Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Encouragement for Mothers

If you are a mother and in need of some encouragement (and let's be honest, who doesn't need some encouragement) please read this post.  This is a guest post on one of my favorite blogs, Passionate Homemaking.  This is one of the best articles I've read in a while and it's such godly, wise advice.  I'm entering a new season with Parks of some challenging times and this is just what I needed to hear.  God is so good to encourage us when we need it.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

1 week old

Baby sister is 1 week old and we are falling more in love with her each day.  It's truly amazing how different you are as a parent the second time around.  Jackson and I both can really "enjoy" her more because we are so much more relaxed.  I don't tense up everytime she starts to fuss or freak out when she cries.  I know what to do this time and I know what she needs, plus I'm not making things harder on myself by making habits I'll just have to break later (more on that later).  Like the Babywise mantra says, "begin as you mean to go".  It's such a relief.

Jackson's parents have graciously taken Parks to their home for a few days giving us some time to rest and enjoy Reese.  We seriously feel like we are on vacation, which is not how I would have described the newborn days with Parks at all.

Reese is already on a pretty good schedule.  She eats every 3 hours and has been sleeping a 4.5-5 hour stretch at night directly followed by a 3 hour stretch after a feeding.  I told Jackson, "I can exist like this for a long time".  It's really not bad at all.  And the best part is, I lay her down in her crib to sleep at night AND for daytime naps.  GLORY!!!   And it gets better, she's not even asleep when I lay her down, she's tired, but awake and then learns to go to sleep on her own!  I wish I had done this with Parks from the start but everything is so different with your second child.  It took me a while to let him cry it out.

I know I've said it before but I have to give it props again, Babywise works for us in a major way.  It faciliates early nighttime sleep and good naps for baby.  A rested baby = a happy baby = a rested, happy mommy!  Everyone has to do what is right for their baby but since it works so well for us, I like to throw it out there in case it's helpful for anyone else.

Here are a few pics of the princess!  We think she has my face shape, possibly Jackson's lips and we're not sure about the eyes.  She definitely looks similar to Parks, but not exactly alike.  They have totally different face shapes and different eyes and noses I think.

 Right after her first bath!  

 Can you believe I can put a bow in her hair?!!  It's so fun!

 She's a happy girl!

She makes the funniest faces too!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

sleeping beauty

She is the sweetest!  And big brother Parks adores her, thankfully!  All of his "adjustment issues" have been directed towards us :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

She's here!

So most of you know that our precious baby girl, Reese, was born Friday, May 6th at 4:58 am.  She is amazing and we love her so much!  I have so much to say about her, I'm not sure where to start.  I guess I'll start by telling her birth story.

On Friday I started feeling some strong contractions in the afternoon but they were very irregular.  My antenna went up because as a 2nd time mom, I know the difference between braxton hicks and real, labor contractions and these were the real deal.  Jackson got home from work a little early and we decided to go out to dinner because I didn't feel like cooking.  We went to Firehouse and I had a contraction on the way there, 2 in the restaurant and one as we were leaving.  I started to wonder if this was it, but was kind of in denial.  Then we stopped by our friends house for a quick visit and the contractions continued about 7 minutes apart.  I had plans to go get frozen yogurt with my friend Alisa and I debated whether or not I should go and I decided it would be a good distraction.  I knew Alisa, who is also 9 months pregnant with her third baby, would be a great and understanding companion.  So the contractions continue on the way to Yotinis and I had one on the way there that scared me to death.  We waited until the contraction was over, ran inside and got our fro-yo as quickly as possible and I made it to the car before I had another one.  We got home and they were still continuing about 7 minutes apart but they were getting stronger and stronger.  Around 8 pm and three hours of regular, strong contractions Jackson and I decide I'm probably actually in labor and we should start making some arrangements.

We call my sister and let her know we will need her to come watch Parks and then call my mom who had to drive down from D.C.  Jackson and I start getting things ready to go to the hospital and around 10:00 pm we decide it's time to call my midwife.  My sister arrives and we head off to the hospital and arrive around 10:45 pm.

This labor felt very different than my labor with Parks.  My contractions this time were very, very strong from much earlier on.  Even though they weren't super close together, they were intense and the pain was what I remembered from my transition contractions with Parks.  I had a few contractions at my house before we left that really scared me because of how strong they were, I thought I might be getting close to transition.  Also, I was having terrible back labor which I didn't have at all with Parks.  The pain was seriously much worse.  Having labored to 10 cm and pushed for an hour and half with no epidural before, I knew the pain/work/feelings that were ahead of me and at around 10:00 pm after some of these really painful contractions I told Jackson, "I don't want to do this tonight.  I want an epidural."  Poor Jackson was so surprised because I had been preparing myself and him for another natural birth attempt. I was sure I could do it "this time".  Well, after chasing around a toddler all day 9 months pregnant and your labor picking up at 10:00 pm at night with horrible back labor (thanks to a posterior baby) I quickly re-evaluated my priorities. After remembering how exhausted and drugged I was with Parks, I knew I wanted to be as rested and refreshed as I could be when I met Reese.  So, I quickly made up my mind that I wanted that epidural ASAP.  Of course Jackson completely supported me in this decision which meant a lot.

It was a great choice for me.  But I still had to labor 2 more hours in the hospital before they were ready to give me the epidural.  Those were the hardest 2 hours ever.  I was at 7 cm when I received the epidural and it could not have come soon enough.  Those contractions were so intense and the worst part was I couldn't get in good positions to manage them because I had to have the fetal monitor on and my IV in.  It was the worst but Jackson got me through it.

Then, the epidural kicked in.  Ahhhh, the sweetest relief I have ever known.  I was seriously sooo happy.  It was around 1:00 am and I got to blissfully doze on and off for the next four hours.  I was at 10 cm within 2 hours but my midwife wanted to let my contractions push Reese down as far as possible on their own before I started to push so we rested for about 4 hours total before it was time to push.  That's one of the great things about an epidural, she was so far down that pushing didn't take long.

She was born at 4:58 am, "sunny side up" meaning posterior hence the back labor.  She weighed 8 pounds even (bigger than Parks, we were all shocked!) and measured 21 inches long.  Healthy and crying, she stayed with me skin to skin for at least an hour before she was taken from me at all, not even for weighing or measuring.  It was awesome.  We got off to a great start nursing and she has been a great baby so far.  We are so in love and it's amazing how different everything feels with a little girl.

This was a great birth experience and I'm so thankful to the Lord for our little girl and an amazing husband who got me through it again.