Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Strike a pose

It cracks us up at the different "poses" that Jacob gets into when he is sleeping. It certainly doesn't look comfortable, but he is so cute, isn't he?!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Breast is best...

Let me begin by saying that I have always known that breastfeeding is best for babies.  I have read a lot of websites and books that give all of the reasons why a mother should breastfeed her baby and they all make sense to me. I also have two sisters and many friends who are breastfeeding gurus and who could tell you a million reasons why breastfeeding is best.  Still, even after all of that, I was never 100% hooked on the idea! Even when I was pregnant with Jacob, I said that I would "try" breastfeeding but I was not sure that I would actually follow through with it for long.

I am not sure what my exact reasons were for not being 100% sold on the idea, although I knew that breastfeeding was not going to be easy and it was solely going to fall on me, since obviously, I am the one with the breasts (although Jacob did try and "root" towards Keith's nipples when we were in the hospital.....pretty funny to see!) Honestly, I was scared to take on the responsbility and also I felt like it might "tie me down" and not allow me to do things I might want to do - like venture out sometimes without the baby.  Also, I was scared of the pain that it would cause me.  I had heard horror stories from my sisters and friends about very unpleasant side effects of breastfeeding - cracked & sore nipples, bleeding, engorgement, mastitis - none of which sound very fun!

Well, I have to say that now that Jacob is here and I have been doing the breastfeeding thing for almost 3 weeks now, I am really glad that I decided to try it.  I am not saying that it has been easy by any stretch of the imagination.  It does hurt, it does take time and it is hard to do things outside of the house, even when I take him with me.  I have actually nursed him a few times in the car already and it's not the most comfortable situation, for either of us!  

But, the time and closeness that he and I share when he is nursing is priceless! I love when he looks up into my eyes while he is drinking and he just seems so content.  I love when he curls his little hands around one of my fingers and holds on tight like he never wants to let go. I love how I can stroke his cheek or his head and he doesn't mind it.  I love the funny facial expressions that he makes while I am burping him in between sides.  I love the look on his face when he is finished that just says "Aahh....that was so good.  Thanks Mom."  I love that he is getting bigger and stronger and I know that I have had a hand in that.  I just love him so much and can't imagine not providing this for him. I am glad that I chose to start breastfeeding and hope to be able to continue for as long as possible.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Father's Day

For Keith's first Father's Day, we had a fun-filled day, doing all the things that Keith wanted to do.  For some time now, he has been wanting to go for a drive on Skyline Drive, which runs through the Shenandoah National Park in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Keith likes to be in the car and he loves looking at nature - trees, mountains, etc.  I, on the other hand, don't really enjoy it as much as he does.  But since it was Father's Day - and his first - I asked him if he wanted to spend the day in the mountains, just the three of us. Of course, he was thrilled that I suggested this and we decided to make a day of it.  

Before we left, he spent a little time snuggling with his son.  Too cute!

Here they are, all dressed and ready to head out.
We left the house around 11am and drove to the entrance of Skyline Drive, which is about 45 minutes from our house.  We were pleasantly surprised when the guy at the gate told us that the entrance fee was waived. (Normally it is $15 per car to enter.) We spent about 5 hours driving up and back along the scenic drive. There are numerous "overlooks" where you can pull the car over and get out and see the beautiful mountain views.  We stopped quite a few times to do this (and also had to stop twice so I could feed Jacob in the car).

Here are Keith and Jacob with the Blue Ridge Mts. in the background
Jacob did pretty well in the car, even though he ended up being in his carseat for a long time. Feeding him and changing his diaper was a little bit challenging, although we found some less populated places and it made it easier for me to nurse him right in the back seat. He did get a little fussy at one point and he was only happy when I was holding him (which obviously meant we couldn't be driving), but I think for the most part, he liked being in the car.

After we left Skyline Drive, Keith wanted to go to a restaurant that we had heard about but had never been to.  It is called The Blue Mountain Brewery and it is known for its "homebrewed" beer.  We had an great dinner and, of course, Keith enjoyed a beer. As you can see, Jacob slept the entire time, even though the restaurant was packed and it was pretty loud in there.

After we left the Brewery, we headed to one of our favorite ice cream joints, Arch's, and enjoyed some frozen yogurt for dessert. 

All in all, it was a great day!  I am glad that Keith got to spend his first Father's Day doing everything he loved. Jacob and I are truly blessed to have him in our lives. He is such a loving husband and great friend to me and he has been a caring, doting father to Jacob.  I know that their bond will only strengthen with time and I look forward to seeing what the future holds.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Blog Makeover & Jacob Update

I am so excited that my blog has finally had a makeover compliments of my awesome sister-in-law Blakely. She is so talented and creative and has a knack for making blogs look pretty. She helped Katie & Karen with their blogs awhile back and I am just now getting around to making mine look nice. Of course, it helps when you have pictures - also taken by Blakely - of a beautiful baby to show off.

And, speaking of beautiful babies....I wanted to post an update about Jacob, albeit a few days late. On Tuesday, we went back to the doctor's office to have a weight check and another blood draw to check his bilirubin level. Even though the doctor had told us that he didn't need to use the light therapy after his level on Sunday was 13.5, she still wanted to see what his level was on Tuesday, which was 13. Even though it didn't go down really far, this was still good news and the doctor was happy with the results.

The great news from the appointment was that Jacob weighed in at 7 lbs, 7 oz! That means he gained 10 oz. between Friday & Tuesday and he has now surpassed his birth weight! Woohoo! I am so glad that he is gaining weight. It is hard for me to judge how much milk he is getting when I am feeding him since, obviously, I can't "measure" how much comes out. I have been worried that he hasn't been getting enough of what he needs, but now that we saw his weight increase so much in just a few days, I am more at ease with it. It's not that he isn't a good eater - he is on a really good 3-hour schedule. I just worry....I guess that is what mother's do, right?!

Now, we don't have to go back to the doctor again until Jacob's one-month checkup. Our appointment is set for July 21st, which will be more like a 6 week checkup, since Dr. Smyth is on vacation the first part of July and we are at the beach the second week of July. I am glad that we don't have to keep going back to the doctor and, of course, very happy that Jacob doesn't need to have his little heels pricked anymore. But, I wish that we could get a weekly weight check, just to see how he is measuring up. (I guess it's that mother worry thing again!) Oh well, we'll just have to wait until July 21st to have the next weigh in. Until then, we pray that he will continue to be healthy and grow just like he has done thus far.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

One week old

I can't believe that more than a week has gone by since we welcomed our baby into our lives. He is changing so much everyday and is such a blessing to us. We took some pictures on Sunday, in honor of his One Week Birthday.  Here are a few of them for your viewing pleasure:

We love his little facial expressions.  He is so funny to watch.  I could just eat him up!! I still can't believe that God blessed me with this beautiful miracle.  I just love being his mommy!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Surprise delivery

Yesterday morning, I came out of the baby's room after nursing him and Keith said, "you got flowers".  I didn't even hear the doorbell ring, but apparently a delivery man came and dropped off these two beautiful things:

The bouquet on the left is from the staff at the library where Keith works.  I can't say enough about his wonderful co-workers.  They have been so generous to Keith and me - throwing us a shower, sending us flowers, and of course the most important is that they are so supportive of Keith taking time off to take care of me & spend time with Jacob. He has been given six weeks of paid paternity leave (and has two weeks of vacation saved up), so all three of us will be home together for most of the summer.  It's only been a week, but it makes me happy to know that I don't have to do this alone anytime soon.

The dish garden on the right is from my parents.  They are so good to us and, even though I do not have a green thumb, it is so nice to have plants around the house.

Keith and I are so blessed to be surrounded by such generous & thoughtful people.  We can't thank everyone enough for what we have been given, especially love and support.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

At home

We have survived our first three nights at home. It has been remarkably different (and dare I say?) easier than I had imagined.  Jacob is on a GREAT 3-hour feeding schedule, day and night. He is eating great and we are both adjusting well to this breasfeeding thing!  The great part about his schedule is that it allows me to get 2 hours or so of sleep between night feedings.  Of course, setting my alarm to get up and wake a sleeping baby at 3am just doesn't seem right, but I know that he needs to eat and I need to "release" my milk in order for more to produce. When we saw the pediatrician yesterday, she said that starting next week, I don't need to wake him anymore; just wait for him to wake on his own (of course, then I predict he will be waking up every 2 hours!! Let's hope not!)

Speaking of the pediatrician, we made two trips to see her in the first two days that we were home.  Thursday, we went in to check his weight (which was 6lbs 11oz when we left the hospital on Wednesday) and she wanted to check his bilirubin level because he was border-line jaundice when the level was checked on Wednesday.  His weight was down 2 oz, to 6lbs 9 oz, but the doctor was not concerned since it was a different scale and she said that normally happens when the weight is taken on two different scales. She asked that we come back yesterday to check it again and he was up 4 oz, to 6lbs 13oz!!! I was so excited! I am glad that his regular feeding schedule seems to be working to allow him to gain weight!

Unfortunately, the nurse called us on Thursday afternoon after our appointment and told us that Jacob's bilirubin level was 17.9, so he indeed has jaundice and some intervention was required to get it to go down.  They ordered us a light therapy pad that we need to place between Jacob's back and his onesie as often as possible. We have been using it since Thursday afternoon and thankfully, his bilirubin levels have gone down the past two days.  We went back to the doctor's office yesterday to get his blood drawn and the doctor called to say the level was down to 16.1.  Today, we had to go to the hospital to get his blood drawn because the pediatrician's office isn't open. (The poor child is only 6 days old and he has had his little heels pricked 4 times already!).  The doctor called us this afternoon and said that his level today was 14.2.  Praise God that it is going down.  The doctor seems to think that one more day will do the trick and by tomorrow, we won't have to use the light therapy anymore.

Here are some pictures of our little man with the light therapy pad.  As you can see, it doesn't seem to bother him too much as he is sleeping is both pictures!

I can't believe that it has been a week already since I was at the hospital awaiting Jacob's arrival.  He will be one week old tomorrow and already I think time is flying by.  He is such a blessing to us and we are enjoying every minute we spend with him.  

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Jacob Michael has arrived!

Jacob Michael was born on Sunday, June 7th at 5:30am. I had to have him via C-section and I will post his birth story once we are home from the hospital and I can gather my thoughts. Right now, Keith and I are learning the ins and outs of being parents. It is certainly not an easy transition (especially when Jacob decided to come 3 weeks early - a shock to many of us - especially Keith and me!). We are taking it one day at a time right now and are trying to learn as much as we can from the doctors and nurses here.

For some reason, I can't get pictures to load, so those will have to wait. I will try again tomorrow when I am more awake (hopefully).

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Shocking...I am "in labor"!

Well, you are probably as shocked to hear this as I am to say it.....I am "in labor"!!!  Yes, my water broke sometime yesterday (I started feeling a bit of dribble yesterday afternoon but I thought I was just a 9 month pregnant woman with an overactive bladder!).  Last night, it started dribbling more, but I wasn't sure what it was so I went to bed. Since I had more "wetness" in the middle of the night, I decided to call the doctor's ofice at 7:30am this morning. I guess I realized that this was more than just the usual "leaky bladder" last night, but I didn't want to jump the gun or have to come to the hospital in the middle of the night for no reason.  Luckily, the baby is fine and now I am just hanging out in a labor and delivery room.

We arrived here around 10:30am this morning after the doctor told me it was probably a good idea to come in and get checked. Well, since we live 30 minutes from the hospital, I asked him if I could shower first and if we could pack (I was going to do that this weekend!!).  He said that I had time to do all of that and then come in.  So, Keith and I packed our bag, took showers and ate breakfast (although I was feeling kinda nauseous and didn't really feel like eating).  We made sure to put the carrier and the base in the car, not hooked up or anything, but at least we have them.  I feel VERY unprepared for all of this, but I guess it's just the way it is going to be!

Once we got to the hospital, the doctor checked me and said, "Yes, your water has broken.  You are going to have a baby in the next few days." Unfortunately, I was not dilated at all so they have started me on pitocin to see if the could start some contractions (oh goody!) and get me dilating!  I have been on the pitocin drip for about an hour now and I am definitely starting to feel some crampiness and some tightening pretty regularly.  The nurse and doctor both seem to think it's going to be a slow-go today, but hopefully it won't be TOO long.

Keith has gone back home to get some things done around the house (we were hoping to get a lot of house stuff done this weekend - lawn mowing, cleaning, organizing, etc).  Of course, since Jacob has other plans, I am now here...waiting.  Keith is going to just do a few things that really need to be done (like the lawn and cleaning the bathrooms) and then he is going to come back.

I just asked the nurse if I could eat something - since I have heard that once active labor starts they won't let you eat anything.  She said she would get me a sandwich and maybe some soup. She did warn that it might come back up (yuck!) later, but I think I will take my chances, especially if I am going to be here for awhile.

Here is a picture to show you how "great" I look! LOL  I will be sure to update when, or if, I can.  It is both scary and exciting to think that I will soon be having a baby and finally be meeting this little guy!  

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Pre-natal doctor visit...36 weeks & 5 days

I am at the point now where I have to go to the doctor every week from this point on until Jacob makes his appearance.  Today was my 36 week visit.  I received a lot of information at this appointment - some good and some not-so-good. Unfortunately, I am still not dilated at all, still 50% effaced and the baby is at -2 station (same as last week).

Here are some good numbers/info from the visit:
  • Weight gain = 2 lbs
  • Baby's heartbeat = 151 bpm
  • Measuring at 37
Now for the not-so-good:
  • My Group B Strep test came back positive which means I will have to have IV antibiotics given to me when I am in labor so that bacteria is not trasmitted to the baby during delivery. There isn't anything I can do to help or change any of this....it just is what it is.
  • My blood pressure was high. It was 142/84 when the nurse took it at the beginning of my appointment and 145/90 when the doctor took it at the end. This is not good and now the doctor wants to monitor me closer. 
The plan of action to watch my BP closer is:

1. I had to go to the lab and give a blood sample after my doctor appointment today.  Since my doctor does not have office hours tomorrow, I need to call the office tomorrow to get the results. They are looking for markers in my blood that indicate pre-eclampsia.

2. I need to have my BP taken on Friday (which, luckily, I can have one of the Sports Medicine trainers do at work).  I need to call the results in to the doctor if it is near or higher than 140/90. 

3. The doctor wants to see me back on Monday for my next appointment to check my BP and urine to make sure everything is ok. She said that I may need to start going twice a week instead of just once if my BP continues to stay border-line high.

4. She told me to cut back on my salt intake and to drink more water. She said I also need to watch for vision changes, headaches, or pain in my upper abdomen. These are also signs of pre-eclampsia.

Hopefully this high BP thing was just a fluke thing (or a result of the Chinese food that I had for lunch today!).  But, since I am having a lot of swelling in my hands and feet, it is certainly better to be safe than sorry.

I will post another update when I have more news.  Until then, please pray that Jacob continues to do well and that I can get through this pregnancy without a lot of complications.  

Monday, June 1, 2009

A Weekend to Remember

Memorial Day weekend was an awesome one for Keith and me.  We were not only blessed with another baby shower, but we both had family that traveled long distances to be with us. I was also able to see friends of mine that I hadn't seen in a long time and we were given so many wonderful gifts that, even now, we are still sorting through everything.

On Friday after work, Keith and I headed to Richmond. Keith's mom, aunt and cousin all traveled from the Pittsburgh area and we were able to visit with them for a few hours at my parents' house that evening.  We were also able to visit with my parents, siblings and their families.  It was a lot of fun (at least for us; my sisters, sister-in-law, and mom were extremely busy preparing for the baby shower that was happening on Saturday).

On Saturday, my family members (including my dad & brother) were up super early (at 6am!) to decorate and setup for the baby shower.  The shower started at 10am so they had to get everything done early.  They did a REMARKABLE job!  The room was decorated so nicely, the theme (wagons) was awesome, and the food was delicious!!  Keith and I are so blessed to have my wonderful family members who are always going above and beyond to do nice things for us.
In addition to all of the great gifts that we received, there were two additional awesome things that our hostesses did to help us out.  They asked each shower guest to bring a book instead of a card, so that we could get a jumpstart on building Jacob's book collection.  And, they asked each guest to bring a pack of diapers to get us started in that department.  We received A LOT of great books, and amazingly we only received one duplicate!  It is so cool to see all of the books on the bookshelf in Jacob's room (pictures of the nursery will come soon in another post). You'll see from the photo below (and some additional photos that I add to the next post) that we received a boat-load of diapers.  I said that I was going to add them all up (and I still may just to see the monstrosity of it all!) to see what the grand total was.  Amazing!!!

After the shower (and for the rest of the weekend), we enjoyed spending time with my family members that traveled from the Rochester, NY area to be with us.  My grandma, three aunts, two uncles, and three cousins all made the 9+ hour car ride to be there for us.  We cannot thank them enough!!!

We also cannot put into words the graditude that we have for my mom, sisters Katie & Karen, and my sister-in-law Blakely, who put so much time, energy and money into making this shower a huge success!  We were truly amazed at the creativity, imagination and energy that was put into this event.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  You all mean so much to us and I can't wait for Jacob to meet his loving family members!

Here are some pictures from the event:

Katie, me, Karen & Blakely - loving sisters
Me with Keith's Mom (middle) and my Mom (right)
The cutest favors - they had wagons on the front and had jelly beans inside
All of the diapers we received
Blakely made these centerpiece diaper cakes and Karen made the wagon toppers - so cute!!
Blakely made this cake in a wagon. Isn't it amazing?
Keith came by to help me open gifts

Here we are looking at two of the books we received

Like I said, we are still going through a lot of things and need to get everything set before Jacob arrives.  My grandma spent the night at our house on the Sunday night after the shower and, on Monday, she helped me go through all of the gifts that we received. I have pictures of that event and will post them as soon as I can.  I also have pictures of the nursery that I want to post, so stay tuned.....so much to do and so little time.