, 85%ile non-corrected. If we correct for prematurity, our big guy is measuring in the 60%ile for weight and 97%ile for height!!! For any non-medical people, or non-parents all that number talk basically means we have a very healthy size baby! When you mix long baby with normal weight, that means he's long and lean. And still perfect. :)

Health: Jax is still relatively healthy, and no question he is healthier than if he was breastfed. Being in daycare creates the opportunity for repeat colds, and Jackson hasn't been immune to that, poor guy. One of his colds last month had lots of congestion, which backed up and led to pinkeye- so that led to antibiotic eye drops, but quickly resolved. Our newest, and scariest ailment resulted in a late night visit to the ER for a breathing treatment and RSV-negative bronchiolitis. Praise God he turned out RSV-negative AND we have great insurance that covers our expenses, including our at-home nebulizer. We don't have to do the breathing treatments anymore, but the lingering cough can last weeks, so we're still dealing with that. He spiked a fever after his 4 mo shots, but he was still our smiling, cuddly, lovey baby and only needed one round of Tylenol.  Again, we are so grateful for our healthy boy.

Sleep/Schedule: We occasionally have nights where we will get to sleep 6-7 hours, but most nights our routine has stayed consistent. Nighttime shower, play time with daddy, then nurse and bedtime. We wake again between 2 and 4, then back to sleep until 6:30am. For the most part, Jackson is like clockwork. It makes weekends hard when we want to sleep in, but makes it easy for us to know what to expect from him, as well as for him to know what to expect from his daily routine. As for napping, he gets a good mid-morning nap, and in the afternoon/evening he doesn't nap more than 15 minutes at a time. He's more of a cat napper like his mama in the afternoons, and a long sleeper like his daddy in the mornings.

Social: Jackson is doing great at his milestones, like holding his head up and tracking items. He is still very dramatic, and hates tummy time, but it's a work in progress. We have a very talkative 4 month old, and there's few things better then we he sees Dan or I, smiles, clasps his hands together and starts cooing and squealing. I know he has so many things to tell us, and I can't wait to hear them! Some of his new favorite games are peek a boo and standing man. He also LOVES outside, the sun on his face, wind, walks, his stroller, just pretty much anything outside. I am so excited to take him on long walks and play in the park/ at the beach together. Only in the last few days has he started to watch and smile at Wally. We know they will be best friends when our boys can play together.

Diet: Still exclusively breastfed baby, and that makes one happy mommy! My initial goal was to be able to breastfeed, then next goal was to maintain supply after returning to work, now the new goal is to make it to 6 months of EBF, hopefully then on to a year! So far so good. Part of breastfed babies is less stinky diapers and healthy BM's. Jax used to have multiple dirty diapers a day, and now averages maybe one per day but boy does he have gas! Our tootin' man can rip with the best of them, I wonder what on Earth he eats! We don't plan to start any foods until after the 6 mo mark, but I am so excited for when that happens. It'll be so fun!

Crying: In this aspect, we're lucky. Jax doesn't cry much, but he sure has a flair for the dramatic. He definitely will work up the tears and the crying when he wants something. Within a few seconds of being picked up/ soothed/ getting what he wants he's back to being calm and smiley. This is something we will need to work on and wean away, better now than later.

Milestones: Holding his head up, standing with assistance, tracking, laughing, cooing, kicking to roll over, self soothing to sleep, squealing and grabbing his hands- all milestones our little monkey has mastered.

Mom and Dad: We are used to our sleep routine, but we're exhausted all the time. We don't remember the last time we went to bed when we felt like, or got up when we felt like it. Between Wally and the baby, we are slaves to our daily routine. We live to get home and sleep. We sleep between feedings. It's becoming a blur, and as much as we love this stage of our family, we can't wait to sleep through the night on a regular basis.

We are constantly exhausted and it is definitely a challenge to schedule time for ourselves alone and as a couple. I still struggle with feeling guilty if I want to do something without our little monkey, but we are starting to find a balance.

Hormonal changes continue post partum. Newest change: hair loss. I've read about it, and I knew it was coming. But it's still shocking to see handfuls of hair come out post shower and everything I brush.

Another quick update for this family: Daddy will soon be returning to school to work in his Master's, and Mommy will be returning to Florida State University Panama City campus as a professor!

Other than that, we are good, healthy and happy. Totally in love with each other and with our baby boy. :)
Campbell Family March 30, 2013 at the Crossfit fundraiser Sara organized. We are so proud of her! 

Easter basket for a 3 mo old. The large eggs had socks and new pacifiers in them. 

Easter 2013

Road trip with my boys

Watching daddy pump gas

Attempting tummy time. It's like he's saying "no ma, I'm good."

Our dramatic man hates this one particular voice I do, so naturally I do it all the time and laugh at his sad face. 

Narcissistic baby loves his own reflection

Self soothing with that thumb, and working on rolling over. 

Morning before mommy left for girls weekend. Enjoying extra cuddle time with my little man. 

Boys loving on each other while mommy is away.

ER Breathing Tx for our big guy. 

More narcissistic baby loving his reflection. 

Jax loves family walks and the sweet hat Dan's mom gave him :)

Practicing sitting in the high chair. We sit here to watch mommy and daddy cook, or during meal times to get in the routine of high chair sitting. Pretty soon we'll add baby food to the routine! 

self soothing with whatever finger he can get into that mouth of his. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Lessons learned

Lesson 1: The best place to get dirty is in the shower.
We've gotten in the habit of family showers. All three of us jump in and we have it down to an art. I clean up with hot water while Dan and Jax hang out, then we turn down pressure and temp and the boys jump under the water to clean the baby. We hand off the baby, Dan turns the pressure and temp back up and he gets clean while Jackson gets a snack. Then the boys get out first, dry off, get dressed, and play while I do the same and do all of my bedtime preps. Then Jax and I nurse while Dan and Wally have cuddle time. It's a random routine, but it works for our family and our fur baby and actual baby enjoy it each time. Now, Dan and I have each taken our turn being peed on in the shower. Sometimes it's before we've gotten clean, sometimes after. Either way we're already in the shower. There's been blowout diapers, golden showers, and vomit sessions that lead to repeat bathing for one or all of us. Dan has been pooped on, and I've put my hand in a blowout. But never, I mean never, did I expect what happened the other night. As we're finishing up the shower, Jax is just nursing away and Dan is cleaning up. Jax has been really gassy lately, and I'm not sure if anyone has ever had gas in the shower--- but it's like heavier than the steam or something because it just seems to sit right at nose level. So Jax will have gas in the shower and it smells so awful! Well, not this time. Nope. He shot out poop all over the shower! Breastfed babies have soft, mustard or green colored poops and this came out like a cannon. It actually made noise, as he filled up my hand and arm. It was on the shower wall, the curtain, the tub, my hand, my arm, everywhere. And it smelled awful. Dan of course is just laughing at me as I am saying, "turn down the temperature so I can put him under! Oh my gosh this is so gross! Dan, it's not funny. I can't believe he just had butt cannon all over. gross. Stop laughing and help!" Needless to say, the best place to get dirty is when you're already in the shower. We finished up and the boys jumped out like normal while I did a repeat body clean and cleaned the shower, wall, tub and curtain. What a night. 

Lesson 2: Murphy's Law is real.
If it CAN go wrong, it will. If you schedule an appointment/ errand for baby's naptime expecting him to sleep through it, he will inevitable be awake and fussy the whole time. If you throw in the laundry, you will of course immediately dirty something that could've gone in with that load. If you put clean sheets/ clothes/ diapers on a baby- he will dirty them all together. If you plan to have time to yourself, your child and/or puppy will be particularly needy. It's a wonderful life, but such a mess! 

Lesson 3: Breastmilk is amazing.
Warning: Do not read on if you won't want to about unconventional benefits of bf. I thought I knew all the perks of breastfeeding. Flat tummy, big boobs, healthy baby, no period, better smelling poops. But then, I learn more. Breastmilk is a living thing, not just something babies eat. It's full of immune boosters, healthy bacteria, and lots of other beneficial components that cannot be duplicated in formula. Formula feeding is adequate for nutrition when necessary, but I would strongly urge any new mother to at least try bf- even for a few days, the benefits for your child are irreplaceable. So, unconventional benefits: those immune booster in breastmilk can have healing properties. I'd heard of applying breastmilk to cuts, rashes, acne, etc to help clear up skin. I've even heard of using the milk to treat soreness related to early bf. But I had never heard of breastmilk as a natural antibiotic. Lately Jackson has had a cold, and Sunday night it spread to his eye- yes his eye. Apparently it's quite common in little ones. It can either be the congestion clogging the tear duct, congestion backing up from the sinuses, or the virus/ bacteria that caused the cold can actually move into the eye and wreak havoc. Poor Jackson had Quasimodo eye that was swollen, red, and crusted shut with green goup. At his 2am feeding I was reading more about this eye irritation when I cam across a recommendation: Put breastmilk in his eye. Say what? Yes, according to this recommendation the immunoglobulin A in breastmilk helps combat the infection. Also, it recommended massaging the undereye/ tearduct to possibly unclog it. I figure he eats it, it can't hurt. And he had an appointment scheduled for the am. His eye was just so crusty and gross, poor baby. So I tried it. I dropped some on the outside of his eye to wipe away the dried goop, and dropped some into his eye to flush out the green. I did this a few times during his feeding. Then at 6am, his eye looked amazing so I did it again! By his 9am appointment you could barely tell a difference in the two eyes!!! AMAZING. Of course now I look like two different people. 1. A mom who goes in for every little thing. and 2.  A crazy woman who uses breastmilk to treat eye infections. I feel like such a hippy, crazy mom. But, if it's working and not harming him, how can I not offer to help? We got antibiotic eye drops to administer a few times per day, but I am torn given the amazing transformation mama's milk has already done. We'll end up using the doctor prescribed treatment, but I can't help but wonder if the breastmilk made a difference. 

Lesson 4: I cannot do it all.
"When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways." 1 Corinthians 13:11. This verse is so fitting for comparing pre-baby and post-baby life. The verse discusses the maturity we experience as believers when we grow in the Word, well, it also applies as we've grown as parents. Pre-baby, pre-marriage I would occasionally be overwhelmed with the balance of housework, work, and relaxation time but felt like I generally had it together. I had lots of leisure time to organize and re-organize closets, shop, cook for fun, keep up the laundry, etc. Then came our puppy Wally, and leisure time went down. Then came my husband, which brought twice the workload for groceries, cooking, and laundry- but thankfully twice the help too! Now, with baby, it is all but impossible to do it all. We've managed to work out system so far of rotating chores and taking care of Jackson. I know look back to my days of living husband, baby and puppy free and wonder where my freetime and extra money went in those days? Now, all of my decisions are based on those factors. The biggest adjustment for me is to let the housework go. Now our house is not messy by any means, but I am an organized quasi-neat freak and leaving the dishes in the sink has taken some work to allow to happen. Again, before I thought like a child- now I think like a mom. I can do the dishes, or go spend a few minutes with my husband before the baby wakes up. I can vacuum the house or play with my baby. Your scale for problem solving and reasoning totally shifts. My priorities have shifted to mom duties, wife duties, house duties, then work duties. However, as we all know too well, often time life doesn't go by our priorities. Occasionally they get juggled around, and that still bothers me. If housework it put off too long, I have a cleaning spree and get anxiety about it. It's a work in progress and I have a helpful, understanding, patient husband by my side to help through it all. Without his partnership there is no way I could do any of this! 

Lesson 5: What's right for your family may not be right for all families.
Some of us are stay at home moms; some of us work twice as hard as career women and moms. Some of us are organic and all natural; some of us are just happy to get some fruits and veggies on the table. Some of us are conventional, doctor's orders types; some of us have more natural remedies. Some of us have our babies sleep with us, others aren't even in the same room. We are all different, but one thing unites us as parents: we want the best for our children. The most interesting thing to me is realizing that not only is every family different, but even in the family what works for one child may not work for them all. Granted, I am mommy to an only child, but I can read the dynamics in our adult families and see the differences between us all that make us all the same. 

Lesson 6: Good friends are like priceless.
I cannot imagine doing any of this without my girlfriends. My single, married, parent and non parent friends all have such different perspectives on things that I cannot imagine ever not having their support! Of all of them, friends that are in the same stage of life have been the most valuable recently. My married friends have been great for support and insight! Parent friend of kiddos the same age are great for support and encouragement. Friends with older kiddos are great for insight in to the future and for sharing lessons learned. And my favorite: single, non parent friends are great for reminding me to let loose while I can give them insight into the future. Such a wonderful circle of balances- I love all of them and thank God for sending them to me. 

These are just some of the lessons learned. I know more will come, but thought I'd share for those of you looking at this stage of life as something for your future, something from your past, or something you're in now. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Two-ish Months Old: A New Normal

Just when we think we've got it, everything changes again...

Size: Jackson is growing by leaps and bounds lately! He is wearing 0-3mo size clothes, which I don't think he will in for long! He's still in size 1 diapers, but daddy and I agree that we will likely be donating the rest of this box and moving on to size 2 diapers very soon. We had our two month well baby check and Jackson is right on track- a much better report than the last visit (grumble grumble). For uncorrected percentiles (those based on his actual birth day) Jackson averages between the 50-60%iles for height and weight. BUT... if we correct my growing boy to his due date (and account for the three weeks prematurity and compare him to other babies born early) Jackson is measuring between the 90-95%iles!! We are so proud of our little monkey. So many premies have trouble nursing, growing, and putting on weight so we are so very blessed to have such a healthy boy. And a big boy! He takes after his daddy :)

Health: Like most breastfed babies, Jax is very healthy. The week after we started daycare, the whole family came down with a cold. This is not uncommon once exposed to new germs, but we're still struggling with this cold- so we're starting to think it's allergies. Lots of trees and other plants in bloom here in sunny PC, so we're thinking that may be it. Whatever the cause, Jackson has had lots of nasal congestion. We use the nasal aspirator whenever we can, but we just can't seem to get all of the congestion, although saline drops, chest PT, and sitting in the steamy bathroom seem to help break up the mucus. We did learn something new- saline drops can be inhaled and cause congestion to drop to the chest, as is the case with our sweet Jackson. Now he has nasal congestion along with this rattling, chest congestion. We feel so awful for our monkey when he sniffles, and coughs and gags. :(

In addition to the congestion, Jax has been drooling alot. I know this is common with teething, but I don't think that's the culprit at 2 months old. Maybe due to his cold? Who knows.

Perhaps the biggest change with his health comes from his changed BMs. We figured out in the first month or so that me drinking lots of milk causes green stools and a fussy baby, so I've really reigned it in. For a whole month we had healthy, mustard colored, medium and small sized BM's, all signs of a healthy bf baby. But now, in the last week, boy have we had a change! Apparently it's normal for bf babies to only have 1 BM/ week. As long as they're not fussy or seem to be uncomfortable or gassy- then it's normal. That said, Jackson is now averaging 1 BM every 1-2 days, versus his usual multiple/day. But, when that BM comes- woo wee it comes!!

Story: We went to the home and garden expo this past weekend. We had planned to run around town for a good part of the day, so we brought the diaper bag packed with multiple diapers, nursing cover, pacifier, change of clothes, baby bjorn, etc. Well- Jax definitely used that change of clothes! Before heading into the expo, we decided to change his diaper and top him off nursing so we won't have to worry for awhile. Nursing went fine, diaper change- surprise!!! Not only did we have a dirty diaper (it'd been about 36 hours since the last one at this point), but we had a blowout! It was everywhere! Up the back, on the pants, on the shirt, all over the changing pad, even on his socks- his socks?! Normally we have a 1-2 wiper, no, this diaper took like 10 wipes! haha. So we get Jax all changed and clean, and put him the Baby Bjorn to walk around, then we think- what if he'd had that diaper in the Bjorn? I couldn't stop laughing. Then it'd be all over that, and Dan, and the baby, and everywhere. Oh man, the joys of parenthood.

Jackson's first outfit before the expo.
Shirt is fitting for spring break here in Panama City Beach 
Sleep: Prior to starting daycare, Jackson was going down for the night at 10pm, nursing at 2am, then sleeping until 6am. Daycare changed all of that. His feedings started changing times and he'd wake up at 1230 or 1, then again at 430 or 530- just late enough to not let me get back to sleep, but early enough to be awful. Also, the first week of daycare Jax was exhausted and slept all evening/ nights. Then he was awake all evening/ night because he was so well rested at daycare. This past week our sweet baby has been battling a head/ chest cold and has been sleeping more than ever- even through some feedings!

Our sweet boy takes after his daddy as far as sleep talking. He coos and ahhs in his sleep all the time. He'll get a big sad face and whimper/ cry, then in the next breath he'll be giggling. Granted, we've only heard sleep giggles so far, but it is the best sound ever. I can't wait to hear my sweet baby's giggles when he's awake. So far Jax is definitely a side sleeper, which he really only gets to do in the bed with me when he can prop up. He gets so comfy and will stay on his side all night. We try not to let him sleep in the bed with us, but at the 3am feeding, I'll do whatever I can to get a few more hours of decent sleep before we wake up for the day.

Sleeping in Daddy's lap
Story: One of my favorite sleep stories of Jax was on our recent trip to Sarasota for the wedding of some dear friends. While we were at the ceremony, Jackson was hanging out with my mother in law getting lots of cuddle time. He fell asleep in the very middle of the King Size bed, with the sun shining on his face (one of his favorite things). In attempt to make him more comfortable, she went to move him to the pack and play- well he started fussing and made it very clear he wanted to be back in the bed, so she put him back. Next she went to close the blinds of the window so at least the sun wouldn't be in his eyes. Yet again he fussed an squirmed, making it very clear that he wanted the sun on his face. So here is a picture of him, in the very middle of the bed, with the sun on his face, happy as a clam.

Schedule: Jackson's ideal schedule is a 6:00am wake up, nurse til 6:30, again at 7:30, then bottles at 10, 1, and 4, nurse at 6, 8:30 and 1030pm. My ideal schedule is the same, but with only pumping at 10 and 2. I've been lucky so far that two pumping breaks gives me enough supply for his 3 feedings. In reality, our schedule is anything from this ideal time table, to awake for three hours at night, to sleeping all day through feedings. We're still working on it, but at least he's in a routine, even if the times change up some. One of my favorite parts of the routine is family shower time. We get all three of us in the shower at a baby safe temperature, and we get everyone clean at one time. It is so much faster and easier! Jackson loves the water running over him, especially over his head before and after shampooing. He's usually wide awake after a shower and has crazy hair all over the place.

Alert baby after a shower
Social: Jax talks alot theses days, mostly when he's sleeping and eating. He hums and looks all over. One of my favorite things while he's nursing is he kicks his feet and crosses/ uncrosses his legs. The last week or so he's become very aware of his hands and grabs at everything. So often times when we're holding him, or if he's nursing, he grips your shirt/ hair/ arm over and over again. Opening his hand and closing it- it's the cutest thing. He also has had a huge improvement of his visual focal point and can not only see Dan and I, but he recognizes us. When he does, he just smiles and laughs- apparently daddy and I are hilarious.

Chubby legs crossing, uncrossing, and kicking while eating.

Smiling at mommy. No doubt in the middle of the night. 

Lots of smiles until he saw the camera, then he looked at me like I was crazy.

Diet: Still exclusively breastfed baby boy! He's growing great and I've been so blessed not to have supply problems yet. Often times when women return to work their supply will go down and they have to give up breastfeeding. Not only have I been able to maintain enough for Jax for the next day (12 oz), but I've been able to add to our freezer stash on most days- aka I'm pumping more than the needed 12 oz. This is an extra blessing because every additional amount to the freezer stash is more that Jackson can have if for some reason I am unable to produce. So far we're up to 260 oz- that's 65 4oz bottles, or almost 22 days of daycare feedings- a whole month's worth! Again, such a blessing!

Jackson has had bouts of cluster feeding, but by far the worst has been lately with this cold he's fighting. He can't breathe as well while he's eating, so he doesn't eat as well. When he doesn't eat as well, he wants to eat more often and for less time, resulting in a very exhausted mommy! Recently, Jackson's BM have changed to being less frequent, which is ok by this mama. The funny thing is when he does go, he makes up for the long breaks between them. Last weekend we had a family day long outing and Jackson's blowout was the biggest yet! I already mentioned that, but still it was hilarious.

Crying: More than before, but he's still not a big crier, which we're thankful for. But, when you do get him mad enough, Jackson will definitely cry and let you know he is NOT happy. Bless his little heart. The biggest thing is when he is sick, tired, or generally uncomfortable he will be fussy. This half whimper/ cry noise. Otherwise, we have a very observant, content baby.

Milestones: Jackson is holding his head up great! We're working on tummy time, which is going just so-so. Jackson's point of focus has improved and he is starting to watch us and interact with us even more. In the past week or so he's decided he likes to laugh and smile at us when we say his name, or when we play peek-a-boo. We haven't heard his giggles yet, but his smiles are big so I know the giggles are coming soon. I can't wait to hear those sweet noises :) One of the most exciting things that happened recently: Jackson rolled over!! He was practicing tummy time and rolled from his stomach right over onto his back. He hasn't done it since, but it was very exciting!

We took our first road trip a few weeks ago and Jackson did great! He cried the first 90 minutes we were on the road and wouldn't settle down- not with a diaper change, nursing, or being held. Finally we pulled over at a truck stop and walked him around outside with the breeze and sunshine on his face; he settled right down and did great the rest of the weekend.

All dressed up and nowhere to go! (It was too cold at the outdoor reception for our sweet boy to join us)
Jackson and Mrs. Robyn Pigozzi
Mommy and Daddy time without baby