Tuesday, February 8, 2011

For all of my Pregnant Friends!


Dearest Pregnant Friends,
I’ve decided to blog from my personal experience of motherhood. I’ve read a lot of the books and I’ve done numerous Google searches during the last 10 weeks. My intention is just to tell you a couple of things that I would have liked to know before bringing home our darling Preston. I completely agree that “ignorance is bliss”, however, being prepared and having the right expectations will bring JOY into your household. Hopefully, I can keep this post short and to the point and you will be able to gain a helpful perspective for this life changing experience. *I must share that this was composed over 3 weeks and the majority of it was typed with 1 hand as I held a baby!

Take tons of pictures and video- If I didn’t have the video of Ryan bringing Preston to me in recovery or breastfeeding him for the 1st time I would remember NOTHING! All of the hospital pictures/video are priceless to me! I created a photo book for Preston of his whole birth. I know that he will love it when he’s a little older. (I intended on making a traditional baby book but I think using technology and ofoto.com was more realistic)
**I volunteer myself to be your personal photographer and videographer if you would like!! I will even be in the room with you!! Haha!! I love you all dearly and would love to be there for you!! =)

C-Sections stink and I have nothing nice to say about them! (Perhaps vaginal birth stink too but I will never know) Recently, a friend of a friend had a c-section, after a vaginal birth 2 years prior- her opinion was that the c-section was 100 times worse- I obviously agree =) Here’s my advice- plan on having a c-section- Try to mentally accept it as a possibility so that if it does happen you aren’t completely devastated (as I was).
With a c-section you will not have “your moment” in the room when your baby is born – I experienced “the moment” with my brother Aaron and his wife Meg. It was an amazing experience of happiness and joy. “The Moment” in the operating room is completely different- You will be very drugged up and your memory will be fuzzy, to say the least. (Most likely you will be vomiting, bummer)
It is extremely painful and recovery is a full 6 weeks. I thought for sure I would be able to bounce back, however, weeks later I was still slowly getting out of bed and was always protected my stomach area. I had hoped that after 6 weeks I would think “it wasn’t that bad”- the truth is that it was “that bad”. I am not a good patient so maybe that’s why I had such a hard experience.
There isn’t really anything positive to say here- Just that C-sections stink and there isn’t anything that can be done about it. I had my hopes set so high and was completely devastated and sadden by the C-section- it made Preston’s birth and 4 days in the hospital more difficult than I had ever imagined.

Use your help!! I had a unique situation because I wasn’t able to lift Easton for 3 weeks however, I honestly do not think we would have survived without my Mom, Cathy (Ryan’s Mom), my Dad, family, and friends. The first night home from the hospital Ryan’s Mom was with us. She was incredible. Ryan was completely exhausted and passed out on the air mattress and I was hardly able to get out of bed. Preston screamed the whole night- we even called the pediatrician because we swore something was wrong. We now believe he was in pain from his circumcision and had colic. Cathy and I took turns holding Preston and trying to console him.
Moms have a way of helping you in ways you didn’t know you needed help! ☺ Both Cathy and my mom were amazing with laundry, feeding me, grocery shopping and taking care of the babies. I remember Cathy filling up my Tervis Tumbler of water for me without even asking- It meant the world to me!! Having dinners being brought was extremely helpful, especially when Ryan was back to work. However, visits were better when they were short and sweet. I promise to only stay 45min to an hour when I come to bring you dinner. It’s so nice to see people but I was never comfortable nursing in front of them. At 6 weeks I was much better but the 1st few weeks are awkward. I was also more successful when I could take off my shirt and get comfortable in bed or on the couch. When guest are over you just can’t do that.

Breastfeeding- This is one of our strengths!! I am very thankful to have a successful breastfeeding story to share! The nurses at Lil Nippers Mommy group shared that the first 48- 72 hours after you give birth is critical for your milk production. Therefore, feed as often as possible, even if you have to wake the baby up. We decided not to follow the saying, “Never wake a sleeping baby”. We woke Preston every 2-3 hours to help my milk production. Preston has always been a good eater, obviously because he grew out of his newborn clothes after 2 weeks! For the first month I fed him every hour in the evenings. Most likely this was to comfort him during his fussy hours. It worked for us, since Preston wasn’t interested in a pacifier.
Easton is bottle fed so I can say that breastfeeding is equally the same amount of work. The only thing easier about bottle-feeding is that someone else can do it. Knowing that it is the absolute best thing I can give Preston is motivation enough for me. Trust me washing bottles and buying formula isn’t a walk in the park by any means! My advice- Be proud of the fact that you are nursing, be persistent through challenges, and be thankful that you can give your baby the most organic, naturally food in the world! ☺

I cannot say enough good things about Nipple Cream!!! I am on my 3rd bottle of Lansinoh. I put it on after every feeding, even at 3am! The only negative thing is that it cost $9.99!
My milk took almost 9 days to come in! I was getting really worried and thought it was delayed because of the C-section. The books and websites said 2-4 days so I was surprised it took so long.
The Pump- The first couple of times I pumped I got drops and poured them down the drain- I was very worried that I wasn’t going to be successful- However, I was persistent and continued to pump until one day it just started flowing! I pump once a day- usually after Preston feeds and falls asleep for his nap. I only get between an ounce or two but it’s adding up. When Ryan and I have a date night my parents have fed Preston about 3 ounces of milk. The breast milk only last about 3 months in the freezer so I’m trying not to hoard it. I do feel overly protective and weird about having breast milk stored. I guess I just want to be able to “go out” and eventually have a “girl’s night”.
LIQUIDS_-I am obsessed with drinking! It has to be the breastfeeding that causes this! Stock up on Gatorade, varieties of cranberry/pomegranate/apple juice (no citrus juice though), caffeine free ginger ale/coffee/tea
Lindsey brought me a smoothie in the hospital and I have been obsessed with them ever since!! (I will do my best to bring each of you a smoothie in the hospital)
Nursing bras and shirts- Luckily a friend gave me some of her nursing bras- I would definitely suggest you prepare to wear nothing but nursing bras- I’m basically living in them!

Colic- Every baby has their strengths and challenges. Preston is an excellent sucker (meaning he nurses well) and he is a good nighttime sleeper. His challenge is that he is constantly fussy, crying and/or screaming. We believe he is very gassy and uncomfortable. From talking with other mom’s everything Preston does is normal but not ideal. From what I understand, an “easy baby” will be content while awake in a bouncy chair, swing or lying on their back for about 20 minutes. If they do start to fuss or cry you can pick them up and console them. A “fussy baby” might be content for only a few minutes alone and when they do cry you feel helpless because you cannot console them. We have tried everything- Gripe Water from the Indian Grocery store, Mylicon, baby calisthenics (legs to tummy to relieve gas), “The Colic Hold” (baby lays face down on your forearm), spending time outside…we have basically tried everything the doctor, friends and books have recommended. The only thing that has helped is changing our expectations and perspective! We thank God that Preston is healthy and that crying/fussing is the only challenge that we have! We focus on the positive things that he does and realize that colic only last 3-6 months- We have already seen progress in the last few weeks.

*My “Ah Ha Moment”- One night when Preston was screaming and demanded I hold him for hours on end, I remembered my time in Ethiopia. I saw too many mothers desperate to feed their children. I saw babies crying and screaming because they were starving and mother’s begging for money to feed them. I then realized that I can and WILL happily continue to try and console my Preston. Any of my sadness and frustration was wiped away when I realized that our son was having all his needs met and he was simply doing what babies do! I was blessed that his crying was not to signify a desperate need and our challenges were simple in comparison to what other parents have endured. When I am up at 3am, walking around the house begging Preston to go back to sleep I find comfort and JOY in the fact that I am walking around an air-conditioned house, on tile floors, completely safe from harm? How can I complain when I have all of these luxuries? It is hard to keep this perspective all of the time but when your mind considers other possibilities it’s amazing how fast your attitude can change. Lastly, when times get really tough I remember back 18 months ago when I felt broken because I wasn’t sure if I would ever be a mother. I remember desperately wanting to become a mother and to have a child. I remember that I would have given anything to have a fussy Preston!!!! It makes me smile to see God’s work in our family and I am thankful for every moment, even the challenging ones!

Getting Day Time and Night Time established- A girlfriend suggested I do this: During the day open all the blinds and keep lights on, especially after the sun sets. When it is time for bed make the house dark - I did this from the 1st day we brought Preston home and I was very pleased that he never had his days and night confused!

Husbands- I honestly wish I could have prepared Ryan better for the hospital experience, lack of sleep, inconsolable Preston, my physical pain, and crazy emotions. I’m not sure if there was anything I could have really done but- maybe if he could have read this exact passage prior to Preston’s birth he would have been better prepared! ☺
Another “Ah Ha Moment” was when I realized that God created me (the wife and mother) to nurture and care for our baby. He intended for me to carry, birth, and provide for Preston- I believe God’s intention was for Ryan to support me and love Easton and Preston. I cannot expect him to do things the way I do them. I am thankful that my job is to be the mother and I am simply focusing on doing the absolute best job that I can do. My strategy is to lead by example! I also ask myself, “Will it matter when Preston or Easton are 6 years old?” Meaning, does it really matter in the long run if Ryan puts too much water in the bathtub or covers Easton in baby food? The answer is almost always, “No, it won’t matter.” So I choose to let it be and be THANKFUL that I have an amazing husband that is loving on our boys daily.

Having 2 Children- Easton had me all to himself for 7 months- Preston will never have me all to himself. I continue to tell myself this because I need to accept that fact that I can allow myself to spend more time with Preston during the first 2 months. Our routine has been for Ryan to care for Easton so I can focus on Preston, this is working well for us. Through Easton’s adoption I was very anxious about creating a healthy attachment and bonding. Since I was in Ethiopia for 2 months I had an abundance of uninterrupted time to bond with him. Honestly, I am more concerned about creating a healthy attachment with Preston because I have constant interruptions and limited alone time. Therefore, I have tried to scatter the boy’s naps times to create one-on-one time for each of them. This isn’t ideal for any Mommy time but it’s more important to have time with my babies! ☺

5 comments:

Caroline said...

Ashlie, these are wonderful tips. I've book marked this so that when I do become pregnant I can remember all of these wonderful things. You have such a beautiful family. :)

MamaMimi said...

Great tips - you sound like a pro already =)

melissa said...

Excellent post, Ashlie. Thanks for all the helpful advice. It's nice to hear things from someone with recent experience. I'm so impressed you were able to put this post together with your two boys keeping you so busy!

Anonymous said...

Ashlie,
Your doing a great job! I had 4 c-sections... Yuck!! It's amazing your babies are 7 months apart! No one can top that!

Best,
Layla

Erica said...

You are such a GOOD MAMA!!!!! Love you and I love that you were there with your camera for our "moment" two weeks ago. :)