Saturday, January 31, 2015

Pierce's Nursery... For Now

I feel like I need to rename this blog, "All about baby."  ;)  It seems like that's all my posts are going to be about is being a mommy or about the baby himself.  Can you tell I'm in love?  Right now there isn't a lot of time to write, so when I get the chance it will most likely be about our little family.  

I apologize in advance for the poor picture quality.  It was nap time and the nursery was semi-clean, so I took advantage of the little time I had.  Naps are usually 45 minutes.  Sometime I can get him to go back to sleep, but he usually wakes up at that 45 minute mark every time.  I've heard it is called the "45 minute intruder."  So, Pierce was actually napping in his crib while I took these pics.  

I really wanted to capture what his nursery looks like.  I worked really hard on it, and although it is far from perfect, I think it turned out really cute.  One issue, though, is that we found the perfect little house in the exact location we want to move to.  Out of the blue we bought a house!!!  Pierce's little nursery that I worked so hard on will be moving to a new home in the near future.  I had worked so hard to make sure we had enough storage space in his room, since we live in a two bedroom condo.  My dad put up extra shelving and everything.  We painted, hung decor, painted the ceiling fan, put up curtain rods, etc and now we are moving.  But I am so thankful for all the help and am really excited for you all to see his new nursery once we get it finished.  

So, for now, welcome to Pierce's room:











Had to put his little kitty in the picture... not safe sleep!


"No Wake Zone" and "I will make you fishers of men"


Fan totally redone... It was white and gold.





Looking up into the top of the closet. All that storage!







Thanks for stopping by!

LOTS OF LOVE,

Christy

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Pierce at 2 Months

Two months and sometimes life still feels so surreal!  Why did no one tell me how wonderful life would be after having a baby?!  All I heard was, "Enjoy your sleep now!" or "You better savor this time with your husband because everything changes after baby."  No one explained how absolutely amazing life is once you're a parent.  Is it exhausting? Yes!  Are there times where you don't feel like breastfeeding? Yes!  Are there days when you can't remember when you last washed your hair? Yes again!  But oh my goodness, it is so worth it all!  I am totally smitten with my sweet baby and can't remember the last time I was this happy.  Russ and I love each other even more now than before.  My body looks nothing like it used to, however, he somehow finds me even more attractive.  Watching Russ cuddle Pierce and play music while he changes dirty diapers melts me every time.  I love our family of three and the future has never been brighter!  

I can't believe how much Pierce has grown this past month!  He went through some major growth spurts where he wanted to eat ALL THE TIME.  I had tried putting him on a schedule like we do in the NICU, but it was not working at all.  He was starving!  He also wasn't sleeping as well and very fussy.  I finally just decided to give in and let him eat when he wanted.  Amazingly, he started sleeping through the night better after letting him eat every couple of hours like he wanted.  I worried that I was feeding him too much, but he was so much happier and I was less stressed.  In the past few days, he has started eating every three hours instead.  I had been getting really sad thinking about how big he was.  I just wanted him to stay little, but the rolls just kept coming!  Then today happened.  He turned two months old!  And with that came smiles and "talking."  Wow!  Never mind, let's keep growing because hearing his little coos and seeing that gummy grin while staring at mama was just too much for me to take.  So cute!  And I have to admit, I love all of his chins and cheeks.  I could kiss him all the time, and pretty much do!  He has me wrapped around his sweet, chubby fingers.  

He did so good at his 2 month appointment.  Ms. Stephanie (his pediatrician) was so happy with how he looked and checked out during the exam.  She said he is right on track and very healthy.  He loves to lie down on the exam table and hear the crinkle of the paper as he kicks his legs.  He was just kicking away while she looked him over.  She did note that he still has fluid around his testicle, so we have been referred to urology.  I really want it to resolve on its own, so he doesn't have to have surgery.  I'm pretty sure the Urologist will just want to watch it for now, but even the possibility of a minor surgery in the future makes me worried.  I'm praying it will get better.  

Pierce's 2 month measurements:
Head: 40.4 cm 85%
Weight: 13 lbs 75%
Height: 22 3/4 in 45%

These measurements are very different, so we will see what he is on the next visit.  It is so hard to measure a squirming baby and the slightest difference can show a huge difference on the growth chart.  It just made me happy to see that I didn't have an obese child.  The way he had gained weight and was eating all the time had made me pretty nervous that his weight would be 100%, but he is just normal and perfect!  

Development

The leg strength Pierce has is impressive!  I have known this for quite some time due to the blows to my sides and stomach when I was carrying him.  People would say, "Don't you just love feeling him kick?"  Well, no, not really! His kicks hurt.  If I would push back on my stomach to say "stop", he would push right back!  Now out of the womb, he still pushes to want to stand up and loves to kick.  He will even arch his back just so I will stand him up or he will throw his head back. I love to watch him stand because he shakes his head from side to side and purses his lips as he tries really hard not to fall.  He also has made great progress in making eye contact with mommy.  As far as looking at others, not so much.  My mom is dying for him to stare at her and possibly grin.  Pierce is still a serious baby, but just in the past few days, I have been getting more grins.  Today, I got tons and it made me giddy!  It was especially nice, since he had shots and was still so happy.  He also has gotten better at turning his head to sound or when someone comes up to him from the opposite direction. The baby talk has improved and was all day today.  I loved it!  I'm working with him to say "Mama."  Hehe 

Eat

As I said Pierce is eating every 2-3 hours during the day.  He is still only taking breastmilk and my supply is keeping up with him.  I think he is taking around 4-6 ounces now, but it is hard to say since he nurses the majority of the time.  At night, he usually eats around 8-9 pm then eats again around 1-2am, and then is ready for his morning feeding at 5-6 a.m. This makes me very happy.  I am still pumping at least once a day and have been able to store breastmilk in the freezer.  I also have kept fresh milk on hand in the fridge in case we are going somewhere and need it.  Since using the nipple shield, it makes it difficult to nurse in public.  I can nurse him in the car or at someone's house if visiting, but if we are in a restaurant then I give him a bottle.  Russ gives him a bottle some nights, but I have found Pierce becomes more relaxed if I nurse him before bed.  He will nurse for about 45 min to even an hour at night, and I let him because it helps me get through the night without pumping and he sleeps longer.  He gets Zantac either 30 minutes before or after his feeding twice a day.  The taste must be bad, because he puckers his lips like I've given him a lemon and spits it out all over the place.  I try to give him gripe water after to wash it down.  He usually gets Mylicon once a day for gas.  His tummy issues have improved and his spitting up isn't too bad either.  Hiccups are daily, but Ms. Stephanie wasn't concerned and advised nursing just for a few minutes to get them to stop.

Breastfeeding is pretty easy now.  He gets choked sometimes still, but handles it better.  On days when he wanted to nurse every two hours, I got pretty sore.  Lanolin was very helpful.  I also bought some gel pads that can be heated in the microwave or put in the freezer to help with my achy chest.  The fatigue has improved since he started sleeping better through the night, and I nap sometimes with him.  My supply has increased a little with him eating more, but not to the point where it is too much.  I think one thing that has helped with my milk production is allowing him to sleep on my chest/ stomach in the mornings and eating a ton of cheerios.  Oats is supposed to help with milk production and I have craved cheerios since the middle of my pregnancy.  I eat a bowl of cheerios at least once a day.  I'm trying to drink water and have done much better than my pre-pregnancy self, but still need to drink much more.  I stay hungry and thirsty all the time!  Lately, all I have wanted to drink is Oceanwater from Sonic.  If only it was water, but it is basically Sprite with Coconut flavoring in it.  I still love breastfeeding and am very thankful I am able to have that sweet bonding experience with Pierce.

Sleep

Sleep has improved as well this month.  Ever since letting him eat when he wants, he has gone longer and longer stretches.  He also is doing better at napping.  We still do the eat, play, sleep routine.  I can tell when he is getting sleepy.  He takes long blinks, yawns, and will start to become vocal if I don't catch his sleepy signs in time.  When ever I see him get tired, I swaddle him.  For the most part, I turn the lights off, turn on the sound machine, and rock him a little.  My goal is to put him down while drowsy, but usually he ends up falling asleep before lying him down.  He practices sleeping in his crib at least once a day.  Sometimes he does great and will sleep an hour, and other times he needs his mama.  I try to be flexible and realize that sometimes he just needs to be held.  I was super excited this morning when I swaddled him and put him down on my bed, so I could go get cereal.  After I got back in the room, expecting to hold him, he was snoozing on our bed.  I think it was because he ate at 6 and so I just decided to go ahead and start the day.  We usually start the day around 8 or later.  When it is day time and he wakes up from his nap, I make sure to turn the lights on.  This helps him to distinguish between awake/ daytime and night/ sleep time.  At night, we just eat and sleep.  He gets a bath or lotion massage at night, then put in his Halo Sleep Sack, nursed really well on both sides, then put in his pack-n-play bassinet.  He usually sleeps 5 hours then will wake me up.  I feed him and most times he sleeps on top of me for the rest of the night.  So far, I haven't had any luck getting him back in his pack-n-play after that middle-of-the-night feeding.  As soon as he is in it, he starts coughing/ gagging/ fussing and I get worried he will choke.  If he does go down, he wakes up about an hour after.  It is a work in progress.  I make sure there aren't any covers around him and don't really sleep that deep anyways, so for now it works.  

Favorites and Dislikes

Pierce loves the ceiling fan!  I can put him down and he will kick, "talk," and stare at the fan for a long time.  He also likes looking out windows.  He loves to stand on my lap while we sit in the chair next to the window.  He has so much fun gazing and and doing his wiggly dance.  The playmat is still a favorite.  The lights and music can entertain him while mommy gets some things done.  He likes the K'Tan wrap.  It helps to have my hands free while he naps on me in the wrap.  I have tried the Moby wrap, but he fusses every time.  I don't know how he knows the difference.  He loves some classical music with his daddy.  His daddy will play it while changing his diaper and he goes into a trance.  Bath time is so fun that I have made sure he has plenty of play time to splish and splash.  The avent pacifier has to always be in an arm's reach.  We would be in big trouble if we didn't have one handy.  He especially likes the one attached to his toy giraffe.  We have found if he gets fussy that he likes to be up over one of our shoulders looking around while we walk him around the house.  What he does not like is to be in something that holds him down and restricts him from seeing, hence the carseat.  He has gotten more used to it, but it still isn't his favorite place to be.  He doesn't like the taste of his Zantac. And although bath time is fun, after the bath is not.  The cold makes him cry every time.  He dislikes getting burped because there is just no time when milk is calling his name.  Tummy time on the floor isn't that great and he is so strong that he can turn himself over off the pillow.  All-in-all, he is really great baby and I feel very blessed!

Mommy's 2 Month Letter to Pierce:

My sweet baby,

Where has the time gone?  You are growing so fast that I can almost see the change every morning when you wake up.  I can't believe how big you have gotten this month.  You no longer look like a newborn, but are now a baby with plenty of rolls to love on.  I can't believe that you weigh 13 pounds!  Your size one diapers are getting snug, and I am afraid you will be growing out of you 0-3 month size clothes soon.  It hurts my heart a little to see you grow so fast. I try to cling on to each day.  This has caused me to spoil you rotten.  The house isn't as tidy as I'd like and those thank-you cards still needs to be sent, but time is fleeting fast and snuggles with you have taken priority.  This month was a tough one for you.  Growth spurts galore and mommy learning to be, well, a mommy, has put you into tears.  I have now learned your hungry cries versus your sleepy cries.  I know so much more about you and can meet your needs better as well.  My anxiety is fading, and I feel more confident in knowing what you want.  This month has shown me that you really know who your mommy is, which delights me to no end.  I love being your mommy more than anything and am trying not to take one moment for granted.  You still are very serious and study your surroundings often, but just in the past few days I have gotten many real grins.  You have also become more vocal.  Just since yesterday, you started socializing with me and "talking" back.  I have heard that every stage just gets better and better.  These past few days have definitely made me excited for the future.  I love seeing your little personality shine.  I love you so much more than you'll ever know.  I am so proud of you.  Even today, after you got your shots, you were so brave.  I have loved seeing how content you have been in the past few days as well.  I can put you down and you entertain yourself.  It is such a blessing because I know you are happy, but those weeks when you needed held all the time were wonderful too.  I love that you need me, and, sweet boy, I will always be here for you.  I love that you know what you want when you want it.  You let me know real quick with that high-pitched squeal of yours.  It just makes me laugh!  Your expressions have started cracking me up lately.  I love how you love music.  Your eyes twinkle and your legs start kicking.  You make the cutest face when trying to stand as your body wiggles from side to side.  I could eat you up!  Your eyelashes have really grown this month.  They are super long like your daddy's and are so pretty lying on your cheeks as you sleep.  Your cheeks are extra kissable and you now have the cutest little belly to blow on.  Your hair has gotten less on top, but grown in on the back.  I still attempt to part it for a comb-over at your daddy's request with what little I have to work with.  You remind me so much of your daddy.  It used to be so lonely at home while he was at work or school, but now I have a little piece of him with me all the time because I have you.  How precious you are to your daddy and me.  You have made us a family.  God knew how much I needed a son.  You are perfect. You are mine. You are ours.  You are His.  

I love you!

xoxo,

Mommy












No more pictures please!
Lots of Love,

Christy

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Pierce at 1 month

Keeping up with the blog while trying to learn how to be a mommy is tough!  I really want to capture these moments and not forget.  I try to really be in the present with him and soak up every second, which leaves little time to blog.  However, I also know if I don't write it down then likely I will end up forgetting all those sweet little details.  I can't believe how fast Pierce is growing!  What a whirlwind the first month of his life has been.  There have been so many "what ifs" "whys" "wonder if I'm doing this right" "wonder what's wrong" etc.  But I have LOVED every second of it!!!  I have never been so happy in all my life!

I thought working in the NICU would at least prepare me for the first month, maybe even second month of his life, but boy was I wrong!  The NICU and real life are so different!  I also didn't realize how scarred I would be from working in such a sterile, scheduled, and sometimes extremely sad environment.  I constantly have checked to make sure Pierce is breathing while he is sleeping.  I can't count the number of times I have shaken him to make sure he is alive.  Poor baby!  He's going to have Shaken Baby Syndrome next!!!  I have been panicked that he is going to get sick.  This is one of the worst flu seasons and he was born right around the holidays.  It has made this NICU Nurse mommy terrified and wishing I could put him in a plastic bubble.  Everything he has is sterilized or sanitized.  Yes I'm that mom!!  You can say, "She is so dramatic!" or "Typical first time mom" but it is more than that.  I have seen mommies and daddies  who just want a happy, healthy baby and do everything in their power to get them to that point.  Sometimes they do and sometimes they don't.  I know what a blessing my child is, and I am determined not to take that for granted.  I will protect him the best I know how and if that makes me a little cray, cray, well then so be it.  The love I have for him is incredible!  I have always been such a laid back person and the mama bear inside me has surprised me so much.  I am trying to be calm and sweet, but in the end I'm going to do what I think is best for my baby.  So just look over my crazy and sanitize your hands!  haha

Now onto Pierce!

God must have known how much I needed a good baby for that first month, during which recovery for mommy was pretty difficult.  I am so thankful Pierce slept and ate so well!  When he was born he weighed a hefty 8 pounds, 2 ounces.  At his first follow-up appointment he was down to 7 pounds, 10 ounces.  A week later he was 8 pounds, 10 ounces!  I definitely didn't have to worry about his weight and could feed him ad lib, on demand as we call it.  In other words he could eat as much as he wanted, when he wanted it.  I have been strictly breastfeeding and so far we haven't needed to supplement with any formula.  I actually was making too much milk!  

We didn't get to go to his 1 month appointment until he was 6 weeks old, which is why I'm so behind in writing his 1 month update.  He was a month around Christmas/ NewYear's, so I had to wait on our Pediatrician to be back.  I knew he had grown A LOT, but didn't realize just how much!  At 6 weeks, I was having to start switching to 3 month size clothes from all those tiny newborn outfits.  It was bittersweet!!  

The pediatrician said Pierce looked great!  She was really pleased with his progress.  I did get a prescription for Zantac due to his reflux and also some Nystatin for his baby acne.  (And just for the record, the Nystatin cleared his baby acne up in 2 days! Amazing!)  She couldn't believe how big Pierce was, since Russ and myself are pretty average size.  

Pierce's 1 Month Measurements
Weight: 11 lbs, 3 oz > 90%
Head:    38.8 cm      > 90%
Height:   23 in          > 98%                

Development
Pierce is a pretty serious baby.  He loves to wrinkle up that forehead, drop those eyebrows, and study everything around him.  I have gotten just a couple real smiles.  In fact, the best smile he has given was to the nurse at the Pediatrician's office.  I'll be honest, I was pretty jealous!  If only he had known, she would be the one giving him his shot.  He has started turning his head to a sound or when a person walks up to the opposite side of where he is looking.  I can tell he can recognize me, which makes my heart melt. The muscles in his legs are impressive.  He is one strong baby.  He can stand up while being held and constantly picks his head up off my shoulder to look around.  

Eat
He is eating about every three to four hours day and night.  Many times he will sleep a five hour stretch at night, which is so helpful.  He nurses about 20 minutes and takes about four ounces from a bottle.  One issue is that we have to use a nipple shield when breastfeeding and not because his latch is bad.  He got used to it in the hospital and so far I am having no luck weaning him from it.  The choking is our biggest problem!  He guzzles the milk down so fast that he sucks in way too much air and almost always gets strangled.  It hurts my heart, but no amount of pacing helps.  As soon as he latches back on, he starts chugging!  Burping him has been difficult even for this NICU Nurse Pro.  However, daddy can always get him to burp and likes to help mommy with that.  We pretty much do the eat, play, sleep routine and that is going well for now.  I've been making way too much milk, so I went a week without pumping so my body could figure out how much he needs.  I was getting tired of pumping before every feeding to help him not choke so bad.  I was also having problems with getting engorged.  As hard as it was to not pump, my body did end up making less milk and it seemed to help with feedings.  It did bother me, though, because we are so into pumping and saving milk in the NICU.  I was proud of my supply, but it was just too much for him and I just could not pump before every feeding with an impatient baby crying.  I am making 4-6 ounces now rather than 10 ounces before.  It is going so much better!  I love breastfeeding him!  Sometimes it is frustrating!  He will knock the shield off and milk will go everywhere or he can't get latched.  My chest aches constantly and the fatigue is intense.  However, I love it!  It makes no sense, but I do!  I love to provide my baby the nourishment he needs without costing my family any money.  As time has gone on and breastfeeding has become easier, the bonding experience is priceless.  He now will take his hands and play with my hair while he gazes up at me.  I absolutely love it!  Russ has been so helpful!  He has always been there to help me.  I'm so grateful for his assistance, because it really helped in the beginning to have him burp Pierce or change his diaper.  Breastfeeding takes up so much time, so those little breaks are much appreciated.

Sleep
In the beginning Pierce slept all the time.  I remember Russ saying that he didn't understand what all the fuss was about because things were so easy for us as far as Pierce goes.  He was the best baby!  The first few weeks we put Pierce in the rock-n-play.  The incline helped with his reflux and gassy tummy.  Around the month mark we decided to switch him to the bassinet part of the pack-n-play because he wasn't sleeping as well.  He still was beside our bed and it actually made things a little easier since it was level with our bed.  I could just reach over, feed him, and then put him back down again all from the bed.  We always use a sound machine and started a bedtime routine with him as well.  I started letting him nap in his crib, because the goal is to transition him to it around 3 months.  So far, so good!  

Favorites and Dislikes
This baby loves the water!  He is his father's son.  I think he will like to water ski just like his daddy.  His cord stayed on for two weeks and so I think he really cherishes his bath time now.  He splashes like crazy and seems so happy to be in the tub.  He loves to eat like his mama. haha.  He makes such sweet baby noises while he is feeding, but also loves to grunt as if the grunts will get him the food faster.  He likes his playmat with its lights and music.  He kicks and is so alert when we place him on it.  He loves being held and also seems to like sleeping.  
His not-so-favorites are hats, his carseat, waiting to eat, and getting his diaper changed.  I never knew a baby could hate hats.  I even tried on multiple occasions thinking i was crazy, but no, he will not wear a hat. period. 

Mommy's 1 month letter to Pierce 
Pierce, 
I can't believe how much you have taught me in just this one month!  You have shown me a love that is indescribable.  In the first week after you were born, it felt like my heart was growing out of my chest.  The love for you and your daddy was just about more than I could handle.  It has been such a high of emotions and I never want them to go away.  Already, I know I would do anything for you and your life will always come before my own.  You have taught me how to be selfless, patient, loving, caring, nurturing, grateful, and so much more.  It delights me to  watch you grow and I can see you changing from day-to-day. I love to watch you sleep and as tired as I may be, watching you sleep somehow takes priority.  I study your beautiful, big eyes, wispy, soft hair, and cute little turned-up button nose.  Your skin feels so soft on my lips, and I love to cover your face with kisses.  I love your little frowny face that studies your surrounding so intently.  I love the wrinkles on your forehead and the back of your head.  I call you my little bulldog all the time with your rolls and wrinkles everywhere.  You are exactly everything I could have ever wanted and more.  God knew just what your daddy and myself needed.  Our lives are so full now all because of you.  And what amazes me the most is that you have shown me how much my Savior loves me.  I now understand a parent's love.  There is nothing like it in this world.  I was so scared before you got here and here you are bringing me more love and joy than I even knew possible.  Being your mommy is the best!  I know I will make mistakes and let you down, but I promise I will try my best to be the best for you.  Your daddy and I love you more than anything.  I am so happy I can raise you in such a loving home with God leading the way.  You have made us a family and I can't wait to see what the future holds.
xoxo,
Mommy













Happy 1 Month to our little buddy! We love you so much!


LOTS OF LOVE,

CHRISTY

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Pierce's Newborn Pictures

We had Pierce's newborn photo shoot when he was five days old.  It was a busy day with his photos and his follow-up pediatrician appointment, but he did great!  It was a little too much for this recovering mama, but luckily we live about ten minutes from the photographer and pediatrician.  

The photographer was wonderful!  She had the studio all set up with all the props ready to go.  I loved just getting to relax and watch her position Pierce into all the cute poses.  There is nothing better than admiring your new baby.













More proofs are available for viewing at http://www.sproutingheartsphotography.com/pierce-newborn-s…/

Special thanks to Jill at Sprouting Hearts Photography! We had the best experience and love our precious pictures.

LOTS OF LOVE,

Christy