Andrew's One Month Celebration

Saturday, August 25, 2012
We started a little tradition with Emily, where we had a family celebration for Emily's first and six, of course we have to continue that tradition with Andrew. We had a small get together with our families to celebrate Andrew turning 1 MONTH old. Nothing huge, just a nice dinner and cupcakes for dessert. Everyone got a chance to hold and cuddle with Andrew while we hung out, soaked up the beautiful weather and delicious dinner (cooked by yours truly), and enjoyed each others company.
Uncle "J" and Emily

Nana and Andrew

Not quite ready for a cupcake yet...11 more months

Andrew Is One Month Old

It's been one month already...I can't help thinking that if he came on his due date, he would only be one week old at this time. It has been quite the adjustment going from one child to two. Scheduling has been my lifesaver through this. Emily already has the routine down...she wakes up just as Andrew is feeding. Depending on where Andrew and I are at, she either comes upstairs to our bedroom and watches Mickey Mouse Clubhouse while he feeds, or we sit on the couch in the living room together instead. Andrew feeds every 3 hours...on the dot. At the beginning I nursed on demand just as he needed, and then once he started to follow a bit of routine, I started to implement the Baby Wise system: feed, wake, sleep...every 3 hours. It's nice for everyone this way because he has come to expect a feeding at a certain time and because it's routine he doesn't have to freak out and scream his head off to tell me he is hungry. As for me, I am able to schedule a bit of a life outside of the house because I know about how long I have before he needs to feed again. 
I have also begun to pump full time rather than nurse. At his two-week appointment I asked his pediatrician when I could start introducing the bottle to him and he said it would be fine at this point (two weeks of age) I did, and Andrew took to the bottle right away. I love feeding with the bottle because I can recruit help with his feedings. Daddy, Grandparents, and even babysitters can feed Andrew. Don't get me wrong...I love the bonding time with Andrew when he feeds and I feel like I still get that mommy/baby bonding moment with the bottle because I still hold him close and look in his eyes as he gazes back at me during his feedings, however...especially during the midnight hours, it is SO NICE to have Craig take over a feeding every now and again so I can get a few more hours of sleep. 
One of the biggest adjustments has been trying to get out of the house. WOW...what an ordeal this can be: trying to get Emily prepared with her shoes and whatever toys/dolls she is requesting to bring along, and then putting Andrew in his carseat (which he is no fan of at all = screaming baby)...and then grabbing the carseat, the diaper bag, and Emily's hand as we head out of the door. Then, trying to get everyone IN the car...OY!! I am not looking forward to the cold wet season that is right around the corner. I unlock the car and am trying to get Emily to be able to open her own door and get in her carseat all by herself (I don't think that I want her to be able to buckle herself in mainly because I don't want her to know how to UNBUCKLE herself). Meanwhile, I'm on the other side of the car opening the front door to put the diaper bag and whatever else I have in my hands, then opening the back door to put Andrew in his spot, then going over to Emily's side (who is most likely NOT in her seat because she sees this all as a fun game) to put Emily in her seat and buckle her up. 
This last month has been such a new that I absolutely cherish! I have so enjoyed being able to stay home with both of my kids. There are good days, and there are not-so-good days, but Emily's kisses and Andrew's cuddles make it all better at the end of the day! I have loved every moment with them. I am amazed at how well Emily has adjusted to having a new brother. Not only has she been extremely helpful with Andrew (pushing him in his swing, grabbing his binky for him when he cried, yelling out to tell me he is if I couldn't hear, singing him songs and reading him books), but she has also grown more and more attached to her baby dolls...mimicking what I do with Andrew: changing their diapers, putting them down for naps, feeding them a bottle, etc. It is so fun to watch her experience and grow this nurturing quality.

Bringing Home Baby...Emily Is Such A Proud New Sister

Emily is such a proud new big sister.

I was so unsure of the proper way to introduce Emily to Andrew. I have to say, I was actually nervous...not just for Emily's sake, but also for my own. I couldn't comprehend how I was going to be able love another child as much as I loved Emily. I wasn't sure about my feelings with a new baby. Don't get me wrong...I prayed for this child...and waited for over two years for this child. These confused feelings started to arise as the delivery date got closer and closer.
I started to realize that I was no longer going to have my one on one time with Emily. It was mainly my cuddle time that I was worried about because I know that Emily is going to outgrow that phase sooner than later. She has always been a huge "cuddler". We would cuddle on the couch as we watched a movie together. We would cuddle during her night time routine. We would cuddle...just to cuddle. I couldn't see this continuing with a new baby around and I didn't want to lose that.
On the other side...I was worried because I wanted to have the same amount of quality time with my newborn son as I had with Emily when she was a newborn. I wanted uninterrupted "snuggle" time, "cuddle" time, and "holding" time. I wanted to spend hours just staring back at my babies eyes. I wanted to sit and let my newborn son rest and fall asleep on my shoulder. I had no idea how this was going to happen, or if it even could happen. Would I be able to make the same connection with Andrew as I was able to make with Emily?
All of these questions/concerns overwhelmed me. I was terrified of this new change because I just couldn't see it working out perfectly for everyone. I just kept imagining someone's feelings being hurt, whether it was Emily's, Andrew's, or my own.

As far as Emily goes, I wanted to make sure that she did not feel replaced by Andrew. I wanted to make sure that she knew she was still such an important piece to our family. I read a couple of other blogs to see what they did for their first born to make them feel secure in this way and here is what we ended up doing:
  • Long before Andrew's arrival, we started reading books to Emily from the Library about becoming a big sister, or what it was like to have a baby in the family.
  • We made a small picture book of all of the pictures we took from her delivery. We read the photo album like it was a book and talked about how she arrived and how special she was and how excited we were to have her join our family. She loved this album and started looking through it on her own time...reading it aloud to herself. It was pretty special hearing her repeat all of the things that we talked about with her. 
  • During her bedtime routine we listed all of the ways that she would be able to help out with the new baby: sing songs, play, find the binky, change his diapers (not really...but she loved talking about dirty diapers for some reason), etc. This helped her to become super excited about helping with her new baby brother. 
  • We planned on her staying with my parents while we were at the hospital, so we talked about that with her a lot too. We had a practice "slumber party" at their house and also had Emily help pack her bag with the clothes that she wanted to wear and some toys that she wanted to bring over to play with.
 Here is how we prepared for the actual meeting of Emily and Andrew at the hospital:

  • We brought a gift with us that was from "Andrew" to Emily. Emily is really into the Disney Princesses right now, so "Andrew" gave her a Disney Princess lunch box filled with snacks and some games to keep her happy and busy while she visited us at the hospital. 
  • When my parents brought her to the hospital for the first time, we put baby Andrew in his bassinet so that Emily could climb into my bed and we could cuddle and she could tell me all the things she had been doing with her grandparents. We then told her that Andrew had finally left mommy's belly and IMMEDIATELY, she started looking around the room for her new brother. She was so excited to meet him. We told her that he was asleep in the bassinet and she quickly stood up to look inside the bassinet. She had the BIGGEST smile on her face and she couldn't wait to hold him. We had her sit down next to me and Craig brought Andrew to Emily to hold. I have never seen her so happy before (well...maybe when she got her big girl bed). It was such a relief to me because I had NO CLUE how this would all play out. (The total stinky thing that happened was we caught this most beautiful thing on video via our iPhone, and it froze up and ended up not recording a single moment.)
Once we were given the A.O.K. to come home, it was important to us to come home as a FAMILY. We drove to my parents house to pick up Emily and then drove home for the first time as a family of four!!! SO COOL!!
When we had visitors come to the house, Emily was always at the door to greet them. Our guests were always so great to first give Emily attention and ask her how she was doing and what she thought about her new baby brother. She would then introduce the company to her new brother. It was great because it gave her the control and didn't make it all about Andrew. She felt very important.

This entire process was an emotional roller coaster...but the words of my mother quickly made so much sense to me, "Your love doesn't divide with another multiplies". I love is so true. I don't love Emily any less, nor do I love Andrew any less than when Emily was a newborn. Both of my children are loved...and their cup runeth over!!! They are both so much alike and so unique at the same time.  Emily is head over heels for her baby brother...and loves to hold him, sing to him, and help in any way that she can. I love it!!


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Andrew has finally decided to join our family...3 weeks early!!!

Andrew Jame's Birth Story:

I'll begin with telling you about the day before our trip to the hospital. It was Monday, July 23rd, and I went in for my 36 week check up. The doctor asked if I wanted her to check for dilation...YES!!! By this time in the pregnancy, I was ready for Andrew to make his arrival. Since Emily came a couple days before her due date, and I was dilated to a 3 for more than a week before her arrival, I was extremely curious to see if I was dilated at all at this point. To my surprise...I was already dilated to 4cm!!! I was ecstatic! I immediately sent text messages to the family to let them know that Andrew just might be coming any day now.
The next day, knowing that time was no longer on my side, I decided to run a bunch of errands. I had things to return, things to buy, and chores to do to make sure the nursery was completed. It wasn't long before I started to have contractions. I am blessed to painless contractions, it was the exact same the day Emily decided to arrive. The contractions were not strong at all, but they were certianly getting closer and closer together. I had a feeling that this was going to be the day, but honestly I wasn't ready for Andrew yet...I had a few more errands to run and laundry to do at home. So, I kid you not, I refused to start "timing" my contractions until I got home.
When I finished my errands, I sent a text to Craig and my mom to put them on alert that today might be the day. Immediately, Craig replied and said he was on his way home. I responded and told him to just hold off until I actually had proof that my contractions were close enough for admission to the hospital. Now, I still had a number of things to accomplish at home (laundry, cleaning, putting some finishing touches in Andrew's room, etc) which probably didn't help my contractions. Craig continued to text me to see how I was doing and to ask how far apart my contractions were. When I told him they were an average of five minutes apart he insisted on coming home.
I was still not completely convinced that we should go to hospital because I never sat down and relaxed while timing the contractions...who knew...maybe they were so close together because I was over doing it, not because Andrew was ready to meet the family. Regardless, when Craig arrived home, he wanted me to call the Dr. to see what she thought I should do. When the Dr. heard how close my contractions were, even though they weren't painful at all (she remembered that my contractions were not painful with Emily's pregnancy...and she arrived anyway), she told me to get to the hospital...AND AWAY WE WENT.

When we arrived at the hospital, we checked in, and they took me straight up to the labor and delivery floor. The Dr. was already at the hospital. She checked me out and I was still dilated to a 4 and then they hooked me up to a machine to monitor my contractions...and...NOTHING!! No contractions!!! I had contractions in the car on the way to the hospital, in the ER, on the way up to the L&D floor, but as soon as I was hooked up...NOT A SINGLE ONE!!! My worst nightmare was going to the hospital and being sent home. PLEASE DON'T SEND ME HOME!!! Come on Andrew!!! The Dr. told me to walk around for about an hour and she would check me again to see if I would dilate more. 
One hour later...still dilated to a 4. I was given the same orders: "Walk around for one more hour and if there is no change, we will send you home to relax". Instead of walking around the tiny L&D floor, we stayed in our room as I paced back and forth, back and forth. To make it a little more interesting I decided to do some skipping around the room, some can cans, you name it...I tried it!! I just wanted to move this process along. Craig got a kick out of it!
One more hour later...the nurse came in to check...and ABRA...CADABRA...I made it to a 5!!!! This was my ticket to staying!!! WOOT WOOT!!!!
They transferred me to a delivery room, started an IV site, and let me walk around some more and roll around on one of those huge bouncy balls. At this point, my contractions were still painless. With Emily's delivery, the pain didn't arrive until my water broke. I finally reached 6cm, so they decided to start my IV fluids while I rested in my bed. The Dr. decided to break my water...which I insisted that they call the anesthesiologist to start my epideral because the pain came in like a roaring lion after breaking my water with Emily's delivery.
Getting the eipideral was the worst part of the delivery...if I had to choose a worst part (because the whole thing was practically a PAINLESS experience). I HATE pain! I'm a baby when it comes to pain. I don't understand why anyone would choose to experience the pain of delivery on purpose. A friend's doctor said it perfectly, "Medicine has come a long way. Choosing to deliver without an epideral is like choosing to have a root canal without getting numb. WHY would you do that?" Now, no need to school me on why you perhaps chose give birth each his's just not for me!
Now, back to Andrew's story. The epideral was pretty uncomfortable, but by far worth it. (For those of you who are a little unsure of the epideral...I HATE shots, to the point that nurses have asked me to lay down after receiving a teeny tiny TB shot...yes, I turn white as a ghost. Now, I'm not going to say that the epideral was painless, because it wasn't, BUT it wasn't horribly painful either...just uncomfortable, but FAR WORTH IT!!!!
Once the epideral was in place, it didn't take long for my legs to go numb, unfortunately, this time around I could still feel all of the painful contractions. I was not thrilled about this at all. After an hour went by, I told the nurse that I was feeling all of the contractions. She immediately paged the anesthesiologist to come and assess the situation. She came right away and checked everything out. Everything was as it should be, so to help me out they gave me a bolus shot and WHA-LA...bye-bye pain!!! I was so numb it was funny!!! I wasn't loopy at your regular pain meds, just simply numb from the waist down. I tried with all of my might to move my toes or lift my leg and...NOTHING!! It was such a weird feeling.
By this time, it was now Wednesday, about 2AM, when they did a final check...and I was finally dilated to a 10. They called the Dr. in, placed my legs into the stir-ups and set up all of the necessities for the doctor. When the Dr. arrived, she took one look and said, "WOW, there is the head...this should only take about one push and he should be here." Well, she wasn't too far off. Literally, 5 pushes/5 minutes later...Andrew was in my arms. I kid you not, I couldn't feel a darn thing, NOT A DARN THING!!! It was amazing! With Emily's delivery, I could still feel the pressure of the contractions so that I knew when I was supposed to push, however, this time around...I literally couldn't feel a thing. The nurse had to tell me when to push and I had no idea if I was pushing or just lifting my head off of the pillow...but I must have been doing something right because Andrew arrived safely and was in my arms in no time!! It was amazing!!!

This was the same nurse that helped to deliver Emily!!! We called ourselves the "A" team!!!

My beautiful baby boy!!!
Proud Dad moment
Proud Grandparents
Andrew James / 6lbs 11oz / 21 in

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