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Samuel : 3 Months

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Yes, that adorable, chunk is 3 months old and I am so in loooove with him!

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I mentioned this on Instagram the other day – Samuel was by far my most challenging newborn. Maybe now that the worst is behind us and I’m not at risk of saying something I might regret I will write about just how awful colic is. It’s truly just horrible and unless you’ve been through it, you have no idea the toll it can take on a human being. But thankfully, my most challenging newborn is turning out to be my happiest, giggliest, sweetest baby ever and I could burst with love for this little man. The diet change combined with regular chiropractor appointments totally changed Samuel and I am just so thankful we figured things out fast before things got worse or I lost my mind. We haven’t been to the chiropractor since before Thanksgiving and I think we could get by with the occasional adjustment here and there. The past two weeks I’ve also dabbled in some dairy and I think we are past the peak of Sammy’s milk protein intolerance. There are times when I can tell he has/had an upset stomach based on his diaper but that’s getting less and less and even then his demeanor does not let on to the fact that something is wrong with his belly. He is truly turning out to be such an easy little guy. He can spend longer and longer periods of time just laying on the living room floor while Eli and Gabby play around him. It’s so nice to not have to stress about holding and entertaining your baby every waking minute. Our little guy is so happy too! I don’t really remember if Eli and Gabby did this but when Samuel is awake he just coos and talks and laughs all the time. It really takes very little to get him to grin from ear to ear. I feel like I really had to coax the smiles out of my other two kids, especially Gabby, but Sammy just smiles if you make eye contact with him. Is there anything more amazing than that?

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Samuel is still a super nurser and we are going strong in that department. I’d say he’s on an every 3 to 4 hour schedule over here. He’s been given a few bottles here and there but he never really chugs them and even after he’s done he still wants to nurse. I am so glad things are going well because I very much remember the nightmare the last two times when I did not produce enough. But like I said in last month’s post, I’m already on Fenugreek, Blessed Thistle and Domperidone. Maybe I really don’t need the help but just knowing that I’m on them sort of takes the edge off the nerves, you know? So far Sammy hasn’t had a drop of formula (we don’t even have any) and for the first time I know what it means to look at your growing baby and relish in the fact that you are fully responsible for that. Even though Sammy is on the smaller side, I still see chunks and rolls in his monthly photo and it brings me so much happiness that I did that!

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Speaking of producing enough milk, I also now know what it means to HAVE to pump. In January I am heading out of town for two nights and I’m working hard to increase our freezer stash. The pump and I have never really had a great relationship. I just think my body doesn’t respond well to it. But now I’ve been pumping every day right after Sammy goes down for his morning nap and I get between 3-5 oz depending on when he ate last and how relaxed I am. I’ve also gotten really good at breast compressions and I think that does wonders for getting out more milk! So I’m hoping to have enough stashed away by mid- January. We still need to used pumped milk for times I’m out of the house and away from Sammy so I’m really hoping we don’t go through what we already have. I don’t know how you full time pumping mamas do it. The numbers game is no joke!

Samuel is an absolute rockstar when it comes to some aspects of sleep but is horrible at others. For instance, this month, Sammy knocked my socks off when he started going down for naps without any help from me. We are definitely on some sort of schedule now and if I get him down at the right time he will fall asleep swaddled in his crib all on his own. It’s pretty amazing! In the mornings Samuel will sleep to somewhere between 7 and 8 am and is ready for a nap by 9:00. He’ll sleeps for about an hour and then will take another longer nap in the afternoon. After that it’s just cat naps in our arms but he’s definitely getting the swing of naps and I couldn’t be happier. However, the nights are still rough. This boy has a ton of sleep associations, thanks to us, and we are working hard to break those soon. Every night he’s swaddled in his swing, with white noise and a nuk. If the nuk falls out, Jim or I are up popping it back in and sometimes it’s numerous times an hour! And then he needs to be nursed at least twice a night and can I just be honest with you all and say I’m exhausted from that?! Nursing in bed does not work for us since Sammy is not one to cuddle so I have to get up and nurse him in the glider in the nursery. There are nights when I barely remember nursing him because I’m in such a sleepy haze. We are no where near sleep training but Jim and I are lingering in bed a little longer before tending to him and the past couple of nights we are noticing that he’s starting to put himself back to sleep all on his own. I can only hope it just gets better and better from here!

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As far as dislikes go, Samuel definitely hates having outfit changes and I do my best to keep him in the same sleeper as long as possible! Choosing anything that has to fit over his head is a nightmare since he just gets himself so worked up! The same can be said about strapping him in the carseat. I’ll wait until the very last minute to put him in it because I just can’t stand the crying. I think he’s okay with car rides, he just hates being confined in his seat for so long.

This month has just been such a game changer for us that it’s hard to say exactly what else upsets Samuel. He definitely hates being tired and I can guarantee he’ll calm down if I bring him up to the nursery for a nap. And there are even times when I know he’s tired but he just smiles and flirts with me while I swaddle him up. Ah, HEAVEN! Do you know how good it feels to have a baby I can understand and respond to? It’s SUCH a difference from those first few weeks when I just didn’t know what to do to sooth my little guy.

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I feel like this post was rather boring and uneventful but then again, what else does a baby do at 3 months, right? To sum up, Samuel is SUCH a happy baby and I just can’t get enough of him. If his personality continues to develop on the course it’s on, we are in for such a treat!

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Love you babers!

Nicole - December 4, 2014 - 12:22 pm

Yay yay yay for your happy happy baby! He really is so adorable! Such a great smile :) You are VERY lucky that he only gave you 3 months of fussiness – my fussy boy took about 13 months to cheer up, ha! But he is now a total joy (and a fantastic sleeper – finally!).
I’d never guess that S is on the small side – he looks so big and cubby in the pictures. A picture of perfect baby health :) Good job, Mama!

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Samuel : Two Months

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STATS:

Weight – 11 lbs, 2.8 oz (23rd percentile)
Length – 23 inches (52nd percentile)
Head – 39.5 cm (60th percentile)

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LIKES:

Thankfully I’m still in the happy nursing stage I have with all of my babies. I have plenty of milk and Sammy is satisfied after feedings. However I’m beginning to suspect this is my first baby who truly loves to nurse for comfort. That is pretty much the ONLY thing that will work 100% of the time when he is cranky. Sometimes Sammy will be so antsy and frustrated in my arms but if I had him off to Jim, he calms down. It’s as if he knows nursing isn’t an option with Jim so he cools his jets.

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White noise is still a winner over here too and every night our entire house sleeps soundly through radio static. It seems to work better than our sound machines and honestly it soothes me as well. There are times when I can tell Samuel is over tired so I’ll put the static on as I’m swaddling him and I can literally see his eyes gloss over.

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Which leads me to swaddling. I reported in his one month post that Samuel hated being swaddled. He would wake up so cranky and frustrated and looking back I think that was an issue more with his tummy and not the actual swaddle. The Miracle Blanket is our swaddle of choice and works wonderfully to keep up nice and cozy during naps and at night.

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Unfortunately, I think we might be starting a bad habit over here as we are letting Sammy sleep in the swing every night in our room. File this one under “survival mode”. At the end of the day, and usually the days that Jim works, I will pretty much do anything to get a long stretch of sleep and so far the swing is the thing that does the trick. Since our swing runs on batteries there have been a few nights that it stopped working and it appears Sammy can sleep thorough that. So Jim and I are trying to see if we can transition to him to sleep in the swing but not with it turned on.

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DISLIKES:

Remember Samuel’s colic in his one month post? Yeah, it appears he does not like dairy in my diet. More on that later…

Samuel is also not a fan of dirty diapers which surprises me. Neither Eli nor Gabby were bothered by dirty diapers so it never dawned on me to check that when he started to fuss. But now I know it’s one of the first things to look for. As soon as I remove that dirty diaper, the whining stops and I’ll even let Sammy lie there naked which he seems to very much enjoy.

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Sadly I think Samuel takes after Gabriella in the snuggle department. I remember she would always squirm and grunt in my arms while I tried to rock her to sleep and Sammy seems to be the same way. Rocking him in the glider almost always never works and I either have to let him lay loosely in my lap with just a hand on him or I need to walk around and bounce him to sleep. I really don’t know what it is about holding him tight while sitting down but Mr. Sam hates it. So weird. (Ok, so I go back and insert images into the post after I done writing it. I see a lot of photos of Sammy sleeping on me so I look like a big liar here! Ha! You just have to take my word for it.)

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In that same vein, Sammy doesn’t really do well in our baby carriers either. Well, I should take that back. If we go somewhere or take a walk, he’s absolutely fine in them but if I want to wear him around the house and get things done, it never turns out as I want it to. He doesn’t sleep well in them and any time he does doze off, he immediately awakes as soon as I flinch a muscle. I definitely don’t mind carrying him while he’s awake (like on walks) but I really can’t get anything done then since I’m constantly trying to support him (he kicks his legs a lot) or keep him entertained. Le sigh….

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I despise the wisdom that a third baby can sleep through anything because that is absolutely not true in this house. In fact, Samuel seems to be my lightest sleeper which causes me to be quite a cranky mom when my two bigs start bouncing off the walls while he naps. Samuel also gets quite tense and cranky when there is a lot of commotion around us. I guess I can’t blame the guy. Having two kids constantly in your face can’t always be fun.

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SLEEPING: Samuel is by far my worst sleeper but in the same breath he definitely isn’t a horrible sleeper either. We definitely have our horrendous nights when he’s up at 10:30, 12:30, 2:30, 4:30… and I want to stab my sleepy eyes out. But for the most part he’s up two times. Usually around 12 or 1 am and then somewhere between 3 and 4 am. I really can’t complain because I nurse him for about 10-15 minutes and he falls right back to sleep. The transition from my arms to the swing is pretty seamless too and while he might make a few grunts after I put him down, he can usually calm himself down and doze back off. And if he doesn’t, it’s Jim turn;)And that’s truthfully advice straight from our pediatrician and I’m not one to argue with that!

Naps are touch and go. Samuel definitely needs one less than an hour after waking in the morning and if I put him down at that sweet spot, he will snooze for 2-3 hours. But most of the time he wakes up crying within an hour and I stress myself out trying to decide what’s best – try to sneak the nuk back in his mouth and hope he doesn’t get pissed, rock him back to sleep or just let him get up. Such a tricky situation and if I choose wrong, the rest of the day could be a nightmare.

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EATING: Like I mentioned above, nursing is still going strong. I did go ahead though and start taking Fenugreek, Blessed Thistle and a small dose of domperidone in hopes of being one step ahead of the my low milk supply that seems to creep its way in around 3-4 months. I know some people might think that move was premature but this is my third baby and I know the frustration that comes with a low milk supply so I’d rather not deal with that this time around if at all possible. On a rare occasion I know my supply might be a bit too much since Sammy will have greenish diapers but for the most part I believe my supply is spot on. When I see those green dipes, I usually hold off on my meds the next day or so.

Thankfully we discovered the culprit of Samuel’s colic earlier this month. One afternoon I was rocking Sammy and he was just so tense and fussy. I can’t say it was any worse than before but something told me to make an appointment with the pediatrician. I called and got an appointment for the following morning and it just so happened that that night as I was changing his diaper, I noticed a little blood in his stool. I was concerned but thankfully not totally freaked out since I assumed it had something to do with my diet. Sure enough, at our appointment the following day the doctor told me this was a clear sign that Sammy had a milk protein intolerance and if I wanted to continue nursing (which I absolutely do), then I would have to cut out all dairy and possibly soy since a milk protein intolerance almost always means an intolerance to soy as well. I immediately did a complete overhaul to my diet (which sort of kicked my butt since I wasn’t expecting nor prepared for it) and Samuel was SUCH a better baby within three days! It was an answered prayer! Once in a while I’ll slip and have chocolate and I can tell the next day both by Sammy’s mood and by his diapers. It sucks when that happens but it’s also confirmation that dairy is definitely the culprit and as long as I avoid it, we should be good in that department. But man, do I miss pizza. I’m pretty certain this is the LONGEST I have ever gone without that and ice cream! I did splurge on almond milk ice cream a few weeks ago but I can’t justify the cost every single week. Sacrifices, sacrifices;)

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PERSONALITY: So, despite the colic and occasional tenseness, Samuel is actually a pretty laid back, happy baby. We got those first smiles this month and it doesn’t take a lot to get him to give us those big gummy grins. Sometimes when I’m changing his diaper, Sammy will just give me the biggest smile without me prompting him and it totally melts my heart into a big puddle of mushy goo. He also loves to watch and smile at his siblings and of course Eli and Gabby eat it up and smother him in kisses. I honestly think that if Samuel did not have tummy issues early on, he would have been a fairly easy baby.

OUT N ABOUT: Fall is upon us so you know what that means! Apple orchards and pumpkin farms. And Sammy has now been to both. Of course he slept through both trips while I wore him, but I still think it counts:)Oh, and we also hit up the fire station!

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BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT OF THE MONTH: Hands down, the smiles. I love them so!

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BIGGEST CHALLENGE OF THE MONTH: After we discovered the milk protein intolerance, Samuel definitely stopped crying so much and didn’t always seem so bothered by something. But once in a while he still seemed super tense and would had a hard time calming down or falling asleep. I can remember one specific, frustrating afternoon when I just wanted to nap with Sammy. I had us both in bed and he kept waking up every 5-10 minutes squirming and crying and I was literally in tears after almost an hour. I was so tired and so frustrated with my little man. We had been to a chiropractor a few times for Samuel but that afternoon I decided to call my chiro to see if he could see Samuel instead. Thankfully they had a last minute opening in 30 minutes so I quickly got him bundled up and out the door. I did like the other chiropractor we were seeing but mine was way more in depth and thorough and I love how he always explains things so clearly. Even before I dove into my rant about Samuel’s issue, he went and explained how birth can really mess up a baby’s alignment and my fast delivery definitely could have caused some of that in Samuel. He showed me specifically where babies tend to misalign and sure enough those points have a direct impact on the parasympathetic nervous system – the system we need to calm ourselves down! When my chiropractor went to examine Sammy, I could clearly see where his spine was off a bit so it was very reassuring we were on the right path. I can confidently say after 2 visits Sammy was like a new baby. He fell asleep much easier and didn’t wake so easily like before. We’re still going every week to make sure things stay this way but for the most part, he’s doing so much better, with the exception of the occasional bad day which I suppose is to be expected with a two month old.

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Another challenge this month is successfully handling the days Jim is at work. Because I can’t hand off Samuel to Jim, I spend the majority of my day tending to him and keeping him calm and happy. The result of that is two neglected children who are left to entertain themselves practically all day long. I’m not ashamed to admit that Eli and Gabby watch way too much television on those days and our meals are whatever I can put together in a pinch! The McDonald’s drive thru is my best friend and I’m just glad the kiddos can watch Daniel the Tiger on repeat. I know this is just a phase but I can’t help but let the mommy guilt sink in when, at the end of the day, I realize I haven’t poured much into my other two kids. And yes, there are times I get completely overwhelmed and have put Samuel in his crib to fuss it out while I regain my composure and show some attention to Eli and Gabby. Ten or 15 minutes is all I need to recharge and after that Samuel has either fallen asleep or is ready to doze off as soon as I pick him up.

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HANDSOMENESS: What I thought was baby acne was in fact eczema from Samuel’s milk protein intolerance and now that I have eliminated dairy from my diet, Sammy has the most beautiful complexion I have ever seen on a baby. I can’t help but rub my cheek against his because his skin is so soft and smooth. I have to laugh because while I do think Sammy looks like a boy, he is actually a very pretty baby and people will ask me to clarify if he is a boy or girl when we are out in public. His eye lashes are continuing to grow and while he had a decent amount of hair on his head, he still doesn’t have as much as Eli did at this age. I’m still torn whether or not he’s Eli’s twin. There are days when they look exactly alike and other days I swear I’m staring at the male version of Gabby. Genetics are so cool and mind boggling! I really can’t wait to see what Samuel ends up looking like!

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Two months with our littlest man! Time definitely flies by.

Nicole - November 11, 2014 - 11:59 am

He is absolutely adorable! And I’m so so so glad to hear that he has calmed down a bit for you too. Tucking dairy/soy removal and chiropractic work into my potential bag of tricks for baby #4. And as for sleeping in the swing – just do whatever works. My middle child slept in the swing until she was so heavy it stopped swinging, ha! At that point she transitioned to the crib just fine. Take it one day at a time. And no guilt about tv or fast food – I totally remember those early days when my older two were basically on their own since the baby just required soooo much of me all. the. time. Such a tough season. But you are dong great. Everyone sure looks happy :)
I think it’s so funny that people would think Sammy is a girl – he is ALL BOY you ask me!

Erin - November 12, 2014 - 4:14 pm

Such a handsome little man! I’m glad you figured out his issue, but ohhh, giving up dairy. Good job, mama! Hilarious how these third borns have to deal with big siblings in their face all.the.time. And the smiles!! The best!!

Laurie - December 1, 2014 - 12:55 am

He is such a beautiful baby. He’s definitely a good mix of Eli and Gabby.

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Recovery Round 3 : Not at all what I Expected

I often joke that my strong dislike for those last few weeks of pregnancy translates to easy postpartum recoveries for me. I’ve heard friends equate those first few days after giving birth to being hit by a truck. I definitely experienced the usual aches and pains after having my babies (sore back, engorged boobs, etc.) but for the most part I felt pretty fantastic. After we brought Gabriella home from the hospital, I was already up and moving, taking Eli to the park and even going to the zoo with friends. Nothing compared to carrying a full size baby in my belly so recoveries were just so easy breezy for me. And I was absolutely certain that would be my story again after Sammy was born.

I got hit pretty bad this time – both physically and emotionally. The following day after I gave birth I literally could not walk without help. My pelvic floor felt damaged to the point of no return. And I really don’t think I pushed much harder with Samuel than my other two kids. With Eli I pushed for 2 hours (ohmygod, HOW?!) and with Gabby I pushed for 20 minutes but remember giving it my ALL. Samuel came out in about 5 minutes but he was my biggest baby so maybe that had something to do with it? I don’t know for sure but I just recall this time being brutal. My back and tailbone also hurt like heck and I couldn’t sit in the wooden rocking chairs they have in the hospital room without piling up 2 or 3 pillows. And even then I could only last about 10 minutes before everything just hurt. I joked with my nurses and tried to convince them I’m not normally a pill pusher since I was begging for Ibuprofen often. One nurse even put the time of my next dose on the white board….probably because she was sick of me constantly asking. When I was discharged from the hospital, I was also given a half dose of Percocet and by the time we picked up the kids from my in-laws, I was higher than a kite! I remember talking to my in-laws and apologizing to them if I was slurring my speech. I felt like I drank 10 beers! The floor was slanting, things appeared to move in slow motion and I was just so thankful I had Jim there to do basically everything for me.

I suppose those physical aches and pains are to be expected considering the feat I just endured. I just happened to get lucky the other two times. But what I wasn’t expecting – and the reason I wanted to write this post – was the emotional funk I found myself in the weeks after giving birth. For some reason I want to preface this by saying it wasn’t postpartum depression. Not that there is anything wrong with it or something to be ashamed of, but I did a ton of research during those weeks and I know I just got hit HARD with some intense baby blues. My hormones combined with sleep deprivation and major life changes all took a toll on me. I loved my baby, I loved my life, I was so happy…almost too happy and that translated to an incredible amount of crying.

I started to feel those emotions the day after Samuel was born. We had a few visitors that day and Julia and my cousin Sarah were two of them. Both of them had just had babies within the past 1-2 months and hearing them talk about how fast that time went and how I remembered visiting them in the hospital had me so fearful of the passage of time. That second night after visitors left and Jim went home to be with Eli and Gabby, I felt a pit in my stomach as I rocked my sweet new baby boy. I wanted to live in that magical moment forever, I wanted him to stay that little for all time…I was already missing what I had right in front of me. I didn’t cry or anything but I just remember that entire evening having a feeling of intense happiness mixed with sadness that this time was so fleeting.

The following morning was fine and my emotions weren’t as intense. Jim came to pick Samuel and I up but while I got ready and packed up my bags, I started to feel that sadness creep in. Like I mentioned in my birth story, I LOVE the hospital I deliver at. In fact, whenever I go there for regular check ups, I can’t help but feel jealous of all the pregnant ladies walking in and out. So as I packed up that day and realized this was probably the last time I’d ever be in one of these rooms, I started to get overwhelmed with sadness. The time came for the volunteer to wheel me to our car and as the wheelchair crossed over the threshold of our room, I started to bawl. Full out crying right there in front of the nurses and Jim. I tried to hold it together but just couldn’t. I knew I was literally walking away from the most amazing adventure of my life – making babies, having babies, meeting my babies. If I closed my eyes I could probably see the entire journey flash in front of me: that first ultrasound seeing Eli the size of a bean, finding out Gabriella was a girl, experiencing my water breaking with Samuel and hearing “It’s a boy!”. Not to mention the just-from-heaven smell of a newborn, hearing those first cries in the delivery room…first time nursing, first time changing a diaper, first time looking at a tiny human being and thinking “Wow, we made you.” Just typing all this out is making me tear up so as you can imagine, at that moment I was not ready to say good-bye to such a magical time in my life and yet I had to.

When we got home that afternoon I definitely felt overwhelmed. Eli and Gabriella were so excited to finally have their baby home, they were literally bouncing off the walls. I was so grateful for my children while at the same time wishing they would calm down! They spilled my glass of water numerous times, they got in Samuel’s face constantly and they were just…just…so CRAZY, it drove me nuts. It also hit me that Samuel was going to be a rambunctious little tyke one day and again…TIME, PLEASE SLOW DOWN! Because Samuel looked so much like Eli in those early days too I felt like I was watching two lifetimes simultaneously. Baby Eli in my arms, 4 year old Eli jumping and talking and laughing right in front of me. It messed with my emotions like crazy!

A couple of nights later the baby blues hit me even harder and I think that’s when I admitted to Jim and everyone else that my emotions were on a roller coaster. At that time I was sleeping on the couch in the living room while Samuel slept in the Rock n’ Play next to me. With all the hustle and bustle of bringing home a newborn I didn’t stop to think about Eli starting pre-school the following week. His school started the week after Labor Day so he was home one more week than everyone else. I’ve always known that Eli would have a hard time on that first day. He’s my sensitive buddy and not a social butterfly at all so I knew that first day was going to be a challenge. But for some reason that night I actually stopped to envision Eli walking into his classroom and crying. I pictured leaving him for 3 hours and him scared and wondering where his mommy went. It KILLED me to imagine doing that to my sweet boy. I remember feeling so scared when my mom would leave me as a little kid and I just couldn’t fathom doing that to Eli. You guys, the flood gates OPENED that night. It’s as if every tear I held back those previous days just had to come out. I cried hysterically…soaking my pillow, gulping for air, trying to compose myself only to cry even harder a few seconds later. I actually had to clutch my stomach because the sadness was so overwhelming. I finally got off the couch, walked upstairs and crawled into the top bunk with Eli. I held him close and sobbed big old tears into his hair. If I didn’t have a newborn to take care of throughout the night, I’m sure I would have never left Eli’s side. I don’t think I have ever felt physical pain from being so sad before. Afterwards I crawled into bed with Jim and cried more ugly tears on him. I could barely get out why I was crying…I just needed someone to hold me.

I wish I could say I got better after that but I did not. The following day was Labor Day and I told Jim we needed to head up north to the cabin. We had originally planned to do that but since Samuel was sleeping horribly at night we decided that was probably a bad idea. But that morning I changed my mind. I NEEDED to get away from reality. I knew Facebook and Instagram were going to be flooded with first day of school pictures the next day and I just couldn’t deal. I wanted nothing more than to take my family and put us all in a bubble and going up north seemed like the perfect solution. Jim headed to the grocery store around 6:30 am and we were packed and on the road by mid-morning.

Being at the cabin was certainly a breath of fresh air but I did cry a TON. Thankfully Jim wasn’t fazed and he was, in fact, the one who assured me this was all normal and part of the recovery (Thank you, nurses, for going over this during discharge). Any time I thought of Eli starting school, which was every minute, I would burst into tears. It got so bad that I actually considered not sending him to school! I’m not joking. Jim and I talked about keeping him home another year and looking back, I’m so thankful Jim didn’t tell me I was crazy but instead had a meaningful conversation with me about the whole thing. And I’m even more thankful that even though I wanted so desperately to protect Eli from that first scary day, a deeper part of me knew that wasn’t the right thing to do in the long run. So yes, I cried all day, every day. I looked like crap. I felt like crap. It was a crappy time.

One night up at the cabin I even had a dream that was so telling of every emotion I was experiencing. At one point I told Jim I wanted nothing more than to protect my family – protect them from the world, from the loss of innocence and from the passage of time. I just wanted our lives to stay as they were. Well, one night I had a dream that we were up at the cabin and the kids were sitting at the end of the pier like they normally do. The water is less than 2 feet at that point so I never have a problem with them hanging out there. In this dream, I was on the beach and this massive boat came right up to the end of the pier. It was huge…maybe boat is the wrong word. It was a ship. My kids looked like little dots next to it. As I watched this scene unfold it hit me that if this boat was able to be in the water, then the water must be REALLY deep. I started to panic as Eli and Gabby sat there with their feet dangling off the side of the pier and I could not run fast enough to save them from falling in. As soon as I woke up I couldn’t believe how fitting this dream was. That ship and the deep water symbolized this world and my kids being so small and tiny next to it revealed how I felt about them. And of course my frantic need to save them from falling in the water was the same as my frantic need to save them from this world. Talk about deep, huh? I don’t think I ever had a dream in my entire life that was so symbolic and meaningful.

Anyway, back to the school situation – As the day approached for Eli to start, I actually did begin to feel better. Well, maybe I just allowed myself to become numb to the whole situation. I tried not to talk about it much or think about it. That morning I wasn’t as spaz-y as I thought I would be and was totally fine as we drove to Eli’s new school. As soon as we walked into his classroom though Eli immediately clung to me and that’s when I felt all those emotions come crashing back. I tried to happily talk to him but he wasn’t budging. I looked at Jim, ready to bawl and told him he had to take over. Jim walked Eli around his classroom a bit but I could tell he was not giving in. A couple minutes later the teacher’s aide came up to Eli and started talking so nicely to him. I knew that was the moment I had to rip the bandaid off. I quickly said good-bye to Eli and was ready to walk out of the room but he grabbed my hand SO HARD, started crying and yelled “No, mommy, No!” I LOST IT! It killed every cell in my heart to pry my hand from his, turn around and walk away. I just so happened to see a friend from my old church in the hallway as I bolted out. She smiled and started talking to me and I literally ran past her and said “I’m sorry, I can’t talk right now.” Parents stared as I rushed out of the building crying my eyes out. It was horrible, you guys. Horrible. I felt like someone was ripping my heart right out of my chest. I don’t know why the teacher aide did this but she had Eli look out the window to the parking lot to see us and I just couldn’t turn around. I had Jim look and smile at him but I just couldn’t bear to turn around and see the fear in my boy’s face. We quickly got in the van and came home. Eli was gone for 3 hours and even Jim admitted it was the longest 3 hours of our lives. The entire time I was just hoping Eli was okay and not wondering why I abandoned him.

In the end, we all survived. When we picked Eli up that afternoon he was smiling and happy. In fact, instead of clinging me to me like I thought he would, he eagerly told me he had to wash his hands with his classmates before we all left. The teacher even took me aside and showed me video on her phone of my sweet boy laughing and having fun that day. Talk about relief!

I can honestly say getting through that day was the beginning of the end of the baby blues for me. I think I would have been sad for Eli’s first day of school regardless but having those postpartum hormones rushing through me amplified those emotions tenfold. Once I saw how great Eli did and how strong he was, I felt so much better.

I’m thankful that was the extend of the those postpartum blues. While in the midst of it, I felt so hopeless. Not about life exactly, but about how I just could not get a grasp of what I was feeling. My head said one thing while my heart said another. I definitely had bouts of crying after Eli and Gabby were born but this time took the cake. My intense love and need to protect my family from everything completely overwhelmed me this time around and it was just not something I was expecting. I’m almost 6 weeks postpartum and feeling 100% better, both physically and emotionally. But man, what a ride. So thankful to be on the other side of it.

Julia - October 4, 2014 - 12:48 am

Aw, A! I didn’t know you were going through such a rough time!! Those postpartum hormones are no joke man. Combined with your oldest going to school and you have a recipe for breakdowns. But I’m glad you all made it out alive and things are looking up!!

Erin - October 4, 2014 - 5:28 pm

Wow, girl, I didn’t know it was this bad, either! I’m glad you are feeling better and more normal! But those are two big transitions that happened back-to-back!!

Funny how we were totally opposite with our three babes – I’d been hit by a bus the first two times and this time was amazing. I teared up during your paragraph about the first time nursing, changing a diaper, just meeting this new person and thinking wow, we made you. It IS the most incredible experience ever!! I am sad we’re closing this chapter, but I guess I just hope/know that plenty of new beautiful chapters await.

Sara - October 16, 2014 - 5:02 pm

Postpartum hormones are no joke. I was absolutely cray cray after my first. Lots of crying. It was much better the second time around. Did you ever look into placental encapsulation? I’ve heard that really helps with recovery…you know, for next time. ;)

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Samuel : One Month

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STATS: None to report this month since we don’t go in for our next well baby check-up until two months. But from looking at Samuel I’d venture to say he’s going to be on the little side, just like his big brother. He’s still a peanut but I can tell he has definitely grown a bit. His head seems bigger, he seems much longer and some of those newborn outfits are getting a tad snug. And I’m certain Sammy is going through a growth spurt now because boy sure does love to eat! If I don’t pull my shirt down quick enough, he starts sucking on his hands like his life depends on it!

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LIKES: Anyone who has had a baby knows those first weeks are all about figuring out the newest addition to the family. We’re a month in and still trying to pinpoint exactly what makes Sammy a happy camper. It’s pretty evident we have a fussy one on our hands but the following seem to work most of the time:

Nursing – Anytime Samuel is melting down, I can guarantee a quiet baby if I whip out the boob. Some times he’s starving and other times he just needs his mama for comfort. I’m happy to oblige (and can see why dads can get so frustrated at this stage!).

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Light strokes on his face, arms and legs – You have to do this at the right time but if Sammy boy is well fed and ready for a snooze, a light baby massage on his temples really does the trick! But if the conditions aren’t right, he’s not having it and will turn his head forcefully as if to say “hey lady, knock it off!”

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White noise – This has always been such a winner in my house and I’m just glad ONE of the “Happiest Baby on the Block” tricks work for Samuel. For the first three weeks I was using the Sound Sleeper app on my phone and rotated among vacuum cleaner, thunderstorm and ocean. But as the fussiness grew, these sounds weren’t doing the trick. Thankfully Julia introduced me to the “Baby Got Colic” track on iTunes. If you want to be simultaneously freaked out and entertained, go ahead and search for it on youtube first. This white noise definitely falls into the category of “Hey, whatever works”. If it makes my baby stop crying, it’s more than welcome in my life, freaky youtube video and all.

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Being bounced on the exercise ball – Yeah, I thought we retired that thing too after he was born but one night during desperate text messages to friends, someone suggested bouncing on the exercise ball. If he’s not gassy or fighting a poop, Samuel will most likely turn to mush in my arms after a few minute of vigorous bouncing. My back has gone to hell because of this but again, if it calms him down, I’ll do it.

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Being worn – Eh, this isn’t always a miracle worker but it does work some of the time. Samuel is still loving and hating the ring sling but he seems to enjoy being carried around in the Ergo most of the time. Thankfully Jim enjoys this contraption as well because he has taken Sammy on long walks in the evenings to calm him down. I know Jim enjoys the quiet time and the chance to get out of the house without the big kids. It’s a win win over here with that.

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DISLIKES:

Being swaddled – Talk about being thrown for a loop with this one! Jim and I are/were swaddling experts. In fact, I credited this trick to my babies being such awesome sleepers. Before Eli was born, Jim and I watched “Happiest Baby on the Block” and ever since then we’ve swaddled the crap out of our kids (safely, of course). But Samuel sure isn’t a fan. We’ve used the miracle blanket about 10 times and while it may work to calm him down under the right conditions, he sure does get pissed off if he wakes up swaddled! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been woken up by him grunting and crying. I remember Gabriella waking up mad for months and I can’t tell you how that affects my entire day. It’s brutal. About two weeks ago we stopped using the baby straight jacket and life is so much better. Gabriella slept like a dream in this fuzzy pink blanket and that’s what we are using now to lightly wrap Samuel in at night. Sorry for sharing that with the world, buddy.

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Nuks – Strike two for “Happiest Baby on the Block”. We’ve tried three different types of pacifiers and Samuel has yet to love any of them. Sad times. Because of this we’ve had many a nights of him nursing, falling asleep, falling off the boob and then waking up frantically looking for something to suck on. I’ve tried slyly sneaking a pacifier in his mouth but he gets royally ticked off and the whole process starts all over again. I’d say we have success with a nuk about 20% of the time.

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Waking up in a baby carrier – The sky might as well be falling if Samuel wakes up in a baby carrier! Which really confuses me because it’s not like he could have escaped my ute when he woke up in there, amiright? But yeah, waking up while being worn is the worst and I just hope I’m not out in public when that happens. I tried to be brave and took Samuel to the Just Between Friends sale last week and wore him in my ring sling. He actually did great for the majority of the time but then he woke up and started crying hysterically. And I started sweating profusely. Needless to say that shopping trip was cut short.

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Having gas, difficulty pooping, trying to burp – I really do feel bad for my little guy. I think the majority of our fussiness is due to tummy troubles. We’ve gone through gas drops, gripe water, Colic Calm and prescription acid reflux medication and yet none of them are a true life saver. I will say that every day gets a teeny tiny bit better but we sure do have some doozies in there that makes me want to simultaneously cry for my sweet tortured baby and scream out of pure frustration. A colicky baby is no joke, my friends.

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SLEEPING: Those first few weeks were rough, as expected. Samuel was up about every 60-90 minutes and after a night of two of this I just brought him to bed with me so we could nurse all night long. I know that’s a solution for so many people but it honestly exhausted me. I would wake up in the morning feeling like I barely slept a wink. I truly needed a stretch of time where I could sprawl out in bed and go into deep sleep. Jim and I started taking shifts and that helped tremendously. He would usually take the first shift, letting me snooze until 1 or 2 am and then I’d take over until morning. There were a few nights in there though where Samuel wouldn’t stop crying so Jim would drive him around in the mini van so I could get some sleep. One night Jim drove Milwaukee’s entire highway system and was gone for over 2 hours.

I’m sure I’m jinxing things over here but the sleeping situation has gotten so much better in the past two weeks. We discovered Samuel sleeps best in the bouncy seat and he’s still in our room. We’re able to get him down between 9 and 10 pm and he’s up between midnight and 1 and again around 3 and 5:30. That might sounds horrendous to some of you but I love that it’s predictable and after nursing he falls right back to sleep. I will take that over waking up every hour and NOT falling back asleep.

Naps seem to be taking on a pattern as well. Samuel likes to take a long snooze in the morning, sometimes clocking in 3 hours. I definitely have to make sure he’s in a quiet, dark room and away from the obnoxiously loud big kids though and I can tell when he hasn’t gotten his beauty sleep because he turns into a bear. Afternoon naps are still a hit or miss and right now he’s mostly catnapping in between fussiness.

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EATING: I’m so thankful that my nursing relationships always start out well so I’m trying to enjoy what I have at the moment. My body is apparently producing enough milk based on Samuel’s dirty diapers and his satisfaction after a feeding. And even though he wouldn’t latch in the hospital I’d say he’s a champion nurser now, feeding every 2 to 3 hours throughout the day. Also noteworthy: Samuel has started doing this funny thing where he’ll hold my boob like a bottle and squeeze it as soon as my milk lets down.

In regards to pumping, I’ve put off that dreaded task until today actually. My body always takes so long to get used to the pump but with Samuel taking longer naps in the morning, I figure now is a good chance to clock in some serious time with that thing. I definitely could use a night out soon plus, Sammy has yet to take a bottle and I’m curious to see what his reaction will be based on his hatred towards a nuk.

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PERSONALITY: I’m so madly in love with my little guy but I have to report that he’s not the easiest baby to take care of. As Jim put it the other day (sorry if this offends anyone), Samuel has three settings – sleeping, losing his shit and about to lose his shit. My husband does not swear so for him to say that, you know this is a tough time for us. But like I said earlier, I’m certain this fussiness is due to digestion issues because as soon as Sammy lets out gas or poops, he seems so much better. It breaks my heart really and I just wish I could calm myself down in those desperate moments. There have been 3 or 4 instances where the crying was so much I had to put him in his crib for a few minutes just so I could regain my composure. It’s really does a number on your confidence and patience when your baby refuses to be cuddled, rocked and loved on. I know my little man is only doing what he knows but man, it’s hard to deal with when you are in the thick of it.

When Samuel is not dealing with tummy issues he really DOES seem like an easy baby. He loves to look around the room or stare at flashing images on TV. And when he’s really content, I get to enjoy those amazingly adorable coo’s and ooo’s from him. I love this stage and I wouldn’t dare wish time away but I sure am looking forward to interacting with Samuel and watching him giggle and smile. My heart just leaps thinking about it. And when he’s in a good mood, I want, like, 200 more kids. Don’t tell Jim!

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OUT N ABOUT: Samuel has been to the cabin (already!), his grandparents’ houses, numerous parks, the zoo, Harvest Fest, Cottage Grove for his cousins’ birthday party, a play date at Julia’s house (with 11 other kids!), baby Ellie’s house – once for a visit and another time for a photo shoot – and the chiropractor (to try and fix his digestion issues).

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BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT OF THE MONTH: Definitely getting into a nice sleeping routine at night. This mama sure does appreciate it! And sloooowly getting less and less fussy in the evenings. I’m not sure if Samuel is actually getting better or if we just have figured out what works for him. Regardless, it’s an achievement!

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BIGGEST CHALLENGE OF THE MONTH: Dealing with digestion issues:(

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HANDSOMENESS: My gosh, I think Samuel is just the cutest! The second he was born, I thought he was Eli’s little clone but I’m beginning to see he definitely has his own look. He has Eli’s skin tone but not as much hair as Eli at this age. I can also see a little bit of Gabby in him and believe it or not, I think he’s the child that looks the most like me as a baby. I can’t get enough of his furry little forehead (I kiss it often!) and I get a chuckle out of his ears. My mom and I decided he resembles Dopey from the Seven Dwarfs. He’s battling baby acne right now but that doesn’t diminish his adorableness, in my humble mommy opinion.

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Samuel, this has been a challenging month for all of us but that doesn’t mean I’m so incredibly grateful for you. Your daddy and I talked about you before you were even conceived and it feels like you were always meant to be part of our family. I love you so much it hurts, buddy. Can’t wait to watch you grow!

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Carrie - October 1, 2014 - 12:25 am

Curious if you’ve considered taking him to a chiro. I’ve heard that can do wonders for babies.

Nicole - October 1, 2014 - 12:37 am

He really is sooooo adorable! I’m so sorry he is giving you such a tough time in the fussy and sleep department. I TOTALLy feel your pain. Love your husbands description of his personality….sounds very familiar to how we would have described W, haha! And it sounds like you are actually doing pretty great making progress already. I don’t think I got those kind of night stretches from Walker until he was well over 6 months.
I’ve heard that often times, babies with digestion issues just need more time for their bodies to develop and adjust, and that at around 6 weeks things start to work a little more smoothly. I hope that is the case for Sammy – so tough for the little guy :(

Marta - October 1, 2014 - 2:49 am

My 2nd son was born in June and he was always fussy and still won’t take a pacifier making going out with him difficult so I feel your pain! Sorry to hear that Sammy is having tummy issues. I have not tried this, but I know many moms who swear by this product called Bio Gaia. It is a probiotic that will help with the colic type symptoms and might be worth a try :) You are doing Great Mama just wait till he starts smiling at you and you will forget all those hard times.

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Samuel’s Birth Story

Samuel will be 4 weeks on Monday and I’m so ashamed it has taken me this long to put this story together. You’d think with a husband home for 3 weeks after the birth, I’d have plenty of time to sit down at the computer. However, Mr. Sam-I-Am is proving to be a bit of a fuss butt and one that doesn’t sleep the best at night. So between taking care of the two big kids and handing Sammy off between Jim and I numerous times throughout the day, I barely got a chance to do much other than rest (when I could) and well…survive. But better late than never, right?:)Let’s do this.

Birth Story – Round Three!

As of my last update I was 4 cm, experiencing contractions for practically a week, had one false alarm hospital trip and was very, very miserable. I had a 38 week appointment set for Monday, August 25th at 2:15 pm and it was at that time that my OB said she would do a membrane sweep on me to hopefully get things moving. Even though the membrane sweep worked with Gabriella (had her the same day), I was still unsure how Monday would go because the end of this pregnancy was just so different than my other two. Regardless, on Sunday night Jim and I decided to both get a good night’s sleep. He slept in our bed and I took the couch in the living room and since sleep was so hard to come by for me, I downed a Unisom before hitting the hay. Besides two bathroom trips, I slept fabulously and woke up shortly before 7 am feeling totally refreshed.

I should rewind a bit and tell you about Sunday evening. Jim had already gone upstairs and while I laid on the couch thinking about things I started to get extremely emotional. I texted back and forth with Julia and Erin a bit about all the feelings running through me and after wrapping things up with them, I called Jim downstairs to sit with me. And that’s when I lost it. I was so emotional thinking about life and how things were about to change. I told Jim it made me so sad to know we were closing in on a chapter of the four of us and how much I hated knowing these days would all be a blur one day. I know at one point Eli was our life and yet those days of just Jim, Eli and I are like a dream…the memories are a bit murky. I was SO tired of being pregnant and yet I was sad it could possibly be my last night as a pregnant lady. I was terrified the sweep wouldn’t work and yet I felt a bit panicky knowing I could be in labor in 24 hours or less. In a nutshell, I was just a mess and every thought running through my mind made me cry. Jim was, of course, completely awesome and talked me through everything. I went to bed feeling much better.

The following morning I woke up shortly before 7 am. As I slowly waked I started thinking about this baby and for some reason I had a “it’s a boy” feeling. Jim and I were set on names but I still felt a bit off about our boy middle name. For those of you wondering, our girl name was Sylvia Teresa and our boy name at that moment was Samuel Joseph. Joseph is Jim’s brother and his dad’s name and while I love it, I just really wanted my family represented somehow. My dad’s middle name is Michael and as I tried out “Samuel Michael” in my head, I rolled over, felt the baby move and then suddenly….POP! I felt it! My water broke and for a second I was like “NO FREAKIN’ WAY!” With Eli and Gabriella the doctor broke my water and I always wished to experience that moment when it broke completely on its own. Even though I had no idea what something like that would feel like, the second it happened I knew. The POP was as clear as day. Since I didn’t want to get anything on the couch and blankets by sitting up, I quickly rolled off the couch and headed to the bathroom. My undies were pretty drenched and as I took them off, I leaked a bit on the floor. It was like I had pee’d my pants – enough to get my clothes wet but not enough to get on the blankets I was laying on (thank goodness). As I sat on the toilet I quickly called Jim and as soon as he answered I was like “Jim…my water just broke!!” Ahhh! How I had dreamt of that moment for weeks and I was so glad I never played a joke on him in the past (believe me…I was tempted to) because it made that moment so awesome and REAL! He hung up and I quickly called my mom as well. “Mom, my water just broke!” and she was on her way to pick up the kiddos, who were still sleeping.

Jim came downstairs and we just smiled at each other like “Holy crap! THIS is happening.” We also joked how crazy it was that Jim always said he wished I’d go into labor right away in the morning after a good night’s sleep. And that’s exactly what happened. (I had said that if I happened to deliver during the day – unlike Eli and Gabby who I delivered at night – I would love for it to be a rainy day. And it was!!) I went upstairs to quickly shower and finish packing my hospital bag. As I showered I started to feel myself get excited and a bit nervous. After my water was broken the other two times, I basically progressed pretty quickly. Since this was my third baby I had no idea just how fast I would go and so I felt myself mentally bracing for strong contractions to hit.

I kept this a secret from basically everyone except a few people but since I was 28 weeks I have been diligently going though the Hypnobabies home study. Every single day since then I’ve sat and gone though the assigned tracks and practiced self hypnosis. I even used the techniques during uncomfortable times (like getting my blood drawn) and can wholeheartedly say it works. I made the mistake of telling someone early on that I started the study and they immediately asked if I was against getting an epidural, which rubbed me the wrong way. Spoiler alert – I did end up getting the epidural this time and have zero regrets. I’ve never been anti-epidural but I’ve always been anti-pain! I just remembered the intense pain I felt with Eli and Gabby’s births and how I wished I had some mental coping skills to get through it. If I could use those skills to manage the pain before the epidural, then the home study was a success to me. And that’s exactly what happened. While in the shower I knew I had to get in the right mental state so I started to relax my body and remind myself how much I prepared for this moment. Thankfully it worked and I was able to calm myself down considerably. After I showered I was texting back and forth with friends while finishing packing up my bag, putting on make-up and hanging out the kids. Never once did I experience a contraction at that time.

After talking to the kids a little in the kitchen and pouring them juice I decided to call into my doctor’s office. Since they weren’t open yet, the on-call doctor had to call me back. I told her my water broke that morning but wasn’t experiencing any contractions yet. After telling her this was my third baby, she advised me to come to the hospital right away since things could happen pretty quickly. By this time my mom had arrived and Jim had finished packing up our car. We said our good-byes and off we went!

While driving to the hospital I started feeling waves of gushes come out of me and each time one came, I would feel some pretty incredible pressure down below (I was wearing a pad and had a huge beach towel folded up underneath me). I still wasn’t experiencing any contractions (or any that I felt) so I was just so confused with the circumstances. We were a few miles from our freeway exit when we hit rush hour traffic. The pressure and gushes of fluid were happening one of top of each other so I told Jim to get in the fire lane and just DRIVE! I did not want to deliver a baby in the van on the freeway! A little before 9 am, we arrived at the hospital and I decided to take advantage of the free valet since I was leaking like crazy. As soon as we pulled up, one man got me a wheelchair while Jim grabbed a bag to bring into the delivery room. That moment of being wheeled into the lobby was so surreal to me. I couldn’t help but smile as people looked at me with that knowing glance. We got into the elevator and I even chatted with a nurse and my nurse practitioner who wished me good luck as we headed to the L&D floor.

As soon as we arrived we were taken straight to a room. Jim and I quickly settled in and I changed into a hospital gown. Our nurse walked in and man, was she AWESOME! She had me get in the bed so she could ask me a few questions and check my progress. I still wasn’t experiencing contractions at this point and I began to wonder if the hypnobabies was working a bit TOO easily;)At one point the nurse asked if I was interested in getting the epidural and I didn’t know how to answer her. I told her I’m not against it but so far I didn’t feel the need to get one. I got the sense that the L&D floor was busy that day so I asked if I should be worried about not getting one in the event of the anesthesiologist being tied up with someone else and she did confirm that a lot of women had already come in for the day, plus they had a few scheduled c-sections going on. But she did assure me not to worry and that I should just go with the flow. That was probably the first point when I let doubt and fear creep into my head which probably wasn’t a good thing. The nurse seemed super supportive of me forgoing the epidural at the moment and even said she would bring in some essential oils in a bit to help me cope with upcoming pain. Like I said, I totally loved her!

I did NOT, however, remotely like the nurse who was assisting her. She had just walked into our room as the other nurse and I were wrapping up our discussion on the epidural when she immediately piped in with some snarky advice with a just as snarky attitude. She told me that if I was slightly interested in getting meds that I should do so right away because they were busy (which the other nurse and I already discussed) and that I better not wait until I was 9 centimeters because in the end I “won’t get any relief and instead just have to deal with a big hospital bill”. Her words exactly. At that moment I immediately did not like her. She went ahead and started inserting a IV into my left hand and I hurt like HECK and because she wasn’t too nice with me, I wasn’t too nice with her;)I remember asking her very coldly if that pain was necessary. And I even added that I was about to give birth and didn’t need any additional pain on top of that. Totally NOT like me but it just came out and I didn’t care. The veins in my left hand were being uncooperative so she had to move to my right hand and when she was done, I was honestly just done with her. I was so so glad she was not the nurse assisting with my birth!

Side note: Jim knew her! At one point when she was working on me, Jim asked if she used to work with him a long time ago. She was just as cold with Jim as she was with me. She may have asked him a question or two about his job but at that point I blocked her out;)This is the second delivery where Jim knew one of the nurses. It’s actually quite humorous. At least there was no flirtation from this one!

Shortly after I settled in Dr. Barr walked into the room and I immediately lit up! She was the doctor who delivered Gabriella and I was crazy about her. She was so laid back and I was on cloud 9 that she would be delivering this baby too. She started to feel my belly and immediately asked how big my other two babies were. When I told her they were pretty small she seemed shocked and said this was probably going to be a big baby. She checked me and informed me I was still 4 centimeters. I remember looking over at Jim and seeing a flicker of disappointment on his face. I suppose I wasn’t too shocked or disappointed since I wasn’t experiencing any contractions yet and I think since my water broke, I knew sooner or later this baby was going to come. Dr. Barr told me I could do whatever I wanted – she offered up the tub and shower but since I hadn’t progressed much I decided to walk the halls a bit. Everyone seemed so laid back and relaxed and it very much helped me feel the same way. I put on a pair of mesh undies with a huge pad and Jim and I set off to walk the halls. At this point I decided to start listening to my Hypnobabies “Easy First Stage” track since this was a good opportunity to get in the right mindset before the pain kicked in. Jim and I walked the halls for about 15 minutes and I was seriously bored out of my mind. I got maybe one contraction the entire time and instead of feeling like I was making any progress, I just felt the need to poop! TMI, Sorry! We walked back to our room and I asked Jim to stand outside while I went to the bathroom. Even in labor I still wanted to maintain some dignity.

Because walking wasn’t doing much for me, I decided to rock a bit in the rocking chair while really focusing on my hypnobabies. This is when time gets fuzzy to me but I do recall going into deep hypnosis with my eyes closed for a long time and feeling SO relaxed and comfortable. I was getting a few more contractions and I felt like I was powering through them with ease. I definitely felt pressure but no pain and as I breathed as deeply as I could, I could literally feel my abdomen melt into mush which was the visual I would use during my weeks of practice. At some point I had asked Jim to inquire about getting an exercise ball to bounce on because I was getting a little impatient with how long things were taking and while I waited I moved back to the bed simply because I was so bored. For some reason my contractions picked up considerably while I was in the bed but when the nurse brought in the ball I quickly moved to it. Jim and I were going a little stir crazy so I told him to turn on the TV and we ended up watching HGTV for a bit. My contractions seemed to slow down a bit while on the ball and even the nurse noted that so I decided to get back into bed and see if they would pick up again.

Again, time is so fuzzy to me but I’d say around 12:30-1:00, the contractions were definitely picking up both in intensity and frequency. At this point I had to close my eyes and really focus on getting through them and I just remember saying over and over again in my head “Just pressure, no pain”. I have no idea where that came from but at the moment that mantra seemed to really help. And looking back I can wholeheartedly say I never really experienced pain in my abdomen during that time. I recall mind numbing, gripping pain all throughout my belly with Eli and Gabby’s birth but this time the contractions were NOTHING like that. I had also turned off my hypnobabies tracks and decided to listen to the relaxation station on Pandora which stayed on for the rest of the delivery. (I don’t remember any of the songs except the instrumental version of “Secrets” by OneRepublic and to this day whenever I hear it I burst into happy tears). Even though I was managing things okay and the music was definitely soothing, there was a small part of me that was scared of what was to come in terms of pain. Up until that point the contractions were manageable but I was starting to experience a lot of pain in my lower back. I didn’t think the baby was posterior but I did have concerns about what I was feeling. After telling the nurse (at this point I had a new one who was just as awesome and nice as my last one) she reassured me it was just the baby descending. Looking back I know that was a game changer for me. I told her I was still uncertain about getting that epidural but asked if she could give me the whereabouts of the anesthesiologist…just in case;)She told me he was doing a c-section at the moment but would be done shortly. I asked Jim what he thought I should do. The contractions were picking up and again, while I was managing them just fine, I was getting so afraid of things taking a turn for the worse. The nurse suggested getting fluids in me in case I decided get the epidural but assured me that didn’t mean I definitely had to get one. I decided that was the best thing to do. I was also checked again and told I had progressed to 6 centimeters and for some reason they started prepping the room for delivery.

Suddenly everything changed – just as I feared!. It was just Jim and I in the room when a contraction hit me so hard I think my eyes bulged out of my head. I had just started on a popsicle and before I could even take a lick I quickly said to Jim, “Just take it! Throw it away! I don’t want it.” I knew it was go time. The pain was radiating through my lower back and right along the top of my pubic bone. Those of you who have done Hypobabies know about the “bubble of peace” and if there was a moment when that bubble popped, this was it! I gripped the side bar on my bed so tight and pleaded with Jim to tell me what to do. All my concentration was lost and I didn’t think I would be able to get it back. Jim kept putting pressure on my forehead between my eyes and reminded me to do my breathing and self hypnosis techniques and I’m pretty sure he was constantly putting a cold wash cloth on my head and neck. I don’t know how much time had passed but it felt like I had to concentrate through 100 contractions. At some point the nurse walked in and I told her I absolutely had to get that epidural because the pain in my back was unbearable. She immediately paged the anesthesiologist and suggested that while I wait, I try to labor on my knees while holding on to the back of the bed. I quickly got into that position and HOLY COW, MORE PAIN! I’ve been taught to relax all my muscles but since I had to support the weight of my body on my thighs I just could not relax. I was moaning and groaning through the pain because being silent felt like I was holding everything in. Being vocal felt like I was releasing something. After that contraction passed I told Jim I needed him to support me through the next one because I HAD to relax every muscle in my body but laying on my back was absolutely not an option! While still kneeling on the bed, I flung my arms around Jim’s neck and as soon as I felt the pressure start to build I warned him that I was about to go limp. If the pain was a 10/10 previously, I’d say it went to down to a 9/10. It still ABSOLUTELY sucked but having my hubby hold me seemed to help a tiny bit. I still had no idea how I would manage another contraction let alone several and I was certain that epidural would never come! Thankfully the anesthesiologist walked in and I was so relieved. I told him I would sign any paper work which got a chuckle out of him. I’m sure he hears that stuff all the time.

Those of you who remember Gabriella’s birth story know that I experienced a pretty nasty epidural. That has been a fear of mine throughout this pregnancy but for some reason I didn’t care much at that moment. Anything would have felt better than the searing pain radiating through my lower back with every contraction. Thankfully I could somehow tell this anesthesiologist was going to be much better. I just remember the last guy being really odd and this guy was super friendly (not that there’s much of a correlation between personality and skill but that’s what was going through my head). Like always, I had to sit on the edge of the bed and at that point the pain was just unbearable. I had no idea how I was going to survive several contractions while sitting absolutely still in a hunched over position. Pure agony. The nurse was standing in front of me holding me still and Jim was sitting behind her. I recall looking at Jim over her shoulder and just crying. And he was looking back at me with so much concern. Even though he kept nodding to me and saying everything was going to be okay, I could tell he was wishing the minutes away just as quickly as I was. The epidural was painless but it took longer than I would have liked. At one point I said out loud to myself “Just one more contraction and then it will be over” but the nurse kindly told me that probably wasn’t true. And she was right. I had to endure a few more contractions and I apologized to the anesthesiologist for sweating so profusely! Labor is no joke, man.

Thankfully, relief was in sight as I felt the anesthesiologist start taping things into place on my back and a warming sensation started to spread up my legs. I slowly sat up, breathed a huge sigh of relief and was just so so happy that I could hopefully enjoy the rest of this delivery. I laid back down in bed and was ready to wait out the rest of this experience. The nurse and anesthesiologist left the room and again it was just Jim and I. Even though the searing back pain was gone I could still very much tell when I was having a contraction which scared me a bit. The pressure down below was CRAZY intense. So intense I didn’t exactly know what to do. I had no choice but to recruit my hypnobabies techniques again and I had to close my eyes and concentrate every time a wave presented itself. After every contraction I would violently shake and my teeth would chatter and then I’d have a moment of relaxation before the entire cycle started up again.

The nurse came back in the room quickly and decided to check me. I was pretty much complete but she wanted me to turn to my other side. I laid that way for about 5 minutes before she got me set up to push. I was a bit hesitant to push so soon but she assured me I was ready. And I was so ready to be done as well. With the next contraction she and Jim supported my legs and I pushed with everything I had. Apparently it was good push because she immediately paged the doctor and the other nurses. I was certain this baby was going to be here within a few minutes. Dr. Barr arrived and quickly got her gear on. I pushed through two (I think) more contractions and she noted how much hair the baby had. Jim and I just looked at each other and smiled. Then Dr. Barr told me I just had to push one more time and the head would be out. And that’s when I gave it my all! With the next push I got the baby’s head out. Once I was told to, I pushed even harder to release his body and that was by far the most painful pushing moment for me. Finally, at 3:04 PM he was out and it was over!! Dr. Barr held up Samuel and I heard her say “Dad?” and Jim said “It’s a boy!” At that moment I looked as well so I knew it was a boy at the same time Jim did. I was so happy! I would have been happy either way but I definitely had that boy feeling this time which I think cemented a stronger relationship immediately.

Samuel was put to my chest and I was in so much awe by how much he looked like Eli! I, of course, started crying and when I looked at Jim he had tears in his eyes too. We both just sat there staring and talking to our new little boy.

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I don’t know if the hospital has changed its policy on things but I expected them to take Samuel away to be weighed and checked over but none of the nurses seemed interested in doing that right away. Instead I held him to my chest for almost an hour. During that time I delivered the placenta, my doctor stitched me up and another nurse bathed my girlie parts (what a job, hey?). I tried nursing Sammy but he had zero interest which sort of concerned me. However, being 4 weeks into things I can say that wasn’t problem as Mr. Man is very much addicted to the boob. The room emptied out as quickly as the nurses came in and soon enough it was just Jim, Sammy and I with a new nurse. She quietly did some work on the computer next to me and after that hour she took Samuel to the warming table to be weighed and measured (7 lbs, 14 oz. 20 inches). We also got the footprints in our baby book which I always have a fear of forgetting in the thick of things.

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Of course Jim and I made some phone calls and sent out some text messages while we were still in the delivery room. I also ordered a late lunch because I was starving. Around 5 pm, I was taken to the bathroom to get cleaned up some more and then we were taken to our room on the next floor up. Such a crazy experience walking in with a baby in your belly and being wheeled out with him in your arms!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I just love the hospital I deliver at. Besides that one rude nurse, I have had nothing but the nicest, most kind nurses ever. I loved my stay the next two nights and believe it or not, as they wheeled me out on that last day I started crying. The sights, the smells, even the decor of that place will always take me back to those special days of delivering my babies. It was really hard to close that chapter on August 27th as I said my final good-byes.

So there it is. Birth story #3. Very much possibly my last time doing this. If Samuel gives me some time I may share with you my experience with recovery. It was MUCH different and way harder this time around both physically and mentally. But for now I’ll leave you with how we welcomed Samuel Michael into our world:)

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Julia - September 19, 2014 - 6:39 pm

YAY! I love birth stories and Samuel’s is no exception. What a ride. And way to go Jim with working that camera a bit after the birth! Love those shots so much.

What a magical experience. Can’t help but notice you said ‘possibly’ your last birth experience ;)

Erica - September 19, 2014 - 8:01 pm

Gosh I love birth stories. Reading about the moment where you had your arms around your husband who was supporting your entire body sounds so agonizing, but so beautiful. Made me tear up, husbands are so amazing in moments like that. I can tell what hospital you gave birth at by the room…. I loved my experience and would have stayed there longer if they had let me, mesh undies and all. Haha. Congrats!

Laurie - September 20, 2014 - 2:46 pm

Congratulations once again!!!! I loved reading this birth story. You did such a wonderful job throughout the entire process. Such a beautiful baby boy.

Katie - September 20, 2014 - 4:43 pm

Congratulations again! He is so precious! :)

Rebecca - September 21, 2014 - 6:58 pm

Wow, 2 nights?? Don’t they usually boot you out after like 23 hours? And ditto to what Julia said about “possibly” your last birth experience :)

Congrats!!

Nicole - September 22, 2014 - 11:45 pm

Beautiful, beautiful birth story! And beautiful photos :) I always love reading birth stories…how labor begins, the intensity, the crazy thoughts moms have. It’s always unique, but always awesome! I love that your water legit broke. That only happened to me once and I already at the hospital and well into labor, but standing over the bed. I always thought it would be so awesome (and definitive!) to have the waters break at home, marking the start of labor.
Thanks for sharing your story! And congrats again on that beautiful boy :)

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