Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sleep when the baby sleeps?

After 2 glorious weeks having Bill home, it was inevitable that he would have to return to work sometime. It was a trying first week going it alone, to say the least. We had to figure out a sleep schedule, so that both Bill and I were getting a few hours of sleep. At the beginning of the week, it was really rough. Everyone has been telling me to make sure I "sleep when the baby sleeps". Here is my question... what if the baby doesn't sleep?!? During the first couple of days when Bill was back at work, it seemed as if Andrew was up ALL day. The only way he would sleep any length of time is if he was sleeping on me. Once I would get up to put him in his bassinet, he was awake and screaming within minutes. The second day Bill came home from work, I burst into tears. The job of being a parent is SO much harder than anyone ever tells you.

By the middle of the week, I decided that I just needed to keep putting Andrew in his bassinet and keep trying to get him to sleep in there. It meant that I was extremely irritable by the time Bill got home each day, since I was  definitely NOT sleeping when the baby slept. By the end of the week though, it seemed to be working. Andrew ended up sleeping in his bassinet for 3 whole hours. Of course, this is the time I should have been sleeping myself, but I was so shocked that the bassinet was working. I had to keep checking on him every 5-10 minutes to make sure he was still breathing.

He slept for 3 whole hours in here! :)

Since last week, Drew has been taking to his bassinet much better. He will take at least a couple of naps in there each day, making it a little easier to get some rest myself. He's even started sleeping in his bouncer when I take showers. I put it in front of the bathroom door so I can peek through the shower curtain at him. With the water running and the fan on in the bathroom, he is lulled to sleep almost every day. It's little tricks like this that I'm sure will be lifesavers! 

Another thing I wanted to try this week was "tummy time". Drew is so strong and has been lifting his head on his own when we hold him. He definitely does not have a really floppy head like a lot of more "fragile" newborns. In order to strengthen his neck muscles, tummy time is recommended. As the pictures show, he did NOT like tummy time. We'll keep trying though! 

I can't believe he will be a month old in just a few days. Time really is flying by, and I'm sure that it will continue to fly for as long as I'm his mom. As trying as these days are and as tired as I am, I am really trying to cherish this time because I know he won't be this little forever. I'm so glad he's my little "stinka-stinka". :)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Huggies, Pampers, and Luvs.. Oh My!!!

Our little Andrew is two weeks old now. I've already gone against some of the things I said I would "never" do when I had a baby. It's definitely been a trying week, but having Bill's help at home has been amazing.

When Drew was 10 days old, his umbilical stump finally fell off. I found it in his blanket (which was really gross) and I had a little freak out moment. Of course, Bill emailed the pediatrician right away because we worry about everything and wanted to make sure there wasn't anything special we needed to do. Dr. Fisher assured us that it was perfectly normal and that Drew could now have a regular submersion bath instead of sponge baths.

This week's challenges:

Challenge #1: Nocturnal Baby: Drew has decided that he is a night owl. He sleeps great during the day when we have our visitors (which makes everyone think he is the PERFECT baby) and then he is up ALL night. Bill and I have tried everything. We've tried swaddling him. He hates it. This child has had his hands and arms up by his face since he was in the womb. I have the ultrasound pictures to prove it. Try swaddling his arms by his sides. The child becomes Houdini and it is his mission to get his arms out of that swaddle as fast as possible (and as loudly as possible- screaming bloody murder the entire time!). So the swaddle is out.

Next we tried letting him sleep on us for a little bit, which he loves, then putting him in his bassinet. He hates the bassinet. 15 minutes after putting him down in the bassinet, he is awake with hiccups and sobbing.

We then tried the rocker/bouncer. He loves it. He just won't sleep in it. It vibrates, plays all kinds of sounds, and rocks. Maybe he is too overstimulated, but he loves looking at all the patterns.

The only thing that works at the moment is letting him sleep on us. He likes the closeness and warmth. I'm sure it reminds him of the womb. At this moment, I'm ok with it. As long as he decides to sleep somewhere else by the time my maternity leave is over!

Challenge #2: Diaper Dilemma: I received all kinds of diapers at my baby shower, which has been great because we could decide which ones we liked best. In the hospital, they gave us Pampers, but they were size 1 and we had to fold them over for his umbilical cord. Overall, we liked them. Then we tried Huggies. We loved them, because the newborn size had the wetness indicator. This made our lives so much easier because with every other diaper we were like scientists, trying to decide if it was wet or not! After running out of all the other brands, I went out and bought a huge box of the Huggies that we liked. Drew has decided to have some fun with us and has peed through almost every single Huggies we have put on him. No kidding- in one day we changed his onesie about 6 times because the silly boy had wet through each diaper. I have declared a strike on Huggies. We are going back to Pampers asap!

Challenge #3: Bathtime: There is NO way this is a one person job!!! Even in our awesome baby tub, Drew is a slippery, sobbing mess and there is no way that I could do this by myself. Bill and I have decided to tag team bath time. He is the "holder" and I am the "scrubber". Poor Drew. We'll get the hang of it eventually!!!

Challenge #4: To Pacify? Let Him Cry It Out??? : Before Andrew was born and his entire first week I was completely against using a pacifier. He loves to suck though, and slowly this week we've started introducing the paci. I don't want him to become dependent on it, but it has been a lifesaver during those times when he is screaming and trying to eat his hands (especially right after he's had an hour long feeding, and I know he can't possibly still be hungry!). We've decided to use the paci's that we registered for, which just so happen to be the ones the hospital gave us. They are the "Soothies" brand, and I highly recommend them.

I also said that I would never ever just let my baby cry without soothing him myself. Well, that's kind of gone out the window too. For the first week, any time Andrew even made a peep that seemed like he was on the verge of crying, I would pick him up and soothe him. I've realized I just can't do that all the time because then I'm holding him 24/7 and I literally get nothing done. Brushing my teeth and showering were luxuries that first week! Now, we're learning his cries and we've been letting him do his little "weak" cries on his own. Once it progresses into his "Pick me up now or my head is going to explode" cries, then we pick him up. It doesn't make me a bad parent if I don't have my child tethered to me 24/7.

This week's celebrations: 

Amidst all of the struggles this week, Bill and I are realizing that we are coming a long way as parents. Feeding is going a lot better and we're learning not to worry so much about the "little" things. Obviously, the mother has a natural bond with her baby because she carried him for 9 months. Bill has been going above and beyond to bond with his son, which I think is so precious. I love seeing him with Andrew. He is such a great dad already.

We've had lots of visitors this week. Drew has done such a good job being handed from person to person. Everyone is smitten with him, and how could you not be?

Aunt Gina, Kurtis, and Uncle Kurt

My mom and dad (Sito & Grandpa)

My grandparents on mom's side (Great Grandpapa &Great Sito)

Our first "outing" to visit Sito & Grandpa at their house in Lake Orion

Auntie Dez came to visit (and made us an awesome spaghetti dinner!)

Auntie Kim and Uncle Steve came to visit (Mandy's best friends)

Meeting Uncle Tony (Bill's brother) for the first time at our second "outing" to visit Bill's parents in Novi

Focused on Grandma at our visit with Bill's parents

We really have so much to be thankful for! We have a healthy, beautiful baby who all in all, is well behaved. We have a wonderful support system of family and friends that love us. We're becoming better at this "parenting thing" with every passing day. :)

Friday, February 4, 2011

My first week as a mom

We were in the hospital for 2 full days following Andrew's birth. We had such great nurses who were so helpful and reassuring. It was so weird being a room with our son. Bill and I would just look at each other and say, "Ok, now what do we do?!?"

During our time in the hospital, I think we both only got a total of about 6 hours of sleep. Needless to say, by the time we were discharged, I was extremely emotional and was crying about everything. I was having a tough time with breastfeeding. It was difficult to get Andrew to latch on, but once he did, he was eating really good. The lactation consultant reassured me that I was doing great, but I ended up crying and thinking that I was going to be a failure once we got home. I think more than anything I was just scared to go home where there no experts and no nurses that could be there if I needed something. I was also in a lot of pain from the episiotomy, which made getting around difficult.

My parents and Bill's mom came to visit while we were in the hospital. It was so nice to have the grandparents there with us.

We were discharged at 2:30pm on Saturday, January 29th. By the time we got in the car, I started crying again because I was actually relieved to be going home, where I could sleep in my own bed and be around my own things.

We got Andrew home and the dogs were so excited and confused. I think they thought we had brought them a new toy!

Adjusting to being home has been really good. Andrew took to breastfeeding like a champ and has been eating really good. He's weighing in at 8lbs 8oz and is such a good baby. He only cries when he's hungry or when he has a dirty diaper. He is on a nocturnal schedule though, which has made sleeping difficult for Bill and I. We've been doing things in shifts so that we can both get a little sleep. I'll do the feeding and stay up for a few hours so Bill can sleep, and Bill will change the dirty diapers and stay up with him while I sleep. It's been working out pretty good and it's amazing how alert I can feel after only 3-4 hours of sleep!

Our families have been awesome, making meals for us and taking good care of us. Bill's parents bought us pizza and salad our second night home, my parents made us a feast of roasted chicken and mashed potatoes another night, and my Aunt Regina made us mostaciolli and salad the next day. It's been so nice to not have to worry about making dinner!

Bill is off work this entire first week as well as half the week next week. I've been limited as to what I can do around the house and I can't drive for another week, so Bill has really stepped up to take care of the house chores while I get my rest and get my strength back. My pain from the episiotomy was really bad the first few days, but I've started feeling a lot better between yesterday and today.

My worries: That I'm putting his diaper on too tight because he has red marks by his legs, little red mosquito like bumps on his arms (which the pediatrician told us is normal) and trying to be careful around his circumcision and umbilical cord stump.

Joys: I've decided my favorite part of the day is when I'm feeding him and he looks at my face and wraps his little hand around my fingers. The feeling of love I have for him is overwhelming.

Andrew's Birth Day

The last few weeks before Andrew was born my Ob/Gyn had been telling me that he could come at any time because he was measuring big, I was dilated, and he had dropped. I think I had been ready for him to come anytime after Week 37. The time seemed to be dragging forever! I went to my appointments, had my membranes stripped TWICE and still nothing. The boy just didn't want to come out! 

Finally, I went to my appointment last Wednesday (1/26). Dr. Wuckert stripped my membranes for the third time and told me I was dilated to 3.5cm and was 80% effaced. Since my blood pressure was high in the office that day, she decided that I was ready and she told me she was admitting me to the hospital right away. Woohoo! I think I told her that I loved her, I was so excited to finally get this whole birth process going and meet my son! Doctors orders were to go home, finish packing our bags, and get to the hospital asap. 

Of course, I called Bill from the parking lot of the doctor's office and he didn't answer. He has had his phone glued to his ear these last few weeks just in case I went into labor. I tried calling him 5 more times and he still didn't answer. I called his work and told them they needed to find him because I was going into labor. That did it and he called me right away! 

I got home and was cramping (which I thought was just due to my membranes being stripped again) and went about my business getting the final stuff packed and the house tidied up a little bit. Bill got home, we ate a little dinner, and then left for the hospital. I was still cramping on the way to the hospital, and it seemed like the cramps were about 6-7 minutes apart. 

We got to the hospital at about 6:30pm and I was admitted to triage. While in triage, they monitored my blood pressure (which was reading fine) and drew blood for labs. They hooked me up to the fetal heartbeat monitor and the contraction monitor. Baby was doing great. One of the nurses looked at the contraction monitor and said, "Honey, are you feeling those?" I told her I was feeling cramps, and she told me I was having contractions! They were coming about 2 1/2 minutes apart and were lasting about 90 seconds each. I had no idea that the cramping I had been feeling had been contractions all that time!!! 

After a little over an hour in triage, I was admitted to my labor and delivery room. My regular doctor, Dr. Wuckert, wasn't on call until the morning, so I had another doctor for the evening, Dr. Matoian. Dr. Matoian measured me and said I was dilated to 4cm and that she was going to break my water to get things going. At 8pm, my water was broken and they started me on a small dose of Pitocin to get contractions going. I remember American Idol was on tv in the background. As the contractions got worse, I remember thinking to myself that I would always associate American Idol with pain now. Bill called our parents and my sister, who began making their way to the hospital. 

Every hour I was checked to see how far dilated I was. I was dilating about a centimeter an hour and the contractions kept getting more painful. I always thought I had a low pain tolerance, but this being my first pregnancy, I had no idea what contractions were supposed to feel like, so I held off on asking for the epidural. 

Finally, at midnight I asked for the epidural because the pain was unbearable. The doctor couldn't believe I had gone that long without asking for it because she said my contractions were really strong. At 12:30am, I got the epidural and life was blissful for the next few hours. I was able to rest a little and relax from the pain. 

At about 6:30am, I had finally dilated enough to start pushing. Dr. Matoian said that we would try pushing for awhile, and if it didn't seem like things were progressing (since Andrew's head and shoulders were so big), then the last resort would be a c-section. 

I was so exhausted by the time I started pushing. I had been awake for over 24 hours and hadn't eaten since noon the previous day. I had decided prior to going into labor that I wanted my mom, sister, and Bill's mom in the room when Andrew was born, so Bill went to go get them from the waiting room. My mom wet cool cloths for my forehead, my sister fed me ice chips, and everyone was counting while I pushed and cheering me on. Dr. Wuckert arrived and took over for Dr. Matoian. 

I pushed for almost 2 hours. The nurses got a mirror so I could see my progress and it was amazing when I could see Andrew crowning. It was all the motivation I needed to continue pushing. I did not want to have to get a c-section when it seemed so close. 

Due to Andrew's head being so big, I started to tear. Dr. Wuckert told me she was going to do an episiotomy, which I wasn't very excited about, but was a better alternative to a c-section. She made the incision, and one push later Andrew Martin Pantuso was born. Bill cut the umbilical cord and all I remember hearing was the sweet cry of my baby boy as they placed him on my chest. I started crying myself and was just feeling so relieved that he was healthy and that it was all over. 

He weighed in at 8lbs 14oz and was 20 3/4 inches long. The time of birth was 8:15am on 1-27-11. He was proclaimed a healthy, beautiful baby boy by all. We were all immediately in love!