Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What I Wish I'd Known Before Becoming a Mom

I can't help but recount some of the lessons I've learned in the last few weeks. My days are defined by new lessons, so I love to share the knowledge.

1. Kellymom.com. Manna from heaven on all the confusion that is breastfeeding. Feeding Alexis was surprisingly easy and enjoyable from day 1, but we've hit a few speed bumps along the way that I'm so grateful to have resources for.
2. You never know what ideologies, methods, or tactics you may completely embrace that you didn't expect to, so keep an open mind. For me, co-sleeping to some extent has been a lifesaver. I never would have guessed that before she came.
3. Purple crying is the pits. Sometimes babies just cry, and hard as it is to hear it, especially when you've tried everything and feel guilty for not doing more, it's ok. Alexis had one night this week where nothing we did calmed her down and we finally had to walk away and let her cry it out, because it was 3am and we were going to collapse. I probably cried almost as much as she did, but the next morning? Happy as a clam and cooing away at us. Babies are resilient.
4. You can never judge another parent. You never know what issues they or their children are dealing with. I'm impressed by the sacrifice of any parent that's capable of feeding, sheltering, and just keeping their child alive to see adulthood.

and finally... 5. you will figure it out. I remember thinking that first week home how impossible it seemed to care for a newborn and do ANYTHING else after my mom left and how scared I was to have to do it. And guess what? When she left, somehow I figured it out. I'm still figuring it out, but every day is progress.

The poor thing has already suffered through her first cold, sniffling, rattling cough, sore throat (we think) and all. She is resilient as well as strong, stubborn, and very intelligent. It's amazing how much individuality and identity there is in such a little person. No doubt she was her own person long before she joined us here on Earth. I guess that's the last lesson: never forget that they are first a precious child of God and you will always have His help in raising them.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The One-Armed Life

 Rocking the wet hair. No point in hiding reality from you.
I think I'm getting the hang of this mom thing. I think, no matter how much advice you hear, it comes down to just figuring it out yourself - like driving stick-shift or leaning to water-ski. The trick is to do it.

Some days are easier than others, though I've managed to shower, get dressed, and even put on a little makeup every day this week before noon. I hear that's pretty good progress for having a child this age and it certainly helps me feel more human. Getting work done is a different story, though, as I really have a hard time staying focused while she's awake, not to mention typing with one hand is a little challenging. Then, when she finally does go down, I'm left with a very short window during which I can do anything else, including pick up, make myself lunch, or catch up on sleep. Amazing how I can stay inside all day and still not have enough time in the day.

BUT.......look at that sweet face. How could she not be worth it? (A sample of her newborn photos, courtesy of my friend Monica. I can't wait to get the rest!)

Monday, November 7, 2011

This is Piglet

 She's already a week old, and thus far she has truly lived up to her name. She has the chubby face, eating habits, and adorable squeal to prove it. Oh, and she's in pink a whole lot. :)
She also responds to: Squeakers, Princess Fusser-Face,
Dollie, and of course, Miss Lexie. (Maybe I should add Zombie-Maker to that list).
Nights are long, but she really is such a good baby. Also, blessings upon the head of my mother who has been with us helping out since she was born, doing our laundry, making dinner, taking Alexis so I can shower, and so much more. I remind myself that this is the same woman who 24+ years ago was the one nursing, swaddling, changing, and rocking me. Every day I learn more just how noble the calling of Motherhood is.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Legends are Born in October

And as we had hoped, so was our baby girl, Alexis Leigh Shannon. She came on Halloween, of all days, so not only will our little pumpkin always have a fun birthday every year, she will share it with her uncle Ross. I'm thrilled to continue the tradition.

Since you all want details, here's how it went down:

Saturday night the 29th was a terrible night of sleep with cramping all night long, which up to that point was pretty typical for me. But then I woke up Sunday morning and noticed that the cramps weren't going away - they were getting worse. After about 30 minutes I noticed that they were about 10 minutes apart. For the first time all month they were regular, which could mean only one thing: real labor. Yay! Also, hurray for no induction! I'm so proud of my body for doing it's job!

I woke Sam to tell him that I didn't think we were going to be teaching a lesson at church today, because I was about 90% sure I was in labor. I took the morning to rest a bit and start timing them more, taking every opportunity between contractions to finish picking up the house, packing the bag, showering and even drying my hair. I have to say, at that point they weren't too painful and for awhile I thought that maybe labor wouldn't be so bad after all.What wishful thinking.

Around 4pm they were about 4-6 minutes apart, but as I mentioned still not that painful, and we hopefully jaunted off to the hospital while still in pretty good spirits. We were there about an hour and a half before they finally determined that I hadn't progressed AT ALL since my last prenatal appointment and sent us home. I was devastated thinking this might be a really really long labor. Ironically it was at the hospital that the contractions really started picking up and getting harder and harder to talk through. By the time we got home around 7 they were 3-5 minutes apart and right about the level they should be when most folks leave for the hospital. We were so afraid of being sent away again for lack of progress that we hung around until midnight, trying a warm shower, massage, different positions, anything to keep my mind off the increasing back labor.

We were back to the hospital at 12:30am, but this time the contractions were so bad in my back that it felt like someone was driving an industrial drill through it. I was near hyperventilating through them and it took several nurses and Sam by my side to remind me to breathe. My wonderful midwife evaluated me, and even though she was really hesitant to admit us since I had only progressed one more centimeter since the last time we had come, she felt that my pain was too much to be making my labor effective and that an epidural to help me rest through them and might actually speed things along. She was right. And so is everyone who's ever had one - they are a miracle.

It took until 3:30am to get it going, break my water, and get us settled, but from that point we were finally able to rest, and within 2 hours I was at 7cm. 2 hours later I was at a 9, and a 10 an hour after that. Thank heavens for modern medicine, because it really made the second half of labor a breeze.There was a 30 minute period in the last hour before we started pushing when the epidural wore off in one spot and my back was in intense pain again. It didn't quite fade all the way, which made pushing rather uncomfortable, so I was bound and determined to get her out quick.
After an hour of pushing, she was born and was immediately checked by a respiratory specialist since they had found some meconium in the amniotic fluid, but thankfully she was alright and didn't need any special treatment. I was so dizzy and tired after pushing that I was in sort of a trance and it felt a bit like an out of body experience, but it didn't change how amazing it was to bring her into the world. They placed her on my chest and I will never forget that moment of looking into her eyes for the first time. That and watching Sam hold her for the first time.

She's a good little chunk at almost 9 lbs. and was 20.5 inches long, but she's a wonderful eater and breastfeeding has been second nature for her since the moment she was born. We're both recovering well and adjusting to this new life as the three of us.We are so blessed. I am so in love with my little family.

 Just minutes old.
 Daddy's little girl
 Mommy and Alexis
We love our little "Eskimo Baby"
Bundled up and getting ready to go home
 More pictures and adorable videos to come. . . once I get a spare moment. ;)