Saturday, October 27, 2012

Russell, 1 month old

This poor second child may not get as many milestone blog posts as his big bro did, but I'll do my best to keep up!!  Excuse rapid changes in topic, misspellings, and general nonsensical blabber since my brain is totally garbled these days!  Russell turned 1 month old yesterday, October 26th.  Palmer turned 21 months the same day!  Since their birthdays are 1/26 and 9/26 it is nice and easy to keep track :)  Russell is eating and growing more every day, occasionally waiting 3 hours to eat, but this boy will not hesitate to nurse after only an hour and a half if the mood strikes him!

Just this past week he has been focusing more on faces and will turn toward my voice when I talk.  A nice tight swaddle calms him when he's fussy.  Pacifiers aren't really his thing, but he tolerates them sometimes.  I have to be careful not to leave his pacis laying around because if Palmer finds them, he insists on jamming them in Russell's mouth, whether he wants it or not!  See below.

For the most part, Palmer is doing great with Russell!  He likes to tickle him, which is fine- we're just trying to teach him we don't tickle faces.  He has just recently started to try and pick Russell up.  Eeek!  I'm going to have to be more careful leaving them unattended together.

Sometimes Russell will be happy while awake now, which is so refreshing!  On a good day he will sit in the bouncy seat while I fix Palmer's breakfast, and he did awesome propped up on the couch for this little photo shoot.  Looking forward to more happy moments and seeing his personality come out over the next few months!  I recently bought a ring sling carrier by sakura bloom which he spends quite a bit of time in while cranky or sleepy during the day.  This snuggle bug loves to be held by mommy.  He will sleep in the sling while I rinse diapers or follow Palmer around while he plays.  This napping in the carrier has become a necessity because with his older brother shrieking and launching hard plastic toys off the coffee table, there isn't enough quiet for a good nap in the swing lately.  I'll get a pic soon of him in it!  I like the linen sling even more than my Moby because it is MUCH cooler to wear and faster to put on, although the Moby is probably more comfortable for long periods.  

If you are wondering, yes, life with two under 2 is crazy with a capital C, but I just try to focus on giving them all the love and attention I can, and worrying about the rest later :)  I have gathered the ambition to do some real meal planning and grocery shopping tomorrow- I think my crock pot will be put to work this week in honor of the cool temperatures!

Speaking of things that go along with cool temperatures, Russell is wearing his first pair of wool longies in this pic!  They are so snuggly and cozy, double as pants, and make for a very breathable diaper cover over his fitted cloth diapers.  He also has some cute wool shorties we'll bust out on a warmer day :)

 Happy 1 month sweet boy!  We love you and our little family of four!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

flashback to delivery!

I received all the images from the lovely Kelsey who took photos at Russell's birth.  Here are some that weren't on her blog post, plus others you may have already seen!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

2 weeks old

Russell went to the pediatrician yesterday for the first time! My mom was very nice to come along and control Palmer during the visit, thank goodness- he is a wild man. Russell is already 10 lb 5 oz!  The doctor confirmed that he is perfectly healthy and BIG, as we already knew :) 94th percentile in weight, 99th in height, and above the 99th in head circumference.  He nursed quite a bit after his weigh in, so he could have been even a couple ounces heavier!

Russell loves to nurse and would do just that all day, in a sleepified state, if he was allowed to. I try to spur him through his feedings with feet tickling and other methods to keep him awake.  This way I'm not nursing quite all the time!  We are getting a decent amount of sleep, probably because I give in really easily to letting him sleep snuggled up next to me after nursing.  Swaddled in his pack and play/ cosleeper type thing, he generally only stays asleep 30 mins at a time. Ugh.  Sleeping next to me after falling asleep nursing, he will sleep a couple hours! Russell generally gets a burst of energy around 3 or 4 and is wide awake for an hour or so, but he is normally in an ok mood as long as he doesn't have hiccups.

Hmm, what else to share. . . Oh, he has blue eyes for now, and darker brown hair than Palmer started out with. We have been cloth diapering Russell and I am happy to say only two disposable diapers are in the trash from this two week time span!  Russell enjoys looking at our living room lamp, napping in his swing, and being carried around. . . everywhere.  He screams in the car and sleeps in the Moby. Love my new little boy!

I can't get my iPad to let me upload pics so I will post some later from the desktop

Thursday, October 4, 2012

brotherly love

Snuggle time on the couch. . .

Practicing his big brother skills, tucking Grover in the swing. . .

Night night Grover!

Palmer likely considering yanking on Russell's leg. . .

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Russell's Birth Story

Now that he's a week old, I figured I should get this written down before it completely goes by the wayside!  ***Be warned, this is a birth story, so skip it if you don't want to know the details!  First here's a picture of our newly born little guy in his first cloth diaper and cover :)

Russell Lane Gump
9 lb 9 oz
21 1/2 inches
6:01 pm

And how his presence here came about. . . (the unabridged version ;) )

The evening of Tuesday the 25th, I had some crampiness and my lower back was achy.  Since the lower backache was a new symptom, I was hopeful it meant something!!  I had some contractions through the night, but nothing significant.  Wednesday morning I was having Braxton Hicks contractions (not painful) every 15 minutes or so.  These continued for a few hours, but since I've had sooo many "practice" contractions throughout the pregnancy, I didn't get my hopes up too much.

I went to my checkup at the birthing center at 9:30 and was told I was 4 cm dilated.  My midwife Leslie noted that since I was carrying Russell so far out in front, he was sort of tilted and possibly not putting good pressure on my cervix.  She suggested I get a belly support band, or use some kind of blanket or scarf to hold my big ole belly closer in to my body.  Leslie thought this would help turn him more straight up and down and help encourage labor to start.  Boy was she right!  Here's a crummy photobooth picture of my makeshift belly band around 12:30 on Wednesday.

I immediately started feeling more pressure and started having some contractions a little closer together within an hour, more like every 10-12 minutes instead of 15.  This was probably around 1:30 pm.  If I rested, they slowed down, and if I walked around the house doing chores they would pick up.  My mom said she would head over to be here for Palmer in case this was really labor.  By the time she arrived and I had been bustling around the house for another 45 minutes, I had couple contractions that were between 5 and 8 minutes apart.  Eek!  I called Tyler to come home from work since he's about 45 minutes away in Richardson, and called our birth photographer Kelsey to let her know this could be it.

Sure enough, the contractions started to hurt around 2:30.  Sometime within the next hour, Tyler arrived home, and I had a couple that were painful enough that I couldn't speak.  We called the birthing center and they advised us to wait to come in til the contractions were more regularly 5 minutes apart.  The confusing part of the next hour was that if I was laying down on the bed, they were sometimes as spaced as 8 minutes, but if I tried to stand and walk from one place to another, they would hit as often as 2 or 3 minutes!

At this point the contractions were seriously painful and during them, I said a little mantra that I read earlier in the day to myself to help cope.  "This pain is good, this pain is necessary, this pain is temporary".  It's a challenge to relax when something hurts that bad!  I found the mantra helped to remind me though that without the pain, the baby would never be born!  At this time, my mom and Tyler were hustling to get Palmer's stuff together for Mother's Day Out the following day and his overnight stuff to stay at my parents'.  I was obviously little help at this point!  Palmer was fussy, I was bossy and snippy, and it was a little hectic!  We made another phone call to the birthing center to say we were on our way soon.  They said ok, but forewarned me I may be sent back home if I wasn't truly in active labor.  TRUST ME, I AM!  I wanted to say :)

It seemed like forever after my mom and Palmer left before Tyler and I got things together enough to leave for the birthing center (about 4:45 pm).  I was trying to tell him what I needed him to pack, while laying in bed as still as possible to try and buy a little extra time between contractions.  I had a contraction at the kitchen counter putting my flip flops on, at the garbage can in the garage, and at the passenger door to the car.  I demanded that Tyler call the birthing center again to tell them I wanted to get in the warm tub when I got there, but then demanded he not waste time calling, we needed to GO!  I continued to have contractions on the drive to Allen which. was. miserable.  I kneeled on the front seat of the car/ stood on the floor board, rocking back and forth holding onto the headrest.  I got little rest between contractions at this point- (possibly due to stress??) and told Tyler it was getting really bad and that I needed some encouraging words.  He did a great job getting us to ABC safely!

I contracted several times in the parking lot, walkway, and lobby of the birthing center, making Tyler drop everything to push on my lower back.  For some reason this warm pressure on my back helped the pain a lot!  They checked me in an exam room, found I was now 7 cm dilated, and said you're staying!  This was now 5:14 pm, I am told.  I somehow made it up the stairs and into the claw foot tub they had been filling for me.  (They have a much larger jacuzzi sized tub, but it takes 45 minutes to fill. . . and we didn't have 45 minutes!)  I labored for 35 minutes or so in the tub, trying to focus on relaxing my body.  I tried sitting and kneeling in a few different positions, but let's face it, labor hurts no matter what position you're in!  The warm water truly did help and I would recommend laboring in a tub to anyone considering a natural birth.

I stayed pretty calm through this "transition" period (that's what they call the 7-10 cm part of labor) with a few panicked outbursts of "I can't do this" or "I need help, someone help me" when I felt a little out of control.  Tyler, my midwife Leslie, and the birth assistant were excellent support to calm me down and get me focused back on the goal.  Toward the beginning I would open my eyes between contractions and talk a little or have a drink, but there was soon no time/energy for any of that.  Kelsey arrived to take pictures sometime in this period- she would have been there sooner as a doula/labor support too, but my labor went a lot faster than anyone anticipated!  The pain was bad, but the mental challenge was the hardest part since I was having very little downtime between contractions.  I wondered how much longer it could go on and there were a few times I doubted I could do much more, but I kept reminding myself that no one there could help me, even if they wanted to, and it was up to me to get through it.

What they say is true, when you think you're at your breaking point in labor and you want more than anything to turn back, that means it's almost over!  The Bradley method calls it the "self doubt" signpost, or something like that.  I remember Leslie asking me if I wanted to get out of the tub to deliver in the bed.  I could not in any way imagine climbing out of that tub, so I declined, and Russell ended up being an unplanned water baby!  When I felt like I needed to push, Leslie said to go ahead, and that was such a relief.  Pushing gave me something active to DO, instead of just letting the contractions happen TO me (which is how laboring seems).  My water broke at some point at the beginning of pushing.  I pushed for about ten minutes, at first sitting in the tub, then on my hands and knees.  It was the most intense thing I've ever experienced- much different than pushing with an epidural, obviously.  I screamed pretty loudly I believe, haha.  The birth assistant told me to hold in that energy I used to scream and use it for pushing instead, which helped me focus everything toward getting him OUT!

The relief I felt when he was born was indescribable.  Immediately, all the pain goes away and you get a huge rush of endorphins and adrenaline.  I was shaking and in disbelief that I did it, it was over, and he was here!  Russell didn't cry right away as is common with babies born in water since it is a gentle transition to being outside the womb.  As soon as I gathered myself enough to process what was going on and rested back in the tub, he was placed on my chest and we stayed that way for a while while they covered him with warm blankets and a hat.  Tyler cut the cord after it stopped pulsing and we just chilled out for a little bit, soaking up the excitement and happiness.  After only 46 minutes of being at the birthing center, Russell was here!  He's obviously not the patient type :)

Obviously there's a lot more to tell about how GREAT the rest of our experience was at the birthing center, but I think this post is long enough already!!  I'll post more pictures soon of the grandparents and Palmer coming to visit us in the hours immediately following his birth.

If you want to see a sneak peek of some of the pictures Kelsey took at ABC, check out this link!  I'll be getting all the pictures from her in a few weeks :)

Relaxing after delivery!