All the Sun For You

A mom, two boys, a husband, and a whole lot of adventure!


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Parenting Two

It’s been about 3 weeks since I got home from the hospital with Bryson.  I wasn’t sure what I’d be walking into, but I had high hopes that Matthew’s actions towards, and love of, other babies up to this point would trickle into our own home and we’d be all set.

This has been true for the most part  😉

Until last week, there had been nothing but love and kisses tossed on Bryson by his big brother.  I just got Matthew up from his nap and his first concern after asking where our visitors went (we had two of our favorite people here when he went down for his nap) was his little brother.  He caught a quick glimpse of Bryson on our bed and wanted to be seated right beside him, climbed up to kiss him, and is now sitting next to him in the bop.py with his hand on Bryson’s foot.  He loves his brother.

One day last week… not so much.  There was hitting.  And kicking.  And trying to pry Bryson out of my arms.  Today, he tried taking his favorite friend’s arms off of Bryson so that she could play with him instead.  Besides those two instances, we’ve had nothing but love and happiness – and help – from Matthew.  He asks to hold Bryson every day and showers him with lots of love.  I’m thrilled with this!

Bryson is not as “easy” a baby as Matthew was – or we’re just forgetting what it was like with a newborn.  I, for one, believe that we are programmed to forget the hard times so that we’ll have more babies.  I do remember some tough times with Matthew, but not as many as we’ve had with Bryson.  Bryson is also in a different environment than Matthew was, so I expect him to be unsettled.  Matthew had nothing but quiet (when he needed it and when he didn’t), both of his parents’ attention, and everything he needed exactly when he needed it.  Bryson has nothing but noise, “just give me a minute’s” from both B and me, and divided attention.  So – when you think about it that way, it’s no wonder that Bryson is a little bit of a “tough nut.”  When Matthew is sleeping, Bryson rests very easily.  When Matthew is up, Bryson is unsettled and nothing seems to soothe him.

Everyone knows about the sleep situation.  I made the same mistake with Bryson that I made with Matthew, and ever since correcting that, we’re all sleeping better.  Well, everyone but Matthew is sleeping better.  Matthew wakes up some time between 4:00 and 6:00 crying for me, and I have to go lay with him to calm him down.  I think he hears what’s going on outside his room because every time he wakes up, it’s when Bryson is up or has just gone back down.  This is surprisingly OK with me because I get to get in bed with Matthew, without a monitor and with B on Bryson duty, and I get REAL sleep.  I am so much more well rested now that Matthew is waking up in the early morning and wanting me.  HA!  Bryson still is not as settled at night as we’d like, but he’s getting a solid 2.5-3 hours when we initially put him down (which means I’m getting that too) and then wakes up a lot after his first waking, but I think I’m getting up 2-3 times a night, which is normal for a newborn.  I expect this to only get better.

Naps are going OK.  Right now, both boys are asleep and I’m thrilled.  Bryson does GREAT in the mornings once he’s up for the day and is very happy to just sit around and watch you do things.  After lunch, he gets fed and then plays in his little gym and today, I got some true smiles from him (and got them on camera!).  He naps after he “plays” and right now, he’s asleep in the pack and play (holy hell!) beside me, and seems rather peaceful.  Each day gets better in this regard, with the exception of yesterday.  But yesterday, we were all over the place with noise, distractions, visitors, etc – so I’m giving us all a free pass  😉

I was super proud of myself today.  B had an appointment just as I was getting ready to put Matthew down for his 2-3 hour nap.  B usually watches Bryson while I nap Matthew, but he had to take off and was a bit worried.  I said, “hey, next week, I’m on my own, so just go and let us figure it out.”  I put Bryson in the swing awake and headed into the nursery with Matthew (he still naps in the crib).  Matthew fell asleep during book time after a delay tactic or two (water, then George) and has been asleep for 2.5 hours (he’s got to be getting up soon).  I left his room to find Bryson in the swing, lightly dozing, who then greeted me with a true smile and we headed off to fold laundry, etc.  He was content, he was happy, all on his own.  I put one boy down while the other was awake and happy!  It was wonderful!  It gave me hope!

Parenting two is not hard when everyone is getting rest.  Parenting two is hard when no one is sleeping.  We started out with plenty of rest, then no rest, and are now back to plenty of rest.  The ease in parenting two has followed along that sleep pattern: easy, then hard, then easy again.

I feel like we’ve got this pretty figured out now.  Sure, it could change tomorrow, but as long as I have plenty of rest behind me, I can roll with the punches.  Yesterday was hard.  The day before that was even harder (we had a very hyper, naughty kid at our house who taught Matthew some bad things, and kept Bryson over-stimulated for hours).  Today has been ridiculously easy so far(and that includes taking Bryson to the dentist with me who then told me I need a root canal on Friday).  Evenings are by far Bryson’s worst time (as is the case for all newborns) so we’ll see what tonight has in store for us, but I’m thrilled with how things are coming together.

B is thrilled too!  Well, most of the time  😉  He has had several hours each day to work on a garage project and has built some really nice storage shelves for us, and is planning more for the basement.  He has another week until he goes back to work, but we’re both happy that’s he’s had time to do some fun things that he enjoys too.  He’s also been going to physical therapy for his shoulder and I’m hoping that that will finally feel better for him.  It’s been great for him to have this time to organize things the way he wants them, take care of his shoulder, and spend time with his boys (and me, of course!).  We’ll miss him when he goes back to work, but we’ve learned that we’ll be OK.  We also know he’ll work from home when he can (which is often)!

So that’s how it is parenting two.  Matthew will be in shock next week when B’s back at work, but he’s good at entertaining himself and when it is just me and the boys, he actually behaves better than when he’s with his dad.

Don’t tell B that  😉

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Fool me Once

Oh how quickly you forget certain aspects of parenting, even the lessons learned from stories you still currently tell.

An example of this?

When Matthew was 4-5 weeks old, he was not sleeping well and hated the pack and play. One night, we ran out of diapers in our room so I took him into the nursery to get more. I put him in his crib, crying of course, and within a few seconds, he was asleep. I stood there watching him for a minute before returning to our room, minus the baby, and declaring to B that Matthew had officially moved out of our room – all on his own.

Did I learn from that?

Hell no.

Fast forward to now. Bryson has hated the pack and play for a couple of weeks now. He’s not sleeping, and I’m not sleeping. I haven’t recognized myself in days, and picked an awful fight with B for no reason, other than what we assume is a severe lack of sleep (B forgave me). No one has been happy.

So yesterday, with a very fussy baby in my arms, I said, “I’ve had it, I need to sleep. I’m trying the nursery and crib tonight.”

And this happened:

Apparently, I learned nothing the first time around! At least, I didn’t remember what I’d learned the first time around. I triumphantly told B today that if we have a third baby, that he will be in our room the first two nights, and then he graduates to the nursery.

And I mean it!

(By no means was last night perfect, but I got sleep in 2 hour chunks which is more than I’ve gotten in weeks!)


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Overdue

Man alive, things are busy here.  We have, what seems to be, a needy baby on our hands.  I have no time for anything because this boy LOVES to be held.  Using the Moby doesn’t even help – Bryson doesn’t like it.  If he’s not being held or nursing, he’s fussing to be held or nursed.  We think he’s confused his nights and days.  He will nap for a couple hours at a time during the day, but at night, once he’s up to eat – he is up.  We’ve tried all sorts of things, but nothing seems to work.  He’s moving out of our room tonight and into his room because the crib has to be more comfortable (and inviting) than the stupid pack and play (which I despise), right?

Bryson is super cute and very lovey – and we’ll for sure keep him – but he is a lot of work!

Matthew is handling this all well.  He’s only acted out towards Bryson two times, so we consider that a good thing.  If he hears or sees Bryson, he must kiss him, hold him, and put his binky in and out of his mouth.  Matthew is quite the helper and grabs a foot stool to help me wash Bryson’s hair each day.  He also uses the foot stool to help me change diapers and entertain Bryson when he’s fussing.  Matthew is a fantastic big brother!

Parenting two kids has not been the hard part for me.  Parenting a needy baby is the hard part.  But like I always say, this is temporary.  It will pass – and probably before I even realize it.

But none of this is the point of my post.  The point of my post is to extend a huge, overdue thank you to all of you for your wonderful, warm comments recently!  I like to respond to each comment, but there are just so many in the last few weeks – so I just want to say thank you to all of you right here – right now!

Thank you!


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The Monday Snapshot – Monsters

Matthew loves holding Bryson. He asks to hold him many times each day by sitting down, spreading his legs, and tapping the space between his knees. I’m not one to restrict access to the baby, because I think Matthew needs to have the freedom to explore and get to know his brother. So I always say yes, and let him hold Bryson all on his own. So far, the baby has not been tossed… Not yet, anyway!


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Everything Happens for a Reason – A Birth Story

I started this post the night Bryson was born, but was typing on an unfamiliar device and got frustrated with the keyboard.  It’s taken me 2.3 weeks to get back to it.  Yikes!  Life is busy with a new baby!  How easily we forget that!

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What a day!  We went pretty much on time this morning, even though there was an emergency C-section before us.  We got in the room a bit late, but Bryson was born right after 8:00, so I’d say we were on schedule.

The delivery itself went super well.  We arrived at 6:10 for our 7:15 section and got settled in.  Our delivery nurse was super nice and so was the anesthesiologist.  My anesthesiologist last time intimidated the heck out of me, so it was nice to have a caring, friendly guy this time.  Dr. O came in to say hello and let us know the schedule, and then we just waited.  We did receive word that our birth photographer couldn’t come into delivery with us which didn’t surprise us.  That happened last time too, so we were prepared for it this time.  It turned out to be a good thing.

My spinal was perfect.  With Matthew’s delivery, my arms weren’t numbed the same and that scared me.  I also couldn’t swallow on the right side of my throat, which made me very uncomfortable.  I was worried that would happen again but it did not.  My anesthesiologist did his work with me laying down on my right side, which was much more comfortable than sitting up but hunched over my big pregnant belly like last time.  Everything about this experience was different from the last time.  I had a perfect block, the doctor was nice and chatty, and they kept me warm as they worked.

Once the spinal was done, they allowed B in and when he arrived, they had already started cutting.  They kept me very informed of what was going on and  chatted with me as they operated.  Dr. O asked if we had any guesses as to weight and I said 9 pounds 1 ounce.  He insisted I was wrong because I looked way smaller than someone carrying a 9 pound baby and I had no stretch marks.  One of the nurses guessed 7 pounds 6 ounces and I laughed out loud at that. Dr. O said he’d be in the 8 pound range.  And then they got to Bryson’s head. HA!  Many on the team said he had a huge head, which we already knew!  (All the babies on B’s side of the family have HUGE heads – it’s actually something B’s mom has warned me about on several different occasions.  My MIL is a very crunchy, all-natural woman and has actually said that I’m lucky I don’t have to push my kids out – Ha!)  Then they got to his body and started laughing at how massive he was.  Dr. O said he wanted to change his guess to 10 pounds and said, “you’ve got a huge baby here and not a single stretch mark to show for it.  Where were you hiding him?”  Ha!

As they literally pushed and pulled on me to get him out, I started to feel short of breath.  I asked about it, and it was because I had a “120 pound nurse on top of you, pushing this baby out.”  It was unreal. I knew that this baby was going to be much bigger than Matthew.

Dr. O got serious as he worked and asked if we wanted to have more kids.  I said yes, we want one more.  He said that the next baby can’t be delivered any later than the 37th week because they found a hole, or window, in my uterus right where Bryson’s head was.  He explained it to me and what had occurred was the uterus had literally separated, causing a true hole in it, that was only covered by a thin, clear membrane.  He then said, “you are very lucky you chose a repeat section because had you chosen a VBAC, you would have ruptured given where this thing is.”

We were stunned.  I asked lots of questions and he said that even laboring at all could have been catastrophic.  Dr. O said that labor could have, and natural delivery would have, caused a rupture given the location of the window (right at Bryson’s head), the size of it, and the size of Bryson.  All of my ultrasounds had shown nothing of concern and he said that these show up late in the third trimester (and went on to say that it could have developed just yesterday).  Dr. O went on to say that if we have a third baby, that the third trimester will be closely monitored with ultrasound and that we will deliver in the 37th week, maybe sooner, and will sacrifice lung maturity for a safe, non-rupturing uterus.  I would likely get steroids for the baby’s lungs just before delivering, which would be decided via amniocentesis testing (which does not threaten miscarriage in the third trimester).

As Bryson emerged, I was thinking about how lucky we were that I didn’t go into labor prior to our scheduled section.  And I thought about how lucky we were that Matthew was breech, requiring a C-section and then requiring a repeat C-section for his brother (we couldn’t VBAC due to the location of Bryson’s placenta – and thank God for that!).  I thought about how glad I was that I ignored the many suggestions from people to “just have a VBAC.”  As our son took his first breaths, I was thinking about how lucky we were that he got to take them at all.

Bryson’s blood sugar was low so they had to work on getting that up and doing other tests, which kept him from me for longer than I’d have liked.  They worked on him quite a bit as Dr. O stitched me up, and I only got a quick glimpse of him as they first carried him to the warmer (he looked just like my grandpa!) and then again when he was on the scale (almost 9.5 pounds).  Besides being able to see him those two quick times, all I could see was his arm in the warmer and I kept saying, “he has fat rolls on his arms already!  B, look how chubby his arms are!”  I was concerned about the blood sugar, but also knew it wasn’t life-threatening and just hoped for quick resolution so I could hold my baby.  We didn’t get a quick resolution.

I did ask Dr. O more about the uterine window as he stitched me up and he was very serious, but I didn’t want to be dramatic about it.  I wanted to think it was not a big deal – and maybe more of a threat than a real situation had we labored at all or delivered naturally.  As I asked questions, the delivery nurse who saw the window came to tell me that, “had you ruptured, and it looks like you would have, we would have only had 2-3 minutes to get him out to save you both, because of where it is.  We’re all happy and lucky that you needed a C-section.”  So – I guess it was more dramatic than I wanted it to be.  (* More on this below.)

We were finally done in the OR and got back to my room, where they worked on Bryson some more.  They had to keep testing him.  I was pretty upset that I hadn’t held him, or even really LOOKED at him, but he wasn’t responding how they wanted and was having trouble breathing, so we didn’t push them to get him to me.  At this point, our birth photographer (and more importantly, our GOOD friend) was in the room and she knew I was upset and came to hold my hand.  I cried a bit, but it was so nice that she was there!

I finally got to hold Bryson and nurse him, which was wonderful!  He latched on great but his vitals dropped quickly so he was taken from me again.  The NICU team decided to tube-feed him so that he could save some energy to try nursing later.  I was fine with that as long as there were no bottles.  Bryson was returned to me for kangaroo care and we snuggled quite a bit.  Once his vitals stabilized again, B was told that Matthew could meet his little brother.

B returned about 30 minutes later with Matthew who was unimpressed with me, his little brother, everything really – except for the huge window that gave him a view of “FWAGS” and TRUCKS!  HA!  He did kiss Bryson quite a bit, but only very quickly before returning to the window to look out over our little suburb!  B’s parents were there and they came in to meet Bryson.  It was nice and quiet.

Before we knew it, my sister and her family were there, as well as my parents.  It was nice to see everyone, and they didn’t stay too long which was wonderful  😉  I don’t really remember much more of the day other than our visitors and that I was up and moving, unassisted, by 6:00 PM.  My tail bone was so sore from laying in bed, so I asked to stand up to stretch my legs and they allowed it.  The nurses decided to take me off IV pain meds and the catheter, giving me full freedom with the promise that I wouldn’t move around without someone there to assist me.  Fine by me!

B spent the night with us and I nursed Bryson often starting around noon and that went really well!  Bryson slept 4 hours that night which was nice – because I was exhausted!

I know that a lot is said about birth plans, natural deliveries versus medicated deliveries versus scheduled C-sections, etc.  I was devastated when I was told that Matthew would be a scheduled C-section because I planned to deliver in a hospital with minimal interventions (no pain meds, no Pitocin, etc.) with doctors who truly supported my goals.  All of that was tossed out the window in the interest of safety, which I came to terms with rather quickly.  Now – that decision has impacted another child, and as B says, very likely saved Bryson’s (and my) life.  Everything happens for a reason, and I’m so glad that my original birth plan over 2 years ago was thwarted by a stubborn, huge baby with a short cord who refused to turn into the “right” position.  His position was perfect for him, for me, and for his future baby brother.

* I did speak with our delivery nurse in more, coherent detail about the uterine window right before she got off her shift that evening.  She explained that as Dr. O cut into my uterus, light was filtering OUT of it.  This was due to the OR lights going into the clear window, and then coming out through the incision.  She verified that this window was NOT caused by my prior C-section, that it was in a new location, lower in my uterus where Bryson’s head was.  She said that once Dr. O got it “cleaned out and trimmed,” that it was about the size of a silver dollar before he sutured it up.  I now have two incisions/scars in my uterus – one where they go in to retrieve my babies (the C-section incision/scar) and one where the uterine window was.  I am clarifying this because I have already received lots of opinions from others on what this was, and what caused it (based on what they’re reading on the internet – which says that most uterine windows occur where prior C-section incisions are located.  I trust my medical team immensely and I ask that everyone please refrain from weighing in on what you think this all means in regards to my health, our deliveries, etc.).  The attending OB (not Dr. O) had a serious talk with me about this once again the next day during rounds.  I was told to absolutely not deliver any babies in any way for at least 12 months, and to discuss future family planning and delivery options (C-sections only and not past 37w0d) with Dr. H at our 6-week post-delivery OB appointment.  B will be attending that with me.  He is already implying that we are done building our family given that “we have two babies at home who need you,” whenever I mention our babies/embryos at the fertility clinic.  I am struggling a great deal with this possible reality – because I know that I would like to have a third baby – I felt that the minute I held Bryson.  In my heart, I know that I’m not done building my family – but once again, science, fate, and medicine may be deciding that for me.  And that is hard.  

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