Sunday, March 27, 2011

Living My Dream (lots of pictures)

Not every moment feels like a dream...when I feel dirty because I haven't showered in days, have sweat pants on, messy hair and two babies screaming at me to eat and have their endless poopy diapers changed. But those moments are few and short compared to all the moments I just look at them with tears in my eyes. I am living my dream. Not only do I have my 2 babies, but I also get to stay home with them, and work only when I want to work for as many hours as I choose to work. And I get to watch them with their awesome daddy. And I get to see every milestone. And I get to kiss and hug them all I want because they are mine. And I just can't believe this is my life....

Could she be any more beautiful??

My goodness, she is gorgeous.

Daddies are SO much fun!

I am SO freakin' excited about this double stroller. I have been eye-ing it since we realized we would actually have 2 babies. I finally broke down and bought it. Don't let the simplicity of this moment fool you - it was like a military operation getting both babies ready and out the door for a walk to the park:).

Be still my beating heart....

Don't mind the diapers, toys, car seats, etc surrounding us...that is now our life. But, it is VERY rare that all of us are dressed (as opposed to being in our pj's all day:)), so I had to take the opportunity for a picture with my babies. Can you believe it?

Monday, March 21, 2011

His First Tooth!

My sweet Jackson cut his first tooth! It is the bottom front left one. I don't know if I should celebrate or cry. I feel this way with each milestone that he reaches...I love watching him grow, but I also hate it - our time is going too fast. The sad part of this? I wasn't even the one who noticed his very sharp first tooth. Someone else did and showed me. (Insert loads of mommy guilt here). I have been so consumed with my challenges with Addison (another post for another day) that I didn't even notice when my son cut his first tooth. Ouch. I know he's been working on a tooth for quite awhile, just have no idea when the darn thing popped through! Poor little guy.

In other mommy news, Jackson and I had a giggling fit together this morning during breakfast. It started out with him sneezing with a mouth full of food. You can imagine the explosion. He gave me the cutest look, ready to read whatever reaction I was going to give him, like he knew it would make a mess. And I just broke down laughing, which he thought was fun! And then he was just his happy self, giggling at the funny noises and faces we make. He is just so freakin' fun, I can hardly stand it! So worth the wait....

Friday, March 18, 2011

Jackson is 7 Months Old!

Jackson turned 7 months old yesterday and he is such an amazing little boy. His biggest accomplishment this month - sitting up! His Nana worked with him on this when she was visiting and it paid off. As you can see in the above picture, he is pretty darn good at it! Jackson babbles a lot and makes the "mama" sound especially when he is crying and upset. Jackson sleeps through the night consistently. He sometimes wakes up crying, but all we have to do is soothe him in his crib briefly and he is back to sleep. Jackson still does not like rolling over, and if he gets on his belly in his crib, he screams. We are convinced he will just skip crawling and move straight to walking, but we will see!!

Jackson loves to eat anything and everything. We have begun feeding him some of the food we are eating and he gets so excited, kicking his feet and excitedly giggling and screaming for more. Stranger anxiety kicked in full force this month. If someone he doesn't recognize starts talking to him, especially if he is tired, he begins screaming. One lady at Target felt pretty darn bad when he fell apart simply because she had the audacity to smile at him and say hello! Jason had to take him out of the cart and hold him because he was so upset! And that is another big milestone for our little man - he can now sit up in the carts at the store, no more baby seat for him! He loves to look around and enjoy the shopping experience with us. It has become SO much less stressful taking him out anywhere. (Of course, the stress is still there due to his baby sister now!)

Jackson has the sweetest smile and lights up an entire room. People comment all the time on what a happy and smiley baby he is. His laugh is contagious and you can't help but laugh with him when he gets going. He is just amazing in every way. Jackson had a rough month with Addison joining our family. The change in routine and the different caregivers was too much for him and he regressed in many areas. However, he is back to his happy and predictable self now and is even enjoying Addison. He likes to look at her and he loves to grab any part of her he can get his little hands on...and pull! She is his own personal baby doll:). The picture below is one such time...

Life gets more and more fun as Jax continues to grow and learn. He is just a pleasure to be around. It's crazy to think that he is closer to 1 year old now than he is to being a newborn - time sure flew! We love you, baby boy!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Addison is One Month Old!

Our baby girl turned one month old yesterday. The time sure has flown, although in the midst of her screaming, it feels like time just stands still:). Addison is a very serious baby, as you can see from the picture above. You can also see a cute double chin already, which clearly comes from my side of the family - not so cute when you are 30, might I add:). She gets a lot of her features from my side of the family, and I looked just like her as a newborn. If you compare this picture to Jackson's one month picture (back in September), you can see the two very different personalities. Addison still seems a lot like a newborn and is not very interactive with us. She has just started giving us sustained eye contact in the last few days. We each have also gotten a smile or two, as you will see from the next picture, but they are few and far between so far.

Addison cries....a lot. She seems to want to be awake all the time, but obviously is exhausted. So instead of just going to sleep, she cries and requires a great deal of our attention in order to *finally* fall asleep. And most nights, her sleep is not very deep, meaning she wakes up crying the minute I put her in her bassinet. I've been up with her since 3:30am this morning, for example. Not fun. Apparently breastfed babies don't sleep as deeply as formula fed babies because breastmilk is not as thick (reducing the risk of SIDS). I have talked to a couple of lactation consultants, as well as her pediatrician, and it seems she is just going to be a fussy baby (as opposed to being related to breastfeeding). The word "colic" has been thrown around a few times. Ugggghhh. Addison is very active, always moving. She kicks and moves her arms like crazy and is already rolling around, getting herself up on her side, etc. I blame her daddy for all that activity:).

Addison weighed 8lbs 6oz at her one month appointment yesterday, which is in the 27th percentile, so she is just a little peanut. She is very long, though, and has outgrown many of her newborn sleepers because her legs are so long. She is going to have her mommy's problem of not being able to find pants that are long enough:).

While she is quite a challenging baby, we love her so very much. We are very blessed to have our little princess. It often feels like we are doing this for the first time again with her because she is so different from Jax. His extreme fussiness did not come for a few months. His first few months were awesome. Let's hope she is the opposite and she'll grow out of her fussiness soon:). And here is one of her very cute newborn pictures...what a doll baby!

Happy One Month Birthday, Baby Girl! We love you, Addy!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

"You'll Be Fine"

My house is complete chaos at all times, I am beyond exhausted and my nerves are shot. I write this as my eldest is screaming in his crib (believe me, I've tried calming him, he's just overtired) and my sister just pointed out that I put my Pringles can in the cupboard with the cleaning supplies after having a quick snack earlier. Seriously?!

As I have expressed anxiety about taking care of two babies, I have had pretty much everyone I know tell me "You will be fine" and "You'll do great." I know I will be fine, I will do great, I will get through this. One day. But not today. I am not fine. I am not great. I am on the verge of collapse. I am just not ok.

Here are just a few reasons for my current "not ok" status:

  • Jackson has regressed. Big time. Note the previously mentioned screaming. He hasn't done that in weeks before naps and bedtime. He now does it on a regular basis, 2 out of 3 times today. Sometimes, he just won't sleep. Just refuses. He now wakes up in the morning at least an hour earlier than he used to, and he wakes up screaming. He does not calm down. Before Addy was born, and even right after she came home, he woke up happy and babbling and was content to do that for up to an hour in his crib. Now, he screams until I get him up. Then he screams some more if I put him down. Then he screams some more when I feed him his solids for breakfast. Then he continues screaming when his solids are done. It doesn't end until after he has had his bottle. He is grumpy now a pretty good portion of the day, and grumpy for Jax means a lot of screaming.
  • During all of Jackson's screaming, Addison also needs to be fed and screams if I don't oblige her immediately (of course, she's a newborn!). Since I am breastfeeding, that also is all my job. And the babies have done a perfect job of waking up at the exact same time and both wanting to be fed right away. The mornings have become a scream-fest, every morning, for at least an hour. The rest of the day is on and off.
  • Breastfeeding is really hard. For one, Addison falls asleep constantly on the breast, no matter what I do. So I never know if she is full and satisfied, or is just sleepy and will wake up and want more. After about 45 minutes to an hour, I generally take her off the breast. Sometimes she is content and sometimes not. I find I have NO clue what I am doing with breastfeeding. None. I don't know if she's latched right, if she's getting enough, if she's full, if she's over-full (she spits up at times), if she needs more, etc. All I know is she is peeing and pooping very regularly (like pooping every feeding still!) and gaining weight according to our scale (and she did surpass her birth weight already at her doctor's appointment when she was 10 days old). Then, once she gets tired, it means more work. She has to be swaddled, she has to have her paci, and she has to be held. We've tried the swing and the papasan and she just screams. And then, even being held and bounced, she spits her paci out at least 2 times and screams for a little while. Eventually, she does fall asleep, but not before I second guess myself constantly - is she still hungry? Did she get enough? Should I feed her again? And it is possible she is hitting the growth spurt the lactation consultants told me to expect around 3 weeks, as she is eating more frequently and not sleeping very soundly at all. At least I hope that's what it is. So, feeding her means about an hour and a half of full attention between the feeding and getting her back to sleep. And that is during the day, every 3 hours (which leaves about 1.5 hours at a time that I get a break from her, and remember Jax is also needing me during the day) as well as at night. Which leads me to arguably the hardest part...
  • Since the aforementioned feeding/rocking routine is necessary for every feeding, and since Addison still needs to eat very regularly, I am lucky to get 4 or 5 hours of sleep every night, and that is definitely not all at once. It's usually 2-3 hours for the first chunk and then an hour here and there until I am abruptly woken up by one of the babies, or sometimes both, screaming. I am beyond tired. There are no words for my kind of exhaustion right now.
So, those are the biggest reasons for my current state, but certainly not all of them. Life goes on and there are many other things that need to get done that just add to the stress (and I'm not even talking about unimportant things like, say, cleaning). Once my sister leaves tomorrow, I'm convinced I won't be able to even eat a meal a day. The only way I have eaten the last 2 weeks is because my mom and sister were here to put food in front of me. If I had to make it, or sometimes even take the time to put a poptart in the toaster, it wouldn't happen. There is no time, and no energy. Thank God for them the past couple of weeks. I honestly could not have done it without them...but now what?!

Let me be clear, I love my babies more than I can even describe. Even with all of this difficulty, they make me smile and laugh every single day. I know I am blessed beyond words. And probably with some sleep and a few hours of peace, I would be able to have a better perspective. But not today. I just need to be able to say, for the record, I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, "fine." At least not for now.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Addison's Birth Story

I was feeling cramping on and off starting Sunday, February 13. Given this was my first experience with labor and delivery, I wasn't sure if that was what contractions felt like? On Monday, February 14, they began to come a little more regularly, a few an hour at times, and they were getting more painful. I was also very tired and achy. And then I lost my mucous plug. So, on Monday evening at about 4:30pm, I called my OB. She advised me to go to the hospital to get checked out as I may be in labor. We called Jackson's Grandma Sheree who was going to stay with Jackson while we had Addison, finished packing my bags, and we headed to the hospital. I still didn't believe they would admit me, although we were determined to fight for it because we didn't want to keep driving back and forth to the hospital (it is 1.5 hours away).

The contractions became more consistent on the drive up to the hospital, about 7-10minutes apart. When we got to triage at about 6:30pm, they checked me and told me I was only dilated to a 2, but I was 75% effaced. They had me walk for an hour and told me if I didn't progress, they probably would send me home. They wouldn't "augment" labor at night because the doctor on call (not my doctor) wouldn't want to come in the middle of the night to deliver my baby. After walking for an hour, I hadn't really progressed and was still at a 2. At this point, however, my contractions were getting more painful and much more regular, at least every 5 minutes. I was getting to the point where I couldn't talk through them and just had to stop and try to breathe. After calling the doctor, they told me I was to stay and walk and be monitored for 2 more hours and a decision would be made after that. After those 2 hours, I was in A LOT of pain. The contractions were intense and coming every 3-4 minutes. They checked me and I had (only) progressed to a 3. The nurse wasn't sure if I'd be sent home or not. The thought of driving home and experiencing that pain on my own was very scary. Luckily, the doctor agreed to have me stay and be admitted.

We were (finally) moved to a room, the room I would deliver my baby girl in! I think it was around 10 or 10:30pm by this time. They offered me an epidural right away, but I opted for IV pain medication, hoping to hold off on the epidural so I could move around during labor. My friend, Leann, also came to the hospital to be with us and arrived sometime after midnight - I was way too tired to know the exact time by that time! The pain medication helped take the edge off the contractions, but seemed to slow my labor. Throughout the night, I did not progress at all. My contractions began to come less regularly. They asked me to hold off on more pain medication to see if my labor would speed up again. But it didn't. I didn't sleep much throughout the night because I could feel all the contractions, and of course there was a great deal of anxiety and excited anticipation! They did give me more IV pain medication sometime very early morning because it didn't look like my contractions were getting any more regular without them. At around 7am, the doctor on call ordered pitocin for me and they started it right away. My doctor also called in and said she would be coming to break my water. I then asked for my epidural, knowing it was going to get intense very soon. Before I got the epidural, the contractions began getting very intense. I believe I got my epidural around 7:45 or 8am. I was so nervous, but it honestly was not that bad at all. It was a great epidural and I was able to feel my legs. My doctor arrived right after the epidural and broke my water. After that, Jason and Leann went to get some food and I was able to take a short nap.

They checked me throughout the morning and I was progressing very quickly. Around 10am, I was feeling a lot of pressure and the nurse checked me and said I was at an 8 and to let her know when I felt the pressure in my "bottom." Within 15 minutes, I felt it and told her. She checked me again and I was at a 10 - time to push! I was extremely nervous for this last part of labor and delivery. At 10:30am, I began pushing. They called the doctor around 11am because Addison was getting close to her big arrival! I pushed for the next half hour, which was honestly the worst part of the entire labor and delivery. Addison was so close to being out, but just couldn't fit. The constant pushing and stretching "down there" was painful. They could see her hair and told me it was long and blonde and beautiful. I could feel Addison kicking up in my abdomen still! The doctor told me she may have to do an episiotomy, but I had sensation down there by this point, and I've always been terrified of even the idea of an episiotomy. So, she turned up my epidural and numbed the area "just in case." After another push or two, she did have to perform an episiotomy and that was all it took! Addison's head immediately came out and without me even having to push, Addison stuck her little arm out and "swam" the rest of the way out. The whole room laughed at how eager her arrival was! I was able to reach down and help pull her out. As she laid on my chest and cried, I cried with her. The relief of having this healthy baby girl to kiss and hug and love was indescribable. I loved her with every piece of me instantly. There are no words to describe how intense my love was for her from the moment I saw her.

I honestly write this with disbelief that it all actually happened. In the days in the hospital following her birth, I would look at her and then look at Jason and tell him I still couldn't believe she came out of me. I know it happened, I am still experiencing a lot of pain and fatigue to remind me. But after so many years of dreaming and hoping and wishing and praying, I still can't believe that I gave birth to a baby, to my daughter.