Monday, October 6, 2014

2 month update

How are you already 2 months old?! Comparing your 1 month picture to your 2 month picture, I can't believe how much you are changing!

Your personality is starting to shine through and my favorite time with you as right when you wake up in the morning. You're so happy and you love to just sit in my lap and smile at me! Your little cheeks are getting chunkier and that's the only part of you that is! You are so long that there is no where on your body that has little baby rolls!

But oh those cheeks! *swoon*

You did great at your 2 month appointment and only cried for a few second for your shots. But goodness, you were cranky pants that evening when we got home. You cried and cried and when daddy couldn't take it anymore he put you on the bed and told momma it was her turn to watch you. Right as I walked in you let out the biggest blowout in your diaper you've ever had. Turned out you had gas on top of being cranky from the shots. Once we changed your diaper, you were good to go!

Your hair is getting blonder and I am so happy about that! Daddy wanted his little girl to be his blue eyed blondie and it looks like he's going to get his wish!

You are so particular in regards to who can hold you. Momma and Daddy are #1, and now you are ok with Cece and Gramma Kate and Aunt Coco, but not for long. You want Momma and Daddy pretty quick. And anyone who you don't know, forget it. You will last maybe 2 minutes :) But I can't complain. I can't describe the joy I get knowing that I am the only one who can calm you down in the drop of a hat. Even when Daddy can't calm you down, Momma can. I sure love you sweet little girl.

Your surgery to repair your cleft palate is coming up on October 22. We are so ready to have this over with. You will have to stay in the hospital over night and have a feeding tube for 10 days once you come home. We are praying your doctor can fix the entire cleft palate so that we do not have to do this again at 18 months.

We found out you love to sleep on your tummy so nap time is going so much better! You still sleep on your back at night since you are swaddled, but as soon as you can roll over, I know we won't be able to stop you from sleeping on your tummy.

I love you sweet Raegan Phair. You made me a momma when I wasn't sure if that was ever going to happen. I can't wait to tell you about how you were our miracle baby one day.

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

To Regret or Not?

So the saying is so true.

Don't have a birth plan.

As soon as you start planning for how you want your birth to go down, that's when the exact opposite will happen.

As I sat in my hospital bed after we began my induction (something I didn't want to do, but ended up being necessary), my nurse asked if I had a birth plan.

Well yeah, I did, and I spent hours upon hours typing it up, but of course I left it at home. **cue irony**

When I told her this, she said, "honestly, you don't need it. because births will happen the way they are supposed to."

Boy, was she she right.

I wanted a natural birth.

Instead I was induced, had my water broken, had pitocin, had an epidural, and had a c section.

None of that was in my plan.

Here was my plan.
And I will tell you not ONE part of this birth I got. Not even breastfeeding. Which breaks my heart the most. Even though it's not because I couldn't produce milk. My sweet one's cleft palate doesn't allow her to. Praying she can after her surgery in October.

I have struggled with regretting how everything went down. Had a waited longer would she had come on her own?

After Raegan was born the doctor confirmed that she would not have come on her own no matter how long we waited. She wasn't descending into the birth canal therefore wasn't putting pressure on my cervix to dilate. Even though I've been told that by my doctor, I still can't help but feel guilty for not pushing for my "birth plan."

When my doctor came to check me at 9am, she ended up breaking my water while checking me and putting an internal fetal monitor next to Raegan's cheek to monitor the strength of my contractions. She didn't tell me this until after she did it. I think she knew I would have protested. And even though that did happen, I still love my doctor and trust her. And in the end she knew what she was doing.

After she walked out of the room I just started crying. I had already accepted I was having to do pitocin and induction, but was going to be allowed to move around the room and labor in other positions besides the bed. But once she had put that monitor on Raegan, I was told I had to stay in bed because if I moved around I could dislodge it.

Well that was the end. There was no way I'd be able to labor in that bed without an epidural for a long period of time. But I told myself I was going to give it my all and I did. For 8 hours I labored in that bed on high levels of pitocin without an epidural. At one point, I told my nurse I was getting up and I didn't care what she said. I had to labor in a different position. So she allowed me to labor on the ball for a few hours and it really helped the pain level.

Getting the epidural was something I wanted to strive to not do, but it wasn't the end of the world when I got it. I was always open to it. And even when I wasn't progressing and the talk of a c-section began, I wasn't upset because I knew I had given it my all.

But it was just the idea that I didn't allow my body to go into labor on its own. I know I know. She wouldn't have come on her own. But still.

My doctor is on board for a VBAC though. Thank goodness! Her only stipulation is that I go into labor on my own. She can't induce a previously c-sectioned momma. So crossing fingers I can go into labor on my own for one of my births.

Then there's breastfeeding. Ugh. I know Raegan can't breastfeed right now because of her cleft palate, but it still breaks my heart. I produce so much milk. Like enough to have twins! And I can't feed my baby in the most natural way. Yes, she is still getting my milk, but I want that bonding time with her. My body reacts to her. I start producing milk when she cries and my body is doing what it's made to do. But when she starts to cry and my body is doing what it's made to do, I have to go warm up a bottle. It breaks my little momma heart.

But in the end, my sweet miracle baby is here and who cares how she got here? Honestly. I do have lots of feelings of how everything went down, but I don't regret it. And I never did until talking to friends after she arrived.

All of the feelings I've had have been brought on by other moms who didn't agree with how I gave birth. Being told numerous times "you should have waited" or "don't back down from what you want" breaks my heart because it wouldn't have mattered. My baby was stuck in my hip. My doctor is a doctor for a reason. She knows what she's doing!

These days so many mommas judge other mommas for their choices of how they birth, how they feed their baby, what they feed their baby, and so much more.

Mommas, we must STOP! Each of us is the most perfect momma for our baby and we know what's best for our OWN baby.

The best thing you can do for a momma friend who didn't get the birth they wanted is say, "I know it didn't go down the way you wanted, but your sweet bundle of joy is HERE!"

Because in the end, that's all that matters.

And there's always baby #2 to try for a natural birth, right? :)
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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Raegan's Schedule

I don't know about you, but I thrive off a schedule. Well turns out, so does miss Raegan!
Now there are many opinions out there about when it's appropriate to put a baby on a schedule. As a new mom, I had and sometimes still have no clue what I'm doing! But I paid attention to my little love bug and started realizing I was actually the one making her cranky and fussy! 

I know!!! {insert shocked face!}

Now newborns are on such sporadic schedules that trying to put them on one will likely drive you insane! Especially because they are up throughout the night numerous times. 

From the time Raegan came home from the NICU we just continued the schedule we had learned in the hospital. Feed every 3 hours. And before you feed, change her diaper. So that you can put baby back down right after her feeding. And that worked well for us at the beginning when she was sleeping all the time!

Then she started to be more awake and we kind of took the stance of if she's awake, we will let her be awake. Yeah, that didn't work. Babies need sleep and they won't always go to sleep even when they need to! So the result of that was a very overly tired baby and very tired parents.

So I started doing research and it showed that a baby Raegan's age, 6 weeks old (yes, 6 weeks. I can't believe it either!) should only be awake 40-50 minutes at a time. 

Well there was our problem! We were keeping her up too much!

She needed some awake time to allow her to get stronger both physically and socially, but she was getting too much! She was getting overly tired and pretty much wasn't napping at all during the day and if she was, I had to be holding her and if I did manage to nail the transfer from me to the bed, they were short little cat naps.

I was getting nothing done and things had to change!!

Hence, I started Raegan on a schedule. Every baby is different and may not be able to tolerate a schedule at 6 weeks. This is just what worked for Raegan and I. You have to do what's best for you and your sweet baby.

So let's start at the beginning of the day. 

Raegan wakes up at 5:30am from sleeping the whole night. So we will start there. 

I know, we are blessed with a baby that sleeps through the night at 6 weeks. I've decided we are due something easy because Lord knows getting pregnant with her was anything but easy!!! 

And then her 28 hour birth and stay in the NICU earns us easy potty training right?! ;)

Alright, onto the schedule.

5:30am- Kyle feeds Raegan while I pump. Praise Jesus for that man! I do my devotional while I pump. It's the only time of day where I can fit it in! Early morning with my Lord!
6:15am- Kyle leaves for work and I go back to bed. 
8:30-9am- Raegan wakes up. I change her and feed her and put her right back down. Whenever she is being fed or sleeping, she is swaddled. This is a physical cue for her to know we are eating then going to sleep. 
9:30am-12pm- nap
12pm- I change her and feed her. If she's acting like she's tired. I put her back down. If she's awake, then I put her in her rocker in the bathroom with me and I pump while doing my make up and hair. Impressive multi tasking going on! Then we play for alittle bit before putting her down. I watch her for cues of yawning or rubbing her eyes. If she does this while I'm getting ready, I stop and put her down and continue getting ready after she's down. And if I need to run an errand, this is the time I do it and I don't put her down. She takes a few cat naps while we are out.
3pm- change, feed, and down for a nap. She may sleep till 6. If she does, great, if she doesn't, we play for a bit. But I don't get her up until at least 5:15 so that she's not overly tired at 6pm for her feeding.
6pm- change, feed, and play until daddy gets home around 7pm. 
7pm- go for a walk, take a bath, then one last feeding before bed. 
8-8:30pm- down for the night.

She normally will sleep until 4 or 5 the next morning. She may eventually need a dream feed (10-11pm) before we go to sleep, but she hasn't needed that yet.

Of course, her schedule changes occasionally up or down an hour, but I just go with it. And sometimes she sleeps less or longer. You have to ebb and flow with baby's tempo.

If you have any questions, let me know in the comments and I will answer them the best I can!

Don't get discouraged if your baby doesn't respond to a schedule yet. They will! 

And sometimes you will have to sit by their bed as they sleep to help soothe them if they are waking up multiple times throughout their nap. 

That's exactly what I'm doing right now!

Tune in for my next post of how I put Raegan down and how I keep her asleep! 

And because you have to keep a smile on your face when you want to rip your hair out...
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Putting and Keeping Baby To Sleep

Now I by NO means have the answer to the asked question of "how do you keep a baby asleep?" but this is what has worked for me!

I have linked each picture to where you can purchase each item.

First off, here are the thing I use for her sleep time.

I would be lost with our swaddle blankets. The swaddle me blankets are my favorite because Raegan is a wiggle worm and will wiggle out of the best of swaddles, but these swaddles have velcro and try as she might, she has a hard time getting out.
AND they come in large too (14-20 pounds) So we can use them for awhile! They come in boy and gender neutral colors too!
Next up is the paci. Yes, we use a paci and I LOVE THEM! And so does Raegan. They really do an amazing job at soothing her. I'm so glad she takes a paci. These are the ones we use. Since she has a cleft palate and can't get a very good suck and seal of the cleft, these are great because the nipple is long and she's able to suck and close that hole with the paci.
And along with her pacifers she has a wubbanub. I love her "wubby" because it has the lamb attached to it and it's hard to lose BUT I can also swaddle wubby in her swaddle and it doesn't fall out of her mouth as much. We didn't start doing this until she was a little older and had more head control. She can still get the paci out of her mouth so there is no risk of suffocation. The wubbanub comes is many different animals!
Next up is what she sleeps in. We have the graco pack n play set up in our room and when she first came home she slept in the bassinet portion of the pack n play. It actually detaches from the pack n play so we were able to move it wherever we needed to! Loved that feature!
Now that she's older and LONGER she's not always a fan of the pack n play. So we purchased a Fisher Price rock n play and this what she sleeps in at night and for her naps. It's also good because she can sleep alittle reclined and with her cleft palate she is very stuffy so this allows her to breathe better. And it vibrates! Halle to the lujah!
Ok so now that you've seen WHAT I use let's get to the HOW! Well first off, with her schedule she eats right before she goes down. So I always swaddle her and get ready to go to sleep before feeding her. It's her cue that it's time to eat then take a nap.

After she eats I do not rock her for very long since I don't want her using me as a way to fall asleep. So I put her in her rock n play and rock her. Yes, she is using the rocking to fall asleep, but that habit we can break later. And I am not saying I don't rock my baby because if she needs it, I'm the first to give it to her. (fussy, gassy, just needs some momma loving, etc).

I make sure she has a paci in her mouth and the swaddle strategically holding it in her mouth so she doesn't spit it out, and I rock the rock n play with my foot. Lots of multitasking!

I also like to hold the paci in her mouth and rest my hand on her chest as she falls asleep. This gives her the sense that I'm still there and haven't left and I'm able to keep the paci in if she starts moving her head around. She tends to do this right before she falls asleep.

Now here is the kicker. How long do you does this for? It all depends. If Raegan is acting like she's not sleepy then we may play a little before attempting the nap. Remember from my last post, activity and sleep can be switched around, except of course if it's bed time.

And if I've given it a good 15 minutes and Raegans's eyes still haven't closed, I may need to pick her up and rock her a bit to get that sleepy phase started. She may even cry at me a little in her rock n play, and then the next minutes, she's asleep! I will be at my wits end and am about to pick her up because I don't think she's sleepy and then BAM! Asleep. Which is why I say give it some time! Don't pick baby up as soon as they let out a cry or seem annoyed to be in the bed.

When you are sitting and rocking the seconds creep by! You feel like it's been 20 minutes, but really it's only been 2. I urge you to give it a good 5 minutes after baby has closed their eyes. Set a timer, play some candy crush on your phone, but don't walk out just yet. Because they aren't asleep when they close their eyes. Give them some time before walking off to really fall asleep. Better to give it 5 minutes then than having to come back in a few minutes because the paci has fallen out because they weren't in a deep sleep and it woke them up. Just my two cents!

And when she does wake up in the middle of her nap or at night, I put the paci back in and start the whole process over. I don't pick her up unless she's crying. We will work on self soothing when she's alittle older, but this process is helping her learn that a little bit at a time.

Just remember, babies change constantly! Just as you are about to pull your hair out because they aren't sleeping more than 30 minutes or a time or they won't nap or they won't sleep unless you're holding them, they will change! Then something new will cause you to want to pull your hair out :)

As hard as this time is, baby is learning how to cope with the outside world and you have to help baby to do that.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments below. I will try to answer them as best I can!

And how can I post without a picture of Miss Priss?
spit bubbles!
oh that double chin! swoon
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Thursday, August 28, 2014

One Month Update

How has a month already gone by?! I feel like it was just yesterday we were in the hospital having you! Part of me wants to be back there. Feeling all of the emotions we were feeling again. Even though we had a lot of scared and sad emotions in that hospital, I can't wait to be back there bringing home baby #2. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. For now, let's focus on you, my sweet Raegan Phair!
You are growing so big, but since you so long, you only fit in newborn clothes, which is ok, because I love how petite you are!

You have lots of hair (more in the back, mullet style) and it's a light brown color. We are thinking it'll continue to get lighter and lighter.

You love to look around at everything and I could stare into those beautiful, blue eyes all day long!

Bath time is one of your favorite times! You have pooped twice in the tub, but it's ok. You're still tiny and so are your poops!

You have your momma's patience or impatience should we say. You don't like to wait for anything. When you are hungry, you are HANGRY and we better be ready to feed you ASAP!

You are definitely a momma's girl and will settle down (most of the time) as soon as you are in momma's arms. I hope that doesn't change any time soon!

When you are fighting sleep, you love to have your head rubbed. It's puts your out right away!

I can't explain the love I feel for this little one. You are my daughter. Hearing that word, daughter, seems so foreign to me. Me? I have a daughter?

Yes. Yes, I do. And her name is Raegan Phair.
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Friday, August 8, 2014

Birth Story Part 2

**please be warned, this is a long post! I did my best to give the short story, but it was tough!**

After a long labor we finally had our little girl to hold in our arms! Within 10 hours though, our world was turned upside down. The pediatrician came in to do her assessment of Raegan around 11am and as she was looking her over she said the words,

Did they say anything about Raegan after she was born?

Um, no.

Raegan has a cleft palate.

Come again?

We have been through the ringer to have this baby. We had to do IVF. I went through 28 hours of labor, 8 of which were completely natural on pitocin, and it all still ended in a c-section. Nothing was going according to plan and now you're telling me my baby has a cleft palate?

I cried as I held her, saying over and over "I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry baby." I couldn't protect her anymore. She was no longer inside of me, safe from harm.

The doctor said the birth team must have missed it when she was born because it was far back in her mouth and very small. She showed us with a light and there it was. A tiny little cleft that was literally tearing me up inside. She shared with us that it could be fixed with surgery once she was older.

I honestly don't remember much of what the doctor said after that. I just kept crying and holding her close. Little did I know this was just the beginning.

The pediatrician left and we shared with our family Raegan's diagnosis and knew it was just a small bump in the road. We had been through much worse before. We continued our day of loving on our baby. She got her first bath, Kyle changed his first diaper, and we put her in her first outfit.

But that evening around 5pm, Raegan had trouble breathing. When babies who are born caesarean, they sometimes have mucus in their stomach that was expressed since they didn't go through the birth canal. They had told us about this, but when my baby started gasping for air and started turning blue, I lost it. I still had my epidural in and couldn't move. My mom scooped her up and Kyle took the bulb syringe and started suctioning the mucus out of her air way. They cleared her airway and she began breathing normal again. We called the nurse and she came in and took Raegan to the nursery to be looked over.

After about 30 minutes, I called the nursery and asked them to bring her back to me. The nurse came in, but she didn't have Raegan. She shared with us that they found out she has jaundice and she would need to stay in the nursery overnight to be under the light. They would bring her to me every 3 hours to feed, but she would have to stay there for now.

Alright, cleft palate, and now jaundice. We have to be done right?

They brought her to be every 3 hours and we tried to nurse, but she wasn't catching on. Part of having jaundice is needing adequate nutrition to help your liver flush out the jaundice, but baby girl wasn't eating. So they had to put a feeding tube in. And protocol is if a baby needs more than 2 feedings through a feeding tube, they have to be admitted to the NICU.

So the next time I saw my baby that's where she was. I stood and cried by her crib side as she sat under the lights with a food tube in her nose.

Since Raegan had a cleft palate we found out she couldn't eat from a regular bottle or the breast because the hole in the back of her mouth wasn't covered when she swallowed. She needed to learn to eat from a special bottle that had a long nipple so that when she sucked from it, she would push it up with her tongue and the nipple would cover the cleft palate. But it was going to take time for her to learn.

She started taking small amounts and then she would need the rest of the formula given to her through her feeding tube. She would expend so much energy on eating that she was burning more calories than she was taking in. I was pumping every 3 hours and getting as much as I could, but my milk didn't come in until the day I left the hospital. So we had to supplement with formula until it did.

We continued working with her.

But Wednesday rolled around (my discharge day) and she wasn't where she needed to be, so we had to go home without her.

I walked out of the hospital without my baby. As we left another family was leaving with their baby. I lost it. I cried as we walked to the car knowing that we would be living at the hospital until we could take her home.

We had been home an hour and we got a call from the doctor. They were transferring our baby to a hospital that could adequately take care of her, Medical City of Dallas. This hospital they were sending her to was the best of the best and could help her more than the hospital we were at.

She had her first ambulance ride at a few days old. I rode in the front and arrived at the hospital. We got her settled and continued working with her. We met the doctor who would be doing her surgeries eventually to fix her cleft palate and met with the NICU doctor. He was very optimistic and expected her to only be in the NICU for a week or less. Being at the NICU at Medical City of Dallas was a big change. At Baylor Frisco, where she was born, we had our own private room in the NICU, but now, we had to share a room with another baby. It was very cramped. I wanted my baby out ASAP.

She was admitted to Medical City Dallas on Wednesday and we continued working with her on eating from her special bottle. 
She continued to get better and better and by Saturday she was eating her whole bottle without the need of the feeding tub, and the doctor told us, if she continued this for 48 hours we could take her home! As you can tell, Kyle and I were so excited at her progress!
Well girlfriend, stepped up and continued taking her bottles like a champ and we got to take our sweet girl home on Monday, August 3.

yes, they had to wheel me out in a wheel chair even though I hadn't been in the hospital for almost a week. Protocol apaparently.
She is continuing to eat like a champ and saw her pediatrician the next day. She had gained 3 ounces in 1 day! The doctor is pleased with her progress and we go back in 1 week to have our 2 week appointment.
We are enjoying having her home as we get used to being a family of 3. 
Raegan's first meal at home. Allie being a protective big sister.
oh those cheeks!
We see her craniofacial doctor (the doctor that will do her surgery to fix her cleft) today. Praying everything goes well and I will post an update once we know more.
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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Birth Story Part 1

Our journey to becoming parents has been a long one. Well our sweet Raegan's birth story is just the same, a LONG one!

Raegan was due on July 21, but there was no sign of her coming. At my appointment on July 22, I wasn't dilated at all. My doctor tried to strip my membranes, but she couldn't even get inside my cervix. So we began planning what to do. The hospital we were delivering at makes you schedule your inductions. So my OB's office called and got us on the waiting list for Friday, July 25, and Monday July 28. We were #1 on the list for Friday and #3 for Monday. We got the call on Tuesday that they had room for us on Friday and we would come in on Thursday night at 10pm to get things started. So bags were packed and we were ready!
I really wanted to allow Raegan to come on her own, but girlfriend had other plans. Later on, once she was here, my doctor told me, that she would have never come on her own, but more on that later.

We showed up at the hospital Thursday night at 10pm and got settled in. Here I am, ready to go, gown and all! Golley, I already miss that bump! Weird, I know!
They started me on cytotec and told me to go to sleep. Yeah right, I'm having a baby tomorrow, no way can I sleep! I did try though.

At 7am on Friday, July 25, they started my pitocin. Whoa baby! Instant contractions! There was no slowly building intensity. These babies were coming about 1 1/2 minutes a part at high intensity. At 9am, my doctor showed up and broke my water. The contractions kept on coming and boy were they strong! I needed something to squeeze during the contractions so my mom went to the gift shop looking for a stress ball but this was all my mom could find, and honestly, it was perfect!
I moved to my birthing ball around 1pm and labored there for awhile. It really helped moving to a new position and Kyle was a trooper, always there with a tennis ball to rub over my lower back during a contraction.

Finally at 3pm I got the epidural. 8 hours of labor on pitocin without pain medicine was ENOUGH for me! Many people told me getting the epidural hurts, but not for me. I was having contractions up until the point of getting it, and I said a prayer right before praying I wouldn't have a contraction while he was giving me the epidural. And God answered my prayer! No contractions at all during the procedure. It didn't hurt and within about 5 minutes I was feeling good again. I could still move my legs, but they were tingling like when your legs fall asleep.

By now I was at about 3 cm. I was exhausted and still had a long way to go. We began waiting and every time they checked me, I hadn't really progressed. Fast forward to midnight and I was alittle over 5 cm. We had to start talking about a possible c-section. I was starting to get a fever and Raegan was obviously not progressing for a reason. We decided to give it another hour and a half and if I hadn't progressed a few centimeters, it was time to call it.

1:30am came around and I was barely a 6. We decided it was time to get our little girl out. Nothing had gone according to plan, but I didn't care anymore. I wanted my little one safe and in my arms. So they called my doctor and we got things rolling. They turned up my epidural and wheeled me off to the OR.

The epidural made me really sick and as soon as we got to the OR, I started throwing up. This continued all the way until she was born. They gave me phenagrine to help with the nausea and that just made me really sleepy. The whole c-section was a bit of a blur, but I will tell you, I remember exactly when they held my beautiful little baby over the drape. She was crying and she was the most baby I've ever seen! (I'll spare you that picture though and let you see her once she was all cleaned up!)
Raegan was born on Saturday, July 26, at 2:35am weighing 8 pounds 2.3 ounces and measuring 21 1/2 inches long. She had blonde hair (which has now gotten alittle darker) and blue eyes!
Afterwards my doctor told me that normally when she does c-sections she has to pull the baby up and out of the birth canal but not with Raegan. She hadn't started making her descent at all! She was nice and snug right in my hip :) and that was after 28 hours of labor! Girlfriend had a little bit of a cone head to show for it! So I know in my mind that we made the right decision. She wouldn't have come on her own and we would have had to eventually induce no matter what. So I am glad we decided to do this sooner than later because it would have all ended up the same way. And honestly, I don't care. I have my baby now! And I can hold her labor over her head for the rest of her life ;)

Once it was all said and done, the whole c-section lasted about an hour and we were in recovery by 3:45am and finally in our room by 6am where we got to start the story of our family!
If you follow me on instagram, you know that this is only the first part of Raegan's birth story. Stay tuned for part 2 tomorrow.

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