Thursday, December 19, 2013

7 Weeks with Max

This was supposed to be a one month post, then a 6 week post, and now here we are, almost two months out from Max's birth!  Oh well--better late than never.  

Max has been the sweetest baby, right from the start.  He was an absolute dream for the first month! Especially compared to Andy, who I'm realizing we should have submitted to the world's hardest baby contest. :) Max slept a lot, we had to wake him up to eat at night (?!), he'd just sit and chill without being held, he didn't scream for hours a day for no reason...all things that were new for us. We just kept saying to ourselves, "Is this what most newborns are like?!" He had the sweetest temperament.  That being said, I still had a really difficult time.  I'm just not one of these women who has a baby and is out with makeup on running errands the next day!  It's taken me a long time to feel more like myself, but things are getting better.  Hands down, the biggest challenge of the month was nursing.  We had such a difficult time with Andy, but I think this even rivaled that experience because of how painful it was.  We've dealt with issue after issue: severe nipple damage from a bad latch, the bad latch led to poor weight gain for Max, we used a SNS (supplemental nursing system) for a couple weeks but it just made Max lazy (and feedings took 1.5 hours...that was fun), heavy overproduction...I could go on.  After spending a fortune on lactation specialist visits and after almost giving up every single day, we have finally arrived at a point that I kind of enjoy nursing!  And Max is gaining plenty of weight now, so all is well.  I am soooooo grateful it all finally came together, because I didn't think it ever would.  I ended up loving my nursing experience with Andy so much, it would have been really hard for me to miss out on that with Max.

Other things to remember about the first month: My sweet mom came to visit and help for a week! I'm convinced we wouldn't have survived without her.  She did an incredible amount of cooking and cleaning and was such an emotional support to me.  I'm so grateful she came.  Oh...we also MOVED when Max was three weeks old.  Is that insane or what?  I don't recommend it.  I didn't even really do anything and it was still super hard.  Cameron pretty much boxed up the entire house and coordinated the entire move.  My incredible mother-in-law flew in to help me fly back with both boys.  She literally flew in in the morning and then hung out at the airport until I got there and then flew back with me.  Plus, she brought all sorts of amazing snacks and activities for Andy so I could just focus on Max (and the 1+ hour feedings we had in the airport bathrooms pumping, using the SNS, etc...lots of fun).  Is she incredible or what?!  Speaking of incredible people, we had so many wonderful people bring us meals, help us move, show up to clean our house, etc.  We are so grateful for good friends who supported us during such a hectic month!

A few things stand out about Max the first month or so.  He loved to suck on my finger!  We waited to introduce a binky because he was having so much trouble nursing, so my finger played substitute.  He didn't really like Cameron's finger--only mine.  He looked so funny in his clothes! He preferred the fetal-like position of his legs up to his chest, so his legs were never in his leg slots.  And his arms are super long, so they were much longer than his sleeves.  He has beautiful, big eyes that are really wide. It makes him look really surprised.  He has blue eyes that look a lot like Andy's.  He is cuddly.  He loves to be swaddled.

How has Andy handled being a big brother?  He had a lot of trouble in the beginning.  He didn't really do anything mean to Max, but he threw a whole lot of tantrums.  For the most part, he ignored (and still ignores) Max.  I think he missed our old routine and all the things we used to do together.  He seems to be doing better now, though he still doesn't want to touch or hold Max.  I'm looking forward to when we can resume more of the things Andy and I used to do together.  I'm still getting the hang of two kids, so we spend most of our time at home where he watches more TV than I care to admit!
The boys with my mom.
Milk coma!
Andy thinks this bouncer is for him.
I think they were watching Madagascar II for the 1,000 time.

The one time Andy "held" Max! :)
You can see how long his arms are here.
Max and I with some of our BFFS, Cami and Oscar.  Max and Oscar are only 8 days apart!
First bath! 
Mom's finger=yum.
Maxwell Mark with Grandpa Mark.
Max with Grandma Kathy.
Max with Grandpa Greg.
Max with Uncle Brendan.  I've always said Max looks like Brendan.
I had to throw this in because Andy is just so cute.
Moving on to month two! The past few weeks with Max have been easier in some ways and more difficult in others.  Easier: nursing!  I already pretty much covered that.  He's a speedy eater, usually done in under ten minutes.  It's great!  I also need to give a shout-out to my nursing show of choice: Grey's Anatomy.  I'd never seen it before. I started at the very beginning and I'm further in than I care to admit.  Also, we feel more adjusted altogether.  Harder: Unfortunately, he's seemed to lose his easy-going temperament the past few weeks.  It seems like he's having a lot of digestion pain, so I'm trying to drop dairy to see if that helps.  Or it could just be that he's moving out of his newborn phase and he's a bit more aware now?  Or maybe it's because he's a little congested?  Whatever it is, we hope it gets better soon.  The poor thing spends most of his awake time crying and squirming.  His sleeping isn't great either.  The first month of his life, he'd easily take four hour stretches at night.  Now he's up at least every three hours, oftentimes more.  I'm pretty exhausted. It'd be nice if we could get him down to only waking up twice a night.  His napping could also use improvement.  Lots and lots of cat naps, whereas he used to take good long naps.

Other things about Max:  He loves baths!  He's always happy in the bath.  Andy helps me rinse him off--it's pretty cute.  Max also loves driving in the car.  It knocks him out in 2 seconds flat.  We love it because he usually stays asleep for a couple hours.  Max has the most beautiful, long lashes.  They were white when he was born, but they're turning darker, just like Andy's did.  He's getting the most delicious rolls of fat!  I love chubby babies, so I'm thrilled.  He loves his binky, which we introduced at the end of the first month.  We also gave him a bottle for the first time around then, and he took it like a champ.  He tolerates tummy time better than Andy ever did and is getting so good at holding his head up!  He's been in 3 month clothes for a few weeks now and is filling them out nicely.  He started smiling at about 6 weeks; I'm probably biased, but I think he has the sweetest smile ever.

We love our sweet, cuddly Max and are so glad he's part of our family!

We are obsessed with his smiles!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Welcome to the World, Max

I'm incredibly late posting about this, but our little Maxwell Mark was born on Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 1:29 PM, weighing 8 lb. 1 oz. and measuring 21 inches long.  We are absolutely in love with this little guy and are so grateful he's part of our family!

Now for the birth story! We completely expected him to come early.  (He was due Oct. 26.)  I had so many contractions and was dilated so early, I just assumed it would happen sooner than later.  At 37 weeks I was dilated to a 1 and 50% effaced, 38 weeks I was a 2 and 80%, 39 weeks was a 3 and 80%, and at 40 weeks I was a 4 and 80%.  (Yes, a 4.  I didn't know people walked around for days at a 4?!) It was really important to me this pregnancy to go into labor naturally.  Andy had to be induced at 39 weeks because of a problem with the placenta, so I didn't get to experience the excitement of going into labor on my own.  And more importantly, I felt like it was best and safest to wait until my body was ready to go into labor on its own.  We started getting nervous around my due date: we really needed this baby to come soon because our big move to Utah was getting close (Nov. 21).  I wanted to push out an induction as long as the doctor thought it was safe (41 weeks), but that would put the baby being just over 2 weeks old when we'd move.  Long story short, because of hospital scheduling and our worries about the imminent move, we set an induction date for Oct. 30 when I would be 40 weeks and 4 days.  We did everything we could think of to put me into labor before then (accupressure, a delicious tea concoction, etc.), but it just didn't happen.  So, at 6 AM on the 30th, we arrived at the hospital ready to go!

I had Cameron write down the details of the labor as the morning progressed, but somehow that document got deleted.  I remember the morning went something like this: They started me on pitocin at 8 AM.  I wanted to see if I could progress enough on my own without them breaking my water.  After a couple hours of that, I still wasn't feeling much and had only progressed to a 5.  I consented to breaking my water about 10 AM.  That's when things really picked up.  The contractions started to be pretty painful.  I asked for an epidural about 10:45 or so.  It took forever.  I didn't end up getting one until about 12:15 PM.  I was DYING.  Apparently, there was a little mix-up with the anesthesiologists about who was coming to give me the epidural.  Once I got the epidural, I was in absolutely heaven.  It worked great, unlike in Andy's labor.  (I could still feel a bit on the left side with Andy, so I kept clicking for more relief and was so numb I couldn't walk for 10 hours after Andy's birth.)  They checked me after the epidural and I was at a 7.  Dr. Orth came by and said she'd just go get a drink next door and be back in twenty minutes.  I was confused because I thought I was a good few hours away from delivering.  I was surprised when she came back and I was pretty much ready to start pushing! I only had to push for about ten minutes (hooray!) and our beautiful boy was born at 1:29 PM.  We were so thrilled about his good sized birth weight of 8 lb. 1 oz! Andy was small because of the placenta problem (6 lb. 3 oz), so we'd been nervous about Max.  Especially since I was measuring super small from the outside (only 28 weeks!) because of how low he was sitting.

Overall, the birth went so well! I felt like Andy's delivery was pretty good, but Max's was even better.  Everything went pretty quickly.  I loved that pushing was so much shorter than with Andy, since I really hated pushing.  I was so glad the epidural worked so well.  I could walk on my own just an hour after the birth!  Max didn't need any help breathing like Andy did.  Even smaller things went well, like that I didn't have to use oxygen like I did with Andy.  We were just so grateful everything went so smoothly!  He even latched on and nursed for an hour after the birth.  That was a big relief, because Andy was never able to successfully latch and nurse in the hospital. And now, lots of pictures:


First family picture
On the way home!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Life Lately

It's been a long time since I've posted!  I figure I should do a little catch-up before this baby boy decides to arrive.  Life has been fun and busy!  The biggest event: 

-We MOVED!  We moved into a house mid-September.  We needed the extra space with this new little one coming.  Did I love moving while 8 months pregnant?  Big NO.  And I'm not sure why we had such trouble with this move, but setting up our utilities ended up being a ridiculous process full of problems and many hours spent on the phone with customer service.  (Some of which still aren't resolved! Seriously, this is ridiculous!) But, we are loving the extra space, a garage, a yard, a playroom, an office to teach piano in, and all the other little and big things that make a house so nice.  
Our cute house!
And some other fun things: 
-We've had some fun "mega saturdays" around here!  Honestly, we thought this baby would come early.  He's still not here, so the past couple saturdays we've been filling up our time with fun Austin outings, especially since the weather is finally cool enough to actually be outside for longer than .2 seconds.  Yes, the pool is great, but we were getting a little tired of it being our only option.  Saturday #1: Breakfast at Kerby Lane, a train ride at Zilker Park, ice cream at Amy's, and a trip to the park to feed the ducks.  Saturday #2: Touch a Truck (this fun event where they had all sorts of trucks/vehicles that kids could touch, go in, etc.  Andy was so excited about the fire truck, tractor, and school bus.), lunch at Hop Doddy, Mt. Bonnell, walking around South Congress shops, pizza from Home Slice, and we finally tried Lick ice cream, which Cameron likes 10x more than Amy's, but I will die a true blue Amy's fan. It was so fun to spend time doing fun things with just our little family in this city we love!  

Andy loved this train ride.

This sweet guy let Andy play fetch with his dog.  Andy was heaven.

Beautiful Texas.

Highlight of his life.  He was literally jumping up and down half the time we were at Touch a Truck.

-We've done some fun Halloween activities.  I am loving that Andy is old enough to enjoy holidays! We made some pumpkin cookies and decorated them with Andy's bffs Maya and Amelia.  We also colored some pumpkins, since we're a bit too lazy to actually carve a pumpkin. :) 
My little cookie helper.  He loved placing them carefully on the cookie sheet after he helped press the cookie cutter into the dough.

Artistic Genius
-A super fun Halloween Party at the Thomas'; Cameron and I dressed up as Walt and Jesse, since we are obsessed with Breaking Bad right now. And who doesn't want to see a 9 month pregnant girl dressed up as Jesse Pinkman? 

-The ward Halloween Party, where Andy was the cutest little dinosaur I've ever seen.  I died every time he said "trick or treat!" was just too cute.  He carried around his balloon sword until it finally shriveled a few days later.  He was obsessed with his pumpkin bucket full of treats, but sadly his mom ate most of his candy, so he didn't get to enjoy much of that. :) 

-A few fun girls nights to celebrate birthdays!  Happy Birthday Kasee and Alanna!  And a surprise birthday party for Amber where we made fools of ourselves playing minute to win it games. :) 
-I went to a Green Smoothie Girl class with Margo.  So fun!  I used to teach Robyn's kids piano, so it was fun to see her and finally go to one of her classes.  
-A girls day with pedicures and lunch. 
-We spent lots and lots and lots of time shopping for a new couch and new appliances (fridge, washer, dryer, lawn mower) as we moved into the house.  It was moderately fun in the beginning, but it got stressful and old pretty quick! 
-Cameron took a couple trips!  He went to Vegas for a weekend with his dad and brother and then went on a recruiting trip to BYU for work.  I'd like to point out this is his third "man trip" of the year (London, Bangkok, and now Vegas) and I should win "wife of the year" award.  
-Andy and I went to a fun pumpkin patch at Sweetberry Farm with our friends Elizabeth and Declan.  Andy loved feeding the goats; I loved the pumpkin ice cream and chatting with Elizabeth in the car.   

He liked this until it started moving.  Then he screamed and I had to run out and get him. :) 

-A darling baby shower thrown by my friends Amber and Cami. It was so sweet of them!  I had so much fun celebrating and spending time with good friends!

Look at the CUTE bunting Amber made me for the nursery!
-Our friends the Nields moved to California for 6 months.  We miss them!  Luckily they'll be back soon.  
-This is going back a few months to August, but we both celebrated our 28th birthdays! And our 4th anniversary!  We went to Jack Allen's for Cam's birthday with our friends Kasee and Jason and had a bigger group over for dessert afterwards; for my birthday, we went to La Traviata in Austin and I had shakes with friends later at Sonic; for our anniversary we went to Roaring Fork--I salivate just thinking about their pork tenderloin. 
Happy Birthday Cameron!
Some little things I've been loving:
-I switched to making all our bread a few months back.  We have loved this.  I genuinely love making it, and it tastes about 1000x better than what we were buying before.  

-A few months back, Andy and I switched our grocery trips to early friday in, I pretty much roll out of bed and we're there at 7:30.  I love how empty the store is and Andy loves that he almost always gets a "car cart."  Plus, when it was hotter, it saved us from melting outside.  
-Jambox by Jawbone.  These are my fancy little speakers that Cameron got me for Mother's Day.  I love it and use it all the time.  
-TV shows we've been loving! Well, in the summer, I was all about Pretty Little Liars, Suits, and Felicity, which I finally watched on Netflix until they took it away--a very sad day.  Now, we pretty much watch Breaking Bad all the time.  It'll be a bittersweet thing to finish (we're getting close)...we need to move on with our lives.  
-Andy and I have been loving the library the past few months. We have the best library here.  We go to a cute story time every week.  Andy used to be better about he's mostly excited about name tags and stamps.  He loves his weekly stash of library books, and we spend lots of time cuddling, reading them.  
-We've also been loving the Wee Sing CDs we've been checking out from the library.  Andy loves singing along in the car.  I'm amazed at how quickly he learns the words.  
-We've been going to a cute music time with friends in the ward the past couple months.  It's been so fun!  
-I've been loving the food blog Mel's Kitchen Cafe.  We've made so many delicious things from there lately!  
-Any points out every school bus we see as we drive and he gets so excited--especially if he spots them before me.  He also loves to point out every construction vehicle, and identifies them all as either "tractor!" or "dump truck!" since I don't know the correct names of any of them and that's all I've taught him. :) 

There's the run-down on our lives for now.  Our next update will probably be about the new little baby that's about to join our family!