Friday, April 29, 2011

6 Weeks Postpartum

My postpartum posts were slacking a bit (entirely), but I thought my last postpartum visit deserved a blog post.  I canNOT believe I gave birth to Lucy six weeks ago!!!  That means in two short weeks I'll not only have a two month old, but I'll also be returning to work.  UGH!

Quitting my day job and becoming a stay at home mom has never seemed so appealing; unfortunately, that is not in the budget right now.  I can't imagine the day I have to leave Lucy for ten straight hours...there will be a lot of tears, no doubt.  These feelings led to a rather important decision:  I'm not returning to school this fall.  I am more than content going through life with just an Associates Degree - especially since I didn't want to go to college in the first place. 

Anyways... (way to stray, Tay) ...back to this postpartum business.  I had my final visit this morning.  This visit consisted of a Pap test and a little Q&A.  I was expecting a breast exam (because I had read that those were pretty typical of 6 week visits - to check supply and milk glands and whatnot), but the girls were spared.  Doctor O said that everything was back to normal down there.  She asked about any PPD symptoms and our intended contraceptive method (nope and nope).  It was really nice to see the doc after all this time; she got to see Lucy, and she was very complimentary.  She said she was looking forward to seeing us for baby #2 and that she hoped I would get my vaginal delivery.  Ohhhh yeah, Doctor O is a big supporter of VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean).  Woooo!

Recovery has been great.  After probably three, maybe four, weeks I was pretty much pain free; sneezing has been the only really pain.  I weighed in this morning, and I am now down 29 pounds (still plenty to lose though!).  The weight loss has REALLY slowed down, and it sucks.  I'm officially dieting - nothing drastic - but, I'm actually trying to lose weight now.  And now, I give you my last belly pic:

Look who squeezed their butt into jeans!  Jeans people, JEANS!

Awhile back I tried to make a side-by-side comparison of the belly from week 7 to week 38, but that project was an massive fail.  So, instead, a short video.  Without further adieu, I give you:

The Bellies

 Its hard to believe I was that huge 6 weeks ago...

Monday, April 25, 2011

Why bed-sharing is awesome...

 Lucy gets to sleep...


 Mommy does too!

There are A LOT of opinions on bed-sharing, and they are all so very different.  I tend to favor those that are pro bed-sharing.  Go figure.

Our first days as parents were pretty darn sleep deprived; Lucy ate every two hours on the dot, and because of my c-section incision, Casey had to get up with us to change her and bring her to me.  I swore that he wouldn't have to get up with us Sunday through Thursday, once he returned to work (which sucked, because he was back to work 6 days after she was born - ouch!).

We bought this handy dandy bassinet to keep bedside and use throughout the house during the day.  We loved that thing (for about two weeks - three weeks tops).  Well, one night Lucy cried every fifteen minutes.  No matter how much I tried to soothe her or feed her, she would not stay asleep in her bassinet.  Finally, Casey got up and brought her to bed with us.  Lucy fell asleep instantly, and stayed asleep for FOUR hours straight.  Hallelujah!  It was the best night's sleep either of us had had since she was born.  The next night Casey was getting Lucy ready for bed, and he laid her in the bassinet, and I said, "NO way!!!  She's sleeping with us from now on!"

When I told Casey that I wanted to start having Lucy sleep with us, he said that he was worried about the potential SIDS risks.  That is a hard point to argue, but I was so desperate to have another night of nearly uninterrupted I began researching bed-sharing.  I zeroed in on two websites (source and source), but like I said before there are a lot of opinions out there...hence, a lot of websites.  I found both of the websites to be very interesting, and I think anyone considering bed-sharing should check them out.  For now, let me save you some time and give you the highlights:

  • It is believed that bed-sharing reduces the risk of SIDS, because the infant mimics the mother's breathing pattern; the mother acts as a pacemaker for the infant.
  • A study done in 1992 observed a mother and child sleeping independently and sleeping together.  When sleeping independently of each other, the infant stopped breathing 132 times.  When sleeping together, the infant breathed normally throughout the night 

The idea of bed-sharing NEVER occurred to me; I always planned on having Lucy in our room, in the pack-n-play or bassinet, but not actually in our bed.  Not to say that I was ever opposed to bed-sharing, I just literally had never heard of it.  If someone told me a year ago that I'd be a bed-sharing, exclusive breastfeeding, cloth diapering mama, I never would have believed them; but, I couldn't be happier to be all of those things.

Our family gets the best night's sleep possible these days, and its all thanks to Casey!  Nice work, honey!  Since we started bed-sharing, Lucy has slept five and a half hours straight; and I actually woke her that time, because I was starting to worry about her.  We plan on bed-sharing until Lucy sleeps through the night, but plans change; it could be sooner, or it could be later.  I think everyone should try bed-sharing at least once, it does wonders for exhausted parents!

Now if only we opted for the KING SIZE mattress...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Lucy is one month old (yesterday).

Yes, this post is a day late.  My bad.  We were just so busy celebrating Lucy's one month birthday yesterday, there was no time for blogging.

Lucy has been with us for one whole month now, though it feels much longer.  I cannot remember life before she was here; its like she has always been here.  A friend of mine said that about her baby boy when he was first born, and now, I truly know that feeling.

Lucy is the smallest, most beautiful person I have ever seen.  Everyone tells me the best is yet to come, and maybe that's true, but for now, I love every second that I spend with her.  Every noise she makes, every coo, hum, screech, and gurgle makes me smile (ok, maybe not the screaming - thank God that's a rarity).  She has such a sweet, loving personality already, and she's only a month old; I know she will be just like her Daddy in that sense, and that makes me so happy. 

Lucy's big milestone this month is lifting her head and bobbing it all around.  She is a champ when it comes to tummy time - she has such a strong neck!  She is very vocal, she coos and gurgles whenever she's eating or ready to eat.  She also smiles and giggles in her sleep (all those dreams of milk and cuddling would make anyone smile).  And she absolutely loves to stare at Casey and I, the puppies, and the ceiling fan; I can see her eyes following me when I walk away from her.  Only a month old, and she's absolutely perfect.

 Lucy, we love you, more than you could ever know.  
Happy One Month Birthday, my love.  Now please stop growing so fast! 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I survived... first solo outing with Lucy!  No Casey, no Grandpa, just Momma Bear and Lulu!!!

This might not sound like a major accomplishment to anyone else, but I was verrrry stressed about the whole thing.  Lucy had her one month check-up on Tuesday morning (even though she won't be a month old for another 4 days from now), and because of the early appointment time, Casey couldn't be there with us.

My biggest fear about going out with Lucy alone was the driving; what if she started crying while we were driving?!  Well, I still don't know the answer to that question (its not like I can console her from the driver's seat), but I am happy to report my pumpkin didn't make a peep the entire drive!

She was a little fussy with the pediatrician (I think she's starting to recognize this evil woman who always bothers her), and we had to stay a little longer than planned for a feeding, but the appointment was great otherwise.  Here are Lucy's (not quite) one-month stats:

Weight:  8 pounds, 11 ounces  (50th percentile)
Height:  21.5 inches  (75th percentile)

After hearing that our little girl wasn't so little, I asked the pediatrician if she would eventually make projections of Lucy's height as an adult.  She said that projections are based on an average of the mother and father's height, and the time at which the mother and father went through puberty.  Apparently, the younger you are when you hit puberty, the quicker you stop growing.  All this nonsense means Lucy would normally come in around 5'6" (holy hell that's tall!), BUT since Casey and I were both "early bloomers", Lucy will most likely be as well - which means she'll probably favor a height closer to mine (phew!).  We never EVER imagined having tall offspring (sorry future, unborn son!).

On a totally unrelated note, Lucy's weight gain sparked the use of our BumGenius dipes!  As much as we LOVED the prefolds, we LOVE the BumGenius even more!  They are so much less bulky and so much less involved; its literally like putting on a disposable (but not as expensive, and not as environmentally evil).

How cute am I?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Observations of a New Parent

I know that I'm still new to parenting, but I wanted to share a few tidbits, that I've learned over the past three weeks, with those who are expecting or one day might start a family; this information would have been very helpful to know prior to Lucy's arrival.

To make this post as effective as possible, I'm going to try to keep it short and sweet... 

You WILL be peed on (even by girl babies)
Baby poop is explosive in sound and sight; no, it is not diarrhea...
Changing diapers is actually really easy
Normal poop looks like seedy mustard
Cover your nipples when you shower, or you WILL scream

Supplies/Baby gear you think you don't need, but you actually do
Bassinet (no, the pack-n-play will NOT cut it)
More than 6 burp cloths
Disposable dipes for the first week, or until the Meconium has passed
Massive package of wipes (think hundreds)
Newborn clothes

Random thoughts
Co-sleeping is your friend
Side-lying is the best position for breastfeeding
When nursing, insert your whole nipple into the baby's mouth, not just the tip
(that took us a day or so to figure out)
Cluster feeding sucks; 30 minutes of nursing = 30 drops of colostrum

Better listen to Mommy, peeps!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Cloth Diapering: The Good, The Bad, and The Rude

Our adventures in cloth diapering began eight days ago; we had an interesting start, but we seem to have developed a routine, and overall, WE LOVE CLOTH!

Here is the condensed version:

The Good
Price - waaay cheap
Customized fit for every size baby
And....they are ADORABLE

The Bad
Its a little gross...
Its a little more involved...
Its a little smelly at times...

The Rude
People can be extremely condescending and not very supportive when you share your choice to cloth diaper; IGNORE THEM.

Some Advice
Be prepared: have all the supplies on hand BEFORE your child is born.
Buy a diaper sprayer (this IS a necessity).
Opt for a hanging wet bag (way easier to use with a diaper sprayer).

Here is the long-winded version: 

While I was pregnant, we invested in a starter stash of cloth dipes.  One glorious day in mid-January the BumGenius 3.0 dipes were discontinued, and we were able to stock up for less than half price; oh, the savings!  I had hoped that this purchase would take us from the newborn stage through Lucy's three month birthday, as the weight range is 8 lbs - 16 lbs.... Well, sweet baby Lucy was born weighing in at 7 pounds, 1 ounce...  Our awesome BumGenius dipes were totally useless until she hit 8 pounds; we needed something to get us through the newborn stage, something that was cheap, mind you.  Alas, we took the prefold plunge.  (Full disclosure:  we tried disposables for a week, and they were scary expensive; I think we spent over $100 in six days). 

Prefolds can be intimidating; the entire time I was researching cloth diapers, they were the last system I ever considered.  But they've proven to be really great.  I think everyone should use prefolds for newborns, because they can fit any size baby, no matter how skinny their chicken legs may be.  Another reason they're awesome:  they are insanely cheap: $1.50/prefold and $7-13/cover (you only need 4-6 covers).  The one negative, in my opinion, they're a little bulky; but, the bulk is quickly forgotten as soon as you slip on one of those adorable covers!  I suppose one might also find the folding to be more involved, especially at 3 am...but it doesn't bother us.  Diaper changes take no longer, from start to finish, using this system (versus any other system - including disposables).  There are many different ways to fold a prefold; I like "The Jellyroll" best, and Casey is a big fan of "The Twist".

To be completely honest, overall, it is a little gross, and even a little smelly at times.  This is where the diaper sprayer swoops in and saves the day.  You hold your breath, spray the funky-looking poo into the toilet, and then you sanitize like crazy!  When Casey bought a 32 oz bottle of hand sanitizer, I thought, "Geez, that's a bit excessive..."  Three weeks later, and we're more than halfway through the bottle; I will never question his judgment again.  As a new mom, I've seen more bodily fluid in the past three weeks, than ever before in my life; slowly, but surely, my gag reflex is lessening.  Spraying poo off of my little girl's dipes doesn't phase me one bit; so don't let the idea of spraying poo deter you from choosing cloth.  Its really not that bad.

For anyone considering cloth, or for those who are just plain curious, check out this website for more info:  click here.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Two Weeks Postpartum

Well two weeks and some days ago, we had a baby!  Our lives have no doubt been changed, for the better and forever.  I'm sorry to have missed my one week postpartum post, but hopefully I can stay on top of it from here on out - at least through my six week visit.  I fully intend to keep this blog alive and thriving for as long as possible, after all, Lucy has a lot of growing to do. 

I had my two week postpartum visit this past Friday, and I met with the nurse practitioner, as my doctor was out of town.  I was actually a little sad to not see my doctor...  Despite my incessant complaining about the woman, she proved to be an amazing doctor, and we're even talking about staying with her practice for future Shelton babies!  The nurse checked my incision, she said everything looked great, and she cleared me to drive. 

Recovery has been smooth sailing for the most part.  I'm down 24 pounds as of this morning, and I've still got 10 pounds to go.  Unfortunately, I think the remaining 10 pounds are all in my ass.  I still cannot button my regular pants, so for now, I live in yoga pants.  Here's hoping my kangaroo pouch disappears fairly soon! 

 Heading to the hospital...

Two weeks later...

Most people complain about loose skin after they give birth, but that hasn't really been a problem for me.  I guess that's one plus side to getting pregnant when you're 19...  Don't hate me too much though, because what I lack in loose skin, I more than make up for in stretch marks.  I can't even count all the stretch marks on my belly!  I smother my midsection in Vitamin E oil twice daily, and they seem to have faded somewhat, but they are still verrry noticeable and verrry ugly. 

My incision is still a little sore; it mostly bothers me when I go from sitting to standing position.  Finally, though, I can laugh without any pain!!!  You have no idea how hard it is to live with someone as funny as Casey, when you're not supposed to laugh!  There were many occasions when he or someone else unintentionally made me laugh and left me writhing in pain.  I stopped taking my pain medication much sooner than I was supposed to, because it was affecting Lucy.  Those first few days sans medication hurt, but it was worth it.  The pain meds were making Lucy extremely sleepy, so sleepy that she couldn't stay awake through feedings; which, ultimately affected her weight, and scared the living hell out of her daddy and I. Within hours of stopping the medication, Lucy was so much more alert and feeding much better. 

Breastfeeding has been really great (since my milk came in - the Colostrum only days SUCKED)!  There was some pain and cracking in the beginning, but things really improved around the two week mark!  Lucy is a great breastfeeder; she has a great latch, and she eats like a champ!  At first, our routine involved waking Lucy every two hours (during the day) to feed, and letting her wake up on her own at night.  Now, due to Lucy's awesome weight gain, we're free to let her wake up on her own throughout the day.  I prayed almost nightly, while I was pregnant, to be able to breastfeed, and I am so grateful to be able to; I love the bonding, I love the health benefits for Lucy, and of course, I love the calorie burner!

I think our little family of three has adjusted quite well over the past two weeks.  We've developed a couple of routines that work for us, including cloth diapering (more on that in a separate post), and we couldn't be happier.  We are sooo excited for Lucy's first Easter, her first trip to Connecticut, and every other "first" coming our way.

In Lucy news, she officially has a normal belly button!  It still hasn't sucked in to form an "innie" belly button, but it is still totally adorable and such a relief to have that gross cord gone!  At her two week check up she had surpassed her birth weight, weighing in at 7 pounds, 9 ounces; this was quite impressive, as she was a mere 6 pounds, 8 ounces the week before.  The pediatrician has scheduled an ultrasound of Lucy's hips for her 6 week birthday; due to her prolonged breech presentation in the womb, there is a chance of hip dysplasia.  Although, during every physical exam the pediatrician has said that Lucy's hips feel great, and she doesn't believe there will be any problems.

I'll end my long-winded post with some adorable pictures of Lucy Lou: