Celebrating One Year!

On Saturday, as you know, my little E turned ONE. Am I still a little bit in denial? Yes. Yes, very much so. We had such a fun, simple day celebrating his big day. We spent the day at home (his favorite place), playing with toys, eating food and just having a pretty typical day. Wild Man and I set the house up for his birthday party that would be happening later that evening. We got the food ready, my friend delivered the amazing Mickey Mouse cake she made for him and the party began. We had a Mickey Mouse Hot-Diggity-Dog party and it was so much fun! Poor E is in the thick of teething currently, so his mood was up and down throughout the night, but it seemed like whenever the attention was on him (for gifts, cake, singing, etc) he was happy as could be – or just very puzzled at what was going on.

My little E is a special, loved little boy. I’m so grateful for him and I’m honored and proud to be his mom.

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E’s Birth Story

*E turned one yesterday, so I figured I better finally share his birth story!

On November 10th, 2017 I woke up to find my baby was sideways in my belly. This wasn’t abnormal though. He hardly ever was head down like he should have been and was changing positions almost daily, even though he was big and we were super close to his due date. We referred to him as a ninja a lot. Wild Man predicted he’d be stubborn. I texted Wild Man and told him the baby was definitely sideways. I could feel his head on my right side and his bum on my left. He responded by telling me not to worry yet, “not like the baby is going to come today.

Later that day we were invited to eat dinner at Craig’s parents house with his parents and brother. We went over around 6 and sat down to eat around 6:30. We hadn’t been sitting down for five minutes when all the sudden, I kid you not, the lights flickered and all the sudden I felt a strange, very wet sensation take over the lower half of me. I looked up (and locked in eye contact with my brother-in-law haha) and said, “I think my water just broke!” Except I’m not sure why I said ‘I think’, because there was no denying that was what this was. Baby time. We left H at my in-laws (ugh, I hate leaving my babies) and went to our house to grab our hospital bags and I changed my clothes.

When we got to the hospital they did that test to make sure your water really broke (it did) and I was admitted. My nurse checked me and said, “you’re dilated, but I don’t feel a head,” to which I told her he was definitely sideways. By this time my contractions were coming on top of each other. Ouch. They called for an ultrasound to check my babies positioning. Sure enough, he was sideways. Then my doctor came in to look at the ultrasound and he briefly considered moving him in my stomach (he’d done this a couple weeks earlier and it HURT), but decided that with the positioning of the umbilical cord, it wasn’t safe. I remember him checking me and saying he could see my babies bottom. He looked up at us and said, “I think the safest option is a c-section.” Without hesitation we agreed to it. Whatever is best for baby, you know?

Since E was essentially on his way out bum first, we were deemed an emergency c-section and immediately people were preparing for surgery. I was taken quickly into the OR where I got all prepped and got my spinal tap (which was amazing! haha). I was a little nervous, ok, very nervous, but getting relief from pain definitely helped me relax. Then we were ready to have this baby!

Everything was routine until the very end. My doctors told me later they almost never see this, but as they were removing E, his body was outside of me and his little head got caught in a contraction basically. By this time they’d brought a mirror to me to watch him be born, and I just remember being so happy to see him, but I was also scared. Why was my baby stuck? Also his body was gray. It was a lot of emotions.

Finally, he was freed! But he was gray and not making a sound. As quickly as I could lay eyes on him, he was gone to another room. They took him and my husband and left me alone in the operating room with a team of doctors. I hated it. Oh, I hated it. I wanted to see my baby! But most of all, I knew he was in the room next door and I wanted to hear him cry. I needed to know he was ok. My doctors were trying to keep my mind off of it, I could tell. I kind of remember them telling me I lost a little more blood than usual but I’d be fine. I don’t remember anything else they said. I was just listening for my baby, sad I hadn’t touched him yet.

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It felt like forever, but finally from the room next door where he was being worked on by a NICU team, I heard him scream. And scream. And scream. Hallelujah! I was still being stitched up when Wild Man came in holding our little 8.5 pound bundle. He laid him on my chest/neck and E nestled his little face into my cheek. I could hear his little snorts and grunts right in my ear. Though I couldn’t really see him, I was so happy to have him with me. Touching me. Right where he needed to be. We snuggled there for a while and then they took him and Wild Man to the nursery to do all the little tests and what not, I remember they said they’d do extra tests on his lungs and breathing, since he wasn’t breathing at birth (all came back fine – he’s been totally fine and healthy since!) and I was still getting put back together. I was sad I couldn’t go to the nursery with them, because with H, I was able to.

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Once I was all finished, I was wheeled back to the delivery room, handed my phone and given some water. Then I just sat there. No baby to hold. It was a crappy feeling, but I was happy to know he was ok. Now I just wanted to hold him! I was so shaky and a little dizzy, but I started texting my mom since I had no baby to love on yet.

Finally, about 2 hours after having him, Wild Man and E came into our room and I got to hold that sweet, sweet boy. Its been heaven ever since. He immediately nursed like a champ, he was go-with-the-flow and happy, but made hilarious grumpy faces. He fit perfectly into our family and has given us so much joy and happiness since.

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Happy First Birthday, E!

You blink and a whole year has gone by!! I don’t feel like its already been a year, but lo and behold, it has. One whole happy year.

Wishing the happiest of birthdays to my sweet E💚 I really can’t believe he is one. I also can’t believe just how much joy, happiness and laughter he has brought our family. He is curious, adventurous and likes to see how far he can push his boundaries. He is brave and independent. He is a mamas boy, dads little buddy and his big brothers little shadow and biggest fan. He is social, playful and funny about food (baby food is hard, whatever moms eating is the goal and nursing is his #1). He says a few words, points and claps at everything, signs a few words, has one little tooth, finally sleeps through the night, stands and is so, so close to walking. Happy Birthday baby boy. You are so loved, so special and so wonderful. I love you to infinity and beyond ❤️

Sleep Saga part 2

*read part 1 here

THE FIRST NIGHT

You guys. I am beyond shocked. I set my expectations very, very low for our first night of sleep training. We decided to start even though we didn’t have the sound machine yet. I found a free (kind of lame) sound machine app that I used in his room, but it worked well enough. I was buckling up for hours of crying, from both me and him. I was prepared to feel heartbroken for him and I was prepared to quite possibly give up and go in and grab my sad baby, deciding we’d try again later.

But guess what? E did amazing. Its like he was as ready as we were.

WHAT WE DID 

  • At dinner, by sheer luck, E ate awesome. He always eats really good, but this time he also gobbled down an entire thing of baby food! That very, very rarely happens with this little man. He had a good start on a nice, full belly.
  • Around 8 we did bath time and I’m not ashamed to say I used the Johnsons sleepy time body wash and shampoo – I’m a desperate mom!
  • Then we put lotion on him, got him in his pajamas and we read some books together as a family in the boys bedroom.
  • Prayer time!
  • Then Wild Man and H left the room (we are having H sleep in our room while we get E comfortable in their shared room).
  • I turned on the sound and nursed E until he was almost asleep, but not entirely.
  • Then I laid him in his crib, turned off his lamp and shut the door.

He immediately burst into tears and he screamed. My heart broke. But guess what? He only cried for about 25 minutes. I was fully expecting hours. He cried for 25 minutes then fell asleep until 2, but only cried for 5-10 minutes. Then he did the same thing at 4 and woke up for good around 8!

NIGHT TWO

We did the exact same thing as far as nightly rituals go as we did for night one. E took about 20 minutes to fall asleep. Between the hours of 2 and 4, life was rough. I had to go in and nurse at one point because I was hurting so badly (i have woken up with watermelon-like boobs every morning since sleep training) but it was just the soothing he needed to fall back asleep. Then he slept until 8.

NIGHT THREE

The sound machine came today! No more lame sound app! Night three was Halloween night. I knew our schedule may be a little off, so I wasn’t sure how our night time routine would go. The boys have been sick for the past week and this was a particularly bad day for E. So around 8 I just quickly put him to bed because he was so, so done. No bath. No books. Just bed. I turned on his sound machine, nursed him until drowsy, laid him down and…no crying. None. He just laid down and SLEPT ALL NIGHT LONG! He slept from 8:30-8:30. This is the first time in his entire life that he has slept through the night. I am beyond amazed and proud.

NIGHT FOUR

Without going into a lot of detail – night four was exactly like night three! Another amazing night of sleeping all night long! 8:30-8:30. I could get used to this.

THE REST OF THE WEEK

Ok, so I really believed at some point E would decide he hated his crib. But we are now a week in and I really have nothing negative to report! He is sleeping like a champ! He is sick and also teething, so I thought sleep training would go out the window but it really hasn’t. He still sleeps basically through the night. The last two nights I’ve been going in to nurse him once and sometimes give him some medicine just because like I said, he’s sick. But overall, E gets five stars, two big thumbs up and lots and lots of praise. This boy was ready to sleep in his crib!!

ONE WEEK OF CRIB/SLEEP TRAINING IN…

Pleasantly surprised. Shocked. Very happy. Very well rested (well mostly, I keep on waking myself up without the help of E?) I’m glad we did this.

I swear by the sound machine. He is instantly soothed by it. I love our owlet monitor, it gives me peace of mind. I love my baby for being such an awesome sleeper.

Next step? Putting H back in there room and seeing how they both sleep in their room together!!

 

 

Sleep Saga part 1

I’m not gonna lie, I’m hoping that in the future this saga will have a happy ending. I don’t care how many ‘parts’ there have to be to this, but I am determined that sometime soon (oh i hope, i hope, i hope) I will no longer have to be worrying about this so much. What is this you ask?

SLEEP TRAINING MY (ALMOST) 1 YEAR OLD

I have been scouring the internet for success stories, amazing advice and tips and tricks and I’ve found quite a bit. I’m ready to start. I’m ready to share my story step by step in hopes that maybe somewhere along the day I sleep deprived mom can find my blog and learn something from my experience and feel motivated and pumped up to get her baby to sleep better at night.

CURRENTLY

So where are we right now on day one of this? We are in a very frustrating, overwhelming and sleepless spot, thats where. My dearest, darlingest little E is a wonderful tiny human, but a terrible, awful sleeper. Right now he wakes up 10-15 times a night – maybe more. Sometimes he falls back asleep quickly, but sometimes he doesn’t. 99.9% of the time he has to nurse to fall back asleep. Because of the frequent middle-of-the-night-wakes, he sleeps in between Wild Man and I in our bed (don’t shame co-sleeping here, parent-shaming is a no-no on this page) which has been just fine for months and months, but lately…its time for a change. He’ll be one in a couple of weeks. Its time he learns how to sleep in his own room, in his own crib and its time he learns that he doesn’t have to nurse all night long (seriously, thats what he wants – the second my boobs gone, he’s livid).

What I don’t need is any comments telling me that I’ve brought this upon myself and created this little non-sleeping monster. This is exactly what I did with H and he’s an amazing sleeper. But clearly, every child is different. With H, around 8/9 months old I got him totally comfortable and happy in his crib/bed. I’ve tried with E – its just not working. He’s stubborn and persistent. He will scream all night long until someone holds him. Until he’s nursing. Because I’m so tired at night, its easier not to fight it and just let him sleep in our bed all night – nursing what feels like every 30 minutes. But I just can’t do it anymore. I need my bed back. I need to not be nursing all night. I need to have my baby sleep in his own bed and sleep all through the night, which is something he has never ever done in his life, just so you know. I am ready. I’ve been patient for nearly a year but that hasn’t worked. Its time to buckle down. I’m going to be persistent. I’m motivated. I’m going to get E crib/sleep trained. Boo-ya!

THE PLAN

Last night I ordered a sound machine off Amazon. It should be here tomorrow or the next day. So much of what I’ve read has said that a sound machine is a must. I’m banking on this to help us greatly. I’m debating if I should start the sleep training tonight or if I should wait a day or two until the machine comes. Either way, I’m excited and hopeful for this.

I’ve read a lot of ideas and I’ve literally made pros and cons lists of all these different techniques I’ve found. Here is what I, as of now, have planned to do.

Bedtime is at 8:30/9. Before bed we’ll have a bath, then a snack/small meal to ensure his tummy is full, then we will read books, read scriptures and say a prayer (with an emphasis on E’s sleep schedule) and then I’ll sit in the chair in his room and nurse him until he’s either almost asleep or fully asleep. *I’m not sure if I should make him be all the way asleep when I lay him down – I’ve read that its good to put them in their crib awake, but drowsy so they learn to self-soothe, which totally makes sense. We’ll see what I end up doing. I’ll keep you posted. Then I will lay him in his crib, tell him that I love him and goodnight, make sure the nightlight is on and leave the room and shut the door.

I am 100% sure he’ll scream and cry. At 5 minutes I will go in and comfort him. I won’t pick him up, but I’ll lay him back down, pat his back, sing to him, whatever. Then I’ll leave again. I can go back in every 10 minutes as needed for the remainder of the night.

I’m anticipating not sleeping at all the first few nights because if I know my son (and I do), he’s not going to fall asleep without a feisty fight. But everyone who has tried this has said to stay strong and not cave and all the sudden it will click and your baby will figure it out. I’m banking on that.

MY PREDICTION

Full disclosure, I’m not sure how I’ll do the first night. I’m going to feel guilty and sad. I’m going to feel terrible for E while he cries alone in his room. But I’m also going to feel good, because I know its time. Its past time.

I think he’s going to fight it hard core. I’m not sure if he’ll really sleep at all those first nights. Its going to be a struggle. Its going to be hard. But I am wanting to put in the work.

However, if we start this and it just feels wrong and uncomfortable I am allowing myself the freedom to quit. Its possible this isn’t the right technique for us. If I feel that way, then we’ll start back at square one and find a different way to sleep and crib train. In the end, its whatever is best, safest and ok-est for E.

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Wish us luck as we start this journey! I’m nervous, sleepy and excited! I’ll keep you posted on how it all goes! Stay tuned for the Sleep Saga part 2!

Another Trip to Disneyland!

Last week I took my boys and together with my mom, the four of us went to Disneyland. It was exhausting, magical, exciting and tiring all at the same time – and it was very special and different. Leaving behind my family and Wild Man was weird, and they were all very missed, but we still had an amazing time. We decided to go at H’s speed. We did what he wanted, when he wanted to. We were pretty slow moving and sort of all over the place, but it was perfect for H. E was just happy to tag along and take in all the sights and sounds – seriously he was an angel baby, an absolute dream.

This trip was saying goodbye to A Bugs Land and hello to Pixar Fest. Bugs Land closes sometime in late summer and we aren’t 100% sure we’ll be back by then, so just in case I made sure we spent some quality time with our bug friends so if that was our last time I can rest assured that we gave it a good farewell. My mom had already seen Pixar Fest, but I hadn’t yet and I was especially excited about seeing all the Pixar themed goodness in both Disneyland and California Adventure and lets not forget all the special food! It was incredible. I’m actually planning on doing a couple posts with a little more detail about Pixar Fest in the future, so if you care, keep an eye out for those.

Some of my highlights from this magical getaway were:

  • Fantasmic, as usual. I will never tire of that show. Seeing it through H’s eyes has made it even more incredible and adds a whole new layer of magic.
  • The Pixar Play Parade in Disneyland was great. I loved the added floats. Its a water parade now and shoots water kind of unexpectedly throughout the parade. Unfortunately the first float to go by drenched my mom and E and he was heartbroken about it – but thankfully he’s a happy kid and perked back up fairly quickly and went back to enjoying the show.
  • H in the Disney Junior Show was the best. He is turning out to be a very shy little guy, but you can tell he so, so wants to be brave. In this show there is a lot of dancing and moving encouraged by little ones. I really didn’t think H would participate and would just hide in my lap but he totally got involved and danced his little heart out, pulling moves out I’ve never seen before! #magic We also got to sit in VIP seating!
  • We had a lot of awesome Cast Member interactions this trip. When a Cast Member makes my children feel special, there is nothing else like it.
  • H was map obsessed. He memorized where most his favorite rides were and he learned so many new words from the map that he’ll actually use frequently now! I should have known that Disneyland Resort would be a great form of speech therapy!
  • My boys were great. There were so many opportunities for them to be difficult, but they were phenomenal and I’m so proud of them. They make my heart happy.

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I Never Had to Split My Heart in Half

When I got pregnant with E, I was ecstatic. But almost as soon as I saw that positive sign, another weird, unexpected feeling rushed over me along with the joy. That was guilt. It instantly hit me that H would no longer be an only child and his world of near constant attention and having his parents all to himself would be over in several months. I knew having more than one kid was absolutely right for me. I knew I was going to have more than two kids even. But I never knew how part of me would feel guilty for growing our family. I never thought about that when I was younger and to be honest I never really thought about it much until I learned I was pregnant with my second child.

The feeling of joy was a million times stronger than the guilty and sad feeling. But when I let myself really dwell on those two words, it got worse and worse. I knew how much I loved H. SO MUCH. So how on earth could I possibly love another human as much? Was my heart even capable of somehow dividing such a strong, powerful, fierce love to two kids? How would H not just always be my favorite because I’d had him and known him the longest? Would my second child feel neglected? Would he see that I had a ‘better’ relationship with his big brother? Fear and worry would creep over me easier each time I allowed myself to think on these scary thoughts.

I did my best to ignore them. People add children into their families every day and guess what? The other kids are ok. The new babies are ok. The family is ok. The mom…I hope she is ok. I would switch my focus back to joy. Adding this new little brother to our family was perfect. He was going to be so sweet and handsome and I couldn’t even handle the thoughts of how cute his relationship would be with his brother. Having two sons was absolutely going to be the best thing ever. It was right. It was good. It was perfect. I was going to figure out how to split my love.

Split my love. I hated that phrase, but I thought it all the time. Somehow I’d have to figure out how to take half the love I had for H and give it to his brother. Thats where the real guilt came in. Would H notice I had to share my love? Would he feel like he was less loved and less important? Sure he wasn’t even two yet – but even toddlers notice change. Was he going to be sad? Was he going to be mad at me? Was he going to resent his brother for this big life change?

I never told anyone these fears. No one. I was worried saying I was worried I couldn’t love them both as powerfully, equally and strongly made me a weak mom. I thought it would make me a bad mom. I kept it to myself and I tried not to worry and focus on the joy. I prayed a lot. I tried to have as much faith in myself as a mother as I could.

Then the day came. November 10th happened and I had my second son that night!

I learned something incredible. The second my c-section started I started praying in my head. I prayed that the operation would go well and that my new baby would be safe and healthy. I prayed I would be healthy. I prayed that H was happy back home with his grandparents.

I prayed that my heart could figure out how to be a mom of two.

Something pretty cool happened then. E’s delivery was a little bit scary. As soon as he was out, he was taken immediately to a NICU team in the next room and my husband went with him. I was alone on the operating table with medical people around me. They were talking to me, trying to distract me from the scary thing that had just happened. They were trying to distract me so I wouldn’t dwell on the fact that my new baby still hadn’t screamed or cried or taken a very good breath. I was terrified. Their distractions didn’t work. All I knew is I had only seen my sweet son for a split second and he was gray and silent. I just wanted to hear him cry. I needed to know he was ok. Nothing else in the world mattered in those unknown moments.

Thats when it all dawned on me. I loved him with my whole heart. I loved him just as powerfully, equally and strongly as I loved H. But it wasn’t because my heart split in half. It was because my heart doubled in size in a way only the heart of a mother can do. My love didn’t change, it didn’t shrink or alter for H. It stayed big and the same – maybe it even grew. My love for my new son matched the love I had for H perfectly. I just knew all those worries and fears I’d had most of my pregnancy were all a thing of the past now. I knew that both of my sons had equal, huge love from me. It was such a calming, overwhelming feeling. I was so gracious.

It felt like forever, but not too much longer there were finally some loud and glorious screams from the room next door. My doctors all sighed with relief saying, “there he is!” or smiling really big at me. My anesthesiologist energetically patted my shoulder. My nurses cheered. He was ok. So was I. I loved that little boy I hadn’t really seen so, so much.

He was finally brought out to me where we had our little post c-section face snuggles. It was so spiritual and perfect. He was snorting in my ear and seemed to be telling me he loved me and he was comfortable and happy to be back with me. It was perfect. I told him I loved him and I felt that. I truly, truly meant it.

My heart never had to change its love for H. It knew what it was doing. Maybe all the while my belly was growing, preparing to deliver a child, my heart, too, was growing – preparing to love another sweet little baby.