Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving at the Beach

It's not very often that a Midwesterner gets to go to the beach on Thanksgiving day, so we took advantage of it while we could. My sisters were out this week and my sister Becky (from Iowa) stuck around for Thanksgiving Day. We took her to Avila Beach to enjoy the nice weather before she headed back to snow in the Midwest. Here are a few of the pictures we took while we were there:

We didn't make this castle ... Jackson found it and decided to destroy it ... sorry to whoever made it!

I love the winter hat I found for Jackson ... I think it's SO CUTE!!

Our poor attempt at a family picture on the beach ... nearly impossible with a two year old!!

I'm planning on using this picture for Micah's scrapbook.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Week 4

Week 4

My progress: I'm still bleeding but very lightly and only about every other day or so. Towards the end of the week I went one or two days straight without bleeding at all or at least very little. HOWEVER, if I could go back in time, I would tell myself "DON'T FORGET TO TAKE YOUR STOOL SOFTENER!!!!!!!" I had some TERRIBLE anal fissers this week! If you've never experienced them count yourself LUCKY! Other than that, my physical health is excellent.

I went for a couple walks with the boys this week, including a walk to Walmart and back (about 1 mile or so). I think that has helped begin the process of my pelvic bone shrinking back to its normal size because I've had some pelvic soreness, but I was also able to wear a pair of normal pants (granted they were my bigger normal pants, but at least they don't have the oh so fashionable elastic maternity band on them).

Sleep has been hit and miss this week. It seems like every other night is a good night. On Wednesday night of this past week we had a particularly hard night. Micah was waking up about every two hours and would not finish a full feeding before falling back to sleep. I was EXHAUSTED!!! I remember saying to God around three o'clock in the morning, "LORD I can't do this!! Please give me the strength to so this!! Please show me grace!" (SIGH) Then I remember that there are moms (one in particular comes to mind right now) that would LOVE to be at home with their baby exhausted from nursing them in the middle of the night instead of at a hospital where their baby is fed through an IV.

I think the hardest thing about having a rough night is not being able to catch up on sleep during the day because I have a two year old that had a great night sleep. Colin was wonderful and took Jackson on a lunch date on Thursday so that I could focus on Micah and get some rest. Once I catch up on sleep life seems so much easier!! After one such good night of sleep we were able to go to Babies R Us and the Library (I was pretty proud of myself). But I know that until I get a full night's sleep on a regular basis I STILL NEED A NAP!! I'm looking forward to being able to sleep through the night soon.

Micah: We've got the sleep, eat, awake routine pretty much down this week. For at least one of those cycles during the day he'll sleep through the awake part, but he seems to need that extra sleep. I think he really hit a growth spurt this week. He has a doctor's appointment next week, so I'm anxious to see his progress.

Usually Micah's first daytime feeding is around 6:30am so that we can take Colin to work. Micah nurses every 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 hours right now. So, his feedings have been 6:30, 9:00, 12:00 (which makes lunchtime hard), 3:30, and 6:30. I've tried several times this weeks to wake Micah up for a 9:30 feeding, but he seems to do MUCH better at night when I let him sleep through that feeding. He wakes up on his own around 11:00pm, then 2:30pm and then I try to hold him off until 6:30am, but there have been a couple of times that he's needed to have a quick snack around 5:30 to get him through to the morning.

I've also figured out when is the best time to change him so that I'm not going through a million diapers. I know this seems strange to note, but I think I might find this information useful later. Usually I change him in the middle of nursing. I finish nursing one side, change him (which helps wake him up if he's a little milk drunk) and then nurse the other side. Then I change him right when he shows signs of wanting to sleep, so that he's dry when he falls asleep (I think it helps him sleep longer).

He's been doing much better nursing, but he varies in how long he'll nurse. Sometimes he'll nurse a full ten minutes on both sides and other times he'll nurse ten minutes on one side and not at all on the other side. I've tried not to force it too much because the times that I have pushed it he's just spit up everything I've worked so hard to get him to eat. I've also figured out his cues for needing to burp and as long as I can stay on top that then he'll eat more. It's just that it still seems to take FOREVER. I know he'll get quicker as he gets older.

Micah also has pretty bad baby acne this week. Good thing I got baby portraits already. I'm not doing anything about it, but I might try some Arbonne products that have been known to help if it gets any worse. It bothers me more than it bothers him.

Jackson: came down with what sounded like Croup this week. I think we really nipped it in the bud though by just having a low key week. As soon as I heard that barky cough we started running the humidifier in Jackson's room during his nap and at night time. I also cut his milk intake and substituted it with water/Gatorade to help his cough and keep him hydrated (although we did have a few more potty accidents this week partly from the extra fluids, but he also regressed in this area a little this week (he'd fail to tell me when he had an accident. I let him know that I was not upset that he had an accident, but I was upset that he did not tell me. It seemed to get better after that.)). We also took some DanActive to help boost our immune systems (I think this stuff really works for us). But, Jackson still needed a dose of Ibuprofen for his nap and bed time for a couple of days for his sore throat.

It was hard to keep Jackson from kissing and loving on Micah. I tried to explain to him that when he gets sick it's only a little cough, but if Micah gets sick he would get much sicker because he's so little and the best thing he could do as a big brother is to protect Micah from his sick germs. Jackson did the best he could to keep Micah healthy.

I don't know if it was because he was not feeling well, but Jackson had to be disciplined a lot this week. He disobeys particularly when he knows I'm preoccupied with Micah (especially when I'm nursing). Someone (I can't remember who) said that they have a basket of toys that is designated just for when she nurses. I'm thinking of trying that next week ... we'll see. I'd love to hear other suggestions if you have any. Towards the end of the week Jackson was much better. Perhaps because he was feeling better, but I think it was also due to the consistency in the discipline. I know he misses the one-on-one time he normally gets from me. I've tried to keep his bedtime a time I carve out just for him and that seems to help.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Because I Saw a Snail

I figured out a way to get around all of the "whys" of a two-year-old and I learned it first hand from my own two-year-old.

First of all, when we moved to California for the year snails were a novelty to us (they are not usually seen in the Midwest). What was even more fascinating was actually seeing a snail moving. Well, I think Jackson was frightened by one of those slimy little creatures once and it made him cry.

After that, every once in awhile if he was crying and didn't know why, his explanation would be, "because I saw a snail." Eventually that response was given for anything he couldn't explain rationally: "Why did you hit Mommy?" "Because I saw a snail." "Why don't you like that food?" "Because I saw a snail." You get the idea.

Well, now the tables have turned and when Jackson starts going down the two-year-old "why" path I bust out the "because I saw a snail" and that usually stops him from asking so many questions (usually the SAME question over and over and over again) and makes us both laugh.

So next time your kids get you going down the "why" path break out the Jackson "because I saw a snail" and see what they do.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Week 3

Week 3: My first week flying solo! (Thank God for the meal ministry at church!)

My progress: By the end of this week my sciatic nerve pain was completely gone! YEAH!!!! I was no longer taking any Motrin as well ... still on a stool softener though (I had anal fissers after Jackson was born, so I wanted to be cautious after this delivery).

HOWEVER, I made the mistake of carrying Jackson up the stairs (he was in a hurry to go potty and our only bathrooms are upstairs) and I wonder if that brought my bleeding back. That was SO discouraging!!!!!

My first day on my own we stayed home all day (Colin took the car to work) and things went much smoother than I expected. BUT day two was a challenge! Micah was having a hard time taking good naps (he'd fall asleep for 45 min AT THE MOST and then wake up crying and unable to put himself back to sleep). I'd go to rock Micah or give him a pacifier and Jackson would follow behind yelling "MOOOOMMMMYYYY?! WHERE ARE YOU!!??" waking Micah up even more! UGH!! I decided that I need to teach Jackson how to use an inside voice, but I'm not going to stop him from talking or playing while Micah is sleeping ... I'm hoping Micah will just learn to adapt. Anyway, that day was a "veg out" kind of day after Colin came home (I even volunteered to take the garbage to the dumpster just to get some time to myself). Luckily, both kids were napping at the same time and I could catch some sleep too, but one day I skipped my nap and BOY did I feel it that night at 3am when I was nursing (I could barely keep my body upright)!! I won't make that mistake again.

Micah: He had several nights where he went 4 hours between feedings. I discovered that it really pays to work on waking him up for a full feeding for his late night feeding (between 9pm and 10pm) and then he usually has a good night. It still takes him about an hour to nurse fully if you include 10 minutes on each breast, burping in between (which can take awhile sometimes ) and changing his diaper (sometimes two or even three times depending on if he poops AGAIN). So you can imagine on nights when Micah makes it only 2 hours between feedings, which means I'm only getting an hour of sleep in between, how exhausted I am the next day.

I've also discovered that I need to make sure I put Micah down for a nap the moment he seems tired, otherwise it seems near impossible to get him to sleep. If I can do that then he sleeps for longer periods of time and nurses MUCH better when he wakes up. So, I'd say on average that it takes about 45 minutes to feed, burp and change Micah, then he stays awake for about 45 minutes to an hour and then sleeps (off and on) for the rest of the 3 hour cycle. He still has not really put himself to sleep yet, but I haven't let him cry it out yet either ... not sure what I want to do about that.

Also, early this week he had yellow gook in his eye ... a clogged tear duct. Jackson had the same thing and the pediatrician told me to express breast milk into his eye and massage the duct. I didn't find that out until a week or so into Jackson's duct being clogged, so he had both eyes clogged for a week or so. However, I expressed milk into Micah's right away and his unclogged within a couple of days! WORKED LIKE A CHARM!

Also, Micah's ring from his circumcision fell of this week too. I'm not sure things are looking right there (part of his penis looks swollen), but it doesn't seem to be infected. I'm not sure if I should call the pediatrician or not. It might not hurt to call them early next week.

Jackson: His favorite phrase is "I'm taking care of you Mommy." He has had some needy moments this week, but who wouldn't. He has also had some moments of true grace towards Mommy and his brother. One day I was so tired when Micah was napping and I was playing with Jackson in his room, that I fell asleep while playing. Jackson just played around me and every once in awhile woke me up to ask me something or tell me something. He's been such a trouper.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Week 2

Note to Readers: I've changed some things in week one and I'm sure I'll have to go back and change a few things for this week when I'm writing week three, but I'm trying to keep on top of the weeks so I have to do that less and less.

Week 2: Colin's parents came and helped.

My progress: I was STILL having sciatica pain although it would come and go. I decided to look on the Internet to see if there was anything I could do besides take 600mg of Motrin every 6 hours. I did find some helpful videos on YouTube that showed me how to stretch the muscle around the sciatic nerve and that seemed to help a little. I also started icing that muscle once or twice a day for about an hour while I napped and also took several warm baths during this week. The pain would come and go and I even had to opt out of going to Oso Flaco with the family because I had a really bad day physically (that was another baby blue day).

I was still bleeding and cramping while nursing, but by the end of this week I had a whole day of not bleeding. I lost a lot of my prego belly this week, but my regular clothes were still too small and my maternity clothes were too big.

My engorgement was pretty much gone (there were a couple of nights that I didn't try and stop the milk from leaking and I think that helped too ... it made a mess, but it helped). However, there was one time when Micah was not nursing well (the day of his circumcision) that I pumped one bottles worth.

Micah: The big thing for this week was getting Micah to have sleep, eat and awake cycles established. We did okay. I found that if he gets over stimulated it's hard for him to go to sleep and babies at this age need A LOT of sleep. Getting the cycle established was somewhat successful, but I left a lot of room for grace this week. He was now making it about three hours between feedings during the day and at night, but still only nursing on one side and snacking on the other.

We also started going through diapers like crazy! I made the mistake of putting him in generic diapers and using generic wipes though and he got a terrible rash (it even bled a little), but once we switched to sensitive wipes and name brand diapers (pampers swaddlers) and used diaper cream (Balmex is the best) on a regular basis his rash cleared up (for the most part). Part of the reason for the rash is that Micah doesn't poop much, but he poops often. We'd change his diaper and one minute later he'd poop again ... it didn't matter how long we waited between diaper changes (you know, just to make sure he was done) he'd still poop right after we changed him. Oh well!

Micah's umbilical cord fell off this week and he also got his circumcision done. YIKES!!! He weighed in at a healthy 8lbs 12oz at this appointment (I was proud). I watched the surgery (they used the string and ring method instead of the "bell method" that Jackson had)and Micah did GREAT during the surgery (of course Daddy was feeding him sugar water to help him keep his mind off of things), but afterwards he was a WRECK! He would not nurse at all ... I've never seen him scream like that since. We gave him infant Tylenol every 4 hours that day and the rest of the day was a very sleepy day for him and that night was CRAZINESS! He wanted to nurse almost every hour, but then would fall asleep in the middle of nursing. He bounced back pretty quickly the next day though.

Up to this point Micah had not yet put himself to sleep. He either had a pacifier, was in the swing, or being held. I decided that was an adventure for after the grandparents left (I didn't want to gyp them of their precious time with their grandson).

Jackson: Had a great week largely due to the fact that Grandma and Papa were there to entertain (he even got to go to Chuckee Cheese for the first time ever). He was wonderful at letting me take naps when I needed too, but every once in awhile he'd say things like, "I want Momma."

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Week 1

The following "Note to Self" blogs are not really intended to entertain you, but to help me remember. The other day when my mother-in-law was helping with Micah I made the comment, "I'm so frustrated that I can't remember what it was like at this stage in Jackson's life." I did make a scrapbook for Jackson, but I neglected to write down the boring details of all of the parenting choices I had made like; when to give him a pacifier, how old he was when I let him cry for 15 minutes straight, how many diapers we went through in the first week, etc. My mother-in-law suggested that I journal this time, so here it is. I know that not all of the choices I make as a parent would be the choices that you would make, so please don't judge. Like I said I'm mostly doing this to jog my own memory so that if God were to bless me with another child I'll have a point of reference ... otherwise I feel like I'm going insane trying to reinvent the wheel each time (which might happen anyway since each child is so different, but at least I can pretend that this is all helpful.). I'm also choosing to journal my physical recovery after labor, so if that grosses you out, you might not want to read this.

Week 1: My sister and brother-in-law were here for the week.

My progress: I still had severe sciatica that prevented me from walking and going up and down the stairs without pain. I was taking 600mg of Motrin every 6 hours and definitely could feel when I skipped a dose. I was bleeding a lot, but it very quickly lightened within the first several days only to have it come back heavy again. I even passed a blood clot about the size of a half dollar and about half an inch thick. (I had a home visit from a nurse from Marian Hospital and she said not to worry about clotting unless it's more than one or if it's larger than the palm of my hand.)

The end of the week I became very engorged to the point where I needed to pump in the middle of the night in order to be comfortable. I probably wore an under wire bra too early because I had a burning sensation while nursing. It hurt enough that I called the midwife wondering if I had mastitis. Turned out I didn't, but the midwife recommended putting cabbage leaves and bags of frozen peas on my breasts to take down the swelling, take vitamin C tablets and drink lots of water and get plenty of rest. I definitely had a baby blues day that day.

Micah: had 3 or 4 poopy diapers in the hospital, but did not have another substantial poopy diaper until 48 hours after we left the hospital. As a result he was looking a little jaundice by day 2 or 3 (I put him in the sun on day 3 during one of his naps). During the home visit the nurse was not concerned about Micah's skin or eye color and Micah weighed in at 8lb 5oz. We had an appointment with the pediatrician the next day and he too was not concerned about jaundice for Micah who weighed in a 8lb 7oz (probably a difference in scales, but I'm sure he gained weight too).

I tried to get him on a 3 hour feeding schedule, but he would usually go about 2 1/2 hours. He had ONE night of a 5 hour stretch between feedings. I had a VERY difficult time getting him to take full feedings (10 min on each breast) without him falling asleep and waking him up was nearly impossible. As a result Micah got in the habit of having 5 minute snacks, so I introduced the pacifier to help fulfill his urge to suck himself to sleep. Due to the engorgement, I also had a hard time getting him to latch on properly and had very sore and cracked nipples. OUCH! (I used a lot of Lanoline) However, I found that expressing a little milk while taking a warm shower helped him to get a better latch and by the end of the week we were doing much better and my nipples were healing.

Jackson: had a hard time the first day we came home from the hospital (he hit me and Micah several times (not hard), he was testing the water). However, after he got to help me give Micah a bath he became more helpful as a BIG BROTHER. He's been an average 2 year old thus far.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Flying Solo

Well, today was the first day that I was by myself with my two sons. I set the bar low knowing that there would be some challenges. (Colin even took the car to work.) Overall it went surprisingly well. I was pleased with the fact that my bed got made, I showered and I kept the house fairly clean. I was most nervous about lunch time and nap time because I wasn't sure when Micah's feedings would fall. Micah slept while Jackson and I had lunch and Jackson was gracious enough to shorten our nap time routine so that his little brother could eat his lunch. I was also pleased that Jackson, Micah and I all got naps in at the same time. We're off to a good start (praise the LORD). I'll continue to pray for God's grace for the rest of the week.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Micah Russell Doughan Our first family picture!
Our midwife, Helen.
Uncle Josh
Auntie Sarah
The brothers!
The proud Daddy!

Micah's Birthday Story

Here's the whole story as I promised:

October 24th 2008 ~ Micah dropped onto my sciatic nerve causing me pain when I walked, bent over, ... pretty much did anything. At that point I was mentally, emotionally and physically ready to go into labor. I was just holding on until my sister (Sarah) and brother-in-law's (Josh) arrival, so that Jackson would be taken care of in his own home.

October 25th 2008 ~

6:30am ~ Sarah and Josh surprised us by showing up five hours early!!! They drove through the night from L.A. to get to our house (they even stopped and slept in a parking lot for a little while). They are such servants.

8:00am ~ Early First Stage Labor ~ I started to have contractions that were consistently low. They were irregular and I could still walk and talk through them, but I had a hard time concentrating on conversations.

11:00am ~ My sister and I went to a friend's baby shower even though I was having more regular contractions (I didn't time them, but they were probably about 10 - 15 mins apart). I was still walking and talking through them.

3:00pm ~ I decided to lay down for a nap (just in case this was the "real deal"), but ended up just laying in bed timing my contractions for an hour. They were getting a little more intense and they were about 5 mins apart.

4:00pm ~ First Stage Labor ~ I had one or two contractions that were hard enough that I couldn't walk or talk through them anymore. I told Colin that we should head to the hospital. Jackson woke up from his nap just in time for Colin to say, "Jackson we are going to the hospital. You will stay here with Auntie Sarah and Uncle Josh. When you come and see us as the hospital you will get to meet your brother, Micah. Is that okay?" Jackson: "Mmmm ... Yup." He gave Mommy and Daddy a hug and then was off playing (that was such a sigh of relief for me). While in the car my contractions became so strong that I couldn't just breath through them. I had to moan through them and they were now about 3 min apart.

4:45pm ~ We arrived at the hospital. (From here on out I don't have specific times ... I was a little preoccupied.)

They monitored me and the baby for about 20 mins (felt like FOREVER) and then checked my cervix. I was 6 -7 cm dilated about about 75% effaced with the baby at -1 station. (For those of you who don't yet know what all of that means: it meant this was the "real deal.") The blood work and paper work went flying and the midwife came to cheer me on through contractions.

They were able to get us a tub room. By the time they were done monitoring me and the baby and filling out paper work I was ready to get into the tub. It felt SO good to get in the tub because I was still having back pain from Micah sitting on my sciatic nerve.

At that point the nurses and the midwife left Colin and I alone to labor. My contractions were really hard, but they were still about 3 - 5 min apart. My fondest memory of the whole labor was sitting in the tub talking with Colin in between contractions about how God shows us grace even in our curse of childbearing. God was so gracious (to me anyway) to give me enough of a break between contractions to reflect on the miracle that he was doing through me.

After a couple of contractions I started to feel more of an urge to push. At that point my midwife came back and they quick checked the baby's heart and my cervix. I was 8 -9 cm dilated, almost 100% effaced and the baby was at +1 station. My midwife suggested I sit on the toilet to get the last cm to dilate and while I did that she had to make a quick phone call.

I moved to the bathroom and had one hard contraction and then became very nauseous and confused. I didn't know whether to sit, stand, lay down, etc. TRANSITION!! I even said that out loud. "I feel like I'm going to throw up. I'm confused. I must be in transition!" Having that realization alone made transition so much more tolerable (THANK YOU Nicci (my Bradley teacher)).

My midwife came back and I told her I had transitioned. We got me back into bed and began Second Stage Labor. It felt like forever to me, but I was still having breaks in between my contractions where I could hold conversations (not deep ones mind you, but I could talk). I remember my midwife calling me a "Rock Star" several times during Second Stage Labor. What encouragement to keep going! My midwife checked my cervix again and suggested she break my water to speed up labor. I was hesitant, but I decided to go ahead and have her break my water. After that I was 9 1/2 cm dilated, but every time I would have a pushing contraction the cervix would move with the baby, so the midwife had to hold open my cervix with her fingers ... pretty uncomfortable, BUT I think it made the time between contractions shorter and in no time the baby was crowning and I was pushing.

My midwife was great at coaching me through the burn of the head crowning. OH YEAH and did I mention that my husband is the most wonderful childbirth coach I could ever ask for. He kept whispering in my ear that he was so proud of me and that he loved me. I remember my midwife telling the nurse "Aren't they so great. Don't you just love the way they work as a team?"

They adjusted a mirror for me so that I could see the baby coming ... it is the most amazing thing ... words cannot describe what it's like to see your baby coming into the world for the very first time.

7:07pm ~ As soon as he was out Micah was placed on my chest skin to skin. I LOVED the fact that I was the only one to hold him for the first hour or so after labor. He barely cried, but he as great color and had no fluid in his lungs at all. He got a 9 on both APGAR tests!! After is stopped pulsing, Colin cut the cord. I delivered the placenta and got stitched up (only on stitch - YEAH).

7:30pm ~ Micah and I got back into the tub for his first bath and first feeding. LOVED IT!!! Colin called Jackson at home (who was getting ready for bed) to tell him that his brother was born and that he could come and see him tomorrow at the hospital.

Micah Russell Doughan
Born October 25, 2008 7:07pm
8lb 13oz
21 1/4 inches long

We had a wonderful birthday for Micah ... PRAISE the LORD!! Thank you for all of you who were praying.