Monday, March 30, 2009

Progress

Charlie before all this progress.....

Charlie slept in his crib last night for the first time! I went to bed early and Brad stayed up late with him to give him his bottle. When Brad came to bed at 12:30 he was all excited and said he found a new position to rock Charlie to sleep in (on his side or something - I was half asleep) AND he was fast asleep in his crib! It was funny how giddy Brad was about the whole thing. 

Charlie slept in there until about 2:30 when he got hungry and after I fed him he wanted to stay awake. I had a feeling that would happen - he had napped so much yesterday. He finally went down around 5am or so, again in his crib, after peeing on me. We are officially done with the newborn diapers as they no longer seem to contain his, ahem, output. The size 1 diapers look huge on him, but oh well.  Anyways, I fed him again at 8am and he slept until about 10:30. In his crib. Yay! Go Charlie!

Well it is family nap time as we ramp up for another night of Charlie's nocturnal fun. Hopefully we'll have good luck again tonight! 

Sunday, March 29, 2009

One Month of Charlie

It's hard to believe (for us at least), but Charlie is 1 month old! Well, as of Friday that is. It feels like it's whipped by, but also feels like forever since we brought this little helpless thing home from the hospital in 8 inches of snow. 

Some recent developments:
  • When Charlie cries now, he produces tears. A diaper change is about a 2 tear event. 
  • He's started drooling. I didn't say these were all attractive developments. 
  • He actually liked the bath I gave him tonight and seemed to dig the water. He does not dig being cold and still screamed when I got him out.
  • He is tolerating the stroller more and not throwing a huge fit 10 minutes into a walk.
  • We are on the brink of smiling. I feel like it's really close. His facial expressions seem to mirror his actual emotions. I wish I had my camera today when Brad turned on the vacuum. It startled Charlie and the look was 'what the heck IS that??'. hilarious.
  • He can follow objects with his eyes at varying distances. We used to have to be fairly close to his face for him to follow something.
  • Charlie's parents are not freaking out so much when he cries. We were real spazzes about it when we first got home.
While there is still no real schedule to speak of, there are periods of the day when he is usually awake and a alert and so much fun to be around: late morning and mid-afternoon. Anything after 5pm is hit or miss. He is so darling during these times - staring up at us with big eyes and watching everything. We talk to him a lot and try to entertain him with his mobile, his playmat and stuff like that. 

As for Brad and me, we are both plenty sleep deprived, but so in love with this baby it is ridiculous. It is so much more intense then I could have even imagined. I could just stare at him for hours. I also love feeding him. What an ego trip to be so needed by another human. He reaches his little hand up and holds on to my necklace rather possessively while he eats and my heart melts all over the place. 

Because of Charlie's sleep schedule, we are up late and sleep late. Charlie's 'night' is still 12:30-1am until 10-11am. No matter what we try, we can't seem to adjust it just yet. Keeping him up in the morning when he wants to sleep leads to overtired Charlie for the rest of the day, which means lots of crying. Trying to put him down early means a few hours of half-sleep where we are up every 30 or so minutes to re-soothe him and put him down. I think it will probably change naturally, so we're just going to follow his lead right now.  He is also still in his bassinet, but I think we all agree it's almost time for the crib. 

Brad goes back to work next week and I know it's going to be a hard adjustment for all of us. He is starting his new job with Nameless Financial Consulting Group and the job will require he travel Monday morning to Thursday night each week. It's going to be hard for all of us for him to be gone, but it is a really good opportunity - too good to pass up right now, especially in this crap economy. I keep reminding myself it doesn't have to be forever. Hopefully this job will lead to another one where there is not as much travel. I have to admit, I am a bit jealous he will get 3 full nights of sleep each week. And I am scared about being fully responsible for Charlie - sometimes Brad is the only one who can soothe him and he won't be here to trade off breaks during the day so we can both stay sane. Good-bye sanity, I never knew ya.

So there's the 1 month update! Lots of progress - he changes so much every week. I have this feeling we are right around the corner from it getting a lot easier. Maybe around 6 weeks? I'm not sure why I feel that way, but hopefully I am right! We are also developing plenty of nicknames for Charlie - Baby Bird (he makes a lot of squeaking and squacking sounds), Monster (Brad's name when he's colicky), and Charlie-bear. We love our Charlie-bear and look forward to seeing what his second month brings. =) 

Gas is the Word

We have excess air here in the Spooner household. Most of it appears to be hanging out in my baby's tummy and the only rational way to handle it is to let out a blood-curdling scream. And Charlie's been crying a lot too! 

We had an absolutely horrific evening yesterday where gas pains made poor Charlie cry, grunt and scream from about 6pm to midnight. We tried everything - moving his legs, burping him, swings, vibrating chair - finally Brad stuck him in the car around 11:30 and drove around for a half hour trying to get him to stop. We also got that annoying 'first-time parent midnight call to the pediatrician over something that's not really that big a deal' over with. The doctor was very nice and from the sound of his voice, he really meant it when he said he hated to tell us to just suck it up and deal with it, but that was his advice. 

Apparently, this is very common behavior around weeks 5 and 6 for a newborn. Their little digestive systems are trying to catch up and there's a lot of gas and they are uncomfortable. The good news is that it will not last forever - a week and a half or two weeks at most. The bad news is that this will probably last for a week and a half or two weeks.

Today we are taking a different approach. People keep telling me to follow my maternal instinct on things, so that is what I am doing. In no way is this anyone with a degree from a reputable post-graduate program's advice - I just decided this is what we're doing. Basically, I'm not feeding him as much and we're giving him gripe water every 4 hours. His poor system is just overloaded so that's my rationale behind smaller meals. He wants to eat more frequently, but if feeding him more often means he won't scream, I'll take the trade off. 

I've also switched bottles from Avent (recommended by the lactation consultant to avoid nipple confusion) to Dr. Brown's, which is supposed to reduce gas and colic. We usually give him a bottle or 2 during the night so Brad can help me get some more sleep. It's also a lot quicker then me feeding him the old fashioned way. The Avent bottles are just so big and wide, there doesn't seem to be any way to not get a bunch of air down his tummy when he eats out of them. So bye-bye Avent. 

So far today it seems to be working. It is 10pm and we are scream-free. We are also a little short on waking hours, so who knows, he may be up and ready to party all night. But that is what 2am re-runs of Sex and the City on TBS are for, right?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Hope's Visit

Charlie's Grandma Hope (Brad's mom) came to visit this week and meet her new grandson. They hit it off famously! It was so wonderful having her here - she was so helpful around the house, cooked us some delicious food (if you have not had her cinnamon rolls, you have not lived) and comforted Charlie through what ended up being a very colicky week. My poor little gas bubble just can't get comfortable, especially at night. Hope would just walk with him and talk to him about stuff and he would calm down and stare up at her with his big eyes. I love this picture:
Hope also came bearing gifts and brought Charlie the appropriate Arkansas Razorback gear a new Hartz family baby needs! I think the onesie should fit him before too long and there's a jumper and baseball cap that I think will fit perfectly by the time football season rolls around. There was also a tiny stuffed razorback that Charlie found quite appealing to nap with! I want to get a picture of Charlie in his onesie and Brad in his McFadden jersey, but that picture's been a bit harder to coordinate then I thought. Catching the two of them in the right outfit is a challenge, but I will make it happen!

On Sunday, just before Hope had to fly back to Arkansas, Charlie's Uncle Bill and Aunt Christina drove down from Ashburn to meet him. Charlie slept while they each held him and towards the end got really fussy so I took him from Bill and went upstairs. Five minutes later Charlie had one of the largest, messiest diapers I have ever seen him produce. Saved in the nick of time Bill!!
This coming week we are taking it easy before Brad starts his new job on April 6. We just want to relax and enjoy some time just the three of us. It would be nice if we could get some more consistency in what the overnights look like around here, but I'm not going to hold my breath. Some nights are wonderful, such as last night, where we had a couple of 4 hour blocks of sleep. Other nights are pure hell, such as the night before last where Charlie never slept for more then an hour. There's just so much air in his little tummy, he can be incredibly uncomfortable at night. Finally last night he slept in his car seat and being more upright helped him it seems. We're doing the same thing tonight. 

Charlie has his one month check up this week too and we'll get to see how he's doing in the weight gain department. Since I am nursing him and responsible for said weight gain, this is a particular area of interest to me. If the gas isn't better, we are going to talk about that too. 

Sometimes he still seems so tiny and other times I can tell he's getting bigger and I feel a little sad! I also felt something I never expected this week - I had to go by Dr. D's office to get a form signed and walking in, I felt actual nostalgia for my pregnancy. I don't want to say I miss it or I wish I was still pregnant, but I felt nostalgic for all the anticipation and excitement and specialness of it all. And I miss the one thing I knew I was going to miss - feeling him move around in my tummy. I predicted that around month 7.

Well my little gas bubble is getting upset, so I better run and help Brad cheer him up. One last pic:

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Spring Break, Newborn Style

what's cookin' good lookin'???

My mom and sisters are here for a few days to visit Charlie. It's my mom's spring break and my sisters both took a couple of days off from work to spend time with their new nephew. It's been pretty laid back and a lot of fun. Meredith and Megan are so cute with Charlie and, as predicted, he is almost constantly being held. He has been sleeping in the bassinet in my mom's room, but tonight, we may try him out in his crib for the first time. Brad and I have gotten a record amount of sleep this week. I get up to pump a couple of times and that's it. My mom gives him the bottles of what I pump and that's been working really well. He eats much quicker and doesn't wake up as much, so I'm going to keep doing that after she leaves. We are also not waking him up for any reason. If he's hungry, he lets us know. But don't wake the monster.

I have not been as good at taking it easy this week as I should have and I've decided that I can not help myself. After they are all gone I will probably kick myself, but I don't get to see my mom and sisters all together like this very often. I also want so badly for things to be 'normal.' This long-term need to rest just drives me nuts! By late last night I hit a wall and just had to crash. Luckily there were 3 people here who were dying to take care of Charlie so I could do that. 

Charlie and Meredith in deep discussion

Charlie and Megan - so cute how he's staring at her!

As we've found out the past few nights, this is Charlie's favorite sleeping position. When he is like this, he is most likely in a deep sleep. Is it any wonder we had only limited success with the swaddle? 

He can't stand to not have his little arms by his side. I got him some new cotton (non-fleece) sleep sacks and long sleeve t-shirts instead. It's this constant battle between 'is he too hot?' and 'is he too cold?' But overall, it's been a huge success and he's sleeping at 3 to 4 hour stretches in the night. Unfortunately, the 10-12 hour period that Charlie considers the 'night' right now is 2am until noon or 2pm the next day. I think that should adjust itself out in a couple of weeks when his body starts producing the chemical that helps him determine night from day. Until then we are trying to get him out in the sunshine some. Richmond weather has not been cooperating, though.

If you'd have shown me this picture of my child happily sleeping in his bassinet a week ago, I would not have believed it. His behind touched the cushion and it was automatic screaming. I give my mother full credit. I'm pretty sure it would have been much longer for me to figure out how to make this happen on my own.  That's why I would love to try out the crib while she's here. Charlie listens to his grandmother Crain when it comes to sleeping. She also thinks he is about to outgrow the bassinet because when he stretches his arms out, he hits the sides of the bassinet. He stretches and kicks his arms and legs quite a bit at night - that is actually how he settles himself down to go to sleep. Another reason he hated the swaddle.

It occurred to me a couple of days ago that my mom will not be staying here permanently and will in fact have to go back to Texas this weekend. I'm a little panicky about taking the reigns here again after she goes because things were so rough before she got here. Brad and I were in a desperate state of sleep deprivation and convinced our child would not sleep anywhere but in someone's arms. I have to keep reminding myself that every week gets easier. And he does grow up more every week. Even in the pictures on the blog I posted last week and the ones today I see such a huge difference AND he is now wearing his 0-3 month clothes and not just newborn stuff!! I mean really, at the end of the day, no matter how tired you are, how can you not loooooooove this face????

I will get in a lot of trouble on Spring Break one day.....

Monday, March 16, 2009

Wanted: For Excessive Cuteness

My mom is in town this week and has this neat little Flip video recorder that she used to film this little video today of Charlie in his crib watching his mobile. In the background you can hear the two of us being totally weird. Charlie's been cooing a little bit, so we are trying to get him to coo for the video camera. You can also hear the classical music from his mobile playing.

video

This sounds completely cliche, but I can't believe how much Charlie has changed in the past 2 weeks since we were in the hospital! My mom had her Flip then too and recorded some little videos of Charlie. For comparison's sake, this is one of them, when my dad was holding him in the hospital. His face looks so puffy from all the fluid and he seems generally out of it - as was his mother. 

video

We went to the pediatrician's office today and met the doctor Brad picked out for Charlie for the first time and we both really liked him a lot. The whole group of doctors has been awesome - a couple of them came through the hospital to see Charlie and we've met with 2 of the 3 nurse practitioner/lactation consultants who have been incredibly helpful. 

Charlie's weight is back up above his birth weight - 8lbs 1 oz. He gained 7 ounces in the past week and the doctor was very pleased - he likes to see around 3.5 ounces a week. We are overachievers. He said whatever feeding routine we have established is working so stick to it. I can't tell you how gratifying that felt since breastfeeding has had plenty of challenges. It's awesome to hear it's working and he's healthy and I'm doing it right. Everything else looked great and we go back in 2 weeks for his 1 month appointment. 

I also got out of the house today - mom and I went to Babys R Us, DSW and the Starbucks drive through! Diapers/bottles/sleep sack, new black flats and a sugar free vanilla soy latte! Tomorrow night my mom is going to watch the baby while Brad and I go out to dinner. It's going to be awesome - we are going to this yummy Italian place down the road called Azzuro. It is dimly lit and romantic - I hope I can find something to wear that fits! I'm in this weird place where I still have too much preggo belly to wear normal clothes but not enough for the maternity clothes to make sense. Belly is slowly but surely coming off - I can't complain at just 2 and a half weeks after abdominal surgery. It's going to take a while - c'est la vie. 

My mom and I are having a lot of fun playing with Charlie. He's sleeping in the bassinet in the guest room with her at night to give Brad and I some much needed rest. Mom is so good at soothing him down when he's upset and is getting him used to not being held all the time. That should promptly change on Wednesday when my sisters Meredith and Megan get in town and Charlie will probably be held by one of them at all times! It's a really fun week and so nice after some pretty intense baby blues the past two weeks. I'll post more pics and video from the week as it goes on!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

My New Hobby

Since we came home from the hospital almost 2 weeks ago, I have been watching a lot of TV. Like, A LOT. It's what I do when I nurse, when I'm trying to wind down to fall asleep, when the baby will allow me no other option but to hold him without ripping out some bloody murder screams.... We usually don't watch much TV, but now it's always on. 

We don't have DVR so I am at the mercy of scheduled programming. I can see where that's become passe. Anyways, I've picked up quite a few shows to follow:
  • Real Housewives of New York City (Bravo) - I watched the first season and this cast is my favorite. They are even more obnoxious then last time with even larger egos. I love that one of them (The Countess!) is writing an etiquette book because they are all pretty classless. The Countess also enjoys speaking about herself in third person.
  • Say Yes to the Dress (TLC) - shot inside Kleinfeld's bridal in New York. These relatively normal looking 24 year olds come in and drop $27K on a relatively normal looking wedding gown. That's more then I spent on my car. Highly entertaining!
  • Property Virgins (HGTV) - helping first time home buyers find their perfect home - but they only get to look at 3 houses. If the realtor decides she has found their perfect home and they waffle on buying it, she gets irritated. I love the episodes shot in Dallas and Washington, DC since I used to live there.
  • Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares (BBC) - Looooooove Gordon! Love his hissy fits, his yelling, the darling way he ends all of his sentences in 'Yes?'. This show also makes me very hesitant to eat out. Dr. D is a Gordon Ramsey fan too, so we had quite a few shouts of 'Shut it Down!!!' in labor and delivery. Good times!
  • Mistresses (BBC) - British drama about four gorgeous late 30's friends who all just happen to have affairs at the same time. Cheating on husbands, stealing other people's husbands, etc. and then getting extremely hypocritical when they find out what their friends are up to. It's an OK show but is on Demand.
  • House Hunters International (HGTV) - Always interesting for daydreaming purposes to see what real estate goes for in other countries. The incredibly high prices in Italy were pretty depressing though. So much for moving there.
  • Reruns I have already seen of Friends, Will & Grace, Barefoot Contessa, Project Runway and Desperate Housewives (before it jumped the shark). 
With the TV comes the commercials and there are some I loathe to the bone:
  • The Gerber commercial with all the pregnant ladies 'taking vows' to their new babies. The sweaty woman at the end who supposedly just gave birth irritates me to no end. Gag.
  • The monotone animated Comcast commercials. 
  • The Crystal Light commercials where the ladies are in colorful dresses that turn to liquid. I can't get the highly annoying song with incredibly stupid lyrics out of my head.
  • Any of the Febreeze commercials. I hate that whistle they play after someone sprays the product. 
Well I think that's all the time I have to love and hate my TV. Time to go feed the baby again! My mom is here this week and loves the same shows I do. It'll be awesome to have some company while I watch bad television! She doesn't have Bravo at home yet so we have to get her all caught up. Turning my brain to mush is now a full time occupation!

More pics of Charlie later today....

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tuesday Charlie Fun

It's been pretty cloudy and grey in Richmond today so we have been kind of lazy. Yesterday we actually got out of the house and took Charlie on a short walk in his very hip stroller his Grandma Hope got him. It was so warm and nice out but he did get fussy at the end and I had to take him out and carry him the rest of the way with Brad pushing the stroller and holding the dogs' leashes. I think tomorrow it's supposed to be nice too. There's an awesome outdoor mall about 5 minutes from our house I would love to go push him around. I suppose it's a little early for that though - he's not even 2 weeks old. I just have a bit of cabin fever. 

I took some pictures of Charlie in his Boppy after he finished eating earlier today because he was being so stinkin' cute. My favorite times of day are when he's awake and alert like this. His little eyes are wide open and he just watches and stares and we have little conversations. I do most of the talking.  The best times for this are in the morning and early afternoon. 


I know I'm supposed to be napping when he naps, but I really stink at napping during the day. I guess it's been too long since college when an afternoon nap was so easy to slip in! The funny thing is, there have been quite a few days at work in my career when after lunch I could have so easily fallen asleep. Now that I have the opportunity, I can't do it. Part of it I think is that Charlie feeds every 2 hours during the day, so by the time we finish feeding and get him settled there's only an hour left and I'm kind of wound up. Maybe next week when my mom is here I'll be better at it because she'll make me go lay down and she's really good at getting Charlie calm. Brad just keeps changing his diaper over and over until he calms down! Well that and swaddles him. We aspire to have the Happiest Baby on the Block. My friend Kristen checked out the DVD version of the book at the library and Brad and I watched it in a state of desperation Sunday night. So far I'd say we have the 3rd or 4th happiest baby, especially after 5pm. It's a short block.

I also took a little video of him using my crappy old digital camera. You'd think we hadn't just purchased a camcorder for the very purpose of documenting all the cuteness, but I haven't learned how to work it yet. Now we are in the market for a better digital camera - the one we've been using was my Christmas gift right after we got married. It is rather clunky.

video
Also, Charlie's Aunt Clare came to visit him on Sunday and the pic of the two of them turned out rather cute! I think he was being fussy and she calmed him down like a good aunt! He loves his Aunt Clare!

Well that's about all that's going on around here! It is, naturally, time to go feed Charlie again!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

I Sleepy


These are some pictures I took right before we gave Charlie a bath the other day. I took about 30 and these two turned out the best. We went on to a screaming fit during the bath and then getting really sleepy from all the screaming and fit-throwing. 

Basically my schedule the past few days is eat, sleep, nurse. I think that's pretty much going to be it for the next week. I've been really bad about returning emails and phone calls because the days just whip by. It has gotten beautiful and warm here the past couple of days and Charlie has been going on walks with his daddy in his hip new stroller. I've got some cabin fever but absolutely love all this time with Charlie. I have fallen thoroughly in love. 

We don't really have any kind of schedule yet and night time is kind of rough while the days are really good. Charlie's witching hour has been 10pm to 2am. He has been screaming his head off and inconsolable during that time period. Brad has been staying up with him until 2 when he finally nods off and I go to bed around 11:30 or 12 after I feed him. Once they come upstairs, I usually need to feed Charlie again around 2:30 and then at 6:30. If we could just get the 10pm to 2am time period figured out I would have no complaints about this schedule. 

I can not bear to hear Charlie scream. After 10 minutes I am in tears. Brad has something of a magic touch with him and can rock him, swaddle him (thanks to some instruction from Kristen and Jason!) or get him to fall asleep on his chest. I still don't get why he's so upset - he sounds like he's hurt. I hope the whole 'you can't spoil a newborn' thing is right because at this point, I'd give him my Visa and take him to Stony Point if he would stop screaming.  I just can't handle it when this yummy little face is upset. 


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

First 48 Hours at Home

I promise I don't intend to document every 48 hours at home, but thought the first might be interesting. So far, here's the breakdown:

Impressive (above average) poopy diapers: 4
Hours of sleep Monday night: 5 between 12 and 7 (not bad!)
Hours of sleep Tuesday night: 2 (brutal)
Times I have fallen asleep sitting up: 3
Meltdowns by Charlie: 6
Meltdowns by Mommy: 3
Beers consumed to encourage milk to come in: 3
Confused poodles: 2

Luckily for all of us (except for my mom and dad's employers), Winter Storm Event 2009 meant my parents' return flight on Monday got cancelled so I had my mom around to help out from the time we got home from the hospital until Tuesday afternoon. My mom has been so incredibly helpful since she got in town last Thursday. I'm really not sure how we would have made it without her. The Meltdowns by Mommy category would have easily quadrupled if she hadn't come to visit.  She spent most of the day and night making sure we had food, doing laundry, cleaning things up and soothing her new grandson when he got upset. She was the most effective burper out of all of us, though Brad is getting pretty good too.

I have been focusing mostly on getting pipsqueak fed. Yes, this paragraph is going to be about breastfeeding, so please skip ahead to avoid the topic. The hospital I went to is very pro-breastfeeding and we started trying to feed right after he was born. That was a massive failure - there was just too much going on in the room for him to latch on. An hour later, the nursery nurse brought him in to my post partum room and we gave it another try. With her help he was on in a few minutes and I fed him every few hours for the rest of my stay. I thought wow! I'm a natural! I can't believe this worked out so well! Oh how ignorant of me. By the last day that same nurse that taught me how to feed him was telling me Charlie had lost a ton of weight and she was getting alarmed. From then on I started over analyzing everything - how long he feeds, how hungry he acts afterwards, has my milk come in or not, how there are not enough dirty diapers, etc. etc. We came home Monday and nothing was going well and he was screaming and I couldn't give him enough to calm him and I was in pain and it was just.. hellish. Mommy Meltdown. We broke down and gave him some formula overnight and started fresh the next morning. Today we went to see the nurse/lactation consultant at the pediatrician's office, who I have now learned is known as the 'breastfeeding nazi.' Nazi or not, she did reassure me everything is fine and all I had to do was sit through a few snide remarks about the formula I gave him. So we are chugging along now, feeding every 2 hours. I've been told "everything" will be healed by Friday. Oh, how I hope so because really - ouch.

The poodles are doing ok but definitely have hurt feelings over the new pecking order. I was so exhausted when I got home Monday that I did not have much patience with them, especially Zoe. They've gotten better since then and I'm trying not to lose my cool so much. Zoe has a very mother-like quality about her. She checks on Charlie pretty frequently, especially when he's in the pack n' play and begins to cry. She sticks her little head over the top to look at him. Of course she also destroyed a dirty diaper on the floor in the nursery - ripped to stinky shreds. So I guess 'trying' is the operative word in me 'trying not to lose my cool so much'. 

Ok working on some additional photos and video of His Royal Cuteness, but having some exhaustion-related user error. Hopefully better luck tomorrow. 

Charlie Arrives! Along with a freak March snow storm!

We are finally home and I am sane enough to sit down and write a blog post about how and when Charlie arrived and all that good stuff. He's actually napping right now while I type this and it is taking all my self control not to pick him up out of his pack n' play and have him nap in my arms instead. I think I have a 10 minute threshold where my heart starts to ache if I'm not in his general vicinity. But I digress. 

Last I left you we had an induction planned for Thursday night/Friday. Brad and I spent Wednesday and Thursday getting ready and my mom had a flight that got in late Thursday night. When I finally finished running around and got to the hospital and sat down for 30 minutes, I realized how uncomfortable I was. Turns out I was having contractions every 3 to 4 minutes.  I still was just a fingertip dilated, but my doctor didn't want to do the gel because it could throw me into too fast a labor and that would be hard on the baby. So we skipped the gel and I spent the night. 

Around 4:30 am they started the pitocin so I would be dilated 
enough for my doctor to break my water in the morning. The pitocin contractions started off not so bad but were getting worse. Around 8 am Dr. D arrived and I had only dilated to 1cm. Ugh. It was enough for her to break my water, though. Between the broken water and the pitocin the contractions picked up and she thought by noon time when she visited again there should be some progress. 

Unfortunately, at both her noon and 4pm visit I still wasn't dilated even to 2 cm. During that time from 8 am to 4 pm they kept slowly increasing how much pitocin I was getting and the contractions got really painful. I had some pain medicine and finally the epidural right before they really cranked up the pitocin. The doctor used some kind of sensor to make sure the contractions were intense as well as frequent and they were. So by 4 pm we were all at a loss as to why I wasn't making any progress  - absolutely none since her noon visit. 

Dr. D told us we could keep going for another few hours and see how it went, but she was starting to suspect there was something about the baby and his position or my pelvis that was stopping any progression. We could  go for a c-section we could do it then or wait and decide later. At that point I'd been hooked up and contracting for 24 hours and I was worn out. I couldn't picture pushing a baby out or what I would feel like by late that night. So Brad and I decided on the c-section. 

After that things moved really quickly. They cranked up the epidural and Brad put on some crazy sterile hospital outfit that he was pretty pumped about! They wheeled me down the hall into the room and by then I was shaking like crazy from the meds. It was more annoying  then anything else. I was expecting them to strap down my arms, but they didn't. Brad looked really nervous under his surgical mask - I think he was a lot more worried then I was. I did have the benefit of being somewhat doped up though. They had on pop music in the room and one nurse said to another 'Aren't these fun when they're not an emergency?' and Brad and I had to laugh at that one. 

After they hung the curtain and Brad sat down by my head they got started and about 8 minutes later we had a baby!  Dr. D said she usually doesn't spank the little babies, but she was considering it with this one after all the trouble he'd been giving his momma! Once she could see him she told us he had turned sideways since my last ultrasound and his head was wedged in my pelvis. He would not have been able to come out on his own so I'm glad we didn't wait any longer on the c-section. 

He came out kicking and his cries were so sweet, I got choked up. Brad was able to video tape a lot of it (nothing icky) and go over to the warming table while they cleaned him up. I couldn't see much until the sweet anaesthesiologist went and got a mirror so I could see over there. The anaesthesiologist was awesome - he was behind the curtain with me the whole time telling me what was going on and that everything looked great and it wouldn't be too much longer, etc. etc. He had also done my epidural - such a nice man. After I had the mirror I could see that Charlie has huge hands and feet! His legs and arms were moving all over the place and his sking was a nice pink. He looked so healthy.


So then Brad held the baby and then they brought him over and I got to hold him. All I could do was stare at him - he was tiny and perfect and sweet. I couldn't believe he was actually mine. It was all too much to take in so I just stared at him and he stared at me. A few days later and that is still what we do a lot - just look at each other. I could do that forever and never get tired of it. In fact, I'm going to go do that when I'm done writing this. 

Anyways, back to the story. When they were finished stitching me up they moved me from the table to the bed from my room. Dr. D was lifting the sheet near my shoulder and they kind of rolled me one way and then the other and I told her I was about to throw up all over her. I think I was pretty blunt about it! Luckily I didn't but I vaguely remember apologizing to her later about the close call. I say nutty things on drugs.  They gave me something to settle my tummy, which helped a bunch. Then we went back to our L&D room. For some reason the baby needed to ride with me, but I was still shaking so bad I felt nervous holding him. so they put him down between my legs. 

When we got back in the room my mom got to hold him and we had 1 hour with him which we spent taking photos, letting people on the phone hear him cry and taking our first stab at breastfeeding. Brad and my mom spent the rest of the time there calling people and sending the good news out through text and email. L&D had gotten wifi 2 weeks ago - it's like they knew we were coming! I had my phone and remember just looking at it and thinking of all the people I wanted to text about the birth and how I just don't have enough energy to even remember how to work my phone. It was pointless technology in my doped up hand. 

After about an hour they came and took the baby up to the nursery and started getting me ready to move upstairs to post partum. Once I had some feeling back in my legs I could go. All I could think about was getting something to eat. So hungry! We swung by the nursery and saw the nurses checking him out - he was quite vocal about his unhappiness with being examined! Then we went to my room and I got settled. Everything is kind of fuzzy about that part. They gave me duramorph or something like that for the incision pain in the first 24 hours and it made me so groggy. I do remember there were crackers. Ohhhhh there were crackers. Sweet, sweet crackers. Relief.

The other thing I remember is the nursery nurse bringing Charlie in and putting him in my arms and I wanted to try to feed him again (after a failed attempt in L&D). With her help I had him latched on in about a minute and he fed on both sides. I was shocked. They brought him to my room that night every few hours and we gave it a go. We're still working on it, but I'll save all that stuff for another post.

I stayed in the hospital for 3 nights after that and wish I could have stayed longer - they took such good care of us there. I got lots of good advice and just rested and relaxed and enjoyed Charlie. My last night there Richmond got hit with about 6 inches of snow, which is such a freak occurance - we haven't had snow all winter! Everything here was shut down Monday and most stuff is shut down again today. Our neighborhood is coated in white and so beautiful. If I've ever told you my baby dream I had when I was first married, it was snowing outside while I held the baby and waited for Brad. That baby was a girl, but that's the only real difference between the dream and how it actually turned out. Crazy. 

While I wrote this, Brad came down and took Charlie up from the pack n' play and they are napping next to me on the couch. It is so sweet - Charlie is tucked into Brad's chest and they both look so content. Brad said this is Daddy - Charlie time. I think for me it's about to be Kara-Shower time. More later... =)