Monday, October 29, 2012

Sharing the good stuff..

My friend Lynn told me the other day - you did a "normal" blog post....and you are wierd for not liking pumpkin (obviously referring to my previous post about my dislike of pumpkin).  Apparently all my posts are mommy related and she enjoyed the break.  Well, here is another "normal" post with some cool stuff to share....

Cool Blogs:  Here are a couple of blogs that I follow.

This is my friend Elizabeth - her husband Jeff was roomates with Andrew at Virginia Tech.  They were out in Seattle visiting a couple summers ago and we saw them and their little guy Sam last fall when we went to Blacksburg for a Tech game.  She writes about motherhood and lots of other stuff too and her stuff is hilarious!  She inspired me to start blogging and I love her writing style.  And her little boy is pretty cute too.

I think I found this off of E's blog.  She is a mom of 2 and a blogger and photographer on the side.  She posts on a lot of great stuff - my favorite being a hilarious story of her toddler getting a fish and almost losing said fish in the garbage disposal.  Funny stuff.  She also has been doing a Pinterest series trying crafts from pins she has found.


When my mom was here, she made ham balls.  Its a family recipe straight from the Watson Family Cookbook.  Yes, we have a cook book and it is AWESOME!  Its not published - just something we compiled for my Grandma's birthday one year.  But, if you become a part of the Watson family, you get one - its like a rite of passage.  Anyway, this a great recipe - it makes a bunch so you can eat some right away and freeze the rest for later.  They are just as good from the freezer as they are fresh.  


2.5 lbs ground ham
2 lb sausage or lean ground pork
1 lb ground beef
3 eggs
3 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 cups milk
2 cans tomato soup
3/4 cup vinegar
2 1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp dried mustard

Mix first 6 ingredients well.  Use 1/2 cup measure to shape into balls.  Mix together the next 4 ingredients and pour over ham.  Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

*This makes a large amount and can be frozen prior to or after cooking (I freeze prior to cooking).  The recipe can be halved.

Okay, so I couldn't resist being a mommy - how cute is my little boy?

This is his philosopher look - he has figured out the meaning of life.  Milk. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I love fall except.....

Fall is by far my favorite time of year. 

I love the changing of the leaves to beautiful reds and oranges.

I love dressing in jeans and sweaters and scarves (pretty sure because I usually feel fat and you can disguise your figure much easier with fall clothes.)

I love fall colors (earth and jewel tones have always looked best on me).

I love the cool crisp air and cold nights (and living in Seattle, the return of the rain).

I love college football (Go Hokies). 

I love Thanksgiving - its my favorite holiday!  Family, cooking, and shopping - the perfect combo!

I DO NOT love pumpkin stuff.  Starbucks goes crazy advertising their pumpking spice lattes.  Pinterest is full of recipes for pumpkin everything from pasta to chocolate chip cookies.  Why on earth would you ruin perfectly good cookies by putting pumpkin in them?  It's like adding raisins.  Yuck.

I actually don't mind pumpkin itself - I love sweet potatoes and squashes that are similar in flavor.  I do not like pumpkin pie spices like nutmeg and cloves.  I don't even like the smell.  People look at me like I'm crazy that I don't like pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving time but I think it is gross.  Just my opinion.  And its my blog so I can say what I want :-)  Anyone else think pumpkin stuff is gross?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

One Month!

Sawyer is officially one month old.  Can time slow down a little?  This month has gone by so fast!  I love this newborn stage and all the snuggle time.

We had our one month well baby check with Dr. Irwin today and Sawyer was determined to be perfect.  He only got one shot today - had a shocked/cry face that got red, didn't breath for about 5 seconds, let out a good scream, cried for about 30 seconds and then he was good.  Thats my tough little boy.  I hear next months shots are pretty brutal.  Not looking forward to it.

Size:  9 lbs 7 oz (50th-75th%), 22 in long (75th %) and head 15 in (50th %).  Definitely like his daddy.  He's gained almost 2 lbs since birth and 12oz in just one week!  He still seems small but when we compare him to his buddy Soren who is only a week old he definitely seems bigger.  He is mostly too long for newborn stuff (especially anything with feet) but 3 month stuff is too big so we are putting him in the limited amounth of 0-3 month clothes that we have.  I'm so tempted to go shopping and just buy him a bunch of clothes but I know he will outgrow it all before he wears in more than twice.

Developmental Milestones:  He can hold his head up for a few seconds and is starting to focus his eyes more.  When playing on his activity mat the other day he actually reached for the toys above him and touched them several times.  It is possible this was purely coincidental but I will claim that he is an overachiever like his mommy.  No social smiles yet (only gassy smiles in his sleep) but I can't wait for this to start because he is so stinking cute when he smiles.

caught a bit of a smile here

Eating: Sawyer is making great strides in the breast feeding department.  We visited a lactation nurse at the hospital since I was still having so much pain breast feeding and needing to use a nipple shield.  She thought that he may be slightly tongue tied and could benefit from a frenotomy (where they clip the tissue under the tongue that is too tight) or physical therapy for suck training (as a PT, I did not know this exists but would love to learn and observe more about it).  She also said most babies grow out of it and the issue will resolve on its own.  I can use the shield for my own comfort but he has no issues latching.  I feel like its gotten better over the last week and I don't have much pain even when feeding without the shield so maybe we can get through this.  Grandma Hall who is a lactation nurse is coming in today and will give him a full evaluation (between all the cuddles and snuggles).  He eats pretty consistently every 3-4 hours - usually when he's fussy its because he's hungry.

Sleeping:  Not bad actually.  He usually feeds around 10:30 or 11, wakes around 2:30 or 3 to eat, then sleeps until 6:30 or 7.  We have gotten a couple 4 hour stretches over the last couple of nights and when he does eat in the middle of the night he goes right back to sleep.  We are trying the "eat, wake, sleep" BabyWise philosophy so I try and keep him awake after feeding during the day before putting him down for a nap. We are also working on putting him in bed when he is drowsy but not yet asleep so he gets used to going to sleep in his bed vs falling asleep on someone.  BUT, I still love snuggling with him so he still falls asleep in my arms quite a bit :-)

Likes/Dislikes:  He loves his WubbaNub, eating, and snuggling in fuzzy blankets.  He does not like being naked, hungry, naked AND hungry, or having a dirty diaper.  For the most part he is a pretty content baby.

Its been one of the most emotional and exhausting but very best months of my entire life.  I fall in love with my little boy more and more each day.  While I wish time would slow down, I look forward to watching him grow and see his personality develop.  I'm a happy mommy.

my new favorite photo

Monday, October 15, 2012

Lessons learned - Month 1

Here is a short list of things I've learned in my first 4 weeks of being a mommy...

- Being a mom is HARD.

- You really can function on very little sleep

- Navigating a shopping mall with a stroller requires strategic planning - knowing where all the entrances are that have ramps, where the elevators are in department stores, and which bathrooms offer couches so you can breast feed.

- I can do most things one handed while holding a baby

- I am awesome at the Prize Claw game on my iphone (which I play one handed during middle of the night feedings)

- My husband is amazing (I already knew that but he's gotten awesomer)

- Trying to put a diaper on upside down and backwards does not work

- I know the difference between a hungry cry, gas pain cry, and dirty diaper cry (at least I think I have this one figured out...)

- I worry way too much.  Is he too hot?  Too cold?  is he breathing?  Should I call the doctor if he is congested? 

- its perfectly normal to feel like a failure at this mom thing - apparently all moms feel this way (Thanks E!)

- Rocking with my sleeping baby on my chest is the most wonderful, joyful, and relaxing thing in the world

- I LOVE my little boy more than I could have ever imagined.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sawyer's Birth Story

Sawyer is three weeks old today!  September 18th seems so long ago yet also seems like it was just yesterday.  My how our lives have changed since then.  Its been an experience - learning how to change a diaper half asleep, learning how to do most everything with one hand while breast feeding or holding a baby, learning how to plan your day around feeding schedules.

Our birth story isn't crazy but it was unique to us.  I know that God was a part of the process even dating back to earlier in my pregnancy and ultimately this was how He had planned it.

For those of you that don't remember, I changed doctors a couple times the last few weeks of my pregnancy ultimately ending up with Dr. Wells (or Karen as she insists on being called).  Based on my diabetes diagnosis and expected 9-10 lb baby, she recommended induction anytime in my 40th week.  I chose Tuesday the 18th.

I went into the office the Monday before to have a foley catheter placed in my cervix to start the dialation process.  The catheter placement wasn't exactly comfortable but it wasn't terrible.  I managed to come home and install the car seat base afterwards.  A couple of hours later though, I started having regular and strong contractions about every 5 minutes.  The instructions are to call labor and delivery if the contractions are every 5 minutes, lasting 1 minute, for at least 1 hour (the 5-1-1 rule).  So at 8 pm, after 2 hours of 1 minute contractions every 5 minutes (tracked on my handy iphone app) I called.  The nurse said if the catheter was still in place, I wasn't dialated to 3 cm yet so to stay home until it fell out, my water broke, or the contractions started getting stronger.  So, Andrew and I watched the season premiere of Bones and the contractions died down so we went to bed. 

Not that I got any sleep.  We were up at 4:15 the next morning, I called the hospital to make sure we were still on at 5:15, ate some breakfast and off we went.

Before I left for the hospital - 39 weeks, 4 days. Charlie was hoping he could go too.

We got all checked in and were met by a nurse named Katy.  I got changed to a gown, hooked up to an IV and by 5:45 the pitocin was going.  Since I had the gestational diabetes, she had to check my blood sugar every so often.  My first reading was 2 points over the normal limit (story of my life, I swear) so they had to start an insulin drip.  So we labored.  At one point she asked if I wanted to get checked to see how far I was dialated.  I said sure thinking that when I had been checked in the OB's office, it was uncomfortable but manageable.  Well, Katy is a small person and apparently has short fingers because it hurt like heck when she checked my cervix.  I'm pretty sure she stuck her whole entire arm up there.  And I was a 3.  Contractions weren't too terrible and I justed rested in bed. 

Around 10, Karen stopped in to check my progress.  She checked my cervix as well and broke my water.  She thought I was at about 5 cm and hoping that breaking my water would progress things a little quicker.  Her checking my cervix was uncomfortable but not too terrible. 

As the morning progressed, the contractions started getting stronger.  I tried different positions (the rocking chair, birthing ball, standing) and practiced my breathing.  My back was hurting a lot more than I expected it to.  We tried watching the Big Bang Theory - the remote for the TV didn't work so we couldn't adjust the volume or anything.  My blood sugar got too low at one point so I got to eat some crackers.  Contractions continued to get stronger and more uncomfortable.  Around 11:30  Katy wanted to check my progress.  After sticking her arm up my cervix once again, I was in tears because it hurt so much (the cervix check, not the contractions) and I decided that I didn't want to be a hero anymore and requested an epidural.

Epidural = awesomeness.

I was so much more comfortable once that epidural was placed.  I didn't care that I couldn't move around or that I could only eat ice chips.  To not have to feel any more contractions was heaven.  There was a slight panic after the epidural was placed since the baby's heart rate dropped - the nurses were scrambling, they put an oxygen mask on me, had my lie on my side for a while, and were about to give a dose of something (I think epinephrine) when it returned to normal.

So, they kept monitoring my contractions but the fetal monitor wasn't tracking things well - it kept losing the baby's heart rate because he would move or weren't tracking my contractions.  Katy eventually called for Dr. Wells to put on internal monitors on the baby's head and my uterus to better track things.  When she placed those, I was around 7 to 8 cm dialated.  Karen instructed them to keep turning me to get me dialated further.  I would lie on my side for 15 minutes and then they would flip me over the other side.  I snuck in a few catnaps every now and then.  At 3:00 I was dialated to 9 and cervix checks were no problem at all since I couldn't feel them.  We were hopeful that I would progress to 10 soon and be able to start pushing.

Katy expressed concern that the baby was having decelerations at times after contractions and that my contractions weren't consistent.  Both she and the doctor felt that his head wasn't engaging correctly either and that he was trying to come out with the side of his head instead of the crown of his head.

Around 5, Dr. Wells checked in on me again.  I was still dialated to 9 and even though he was still trying to come out with the side of his head, she suggested waiting another hour.  She was supposed to be going home and the on call doc would take over but she had paperwork to do and said she would check in another hour.  If I still wasn't fully dialated, she thought a c-section might be indicated since we knew the baby was big and he was trying to come out funny.

In the next hour, I got a new nurse (who I didn't like nearly as much as Katy) and flipped in bed a few more times.  When Dr. Wells returned, I was still at 9.  She suggested c-section.  While it wasn't my first choice as a method to give birth, I was exhausted.  It had been 13 hours, I was worried about pushing him out if he was big and sideways, and I just wanted to meet my little man already.  So I consented and things got set in motion.

A new anesthesiologist was taking over for the previous one (as it was shift change time).  He was from Colstrip Montana and his brother and parents lived in Great Falls.  My mom (who was with us) had been on a jury for a trial in which his brother was the lead attorney.  He was super nice and a very calming presence.  Think that God arranged that one?  Off we went to operating room.

It was a surreal experience.  Going from the dim lights and calm of the hospital room to bright lights and people in masks in the OR.  Lots of activity and I felt overwhelmed.  Eventually Andrew and my mom came in all dressed in their haz-mat suits and masks.  The anesthesiologist made me numb and was behind me the whole time.  He did a year at Carrol College in Helena, I talked about Rocky.  There was a barrier in front of me so I couldn't see anything but there was a little window that he said he would flip down so when the baby was out I could see him.

Things got started and after a few minutes Dr. Wells said "Well he's looking right at me".  Apparently he was what they call "sunny side up" hence all my back pain during labor.  I heard a little cry, the window opened up and I saw my son for the first time.  I bawled.  He was covered in goop but so beautiful.  Of course they took him away to get him checked out (they had thought there was maconium in my amniotic fluid at one point) and weighed and all that.  My mom followed with the camera (I'm so thankful that she got to document this experience!) and after a few minutes they brought us our little Sawyer all wrapped up.  My expected 10 pound little boy weighed in at 7 lbs 9 oz and 20 3/4 inches long.  We got to cuddle with him while they finished stitching me up and headed back to our room where I finally got to hold him.  We spent that night and Wednesday night in the hospital and were discharged Thursday afternoon.

Sawyer's first seconds of life

My "window view"

Clearly he's happy to be on the outside right?

Getting checked out

On the scale

so much for a 10 lb baby...

Our first family moments

Proud daddy

Looking back, there are several things that led me to Dr. Wells (who I completely trust) on that day, with that nurse, with that anesthesiologist and makes me believe that God was in complete control. 

However, what bothers me slightly. is that all these medical decisions were made based on the growth ultrasound measurements and the anticipation if Sawyer being a 10 pound baby with a huge head (by the way, at his 1 week pediatrician appoinment, his head was in the 50th percentile).  I don't quite understand how the ultrasound measurements were so wrong.  Well I guess I've heard of them being wrong but if they are so inaccurate, why do doctors put so much weight into them?  Its possible that I could have waited to go into labor naturally, his head would have been in a better positions and I could have delivered naturally vs having a c-section and he would have been less than 8 lbs.  All that to say, I'm not going to bank so heavily on those measurements next time and not feel so pressured to induce.  Dr. Wells said that I could likely try for a VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section) in my next pregnancy.  I will definitely be using her again as my OB.

Evergreen is a fabulous hospital - the entire staff from the nurses to the lactation specialists to food services people are fantastic.  They are so supportive and we had such a wonderful experience there.  I would highly recommend giving birth to anyone who lives in the Seattle area.  They also have a lot of great resources for follow up - lactation consultants available by phone, free parent baby classes (which I will go to starting next week) where you get to hang out with other mom's who have 0-3 month babies, a 24 hour nurse line, etc. 

Here are a few other pics from our stay:

Sawyers first bath

Three generations

Sawyer getting his jaundice check

Exhausted mommy and her boy

Our first visitors (besides Grandma and Grandpa)

Our family

Andrew practicing his swaddling technique
Sawyer approves of the swaddling job!

getting dressed to go home.  Takes several hands.

His outfit was huge but cute!

My birth story is a positive one - no complications and not a lot of suffering on anyone's part.  I couldn't have asked for a more perfect little man.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Wubba What?


I had no idea what this was prior to getting pregnant.  My friend Elizabeth had this on her blog of Top Ten Newborn Essentials so I added it and almost everything else on her list to my registry.  I decided on the giraffe since it was the cutest, a shade of orange, and E used the elephant one.

So far, Sawyer is a big fan.  He doesn't use it too often but when he is gassy he likes to suck on something for comfort.  He can kind of hold it when he has his hands up to his face and the giraffe helps hold it in place since he's not an expert at keeping things in his mouth yet.

Have I mentioned just how much I LOVE this little man?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Holy Ginormous Boobs Batman!

Life with a newborn has been fast yet slow, peaceful yet full of emotions, relaxing but busy.  Some days its at least noon before I'm even thinking of getting out of my pajamas.  Some days I cry a good 3 or 4 times.  Some days I get a magazine read and other days I feel like I have sat in the rocking chair or the couch and done nothing else productive. 

My mom has been life-saving a big help.  She has taken care of me, made me meals, done our laundry, changed diapers, taken Sawyer after a morning feeding so I can get more sleep, hounded me to take more naps (I haven't listened well to that one), gotten groceries, taken Charlie for walks.  This woman is amazing.  And I'm very greatful for her help.

My mother in law has also been quite helpful.  As many of you know, she is a lactation specialist and has lots of great tips to offer in that department.

Breastfeeding has been an adventure.  It has definitely been way more difficult than I imagined it being. I don't know why I thought it would be so simple because it certainly hasn't.  Maybe I just feel pressure to do it well since I'm the daughter in law of a lactation specialist. The nurses in the hospital helped and the lactation specialists stopped by but every time they came we had just finished eating or he was too sleepy to eat.  Because of my c-section, they recommended a football hold so Sawyer didn't have to lay across my stomach.  The night nurse also gave me a nipple shield since she thought my nipples were too flat for the baby to latch on to (who knew?).  The post partum nurse gave me some tips at our 2 day check up.  I still felt like it was more difficult than it should be.

Then my milk came in and my boobs were freaking huge!  I could have easily found employment at a Hooters restaurant.  While they've now gone down a bit, they are still a bit larger than I'm used to.  There is no shortage of breast milk in this household.  I could likely feed a small tribe in Africa if needed.

However, when you aren't used to a tiny human attached to your breast all the time, your body reacts.  My nipples were bleeding and had blisters even using the nipple shield.  It was painful to feed him and at one point last week I called Judi in tears because I couldn't take it anymore.  My nipples were on fire.  She made several recommendations and Andrew made a late night Target run to get me some supplies (and some Oreos to make me feel better).  I took a 24 hour break from nursing and pumped.  And I have to say as much as hurt to feed Sawyer, I missed it when Andrew fed him with the bottle.  I cried.  I know that Andrew loved getting to feed him but I missed the bonding and especially when Sawyer falls asleep on my chest after he eats.  Its such a peaceful and relaxing time.

Judi had an intern working with her earlier this year (Lindsay) for about 12 weeks.  Lindsay actually lives in Bellevue (east side suburb of Seattle, not far from Redmond) and was able to come over for a personal lactation consultation.  What are the odds that someone living in Bellevue ends up doing an internship for lactation at the hospital across the country in Virginia where my mother in law is in charge of the lactation staff?  I'm pretty sure that God was at work there.  Lindsay gave me some tips, said Sawyer was latching just fine and that it would just take some time for both of us to learn this whole system of breast feeding.

Fast forward a week.

My nipples are much better.  Sawyer still has some difficulty latching without the shield but we have had a few sessions of feeding without it.  It seems to be a two steps forward, one step backwards kind of process.  In the middle of the night, I'm too tired to even try to deal with it so I just use the shield.

I never thought that I would say (or type) the word "nipple" so often as I have in the last week.

Bottom line is that I love my son.  He is amazing and perfect and I know that breastmilk is best.  I love the bonding time with him.  No, I don't plan to breast feed until he goes to kindergarden (though I may have a supply of frozen breastmilk to get us there) but until he hits the time to wean (aiming for 12 months) I want to enjoy our time now.

Speaking of my son, he has only gotten cuter!  He is definitely growing and now getting a little bit of a belly and double chin.  Still in newborn clothes but filling them out better.  He only has about 4 or 5 outfits that currently fit - I'm excited for him to fit into 3 month clothes so I can expand his wardrobe. I've lucked out with a pretty easy baby so far.  He cries when he's hungry or naked - but hey, who doesn't right?  He sleeps a lot but is starting to have more periods of awake time - even then he's very content just looking around.

Pictures you ask?  Of course....

Tummy time

Meeting his cousins for the first time - Keaton (left) and Reid (right) 5 years old

Lyla (2 years old) got a turn as well

When I rest on the couch, I like to have him next to me

He loves to sleep with his hands next to his face