Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Are you going to have another baby?

We had a great (and busy) Christmas. The kids are so blessed to be around so much family. They got great toys, but the best part was spending so much time together. I keep meaning to get all of my pictures downloaded, but I have been distracted by things like feeding the baby and hanging out with family. I will get it done in the next couple of days...

One question that came up a lot over the holiday from many family members is "Are you going to have another baby?" I should say up front that I am sort of used to people asking questions like this. From the minute Josh and I got married we got the "when are you going to have a baby?" question. That one was harder because it took us a little time time get pregnant because I am of advanced maternal age (yes, this is a real designation - it means the mother is over 35).

Okay, so here is the ambiguous answer to the question - we don't know. We are definitely going to take a little time off from pregnancy (or rather, I am going to take a little time off from pregnancy). I would also like to get to a point where we have at least one child out of diapers and possibly speaking intelligible sentences. Right now, we love our little family and find our children to be perfect (well, not perfect, but perfect for us). We are having so much fun with Thomas and Charlotte is definitely our little love bug. As for the future - only God knows. :)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Stuff we use all the time

I thought it might be a good idea to start a list of all the things that are necessary for the first couple of months with a new baby. We are not sure whether or not we will have more kids and if we do, we intend to wait for a little while before having the next one. Needless to say, my memory is not what it once was, so this list is mostly for me. I will be updating it over the next couple of weeks as we run into different things that we can't live without...

My favorite thing of the moment - Gerber bunny slippers. Because her feet were so cold all the time, we really appreciate having something to keep them warm.

My favorite diapers - Pampers Swaddlers. This time I used one big box of Newborn size before moving up to size 1. She was born at 8 lbs, 4 oz and got back there by the end of her second week.

My favorite wipes (I had to hunt around to find a link) are the Target brand unscented wipes. We just buy the refills - there is really no need to buy the dispensers. We have one dispenser that we got originally, but we also just use the refills. They are in the kind of package that makes them easy to access and we buy them in this big box so we can have packs all over the house.

By far, we love the Diaper Champ way more than the Diaper Genie. We have both because I originally thought the Genie would be better, but the Champ uses regular kitchen garbage bags which makes it way easier because we have a ton of them and you don't have to go looking for the Genie refills. I will say that we like having two because we spend our days on one side of the house and our nights on the other, so it is nice to have a diaper pail in both locations.

My favorite bottles -Born Free. We have used these with both our babies. I don't use the sterilizer or the bottle brush, we use the dishwasher. We do use a drying rack because it is a convenient way to keep them on the counter and available and my bottles never come out of the dishwasher dry. We also use a dishwasher basket inside the dishwasher to hold the nipples and vents.

My favorite bibs are these organic cotton ones from Bumkins. The terry cloth is the best for absorbing drips. I also like terry for burp cloths and the ones from Gerber are my go to - I have them stashed everywhere.

My favorite swaddler at night is the Kiddopatamus. We find this keeps her snug and warm and calm at night. She definitely sleeps easier in it.

When our babies need to suck to soothe, we love the Soothies pacifiers.

We think a lot about keeping our babies warm, so when we go out, we use the JJ Cole Infant Bundle Me in the car seat. There are two versions and we have both - a heavier one for winter and a lighter one for spring and fall.

On the subject of strollers - we originally bought a Graco Quattro tour system - meaning the car seat and the stroller. We love the car seat - we hardly ever use the stroller. It is heavy - which makes it inconvenient to haul in and out of the car. We finally broke down and bought a light stroller - a Maclaren - which we love. They have recently all been recalled for a retrofit to cover up the hinges, but we have not had any problems with ours.

Now that we have two babies, instead of getting a double stroller, I've been using the Bjorn. I love being able to carry the baby this way and it makes it easier than trying to get both kids in a stroller. I put Thomas in the Maclaren and Charlotte in the Bjorn and away we go.

We are using the Graco infant car seat/carrier for Charlotte. With Thomas, we used to put him in the carrier for naps (he liked it because it was tight and cozy). Thomas moved up to a normal car seat at about 6 months when he got too heavy for the carrier. We got a Britax Marathon which works both rear facing and front facing. These are expensive, but you can get them on a good deal if you watch for one.

I'll keep adding to this list as I think of more things :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Meeting the Great Grandparents and 2 week stats

Last week we got to introduce Charlotte to some of her Great Grandparents. The first picture is with her Great Grandma Walthrop (Josh's grandma). It is her fondest wish that Charlotte be very girlie and not called "Charlie". Don't tell her, but I call her Charlie all the time. :)

On Friday, we visited her Great Grandma and Grandpa Canfield. We drove up to Everett and visited with them in the hospital. Great Grandma Canfield is in the Critical Care Unit so we knew she wouldn't be able to make the trip over to Bremerton anytime soon.

Proud Great Grandpa Canfield!

On Monday, we went to the doctor for Charlotte's two week appointment. She didn't have to get any shots, but she did have to have her heel poked for the second half of her PKU screening. She handled it pretty well and I promised her there would be no more heel poking.

Stats - 20 inches, 8 lbs, 6 oz. She is in the 50th percentile for both height and weight. Right down the middle. We'll see if she moves up the charts at her 2 month appointment, but we are really happy that she is happy and healthy.

Thomas spent a lot of this week with Aunt Reba and Uncle Robb. Josh is working on a big project and this is our last week of babysitting for a while because Rebecca is going in tomorrow for foot surgery. I spent the time hanging out with Charlotte and getting a lot of Christmas stuff done. We are about halfway done with all the wrapping which isn't too bad considering we still have a week left.

Hope you all are getting in the Christmas spirit too!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Thomas goes to his aunt Reba's house on Monday and Wednesday and we have been continuing that even though I am not at work. It helps to stay in the same routine since so much of his life is changing. Reba is having foot surgery on December 18, so we will be taking a break for a while, but until then, he gets to continue. He loves it. He gets to play with his cousins and have a change of routine from being with us all of the time. Thomas is adjusting - getting used to the fact that he is not the only baby in the house. He is jealous of a couple of things, especially Charlotte's bottle. He also wants to be able to get up on Mommy's lap (something he rarely did before she was born).

We are now definitely in straight man to man coverage mode. Josh takes care of Thomas (I still can't lift him - or shouldn't lift him). I take care of Charlotte. Every once in a while we switch off. This morning, when Josh had been up with Thomas since 5 and Thomas was having a hard morning, I gave Josh the baby and distracted Thomas for a little while. We will have to figure out how to manage things when I go back to work :)

Charlotte had jaundice, which we started treating on Saturday afternoon. She had to wear a light blanket to get rid of the bilirubin (a by product of the breakdown of hemoglobin in the blood) that caused the jaundice. Her numbers came way down yesterday so she is now off the blanket. She has also been gaining weight steadily - especially since we switched over to formula on Monday evening. She is quite a happy little camper and now has two or three stretches of wakefulness where she checks out everything going on in the world.

Overall, we are all very happy together and looking forward to spending lots of time with family over the next couple of weeks. :)

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Charlotte's Arrival and first week

These are a few pictures from the first day - for those of you who don't see them on facebook - we uploaded a ton there as well.

Here is the story of Charlotte's birth and some reflections from me on the first week. Fair warning that I will be mentioning things like breastfeeding, so feel free to skip those sections if you would rather not know :)

For us, having a second baby has mostly been easier than the first, with a few exceptions. It was really nice to know exactly when we were going to go to the hospital and have a baby. It was way easier to plan and we sort of knew what to expect with recovery from a c-section. The biggest change during the surgery was that the anesthesiologist used a spinal block rather than an epidural. An epidural is put in and left there so that drugs can be continuously administered over a long period of time (like labor). A spinal block is just one shot. I'm sure it won't surprise you that I don't like the feeling of being out of control, so being strapped down to a table with no feeling from my chest down is not the most comfortable position for me. In addition, the spinal causes nausea, so they try to keep your blood pressure a little higher to fight off the nausea. I was fine through the birth and Charlotte came out screaming. She has quite the lungs! They got her all cleaned up and brought her over to me and I immediately thought she looked just like Thomas - except she has a nice head of hair. Then, she and Josh headed off to the nursery for weighing and bathing.

After they left, the rest of the surgery was hard for me. I did get sick from the anesthetic and it felt like someone was pushing on my chest. However, these feelings went away really quickly once they finished the surgery and I was in recovery. They got everything set up for me in my room pretty quickly compared to what I remember from last time. They also got her stats for me right away. She was born at 8:10 am, 8 pounds, 4 ounces and 19 inches long (a shorty for us). I was able to see here again at 9:10 am and she ate right away. I noticed immediately that she was a better eater than Thomas. He was a little bit more lazy when he was eating and he tended to eat for short periods of time and then fall asleep.

Charlotte spent most of her first day awake. She ate a lot and she had a TON of dirty diapers. Everyone was amazed at how much she ate and pooped. These are all good signs for a newborn. The first night was tough because every time we fell asleep, there were more nurses coming to check our vital signs and make sure things were okay. One thing we learned from last time was that it was better for Josh to be able to get some sleep at night while we could, so instead of waking him up when I needed to get her out of the bassinet, I just kept her in bed with me and called the nurse when I needed more water or help changing a diaper.

She slept more the second day and things were pretty mellow in the hospital. However, I was looking forward to getting home and getting some sleep...

The only thing of note while we were still in the hospital is that Charlotte was down to 7 pounds, 8 ounces - or about 9%. Doctors and nurses don't like to see the baby lose more than 10% of their birth weight, but she was still over the mark, so she was cleared to leave. Here, a note about breastfeeding. Typically, it takes between 48 and 72 hours for milk to come in after the baby is born. The baby still gets nutrients from colostrum, but the calorie count is not very high, so babies lose weight until a mom's milk comes in. With a c-section, it can sometimes take a little longer. We had weight issues with Thomas, so we were very aware of all of these things going in and we decided to try breastfeeding again, even though we had so many problems with Thomas. I started to feel my milk coming in on Wednesday, the day after we left the hospital, but when we went back for a weight check on Friday at the doctor's office, Charlotte was down to 7 pounds, 1 ounce. We decided to wait over the weekend before doing anything like supplementing with formula, since my milk had just come in and she seemed to be eating well.

At the same appointment, the doctor checked her for jaundice and her level was pretty high, so we ended up having to go back in on Saturday for another check. The good news on Saturday was that she had GAINED two ounces (perfect - babies should gain 2 ounces day once they start gaining). The bad news was that she definitely had jaundice.

The treatment for jaundice is a little light blanket that she has to wear all the time. It is a little strange - basically she is wearing it around her chest and it is attached to a tube with fiber optic lights. We also get a daily visit from a home health nurse who takes blood to test her levels. The big bonus is that she gets a daily weight check, so we know exactly how much she is gaining. Today she is up another two ounces to 7 pounds, 5 ounces. I don't know why, but the jaundice doesn't bother me as much as the weight gain issues. Now that we are on the right track with both, I'm just chalking it up to another interesting baby experience.

On the whole, I am much more relaxed this time around. We have been really blessed to have my parents staying with us this week. They are taking care of Thomas and making meals and doing laundry and going shopping for us. It has made a huge difference. I have been able to take at least one nap a day and we both get to shower. They are going home today so we will be on our own for the first night tonight. Now we really get to test the man to man coverage :)

Thomas has been enjoying all the extra attention and he has only been distressed a couple of times by my inability to pick him up. I won't be able to do that for at least another week.

On my recovery, things are going pretty well. I am amazed by how fast my body can heal and how much less pain I feel every day. I do get to take some good pain pills, but I should be done with the Percocet and just on Ibuprofen by the middle of the week.

More than anything, I am grateful that we have so much family around us. We get a ton of support and it makes a huge difference.

I will not be blogging daily, but I will try to update at least weekly. Now I am off to get a little snack!