Saturday, January 24, 2015

Getting back to pre-baby shape

The struggle is real, my friends. 

I'm not sure what I expected to happen after giving birth. I have heard both sides of the story: women who lose all their baby weight PLUS more after birth; then there are those who struggle with the remaining 20 lbs. I happened to fall somewhere in the middle. 

I gained a total of 35 lbs in pregnancy - 5 of those pounds were gained in the two weeks that I went overdue - so I was in the upper end of my recommended range. I blame it on all the stress eating, never knowing when labor might approach. I honestly didn't care at all, I knew I would have plenty of time to get rid of it eventually, so I happily indulged. 

Two weeks after giving birth, I braved it and hopped on the scale. Much to my surprise, I had lost 20 lbs. By one month postpartum, I had lost an additional 5 lbs. So I was left with 10 more until I was back to pre-pregnancy weight. I figured no problem, I'm breastfeeding exclusively, this will be easy. 

Uhm, nope. Those 10 extra pounds are still alive and well on my body.  They're like that unwanted guest that just doesn't get the hint to leave at the end of the night. 

Losing weight while breastfeeding can be a tricky thing. Breastfeeding requires one to consume about 500 additional calories a day just to sustain milk supply, so cutting calories to lose weight can be risky. Some women find that if they don't consume enough calories, they retain weight, as the body's way of making sure there is always reserve for the baby's needs. I've also read that some women hold those last few pounds until they wean their baby from nursing. I honestly have not even attempted dieting of any sort and don't plan on it. I make sure I'm eating a healthy diet rich in protein, vegetables, fruits, and good carbs. I figure the weight will come off when it's ready to. In the meantime, I have slowly gotten back into working out as my form of me-time - for not only my physical well-being but my mental well-being. While my full-time job right now is taking care of my baby, it's just as important to take care of myself.

At 7 weeks postpartum, I had my final doctor's appointment and was given the okay to begin exercising again. At this point, I had already been walking pretty regularly, either on the treadmill or outside on days it was above 40 degrees. I felt great so I decided to slowly get back into running. Key word is SLOWLY. That first post-baby run was humbling, to say the least. I did not go above a 10 minute mile on the treadmill at 0% incline, and I was able to make it 1 mile before the pain set in, and I gave up. I took a day off and hopped back on, able to go 2 miles. By the 5th day, I was running 3 1/2 miles in under 35 minutes and feeling really good. Since then, I've been increasing my weekly mileage by a mile each week. I am really in-tune to my body and do not want to risk overdoing it, as I know I'm still recovering from my C-section. Some days, I make it 2 miles before I feel a cramp and have to stop to walk. I only run 3 days a week right now - I honestly don't have time unless Brent is home, and I'm incredibly thankful he takes over baby duties to make it possible for me to return to running. I have a few 5K's I'm aiming to participate in this spring, so it's my goal to continue improving my endurance, as long as I feel well enough to do so.

So on top of running 3x per week, I've been walking on the in between days with Wyatt. On the few days it has been somewhat warm out, I bundle him up, strap him into his stroller, and we hit the outdoors. On the other 99% of days when it's too cold out, I put him in my Moby wrap, and we hit the treadmill together for a 2-3 mile walk. I try to schedule it around his nap time. He typically falls asleep within 5 minutes of being in the wrap, and he'll nap through the whole walk. Let me tell you, carrying a 13 lb baby on your chest while walking 3 miles is just as much of a workout as running! 

Last week, I joined a group called Stroller Strides (FIT4MOM) in the neighboring town. I thought it would be a great way to get more active, get us out of the house through the horrible winter season, and get to know other mom's in the area. For the winter, it's held indoors at a huge activity center on the turf, and when the weather gets warmer, the meetups are at a park outdoors. I half expected the workout to consist of pushing our strollers in circles around the arena while gossiping with the other moms...boy was I wrong. I showed up with my minimalist snap and go stroller, thinking it would be easy peasy. Then I see all these hardcore moms with their double jogging strollers housing their toddler and infant, running laps around me and kicking ass. After the hour-long class, I was shaking all over. This was a legit full-body workout. I am TOTALLY hooked and plan on going all 4 days of the week that they meetup. Wyatt was a champ - this kid LOVES to be in his stroller! - and the ladies are awesome. I'll keep you updated my progress as I continue. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Wyatt: Two Months

This little munchkin is now two months old, I can hardly believe it! He might look just like his daddy, but he has his mommy's personality - the stubbornness and all.

In the second month, we hit the dreaded 6 week growth spurt, which also coincided with the second Wonder Weeks leap and Christmas, unfortunately. This week consisted of nursing nonstop, refusing to nap during the day, and overall increased fussiness beyond the witching hour at 6pm. This one lasted a full week, but once we made it through, things got SO much easier. He began sleeping "through the night" consistently. We established a pretty solid nighttime ritual (still working on our daytimes...) that seems to work great for us. At 8:30pm, I nurse him on one side while we're downstairs watching TV before bed. At 9pm, we head upstairs to our bedroom; Wyatt gets a diaper change, swaddled in his velcro SwaddleMe fleece, the white noise machine goes on, and I nurse him on the other side until he's drowsy then place him in his Rock 'n Play next to the bed to sleep for the night. He's usually asleep by 9:30pm, and he will sleep until 4:30/5am for a quick diaper change and nurse; then he goes back to sleep until 8/8:30ish, and at that point, we're up for the day. Very occasionally, he will wake up at 2am for a quick diaper change and 20 minute nurse, then he'll go right back to sleep. Brent has willingly taken over all the middle of the night diaper changes, which makes things pretty easy for me, not even having to get out of bed.

Our day times are definitely not as structured, but it's still early at this point. When we wake up for the day at 8am, Wyatt goes right into his swing while I make myself a breakfast smoothie (Greek yogurt, frozen bananas and berries, almond milk), and then I plop on the recliner for his morning nursing session. He still nurses every 2 hours pretty consistently through the day, but he has decreased his nursing time from 1 hour down to about 30-40 minutes each session, which has made a HUGE difference in our day - for the better! He usually naps about 30-45 minutes after each nursing session, then he awakes for a little play time. How do you play with a 2 month ask, you might ask? Well, we do a number of different activities: swing, bouncy chair, playmat, tummy time, and Wyatt's favorite: laying on the nursery floor staring into a mirror while his little light-up toy plays music. I read a lot of books to him now, although he's much more interested in watching my mouth move than he is the books. He used to fight nap time, but he's gotten much better about it recently. When all else fails, I wrap him in my Moby, and we head downstairs for a 2 mile walk on the treadmill. He falls asleep in minutes that way. I've also been able to start consistently cooking dinner again (yay for the small things!) while Wyatt hangs out in the swing or I wear him in my k'tan wrap. Baby wearing is a life-saver!

The only real unfortunate thing we encountered this month was discovering Wyatt has silent reflux. He became increasingly fussy while nursing, arching his back and coughing a lot. Then I started notice milk coming out his nose at times. Since birth, he never enjoyed laying flat on his back to sleep, which is why we bought the Rock 'n Play, since it was inclined. We took him to his pediatrician one day when he refused to nurse, and he diagnosed him with reflux. Wyatt's now on Zantac twice a day, and it's helped significantly. He's a much happier, comfortable baby now! We were told once he begins sitting up more, he should outgrow it, any time between 6-9 months.

Let me tell you, this kid LOOOOOVES his mommy, and I can't get enough of it. I smile, he smiles. I laugh, he laughs, He's definitely my little velcro baby at the moment. He doesn't love not being in my arms. I seriously can not get enough of this kid. I love my little meatball!

The chubster went through HUGE growth spurt this month and gained over 3 lbs since his last doctor visit and grew almost 2 inches! I felt like one morning, I went to pick him up, and he felt like he weighed twice as much as he did the day before - it was crazy! And his head size is in the 90th percentile...he gets that from his dad. He's now completely outgrown all his 3 month clothes and has moved into mostly 3-6 months and some 6 month clothing.

Two month stats:
Weight: 12 lbs 11.5 oz
Height: 23.5 inches
Head circumference: 41 cm

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Wyatt: One Month

It's me, I'm back! And I'm sort of playing catch up, if you don't mind. We're into month three now, and I'm JUST finally getting to post about Wyatt's first month...such is life these days.

First off, I absolutely love being a mom. There have definitely been some times here and there where I have missed the freedom of the non-child life. Every day things I once took for granted are much harder to come by these days. Little things like stepping out to get the mail, making a quick run to the grocery store, and savoring a delicious meal are much more difficult now. The older he gets, the easier things are getting, and the more comfortable I am to take him out and about. I can't wait for spring time though, this winter season is for the birds!

Wyatt's first month was intense, to say the least. I feel like we were in a haze, it went by so fast! We spent the first week in the hospital, and all of Brent's paternity time was used up then, which kind of sucked, to be honest. We came home and began the Wyatt-and-mommy saga. This second week, he was still in that sleepy newborn stage, which I was thankful for since I was still recovering from my C-section surgery and not able to do a lot physically. Most of our days consisted of nursing, sleeping, and binge-watching shows on Netflix. 

Wyatt was born with a tongue-tie, which we opted to have surgically fixed for the sake of breastfeeding. We had that done when he was 10 days old. The procedure itself took all of 5 minutes, he barely cried, and off we continued on our breastfeeding journey. I lucked out - my milk came in on day 3 after birth, and with the help of a nipple shield, Wyatt was a quick-learner and loved nursing. Unfortunately, during week two, I got mastitis and had to go on antibiotics. I was able to continue nursing through it, and within 48 hours, my fever was gone, and I was back to normal.

The third week, if I can be totally honest, was by far the hardest and can only be equated to first-time-parent-hell. Wyatt "woke up" out of that sleepy, content newborn stage that week, he was going through a major growth spurt, and when he wasn't eating, he was crying. All that confidence we were gaining was thrown out the window this week, and I felt like I truly had no idea what I was doing. He began fussing constantly, was always hungry, and clung to my breasts around the clock. Wyatt's first big outing - Thanksgiving! - fell in the middle of that week, and unfortunately, it really didn't go so well. I spent 4 out of the 5 hours in my dad and stepmom's bedroom nursing him, and trying to console him from constant meltdowns. When we finally emerged from that awful third week, our happy little baby was back. These growth spurts, man, I'll tell ya - no fun for either party involved!

The final week of the first month came with a few surprises. Smiles! One morning when I woke up and looked in his Rock n Play, he looked up at me and smiled this big, open-mouth, tongue out smile! It melted my heart. I spent the rest of the day trying to get him to do it again, with no luck. Slowly, it became an every day thing, and by the end of the week, he was doing it all day. It made my world. He also started sleeping 4-5 hour stretches toward the end of one month, which is amazing. He would go down around 8pm and sleep until 12/1am then go down again until 5am and another snooze until 8am, then we'd be up for the day. He loves his sleep, this kid. And momma loves him for it!

One month stats:
Weight: 9 lbs 8 ounces
Height: 22 inches
Head circumference: 38.5 cm

Sunday, November 23, 2014

My Birth Story

It's 8AM on a Sunday. Brent and the baby are sound asleep upstairs. I slipped out of bed to have a quick bowl of cereal and enjoy the next hour or so of the morning to myself before the day officially begins. Me time is hard to come by these days with a newborn!

So...where to begin? Rewind back to late October. The week leading up to my due date, there were signs of impending labor: lost mucus plug, back contractions, spotting, the "nesting urge". My due date came and went, and so did all the labor signs. I actually began to feel really great - the total opposite of what I was expecting to feel given the size of my bump at this point, which was more like a boulder. I walked 2 miles a day, bounced for hours on my yoga ball while I watched TV, used my husband to my advantage, if you know what I mean. Somehow, an entire week went by, and there I was attending my 41 week prenatal appointment. My cervical check showed I was a mere 1/2 cm dilated, which was a small improvement over the complete closure the week before. It was pretty clear my body wasn't going to be doing this on its own, so we scheduled an induction for the following week, allowing some time for my body to hopefully dilate more. At this point, after over 9 months of waiting, we were just relieved to finally have an "end date."

On Sunday, November 9th, we had a really nice day. Brent made my favorite: banana pancakes for breakfast. He took me to TJ Maxx to walk around for awhile and get my mind off of the impending induction. At 4 o'clock, we checked into the hospital. Shortly after, I was getting the IV in my arm, which should have been a good indication of what was to come: it took 3 attempts because the needle kept hitting a valve. Yeah, it's about as pleasant as it sounds. Though, I would have gladly had them make 3 more attempts at the IV before I had to ever experience the doctor inserting the cervidil under my cervix again. Cervidil is a prostaglandin, used to ripen the cervix prior to induction, and since I was barely dilated, they left the cervidil in for 12 hours to further encourage dilation. Brent and I tried to sleep the best we could, but it turned into a night of tossing and turning, something we both really regretted the following day.

The nurse removed the cervidil early the next morning, and my doctor arrived promptly at 7am to do a quick cervical check. After 12 hours with the cervidil, I was still only 1 cm dilated but 80% effaced, which indicated my cervix had thinned a good amount overnight. The nurse hooked me up to a low dose of Pitocin, which is used to bring on labor contractions. Every 20 minutes, the dose was increased until regular contractions began. They equipped me with a sensor on my abdomen that detected contractions and would display them on the computer screen next to me. The contractions began, and I could hardly feel them. After a few hours, the period-like cramping started along with heavy spotting. My mom arrived at lunchtime. She was going to be in the delivery room with Brent and I to help me with breathing exercises. The three of us strolled the halls of the labor and delivery floor. Slowly but surely, the contractions were getting strong enough that I couldn't walk through them and would have to stop and lean over the railing along the wall. Eventually, my water broke. Contractions were coming every 3-4 minutes. Everything looked promising. Soon, my body started to contract on its own, but I was also still hooked up to the Pitocin, so contractions were now coming every 2 minutes and were getting more painful. The doctor did another cervical check, and I was now 2 cm dilated. The nurse decreased the Pitocin dose to allow my body to continue to labor on its own. Unfortunately, the contractions weakened, so they had to increase the Pitocin dose again. Contractions were coming strong every 2 minutes when the Pitocin dose was even slightly increased, but when the dose was decreased, the contractions were not strong enough to dilate. This back and forth continued for a few hours. The subject of an epidural came up, but I really wanted to hold off as long as I could since I know the epidural can slow progress even more. Around 6 o'clock, I opted for a warm bath to ease labor pains. This worked for about an hour, and then all of a sudden, the strength and frequency of the contractions became unbearable. Brent began timing the contractions and realized I was barely getting 1 minute in between each one. I was shaking uncontrollably and crying by the time I got out of the bath. I just remember screaming to get the nurse for the epidural. I was incredibly lucky - by the time I was dried off, the anesthesiologist was waiting for us in our room. He was my favorite person, let me tell you. Five minutes later, I felt relief. I could sit back and watch the computer screen to see contractions without feeling them. It was amazing. The doctor came in shortly after for another cervical check, and I was now at 4 cm dilated. She was hoping the epidural would calm me down enough to allow dilation to continue at a faster rate than it had. I was finally able to get a few hours of sleep.

I'm tearing up as I type this; I still haven't quite come to terms with what ended up being my labor and delivery experience. I barely remember the nurse waking me up to do another cervical check two hours later. At 10 o'clock, my doctor woke me up, and I immediately knew something wasn't right.

You are still at 4 cm. Contractions are not regular enough. Your cervix has not made any progress in hours. We can allow the Pitocin to continue and see if you progress, but he's likely in a bad position for vaginal delivery. Or we can do a c-section, and you can have your baby by tonight. We can get things started in the half hour.

C-section? You mean surgery? Right now? I broke down. I don't think I have cried so hard in my life. Enduring 31 hours of labor just for it to end in a c-section. No woman wants that. But the thought of enduring another day of labor with no guarantee he would come on his own killed me. It was a simple decision to go with the c-section, but painful nonetheless.

Before I knew it, I was being sketched on, equipped with a hair net, carted down the hall, transferred to a surgery bed, injected with an epidural bolus to completely numb my lower half, and fitted with an oxygen mask, surrounded by room full of eyes. The epidural causes uncontrollable shaking. When Brent was let in the room, I finally felt calm. The doctor did a quick "pinch" check to make sure I couldn't feel anything before she made the cut. A few tugs and pulls later, our names were being called to look up above the drape, where our baby boy was being held for us to see. I could barely hold it together, it was such a surreal moment. He was quickly taken over to the table, where Brent got to cut his umbilical cord, and the nurses cleaned him up a bit before he was placed on my chest for skin to skin contact. It was the happiest moment of my life.

Brent got to go with him to the nursery while I was being stitched up, and shortly after, we all were reunited in our room. We practiced our first latch to get him acquainted with nursing, and then we were transferred to our own private suite for the duration of the stay at the hospital.

I am beyond excited to announce that Wyatt Allen Morse was born on November 10th at 10:59pm weighing 8 lbs 1.5 ounces, 20.5" long.

He is incredible. Brent and I are so lucky to have been blessed with a healthy baby. He is a great eater, sleeps very well at night, and has only a short fussy period in the evening before bed time. We are loving being parents!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Our Nursery

Suffice it to say, we had a lot of fun getting the nursery ready. We painted the walls gray and picked the animal theme early on, knowing it would be a great gender-neutral choice. It was a work in progress for the summer. We ordered furniture very slowly and assembled it as we got it - every month, it was exciting to have something new to look forward to. After our baby shower, we were able to add the final touches, and it's been ready to go since! I admit, I spend a lot of time in there these days, just sitting in my glider, Jasper always by my side, imagining what it will be like with my baby boy there.

I'm officially on maternity leave now, just counting down the days until labor begins. I've been doing a lot of relaxing and binge TV watching (Reign is my new guilty pleasure!), along with preparing freezer meals, cleaning, and spending time with Brent and Jasper before our newest family member arrives and much of my time gets devoted to him. Every day now, I get contractions, but nothing ever comes of them. They last about an hour or two then dissipate. It's actually pretty frustrating at this point - I feel like I'm going to be the girl who cried wolf when labor does finally begin! In the meantime, I'll make the most of the quiet time.

Crib: Amazon
Crib Mattress: Amazon
Dresser: Amazon
Changing Table: Babies R Us
Crib Mobile: Target
Crib Bedding: Target (sheets) & (comforter set)
Glider: Amazon
Nightstand: Target
Wall Decal: Etsy
Wall Shelf: Target
Laundry Basket: TJ Maxx
Diaper Basket: TJ Maxx
Stuffed Owl: Pier 1

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

38 Weeks

How far along? 38 weeks
Total weight gain/loss? Loss...really? Yeah right! I'm up 30 lbs as of last week's doctor appointment.
Maternity clothes? Even maternity clothes are snug these days. I'd be fine with wearing a potato sack for the next two weeks and never leave my house. I'm down to one pair of jeans that still fit comfortably, and other than that, I live in maxi dresses, lounge pants, and leggings.
Stretch marks? None! Coconut oil, I'm telling works wonders.
Sleep? I've always been a really great sleeper, but lately, not so much. Between the middle-of-the-night bathroom breaks, pregnancy insomnia at 2 AM, and being confined to sleeping on my side, sleep has become a bit of a task. I'm counting down the days until I can sleep on my stomach again!
Best moment this week? When Brent arrived home from his work trip to England and Baby Mo was still safely inside me. Last week was a bit stressful on that front!
Miss anything? RUNNING, sleeping on my stomach, cold cuts, pumpkin beers, being able to get off the couch without grunting...
Baby movement? All the time. He's a little wiggle monster! As he gets bigger and space becomes more limited, his kicks and punches have turned into slow rolling movements. He's engaged at this point, so is his head is VERY low, which presents different problems - my bladder is a pancake at this point. Even so, I will soon really miss feeling him move throughout the day.
Food cravings? I have a sweet tooth these days. I can't figure out if it's a mental thing, knowing I only have two more weeks to go so I might as well indulge while I can - or because baby boy is piling on the pounds like crazy these last few weeks and requires foods with a higher fat content.
Anything making you queasy or sick? No. I've been very lucky during pregnancy and never really had issues with food aversions.
Labor signs? YES. Every day. At my appointment last week, doc said baby is engaged, I am very effaced, and he could come any day at this point. I have frequent false contractions throughout the day and other TMI signs I won't bother mentioning. We've had a handful of "could this be it??" moments over the past week. It's all a waiting game from here!
Belly button in or out? In. Also, not sure what I was ever thinking getting my belly button pierced 12 years ago - even though it's been out for awhile now, the hole left behind is quite ugly while pregnant!
Wedding rings on or off? On. I haven't had any swelling or fluid retention at all thankfully.
Happy or moody most of the time? I've remained pretty happy throughout the 9 months. I was blessed with a very comfortable, healthy pregnancy so far - what's not to be happy about? Though, I admit, I am very ready to cross the finish line at this point. The days are not getting any easier, especially while still working 40 hours a week.
Looking forward to? My doc appointment this week to see if I've progressed since the last visit. This is my last week at work for awhile, and I'm very much looking forward to my maternity leave. I'm excited to meet our son very shortly! I can't wait to experience nursing for the first time. I'm excited to introduce him to his amazing family. I'm looking forward to the first time Jasper meets the baby. Oh man, the list goes on.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Hospital Bag

The Morse household is very busy these days finishing up the final prep for Baby Mo's big arrival. With only two weeks to go until the due date, our most recent chore was to put together our hospital bags. As a first time mom, I was kind of clueless when it came to figuring out what to bring - and chances are I way over-packed - but here is what I narrowed it down to:

For Baby:

- Swaddle wrap (aden + anais)
- Receiving blanket
- Fleece SwaddleMe
- Pajamas
- Short-sleeved onesie
- Socks
- Hat
...These were all packed in my super cute JJ Cole diaper bag - this thing is amazing!

For Mom:

Toiletries: (my awesome neighbor gave me a gift bag at my shower full of all sample-sized necessities to take to the hospital) 
- Hand + face lotion
- Hand wipes
- Face mask
- Blistex lip gloss
- Shower gel
- Razor
- Hemorrhoid cream
- Garnier eye roller
- Heel cream
- Nursing pads
- Lanolin cream 
- Tooth brush + tooth paste + floss

- Slippers
- Nightgown (this one from Target, sized up)
- Robe (similar)
- Nursing bras
- Old Navy t-shirt
- Gap Body modal cardigan (bought years ago at the Outlets!)
- Fleece socks

In between packing, we have been taking advantage of the beautiful New England fall weather. Jasper can't get enough of all the leaves!