Monday, October 19, 2015

Newborn "Bear": Kid Update

Newborn Update
This summer I had a baby. For my first son, I’ve been doing updates on this blog every six months, and I'm trying to start that for "The Bear." But since it’s really hard to set aside even 15 minutes to do a blog post when you have an infant, this post is a couple of months late.

His Birth Story
It could not have gone better. At 10 p.m. the night before he was born, out of nowhere, my water broke. I was surprised since I wasn’t having contractions yet. At 1:30 a.m., the contractions started. I tried to relax my body and focus on surrendering my body to the contractions. At around 2:30 a.m., I woke my husband and asked him to make me a smoothie since I was thirsty, I was craving one, and didn’t want to get to the hospital and be denied food and beverage. My mom arrived to watch our older son and started timing my contractions. At about 3 a.m., my mom informed me that my contractions were a minute and a half long and coming every three minutes, because she had been timing them on her wristwatch. This was a surprise to me since they didn’t seem that long or that close together to me. At about 3:15 a.m. my husband and I got into the car to go to the hospital; he drove quickly. At about 3:35 a.m. we arrived at the hospital and got into the elevator. I got on my hands and knees in the elevator during a powerful contraction. Once we got to the labor floor, I sent my husband to check us in at their front desk while I waited near the elevator, still on my hands and knees. A nurse found me and rounded up a wheelchair to push me to the front desk. Once she got me to the front desk, I felt a sensation that made me wonder if I should push. “I’m going to try to push,” I said. “Don’t push!” said a nurse, but it was too late – I had already started to push and I could not stop. “Doing it,” I said. I was wheeled into the room and in what I believe was a total of four pushes, this baby was here! He was born at 3:43 a.m. The nurses made some comment about me livening up their night. I couldn’t believe labor was over so fast for me this time. He looked so healthy when he was born (by contrast, our first son was purple when he was born and was what they called a “stunned baby”). His first day is kind of a blur to me now, but I remember holding him a lot – he loved to be held.

His Personality
He’s great – he’s an awesome baby, and we are very blessed to have him. He’s cuddly and smiley, and he's a happy baby. I could not ask for a sweeter baby. As annoying as breastfeeding has been (read below), spending time with this baby while he’s this age has been a tremendous gift that I am soaking in.

The single biggest hurdle I have faced for both him as well as our first son is breastfeeding. Despite seeing multiple lactation consultants (five to be exact) multiple times, neither of my sons was adept at latching on. Therefore, I have been using a breastpump to give him breastmilk. Luckily, this time I have been producing enough milk (unlike last time). It’s difficult to go pump every three hours, especially with another child to take care of besides my new little one. There is so much confusing, conflicting information out there for exclusive pumpers, but the biggest piece of erroneous information out there is that pumping for 10-15 minutes per session is enough. While it is enough for some moms, it is not enough for many moms, especially in the beginning. Our bodies are all made differently – some women have a faster letdown cycle than others. Basically, you should pump until empty each time, and hopefully get through two letdown cycles. For me, that’s been about 40 minutes per session using a double-pump thus far.

My Parents
Having my parents live near us and be willing to help us watch our kids has been really helpful, and I could not be more thankful that they are alive and, for the most part, healthy.

How I’m Feeling
I couldn’t be happier with my family. I haven’t decided if I’d like to stick with just two kids, or try to add a third child at some point in the future. Either way, time feels like it’s flying by. I know that even if I add one more kid, my years of being the parent of a child in diapers are numbered. Before I know it, my sons will be running around chasing soccer balls and will be too big for me to hold in my arms. They will look like “big kids” and their clothes will go from oh-so-cute to purely functional. Even if I drink in every precious moment of this wonderful time, it will end. But when it does, I hope I can just be thankful, instead of being baby-crazy forever (although, seriously, is there anything that feels as good as holding a warm, snuggly infant?). I am so very grateful for my family.

The Best Thing About Right Now
There are so many good parts! Seeing him smile is wonderful. There’s something about a happy toothless grinning baby that is heart-melting. Hearing him laugh feels so good. Feeling him grab my arm in order to stay close to me (which I think is part of the startle reflex) is so precious. Seeing him on my dad’s chest as they take an afternoon nap together is priceless.

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