Sunday, January 30, 2011

PPA: Postpartum Anxiety

I went to church today.  It was the first time since Ethan's birth.  Terral has been a few times, and he offered to stay home with Ethan so I could go to sacrament meeting.  Then my mother-in-law offered to watch Ethan so we could go together.  This week, we decided to take her up on her offer.

My first concern was how Ethan would do without me.  He nurses pretty frequently, and he didn't really take to the bottle the two times we tried it in preparation. We decided to try it anyway.  Our backup plan was to leave Terral's cell phone on vibrate so Natalie could call if  she needed to.

My second concern was that our ward now has church at 9:00.  I know it's not extremely early, but based on previous nights and mornings, it seemed an almost impossible feat to get all of us fed and ready on time.

The closer it got to my leaving, the more concerned I became.  Not so much about the time--I could deal with being a little late, and if it didn't work out at all we would just try again later.   As far as my other concern goes, logically I knew Ethan would be fine with his grandma, and if he couldn't be comforted we could get home quickly.  The concern that kept growing was that I didn't know how I would do away from him.  At first, it didn't occur to me that it would be a problem.  After all, it was only for an hour.  But as the time drew nearer, the more anxious I became.

We made it to church as the congregation sang the opening song.  I felt bare and self-conscious.  Terral kept assuring me that everything would be fine.  I kept asking about the cell phone.  "What if you don't feel the vibration?"  (Our new phones have a faint vibration that can go unnoticed.)  "That only happens when I'm walking.  It's close against me when I sit," Terral replied.  I checked just to be sure.

At one point I felt a let-down.  I'd heard about mothers at work having a let-down when their babies cry, even though they aren't anywhere near.  "What if he's crying?  Can I check if we've missed a call?"  No call was missed.

I tried not to look at the clock too often.  The talks were nice, the choir was nice (although it was weird not singing with them), and it felt good to have taken the sacrament, but I was having a hard time keeping my mind on the meeting.  I distracted myself a bit by getting my friend's baby to smile.  I want to see my own baby smile.

Finally it was over.  We made it.  As I opened the door to our apartment, I was almost surprised at the silence.  He wasn't even fussing a little bit.

We found him asleep in his grandmother's arms.  She sat quietly rocking him.  He hadn't even needed the bottle.  He was perfectly contented, and she thoroughly enjoyed the time with him.

Figures.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Four Weeks!

I know I just said this last week, but it's so hard to believe so much time has passed since Ethan's birth!  He is growing so quickly.  Part of me is so excited to see him grow and progress, and part of me doesn't want to let go of the itty-bitty baby stage.  I guess that's why we don't control how fast they grow, eh?  It's a good thing it's up to Someone who knows a lot more than I do.

Ethan now weighs 9 lbs 8 oz and is 21 1/8 in long.  I told you he is growing fast!  His cheeks are getting round and chubby, and he's developing a bit of a double chin.  I just love his cuteness.

As for me, I can believe it's been four weeks when I realize how good I feel.  I'm not really sore anymore, unless I've tried to do too much that day.  I've really been kind of amazed at how quickly my body is going back to "normal".  I'm very grateful for that.

Sorry, no pictures tonight.  I want to have time to bake some oatmeal cookies so I can have something to snack on besides toast and my addiction of mint chocolate chip ice cream.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Dance Baby!

I'm posting this in spite of the danger of someone reporting me to the Bad Parenting Committee because I think it's just too fun not to share.

Terral and I had just finished watching a movie, and I started kind of dancing to the credit music cuz I'm cool like that and we wanted Ethan to wake up.  Only the kid would not wake up.  He does this thing where he'll stick one or both of his hands up if he's disturbed in his sleep and just leave it there.  He also really loves to stretch when waking up.  You can see elements of both of those habits in this video.  I do have to say it was a little more hilarious before we started filming, but I still get a kick out of watching this.

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Buddies

I know several people who recently have had or will soon have little boys, and of course I hope that they will have fun playing with our little guy so I can have fun hanging out with their moms. :)

On Saturday, we were able to meet up with a friend who had her baby just two weeks before I had mine.  I think our little dudes look pretty sweet together.  Destined to be best buds, right?



I had to take a picture of Ethan after I moved him.  I just love what he does with his hands.  It's not the best picture, but you get the idea.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

First Road Trip

When Ethan was one week old, we took him to St. George for his one week check up.  I was a little nervous about traveling so soon, but we took a little drive around the day (or two?) before to see how he would do in the car, and to get me out of the house. : )  Ethan did great in the car.


He weighed in at a hefty 7 lbs 4 oz.  I say hefty because infants usually lose weight after they're born, and they typically only reach their birth weight by the first week.  Ethan gained over half a pound!  When we took him in to the doctor less than a week later, he had gained almost a full pound on top of that.

Everything else checked out good as well.  Ethan's hearing is good,  Janae said my tear was healing really well, and I weighed in 8 lbs above my pre-pregnancy weight.

We had decided to get some much needed items and visit family while we were in St. George.  I was pleased to find that Ethan and I both did fine on our little shopping trip.  Terral didn't fare quite as well.  He ran out of things to do while I was in the dressing room and ended up just pushing Ethan around Target.  He circled the store several times, and was bored and tired by the time I was done.

The next stop was (great) Grandma and Grandpa Hunt's.Heather and Chris were going to meet us there, but only Chris came because Heather was sick.  We felt so bad because we knew she really wanted to see Ethan.





After that, we visited Terral's cousin Mary Jo and her family. Unfortunately, I didn't think to take any pictures. It was really nice for me to get to know them better.  They are done having kids, so they gave us some baby things.  It's been so nice that we know such generous people.  We really haven't had to buy very much--which is about what we can afford!  We are so grateful for loving and supportive family and friends.

Recorded

These are Ethan's first videos.  He was only three days old.  I just wanted to capture his quiet alert times.  I know this won't be all that interesting to most people to watch, but I feel like I could just look at him all day long.  Every little expression is so amazing and I wish I could just know what he's thinking!

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Three Weeks Old!

I can't believe it's been three weeks already!  Time goes by so quickly.  

Here is our handsome liittle dude just chillin' with dad in one of mom's favorite outfits.  Soon after Ethan was born we searched through all the baby clothes and found all of them that had the fold-over sleeves because we quickly discovered socks on hands don't stay on long enough to offer protection from scratches.  He doesn't so much need the mitten sleeves for that anymore, but they sure are nice for keeping his hands warm.

 



Speaking of the ultrasound. . .

. . .these pictures are way past due!



Proof he's a boy. 
 I love how you can see him just chillin' in this one.
 Here he is drinking amniotic fluid.
 I loved seeing his cute little foot!



He has a very nice profile.  I think this one is my favorite. : )


 Thumbs up, Mom and Dad! Everything is a-okay!

What's in a name?

I think it's safe to say that naming a child is a task that can be very intimidating.  Terral and I started talking about names we like soon after we were married.  It wasn't something that we talked or thought of often, but we wanted to sort of get the ball rolling since I thought it would be a difficult decision.  Of course, when we found out we were expecting, our search for a name became much more earnest.  It was easier to think of girls' names at first.  We had one in particular that we both like, but are a little unsure about ever using because of our last name.

One summer evening we decided to take a walk around the block.  As we walked, we talked about possible choices.  Terral threw out the name Ethan, which he had always liked.  I still had girl names on the brain, but I said, "Yeah, I like that name," and it was filed away in our minds.

Then a couple weeks before we had our ultrasound, we were gathered at my in-laws' house.  The oft-asked question came up: "What do you think you'll have?"  And I gave my usual answer of I really don't know and we'll be happy either way.  My mother- and sister-in-law both said they thought we'd have a girl, and suddenly I felt strongly that we wouldn't.  On the way home, I mentioned that feeling to Terral and he said he felt the same.  We kept our thought of "boy" to ourselves.

When I was 19 weeks along, we went down to Vegas to get an ultrasound.  (It was less expensive that way.)  Just before we found out the gender, the technician asked me what I thought.  He said that it's been his experience that 90% of the time, the mother is right.  I told him I thought it was a boy, and then he told me I was absolutely right.  Somehow we weren't surprised. :) 

Now that we knew for sure that we were going to have a boy, the name Ethan just kept coming back.  We had talked about other names, but this one just stuck and it seemed to fit.  We didn't want to commit until we saw him, though, and I was a little reluctant to use it  because I have a cousin with that name.  Also, we wanted to give our baby a name with personal meaning, and Ethan just kind of popped up out of nowhere.  So we decided to try to find a family name for his middle name. 

We looked in my mother-in-law's book of remembrance.  We found some possiblities there, but didn't really feel attached to any.  When we were at my parents' house for Christmas, I asked my mom if we could borrow some family history information, and she sent us home with a book of remembrance for her side and my dad's.  On the drive home, I read aloud parts of my great-grandma Cook's life history.  In it, she mentions that her grandmother helped to bring her into the world.  We had learned from my Grandma Henke just that weekend that Catherine Cameron Southam was a midwife.

In looking at all of the books, we found that Oliver was a name that was repeated both on my side and Terral's side of the family, and we were leaning toward that as a middle name.  It was the name connected to a very interesting and admirable ancestor of Terral's.

The next day I started labor.  After the baby was born and we were settled in bed, Terral came in and told me that when he looked at our boy, the name Cameron kept coming to mind.  I said that was interesting, because the name had come to my mind as well while I was laboring, but that I'd dismissed it because the only Cameron I could think of was Terral's cousin.  He reminded me that it was the last name of my ancestor, and we realized how fitting it was.  We debated a little bit as to which name should be the first, but in the end we decided Ethan Cameron Fox just seemed right.

Ethan has Hebrew origins and it means Strong.  He is already living up to it!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

So that's what you were doing. . .

On the first day of Ethan's life, just as he was drifting off to sleep, we got to see one of his favorite pastimes in the womb.  


The last couple of months his favorite position was head down with his back facing my left side.  Whenever he wanted to stretch, I would feel his feet sticking out my right side between my ribs and hips.  It was pretty amusing to see my belly go from round to oblong. : )  And it was nice that he found a way to stretch that didn't involve feet in the ribs--Ive heard that's quite uncomfortable.

Ethan hasn't repeated this position since, so I'm really glad we caught it on camera.  And I think he's really glad he can stretch all sorts of ways now.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Noteworthy

I forgot to say in the birth story that Terral cut the cord.  He thought it might be weird for him, but it wasn't.

Janae tested the cord blood, and found out that Ethan has the same blood type as me, which means I didn't have to get a RhoGAM shot.  Hooray!

Ethan's cord fell off on Saturday.  We were very happy it didn't take long!

I have a weird side affect from giving birth.  My left thumb went numb for quite a while, then just really tingly.  Although the sensation has lessened considerably, it's still there six days later.

Ethan smiled the very first day.  I like my dad's philosophy: "If it looks like a smile, then it is one."  Most of his smiles so far have been in his sleep, but he's given us several when he's awake too.


Ethan had his first bath on Sunday.  **edit:  These pictures are actually from his second bath because I didn't take any of the first.  Bathing with daddy has become a nightly ritual.  Ethan seems to really enjoy it.  He loves the warm steamy  atmosphere.  



 He likes to hold onto things when in the tub.  It makes him feel more stable in the water.  Sometimes he'll hold onto my hands, sometimes dad's thumb, and sometimes, like in this picture, he'll hold onto the foam.

 This picture is actually from the 15th when he was two weeks old.  I just had to include it because you can see one of his funny faces.


Breastfeeding started out slow.  He just didn't seem interested, and we had a hard time waking him up.  I was a little worried I was doing something wrong when it became painful, but all is well now.  My milk came in Sunday evening (a surprisingly awesome experience--I'm just so amazed by Heavenly Father's wisdom!) and we have gotten the hang of things. : )

Twice when Ethan has been crying hard because of a diaper change, he quieted down immediately when I started singing, even though one of those times I was across the room.  It was awesome!

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Birth Story (from Mary's perspective)

Ethan came sooner and faster than we had anticipated.  Because first time mothers often go past the due date, our philosophy throughout the pregnancy was to pretty much count on him coming about 10 days late and see it as a pleasant surprise if he decided to come sooner.  I wanted to be able to enjoy the whole pregnancy without getting impatient at the end.  I think it was somewhere around 35 weeks that we started hearing a bunch of stories of babies coming early and decided we had better prepare mentally in case he did come earlier than expected.  I think that was a blessing from Heavenly Father because even with some mental preparation it was still hard to convince ourselves that this really was the day!


As I mentioned in my earlier post, Terral gave me a blessing before we laid down to try to get some sleep.  It was a very comforting blessing.  I was worried that in spite of all the reading and preparation I had done, I wouldn't be able to remember what I needed to do.  I was assured in the blessing that I would be able to apply the things I had studied and my body would work the way it was supposed to.  One of the reasons I felt so comfortable with our decision to do a homebirth was because I have faith that Heavenly Father made my body to do this.  I have the ability because He gave it to me, and the blessing was a wonderful reassurance of that.

We had discussed several different methods of pain management with our midwife, but the biggest thing we had concentrated on was relaxing using the Bradley method.  Terral and I read a couple books together about how to do it and had practiced it.  The husband is supposed to act as a coach, but because we had so many things to gather and get ready, Terral stayed pretty busy doing that while I concentrated on relaxing.  I really feel that the practice we had done together helped me to do it on my own.  And it was important to me to know that he was taking care of things.  He always came quickly whenever I called his name.

In some of the books we read, contractions were described as starting at the top of the belly and extending down as the contraction peaked (if it wasn't back labor).  I never really felt anything above my belly button.  At one point when I was laboring in the tub, Terral was pouring hot water over my belly to help, and he started pouring it at the top of my belly during the contraction.  I didn't like that and asked him to do it from the belly button down.  Well, maybe I told him rather than asked. : )  You don't have much energy to waste on words.  I didn't really realize until afterward how quiet I had been and how Terral really didn't know where we were at in the process.

When I was timing contractions, I tended to not count the beginning and end of it, I guess because I didn't want to think I was further along than I really was.  I also had "aftershock" contractions that I didn't really count.  Between good long contractions I would sometimes have a short, less intense contraction that would only last 15-20 seconds, sometimes less.  I guess it goes back to not really believing the time had come!  The labor progressed faster than I thought it would.

When I called Janae the second time at about 4:00 in the morning, I was between contractions.  At that point, I was getting some good rest between.  You know how women say that you forget the pain of childbirth?  It was kind of like that after every contraction.  She asked me to describe the contractions, and I said I definitely needed to stop and concentrate on them, but was handling them fine.  I guess I sounded too confident, because she decided it would probably still be several hours and I should call when they got more intense.  About an hour later, I realized we should probably call her when I felt like crying and had fleeting thoughts of, "I'm not sure I can do this on my own".  So Terral called her and she started on her way. 

I didn't really vocalize that feeling of doubt, but I do remember saying "I can't" twice.  Once was when I was laboring on the bed shortly after we called Janae that last time.  Terral was trying to tell me to relax as we had practiced, but I just didn't feel like I could anymore.  I wiggled my toes and made some other movements to distract myself.  I think from that point on I mostly relied on counter-tension.  When I was in the tub I would sometimes lean on Terral and squeeze him really tightly.

Soon after I moved to the tub, I couldn't ignore the urge to push.  I kind of wanted to hold off because Janae wasn't there yet, but it made the contractions easier to handle and I knew this baby was coming one way or another.  I tried not to push as hard as I could though because I didn't want to tear, and of course I wanted Janae to be there.  About 15 minutes before Janae got there I was in the middle of a contraction/push when suddenly I felt a pop and gush and I knew the water had broken.  I gasped a little.  I thought Terral had heard the noise, but found out later he didn't even know I was pushing.

When Janae arrived she came with a calm and confident air that helped put me at ease.
I told her I was pushing.  She checked me and said, "No wonder!  You're at a 10 and his head is right there."  With the next push I could feel him descending.  There was definitely no real restimg between contractions anymore.  Janae checked the baby's heartbeat and said everything was fine.

Janae asked me (maybe before this?) if I wanted to go to the living room or stay where I was and drain the tub.  I said I didn't want to move, so she dragged all of the stuff into the bathroom.  It's pretty amazing that we all fit in there.  I later joked that our apartment wasn't small enough--I had to pick the smallest room we had!  Because of the small and awkward space, Janae told me I would need to guide his head.  This was the second time I said I didn't think I could.  I was sitting in the tub and leang back some, and when I would push I lifted myself up on both hands and leaned over to the right.

She asked if I could straighten myself out.  I knelt to do so and suddenly he was crowning!  We all felt his head.  In this position, I felt I could guide him much easier.  Janae told me to take it slow and just give little pushes. The intense urge to push wasn't there anymore, and I felt like I could control it and do as she asked.  She said I would need to guide his head when it came and then she said something about adjusting so his shoulders could come.  On most of the births we watched, the baby would rotate before the rest came out, but Ethan slipped out all at once, "like a wet seal" as one of my sisters put it.  I caught his head, but then he kept going in the water and Terral caught the rest of him.  He was the normal purpley/blueish color, but he quickly became a wonderful healthy pink.  Really, I don't know if pink is the right description.  He had such a normal skin color.  Just healthy is really the best way to describe it.  He scored 9 and 10 on the Apgar. 



Terral handed Ethan to me pretty quickly and I just knelt there for a minute in the tub looking at my baby, hardly believing he was here.  Janae said he didn't have a very long cord, and she asked Terral to hold him close to me while she helped me out of the tub.  I handed the baby back to Terral, and then we saw that the placenta was already out!  I hadn't even noticed.  Janae helped me out of the tub and onto the mat.  She had set up a pillow against the tub with a towel over it so I could lean back while she checked me.  When I was laying down, Terral handed me the baby again and a he was kept warm by my body, a little cap, and a warm receiving blanket.  Janae checked the placenta to make sure it was all there, which it was.  Then she cleaned me up and checked for tearing. While she was doing that, Terral brought me some orange juice, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  I did have a small tear, and Janae said if I didn't want to sit with my legs together for a week, it would be best to stitch it together.  I only needed one though.

We moved to the living room to take care of that and all of the other after care.  It was amazing to hold my baby.  I kept looking to see familiar features, but I thought he just looked like himself.  In the time since there have been moments when he's looked like various family members.



Ethan did so little crying that first day.  He is amazing!  Other than a few bursts right at the beginning, he was just so chill.  Janae said he wouldn't like a few things, like cleaning the ink off his feet after getting his footprint, but he never cried.  He's made up for that since then. ; )  But really he's been such a good baby.  We're just new to this whole parenting thing, so it's taken a little while to figure out a few things.

I can't get enough of looking at this miracle of a boy.  He is so sweet  We love him so much and are so grateful to be his parents.  Heavenly Father has truly blessed us.