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Thursday, September 25, 2014

To Regret or Not?

So the saying is so true.

Don't have a birth plan.

As soon as you start planning for how you want your birth to go down, that's when the exact opposite will happen.

As I sat in my hospital bed after we began my induction (something I didn't want to do, but ended up being necessary), my nurse asked if I had a birth plan.

Well yeah, I did, and I spent hours upon hours typing it up, but of course I left it at home. **cue irony**

When I told her this, she said, "honestly, you don't need it. because births will happen the way they are supposed to."

Boy, was she she right.

I wanted a natural birth.

Instead I was induced, had my water broken, had pitocin, had an epidural, and had a c section.

None of that was in my plan.

Here was my plan.

And I will tell you not ONE part of this birth I got. Not even breastfeeding. Which breaks my heart the most. Even though it's not because I couldn't produce milk. My sweet one's cleft palate doesn't allow her to. Praying she can after her surgery in October.

I have struggled with regretting how everything went down. Had a waited longer would she had come on her own?

After Raegan was born the doctor confirmed that she would not have come on her own no matter how long we waited. She wasn't descending into the birth canal therefore wasn't putting pressure on my cervix to dilate. Even though I've been told that by my doctor, I still can't help but feel guilty for not pushing for my "birth plan."

When my doctor came to check me at 9am, she ended up breaking my water while checking me and putting an internal fetal monitor next to Raegan's cheek to monitor the strength of my contractions. She didn't tell me this until after she did it. I think she knew I would have protested. And even though that did happen, I still love my doctor and trust her. And in the end she knew what she was doing.

After she walked out of the room I just started crying. I had already accepted I was having to do pitocin and induction, but was going to be allowed to move around the room and labor in other positions besides the bed. But once she had put that monitor on Raegan, I was told I had to stay in bed because if I moved around I could dislodge it.

Well that was the end. There was no way I'd be able to labor in that bed without an epidural for a long period of time. But I told myself I was going to give it my all and I did. For 8 hours I labored in that bed on high levels of pitocin without an epidural. At one point, I told my nurse I was getting up and I didn't care what she said. I had to labor in a different position. So she allowed me to labor on the ball for a few hours and it really helped the pain level.

Getting the epidural was something I wanted to strive to not do, but it wasn't the end of the world when I got it. I was always open to it. And even when I wasn't progressing and the talk of a c-section began, I wasn't upset because I knew I had given it my all.

But it was just the idea that I didn't allow my body to go into labor on its own. I know I know. She wouldn't have come on her own. But still.

My doctor is on board for a VBAC though. Thank goodness! Her only stipulation is that I go into labor on my own. She can't induce a previously c-sectioned momma. So crossing fingers I can go into labor on my own for one of my births.

Then there's breastfeeding. Ugh. I know Raegan can't breastfeed right now because of her cleft palate, but it still breaks my heart. I produce so much milk. Like enough to have twins! And I can't feed my baby in the most natural way. Yes, she is still getting my milk, but I want that bonding time with her. My body reacts to her. I start producing milk when she cries and my body is doing what it's made to do. But when she starts to cry and my body is doing what it's made to do, I have to go warm up a bottle. It breaks my little momma heart.

But in the end, my sweet miracle baby is here and who cares how she got here? Honestly. I do have lots of feelings of how everything went down, but I don't regret it. And I never did until talking to friends after she arrived.

All of the feelings I've had have been brought on by other moms who didn't agree with how I gave birth. Being told numerous times "you should have waited" or "don't back down from what you want" breaks my heart because it wouldn't have mattered. My baby was stuck in my hip. My doctor is a doctor for a reason. She knows what she's doing!

These days so many mommas judge other mommas for their choices of how they birth, how they feed their baby, what they feed their baby, and so much more.

Mommas, we must STOP! Each of us is the most perfect momma for our baby and we know what's best for our OWN baby.

The best thing you can do for a momma friend who didn't get the birth they wanted is say, "I know it didn't go down the way you wanted, but your sweet bundle of joy is HERE!"

Because in the end, that's all that matters.

And there's always baby #2 to try for a natural birth, right? :)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Raegan's Schedule

I don't know about you, but I thrive off a schedule. Well turns out, so does miss Raegan!

Now there are many opinions out there about when it's appropriate to put a baby on a schedule. As a new mom, I had and sometimes still have no clue what I'm doing! But I paid attention to my little love bug and started realizing I was actually the one making her cranky and fussy! 

I know!!! {insert shocked face!}

Now newborns are on such sporadic schedules that trying to put them on one will likely drive you insane! Especially because they are up throughout the night numerous times. 

From the time Raegan came home from the NICU we just continued the schedule we had learned in the hospital. Feed every 3 hours. And before you feed, change her diaper. So that you can put baby back down right after her feeding. And that worked well for us at the beginning when she was sleeping all the time!

Then she started to be more awake and we kind of took the stance of if she's awake, we will let her be awake. Yeah, that didn't work. Babies need sleep and they won't always go to sleep even when they need to! So the result of that was a very overly tired baby and very tired parents.

So I started doing research and it showed that a baby Raegan's age, 6 weeks old (yes, 6 weeks. I can't believe it either!) should only be awake 40-50 minutes at a time. 

Well there was our problem! We were keeping her up too much!

She needed some awake time to allow her to get stronger both physically and socially, but she was getting too much! She was getting overly tired and pretty much wasn't napping at all during the day and if she was, I had to be holding her and if I did manage to nail the transfer from me to the bed, they were short little cat naps.

I was getting nothing done and things had to change!!

Hence, I started Raegan on a schedule. Every baby is different and may not be able to tolerate a schedule at 6 weeks. This is just what worked for Raegan and I. You have to do what's best for you and your sweet baby.

So let's start at the beginning of the day. 

Raegan wakes up at 5:30am from sleeping the whole night. So we will start there. 

I know, we are blessed with a baby that sleeps through the night at 6 weeks. I've decided we are due something easy because Lord knows getting pregnant with her was anything but easy!!! 

And then her 28 hour birth and stay in the NICU earns us easy potty training right?! ;)

Alright, onto the schedule.

5:30am- Kyle feeds Raegan while I pump. Praise Jesus for that man! I do my devotional while I pump. It's the only time of day where I can fit it in! Early morning with my Lord!
6:15am- Kyle leaves for work and I go back to bed. 
8:30-9am- Raegan wakes up. I change her and feed her and put her right back down. Whenever she is being fed or sleeping, she is swaddled. This is a physical cue for her to know we are eating then going to sleep. 
9:30am-12pm- nap
12pm- I change her and feed her. If she's acting like she's tired. I put her back down. If she's awake, then I put her in her rocker in the bathroom with me and I pump while doing my make up and hair. Impressive multi tasking going on! Then we play for alittle bit before putting her down. I watch her for cues of yawning or rubbing her eyes. If she does this while I'm getting ready, I stop and put her down and continue getting ready after she's down. And if I need to run an errand, this is the time I do it and I don't put her down. She takes a few cat naps while we are out.
3pm- change, feed, and down for a nap. She may sleep till 6. If she does, great, if she doesn't, we play for a bit. But I don't get her up until at least 5:15 so that she's not overly tired at 6pm for her feeding.
6pm- change, feed, and play until daddy gets home around 7pm. 
7pm- go for a walk, take a bath, then one last feeding before bed. 
8-8:30pm- down for the night.

She normally will sleep until 4 or 5 the next morning. She may eventually need a dream feed (10-11pm) before we go to sleep, but she hasn't needed that yet.

Of course, her schedule changes occasionally up or down an hour, but I just go with it. And sometimes she sleeps less or longer. You have to ebb and flow with baby's tempo.

If you have any questions, let me know in the comments and I will answer them the best I can!

Don't get discouraged if your baby doesn't respond to a schedule yet. They will! 

And sometimes you will have to sit by their bed as they sleep to help soothe them if they are waking up multiple times throughout their nap. 

That's exactly what I'm doing right now!

Tune in for my next post of how I put Raegan down and how I keep her asleep! 


And because you have to keep a smile on your face when you want to rip your hair out...

Putting and Keeping Baby To Sleep

Now I by NO means have the answer to the asked question of "how do you keep a baby asleep?" but this is what has worked for me!

I have linked each picture to where you can purchase each item.

First off, here are the thing I use for her sleep time.

I would be lost with our swaddle blankets. The swaddle me blankets are my favorite because Raegan is a wiggle worm and will wiggle out of the best of swaddles, but these swaddles have velcro and try as she might, she has a hard time getting out.

AND they come in large too (14-20 pounds) So we can use them for awhile! They come in boy and gender neutral colors too!
Next up is the paci. Yes, we use a paci and I LOVE THEM! And so does Raegan. They really do an amazing job at soothing her. I'm so glad she takes a paci. These are the ones we use. Since she has a cleft palate and can't get a very good suck and seal of the cleft, these are great because the nipple is long and she's able to suck and close that hole with the paci.
And along with her pacifers she has a wubbanub. I love her "wubby" because it has the lamb attached to it and it's hard to lose BUT I can also swaddle wubby in her swaddle and it doesn't fall out of her mouth as much. We didn't start doing this until she was a little older and had more head control. She can still get the paci out of her mouth so there is no risk of suffocation. The wubbanub comes is many different animals!
Next up is what she sleeps in. We have the graco pack n play set up in our room and when she first came home she slept in the bassinet portion of the pack n play. It actually detaches from the pack n play so we were able to move it wherever we needed to! Loved that feature!
Now that she's older and LONGER she's not always a fan of the pack n play. So we purchased a Fisher Price rock n play and this what she sleeps in at night and for her naps. It's also good because she can sleep alittle reclined and with her cleft palate she is very stuffy so this allows her to breathe better. And it vibrates! Halle to the lujah!
Ok so now that you've seen WHAT I use let's get to the HOW! Well first off, with her schedule she eats right before she goes down. So I always swaddle her and get ready to go to sleep before feeding her. It's her cue that it's time to eat then take a nap.

After she eats I do not rock her for very long since I don't want her using me as a way to fall asleep. So I put her in her rock n play and rock her. Yes, she is using the rocking to fall asleep, but that habit we can break later. And I am not saying I don't rock my baby because if she needs it, I'm the first to give it to her. (fussy, gassy, just needs some momma loving, etc).

I make sure she has a paci in her mouth and the swaddle strategically holding it in her mouth so she doesn't spit it out, and I rock the rock n play with my foot. Lots of multitasking!

I also like to hold the paci in her mouth and rest my hand on her chest as she falls asleep. This gives her the sense that I'm still there and haven't left and I'm able to keep the paci in if she starts moving her head around. She tends to do this right before she falls asleep.

Now here is the kicker. How long do you does this for? It all depends. If Raegan is acting like she's not sleepy then we may play a little before attempting the nap. Remember from my last post, activity and sleep can be switched around, except of course if it's bed time.

And if I've given it a good 15 minutes and Raegans's eyes still haven't closed, I may need to pick her up and rock her a bit to get that sleepy phase started. She may even cry at me a little in her rock n play, and then the next minutes, she's asleep! I will be at my wits end and am about to pick her up because I don't think she's sleepy and then BAM! Asleep. Which is why I say give it some time! Don't pick baby up as soon as they let out a cry or seem annoyed to be in the bed.

When you are sitting and rocking the seconds creep by! You feel like it's been 20 minutes, but really it's only been 2. I urge you to give it a good 5 minutes after baby has closed their eyes. Set a timer, play some candy crush on your phone, but don't walk out just yet. Because they aren't asleep when they close their eyes. Give them some time before walking off to really fall asleep. Better to give it 5 minutes then than having to come back in a few minutes because the paci has fallen out because they weren't in a deep sleep and it woke them up. Just my two cents!

And when she does wake up in the middle of her nap or at night, I put the paci back in and start the whole process over. I don't pick her up unless she's crying. We will work on self soothing when she's alittle older, but this process is helping her learn that a little bit at a time.

Just remember, babies change constantly! Just as you are about to pull your hair out because they aren't sleeping more than 30 minutes or a time or they won't nap or they won't sleep unless you're holding them, they will change! Then something new will cause you to want to pull your hair out :)

As hard as this time is, baby is learning how to cope with the outside world and you have to help baby to do that.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments below. I will try to answer them as best I can!

And how can I post without a picture of Miss Priss?
spit bubbles!
oh that double chin! swoon