January 28, 2014

The Beginning of Life with a Big Sister

Oliver is definitely going to LOVE life with a big sister! Miss A already has him playing with her baby dolls. Here she is pretending to be Oliver... with a PACIFIER! Pure silliness! 

Okay. So maybe Oliver does not approve.

January 27, 2014

Time for gDiapers Again!

Oliver wears his first gDiaper!
Yesterday, I officially switched Oliver from disposable diapers to cloth diapers. We used gDiapers with Miss A for about 7 months total. Now we will be using the same set for Oliver! Sounds gross but it's really not bad. I thoroughly cleaned them and got rid of most stains. I have changed about 8 gDiapers already and am pleased to see that they retain absorbency. Oliver set his own personal sleep record last night too! Sleeping for 3 hours and 50 minutes, which is also my sleep record since he was born. His gDiapers held up without pee soaking through. Success!

I am happy to truly be saving money on diapers! (And helping the environment by reducing waste) ;)

gDiaper Changing Station

I am also finishing multiple sets of cloth wipes so I don't have to have an extra garbage bag only for disposable wipes. I will be making a cloth wipe solution of baby oil, baby wash, and chamomile water for the cloth wipes. Then I will be washing the cloth wipes with the diapers. Breastfed babies' stools are water soluble so all the diapers and wipes can go directly into the washer without needing to be rinsed. The diapers and the washer, both end up clean! I did this with Miss A problem free. The true mess comes when the baby starts eating solid foods or is introduced to formula. Then I will have to place a liner in the diaper and either throw it in the garbage or flush it down the toilet because those stools are not water soluble. (Note: I do NOT plan on using formula!) My ultimate goal this time around is to save even more money! Diapers, wipes, or formula savings will be HUGE for us! Oliver will basically be a free baby... Almost. :)

I made a special homemade soap free detergent for our cloth diapers too. It consists of 1 cup Borax, 1 cup washing soda, and 1 cup Oxyclean Free. It only requires 1 tablespoon per load. I made a homemade detergent for our clothes too by substituting the Oxyclean for Fels Naptha soap but I hate it. The clothes come out clean but they don't smell fresh. I might try adding some drops of essential oils in the future.

Our Planet Wise wet bag for dirty diaper storage
We changed our dirty diaper laundering system this time. Last time I used a Fuzzibunz wet bag and was not happy with it. It did not keep the smells at bay so the nursery smelled bad. I ended up placing it in a sealed contained and that helped with the smell, but it was inconvenient. This time, we are using a Planet Wise wet bag. It is a thicker, more durable wet bag sealed by a water proof zipper. It also has a dry storage compartment for holding clean diapers if we were to go on vacation or camping. The bag can be flipped inside out and thrown in the washer with the dirty diapers. I pretty much slept next to this bag last night and did not smell anything. When I unzip the bag to place more diapers inside, it does not smell because the bag is so large and the diapers are so far down. I have a matching medium sized bag for the diaper bag too.

[Once again, I am ecstatic about a bag that holds baby shit. Go me for being excited about ALL parts of life!]

Who does Oliver look like in this picture? Am I seeing some Nicklas family resemblance here? Not sure.
Oliver's tiny baby feet! <3

January 23, 2014

Adorable Baby Clothing for Valentine's Day!!

I have not yet found an outfit for Miss A and Oliver for Valentine's Day. If you don't think children need a special outfit for his Hallmark holiday, think again! It is definitely a necessity and too fun to pass up. I am shopping around early to find the perfect outfit. <3

Check out my ideas!

Infant Boy for my Oliver

This one is my favorite but starts at size 2T

Toddler Girl for Miss A

My absolute favorite for Miss A

Super cute hair clip

I so want this for Miss A for summer!
Can't forget the sexy Hubs! :P
Oooh Baby!

January 21, 2014

Life Update: Three Weeks as a Family of Four

We are slowly but surely figuring out life with a newborn and a toddler. Miss A went through a bit of a reversal period in her "big girl" behaviors but has already steadily regained them. We are both sleep deprived to the max and feel like it will never end. However, we have a healthy boy who seems to be adjusting fairly well to life outside the womb!

Oliver does have some stomach issues like excessive gas and possibly constipation. He has plenty of wet and stool diapers daily but he is always grunting and making odd faces. Sometimes his stomach gets rock hard and he seems to be uncomfortable. We have given him gripe to help relieve his stomach pains (and hiccups) but we are going to talk to his doctor about it soon. He doesn't cry for long periods of time though. I can pull his legs up close to his stomach and/or simply lay him on his stomach to relieve a lot of gas. I feel like these are normal baby problems but I never experienced these issues with Miss A.

He eats well and often. I am breastfeeding him every 2-3 hours around the clock. He is a good sleeper... but has his nights and days mixed up. He sleeps a good 16+ hours a day like the average baby.

Miss A really likes her little brother. She likes holding him and giving him kisses. She also loves being mommy's big girl helper. She needs to throw every diaper away and bring me anything I want... from diapers and burp clothes to lanolin and nursing pads. She is such a great help.

The first two weeks with Oliver were overwhelming for everybody. Miss A was getting woken up by Oliver's cries around 4-5am. She would stay awake and then both of them would take turns crying once the other fell asleep. It was probably the most miserable part of this whole experience so far. Miss A also started having some accidents and went potty in her pants about five times. She told us that she needed to go potty and then refused to go. She also started refusing to try to go potty before naps and bedtime. Luckily her sleep and potty issues are subsiding and she is back to being a big girl. We threatened to put diapers on her and that pretty much did the trick!

Daddy had only a few days off while we were in the hospital and then a weekend off after Oliver was born. He is sleep deprived and has people at work asking if he is okay... I am the one who wakes up all night and does the feedings and diaper changes but unfortunately he is a light sleeper. He hears Oliver cry, grunt, cough, poop, fart, etc. Oliver will sleep between feedings about 75% of the time but he tends to have a solid, awake period around midnight and an occasional awake period sometime in the early morning. It makes it hard for Bill to get a solid night of sleep before a long day of work. Last night was rough and he only got a solid one hour of sleep before he left had to wake up at 4:30am for a 12 hour shift. He left a note on the counter that said the following:

I have gone away for an extended period of pain and suffering. See you at dinner time. 
Love, Bill. 

My poor hubby. :( Not sure what to do about his sleep deprivation other than have him sleep in another room or at another house occasionally... 

Mommy's update is rather inflated right now because I just had a cup of coffee. I am beyond exhausted and getting plain irritated by waking up every 2-3 hours for what has now been three weeks. Let's rewrite that. I HAVE BEEN AWAKE EVERY 1.5-3 HOURS FOR 21 CONSECUTIVE DAYS. (And I do not see an end in the near future!!) This has resulted in many meltdowns and moments of despair. Then, I grudgingly make coffee, take a few sips, and realize that Oh, it's not so bad. I can do this.

Besides the normal, must-fight-through-and-conquer sleep deprivation part of raising a newborn baby, I have numerous additional complaints that I feel is necessary to release into the World Wide Web. 
Ready. Set. Go. 

I am tired of sensitive, engorged breasts that constantly soak my bed sheets at night with milk. I am tired of sore nipples though thankfully they are not cracked or bleeding. I am tired of having to take a shower every morning to rid the sticky, milk stench that coats my body. (I hate daily showers right now because it means my hair will be a complete mess without spending at least 30 minutes of time on it. I don't have that kind of motivation. I can't simply put my hair up because I have a constant headache... Shower cap? Ugh.) I am tired of being skinny again and still not able to wear clothes due to breastfeeding. It's cold and I am tired of never having a shirt on. I am tired of having to wear a bra 24/7. I am like a milk fountain without it! Did I mention my breastfeeding goal is one year? I am tired of my flabby body and desperately want to start working out again. I am tired of the constant headaches I keep getting and can't rid due to lack of sleep. My carpel tunnel syndrome symptoms are returning once again so now I have to make time for 25 minutes of daily wrist/elbow exercises. I am just tired and desperately need 4 or 5 hours of sleep in a row to recover. 

Now that most of my complaints are out, I am still happy to be a family of four! I feel very blessed to have a beautiful, angel bug daughter and a squeaky, puppy-like son. I will be much happier once I can truly bond with my children after getting a little more sleep. [[Even if I sleep all day and night and simply wake up every 2-3 hours, it does not help! I NEED CONSECUTIVE HOURS OF SLEEP!!! And I am stubborn so until I get that I will not be happy. Okay, untrue... But still.]] I am happy to officially know that I only want 2 children and can 100% agree with my husband on that. :) I am VERY excited about getting a more permanent-- long term-- no pill or shot type of birth control. The kind that lasts five years... Then we can do the permanent option after that... 

I hope I have not offended anybody on my realistic update of life with a newborn again//family of four. It is definitely not all sunshine and lollipops as others' Facebook updates make it appear!! But there are those beautiful moments as well. Like right now, Oliver is sleeping through a case of the hiccups in a super cozy outfit. He is adorable and melts my heart a lot of the time. 

January 11, 2014

The Birth Story of Oliver Fox

My little Oliver's labor and delivery story is much better than Miss A's story. Meaning it was far shorter and far less painful than my experience with Miss A. Unfortunately, with all birth stories it was still very painful and I never want to go through it again! (You can read The Birth Story of Amelia June if you missed it.)

My body started to make some progress around the end of week 36 in my pregnancy. I started feeling slight cramping as if I were about to start my period. This lasted for a couple days and triggered my curiosity. I thought my son would be born shortly after those aches and pains began. I went in for my regular prenatal 36 week check up and nothing was happening down there. No dilation yet. Another week went by with no labor symptoms. Around 38 weeks, I started feeling Braxton Hicks contractions. I thought those were the real deal because the contractions were every 5-10 minutes for several hours. However, when I changed positions or walked around the contractions would disappear. That is how I knew it was false labor. I ended up figuring out how I could trigger Braxton Hicks contractions. I simply bounced on a birthing ball for an hour or longer while watching TV. I sat in various yoga positions (Malasana, Baddha Konasana, and other poses meant to induce labor) and just stretched while sitting on the floor with my legs in the splits. I was able to make my body have false labor contractions.

A couple days later on New Year's Eve, I had my 39 week appointment and discovered that despite the disappointment of false labor contractions, they were helping my body dilate faster. I was then dilated to 3cm. The doctor asked me if I wanted my membrane stripped and I said yes. She told me that there was a 50% chance I would go into labor if I had that process done.  It was not painful and only felt like a normal cervical check. As soon as I left my appointment, real labor contractions began. It was 11:00am and the contractions started out faint but consistent. I decided to go shopping and run as many errands as possible to distract myself. Miss A and I went to Target for some last minute baby supplies. We walked around for a good hour or longer. Then we went to Field's Fabrics to buy some clearanced fabrics to make baby blankets. After that we did a little grocery shopping at Save A Lot. It was at that last store that I started to get nervous because the contractions were starting to feel stronger. They had consistently been 3-5 minutes apart since they started at 11am.

Around 3:00pm, I called my husband home from work. He was supposed to be home already but ended up being forced to stay late. While I waited for him to get home, I bounced on the birthing ball in attempt to ensure my baby was getting into the correct position for delivery. The contractions ended up being fairly painful around 5:30pm and we decided it was time to drive through the winter storm (30 minutes) to the hospital. The car ride there was not so calm and peaceful. Every contraction sent me breathing deeply in tears and yanking off my seat belt to relieve some pain. Sitting in a car is NOT a good labor position in case you were wondering.

We arrived at the hospital and I realized I forgot my purse... It didn't matter though. Everyone who saw me entering the emergency room was super happy, saying "YAY! A NEW YEAR'S BABY!" I smiled as best as I could. After all the complaining about NOT wanting a baby born on a holiday, it really was pretty exciting. Luckily, I had my doctor's appointment that morning so when the triage nurse did a cervical check, I was dilated to 4cm and they could prove that my cervix was indeed dilating. They gave me the epidural as fast as possible. I probably had the epidural around 7:30pm. My contractions were painful but much more tolerable compared to the ones I felt with Miss A. I could focus and actually breathe the pain away with the nurses. My nurse was so helpful and cheery. Everyone at Metro Health hospital was excited about having a chance to care for the New Year's Baby and for the opportunity to deliver the first baby in the county instead of it being born at Spectrum Hospital like usual.

My cervix dilated pretty fast and I was ready to possibly deliver before or around midnight. The only problem was that my baby had his head turned to the side. The nurse kept moving me in funny positions (with one leg propped up really high, etc) to get him to turn. Unfortunately, he was being stubborn and did not want to be born in 2013.

I reached the pushing stage around 1:30am or so. I don't really remember because the epidural started to wear off and I started feeling intense pressure. This part absolutely sucked! I honestly did not feel like I could push the baby out! I was in so much pain, far worse than the contractions I previously felt (yet far less painful compared to any part of Miss A's labor and delivery). I ended up coming down with a fever of 103 degrees. While pushing, I was fiercely shaking, completely frozen with chills, and extremely thirsty. Since I was at the pushing stage, I was not able to get a drink of water or a blanket because the baby could have been born at any moment. It was MISERABLE! Nobody could tell me why I had a fever. They were just as confused as I was.

Oliver took his time and ended up being born at 2:11am. He was the first baby born at Metro Health and the second baby born in Kent County (WZZM 13 News Link) for 2014. He was born famous! He ended up being born with a slight fever because of my fever. He also had the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck at the end and came out in shock. It took him a tiny bit longer to start breathing but he ended up being just fine. I did not panic because I just knew everything was going to be alright. I didn't get to hold him until 20 minutes after he was born because the nurses wanted to make sure he was okay. I was sweating profusely with a raging headache so I did not mind. Initially, they were going to give him to me right away but because of our circumstances I waited.

After a few hours, Oliver's fever had subsided. He was (and is still) very healthy and ended up weighing 7lb 6oz and measuring 21" long. My fever subsided sometime the next day. All in all, the experience was much more pleasant than my experience with Miss A. I was even rational this time and let the nurses keep him in the nursery at night! I didn't do that with Miss A for some reason... They just kept bringing him back so I could nurse him throughout the night. That definitely helped me recover a little bit faster. I recommend that all mothers use the nursery at the hospital because you only get that luxury for those first two nights. (Then you enter hell...) :P

Now we are lucky to have a healthy and beautiful family of four to live and grow with for the rest of our lives. I am sure it will be truly wonderful. When I am not sleep deprived, I sense the full beauty of it!! We are blessed.
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