Thursday, January 27, 2011

NOT the Terrible Horrible No-good Very Bad Day

While Luke slept much better through the night last night (I almost got a whole 6 hours of sleep!), he is struggling today, for one reason or another. Even more than usual I mean. Here's what my day has consisted of:

Giving the kids a rushed breakfast of cold cereal, changing poopy diapers and pee-soaked clothes, starting a load of dirty toddler sheets and towels (since we don't have a single one clean) and hoping Dave can finish it when he gets home since I don't have time, quickly making PB&J sandwiches for lunch (for me AND my kids) so I can get back to taking care of a crying Luke, and being a human pacifier in between as I daydream of taking a shower and being clean...all while my eyes and ears are tortured by Caillou and Martha (PBS Kids) so that my older kids are occupied and not getting into trouble.

And though I sit here most of the day--in my PJ's and still without a brush being ran through my hair--consoling a needy, uncomfortable baby (even as we speak) while trying to stay awake and trying not to long for more glorious things, I don't allow myself to believe that my situation sucks, that my life is meaningless, or that I'm accomplishing nothing, like much of society would view it.

Instead, I know I could be doing nothing better, and that the sacrifices I and other mothers make are greater than any shower, perfectly clean house, or even a book contract with the most prominent publisher I could dream to snag. I know that, and am so grateful to have this privilege of unsightly, yet beautiful, motherhood...

...Even as I sit here nursing the baby for the third time in the last hour (one-hand typing...oh yeah!), and smelling the overflowing kitchen trash a few feet behind me. Ew.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Three Weeks and Counting (almost)...

The first week CRAWLED, but for some reason the last week and a half have flown. I can't believe Luke is almost 3 weeks old! His 2 week checkup went well...I guess. Okay, it really didn't, but that was just because he also got his circumcision at the same time and it was extremely traumatizing for him and me both. But he is healing up great and now I can put that hell behind me!

He now weighs 8 lbs. 12 oz., which is a lot more than I was expecting, since at his 4-day checkup he'd lost almost a whole pound since birth. His pediatrician and I were pleasantly surprised! He is also 21 inches now, 1 inch more than he was at birth. So he is thriving and getting plenty of mama's milk!

Today is one of those days I just want to sleep, cry, vent, etc. But don't worry, I'll only scratch the surface. Of all the 19 nights since Luke was born, all involving about only 3 hours of sleep on average, last night was by far the worst. On top of his usual constant nursing and fussiness, I'm pretty sure he's going through his 3 week "frequency days," or growth spurt, because ever since yesterday afternoon, he has been eating CONSTANTLY. And not the normal, fussy, I-have-a-tummy-ache-so-I-need-comfort nursing. He's actually eating a lot. For the first time ever, he sucked me totally dry last night, which is a huge surprise, considering I have an over-supply of milk usually. So last night consisted of feeding, feeding...feeding. Then trying to get him to sleep. Then crawling into bed. Then just as I was drifting to sleep he'd wake up again and...feeding, feeding, feeding. All night. Every hour. I literally didn't get more than about 30 minutes of sleep.

And it's all catching up to me. And I'm too tired to care about anything, and all I feel like doing is crying, but I'm even too tired to do that. And then I feel like I can't vent to my wonderful husband because his automatic response is that I should let him "cry it out" so that I can get some sleep--an idea that I completely, utterly disagree with at this young newborn age. So to Dave, I bring it on myself (in a nutshell) because I shouldn't let the baby "manipulate" me and shouldn't be coming at his every beckon call, or even feeding him as much as he needs.

Basically, the way he feels is completely against everything I feel and believe in my heart and that makes this all the more difficult. I went through this with Baby Josh, too, and unfortunately during his newborn months, our marriage was rocky because of how opposite our newborn parenting styles are. I'm the nursing mom, so in the end I get the say, but it doesn't make it easy. While I know it is important for babies to have their crying time, I also know it's important for them to know at this age that their parents will be there to comfort and protect them. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to see eye-to-eye with a spouse whose parenting opinions and styles are completely opposite from your own??

At least I know that once the newborn phase is over, we will see eye-to-eye again, since this is the only area we disagree in. Anyway, here's a great article on the LLL website that supports my opinion on the subject and gives a little background and explanation. There are also a billion other helpful articles on this website to anyone else who shares similar views.

Anyway, I love my supportive husband dearly, and am SO grateful for my family and my beautiful children. I cherish them and know how extremely blessed I am. Everyone needs to vent sometimes though, right?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Family of FIVE!

I know I'm WAY behind on this, but it's better late than never, right? One week ago we welcomed our little Lucas James Davenport into the world! HOORAY! He was born on Thursday, January 6, 2011, at 8:04am, weighing 8 lbs. 2 oz. and measuring 20 inches long.

He looks almost exactly like Sam did when he was a baby (same nose, same serious brow, etc.), but not quite as "old." Sam's always had an older face, even as a newborn, and though Luke looks like a little old man sometimes, he's still got a lot more "baby" in his face than Sam did. He also has brownish hair! Dave thinks it'll stay brown, but I think it'll end up blond.

He is doing very well and other than an undescended testicle that they can't find and slightly elevated Bilirubin levels, he is very healthy! The testicle thing is something they aren't concerned with yet and said it's something we and his pediatrician just need to monitor over the next year because it will probably come down on it's own eventually. And though the whites of his eyes are yellow, the Bilirubin levels weren't even elevated enough for them to give me a number. They just said to keep nursing him, put him in sunlight when we can, and it'll go away on it's own. So along with that, and the fact that it was a very smooth delivery, I am feeling pretty darn blessed.

So for anyone wanting more details of the labor/delivery story (and anyone who doesn't mind the glorious details of child birthing), here ya go...

Anyone who knows me knows I was really stressed and nervous about the whole induction and how it was going to go, but it turns out I didn't even need to stress! The night before, I got everything ready and felt 100% prepared, then went to bed that night as anxious as ever. I kept thinking, "Wouldn't that be awesome if I went into labor on my own on the way there tomorrow morning..." Well, I didn't go to labor on the way there, but instead woke up at about 2:45am with my first real labor contraction!

As with my other two kids, I knew right away that it was real because it was painful enough to wake me up. But, wanting to be 100% sure before I woke up Dave and rushed them to the Sipes's house, I let three more contractions pass, each about 10 minutes apart. During that time, I got up and finished getting together some last minute things, then woke up Dave. At that point it was pretty obvious it was real labor.

So after dropping off the boys at the Sipe's (by then it was about 4am...Tara, you rock), we were off to Prescott Valley, speeding the whole way so I didn't have the baby in the car. But I was still only about eight minutes apart on the way there, so I felt completely safe. And actually, it turns out I had more time with this one than I did with Josh! Crazy how things work. And I am so grateful for the Lord answering my prayers, even though I didn't pray them. I never prayed that I'd go into labor naturally, only that whatever is best would happen. But He knew how stressed and nervous I was, and so I feel like this was a HUGE blessing, and just one way for Him to show me that He loves me and is actually aware of us and cares about our concerns.

Anyway, I was dilated to about a six when they ended up getting me in and checking me (about 6am), but as soon as I got changed and in the bed, things started progressing pretty quickly. Within the hour I was almost completely dilated, so my OB told me I could go along with my body and do whatever I felt was necessary, whether it be pushing or just waiting through the contractions.

At one point I was laying on my side and I felt like I'd hit the "transition phase" (for anyone who's ever done natural childbirth, most will agree that this is the WORST part) and my contractions were so painful, intense, and right on top of each other that I felt like it was the end of me. At that point point I felt the unyielding need to push, so I did, and told the doctors it was time and it was happening NOW.

BUT as soon as I got off my side and got into "delivering" position, the contractions regressed back to the way they were before and the doc told me to stop pushing because apparently my cervix wasn't ready. WHAT?!?!

So after waiting and waiting (with the doc, the nurses, and all the equipment ready and watching), the doc finally decided to give it more time and he'd come back in fifteen minutes. Of course almost as soon as he left, I hit that transitional phase again. They gave me 1 mL of pitocin (which is a tiny dose) to speed things back up and then had me turn back on my side since that's the position I was in before. And not even a minute later, that unbearable pain came again, along with the horrible, uncontrollable need to push. Only this time it was ten times stronger.

Besides Dave, there was only one nurse in the room at the time and I told her (I guess you could really say I was yelling at her) I HAD to push--and I actually started regardless of what she said because I couldn't help it. After checking me and seeing that his head was actually coming through, she frantically called for the doc to come back in and while waiting told me to keep him inside and pant instead of push. So I did...with the top of his head sitting almost outside of me...and as soon as the OB came back in and got on his gloves, I had to start pushing again.

Anyway, about 30 seconds later, tiny Luke was born. And I have to say that though I am extremely proud of myself for doing it without medication and wouldn't change anything about that, it was HELL. Excuse the term. I don't remember my experience with Josh being that painful, but this time around there was a moment where I slipped into a place of feeling like I wouldn't make it through. It's a feeling I'll never forget.

...One more reason (besides the crappy pregnancies I have) I feel like I never want to have kids again. I know I never want to have an epidural with any of my kids, yet the whole pain and crappy feeling of delivering a baby is enough to keep me from having more. Hmm. We'll see how I feel about it in a couple years or more...when it's not so fresh.

Anyway. I do have to say that though it hurt like Hell and I never want to do it again, because of the result it was a joyous experience. There is nothing like the immediate physical relief once that baby comes out. And then the spiritual bliss when hearing the first cry. And even though I just underwent misery, as soon as they laid him on my chest, all of that vanished and I felt like the luckiest mom in the world. He was so beautiful and perfect. And at that moment, for the first time ever, Dave got teared up. For some reason he didn't with Sam and Josh.

He was so perfect and all the nurses and doctors kept commenting how perfect his head was and that they never see such perfectly shaped heads on newborns unless the baby was c-sectioned. Anyway, I just feel like a proud mama.

And I really liked the new birthing center. They let me keep him on me, skin to skin, for as long as I needed right after, leaving me and Dave alone with him while I nursed. Then about an hour or two later is when they finally took him and did all the routine stuff...which they actually did right there in the room (everything is done in the room).

I also like the birthing center because if mom and baby are doing well, they let you leave after 24 hours, vs. the two-day thing they used to do. I really liked that, seeing how I am always SO uncomfortable in the hospital after (hate the beds and the constant interruptions, etc.). So that next day we left!

Life here has been...different. It's always an adjustment with a new baby, especially one that can be difficult, but I know it's something that will become routine. And from day one we felt like Luke was the greatest addition to our family and we wouldn't have it any other way.

As I knew would happen, I've had some nursing difficulties. I expected it. I prepared for it. But it still doesn't make it any easier. As with all my kids, I produce too much milk and have what's called overactive letdown, which means because there is SO much milk, it comes out way too forcefully and strong, causing a chain reaction of numerous problems for baby and mother...resulting in constant engorgement and pain for me (nothing relieves it because I produce it too fast) and constant tummy problems for baby.

I had this with both Josh and Sam, though I had NO idea about the problem with Sam and didn't know what it was or how to control it, so Sam eventually stopped nursing. But with Josh I figured out the problem (thanks to the HEAVENLY La Leche League website!) at about 3 weeks old. By then, it'd already been going on for a while so I had a late start at getting it conquered. But eventually, by about 3 months, I was finally regulated.

But because Josh had gotten so used to only being able to eat for about five minutes at a time, it was an eating habit he held right up until the end, which was thirteen months of age. So I am praying that because I am trying to tackle this early enough, that it regulates sooner and that Luke goes back to eating beautifully and normally, like he did his first two days of life. I have high hopes, but I'm not counting on it, because I know this is life. And sometimes I feel like I've been cursed with difficult newborns and that I just need to accept that they will all be like this.

...another reason I shy away from the idea of having more kids. I know it sounds selfish, and I know in a few years I'll feel differently. Like I said, when it isn't so fresh...

So anyway, thanks to that issue, I feel like utter garbage, Luke feels like garbage, and neither of us are really sleeping. The most hours of sleep I've gotten a night since we got home has been 4.5 hours, collectively, though usually it's just been 3 per night. And I feel horrible that the reason my baby isn't feeling well and not sleeping is because of an issue I have...not him. But I know there's nothing I can do immediately to change it and it's something that we just have to get through until things get better. I love my baby so much, but a lot of the time I wish I could fast-forward to one month from now.

The boys have taken to him REALLY well. Josh has actually surprised me, since he was the one I was so worried about. But they love their little baby brother, and Josh has even learned to say "baby" since then! :)

And Luke already has such a sweet personality. He is SO cuddly and SO soft (and really fuzzy, too). And I love that we spend lots of time gazing into each other's eyes. Even though things are difficult right now, I am extremely blessed and I couldn't have asked for a more wonderful family. I thank the Lord for my wonderful, special boys every single day, and for my wonderful, supportive husband who is a lifesaver to me. I love them so much and I know that being a mama is a blessing and the greatest thing I could be doing.

And I have to say thanks again to all the wonderful people who have been so helpful! Thanks to the Sipes's for taking my kids that first day and night (and taking them so early in the morning!), and for the Quists for taking them that next morning and afternoon until we got home! Thanks to everyone who's offered themselves, and to everyone who's made us meals! You are all angels and we appreciate it more than you know!

I've posted all the pictures on my facebook account, but here are some of them. And here are the links to some videos we took as well:

Little Squeals
Under the warmer
First Bath1
First Bath2
More squeaks

Also, here are two other cute videos of Sam and Josh. This one is of Josh saying "baby." We had to get it on video, since he never talks! And this one is of Sam explaining how you check your temperature when you have a "favor" (fever).

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

24 Hours and Counting!

Well, 24 hours from now I will be arriving at the Birthing Center, getting ready for who knows what. I'm not gonna lie--I'm extremely nervous, just for the fact that I have NO idea what to expect. It could all go a million different ways. What I want to have happen (besides automatically going into labor all on my own right when I arrive...) is I get right in, they start me, and right away my body knows what to do and I have a somewhat quick labor and smooth delivery--without an epidural.

BUT this is life. And if we all know one lesson of life it's that life almost never turns out the way you want. Even though my OB told me the schedule that day is pretty free and clear, I could go in and find that they are too full to induce me and they might send me home (my OB gave me a lot of different scenarios, just so that I'm seeing it realistically and can be prepared for anything). Or I could go in for my scheduled induction at nine a.m. and end up waiting around until four in the afternoon before they even have a place for me. Or they could start me and my body might not respond to the pitocin and I might be sitting there hooked up to it for twenty-four hours before anything happens. And if that's the case (and I don't have the baby until Friday), that just means one more night in the hospital and one more night that someone has to watch our kids.

And then there's the other million things that can go not as expected--the things that can happen whether you're induced or go into labor naturally. OR, OR, OR....

But I think out of all of it, the thing I'm dreading the most is the epidural. After talking to so many people who have shared their stories with me of when they were induced, it just seems like it might be somewhat unavoidable. Like I've said before, I don't think an epidural is evil or bad or anything like that, and I have an open enough mind to accept the fact that I just might need one--and that's okay.

But when I compare my two previous labor experiences--one with it and one without it--it's just not even a competition. Hands down, my experience without it was SO much better, and I would love to have that repeated. With the epidural it lengthened my labor, I had horrible side effects afterward (an allergic reaction of sorts), I felt out of control not being able to feel anything down there, Dave had to hold my legs because they were like Jell-o...etc. There were just so many reasons that make me, personally, shy away from it.

When I did it naturally, everything went quickly and effectively. I loved that I felt in control of my body and could actually feel what was happening, thus allowing me to work WITH my body to deliver the baby. I loved that I felt normal right after the baby was born. I loved that I could get up and pee on my own right afterward, and even walk to my own recovery room. I loved that Josh was alert and breastfed right away (which, I know, might not have to do with it, but still...). And, honestly, I simply loved the euphoria of doing it without medication. The high it provided and the accomplishment I felt was worth it all, and provided something better than pain relief for me.

So do I pray and hope that I can do it that way again? DEFINITELY. And I will still do all I can to try it. But I also know that being induced is completely different than going into labor naturally. When it happens naturally, your body gradually works its way up to the intense, painful contractions (not to mention you can be at home, comfortable, when this is happening). But when you're induced, it starts right of the bat with the intense and painful ones (and from what I hear, seem to be even worse the normal). Plus, it might still take your body a while to actually be far enough along to do anything about it (the doc told me sometimes even twenty-four hours). Which means I could be sitting there, having those horrid, intense, painful contractions for hours on end. AND have to be sitting in a hospital bed, hooked up, while I'm waiting. No walking around, etc.

So I will do my best, but I will also be open to the fact that I just might not be able to handle it without some medication. I just pray for the best, in every aspect. And mostly, more than anything, I just pray that Luke is healthy. I know everything will be fine at the end, no matter the road we had to take to get there, but I'd be lying if I said thinking about the road didn't scare me or stress me out.

I also have to mention how grateful I am to the wonderful people in Bagdad for all their support. We have had so many people in our ward who have offered their help, and that couldn't mean more to us. Not having family here to help this time has been a big stress factor on us (and makes us a little sad), but with all the help from the ward family, that stress has lessened a great deal. I really don't know what we would do without you guys. Tara, for taking our kids the first day and night. Paul and Beth for taking them the second day and night (and offering to watch them even longer if needs be). And Lydia for being the original one to watch them and now has to deal with her own sick family! For all the other offers to watch kids and all the offers for meals and cleaning our house! You guys are all truly angels in our lives and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

As an extra emotional, hormonal mom, who has never left her kids with anyone other than family overnight, leaving them with other people has been weighing on my mind a LOT. Worrying about them being happy and okay, worrying about them (mostly Josh) feeling out of their comfort zone because they aren't waking up at their own house, and then being miserable, worrying about this and that... But I trust you all and I know my kids will be fine! You guys have made my worrying and stress MUCH less! So thanks again!

Okay, I'm done with my rant. *Deep breath*

Wish us luck!