Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Postpartum Revelations

My precious son is almost 4 weeks old. Time has been flying by! I am going to start back up at work at the end of the week, part time for this week, and then next week will begin full time. I am glad that I was able to take a full month off after all. Turns out, I needed all of the time off that I could get! Here are some of my postpartum revelations! I figured I would talk about life after baby since I talked about life during pregnancy so often on this blog! It's time to share the after story!

It seems like lately I feel as if the story of my life is "no one could have prepared me for this". It's true. There are so many things to learn about being a parent, caring for a newborn, etc etc... Life has completely changed as I know it, and although I am so happy that my son is here, I am still struggling somewhat with the changes. For instance, I miss my husband! I am sooooo glad that we had so much time after we were married to enjoy each other. Not like we can't now, but it is sort of difficult to have alone time when you have a newborn! Especially when they sleep in a cradle in your room! ;-) Granted the time that we spend together is now with our son, which is amazing, so I really can't complain... it is just very different!

Luckily for me I feel as if I had a pretty easy recovery from delivery. I had labial tearing on both sides, but I feel as if my stitches healed nicely and were only uncomfortable for the first two weeks. I lucked out and did not have horrible pain. However, it is still frustrating the amount of bleeding that happens after delivery. I was not prepared for that! I didn't realize how long it lasted!

One annoying symptom has been the increase in sweating. I usually am not a big sweater... if you can make that into a verb! They say that it is your body's fluctuating hormones and your body needing to get rid of all of the water you retained during the end of your pregnancy. Either way it's annoying!

Lastly, since I am breastfeeding I've come to this realization... you must wear some sort of bra or shelf top at all times so that you can have the little nursing pads covering you... or else you will leak... all over the place! One morning my pad had slipped away and I leaked through my pj's and all over my sheets. Lovely. When your milk lets down it is terribly uncomfortable, and it happens all day and at random times. Supposedly your milk lets down when you hear your baby cry, or if you think about your baby... I think mine just does it when it wants to. haha! Breastfeeding has been far more difficult than I had imagined. I find it hard to try to force feed myself so that I am producing enough milk. I also find it difficult because Clayton gets very gassy and will latch on then detach over and over again during feedings. This doesn't always happen, but it is at least once a day. Plus, I don't like not knowing how much he ate. I know that as long as he ate until he detached on his own, and he's gaining weight and having wet/dirty diapers that he is doing fine, but it is still frustrating to not know. Especially since he's gassy after feedings. His gassy cues get confused with his hunger cues so I can't tell if he didn't get enough to eat off of me, or if he's just hurting. I'm not sure I'll make it to 6 months of breastfeeding as I had originally hoped... especially since I'll be going back to work full time. It'll be difficult to feed him or pump whenever needed. We'll see!!!

Soon I'll be updating on Clayton's first month of life! Can't believe how fast time goes by!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Becoming a Mom

There is not a way to prepare yourself for becoming a mother. If there was a class or book then I'm sure every soon-to-be-mom would do everything in their power to learn from it. I didn't quite believe everyone when they said that mothering would come as an instinct, especially after the rough start that we had. I was so afraid that I was going to be a bad mother, and in a way I am still nervous that I won't do everything right. But, it has become easier. I have mostly figured out the little cues that my son gives me when he's tired, hungry, needs a diaper change, is too cold, etc... MOSTLY. There is still so much to learn and so much to just plain figure out. My son is amazing. I can't believe he is here and he is mine! It's so funny but I keep telling everyone that I feel like we have to give him back. Like he's on loan or something! We still have our moments when I wish he could just talk to me and tell me what is wrong. He's really not a big crier. The only time he really cries is when he is frustrated. For instance, if I want to feed him before changing him, or vise versa. But, so far, he just makes these little grunting noises! That makes it pretty nice, especially since Darren has learned to tune out these noises, haha! He's at least getting more sleep! My mom and I are still doing our "shifts". It has been a great blessing because my baby blues have really subsided. I wouldn't say their completely gone, but I am no longer crying, and I now look at my son with the most loving eyes ever, when before they were tired and worrisome eyes.

I truly believe that one of God's greatest gifts to us is the gift of life. I look at my blessing from above and feel such a sense of pride and love. I know that I am so blessed to have become a mother, and I thank God every day for that... even through the late nights and endless diaper changes! ;-) I can't wait to see our son grow. I can't wait to see what kind of man he will be. But in the mean time, I am going to enjoy each and every day that we are given together, and treasure it with all of my might! 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Our First Week

I can't believe it's been over a week now since my baby boy was born! My how time flies! Don't all new parents say that? Well, it's true! Here's a little about how our first week was. Now, keep in mind, this is my blog, and some of the things I write on here are more for my own recollection since I don't keep a diary, so yeah!

The first 48 hours after Clayton was born were miserable. I was sick, tired, overwhelmed, and he wasn't eating or going to the bathroom well. For whatever reason they decided to circumsize him on the same day he was born, so at 5pm they took him for his little minor surgery. Babies are supposed to urinate within 8 hours at the most after their circ, and our poor guy did not pee until nearly 13 hours after. We were very concerned but the nurse was keeping a close eye on him. He was also not getting enough to eat off of my colostrum, so we were having to supplement with a bottle in order to get him to sleep. After trying to breastfeed him every two hours for nearly 45 minutes at a time my nipples were raw, and I was drained and frustrated. I didn't understand why he was not satisfied, even after he ate so "much", or so I thought. Darren and I were beyond tired and on our both nights the nurse took him to the nursery for a while so that we could sleep. I felt like a failure of a mother. I was so upset and was crying because I couldn't believe I had to send my new baby off with strangers because I was too tired to deal with anything. Hospital food was terrible so we were not eating well. The physical and mental exhaustion that we endured while in the hospital was terrible. I hate to say it, but it really was! We were finally discharged from the hospital on Saturday right after lunch. We couldn't wait to get home and be in our own bed, with our own things, eating our own food.

Once we arrived at home we were greeted by wonderful decorations that Darren's family had put up for us. My mom and his family also had cleaned our house and it was so refreshing to walk into it all nice like that! We had a bunch of visitors the first day we were home, and everyone thought Clayton was just the cutest thing ever! The next few days were equally as hard as the hospital days were. I was barely getting any sleep because he wanted to eat almost every two hours, plus I was not used to all of the little noises that he makes while sleeping, so everything woke me up. He was still not going to the bathroom very regularly so that was also concerning me. I had a wealth of worry for my little man, and the stress really got to me. I began to have a case of the "Baby Blues". They (the internet and other moms) say that it is normal to feel the roller coaster of emotions shortly after delivery. Your hormones are out of whack, you're not sleeping well thus your serotonin is not replenishing, and you're on pins and needles wondering if you're doing everything right. I had a few days when I cried multiple times, mostly when triggered by something. One day I was super sad because I missed our dog. She usually is always in the house with us and slept in our bedroom, but since the baby was home she was having to spend more time outside. Dumb, I know, but this was a trigger. Then, I was sad because I missed my husband and spending time with him. Even more, I was sad because I was worried about my baby and his health. We were having problems with his bili levels also, so knew we had to go back to the hospital on Monday to check his bili levels.

Monday we had his levels checked and they were slightly elevated, so they told us to come back again the next day. We were able to let him have some indirect sunlight time and this seemed to help because on Tuesday his levels were down! On Monday we also had his first pediatrician checkup, and the doctor said that everything looked good.. minus the bili! My milk had come in on Sunday so things were starting to get better as little man was eating more and seemed to be a little more satisfied after feedings than he had been when he was only getting colostrum.

I believe it was Tuesday when I finally broke down and called my best friend, Cristina. I needed some advice from a friend, and I knew she was just the person to call. She reassured me that all of my baby blues were normal, and she gave me advice for how to get some better sleep! She suggested doing shifts overnight. This meant I would care for and feed Clayton for a period of time and then I'd take him to my mom and she'd take care of him. We decided that I'd take the first shift until 3am or so, and she'd take the rest of the night. I was able to pump to give her breastmilk to feed Clayton while I slept. This turned out to be the best thing ever. Not only did I start to feel a million times better, but I swear Clayton was able to start eating and sleeping better. Plus, the diapers continued to need changing! That boy, once he started to fill them, he has not quit! ;-)

From then on I have been a new person. I have my appetite back, I'm happier, and everyone tells me I look better! I felt like the walking dead those first several days.

In other news..... We gave Clayton his first bath, which he hated... but we found out that he was just cold! If you keep a washcloth over him during the bath then he's a happy camper! He has MULTIPLE times peed all over my bed and himself because I'm not quick enough with the new diaper! I swear! He kicks too much while changing him to keep anything over his little man parts, haha. This morning he baptized himself so had to get another bath. Hehe... He is changing daily. He is so handsome! He now stays awake for longer periods of time which is so fun. His eyes are beautiful!

Here are his likes and dislikes! He loves: Being swaddled, being held, laying on Daddy's chest, swinging in his swing, rocking in his bouncer, eating, snuggling, staring at Mommy, tooting (ok, maybe he doesn't like this but he is good at it!), peeing on Mommy (hehe). He hates: Diaper changes (only when he's really hungry and anticipating that food is next!), being naked, laying flat (such as in his crib or cradle), and when he gets the hiccups. Poor baby gets them A LOT! He also gets gassy after eating so we have to make sure to get all of the burps and toots out or else he is not happy!

It has been a great week and we love our baby boy so much! I also can't believe how happy it makes me feel to see Darren with his baby boy! Last night Clayton fell asleep on his chest and I swear it was the cutest thing ever. Darren will give him kisses all of the time which is so sweet. I love my husband and he has been amazing. Now I'll get into all of that! Darren was not only the best coach through labor, but he was the best nurse afterward. I won't go into gory details but he helped me with many aspects of recovery. He didn't mind any of the by-products of labor. He even stood by my side after all of my crying fits. He reassured me that I was a great mom, how beautiful I was, etc etc... He is THE BEST husband ever.

Our baby boy is adorable... I may be biased... and I promise to keep this blog updated, even though it's hard to find time! ;-) Enjoy some pictures!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Clayton's Birth Story

I know that I've been horrible about updating everything via blog or facebook, and for that I am truly sorry! Both to myself and to my wonderful readers and friends! It has been a rough week, but things are finally getting better! I will talk about all of that later in my "Clayton's first week" post that I plan on writing! So, stay tuned!

As you know, Clayton decided that he was nice and comfy inside Mommy's tummy, and did not want to come out on his own. My doctor scheduled me for induction on Wednesday March 30th. We left our house for Big Spring around 5:30 to be at the hospital by 6. The whole afternoon my stomach was in knots! They told me to eat before we came in since I wouldn't be able to eat once I arrived at the hospital, but food was the last thing on my mind! I was going to meet my son.. and soon! It was a VERY strange feeling to know just when he'd be coming in to this world. I was sad that I did not get to experience "going in to labor" naturally, or the whole timing contractions at home with my husband and going through early labor in a comfortable environment. But, at 40 weeks and 4 days, I was mainly concerned with his health!

We arrived at the hospital and had to check in through the Emergency Room. From there we were taken up to Labor and Delivery. Upon arrival they asked me about a thousand questions, checked my vitals, and had me change into my lovely gown. After hooking me up to the fetal monitor, blood pressure machine, and IV, they then inserted the Cytotec, a drug administered vaginally to help soften the cervix. They told me that there was no guarantee that this would start contractions or even really progress things... but my body moved fast! Within minutes I began to have regular contractions. And THEY HURT. I wanted to go through labor naturally, but at the rate I was progressing I began to worry that I could not make it. The cytotec brought on fast and strong contractions almost immediately. They started out as lasting 30 seconds, then break for about 3 to 4 minutes. However, quickly after midnight, I had already dilated to a 4 and the contractions were now coming for 30 - 45 seconds and every 1 to 2 minutes. There was no break in between the contractions, and I tried to work as hard as I could to relax but it was not happening! I began to cry with contractions because they were hurting so bad and there was no break inbetween. Plus, having been administered the drug and on IV, I was not allowed to change positions or get out of bed to walk around and try to labor in different positions, as I had envisioned I'd be able to. My husband, Darren, and my Mom, Meg, both were great coaches. My amazingly sweet husband even fed me a popsicle and ice chips to help calm me. He would help me breathe through contractions and would rub on my arm or hand to help relax me. They were both such amazing coaches, and I feel so blessed that they were both there! Around 2am I broke down and asked for the epidural. I was not getting any rest and my body was starting to hate me, I swear! They gave me a small amount of IV painkiller to help until the anesthesiologist arrived. This barely even helped! The anesthesiologist arrived around 2:30 and started my epidural. My wonderful husband stayed by my side the entire time and help coach me through the epidural. It was painful... definitely not fun, but it really worked for me.

After the epidural I was able to relax and fall asleep. However, around 3:30am the nurse came in and told me that my blood pressure was dropping and it was affecting the baby, so she gave me an oxygen mask and had me lay more on my side. The oxygen mask was terrible and dried me out! Poor Darren was sleeping when they came in to put the mask on and woke up to find me in the mask! We had an ESP moment because he looked at me and I immediately said "It's for my blood pressure". He didn't even have to ask what was up! The mask helped and as the nurses came in to check me periodically they told me that I was making great progress. However, they were still pumping me full of fluids which caused me to shake horribly. I was so cold and uncomfortable from the oxygen and IV fluids. My doctor decided to let them give me the pitocin at 4am. I was dilated to a 6 at this point and baby had moved down a bunch. The pitocin worked immediately! Thank goodness I could not feel those contractions! I got sick to my stomach at one point before delivery, which was not fun. Then my epidural began to wear off and the contractions started to really hurt. They came back in to give me more and once they did I felt better. When the new nurses came in at 7am, Nurse Allison came and checked me. I was already an 7, almost 8! She then did a few more things around the room and came back at 7:30. When she checked me this time she said I was a 10!!! We were ready to have a baby! She called my doctor and told him to hurry up there! My mom could not believe that in the time she went to get coffee I had progressed from a 7 to a 10! Haha. My water broke around 7:40, and my nurse allowed me to start pushing around then. My doctor arrived shortly after, and I really began my pushing. I pushed through 7 contractions, about 20 minutes in total before my baby boy arrived! It was amazing. My epidural was perfect because I had complete sensation in my legs and was able to really push well. Everyone was really impressed that I pushed him out so fast, especially since Clayton is my first baby.

After he was finally completely out I felt such a rush of emotions. I cried when I heard his first cries. It was so amazing to know that he was finally here! They took him over to the weigh station and got him all cleaned up! He scored a 9 on his APGAR, which meant he was doing great! My doctor worked on delivering my placenta and getting me all stitched up while Clayton was getting cleaned. I had labial tearing on both sides, but no perineum tearing. Don't ask me how! After about 20 minutes they finally brought my beautiful baby boy over to me for me to see and hold! What a feeling. I cried again, of course. I remember just smiling at my baby then smiling at my husband. I kept telling Darren how much I loved him. It was just a great feeling! Darren's mom was able to come in shortly after that and see her new grandson! They then took him off to the nursery so that he could have his bath and have more checkups done. I was wiped out by this point! After laboring for 13 hours, 6 of which were without the epidural, I was one tired lady! I got sick again after delivery which was really not fun as my stomach muscles were so sore from pushing. Soon after all of that my nurse told me I could move into our recovery room, so I was wheeled down the hall!

Once in our recovery room we were able to have all kinds of visitors come to meet our little man! I was still feeling nauseous and was so exhausted, so my nurse gave me some femoral which immediately knocked me out. I was out of it for about 3 hours. People came and went and I had NO clue! I feel bad, but apparently my body really needed that rest. After waking I felt a million times better and was able to finally start nursing Clayton. He had trouble at first with the nursing but that's another story!

All in all I must say I had a relatively easy delivery. Although it was not what I had originally imagined in my mind, everything turned out great and we were blessed with a healthy baby boy. I thank God for all of the blessings that he has given us, especially the gift of life!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Clayton Scott Hillger

On March 31, 2011 at 8:06am we were blessed with the birth of our baby boy. He was born a wonderful 7lbs 7oz and was 19in long. He is so amazing and we love him so much already! I know that I should have posted a long time ago, but it's been a rough start! Poor kiddo is just now getting used to eating and digesting things, lol. Plus, the whole not getting any sleep at night is really starting to take a toll on me! But, it's all worth it! I love my son so much! 

I will post soon about our delivery story and of course the fun events since Clayton was born! Oh, and you know, more pictures!!!