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!