Sunday, August 24, 2014

{Elijah | 2 Weeks}

Oh, how this sweet little boy has stolen our hearts!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

{feeling the love}

Everybody loves a new baby. I mean, seriously...what's not to love?! So, of course we have had tons of visitors since little man entered our lives. Family and friends have been coming over and doting on all of us and bringing us food and gifts. We have just felt so loved and taken care of over the last week and a half and I'm just overwhelmed by it all. It's been especially awesome that my sister and niece have been visiting from Colorado and also my brother from NYC. It's the first time we have had our entire immediate family together in the same place at the same time in at least 8 or 9 years!
 {Elijah and his buddy, Jack}

I know I've been pushing the limits since I've felt so good post-birth this time around (seriously, night and day compared to my recovery after Lucy's birth), but my wonderful husband and family keep gently (and sometimes not-so-gently) reminding me to take it easy and just sit down! I felt really good the first couple of days after the birth, and then had a major hormonal crash on the third day. The pain of breastfeeding was really taking its toll on me, and so was the exhaustion. I spent a good deal of that day in tears. But it was just what I needed at the time. Thank goodness for my wonderful, supportive husband and my happy pills (I had my placenta encapsulated again this time and it is seriously the best thing ever). I felt so much better by the next day even though breastfeeding has continued to be tough.
{happy pills!}

Speaking of breastfeeding, Elijah and I went to see a lactation consultant a couple of days ago to get some help and support. She was really great and helped me to come up with a plan. We discovered that he really isn't getting as much from me during a regular feeding as we would hope, so for a week or two (or however long it's needed) I will be pumping after most feedings and then supplementing him with the pumped milk through a finger feeder. She did some cranial sacral therapy on him while we were there and discovered that he has a really tight jaw and a lot of tension in his neck muscles on the left side. He's also very mildly tongue tied. These are things that would definitely affect his latch and cause me pain and trauma during breastfeeding. So, the next step will be to see a chiropractor (which we'll be doing tomorrow) and get him adjusted to loosen him up. It feels good to have a plan.
We took little man to his first visit with the pediatrician this afternoon and while he is about 2 1/2 oz under his birth weight, she was very pleased with how he is doing. She said he is doing great and that we shouldn't worry too much yet about the feeding issues. She was happy to hear that we were being proactive about it and was confident that he will be just fine. That made this mama feel good to hear!
Elijah has been sleeping for about a 6 hour stretch these past couple of nights, then waking up to eat for only about 10-15 minutes before going right back to sleep for a couple more hours. I am NOT complaining about the extra sleep (!!), but the pediatrician did confirm that she wants me to wake him up every 4 hours to eat in the night. It does take a long time to get him to wake up, but we'll do what we need to do :)
{little man loves to sleep...and he sure looks cute doing it}
{i love the way he stretches when he is waking up}
{ see...he does open his eyes sometimes :) }
In other news, can I please just talk about how weird and awesome and crazy it feels to have two kids?! My heart just feels so ridiculously full when I see these two together. Lucy is naturally going through a huge adjustment period, but she really is so sweet with her baby brother and it just makes my heart melt over and over and over again.
 I just feel so incredibly lucky that I get to be their mama.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

{Dear Elijah | One Week}


Dear Elijah,

I cannot believe that as of yesterday you have already been with us for one whole week. I cannot believe that just a little over a week ago you were still shaking your little booty and kicking around in my belly. I cannot believe that you are ours. I cannot believe how amazing and beautiful you are. What on earth did we ever do without you?!
The week before you came felt like one of the longest in my life. My due date had come and gone and we were getting so anxious to meet you. I really could hardly keep it together. And now that you're here, this first week with you has been one the fastest in my life. I am already begging time to slow down because I know from experience just how quickly these precious newborn days go.
You are a tiny little peanut and I just love the way you still curl your body up like you did in my womb...although you are already starting to straighten out little by little. I love your tiny little fingers and your tiny little toes. I am just madly in love with every single inch of you. I swear I could just eat you up.
Of course, we are not on any sort of a schedule at this point, but you have already developed some patterns (that will no doubt change without a moments notice). You wake to eat about every 2-3 hours in the night and we've even enjoyed a few four hour stretches in there. You have some awake time in the morning and then you sleep pretty much the entire afternoon (from about 1pm-6pm...ish). I have to wake you at some point in there to feed you but you go right back to sleep when you're finished. Then you'll have a little bit more awake time in the evening before you drift off to sleep again after our bedtime feeding. So yes, you like to sleep...a lot. I've definitely worried that your daytime sleep would mean you're up all night, but it really hasn't been too bad yet.
You love to nurse and you eat like a champ (although it's hard to keep you awake through a lot of the feedings!). It makes me so happy to see that you are getting what you need from mama's milk, especially because breastfeeding has been incredibly difficult for me again, just like it was with Lucy. In fact, I'd say it's been even more difficult for me this time around. I was sore, cracked and bleeding within just the first couple of days and the pain was getting really intense and almost too much to bare. I would just cringe and cry through some of the feedings and I was dreading each nursing session as they came. So, I finally made your daddy go out and buy me a nipple shield (just like I used with Lucy), and nursing is still painful, but definitely more tolerable than before. Then, last night I noticed some red splotchiness on my right side and realized I had developed some sort of an infection. Ugh. I think it is a clogged duct which has made things even more painful (hooray). So, you and I are going to see a lactation consultant tomorrow (which will be the first time we've left the house since you were born!) and I am praying that she'll have some magical answers in how to help all of this be easier! I really am bound and determined to make this work. I promise to do what it takes, sweet boy. Like I said before, I really am just so glad that you are getting what you need despite how hard it has been on me. That truly is the most important thing.
Your big sister, Lucy, is so in love with you and so happy you are here. But she is definitely having a bit of a hard time adjusting. We have not been without many a meltdown and the tantrums are just as epic as ever, but she'll get there. I think the hardest part for her is seeing you with me pretty much all of the time. She is such a mama's girl and he's had a hard time getting used to daddy doing so many of the things that mama usually does. She's hanging in there, though, and there are definitely plenty of sweet moments throughout the day.

She's gone from calling you "that baby" or "mommy's baby" to calling you her baby. She loves showering you in gentle hugs and kisses and she loves singing to you and reading you books at bedtime. She also really enjoys being mommy and daddy's little helper with things like changing diapers and fetching binkies and blankies. I really just can't wait to see the kind of relationship that you will have as you grow up together.
We love you so much, sweet Elijah, and we are so incredibly happy that you are here. You make our lives and our family feel so complete. Oh, the adventures we are all sure to have together.

I love you with all my heart.

Love, Mama

Thursday, August 14, 2014

{It's a BOY!}

We welcomed Elijah Matthew into the world on August 9th at 2:27AM.
6 pounds, 3 ounces
20" long

Our hearts are full and we are just so madly in love with this little boy.

Elijah's home birth story coming soon!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

{home birth prep | ready to go}

People often ask me what kind of things we need in order to prepare for a home birth. There are a lot of things that the midwife will bring with her (certain medical equipment and things of that nature), but there is a lot that we need to have prepped and ready to go on our end. It's actually quite fun to have to pull together a lot of supplies together yourself because it's another thing that helps me feel super connected to the whole birth experience.

Last time, we ended up going with the Aquadoula birth tub, which is often recommended for first timers because it has a heating mechanism and will stay warmer for longer periods of time. We opted to rent the Birth Pool in a Box this time around, though, because I really wanted to have the cushy walls/floor/seat. We can always dump hot water into it to warm it up if things take awhile again this time.

So, my midwife brought the tub with her to my home visit a couple of weeks ago. We decided to do a dry trial setup that weekend to make sure we knew exactly how it worked and how long it would take to setup. Lucy sure did get a kick out of there being a swimming pool in the middle of the dining room :)
We were charge of ordering a pre-made birth kit online through a company that Kathy uses. She has specifically chosen the supplies that go in the kit and this company puts them together and sends them out once ordered. It contains everything from those sexy giant pads and mesh underwear to cord clamps, sterile gloves, an herbal after bath, peri bottles, a birth certificate, and much more. I'm still annoyed at the fact that the first one we ordered got stolen off of our front porch while we were on vacation (I'm sure they were disappointed once they opened it), but oh well. We ordered another kit and I grabbed that sucker off of the porch as soon as it came and checked that one off of the list. 
Other items that we needed to gather and purchase on our own included a new hose (to fill up the birth tub), shower curtain liners (to go under the tub), towels and wash cloths, swaddle blankets, a small fish net, paper towels, a crock pot (to warm swaddle blankets), a heating pad, trash bags, a bowl for the placenta, a flashlight, foods that I will eat during labor (protein + complex carbohydrates), and foods for birth attendants. (*everything not pictured*)
Also on the list of things we needed to have ready to go: 1 bottle each of liquid magnesium, olive oil, hydrogen peroxide, witch hazel, liquid chlorophyll, and black strap molasses.
That pretty much covers it. Ready to go!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

{baby #2: 39 weeks}

I have to admit...the bump doesn't really look too big in these 39 week pictures! It seems to look smaller when I'm wearing maternity pants because the giant belly band sucks it in. But then anytime I wear a skirt or dress, the bump looks huge. Weird.

I am due the day after tomorrow and I am suddenly feeling so very ready for this baby to come. I am bracing myself, however, for the fact that it could still be another week or two....but I sure hope we don't have to wait that long. I am just getting so anxious to get this little bean out of my belly and into my arms! I keep daydreaming about my labor and delivery this time around and wondering how it will all go. Sure, there is definitely a part of me that is a little nervous because, well...it's labor! and it's hard! but there is an even bigger part of me that is really excited to go through the whole experience again. I know my body was made to do this...and it already has done it. I am ready. Bring it on.

I have been doing my labor prep exercises many times a day (squats, pelvic rocks and inversions) hoping to get baby in the most optimal position before labor begins and I have also been trying to be really conscious of things like how I am standing/sitting throughout the day. I am also spending a lot of time just rolling around on the birth ball. I find that the busier I can keep myself, the better...or I'll go crazy with the waiting. It really is hard to think about much else than getting this baby here though :) It's definitely quite uncomfortable to walk around with a baby's head stuck deep in your pelvis (seriously- craziest feeling ever), and I'm certainly looking forward to not having to use the restroom every 2 minutes. But still...I can't complain! I really am feeling good...especially since I've been upping my iron intake majorly over the last couple of weeks. It sure does help give an energy boost.

I also cannot believe how lucky I've been with the weather lately. I was so worried about what it would be like to super pregnant in the middle of the summer, and while June was pretty hot, July has been a dream. The temperature has been hanging out in the mid 70's a lot of the time, and rarely gets above the low 80's. Feels like fall around here! A lot of people are complaining that it's too cold for summer- but I sure am happy about it :)

I had my weekly appointment yesterday with the midwife and I am measuring slightly small again, but she isn't worried about it, especially since I have still been gaining weight consistently. She was also really pleased that my iron counts are back up in a good range (woo!) There was no need for her to do a cervical check this time, so I'm not sure if I'm anymore dilated or anything at this point, but it doesn't really matter anyway. I do know that I have been having more and more contractions throughout the day lately, but nothing consistent or time-able at all. While I am a bit anxious for labor to begin and to get the show on the road, I know that my body is already doing a lot of the work and that baby will come when it's good and ready.

At this point, I'm really just trying to keep the house clean and in order so that I won't have to worry about it when the time comes. The nesting continues :)

Just for fun...a collage of bump photos:


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

{Dear Lucy | 3 years + 2 months}

Dear Lucy,

My sweet girl. You are well aware lately that big changes are coming. Your baby brother/sister isn't even here yet and you are wanting to "be the baby" around here. You want to be held like a baby. Wrapped in blankets like a baby. Fed like a baby. Oh my. You love hearing and talking about how you used to be in mama's belly just like this baby and how you were born in the water at home just like this baby will be. You are the one who first made me a mama and no one can ever take your place, beautiful girl.

Overall, I'd say you are very excited about the baby coming. You love hugging and kissing my belly every night before bed and you'll whisper "I love you" in the sweetest little voice that makes me melt every time. I just know you are going to make the most amazing big sister. You are such a great helper and you are looking forward to helping us with things like diaper changes and feedings. You are especially excited to take baths with the baby and to share all of your toys. We'll see if those feelings actually last once the baby is here- but we'll just go with it for now :)

You have been in your new "big girl" bedroom for a couple of weeks now and you absolutely love it. You look so grown up in your full sized bed and it tugs at my mama heart strings a bit. Your room is pink and white and so pretty and girly and you are just in heaven in there. You didn't seem to mind leaving your old room one bit and you've been such a big helper in getting it ready for baby to move into it.

It just truly is overwhelming to see how quickly you are growing up these days. You are so smart and sometimes we have a hard time keeping up with all the new skills that you are constantly acquiring. You have such a beautiful and vivid imagination and I love watching you play. We are just so in awe of you each and every day. You certainly know how to throw an epic tantrum when you want to - but we are still madly in love with you no matter what. We keep joking that you are going to be a lawyer someday because you are constantly finding new ways to argue your points and try and get your way. You come up with some pretty creative excuses for things sometimes and then you'll flash this cheesy smile that makes us giggle immediately. You are then very disappointed if our answer is still "no" after all of that work you just put into it :)

You have been going to daycare full time now for about the last month. You were going part time before that for the last 3 years. You absolutely love it there and we wanted to start taking you in the mornings once you turned 3 so that you could take part in the preschool activities they do there. We used to miss that part of the day when you wouldn't go until 12:30pm. You love telling us about "school" when you come home and I can tell that you are learning so much there and having so much fun!

You have recently developed the terrible habit of biting your nails! You definitely got this from your mama and papa who both do the same thing ::sigh:: So we are working hard as a family to break the habit! I haven't had to cut your nails in awhile. It's just one more thing that reminds us just how much we need to set the example around here. You are watching everything and you are learning from the things we say and do. Of course, we already knew that to be true. But still... we just have to be more conscious of even the little things.

Things you love: Reading, coloring/drawing, learning in general, taking care of your dolls, puzzles, games on the iPad, big Flip and baby Flip (your stuffed penguins), your ABC blanket, helping us with absolutely anything possible around the house, cooking in your play kitchen, telling/making up stories, playing in water (although you are definitely still a bit timid when it comes to actually full on getting into a pool), anything having to do with the outdoors (but you don't like bugs!), playing doctor, watching movies, bagels and cream cheese (that's all you ever want to eat for breakfast), carrots/celery and hummus (your favorite snack), popsicles (you'd take them over ice cream any day)....

You are sweet and sassy and full of magic. I love you to the moon and back...with all my heart.

Love, mama