Monday, January 30, 2012

early milestones

my girl is amazing. and beautiful. though i wonder, everyone says she looks just like me, so is it vane of me to say that she is beautiful? if it is, i don't care. :) she looks like emily to me, just the way noah looks like noah. i see the similar features between the two of them, and features that resemble ben or i, but when i look at them, i just see my beautiful babies.

emily was six weeks old this week, and right at the six week mark, she started giving me big cheesy smiles. of course, they're still somewhat inconsistent. she has to be alert, content, and willing. i usually have to open my eyes really wide and raise the pitch of my voice, and with a little prompting, she'll get wide eyed, smiley eyes, start poking her tongue out of her mouth, and ultimately give a wide, open mouthed grin. i've yet to catch the toothless grin on camera, but ben and i know these are no longer gas smiles.

this week was also big because emily started consistently "sleeping through the night". i put that in quotes because sleeping through the night at this stage is pretty subjective. she is started to get on a more regular sleep schedule where she wakes around 7 or 8, eats, "naps" for an hour or two, eats, is up for awhile, naps mid-day (2ish), is up for awhile, naps early pm (6ish), and then falls asleep around 10pm, but wakes to eat around midnight. now there are good nights and bad nights. the good nights, she eats once at 12 or 1 and sleeps til 6 or 7. the bad nights, she wants to eat like 3 times around 12, 1, 2 ish and might sleep til 5 or 6. still, not bad.

we also booked our trip this week to the west coast! emily's first airplane trip will be to southern california in just under two weeks! we fly february 11th to california where we'll spend a few days with ben's sister sarah, before driving to phoenix to spend a few days with my college roommate, amanda, who just had her second baby, a little boy named jett, two weeks ago!

another big milestone is that noah is practically potty trained! it's been probably three weeks now since i decided one saturday that noah was going to wear underpants and pee on the potty. now, we've had several false starts on this. noah's been sitting on the potty for a looooong time. he's been pooping on the toilet every night for ages, but to get him to acknowlege when he has to pee and actually sit on the potty was another story. we tried underpants when we were on vacation at piatt lake this summer, but stopped for fear of giving noah a complex, since he would scream everytime we tried to put him on the toilet. we tried again around thanksgiving, but he didn't care that his undies would get wet when he peed. finally, we decided to try pull ups. that last a few days before i basically became frustrated that they were just expensive diapers since noah didn't care that he was wet, and developed a rash from wearing them for a few days.

the first day in undies, i bribed noah. i gave him choices of snacks, chocolate or candy corn. he chose candy corn. i told him he could have one candy corn for sitting on the potty and trying to go, or two if he actually went potty. bribery is an amazing thing! there were a few minor accidents in the first couple days and fewer big accidents, and the big accidents weren't even that big. whenever he would have an accident, we'd rush him to the potty. he probably got sick of it, but part of our routine became - "noah, remember to tell mommy when you have to go potty. do you have to go potty? what are you going to say when you have to go potty? always tell someone when you have to go potty."

we're at a point now where noah wears undies 100% of the time he's awake. we've never had a major mess outside of the house, and this past monday, even went to the museum of science and industry with no issues. though, on the drive home, noah was acting like he had to go, saying he was uncomfortable and his butt hurt (??) so we stopped at a burger king to use the bathroom. it was a false alarm. he still wears pull ups at nap and bedtime, but in the last day or two, he's woken up almost completely dry. he knows wearing undies is a big deal, and we praise him big time every time he goes and every time he remembers to tell us without being prompted.

still need to finish up the birth/hospital story, but trying to enjoy each moment with my little one. the weeks are flying by. i can hardly believe it's almost february and my maternity leave ends in five weeks.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

six weeks into the life of emily

first things first. emily is six weeks old today. :)

anyway - it has been a loooooong time, and i do apologize. i started writing emily's birth story and it has turned into her birth story slash the story of our hospital stay. needless to say, it's not done, though i need to finish it soon before all the details leave my brain forever.

but i decided i needed to start up blogging again and not wait to finish the birth story because the weeks are slipping by, and my memory again is making me angry. i am so sad that i have SUCH a bad memory. last night laying in bed, i got a little teary thinking about how much emily has already changed - 6lb 7oz at birth, up to 10lb 1oz as of today, receding hairline (the hair on top is gone, but in the back is going strong), her cheeks are probably four times the size they were at birth (though her chicken legs are still chicken-y)...

anyway, the early weeks were as one would expect. ben was home through the 27th. noah was a immediately smitten and was so sweet and gentle with emily from day one. he had a minor regressing right around the four week mark, but remarkably a week or so later, i successfully potty trained noah. (more on that later.) the holidays were rough. too much, too soon. i was still physically recovering from my c-section and emotionally dealing with all the changes in my life, my lack of sleep, and raw nipples. (sorry TMI)

the hardest thing early on was nursing. i recalled that with noah, he was lazy and never nursed well, but as things progressed with emily, i remembered that i ultimately stopped with noah because of the painful effects of an apparently poor latch. from probably week two to week four with emily, i questioned my ability to nurse her long term. i had to take a break on one side around christmas and pump it for a few days because it was so sore and in such bad shape. and then came the growth spurts. there have been days and weeks that i've felt like all she does round the clock is nurse.

in the last couple days, she seems to be developing more of a schedule. she's sleeping up to five hour stretches at night and has been for several days. she's awake for longer stretches during the day, and seems to have a good 2-3 "naps" throughout the day. there have been glimspes here and there of a questionable smile, but today, despite her being especially pitiful because of having gotten her shots, i'm pretty sure she and i exchanged some real deal cheesers, with wide eyes and gurgly "goo"s thrown in.

all in all, she's a pretty easy kid. laid back and calm. only crying and fussing when she's poopy or hungry. or bored. i think sometimes she just wants to be held and talked to. there have been a handful of times that she has been inconsolable. we briefly had her on Axid as the ped suspected reflux. we also briefly gave her gas drops. now, the gas is still sometimes an issue. i really think she sometimes does have tummy discomfort, but i feel pretty confident it's not reflux. our biggest "issue" is that she often chokes when she's nursing, presumably due to difficulty dealing with my "let down". hoping she'll learn to deal with it soon, because it sounds horrible when she does it.

it's late but i will be better at updating. more to come!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Birth story - part one

After starting this post, and then failing to finish, I'm going to post it in increments. Here's the first part of Emily's birth story:

We went to the hospital around 6:30 that morning. The sun wasn't even up yet. We checked in at labor and delivery, and I was taken to my room and immediately asked to change into my gown. The nurse, Amanda, was lovely. Young and fresh faced, and clearly loved her job. Another nurse, who thought her sh*t didn't stink, was around too, but I didn't care to get her name. It took three people and three sticks to get my IV in (ugh), but shortly after it was finally in, my OB stopped in, answered a few questions, and was called into surgery, assuring me that we were right on schedule. The nurses asked a battery of questions while I was being prepped, and I was happy to be asked if I was planning on breastfeeding (yes), if I was open to bottle/formula supplementation (no), if I was open to pacifier use (no)... When Noah was born, a nurse popped a bottle of formula in his mouth either the first night or next morning, and as a new mom, didn't know that I could say no or just didn't have the energy or wherewithall to say no, and was adamant that I wanted things to be different this time.

My surgery was scheduled for 9:15, and it probably wasn't too much later that they walked me to the OR. It was a different experience this time. Going in of my own devices, mentally alert and aware of what was about to happen. Looking back, I'm not sure I even hugged Ben or said anything to him before walking down the hall. It was about at this point that the nerves and emotions set in.

The OR was bright and cold. They always area. I sat on the table and the anesthesiologist prepared me for the "bee sting" that would proceed the actual procedure to place the spinal. As he started, I completely lost it. My emotions took over, and reality hit me. It finally hit me that I was about to deliver my baby girl and meet my miracle daughter for the first time. The young nurse, Amanda, was amazing. Last time, I got my epidural in my L&D room, leaning on Ben while the anesthesiologist did his thing. This time, I was alone, but Amanda made sure that I didn't feel so much so. She grasped both my hands while I literally cried on her shoulder. She was so lovely.

The spinal was a different experience from an epidural. It took effect very quickly, and by the time they were laying me down and positioning my legs, I was feeling very tingly, and I remember it being a very gross sensation. The anesthesiologist warned me that the spinal would effect me all the way up to my chest, and that I may feel at times like I was having difficulty breathing. This sensation did occur a few times during surgery, but the doctor assured me my breathing was fine and reminded me to take a few deep breaths.

Surgery itself was fine, and seemed quicker than my c-section with Noah. I think a lot of it had to do with my being mentally and emotionally prepared for the c-section, being significantly more coherent having not gone through induction and several hours of labor, and also not needing other drugs during the surgery. With Noah I think I got some narcotics because I had the shakes so bad and was really feeling weird during surgery. This time, the worst side-effect was that I vomited/dry heaved on several occasions. The anesthesiologist took care of me though, holding the barf bucket, sucking up the liquid with one of those things they use at the dentist, and wiping the dribble off the side of my face....

And then the moment we'd waiting 40 long weeks for (and then some)!!

Emily Reese Koechling was born on Tuesday, December 13, 2011 at 10:24am by scheduled c-section. She weighed 6lbs, 7oz and was 19in long. When I heard her first cry, I burst into tears, and when I first saw her, ever so briefly, I was amazed at how different she looked from Noah!

It seemed like an eternity before they brought her back so I could see her close up - probably not more than five minutes - and I later learned her APGARs were 7, 9, & 9. The first was lower because she wasn't breathing as quickly as they wanted and they wanted to give her a little oxygen. I barely even remember seeing her up close, but it was at that point that they took Emily and Ben to recovery and the doctors finished closing me up. Again, it may have just been because I was mentally in a different state this time, but surgery seemed to go much more quickly this time, and the time between Ben leaving and me going to recovery seemed much shorter.

When I got to recovery, Emily was under the heat lamp because she was having difficulty regulating her body temperature. It wasn't long though before they asked if I wanted to try to nurse her, and it brought tears to my eyes when she easily latched and nursed.

Once we were in recovery, Ben contacted our family to let them know we were out of surgery, and would hopefully be in a room in a few hours. We wound up being in recovery for probably and hour and a half. They kept telling me I could go to my room when I could wiggle my toes. I tried desparately on several occasions to wiggle my toes, and when it finally happened, they said we could head to my room and Emily would go to the nursery to get a bath before joining us in the room.

More to come, because my story could not be THAT simple...