Little Man is Two Months Old

Our sweet, chubby little T is two months old!  Wasn’t I just posting his one month update?  I’m pretty sure I was…  who’s stealing all my time?

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Oh, right… it’s him.  (And his big sister.)  Honestly I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I love spending time with my fantastic little family and have so many projects that I want to work on (around the house and for E’s upcoming birthday – let’s not even talk about the fact that she’s going to be three) that I wish I didn’t have to “waste” time sleeping!

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T has changed so much between one and two months.  He’s so alert and responsive now when he is awake (though he still spends a lot of time sleeping).  He recognizes mama, daddy and E and pretty much always has a happy smile for us.  I absolutely adore when he looks at E and gives her huge grins, melts this mama’s heart.  And PB says his face lights right up when he sees me.  Of course, I don’t hate that!  He truly is a sweet little guy.  In addition to becoming much more expressive, he has also become much more vocal.  He does a lot of cooing and makes many other happy little noises.  I think we’re all loving how much more interactive he has become in this short time.

Currently T loves: blowing spit bubbles, scrubbing his face (whether with his hands or on our shirts), being held, and eating.

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T is a big boy, weighing 12 lb. 13.5 oz. at his doctor appointment on Friday and measuring 24 inches tall.  So tall!  No wonder he’s out growing clothes so fast!  I mentioned in his one month update that he was losing his hair.  He did end up losing most of his hair that he was born with but new hair is growing back in and he now has a healthy little crop of peach fuzz.  What’s funny though is that not all of his hair from birth fell out, so he randomly has some long hairs here and there among the peach fuzz, particularly at the crown of his head.  The hair that is growing back in seems to be the same color as the hair he was born with (dark brown), though might be just a little bit lighter.  His baby acne is looking much better and though his left tear duct is still somewhat clogged it seems to be much better than it was around one month of age.  He’s a handsome little dude!

Some of T’s firsts for this month include: first bottle, first New Years, first snowfall, first time meeting his cousins, and first time out with the double stroller.

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My little sweet T still loves to kick kick kick, particularly when he is happy or angry.  He has also started grabbing and will randomly grab hold of anything that happens to come in contact with his hands.  He has yet to managed to really yank E’s hair but I’m sure the day is coming!  His love affair with the pacifier has started to wane as he has started to discover his hands.  He is sucking on his hands more and more and has even managed to capture his thumb a few times.  It’s pretty cute to see him sucking his thumb.  E was an early thumb sucker too.

T is a good little sleeper and pretty consistently sleeps from around 11 p.m. until 7:30 a.m. with one wake-up sometime between 4 and 5:30 a.m.  I’m pretty happy with that right now!  There has been a night or two where his long stretch of sleep has been as long as seven hours!  He continues to be a champion when it comes to breastfeeding.  The only time he ever gets really fussy is when he wants to eat.  Little guy is a chow hound!

I wish I could adequately put into words what a joy he is in our lives.  Like the wild things, we want to eat him up we love him so!

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We’re doing our best to soak up and make the most of every moment with this little dude.  We all love you so much and we’re so lucky to call you ours!

Life After Labor & Working On Working Out

This past Saturday marked 8 weeks since T entered the world.  Eight weeks since labor and birth and I can’t imagine not having this little man in our lives.  He’s amazing.  E’s amazing as a big sister.  I just love watching them together and we’re loving being a family of four.option1 I could go on and on but I’m not writing this post to gush about the kiddos.

I wanted to write a little bit about my post-partum experience with baby #2, how everything has been this time around.  Really I want to skip ahead to getting the okay from my midwives to workout and how that has been going but I figure I should hit on the whole healing thing before I get to that.  First, a little bit about my labors and births for comparison.  With both babies I was on heparin, was Group B Strep positive, and was seeing midwives for my primary prenatal care.  With E my water broke before contractions started, labor last for 29 hours, two doses of antibiotics (with a reaction called Red Man Syndrome to the first), epidural at 24 hours of labor, pushed for an hour and 15 minutes or so, and I had a small tear that required a stitch or two.  With T the midwife broke my water while I was pushing, labor was three hours and 20 minutes, did not received any antibiotics or an epidural, pushed for maybe 15 minutes, and did not tear at all.  Quite a bit different but both very positive birth experiences, for which I am extremely grateful!

I was very lucky and healed quickly after both deliveries.  I was never in extreme pain and my bleeding tapered off to a normal period-like amount by the next day in both cases.  Speaking of which, the post-partum bleeding after T last for about five weeks (spotting until that point, not consistent bleeding).  I think I only bled for about two weeks after E.  I actually felt pretty physically normal within days of both deliveries, though I do think that happened more quickly after T because I didn’t have any tears.  This time around I did have some soreness deep in my lower abdomen (not constant, just when I moved now and then) that I don’t recall having after E.  I guess I am just one of the lucky mamas that physically bounces back very fast after having a baby.  Then, of course, you have to consider the emotional hurricane that comes along with the flood of post-partum hormones.  The post-partum period can be a tough time emotionally and there were definitely times where my emotions got the best of me.  I was up and down for the first couple weeks following both babies – there were tears over things that were probably not tear-worthy – but since I knew what to expect the second time around it seemed a little easier if only because I knew what was happening and that it was normal so I was able to just accept it.

Now, onto what I really want to talk about!  I went in for a follow-up visit with my midwives and got the go ahead to start working out at six weeks post-partum (two weeks ago).  I was pumped!  Though life with two kiddos is pretty active, I was missing being purposefully active and working out.  It’s good to get that sweat flowing!  It is so nice to be back to it and I have been getting in some kind of workout, even if it’s just a couple of sets of squats and push ups in the evening, at least five times a week for the past two weeks.

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Now I worked out until quite close to the end of my pregnancy but, man, I feel like I have lost so much strength and power in the last 2.1/2-3 months that I haven’t really been exercising.  I feel almost like I am starting from scratch again.  I suppose I am in a way with my core!  Since getting the go-ahead to workout I have been working on rebuilding my core from the inside out (see this set of exercises).and focusing on strength training and stretching.  I really want to get my power and flexibility back!  Since I have not yet been back to the gym (babies have to be three months old to go to kids klub, so my membership is on hold), I have been working out at home, mainly doing HIIT workouts or Jillian Michaels’ videos from the BeFit YouTube channel .  Both are great at home workouts because they usually require very little equipment and since we got a new TV for Christmas I can actually access YouTube from my TV using the remote, making it super convenient.  This Thursday I will be starting a Body Rock 30 Day Challenge with a friend.  I did this challenge in the summer of 2013 and had good results in regards to improved strength and muscle tone, so I wanted to do it again.  Luckily I have a friend who is doing it along with me and that I can report back to, keeping my accountable.  I’m pretty excited because PB is building me a Lebert Equalizer out of PVC!  I can’t wait to use it!  I want to build more muscle so my body can amp up the calorie torch-age and I can, hopefully, get closer to my pre-pregnancy weight.

Right now, I’m still 14 pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight and I would be lying if I said I was happy with that.  It’s kind of disappointing to have so far to go when the weight came off so quickly and easily after E.  Granted after E I still had work to do to get toned up and my post-pregnancy body was different than my pre-pregnancy body even at the same weight but I was back down to my pre-baby weight quickly.  Heck, eight days after E was born I was only four pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight.  Not the case the second time around!  While I am concerned about my weight, the shape of my body (jiggly belly is jiggly), and how my clothes fit, I am trying to be kind to myself and I am sure to never say anything negative about my body in front of E.  For her sake, and my own, I accept my body at every stage and will embrace it – after all it created these two beautiful little people that I love so incredibly much.  So, while it would certainly be nice to lose the rest of this baby weight, my goals have less to do with my pants size and much more to do with feeling strong, fit, and healthy.

And of course, I have to mention running…  While I can’t wait to get back to it, I have yet to go out on a run.  Running during the week with no gym access and two little ones just isn’t happening and the weather lately has made me less than excited about getting out on the weekends.  I really am looking forward to getting back to running again but I’m okay with waiting for now;  I’ll ease back into it soon!  On a day when it wasn’t too cold, I did manage to bundle up both kids and load them into the double-stroller for a hilly three mile walk.  It’s a start!

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So, there you have it!  My post partum experience with baby #2, from healing to HIIT!

T’s Birth Story: Part Two

I posted Part One of T’s birth story on Tuesday.  Here is the end!

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It wasn’t long before it was time to push.  That brings us back to that word again — Intense.  The feeling of everything that was happening in my lower body was so big, so overwhelming, I can’t even begin to try to describe it.  Everything was so intense.  There was some pain, yes, but it was more than that.  So much more.  Feeling the baby move into and through my pelvis made me feel like I should be breaking apart.  There was so much pressure everywhere.  And while I wanted to push, my body had to push, I also didn’t want to because it honestly felt like there was a good possibility that I would turn myself inside out.  I pushed for maybe 15 minutes, groaning and crying out, PB cheering me on.  (I  don’t know exactly what he said since I was so inside myself but I’m pretty sure he told me I was doing great and he told me after the fact that the midwife told him to quiet down.  I guess he was getting a little enthusiastic in his support.)  The room seemed chaotic between my vocalizations and PB, the nurses and the midwife all talking at once.  I recall the nurse who was applying counter pressure on my hip telling me I could hold her hand at one point and I grabbed her hand like I was drowning.  The midwife decided to break my water while I was pushing and things really got moving after that.

I knew the baby was right there because of how big everything felt, I gritted my way through a couple crazy intense pushes and the head was out.  As soon as the baby’s head was out I just wanted to rest.  I leaned against the head of the bed expecting at least a short reprieve but the cord was wrapped loosely around the baby’s neck and the midwife said to me, “Holly, I need you to push now.”  I gathered myself and by the time she was repeating that statement I was forcing myself to push, even though all I really wanted to do was pause and rest.  Another moment of intense pressure and the baby’s shoulders were out.  The rest of the baby slid right out and into the midwife’s hands once the shoulders were free.  The baby was born at 4:50 a.m.

Suddenly all the pressure and intensity were gone.  Instant relief.  I was in such a haze from the sudden cessation of all the crazy labor sensations and there was such a feeling of doneness that I have absolutely no idea what was happening around me.  Was I still holding PB’s and the nurse’s hands?  I have no idea.  I’m sure the midwife was saying something but I have no idea what.  I do recall PB saying, “It’s a boy!” but it sounded to me as if he were saying it from very far away (though I could hear the emotion and excitement in his voice).  And then the baby was being passed up to me between my legs.  I clutched him to me and clumsily turned around and sat down on the bed.  I think I just stared at him, in awe of what I had just done.  He was pink and alert.  As soon as I saw him, I was amazed by how much he looked like his sister and said as much.

(Incidentally, my mom arrived at the hospital –  had walked through the door to my room and was on the other side of the curtain — just in time to hear PB announce that the baby was a boy.  I can only imagine what that moment was like for her.)

Somebody got the baby a blanket and I held him skin to skin while we waited for the cord to stop pulsing.  After about 10-15 minutes, the midwife had PB cut the cord and then helped me deliver the placenta.  I was not at all jazzed about needing to push again but it wasn’t too bad in the end.  She gave me a quick check to make sure all was good.  I had no tears from labor, though there were a couple small abrasions.  Someone, I don’t recall if it was a nurse or the midwife, asked what his name was and PB and I looked at each other and just knew which of our name choices was right for him.  I confidently told them that he was Tobias Edmund.

The nurses and midwife helped get me cleaned up a little, brought clean blankets for T and I and then invited my mom into the room.  I continued to hold the baby skin to skin and he had his first go at breastfeeding.  The midwife helped me get him latched on.  I don’t think I really needed the help but it was nice to have the support regardless.  He latched on pretty quickly and immediately started going to town.  He was a natural just like his sister.

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I continued to do skin to skin with T after he was finished nursing until the baby nurse showed up to get his measurements and evaluate him, which was about 45-60 minutes after he was born.  I was really pleased to have had such a long time to keep him with me and hold him (and particularly to do skin to skin) after he was born.  I remember I had to hand E over only a few minutes after she was born but she was much more purple when she came out.  After they took him to get his weight, I noticed that he had peed and pooped while I was holding him (caught mostly by the blankets I had tucked around him).  At birth the midwife and one of the nurses wanted to give him Apgar scores of 10 but one of the other nurses told her they don’t give 10s and so his Apgars were 9 and 9.

His weight was 8 pounds 10 ounces and he was 21.25 inches tall at birth.  He was a tall little guy!  He got the Hepatitis B and vitamin K shots and after he was all checked out by the nurse, PB got to hold his son for the very first time.  Seeing the man you love hold one of his children for the first time is simply amazing.  One of the nurses that came in after T was born told PB that she doesn’t normally get emotional at births anymore but that she was in the hall walking past our room when he called out, “It’s a boy!” and that all the emotion in his voice made her tear up.

By this point I was starving, so the nurse brought me a chicken salad sandwich, fig newtons and a fruit cup from the fridge in the L&D.  It wasn’t the best thing ever but, like I said, I was starving, so I ate while PB and my mom got a closer look at T.  Throughout this bonding time with baby, before they moved us over to the mother/baby unit, the nurses would now and then palpate my abdomen and make sure my uterus was shrinking like it was supposed to.  That was very uncomfortable and painful.  More so than I recall with E (but, of course, I had had an epidural with her).  I wanted to swat their hands away even though I knew they were just doing their job.

Eventually our room in mother/baby was ready for us and a nurse came to help me get cleaned up and ready to go.  Getting up and using the bathroom was a little bit of a horror show due to the blood but it felt good to get out of bed, get cleaned up and put a new hospital gown on.  I’m sure I was tired by this point but I just remember talking happily with all the nurses and feeling rather elated.

We finally made it over to mother/baby shortly after 7 a.m.  It was around then that I noticed that my tailbone was extremely sore and the contractions caused by the oxytocin released during breastfeeding were much stronger and more painful than they were when I nursed E after labor.  Funny how much things are so much the same and yet so different.

Once we were settled in our room, we were focused on soaking up every moment with our new little man.  We couldn’t believe we had a son, another sweet baby to love.  It all seemed so surreal and it had happened so fast.  Later that morning, my mom brought E over to meet her brother for the first time.  She came in, climbed into bed with me and I held her in one arm and T in the other while my heart swelled and soared.  I was so excited and happy to see her.  E marveled at him, gently touched his cheek, gave him kisses and was immediately in love with him.  She said she loved him and was just so sweet.  She declared him to be “so strong” and said that he smelled like cupcakes.

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Everything was wonderful, until late that night when T was admitted to the NICU, but that’s a story for another post.

T’s Birth Story: Part One

I decided to post T’s birth story in two parts because it’s quite lengthy!  Unfortunately I do not have any photos to accompany the first part of the story because it all happened too fast for any photos to be taken.

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41 weeks, waiting for baby.

I was due November 19 but baby didn’t make an appearance until 10 days later.

At my appointment that Monday (Nov. 24) I was 1-2 cm dilated and 60% effaced (no change from the week before) but baby had dropped to 0 station (a good sign but no real indication that labor was imminent).  I had a non-stress test done and we discussed where we would go from here since I would be a week overdue in two days. The midwife wanted to get me scheduled for an induction around 42 weeks just in case the baby didn’t come on its own before then, so we discussed what that would entail.

The week ticked by, we celebrated Thanksgiving and on Friday we headed into maternal fetal medicine for an ultrasound.  Everything went well with the ultrasound — baby, placenta, fluid levels and blood flow all looked good.  However, the high risk OB was of the opinion that I should get scheduled for an induction sooner rather than later.  I was overdue and on a blood thinner for a clotting disorder, she was getting anxious to get baby here.  Basically, things looked good with baby and I and would until they didn’t.  She didn’t want to wait until they didn’t.  With an induction they could make sure that I stopped taking the blood thinner at the appropriate time and also ensure that I got the antibiotics I needed due to being Group B Strep positive.  While we were in the MFM office, the doctor called the midwife and spoke with her about getting me scheduled to be induced as soon as possible.

Okay then, this was happening.

Later in the day we heard back from the midwife, and I was scheduled to be induced Saturday evening.  I would come in around 5 p.m. and they would start the whole process with Cervadil.

That evening we ate dinner, put E to bed and sat down to watch a movie with my mom (who had come down on Tuesday to make sure she was here when baby arrived).  We finished watching Divergent rather late and I went up to use the restroom just before midnight.  I was feeling edgy and anxious in addition to my stomach being off.  PB came up a little while later and I told him that I wasn’t feeling well.  I started crying and told him that I was anxious and scared about labor.  I felt very uneasy and had a lot of nervous energy.  I didn’t want to hold still.  I was getting contractions now and then but figured that they were just Braxton-Hicks since I had been getting them frequently throughout the pregnancy.  Eventually in the midst of everything I realized that the contractions were happening fairly regularly.  I told PB that I thought I might be having contractions but that I really wasn’t sure.  He told me to try timing them and see what happened.  He was very calm and tried to sooth me as much as possible.

We lay down and he dozed off while I started timing contractions using an app on my phone — this was at 1:37 a.m.  At that time my contractions were anywhere from 11 to 7 minutes apart.  I was able to breath through them pretty easily but it was becoming more and more apparent that this was it.  I woke PB up about 40 minutes later and let him know what was happening.  He put a call in to the midwife to see when she would want us to come in to the hospital.  At the time she was prepping to go into a c-section with another mama and said she would call us back in a few minutes.

At 2:45 my contractions suddenly went from being 8 ½ minutes apart to 3 ½ minutes apart.  I mean that quite literally.  I had contractions at 2:33 then 2:41 and then, boom, 2:45 and 2:49.  The contractions were getting more intense and I was just pacing around the bedroom at this point, pausing when a contraction hit to lean over the bed.  My back was starting to really bother me through the contractions.  I was still feeling pretty scared at this point.  I knew labor was happening and I was scared, even though I know that fear is not at all helpful to the labor process.  I don’t know why but I was much more scared of the labor process this time. We woke my mom to let her know what was happening and started to get ready to go as we were calling the midwife again.  PB told her what was happening and she said to come on in.  PB also started trying to get in touch with Rachel, a friend of ours who was supposed to come and stay with E so that my mom could come to the hospital.  We set off and mom waited at the house until Rachel arrived.

We got to the hospital around 3:30 a.m. and my contractions were still 3-4 minutes apart.  We immediately went up to labor and delivery.  At the desk one of the nurses offered me a wheelchair but I told her no and paced around while PB filled out paperwork.  Things were getting even more intense and a few minutes later when PB offered to get me a wheelchair, I accepted because my back was really bothering me.  We got back to our room in L&D rather quickly and it was kind of a whirlwind from there.  To be honest it’s hard to remember it in a linear fashion, it’s all jumbled up in my mind like it happened all at once.

I got changed into the hospital gown, trying to maintain my calm, and per hospital regulations had to be put on the fetal monitors to check on the baby.  At some point before climbing onto the bed the midwife (Bev) asked when I had last taken my heparin and I asked her about an epidural.  She said it was unlikely that they would allow me to have an epidural since I had just done an injection of the blood thinner at 10 p.m.  (The reason being that they won’t risk a bleed occurring in the spinal cord.)  I felt a little panicked by that but felt a little bit like – Okay, well that natural labor that you thought you wanted prior to having E is happening now.  Time to see what I could do.

I was not at all excited about being monitored because I really did not want to lay in the bed, even with the head elevated so I was mostly sitting up.  The pain in my back from the contractions was getting worse and it was starting to spread to my hips and upper thighs.  But I dutifully climbed into bed and did my best to focus on relaxing during contractions to let my body do what it naturally wanted to do even though things were getting more and more uncomfortable and painful.  The monitors were secured and one of the nurses got an IV placed (on her second try), even though it was looking unlikely that they would get the antibiotics from the pharmacy in time.  The midwife checked my cervix around then and asked if it was okay for her to see what happened during a contraction (which wasn’t as uncomfortable as I thought it was going to be) and I went from 5 cm to 7 as she checked me.  By that point we became even more aware that labor was moving fast and there wasn’t going to be any time for antibiotics or an epidural.  (During all of this PB was calling and texting with family to update them on the baby situation.)  I told the midwife that my back and hips were hurting a lot.  Okay… I probably told her a few times.  The midwife raised the head of the bed as high as it would go and had me get on my knees, turn around and lean over it to see if that position would be more comfortable.

And here’s when things started to get really intense and chaotic in my head.  That is the word that best describes this whole experience.  Intense.  Capital I.  Mostly I am left speechless by the whole thing, trying to summon up the words to accurately portray how insane and miraculous and big this was.

Leaning over the head of the bed was better but not that much better.  The midwife had me try a few things to see if they would help with the pain but nothing seemed to make much of a difference until she tried counter pressure.  PB stood on one side of me (the left) and held my hand with one hand and pushed against my hip with the other and a nurse did the same on the other side.  The counter pressure on my hips helped a great deal and made things more bearable.

By this point I was so inside my self, unable to focus on anything other than what was happening in my body, that I don’t even know what was said to or around me.  I know the nurses and the midwife and PB were all talking to me but I hardly remember any of it.  By this point my vocalizations had become much louder and dramatic.  Groaning and grunting, I was that woman.  You know, the one that alarms people who are walking down the hall and scares the other mothers that have just been admitted in labor.   I simply couldn’t help myself.  There was no way I could have gone through labor silently.  Now and then the nurses or the midwife would remind me to keep my vocalizations low-pitched.  I don’t know the whys of it but it really does help you focus, whereas I could feel myself becoming a bit more frantic when I would allow myself to slip into higher pitched vocalizations.  In between contractions PB continued to keep in contact with family and friends, doing his best to keep them apprised of the situation.

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Stay tuned for the second part of T’s birth story!

Little Man Is One Month Old

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Yesterday was T’s one month birthday! It’s kind of mind-boggling that just one month ago T had just entered the world and our lives. Spending the last month with this little man – getting to know him and make him part of our family – has been emotional, challenging and unquestionably amazing.

He’s such a sweet little guy. I love taking a few moments just to watch him and marvel at him. I know I don’t get as much time to do that as I did with E but I make an effort to take time just to focus on him, on his sweet newness, because they grow and change so quickly in these early weeks. (Of course, I could still say the same about E…) I want to soak it all in, every little bit of him. His facial expressions kill me and I adore the gummy little smiles that I am blessed with now and then. His tiny hands are the best. I don’t know what it is about baby hands (and my babies’ hands in particular) but I’m kind of obsessed with them. They are a wonder to me.

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Right now T has terrible baby acne on his cheeks, chin, chest and arms; is losing the hair on the top of his head; just got over a pretty awesome case of cradle cap; gets has a red, watery, goopy left eye thanks to a clogged tear duct… and is beautiful.  He to stretch upon waking, yanks daddy’s chest hair, is as gassy as they come, sleeps with his mouth open (just like his sister did) and I’ve already had to cut his fingernails three times. He’s amazed us with how strong he is already. He has some real force behind his kicks, picks his head up and looks around when held up to our shoulders and even grabbed hold of my finger one night and after a bit of maneuvering managed to get it into his mouth and hold it there.  He already gives responsive smiles, which is just awesome! T typically sleeps about three hours at a time at night but he has slept longer on occasion. Namely on Christmas Eve he slept six hours straight and on Christmas he slept five hours straight – the gift of sleep for mama!

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Mama and daddy love you sweet boy!

A note about E:  Watching E become a big sister and dote over Bubs has made my heart explode with love a hundred times over. She is so sweet with him.  She constantly wants to hold him, kiss him and hug him. If he’s crying, she becomes very concerned and runs to fetch his paci.  She can frequently be a little too enthusiastic with her affection and so we have to remind her to be gentle but she has yet to show any jealousy. That’s not to say that there haven’t been any growing pains. There have definitely been a few – namely she has regressed a bit with potty training (she asks to wear diapers more than she used to) and she has become somewhat clingy with me – but overall I feel like we can’t complain even a little bit because she has been so welcoming, loving and enthusiastic to and about T. I really don’t think we could have expected any better.

I particularly love listening to her talk to T. She tries to reassure him when he cries, telling him that it will be okay and she’ll come get him in a minute. She also frequently tells him that she loves him and that he’s so good.  E will often give him a big hug or stroke his face and say, “Awww!” Watching them together makes my love for each of them swell.  I just want to squeeze them both and kiss all over their sweet little faces.

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HALO SleepSack Review and Giveaway

Disclosure: I received a HALO SleepSack Swaddle in exchange for my review.  All opinions are my own.

I was very excited when HALO approached me about reviewing one of their SleepSacks.  We swaddled E for months after she was born and I knew that we were likely to do the same with our second baby.  Since we were coming into cooler weather and we would be using the SleepSack right from the beginning, I choose the newborn microfleece swaddle in their gender neutral Bee Buddies print.  The SleepSack Swaddle also comes in cotton and plushy dot velboa.

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T wearing the SleepSack Swaddle with arms swaddled in.

I am very happy with our SleepSack choice.  The mircofleece is very soft and cozy feeling and is a very nice medium weight fleece, which is great for this time of year.  I think the cotton muslin SleepSack would be an excellent choice for summertime.  The newborn size is specified for babies 19 to 23 inches in length and 6 to 12 pounds.  T is already 9 lb. 6 oz. and 22.1/2 long and we’re still going strong with the newborn swaddle fit-wise.  I’m sure he will continue to grow like a weed but I think that we’ll be able to use this size swaddle for a couple more weeks at least.

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We’ve been using our SleepSack Swaddle every night since we brought T home from the hospital.  We have other swaddles that are similar to the HALO SleepSack that we used with E but we have been so pleased with the SleepSack Swaddle that we haven’t even pulled any of them out of the dresser!  Some things we love about the SleepSack Swaddle: it’s super easy to use, because of the zipper you can change a diaper without undoing the swaddle (though it can be a bit tricky), it keeps T warm and cozy, and you can swaddle baby with arms in or arms out.  Papa Bear has even said that he wants more in larger sizes.  One minor drawback (and this could be true with many swaddles, I just haven’t used any of the others in so long that I don’t really remember) is that if T is squirmy the upper edges of the swaddle can sometimes creep up and touch his cheeks and chin.  This isn’t a super huge deal except that it sometimes causes him to wake and start rooting because something is touching his cheek when he might have otherwise drifted back off to sleep.

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T wearing the SleepSack Swaddle with arms out.

Overall we really like the HALO SleepSack Swaddle and given how well it has worked for us we would likely like the other SleepSack products as well.

Recently HALO recently released a new product – the HALO Bassinet Swivel Sleeper.  The Swivel Sleeper Bassinet allows baby to sleep right next to mom (and dad), which keeps baby close for bonding and easier breastfeeding, but also gives baby his own separate sleeping space.

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The bassinet makes the frequent nighttime stirrings of a newborn more convenient for a new mom, particularly if she is breastfeeding.  The bassinet has two swivel points, which allow it to be pulled into the bed next to mom and to swing open like a door to allow mom in and out of bed.  The baby is so close at hand that it is very easy to reach over and sooth her if she is fussy or pick her up and place her to the breast if she is hungry.  Mom doesn’t even have to leave her bed!  The bassinet’s other features include a nightlight, nature and womb sounds, music, and gentle vibration.  It can be adjusted to fit beds 24-24 inches high and is designed for babies from birth to 20 pounds or five months of age.

Check out this video of the Swivel Sleeper Bassinet in action!

You can follow HALO on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and YouTube.

 

And now onto the exciting stuff – Enter to win your own HALO SleepSack using the Rafflecopter widget below!  Giveaway will be open until Sunday, December 21 and I will announce the winner on Monday, December 22.(Giveaway open to residents of the U.S. and Canada.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Some current sleep recommendations for infants are:

  • Place baby to sleep on his or her back at naptime and at night time.
  • Use a crib or bassinet that meets current safety standards with a firm mattress that fits snugly and is covered with only a tight-fitting crib sheet.
  • Remove all soft bedding and toys from your baby’s sleep area (this includes loose blankets, bumpers, pillows and positioners). The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests using a wearable blanket instead of loose blankets to keep your baby warm.
  • Never put your baby to sleep on any soft surface (adult beds, sofas, chairs, water beds, quilts, sheep skins etc.)
  • Never dress your baby too warmly for sleep; keep room temperature 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Never allow anyone to smoke around your baby or take your baby into a room or car where someone has recently smoked.

The Bubs

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Our little bubs was a week old on Saturday.  Hard to believe, honestly.  His birth happened so quickly starting shortly after midnight on November 29th but then by that evening he ended up in the NICU and the next 2 1/2 days passed in a blur as we shuffled back and forth from mother/baby to the NICU every three hours, snatching sleep and food when possible.  Finally we were able to bring him home on Tuesday.  Then Wednesday was his first doctor’s visit and Friday was my birthday.  What a whirlwind!  I’m still not always sure what day it is!

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Getting to know T has been pretty darn awesome.  He has already grown out of newborn sleep suits/footie outfits because he’s so tall.  (E was the same way, outgrowing clothes in length way before they were ever too small in width.)  He still fits in newborn onesies and separates but probably not for long!  His nighttime sleep is a bit wacky.  He’ll sleep a decent chunk until around 4 a.m. and then tends to be up every 1 1/2-2 hours, which is a little exhausting but, hey, that’s newborn sleep.  We’re hoping that that gets better soon!  He also naps a lot during the day.  Pretty typical stuff.  Things we know about T so far: when he is awake he wants to be held, he gets the hiccups a lot, he already picks his head up during tummy time or when he is held up to your shoulder, and he loves to eat.  He doesn’t cry often, has started making little cooing noises, and is generally a sweet little guy.  PB loves how cuddly he is.  The last few days T has been much more alert when awake.  He wants to eat all the time and is a breastfeeding champ.  He’s doing really well and I can’t wait to see what his weight is at his two week appointment on Friday.  He looks so much like E!

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I was a bit worried about the adjustment from one kid to two and we’re still trying to figure out a new routine but I am loving watching E as a big sister.  She met T on the day he was born.  She was adorable, saying that she loved her baby brother and that he was “so strong.”  She also sniffed him and declared that he smelled like cupcakes.  I’m really not sure it gets any cuter than that.  She was also very concerned about where his teeth were.  Too funny!

E wants to hold him all the time and has given him loads of kisses.  We sometimes have to remind her to be gentle because she is a bit enthusiastic with her affection but in general she is very loving with him.  Over the weekend she tried to console him as we were on our way to the store and he was crying in his car seat and if he fusses while in the pack-n-play she’ll call out, “What’s the matter, Tobs? I’ll get you in a second, bubs.”  It seems like she has really taken to her role as big sister.   I’m really happy with how well E has adjusted.  She is greatly interested in T nursing and says a few times a day that she wants to nurse but usually I’m able to distract her and she doesn’t get upset.  There have been a few times where she has wanted me to carry or lift her (which I’m not supposed to do right now) and she’s started crying when someone stepped in – which breaks my heart a little bit – but over all things have been pretty good.  Grandma was here for the first week, so that probably helped!  She was able to give E lots of attention as we transitioned to a family of four.  I know there will be growing pains yet to come but we’ve managed to handle them all fairly well thus far.

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It’s a Boy!

Tobias Edmund was born at 4:50 a.m. on November 29, 2014!

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After a brief stay in the NICU, we were both able to come home on December 2.  I will write all about his birth and our NICU experience soon but right now I am focusing on navigating life with a toddler and a newborn and marveling in each sweet moment as it happens.

We are so excited to welcome this little man into our family!

41 Week Bump Date

Yep, still pregnant.  Everyone keeps asking how I am feeling, when the baby is going to get here, and if I have had any signs of labor.  Trust me, we’re not going to keep it a secret when baby is on its way!

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What’s happening with baby:  I have no idea at this point!  It continues to move around in there and apparently is content with that.  Baby should be all ready to meet the world, he or she just doesn’t seem to want to!  There are a lot of people anxious to meet you, baby!

What’s happening with mama:  I’m actually rather grateful that baby did not come on its due date – namely because that morning I woke up sick and I felt terrible for the next 2-3 days!  I can’t imagine trying to give birth in that state.  I told Papa Bear that I simply couldn’t do it.  I honestly don’t know how I would have done it.  PB and E were also sick, so I’m glad that we didn’t have to deal with that.  It would have been a little nuts!  Thankfully we are all feeling much better now, we’re just waiting on baby.

Sadly, in the midst of us all being sick, PB’s paternal grandma passed away suddenly.  We were incredibly shocked and sadden when we heard of her passing last Friday.  Losing her any time would have been heartbreaking but it’s particularly hard right now.  We were really hoping baby would arrive over the weekend so that PB could attend her funeral but since baby hasn’t budged it looks unlikely that he will be able to make it, which just makes me incredibly sad for him.  Poor PB.  :(  Please keep him and his family in your thoughts.

So, yeah it has been a rough week.  Add on top of that, I’ve been getting more and more physically uncomfortable.  In general I just feel a lot more achy and have a lot more pressure down low.  Plus, my sides are very sore from the heparin shots.  And I’m feeling just huge!  At least being sick overshadowed all of that until now?

Recent appointments:  We had a second ultrasound last Friday to check on my fluid levels and, thankfully, everything looked very good.  That was a relief after our appointment on Tuesday when there was concern that fluid levels were low.

On Monday I had an appointment with the midwives.  They ran a non-stress test – the results of which were good despite baby not wanting to be very active.  The midwife also did a cervical check at my request.  I’m still 1-2 cm dilated and 60% effaced, no change from last week, but baby has dropped down to nearly 0 station.  We discussed having my membranes swept and induction.  The midwives like to get an induction on the books around 42 weeks.  In the end we decided not to do a stretch and sweep because I am GBS positive.  The midwife thought she could easily get me to 4 cm with a stretch and sweep but was then concerned about whether or not I would have time to get the antibiotics for GBS when I went into labor.  I’m still wondering whether or not I should have done it but… ah well.  If baby doesn’t come before then, we have an induction scheduled for Monday.  Going into labor naturally is obviously preferred but baby has to come out sometime and with my medical concerns there are some benefits to induction.  Monday is December.  I can’t even believe that.  I can’t even wrap my head around the fact that we might be looking at a December baby instead of November.  If that happens, the baby and I will have birthdays only a couple of days apart.

We had another ultrasound on Tuesday for a biophysical and everything looked good, particularly for 41 weeks.  I have another ultrasound scheduled for Friday if baby is still hanging out on the inside.

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40 Week Bump Date!

My due date was yesterday!  We’re still waiting on baby (if that wasn’t already obvious).

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What’s happening with baby:  Baby is full term and should be all ready to meet the world.  Now we’re just waiting on him or her to choose a birthday!

What’s happening with mama:  Mama is not feeling so hot.  Which is pretty much an understatement – I feel terrible.  Not because I is massively pregnant (though I am) but because I woke up sick yesterday morning!  Runny nose, sinus pressure, post-nasal drip, sore throat.  That is so supremely unfair.  E has a runny nose and cough as well and PB has started to not feel well.  Don’t we have the most awesome timing?  Maybe baby will stay put for a few more days to allow us to get to feeling better?  I hope so because I feel like poo.

Pregnancy-wise I’m feeling pretty good still.  Kind of odd but I’m sleeping okay (even though it takes me a while to fall asleep) and fairly comfortable for the most part.  I am starting to have serious trouble getting up from low couches and rolling over in bed.  Otherwise, every little thing gives me Braxton-Hicks contractions and I had BH Tuesday night back to back for quite a while.  They’re a little crazy.  The baby still moves a lot and is big enough at this point that it sometimes feels pretty uncomfortable or makes me feel a little sick to my stomach.

Appointments this week:  We had an appointment with the midwives and an ultrasound on Tuesday.  Since I was 40 weeks the midwife decided to do a cervical check.  Normally I don’t get cervical checks but since I am full term the midwife thought it could be a good idea to get an idea of where I’m at.  More to inform them on how quickly they would like me to come in when I do go into labor rather than as a sign of impending labor since you can walk around dilated for weeks.  I was 1 1/2 cm and 60% effaced.  Everything looked good.

At the ultrasound we got a tech we’ve never met before and she was totally not personable, which was kind of a bummer.  She quickly did the biophysical and announced that she thought my fluid was low.  A doctor came in to recheck and see what she thought.  The doctor disagreed with the tech’s measurements and thought my fluid levels were on the low end of normal.  The doctor talked about induction a lot – basically saying that it would be fine at this point and I could choose to be induced, though it wasn’t necessary at this point.  I’m not interested in being induced unless there is a reason.  The doctor asked that I come in for another ultrasound on Friday to recheck levels before the weekend.  I called the midwives after my ultrasound because they had asked about my fluid levels at my appointment that morning.  The midwife on call was not concerned but was glad they scheduled another ultrasound Friday and recommended that I hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.  My next appointment with the midwives is on Monday, at which point they will do a non-stress test.

Weight gained:  24 pounds.

Baby is the size of a:  small pumpkin.

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