Wednesday, May 17, 2017

rook holden // one month

Dear Rook,

Yesterday you turned one month old. There is definitely one thing I have a lot more of with you than I did with your sister. And that is confidence. This time around, I have a better idea of what I'm doing, which sometimes means I'm more precise and strict about things like sleep training, and in other cases, I'm more relaxed like not washing the binky every time it falls on the floor.

So far you have been a very good baby. Do you have the "Angel baby" personality that baby whisperer, Tracy Hogg, wrote about? The kind of baby that takes to the bath water right away, rarely cries, or when it's time for sleep, lies peacefully in his crib and then drifts off to sleep? No... But do I have a baby that I feel confident in taking care of and a baby that brings me so much joy? Absolutely! You might not be the easiest baby, but you are certainly not the most difficult baby.

I thought I'd start off with your milestones. Don't worry, you're right where you need to be. According to What to Expect the First Year, a newborn to 1 month will reach the following developmental milestones:

Most babies will probably be able to:
  • Lift head briefly when on the tummy
  • Focus on a face
  • Bring hands to face
  • Suck well
Half of all babies will be able to:
  • Respond to a loud noise in some way, such as startling, crying, quieting
Some babies will be able to:
  • Lift head 45 degrees when on tummy
  • Vocalize in ways other than crying
  • Smile in response to a smile (a "social" smile)
A few babies will be able to:
  • Lift head 90 degrees when on tummy 
  • Hold head steady when upright
  • Bring both hands together
  • Smile spontaneously
When looking at this list, you are off to a great start! You are fairly good at lifting your head during tummy time and very good at it when held upright. I haven't done tummy time with you a lot because you usually start crying right away. But the few times I have caught you at a good time, you can hold your head up for a brief moment. However, when you are held upright (like when I burp you), that head of yours stays steadily upright the whole time.

You occasionally respond to loud noises. It usually happens when you're asleep. A few nights ago we went to your Grandma and Grandpa Holden's house for a Mother's Day dinner. As you were sleeping in your dad's arms and there was an uproar of laughter, you would startle in your sleep.

As for smiling, you don't do it super often, but when you do it is ADORABLE! Your smile takes up your whole face and is incredibly contagious. You definitely smile spontaneously. There doesn't seem to be a rhyme or reason for when you smile. There is one thing we have discovered that gets you to smile and that is kissing you gently on the lips, or brushing our finger softly against your lips. This, of course, only works if you're already in a good mood. Unfortunately, I can't just kiss you while you're in the middle of a crying bout and get a big smile. If that were the case, then we would be kissing you even more than we already do! Most of your smiling is done in your sleep-the half-smile, twitching kind. By the way, your dad is especially good at getting you to smile.

Crying. Ah, crying...Let's just say you do it a lot. And if it isn't attended to right away, it quickly escalates into what I like to call your "panic mode," where your wails are incredibly loud for someone so small and they are high pitched and frequent. It sounds like it's the end of the world and you're dying. It's not a bad skill... I come running immediately.

If you aren't crying, you're usually grunting. You grunt ALL the time. You do it while you're awake and you even do it in your sleep. One of your nicknames is Grunts because of this.

Binky. It is difficult to describe the relationship between you and your binky. You almost always need it to fall asleep, but you have a hard time keeping it in your mouth. We are constantly having to pick it up off the ground and put it back in your mouth. You typically don't want your binky when you're in a content mood, you just spit it right back out. When you're crying or upset, you usually take the binky, but sometimes you make a horrific gagging noise when given the binky because you don't want it. I've learned that the best way to get you to take your binky is by holding you close or by patting your side if you're in your bed. Luckily, once you're in a deep sleep, you don't rely on your binky.

Sleep. I've decided that sleep is one of the most discussed topics when it comes to parenting little children. If a newborn isn't sleeping well, then mom and dad are most likely suffering. Thank goodness you're doing pretty good. And that's with having a month-long stuffy nose! What you lack in moodiness you make up for with your sleeping pattern at night. You sleep best when swaddled up nice and tight. Most nights you sleep in your bed until you're hungry. Then you cry, we nurse, and then you go right back down.  That's most nights. Of course we've had some nights where you didn't fall asleep easily and I was so desperate to get you to fall asleep that I brought you into bed with us. You LOVE our bed. Sometimes you'll toss and turn in your own bed, while I'm maneuvering the binky in your mouth, patting your side, and trying to comfort you. I'll do that for 15 minutes, but it's in the middle of the night so I'll give up and bring you in the bed and bam! The second you hit our bed, you're out. And you'll stay out until the next feeding. I don't blame you... our bed is incredibly comfy. I'm very partial to it as well.

Nursing is going fairly well. So far I haven't had to use the nipple shield like I did with your sister. Things were pretty painful at first because your latch wasn't good. So I started becoming more picky with your latch and would delatch you until we got a good latch. You are THE LOUDEST nurser in the world. You grunt, snort, gasp, and coo during every feeding session. The most frustrating thing about nursing you is that between and during all the noises you make, you constantly latch and delatch. You especially do this at the start of a nursing session. I have an overactive letdown and so when my letdown happens (which I can feel very strongly, by the way), it typically results in a big mess as you try and guzzle it. I equate it to trying to drink from a fire hydrant. There were quite a few times where you tried to nurse, but then my letdown came in so strongly that you delatched, tilted your head back, and then the milk attacked your face as you closed your eyes and complained. When this happens, I just laugh, clean up the mess, and then we try again. I love when nursing does go well. You usually just stare at me and I stare back and my heart gets all warm. I'm glad I know about mastitis this time around because there were a couple times I got clogged ducts, but I massaged them vigorously and frequently and they went away. I had mastitis with your sister and never ever want to get it again. I'm pretty paranoid about it.

You and Lily will become kindred friends. I just know it. While Lily hardly cares to notice you, she has been so patient with your crying, will go across the house to find your binky, carefully and lovingly touches your little toes and hands, gives you kisses, and knows you are part of our family. Every once in a while she will say, "Rook swing" while I'm holding you. This means she wants me to put you in your swing so the attention is more on her. But she really loves you and I'm excited to watch you two grow up together.

She has also been really patient with knowing that some things are yours and not hers. She loves playing with your carseat and your bumbo chair, but if you need one of them, she doesn't complain. I've been really impressed with that because she is a terrible sharer with anyone else.

Size of clothes you're wearing right now: the 0-3 months clothes. You are just big enough to pack away most of the newborn clothes! What the what!?
Diaper size: size 1

Being held
Being rocked
Being patted
Listening to classical music
Kisses and gentle touches on your lips
Staring at the blue elephant hanging above your swing
The Great British Baking Show
Being swaddled nice and tight
Trying to get your arms out of the swaddle
Sucking on your hands when the binky has fallen out
Mom's face
Dad's voice
Mom and dad's bed
Having one arm in the air
Sitting in the bumbo chair

Having the binky shoved in your mouth when you're not ready for it
Having a stuffy nose
Having mom's milk come in too fast
Having saline drops put in your nose
Getting your diaper changed
Being gassy

Things you occasionally like:
Tummy time
Riding in the car
Being in your carseat
Your binky

Nicknames: Sonnito Burrito (my favorite), son, little man (ammon's fave), Rookus, Rookie, Rookster, Grunts,

I love you so much my little Sonnito Burrito! I love watching you get bigger and watching you become more aware of your surroundings. I hope you grow to be a gentleman, a momma's boy, and an imaginative little brother.


Monday, May 8, 2017

the labor and delivery of rook lott... and then some

Gahh! Look at that cutie! 

Here is the story of how he got here:

At 2 a.m. on Easter Sunday, I slowly sat up in bed; Ammon fast asleep at my side. Initially, I thought I was waking up to go to the bathroom. Up to this point, I was very accustomed to waking up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. It was an unusual night if I didn't get up 3 or 4 times. But there was definitely something different about this middle-of-the-night waking because this time, when I sat up, a smallish gush of fluid exited my body and onto the bed. For a split second I thought I just peed the bed. But then I remembered that I hadn't wet the bed thus far, and this didn't feel like lack of bladder control. So then, of course, my mind started racing with thoughts of elation in tandem with thoughts of doubt. Was this my water breaking?! Nah...It couldn't be. It was too soon. (I wasn't due for 10 more days.) It wasn't even that much liquid. Just as I was debating with myself whether this was my water breaking or not, even more fluid came out--- again, just a smallish amount. I looked at Ammon who was still fast asleep, and wondered if I should wake him up.  Ammon was scheduled to work at 6 a.m. that morning so I only wanted to wake him if this was for real. 

I decided I would investigate things in the bathroom first and then go from there. I climbed out of bed with slightly saturated bottoms, and feelings of anticipation. What was I going to discover in the bathroom? The climb out of bed was uneventful... no more gushing. Then, when I got to the door of our bedroom, a much bigger gush came out. So much, that I didn't even hesitate to wake up Ammon. 
"Ammon..?" I said aloud in the dark. My voice exuded excitement and a "here-we-go" sort of tone.
"Yeah?" Ammon said with a I-just-woke-up-but-it's-totally-okay-because-I'm-also-excited sort of voice. He could tell by my voice that something was happening.
"I think my water is breaking..." I said.
I totally can't remember what Ammon said after that, but I just remember him getting excited and saying something about needing to call work. 

The details are a wee bit fuzzy after that. I remember going to the bathroom and making a big mess because I kept leaking onto the floor, which by the way, is a very weird sensation. I laughed each time it happened and exclaimed out loud to Ammon, "This is definitely my water breaking!" But because I wasn't contracting, I would also say, "But I don't feel any different!" The next 30 minutes were filled with more leaking, Ammon calling work to say he wasn't going to be going in, me geeking out because this was for real, and us calling our moms. Ammon called his mom who started packing and driving our way. (A 10 hour drive.) I called my mom and told her that we would not be making it to Easter dinner that night and asking if she could watch Lily the next day. 

After calling our moms, Ammon and I spent a few good minutes discussing what we would do next. We decided that since I wasn't contracting or bleeding that there was no need to go to the hospital right away. We decided we would try and get more sleep and then head to the hospital in the morning.  Before crawling into bed, I thought to myself, What if I start contracting in a few hours? What if they are painful and make it difficult to accomplish anything? I might as well use this time now to get a few things done. And get a few things done, I did. I showered (which I desperately needed after making a mess all over myself),  dried my hair, curled my hair, put on make-up, got myself all pretty, and put together some makeshift sub plans for the next week. While I was working on my sub plans, I started having contractions. They weren't too bad though. 

At 5 a.m. I crawled into bed to get a few more hours of sleep. They weren't the most restful hours due to the fact that I continued to have contractions every 20 minutes. During each contraction I sat up in bed and practiced my breathing. Then I would go back to sleep. Sometimes Ammon would wake up with me and press on my back which helped tremendously. 

Lily woke up around 8 a.m. Ammon and I went in her room and told her the exciting news. We told her that her baby brother was coming and that she was going to spend the day with Grandma while we went to the hospital. We played with her for a few minutes and then took her to my mom's house.
Yep. That's my little girl wearing a Mario shirt; a dinosaur at her side.
I blame Ammon 100%

Pretend feeding daddy breakfast

Before driving to my mom's house, I spent a few minutes outside. The weather was sunny and crisp. Some of our neighbors were doing an Easter egg hunt. Me? I was pacing and contracting. My contractions were getting closer together and increasingly painful. I remember leaning on our car during the contractions and not caring one bit what I looked like. Meanwhile, Ammon was grabbing all of our bags, installing baby boy's car-seat, making sure we had everything we needed, and getting Lily strapped in. 

After dropping off Lily at my mom's, Ammon drove us to the hospital. I was still having contractions and hated not being able to lean over. But it was good practice contracting while sitting because I would be doing it at the hospital. 

When we got to the hospital, I had Ammon snap a selfie of us. In the picture I'm smiling, but inside I was dying. 

Before going inside, I had to pause in the middle of the parking lot to get through a contraction. It was shortly after this contraction that I started to feel anxious and on the verge of tears. I think being at the hospital made things more real for me. Heading into the hospital, I was a waddling, anxious mess. 

When we got to the labor and delivery floor, the nurses started asking me questions. I could barely keep it together. I was on the verge of a breakdown. The nurses lead us to the room where I would be delivering, and then handed me a hospital gown and a bag. They then asked me to undress completely and to get in the gown. Going in that bathroom will always be unforgettable for me because it was the first time being completely alone for a while. When I shut the door behind me, all the emotions of what was taking place came crashing down on me and I started bawling. Ammon heard me and immediately rushed into the tiny bathroom with me and asked if I was okay. I said I wasn't. He asked what was wrong. I said I didn't know. He put his arms around me and I just held him tight. And then I told him not to leave me. He said he would never do that, that he would be with me the whole time.  And I knew that... But hearing it was really nice. That hug and his encouraging words were all I needed. After that I was just fine. Well... as fine as one can be while in labor, that is. 

After getting in my gown, they hooked me up to a couple of monitors. One that measured the baby's heartbeat and one that measured my contractions. I told them that my water had broken at 2 a.m. They did a couple tests for that and then they checked my cervix. I was at a 6 and 100% effaced! That was exciting news! Next up was the IV. Man, I hate getting IVs when delivering a baby. There's just something about my veins that think, "Oh she's delivering a baby? Time to hide and make this as difficult as possible." When I was delivering Lily, they had such a hard time getting in the IV that they had to eventually put it in the crook of my elbow. Blah. I hated that. This time around, they also had a hard time getting it in. Luckily, the nurse was able to get it in my wrist, but oi! It hurt! The thing I hated most about getting the IV in is that the whole time I was so worried that I would start contracting in the middle of getting it put in. Luckily, when she finally got it in, it was perfectly in between contractions. The only thing that kept me from completely loathing my IV was knowing that it was the next step towards getting an epidural... something I desperately wanted more and more as time went on.

I can't remember exactly what happened next. I think just more contractions. The contractions were so bad that I was just frozen. I didn't feel like a could move an inch. So when the nurse anesthetist came in (I cried out in pain and in excitement when he came in) and asked for me to get in a new position with my legs hanging off the side of the bed... I was a complete disaster. I had to get A LOT of help from Ammon and the nurses. I'm sure anyone watching me would have thought I looked incredibly pathetic. I felt pathetic. And frustrated. Finally, after what seemed like forever, I got into the position that I needed to. At first the nurse anesthetist seemed annoyed with me because I wasn't arching my back enough. But after some guidance from a nurse (all she had to do was push on my shoulders and then suddenly I was able to arch my back properly), he had all sorts of praises for me. I contracted a couple times during the epidural procedure, but because I knew the severity of keeping still, I was totally able to keep still and the procedure went very smoothly. It was less painful than getting my IV. 

It didn't take long for the epidural to kick in which made me one very happy camper.... or should I say deliverer? What do you call yourself when going into labor? Eh... doesn't matter. Once it kicked in, I felt tons better. I could still feel pressure during each contraction, but not an inch of pain.

The next chunk of time is a blur. I know that the following events occurred, but I just can't remember in what order: I got a catheter put in. My doctor came in to say hi and see how I was doing. He said he had another patient he needed to check on, but that he'd be back. Watching them prep the room for baby boy to come. And then getting checked again. When I got checked again (which was at about 11:00 a.m.), I was at a 10! The nurse said she was going to grab the doctor and that they would be back. After she left, it was just Ammon and I. I remember that we looked at each other in excitement and exchanged words of anticipation and joy and support and love. 

After waiting for about 10 more minutes (those 10 minutes felt so long, but also so short!), my nurses and my doctor came back and made some final preparations for baby boy to come. My doctor started telling me about how we would do a practice push first and then go from there. But after checking the situation, he exclaimed, "Oh wow! Okay, we will skip the practice push and just go straight to pushing." I guess baby boy was right there! 

When it came time to push, they asked if I was ready. I said I was, but inside I was pretty nervous. Last time I pushed, it was exhausting, miserable, and just not a pleasant experience at all. (You can ask me in person what else made it really unpleasant...) This time around, when I pushed, the doc was praising me, but the praise felt undeserving because I didn't feel exhausted or miserable at all. I thought I was pushing incorrectly because it was... dare I say?... easy. So easy. I even asked the doc if I was doing it right and he said I was. Um, what!? Who knew pushing could be so easy when you've got an epidural and short labor on your side? (To you women who have had crazy difficult labors, please don't hate me! If it makes you feel better, Lily's birth was not like this at all!)

The next contraction came, I pushed, and out came little boy's head. I was then asked to lean over so I could see him. It took me a bit to get the right angle, but once he was in view, I couldn't believe it! He was coming and there was his head!! In all honesty, it was all so surreal. I didn't get hit with waves of emotion when I saw his head... the wave of emotion would come later. The next contraction, I pushed again, but it was interrupted because his shoulder got caught on the way out. The doc moved him so he was coming out at a better angle. Then I gave one more tiny push and out he came. So yeah... I only had to push 3 times.

After that, things happened so fast. I remember feeling nervous because he wasn't crying. But everyone reassured me that he was just fine. (Eventually they got him to cry and they were right, he was perfectly healthy!) I remember getting to do skin-to-skin right away. Like, right away! It was amazing. And messy. :) Then they did some tests and cleaned him up a bit. It was actually during this time that the emotions hit me. (The doc was stitching me up because I tore again), but my eyes were on my baby boy. As I sat there and watched them do tests, I started thinking about the fact that he was finally here and that he was healthy and safe. And it hit me. I started tearing up and my heart felt all warm and grateful. I will never forget that moment. 

When they started weighing baby boy, one of the nurses lovingly got after Ammon for not taking pictures. (And I am SO glad she did!) We were both caught in the moment that we didn't even think about that. Even me, who is always thinking about taking pictures! Ammon hurried over to our bags to find my phone and then started snapping away.

The first picture we ever took of our little man!

Rook Holden Lott
7 pounds 2 ounces
18.5 inches

After getting some of that vernix off and getting on a cute little hat

Skin to skin for the second time! (This time, not as messy.)

First time being held by daddy!

After getting some photos with our beautiful son, I asked when I could start breast-feeding. They said I could start trying right away. What!? Everything was so different with Lily's birth that I had no idea I could try so soon. I was so excited to nurse him! In the middle of trying to nurse little Rook, a nurse came in and said that my mom was here! The original plan was for her to be there for the birth (Ammon's mom too), but everything happened so fast that she didn't get there until afterwards. So we had her bring Lily with her.

Lily warmed up to Rook very quickly as long as he was at a distance. But when we brought him closer to her and asked if she wanted to hold him, she said, "Eh, eh... scary." Haha.

After some coaxing and waiting until she was ready, we were able to get some pictures of her with Rook. She would point at him and say, "Baby Rook."

My mom's first time holding him!

About half an hour after my mom and Lily arrived, my dad and brother came to visit. (They came as soon as church was over.)

Then my brother Taylor and his wife Kenzie came for a visit. And so did my first meal from the hospital. (Which was actually pretty good! Especially the brownie.) :)

Lily wanted some too!
She is definitely my daughter-going straight for the brownie
My brother Taylor was on his mission when Lily was born. So getting to see his reaction and excitement for Rook's birth was so much fun.

After having family over for a bit, it was time to feed the little tike again. So we kicked everybody out. My mom took Lily home with her so that Lily could get a nap. After that, we didn't get any visitors for a long time. Not even from nurses. For at least two hours straight, it was just the three of us. I will always cherish those hours where we were left alone and Rook was no more than 2 hours old. Ammon snuggled with Rook  on the couch first. 

Then he passed him to me. And then Rook and I snuggled. For a long time. (Ammon fell asleep on the couch.) Rook fell asleep in my arms and then pretty soon after that, I fell asleep. (A very light sleep.) And we just slept and snuggled until a nurse eventually came and took him to do some more tests. Ammon went with her and took the following pictures:

Meanwhile, I was back in the delivery room getting my catheter removed and attempting to get out of bed. Luckily, the epidural had worn off just enough that I was successful on the first try. I felt a wee bit weak, but I didn't feel nauseous or faint like some people do when they get up after having an epidural. After successfully using the restroom, Ammon came back and I was transferred to the recovery room. Then both Ammon and I went and visited Rook in the nursery. Then we went and laid down in our really big and comfy bed (best part about delivering at Mountain View Hospital!) and took a nap. Well, Ammon got a nap. I had too much on my mind (not sure why...haha) that I didn't fall asleep. But at least I rested! 

Then we went and watched Rook get his first bath. Ammon's brother, Nephi arrived just before it was time for his bath. Then, as he was getting his bath, that's when Ammon's mom arrived. They both watched from the window. He didn't love the part where he got scrubbed, but he did like the part where they rinsed his head under water. 

So handsome!!

After he got his bath, the nurse got him dressed, put him in a little Easter egg blanket, gave him a bunny and a hat, and then he was ours! We got to take him into our room!! Say what!? That was so crazy to me because when I had Lily, she was in the NICU for 5 days, so she was never in our room with us. 

When we got back to our room, dinner was waiting for Ammon and I. So we ate and visited with Ammon's mom and Nephi for a bit. 

Then Kenzie and Taylor came back and so did my mom with Lily. I will never forget that night. It was so fun being surrounded by family that cares so much about me and my little family. Everyone got along so well, many pictures were taken, stories and laughs were exchanged, my two babies were held by their loved ones, I felt great, and the food was yummy-it doesn't get much better than that.

Our first family photo

Lily's reaction when we tried to bring Rook close to her

Becoming more interested in him

Giving him a kiss

Just after giving him a kiss. How cute is this picture!?

The next morning, we snuggled with Rook, watched TV, ate breakfast, snuggled some more, filled out paper work, answered some questions, ate lunch, met with Rook's pediatrician, met with my doctor, got some pictures taken that were incredibly gorgeous, but way too expensive to buy, dressed Rook in his "going home" outfit, packed up all our bags and paper work, and then we got to go home.

I LOVE this picture. Look at Ammon's wristband compared to Rook's! So tiny and cute!

All the nurses adored his outfit. 

My view the whole way to the car. :)

In the car for the first time

Tiny feet!

We're home! He slept the whole way home.

Lily seeing him again.

When we got inside our apartment, I was beyond grateful that we were coming home to a very clean house. When I went into labor, it was 10 days early. It was also at the peak of a busy time in our lives. Ammon was approaching finals and working full time, I was still trying to finish up maternity leave sub plans and staying on top of my current work load. So our house was a disaster to say the least. Well, that is, until Ammon's mom got her hands on it. My mother-in-law is an angel! While we were at the hospital, she took care of Lily AND took the time to do the thousands of loads of laundry that we still needed to do, folded all those clothes, vacuumed our floors, did our dishes, filled our kitchen with fresh food, added flowers throughout the house, and even had dinner ready for us. It made bringing Rook home an exciting and relaxing event instead of a stressful, overwhelming experience. I will be forever grateful towards her service and love. 

Rook is quite the adorable baby. He LOVES to grunt the second he wakes up and pretty much keeps grunting until he falls asleep again. He makes the cutest faces, especially when stretching. He loves to be held ALL THE TIME which can be difficult at times, but I don't blame him one bit! He is fairly good at nursing... I just don't love the part where he latches and delatches all the time, getting milk all over the place. I'm guessing he's doing that because I have an overactive letdown. He sleeps fairly well throughout the night. He usually sleeps for two hours straight before wanting to eat again. Sometimes he sleeps in 4-hour chunks and sometimes 1-hour chunks. I like the nights he sleeps in 4 hour chunks. :)

Recovery for me has been great! I attribute it to my short and easy labor. With Lily, it took months before I felt like myself again. With Rook, it only took a couple weeks.

Having two kiddos has been very time consuming. I hardly get naps in, the house is always a mess because I'm either holding one of them, changing one of their diapers, feeding one of them, or I'm tending to both at the same time! All the while, Lily is adding to the mess because she's an adorable toddler with a big imagination. But luckily I haven't felt super exhausted very often. I think my quick recovery and my mindset are the reasons for that. 

Although having two kids is definitely taking up 96.989% of my time, it is also attributing to 100% of my joy! I love them so much! I am definitely looking forward to when they can interact more and Rook is sleeping through the night. But until then, I will take the messy house and lack of sleep to have them around. 
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