Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Cooper at One Month

How has a month gone by already? Since Cooper is my second baby, I realize how quickly time flies and how fast babies grow.  I really disliked the newborn phase with Parker.  Mostly because I was exhausted and he didn't eat and it was really hard.  I remember hearing people say that they loved newborns and I thought, you are crazy, nobody can possibly love this stage.  But this time around I'm really enjoying it.  Sure I can't wait for those first smiles and for Cooper's personality to start developing.  But I also love the snuggles, and don't actually hate the middle of the night feedings where it's just us.  (I just prefer that those feedings are 4 hours apart instead of 2 hours apart).

So, just like I did with Parker, I want to keep track of Cooper's monthly development.  He wasn't very cooperative for his pictures.  We were having a cluster feeding afternoon and he really just wanted to eat.  Another thing to note is that Parker wore this onesie in both his 5 month and 7 month pictures...

Weight: He was 8lbs 6oz 5 days ago, and at that point he was gaining about 2 oz a day.  So he could be up to 9lbs by now!

Hair: Still dark brown.  Please never fall out adorable baby hair!

Eyes: Dark blue, so they could definitely change

Clothes: Although his weight is over the newborn clothes size, I think he's a bit short, so he still fits in some of them.  But just yesterday the sleepers all of a sudden seemed a bit snug.  I've been putting him in some 0-3 month clothes over the past week and they definitely don't seem too big for him.

Diapers: Size 1.  He would still fit in newborns technically, but I finished the box, and since newborn diapers are more expensive I refused to buy more of them.

Sleeping: He still sleeps a lot and has his wakeful periods during the day.  At night he will go anywhere from 2-5 hours.  When he wakes up after 2 hours I'm very disappointed!  But the past few days he has been a bit more consistent with the longer stretches.

Likes: Cuddles, eating.  He's a newborn, so that's about it at this point.

Dislikes: Bath time

Eating: He's a pro eater.  He ranges from 20-40 minute long feeds and eats every 2-4 hours typically.  He has his moments of cluster feeding, and it's often from about 9pm on until whenever he wants to stop.  Some nights he has gone until after midnight, which is really hard for me because at that point I just want to go to bed.

Milestones:  He rolled over at 2 weeks old from back to tummy.  Clearly it was a fluke, but we were pretty shocked by it.  He hasn't done it again since.  He really likes to work on his neck muscles when you are holding him upright, but not so much if I put him on the floor on his tummy.

Big Brother: Parker loves to give him hugs and kisses, try to smother him, and cover him in blankets.  We have to really watch him because although he's trying to be sweet, he would lie right on top of him or put blankets on his face and think that he's being helpful.  Parker is striving for attention at times, but doesn't seem to take the lack of attention out on Cooper, which is good.  It's just us who get the temper tantrums when he doesn't get what he wants.

Going from one to two kids really hasn't been as hard as I expected, but I know that a lot has to do with how easy going Cooper is.  I am super lucky!  I have only gone out with the two of them once by myself and it was to go grocery shopping, which was successful.  But I haven't figured out how I would do something with the two of them that didn't involve a cart or stroller, because Parker isn't big enough to actually walk on his own close to roads or in parking lots.  So I might just keep avoiding that for now.  Luckily I have my mom an mother in law super close by.  They have both been really helpful with taking Parker when I need them to or coming to my house to help me out and give me a chance to nap.  

"If you won't feed me I will eat my hand"

Our lives are a bit crazy now, but I feel so blessed to have two amazing children and of course a husband who has been so helpful when I'm constantly feeding Cooper.  He cooks for me, entertains Parker and the other day got up with both boys so that I could sleep in since Cooper was up a lot of the night.  I'm a lucky girl!

And for comparison purposes with the handy monkey....Here are both Parker and Cooper at 1 month!  What a difference!


Saturday, 19 November 2016

My Hospital Gown

I am a Dressed to Deliver brand ambassador.  I have received products in order to post pictures of myself in my Dressed to Deliver gown and provide feedback, however all opinions are my own.

When I was pregnant with Parker, I had looked into getting my own hospital gown, but just never did it.  The main thing was that I hated the look of the hospital gowns and having them in all of your first pictures with baby.  Plus they don't cover your butt. Why don't they cover your butt!  But I never ended up ordering one.

I started looking into them again when I was pregnant this time.  I found a company that is pretty local to me.  The Guelph hospital was actually the first hospital to use the Dressed to Deliver gowns.  These gowns looked better than anything I had found on Etsy.  They weren't just better looking than regular hospital gowns, they were really functional as well.  They have snaps to fold down the straps for nursing or skin to skin.  They also have snaps all the way down the front and back of the gown to provide your midwife/nurse/doctor with any access they could possibly need.

When I was in labour with Parker I got an epidural, plus had to be monitored constantly with the heartbeat monitor since he was preterm.  So these snaps sounded great to me because I knew that if the same thing happened, I could provide my midwife with access while staying a bit more covered up.

So I ordered one.  Disclaimer: I ordered it and then became a Brand Ambassador, so I actually did pay for a gown and then just had 2 of them.  Which actually worked out really well.

I loved the gown while I was in labour.  Although I didn't have an epidural this time, I did have to be constantly monitored again.  So this allowed my bottom half to stay covered as we just unsnapped my belly area for the monitors.  This was especially useful when I was on the exercise ball as I wasn't all exposed for everyone to see.  (Everyone was just Ryan and my midwife, but I don't care if that's all that's there, you still don't really want to be sitting naked on an exercise ball...)

The gown did get pretty messy after I had Cooper, as they flopped him on me right away.  But at that point, who really cares.  They also wanted to take the gown off me since it had gotten pretty wet and they didn't want to Cooper to get cold.  So this wasn't ideal, I basically ended up naked anyways...but you do what you have to do.  Before we moved me to the recovery room I just put on my extra gown!

I wore my second gown the entire time that we were in the hospital.  It was comfortable, I could open it up for the nurses to check my belly, it gave me coverage if walking down the hall, and it was easy for nursing.  

My mom took the gown I delivered in home and washed it and it came out as good as new too.  So if we decide that we want baby #3, I'm good to go!  

I highly recommend buying a Dressed to Deliver gown.  Of course it's not a necessity, but it's definitely a nice thing to have.  You can also wear the gown before you give birth, it's good for ultrasound or doctors appointments.  And of course you can wear it postpartum at home as well as it's great for nursing and super comfortable.  


Thursday, 17 November 2016

World Prematurity Day

It's World Prematurity Day today, so as the mommy of 2 preemies now, I had to post.

Parker was born at 35 weeks 1 day and Cooper was born at 36 weeks 3 days.  Cooper has been relatively easy, but I had a lot of difficulty early on with feeding Parker because of his prematurity.  Plus he was so small, that there was a real fear that he wouldn't gain a sufficient amount of weight, or would get sick.  With Cooper I haven't had those same fears and I am so thankful for that.

At the same time, I know that our preemie journeys have been easy compared to those who have preemies before 34 weeks.  Just like how people who have full term babies don't truly understand what it's like to have a late term preemie, I know that I don't understand what it's like to have a really early preemie.  I have had only a glimpse into the preemie world and so I can only begin to imagine what it's like to have your baby in the NICU for months.  

These babies overcome so many odds and then you see them at 2 years old and may not even know that they are preemies.  It's really amazing.  But I also want to give kudos to the parents of preemies.  It's not easy.  It's scary and stressful and it's a lot of work.  

I also wanted to give a few tips in case you know or ever do know somebody who has a preemie.  Because I know that a lot of people don't know how to react, wonder why you are so paranoid, and maybe want to help, but don't know how.

  • Visit them in the hospital if you can - Other people couldn't come into the nursery with me, but they could come to the hospital and sit in the food court with me between feeds or take me to Tim Hortons.  When you spend all day at the hospital every day, little outings or visitors are important for your sanity.
  • Help out monetarily - For some people this extended hospital stay can get very expensive.  If they have to go to McMaster, there is all the gas associated with going back and forth.  They will have to pay for meals every day as well.  These things add up, so even a Tim Card can help out.
  • Be understanding - I made people use hand sanitizer before they touched Parker.  I never thought I would be that crazy mom, but Parker wasn't even supposed to go out in public for fear that he would get a cold.  So crazy yes, but necessary.  Just go with it and help a mama out.  I was also in a total haze after Parker was born.  I was a first time mom who was also overwhelmed with having a preemie who didn't eat well.  I was sleeping in 1 hour increments and basically couldn't function.  So give preemie moms a break when it comes to visits or outings or if they act like a crazy person sometimes it's probably sleep deprivation.
Cooper's story has been very different.  I tend to forget he's a preemie because he's big and he eats.  And I'm thankful for that!  It's hard to believe that a week and a few days meant such a different start for these two.  

Parker - in the nursery, 4lbs 3 oz, tube fed and in an incubator  

Cooper - roomed with me, 7lbs 1oz, likes to eat!


Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Coopers Birth Story - Part 2

In Part 1 of Cooper's birth story, I said that it was a "long" walk down to the delivery room.  It wasn't really that long, and typically a lot of women like to walk around during labour, I think...I've never been able to do it.  I had a contraction on the way down and one right when I got into the delivery room, and then I had to throw up again, so apparently the walk was a bit too long!

So with that, my wanting to move around ended for a bit!  I got into bed and was hooked up to the heartbeat monitors again to keep track of how the baby was doing. 

The contractions were pretty intense.  My midwife was busy setting up the room for the delivery.  It felt like she was doing this forever, apparently a lot goes into setting a room up!  Eventually she asked if I wanted the exercise ball, so I said sure.  They got that for me and I was able to sit on it for awhile and kind of sway.  I think it helped a bit, or at least gave me something to focus on other than the contractions. 

After awhile longer, I took a bathroom break and then got back into bed.  They had put me on antibiotics even though I was GBS negative, but my midwife didn't think I really needed the full 4 hours worth.  So after a little while she checked me and I was at about 7cm so she decided to break my water.  She wanted to wait until the other midwife was there, just in case things progressed quickly.  So she called the backup midwife, and once she arrived they broke my water.

Things didn't move quite as quick as I had hoped.  With Parker when they broke my water, the need to push happened pretty much right away.  This time, the midwife checked me and I was 8cm.  The contractions got really intense, so she checked again....still 8-9cm and I wasn't really feeling the need to push, I just really wanted to since I wanted the pain to stop.  They talked about getting me laughing gas and the other midwife went to get the machine.  It took so long that I never actually got to use it....

I said I felt a slight need to push, but not that badly.  So the midwife said I was 9 cm but that she could hold my cervix back if I wanted to push.  She tried and it was the most painful thing I've ever experienced, so that wasn't going to happen!  After what felt like forever (but was probably half an hour) I could finally push.  The contractions hurt so badly that pushing was really hard.  I think I probably pushed for 3 contractions.  On the third contraction I was kind of like enough is enough I need this baby out of me, so I pushed really hard, and out came a head full of dark hair!  He just kind of hung out there because it had taken all my strength during the last contraction to get him that far.  With the next contraction I was able to push him out the rest of the way.

They immediately put him on my chest.  A few minutes later someone said "so what have we got?"  Oh ya!  What's the sex! They lifted his leg and said "it's a boy!"  I was honestly shocked.  And terrified.  I was so sure it was a girl, and although I'm so happy with a boy I know that having two little boys less than 2 years apart is going to make our lives very hectic. 
Excuse my hair...

After a little while they took him away so that the paediatrician and respiratory therapist could check him out and make sure he was breathing ok, since he was still premature.  But it didn't take long and then they put him back on me.  We had skin to skin for a long time. We tried to nurse and he did latch on briefly.  Parker had no idea how to eat when he was born, so this was very different for me.  Eventually they took him and weighed him and we got the next big shock, 7lbs 1.6oz.  He was huge!  Good thing I didn't go full term!  I was so exhausted by this point I remember thinking that I hoped we could go to our actual room soon because I just wanted to sleep.

I've been lucky to have relatively "easy" labours I think. Overall I'm just so happy that I have been able to deliver my babies the way that I wanted to deliver them despite them being early, and that Cooper is here safe and healthy.  Labour is called labour for a reason.  It definitely isn't easy.  But that baby at the end of it makes it so worth it!