Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Quinn's Birth Story

Okay, so here it is with all the details! The story of how Quinn came to be here.

So, at our 20 week anatomy scan ultrasound, we found out that I had Placenta Previa. PP is when your placenta implants low in your uterus and covers the cervix, making a vaginal delivery impossible. The specialist told us that there was a 95% chance it would move on its own as my uterus stretched throughout pregnancy and that we needed to come back at 32 weeks and see what was happening with it. So, at 32 weeks we went back, and I think the ultrasound tech looked for about 2 seconds before she said, "Oh yeah...that hasn't moved at all. That's not gonna work." So, the specialist came back and looked and confirmed that it was complete previa and we were going to have to have a C-section.

Next, we went back to my midwife for a regular appointment. She said that we would try and wait until 39 weeks to do the c-section, unless I started bleeding earlier, in which case I would have to go straight to the hospital and have her right then. Um...I thought that was a terrible plan and I was pretty upset, but we left and were planning to just have to roll with that. Their office called me later that same day to say that they had seen the report from the specialist we had seen and he wanted me to have the c-section at 36-37 weeks, because going into labor before that point would be very risky since there is such a high chance of extreme bleeding. I was much happier with this plan, since now I wouldn't have to wait on pins and needles for 39 weeks to come, or for an emergency to happen sooner. I went a few days later to meet the OB, since my midwife couldn't perform the c-section.

I met Dr. Bailey on Tuesday 5/29. He was so nice and made me feel so comfortable. He told me he wanted to do the c-section at 36 weeks (which would have been the following week! So soon!), and that he wanted to do it at McKay-Dee Hospital, since it's bigger and has more resources for a risky c-section. He told me if I started bleeding, to go straight to McKay and call him on our way there. We left waiting for a phone call to schedule the exact date, since he was trying to coordinate to have another OB assist him with the surgery.

This week was the last week of school for DaVinci. We didn't have school on Monday, because it was Memorial Day, and I missed Tuesday because of my appointment with Dr. Bailey. I did head out later that afternoon to go to our Art Department awards ceremony at school, and afterwards I ran some errands down in Ogden, but I really wasn't feeling well. I could barely walk myself through Costco. I was leaning on the cart and walking really slowly, just feeling nauseated and weak. I even called Sean crying on the way home because I was feeling so sick. Part of me wondered if I was making myself sick with anxiety about the c-section coming up so soon and just being worried about everything going ok. I got home and pretty quickly went to bed. I woke up around midnight and started throwing up and felt horrible the rest of the night. By that point, I was pretty sure the sickness wasn't in my head, haha. Looking back, I'm not sure if it was a stomach bug, or food poisoning, or prodromal labor, or what. I had also been having contractions pretty regularly through the night, but I wasn't bleeding and they weren't too painful or intense. I thought maybe the throwing up set them off. Eventually they stopped on their own.

Wednesday, I didn't go to school because I still wasn't feeling well. I still had Sean drop Josie off at the babysitter's so I could just rest and try to get stuff done around the house to get ready for the next week. I spent the morning sleeping, and at 1:00, I went and picked Josie up from the sitter. I was feeling better, but still not great, so when we got home and it was Josie's nap time, I just laid down with her again. We laid around until 4:00, when I finally felt like I could get up and get some things done. I sat up out of bed and immediately felt a gush of fluid. I knew it was blood, and I ran to the bathroom. I had some spotting and even light/moderate bleeding throughout pregnancy, which is really common for PP, but this was not that. I had a miscarriage a few years ago, and this was even worse than that was at its peak. Blood was just gushing - so much, so fast. I was just sitting on the toilet with blood pouring out of me. It was terrifying. I called for Josie to bring me my phone, and she did. I called Sean, but he didn't pick up. I called my mother-in-law to have her come sit with Josie while we went to the hospital, but she was an hour away. I called Sean again and he answered and rushed in to help me. Thank goodness he gets to work from home (he runs his own CNC machining business from his shop in our backyard), so he was only 10 seconds away. He grabbed me some new pants and underwear and a giant maxi pad from the pack I had bought for after delivery. He got a hold of his grandma, who rushed over to watch Josie. Sean got a towel and a garbage bag laid down on the seat of the car and I got in. While we waited for grandma to get to our house, I called Dr. Bailey and told him what was going on. He told me not to try to go to McKay and to just head to the Brigham City Hospital (less than 5 min. away from our house). As soon as grandma came, we were off.

When we pulled up to the hospital, there were 5-6 people waiting outside the ER doors. It still hadn't hit me that this was really happening, and I said to Sean, "I think....they're waiting for US." They put me into a wheelchair and took me down to L&D (the nurse pushing the wheelchair was going so fast, he almost knocked over a janitor!). When we got to L&D, they immediately drew blood and put in an IV and I started signing paperwork. Dr. Bailey was there and checked my bleeding, and then everything picked up. Sean left to get me admitted to the hospital, and they put me in a gown and started going over the procedure and what they were going to do. The anesthesiologist came in and she told me they were going to have to do general anesthesia, since there was a chance they would have to do further surgery (PP can sometimes require a hysterectomy, if there's not other way to stop the bleeding). So, Sean wasn't going to be able to be in the room, and I wouldn't be awake for the surgery. I was scared and sad that I was going to miss her birth. But everything was happening so fast, and I knew there was no other option. It's a really scary and humbling experience to realize that your life, and your baby's life, is in someone else's hands, but I felt peace and confidence that everything would be ok.

They wheeled me to the OR and got me onto the operating table. They strapped my arms down and started scrubbing my belly. Dr. Bailey said they were going to do everything they could to prep me before starting the anesthesia to limit the amount of anesthesia the baby would get into her system. This included getting a catheter placed...and I have to say, that was (physically) the worst part of the whole experience! A nurse was holding my hand for that, and I think I almost broke her fingers. NOT a pleasant experience.

They were waiting for another OB to get to the hospital from Cache Valley, and as soon as he got there, they would start. This was a really cool story, because earlier in the day, Dr. Bailey was up in Logan assisting Dr. Bertoldo with a surgery and he told him about my case. Dr. Bertoldo said if Dr. Bailey needed his help with my surgery, to call him and he'd come help. Well, about an hour after that conversation, Dr. Bailey called him to ask for just that! Crazy! Dr. Bailey had his hand on my stomach with the scalpel in his hand, and Dr. Bertoldo walked in. Aaaaand, I don't remember anything after that for a while.

I did have one other crazy thing happen in the OR though. I told the anesthesiologist that I had been throwing up the night before and had had horrible heartburn/acid reflux through pregnancy. She wanted the other anesthesiologist in the room to put pressure on my throat as I went under so that nothing would regurgitate as I went to sleep, I was going under, I was also getting - pretty literallly - choked by the anesthesiologist! It made sense, but it was still a really kind of scary thing to feel someone choking you while your arms are strapped down and you're just supposed to lay there and 'relax,' haha.

As soon as Quinn was born, they let Sean into the OR (so, poor him, he got to see me with my insides on my outsides). Quinn was born at 5:11 pm, just 1 HOUR after the time I called Sean bleeding on the toilet. Incredible. I'm so amazed and grateful at how quickly they were able to get her out. Sean got to stay with Quinn while they cleaned her (he got to give her her first bath!) and weighed and measured her, and they opened the blinds to the nursery so that all my family who was there could watch too. It's so cool that they all got to be there and see that, especially since I couldn't.

Quinnie was 5 lbs 10 oz and 18.5" long. I had steroid shots the week before to help mature her lungs, and they worked perfectly. She had no issues breathing and was doing just fine. Absolutely everything went RIGHT. I didn't need a hysterectomy. I didn't even need blood transfusions, which they initially thought was going to be a given. Later when I was in recovery, Dr. Bailey came in to see us and he got emotional telling us that many prayers must have been said for me and the baby, and that they worked, because she was a miracle. He told me that at the rate I was bleeding, I could have died before I made it to Ogden, and that neither one of us would have survived if we couldn't have gotten into the OR so fast. He told us that nothing that could have gone wrong went wrong. Everything went as well as it possibly could have. It was so powerful to hear him say that, and I know he is right. I'm so grateful for all those prayers, and for Heavenly Father's mercy in getting us through the ordeal so smoothly. It's strange to look back and remember that day, because the fear and craziness only lasted for 1 hour. From the time I started bleeding to the time she was born and we were both ok. It was definitely the scariest hour of my life, but it all happened so fast.

We stayed in the hospital until Saturday, and everything has just continued to go well. She's eating well, although she is on formula - she had to get some nutrition in those first few days before my milk came in, and although I nursed her, she wasn't getting enough and had to have a bottle. My milk supply was never strong with Josie, and with Quinn it's just been nonexistent, which is so sad and hard for me, is what it is. We're only a week from her birth and I have no milk at all. I'm happy that she seems to be doing fine on the formula. At first, we really had to force her to wake up to eat. She wouldn't do it on her own at all. She would suckle for a few seconds, then  fall back asleep. Now, she goes from 0 to 60 when it comes to hunger and will drink about an ounce at a time every couple hours. Much better than the tiny amount we had to force into her for the first couple days.

Today, Quinn is 1 week old! We are SO happy to have her here, and so thrilled and blessed that everything went so well. It was very scary, but we were in the best care - Heavenly Father's - and the second best care - the Brigham City Hospital's. I was nervous to have to have a risky c-section at our little hospital, but obviously I didn't need to be. Dr. Bailey was amazing, and I feel so lucky to have met him the day before all this happened, because knowing he was in charge made me feel so much more at ease. I had awesome nurses the whole time I was there (only 1 I didn't like, haha). They took such great care of me. My favorite nurse just stayed in my room with me for an hour and a half in the middle of the night while I got emotional about trying to nurse. She helped me and made me feel so much better. Quinn's pediatrician visited us several times and checked on her and made sure everything was okay and kept me in the loop about what they were hoping to see from her, being that she was 5 weeks early. I am so grateful for all the skilled, experienced doctors and nurses we had. We really couldn't have made it without them.

We also have the best family and friends in the world. They watched Josie for 2 days and kept her safe and happy and brought her to meet her new baby sis. They also stepped in and threw her the Rainbow Birthday party I was planning for her (Quinn's bday is 5/30, Josie's is 5/31!!), and she loved every minute. She was so spoiled that I'm scared for her next bday, because now they set the bar too high, haha. Her grandma Sue made her the most beautiful cake, my MIL did the cutest decorations and took care of all the details, my family helped with food, and they all spoiled her with too many presents. It was so sweet, and I shed a lot of tears of gratitude over how much they all did for us in that time. Everybody just stepped in and took care of everything. It is such a blessing to have family and friends like we have close by. It takes a village, and ours is the BEST.

Sean was (and he always is) the best husband and daddy. He took care of Josie on his own while I was in the hospital and made sure she got to stay (basically) on her normal schedule and routine. He has consoled me through many hormonal crying sessions (pretty much all about nursing), and is both girls' favorite snuggle buddy. He helped me take my first shower after my surgery and pretty much had to hold me up and wash me without a lot of help from me. Moments like those are the ones that really let you know how strong your bond is. He got soaking wet helping me, but he didn't complain or even think twice about stepping in and doing that for me. He my rock. I know that's a cliche statement, but he is the strong, calming, reassuring force in my life. He is the one who calms all my worries and makes me know things will be ok. I couldn't do anything without him, and I'm so grateful he is my husband and the father of my babies. We're all so lucky to have him.

Lastly, I have to say that I've been so humbled by this experience. I view childbirth as this beautiful, natural experience that shouldn't require a lot of intervention - our bodies were created with the ability to make babies, birth them, and feed them, and they don't usually need a lot of help to make those things happen. Well, without a WHOLE LOT of intervention and modern medicine, Quinn and I wouldn't have survived. I'm so grateful for medicine and science that allowed me to know and prepare for what was happening with this birth, and for the skill that brought the procedure to pass without incident. I'm so grateful for the science and technology that allows me to feed my baby formula, since I can't nurse her. If I lived in another time period, neither one of us would have survived, but since we live here and now, we're sitting at home, happy and healthy, just a few days after what could have been a tragedy.

I'm feeling so good physically. C-section recovery has been much less painful and scary than I was afraid it could be. I'm up and around and feeling great. I'm so glad to be done with pregnancy and this crazy birth experience, and so grateful that it all turned out the way it did. Now we're excited to be starting this new phase of life as a family of 4!!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Josie Jo - 5 Month Update

Happy Halloween! This cutie is 5 months old today! She's SO much fun and we love her to pieces. Here's a little bit about her lately:

  • 18 lbs. & 26 inches
  • Loves food! She drinks about 7 oz of formula every 3 hours and gets some rice cereal mixed in with her last bottle of the night to help tide her over until morning
    • She has tried rice cereal, green beans, and sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are definitely her favorite of them all (she's her mama's baby), but she'll chow down on just about anything you give her. The faces she makes eating are THE BEST. We get a lot of laughs at every meal. She also loves to chew on the spoon. She'll chomp down and won't let go. It's pretty cute.
  • Loves baths and has learned to splash! She loves to kick her legs and slap her hands on the water and she giggles and smiles every time she does it.
  • Best. sleeper. ever. (Pleeeeeease let that last!!!) She goes down around 8 p.m. and doesn't usually get up until 8 a.m. and takes about 2 45 min. naps a day (usually in my arms...I don't care if you think that's spoiling her. It's spoiling ME, and we both love it).
  • Loves to play with toys - her ball and her lion teething toy are her favorites, but apparently burp cloths and blankies are also great toys.
  • Still VERY much a mama's girl (ahem...see above post about spoiling). I get nervous every time I take her anywhere to be babysat because she usually screams for everyone. Our family has a really great schedule - Sean takes care of JoJo while I teach in the mornings, then when I'm done with work, I come home and take over and he goes to work. This is great, because we don't have to pay for childcare, but it also means that Josie spends ALL of her time with mom and dad, so she's not really down for hanging out with anybody else. I can't really blame her, we're awesome and all, but I do feel bad for grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles.
  • She can roll over from tummy to back, but doesn't do it often, although she spends a pretty good amount of time on her belly throughout the day. She is close to rolling from back to tummy, but hasn't done it yet.
  • She scoots around in a circle on the floor when we put her down on her tummy. She can go 360 degrees, haha. 
  • Still just has 2 teeth, and they're so cute. 
  • Loves to talk and has long conversations with daddy all the time. 
  • Has the best laugh ever! She squeals and does these big belly laughs that are so funny.
  • She's ticklish, especially under her chin and under her arms.

I could go on about her all day. She is the light of my life, for sure. I love her so much I could cry just thinking about it. Even though being parents can be tough and there are days when both of us wish we could have a break, I still get excited for her to wake up every morning and I'm reluctant to lay her down in her crib every night. I miss her like crazy during the 4 hours I'm at school and I just want to hang out with her all day. She's just basically the best baby ever. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Breast vs. Bottle Battle...a.k.a. A Really Long Post That Probably Gets A Little Too Personal

Breastfeeding was so important to me. It wasn't even a question, of course I was planning to breastfeed my baby. How could you not want to?! I took a class, read Pinterest posts with tips and stories, etc. etc.

It was hard at first, we both cried, but within a few days, we got it figured out. Then she started to grow and grow! She was eating so often and never seemed to be satisfied. Then we both got Thrush (a yeast infection that affects baby's mouth and mommy's breasts). She seemed to fuss every time she nursed and I think her mouth was sore. I started giving her a bottle with pumped breastmilk, and that seemed to be more comfortable for both of us while we dealt with the Thrush, but then she lost interest in breastfeeding. The milk didn't flow as quickly as it did from the bottle and she lost her patience fast. I tried and tried for a while, but then I started almost exclusively pumping. Then my supply started to seriously diminish. I'm not sure if it was from my Thrush, or the exclusive pumping, or what, but I could barely get 2 ounces per side during each pumping session. I had never really overproduced, so I didn't have any freezer storage to fall back on. I started supplementing with formula. I cried and cried when I made that first bottle for her, but she ate it with gusto and I could tell that although it was foreign to her little tummy and made her gassy at first, she was full and satisfied for the first time in a long time.

Now, a few months later, I'm still struggling with it all. My supply has steadily decreased, JoJo will only nurse when she's calm and not too hungry. If she's really got an appetite, she'll just cry when trying to nurse because she's not getting enough food fast enough. I have truly and honestly tried absolutely everything to increase my supply. I drink the recommended amount of water every day, I get enough sleep, I try and manage my stress and stay calm and happy, I've taken 3 capsules of Fenugreek 3 times a day for months, I've used essential oils, I've tried different breast pumps, I pump ever 2-3 hours including sometimes in the middle of the night, I drink lactation tea, I eat oatmeal every day, I've tried massage, I've tried more frequent nursing, I've tried more frequent pumping, I've tried praying, I've tried sobbing, I've tried begging, and nothing is working. As we sit, I only get 0.5-1 oz. per side, per session. Josie drinks about 5.5 oz. per feeding, every 3 hours. She gets whatever breastmilk I produce + formula, mixed together in a bottle. JoJo seems to be handling Similac total comfort formula pretty well, although we had to try several types to figure out which one seemed the best for her tummy. I am trying so hard not to be upset that she is pretty much a formula baby at this point, but I really am upset. THIS IS NOT WHAT WAS SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN! I know that I've done everything I can to provide her with breastmilk, and I'm proud of every half ounce I have been able to give her, and I will continue to do that for as long as I can, hoping and praying that she's receiving some of the important benefits.

Providing food for my baby takes twice as long as it does other mothers, whether they formula feed or breastfeed. I have to pump, then prepare a bottle, then wash everything, etc. It really is tough.I have learned a lot, and I have some ideas to try for our next baby that I hope will help me have a more successful breastfeeding experience next time, but I just don't know that there's any way of turning this ship around at this point.

Really, I just feel like I am a disappointment. Other mothers (and grandmothers and neighbors and friends and total strangers) seem to think that it's okay to ask if you're breastfeeding (which I kind of think is personal and not really their business to ask about...haha, obviously I feel like volunteering that information is different...if *I* bring it up, then we can discuss whether or not I'm breastfeeding...haha), and when you tell them that you're trying, but that you're giving formula, the disappointment and concern on their faces is really hurtful. I know the benefits of breastfeeding. I am not giving it some half-hearted effort. It's not that I don't want to breastfeed. I don't know what's wrong with me or why my body won't cooperate, but that's my situation.

I'm not worried about the aspect of bonding with my baby. When I feed her that bottle, I snuggle her close and look at her beautiful little face and talk to her just like I would when breastfeeding her. We are bonded, she loves me, she knows I love her. I am, howeverworried about her immune system and future susceptibility to diseases and conditions that breastfeeding seems to decrease the risk of, and that's why I continue to pump and give her the feeble amount of milk I'm able to produce.

It's just hard. I'm not a patient, carefree, easygoing person. I am an uptight, anxiety-ridden, perfectionistic person. Failure (or perceived failure) is so hard for me to handle. Criticism is also hard for me to handle. Those character flaws make this situation so frustrating and hard for me to let go of. This has been weighing on my mind so heavily for the last few months and I just needed to put it out there into the world. Maybe I'm hoping for support and for people to say, "don't listen to anybody, you're doing what's best for you and your baby," or, "I feed my baby formula, too. I know how you're feeling," or something. Maybe I'm hoping someone will tell me I am a bad mom so that I can get mad and defend and rationalize my choices, I don't know. But there it is.

3 Month Update!

Okay, she's 3 1/2 months old. I stink at this monthly updating business.

Here's the latest about our little princess:

  • Um, she has 2 TEETH! We noticed them on 9/16 - exactly 3 1/2 months old. She has been drooling and chewing on everything for several weeks now, so we thought it might be coming, but it seemed like all of a sudden, I looked and saw 2 sparkly white, sharp little chompers in there! 
  • She's enormous! She's so chubby and adorable. She's wearing mostly 6-month size clothes, although some of them are too big in the shoulders and arms and the pants are usually too long. She needs the extra width in the belly and thighs though! Her best chunky feature is her cheeks. In fact, "Cheeks" is her nickname from her grandpa Jim.
  • Still eating about 5.5 oz at each feeding, usually every 2-3 hrs. apart.
  • Still sleeps through the night! Plus a good nap in the morning and a short one in the late afternoon.
  • Tries SO hard to sit up. Great at holding up her head and always looks like she's trying to do crunches because she's pulling her head up when she's sitting or laying down.
  • Smiles and laughs!!! Her laugh is absolutely the best sound I have ever heard! She's totally ticklish. She also loves to talk, blow raspberries, and make spit bubbles.
  • Still loves baths and walks, the jury is out on car rides at the moment. She either sleeps and is great, or fusses the whole time.
  • She got to visit me at school a few times this month and my students love her, of course! They're working on teaching her Spanish, Russian, and Finnish :) We didn't get a whole lot done in our Choir Council meeting because her cuteness was so distracting...
  • Does okay with tummy time. Sometimes she seems to like it and does good, sometimes she hates it and cries until I pick her back up.
  • Still a total mama's girl! In fact, I get so scared to take her to be babysat because I'm so worried she'll just scream the whole time. She does love her grandmas and grandpas, though! :)
  • Has zero interest in rolling over. I think she's too fat maybe, hehehe :)
  • Loves cuddling and taking naps with Daddy. He can snuggle up with her and get her to fall asleep at almost any time of day. It melts my heart!
  • Spits up kind of a lot. My mom told me it's payback since I was a big spitter too.
  • HATES having a wet or poopy diaper. 
  • Still hates to turn her head to the left. She can, she just doesn't like to. She's got a pretty good flat spot on the right side of her head. We try to get her to turn to the left as much as possible. She eats bottles turned to the left and we put her to sleep lying with her head to the left (and I prop her up a little bit with a rolled up blanket to keep her that way...haha). I really hope it evens out and she doesn't have to wear a helmet...I guess we'll see.
  • Loves music and hearing singing. She smiles and stares when I sing to her and she LOVES to play air drums with Daddy.
I could go on all night. She's the most beautiful, funny, sassy, chubby baby I've ever seen and we love her so much!!!

Josie - 2 Months

Oh, look! Another late blog post!

Josie is 2 months old! Here are some updates:

She had her 2 month Dr.'s appointment and we found out that she is just under 13 lbs. and just under 24 inches long! She has gained about 5 pounds and 4 inches since birth. She got her 2 mo. shots, which she handled pretty well. She screamed for a couple minutes, but then she was okay. It was definitely one of the saddest things I've seen to look at her face after those shots...she just looked so sad and mad and I know it hurt. I kind of had to laugh at her a little bit...that pouty face was just so cute (in the saddest way).

We had a little scare with her shots later in the day. Sean was changing her diaper and noticed that one of her legs where she got the shots was really swollen and hard and red. She would SCREAM if you even touched it. I called the Dr.'s office and they told us to come in to check to see if she was having an allergic reaction or something. We headed there, but by the time the Dr. got in and looked at her, the redness had gone away. The reaction wasn't because of an allergy, she had fallen asleep after we got home from her shots and since she wasn't moving around, the fluid from the injection hadn't had distributed throughout the tissue very well and it got swollen and sore. We just gave her some Tylenol through the night. She was totally fine the next day.

She eats ALL the time. She is drinking about 5 oz. every 2 hours, except at night. She gets about 50% formula and 50% breastmilk (because I can't seem to keep up with her demands!).

She sleeps through the night (has been doing this for almost a month now and we SERIOUSLY hope it lasts!). She goes to bed around 10 p.m. and gets up around 6 or 7 a.m. Occasionally she wakes up around 4, but will eat and go right back to sleep. Also, after she wakes up at 6 or 7, she'll usually go back to bed for another hour or so. I know how lucky we are that she does this...and I am so glad.

She doesn't nap much during the day, surely because she sleeps so much at night. She just 'cat naps' for 15-20 minutes at a time several times a day. It's very strange (and wonderful) if she naps for more than 30 min.

She loves: food, snuggles (my favorite thing on earth is to hold her up on my shoulder - she snuggles right up under my chin and just wants to stay there forever), MOM (I'm definitely her favorite, hehe), prune juice (Dr. recommended we give her some each day because she's not pooping as often as she should), baths, when mommy sings and talks to her, going for walks and car rides, being swaddled, her puppy swing, and her binkie.

She is SMILING! It's the most wonderful thing in the world. I just melt into a puddle of happiness every time she smiles at me. She is starting to coo and make noises. I love that she seems to startle herself sometimes when she makes a noise. It's so cute and funny.

Depending on who you ask, she looks JUST LIKE ME or JUST LIKE SEAN. Hahahaha. I think she's just a good combo of both of us and we'll have to see which features she really got from which parent as she grows. It is fun to compare our baby pictures to her though...there are definitely some similarities!

She has been able to spend lots of time with both of her grandmas and grandpas and lots of extended family this month. She has been on lots of adventures too! Walks by the river, lots of lunch and dinner dates with friends, being babysat by Gma and Gpa Morris, lots of car trips to visit family, meeting lots of friends and cousins, lots of shopping trips, celebrating the 4th of July at Willard Bay, the Peterson Family Reunion (Sean's Peterson side, not mine...we're both Petersons, but we're not kissin' cousins...I promise), a family pool party, and more that I'm sure I'm forgetting.

She was blessed on Sun. 8/2 by Sean in our ward in Ogden. SO MANY of our friends and family came! This girl is very, very loved. We were so grateful to have so many people come to share the day with us. She got to wear the same blessing dress that my sisters and I wore. It was made for my mom for her blessing out of the same fabric as my grandmother's wedding dress. She also got to wear my mom's bracelet - a pretty gold bangle that was given to her for her blessing by her great-grandmother. My mom also made Josie a sweet little beaded bracelet that I know she will treasure forever. I bought her some cute little booties and she wore a headband that she got as a baby shower gift from a friend of mine at work. She looked like a perfect little angel! I recorded her blessing on my phone so that I could type it up and put it in her baby book for her. It was a beautiful blessing and I know it will be a treasure for her when she gets older.

I had a cool experience with her blessing that I wanted to write about. When Sean and I started thinking seriously about trying to have a baby, I remember praying and saying, "I know this world is a scary place to raise children, but I also know that there are many of Thy children who are still waiting for their chance at this earthly life. I want to be a mother and I want to raise up a child that will change the world for the better and be a warrior for Thy kingdom." I didn't really talk much about those prayers to anyone, even Sean, but in her blessing, she was told that she will be a light in the darkness and an example that people around her will look to. I just felt a strong witness that Josie is a very tough, special girl. She has a purpose and a work to do in this life - a work that God has chosen her for. It was a neat thing to hear, and even from what little of her spirit and personality we have come to know these past 2 months, I know it is true.

She is a beautiful, healthy, strong-willed girl and I am so proud of her. I love her with all my heart and am trying to cling to this newborn stage for as long as I can. I'm trying to soak up every snuggle and spend as much time just holding her and looking at her as I can before she changes even more!

Josie Jo's 1 Month Update

Well...I forgot to post this when I actually wrote here it is, just a couple months late!

Josie Jo is one month old! Well...actually she's almost 6 weeks old...but who has time for blogging when you don't even have time to take a shower? Anyway, here is some info. about our little monkey!

FOOD! - She is ALWAYS eating. I am not producing near enough for her, so she gets both breastmilk and formula (hopefully this is just temporary...we both have thrush, and it's affecting my supply and her ability to nurse). The formula seems to make her gassy, even though I give her gas drops every time she eats it. It does seem to fill her up better than breastmilk, so she's sleeping better, which is nice.

Snuggles - She just loves to cuddle. She loves being wrapped up in her swaddlers and to be held close. I'm trying to take advantage or every baby snuggle I can get!

The Swing(s) - We have a Mamaroo and a Fisher Price Snugapuppy swing (why do we have 2 swings? Because Dad couldn't resist the Mamaroo technology...that's why *eyeroll*), and she likes them both. They're also lifesavers for Mommy and Daddy...haha.

Going Out! - We joke all the time that she's easier to handle at the store than she is at home! She loves loves loves going for walks in the stroller. It's probably her absolute favorite thing. She also does pretty well on car rides and loves to look around and figure things out when we take her out to the store or wherever.

Grandmas and Grandpas - We've been able to spend lots of time with both of Josie's grandparents and she just loves them. I love to see her snuggle with them!

Movement - Whenever she's being held, Josie loves to be bounced, rocked, swayed, patted/burped, etc. In her bassinet, she loves for the vibration setting to be turned on.

Baths - She was not a fan at first, but now Josie loves being in the bathtub.

Getting out of the bathtub, having her diaper or clothes changed, taking her Vitamin D supplement (she shudders every time), and wearing her mittens (she has been scratching her face SO badly, but I'm too scared to do her mittens it is)

Here's a list of things I've learned in Josie's first month:

  • Huggies. Don't even bother with anything else. The Up & Up brand from Target are okay too, if you must.
  • If you put baby down on a surface without a burp cloth underneath her, she WILL spit up on it. 
  • It will take you twice as long as you think it will to get out of the house.
  • You CAN eat dinner in 30 seconds. It will already be cold by the time you have that 30 seconds to spare, though.
  • 4 hours of sleep in a row can feel like a luxury. WHAT?!
  • Breastfeeding is hard.
  • Resolve brand stain sticks...they will save the lives of all the cute outfits you bought (both hers and yours).
  • Hormones, anxiety, crying, endless questions that keep you up in the middle of the night, and a general lack of well-being are the new normal.
  • Boobs are no longer a private part. Nearly everyone who has spent any time at my house since she was born has now seen mine....but I don't even care.
  • I both love and hate Sean more than I thought possible. He's the best daddy and husband in the world, and Josie and I are so lucky...but at 3 a.m. when I've been up for 2 hours and he's snoring away next to me, I tend to forget that...
  • Being a mommy is wonderful. It's pretty amazing to be someone's favorite person in the whole world.

My Thoughts On... (AKA What I've Learned So Far)

So, I've been a mom for 3 whole weeks, which makes me basically an expert now ;) hahaha. Here's what I've learned so far...

My Thoughts On:

Labor & Delivery
Everyone's experiences will be different - from person to person and child to child, but, in my experience, it's NOT AS BAD AS THEY MAKE YOU THINK IT IS! My labor and delivery was so smooth. Yes, contractions are painful, but by no means were mine excruciating, and I was at more than 8 cm and 100% effaced before I got an epidural. BTW, my epidural was not scary at all. It didn't hurt, it didn't take long, and it was definitely a wonderful thing to have. Not being in any pain helped me to have a calm, peaceful, happy birth experience and I loved it.

It's hard. It really is. The first few days really were the worst. It's hard because it's frustrating if it doesn't work out easily from the beginning, it's hard because it's painful sometimes, it's hard because it feels like all you ever do is sit on the couch nursing your baby, it's hard because you want your baby to get plenty to eat and get all roly-poly like the Michelin man and you're just not sure if you're giving her enough. Also, breastmilk....everywhere. Just everywhere.

Cute Things
Why do we put cute changing pad covers over the waterproof changing pad? That's dumb. It will just inevitably get poop, pee, and spit up all over it, and you will change it every single day at least once. Also, it's unfortunate that babies can't just be nekked all the time, because their poop, pee, and spit up will also get all over their adorable clothes and stain them beyond redemption.

**Update: So, now I've been a mom for 3 whole MONTHS! So, I'm for sure an expert now if I wasn't before. Ha ha ;) Here's a few more things I would add to this list at this point:

Diaper Bags
I bought a cute, sort of expensive diaper bag. Then I found out it was really too small to fit all of the stuff I needed (*cough* firsttimemom *cough*). So, I ditched it and bought an equally cute, waaaaay cheaper, and much more useful diaper bag from WalMart. WalMart ftw.

Favorite Products
Here's just a gigantic list: muslin swaddle blankets, Avent natural bottles & binkies, Burt's Bees baby wash (best smell everrrr), Boudreaux's Butt Paste & diaper rash preventer spray, Huggies little snugglers (seriously THE BEST), Similac total comfort formula, Angel Care baby monitor, vinegar (I know, you didn't think that was a baby product...but it is. I use it in laundry, washing bottles, cleaning, etc. It's my favorite thing ever), binkie clips, Grow With Me socks.

The first few weeks of JoJo's life were so hard. Now I understand that what everyone tries to tell you really is true: you really do know what your baby needs better than anyone else. Your mother's intuition IS enough, you are doing a wonderful job, and everything WILL be okay. And the stress does get easier to manage. It doesn't go away, you just adjust and learn to be happy through it all and not take life too seriously.

In my experience, most of the "judgy-judgers" aren't actually trying to bring you down. They usually have good intentions when they make little comments or give you unsolicited advice. Listen to them, then decide for yourself whether or not it's worth taking to heart. If you don't feel like it is, or if you're somehow bothered by it, learn to brush it off and say to yourself, "Well, I'm the best mom ever, so I'll just do things my way, thanks." ;)