A rare peace

I’m experiencing one of those rare moments where I have baby tunnel vision. Quinten is quietly sleeping on my chest after nursing and falling asleep. He’s so quiet that I almost forgot he was there. The slow rise and fall of his chest light and smooth. I imagine him to be in a sweet, peaceful sleep. No worries or pains from the evening before. His cubby arms flank my sides and dangle lifelessly. His head turned to the left and his legs tucked under his body. He fits into the curves of my body and rests effortlessly.

In this moment I can’t help but feel some sadness. Sadness that this will be gone too quickly. Sadness that in three short weeks I’ll be back at work and he’ll come home smelling of someone else’s snuggles. But then I think of Maximus and smile. It does go fast, but each stage is awesome. I love the baby and toddler phases equally.

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How different brothers are

Having a second baby is a lot like riding a bike for us. Feed the baby, change the baby’s diaper, swaddle the baby, and wait to start the cycle all over again. That’s about the only thing that is the same. Quinten has made his differences known since day one.

He came out with a beautiful latch and knew how to eat. Some could say that’s just as much my experience as it is his ability to do it. Either way, HUGE STRESS RELIEF on day one. On the second day Bryan said, “this is so much easier than with Maximus. It’s not stressful at all!” It’s been such a peaceful experience, with both of us falling right into step.

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Quinten doesn’t cry. Before you hate me, he does squeak and on a few occasions has cried. I won’t complain about a baby who doesn’t really cry and I’ll duck before people start throwing things at me. He eats every 2, sometimes 3, hours. I have wondered if he’s really hungry since our only indication is him getting agitated. If he was a hungry crier, it’d be pretty obvious. Maybe I’m keeping him too happy! 😉

Being a rockstar at eating, he’s gained weight. Maximus was always in the lower percentage. Based on my quick search, Quinten is in the 75-90%! You guys, that makes my mama heart explode. I love his chunky cheeks, the wrist creases that are starting to form, and I especially love his FAT legs. I have to move fat folds to bathe him or change his diaper. It’s the best! At 5 weeks, he appears to weigh a tad under 12 pounds. At 8 weeks, Maximus was a tad under 11 pounds. Point, Quinten.

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His neck strength has been great since the first few weeks. Again, not something we experienced before. It can get annoying sometimes because he doesn’t sit still when you’re holding him upright. And since he’s still itty, bitty it’s kind of scary! Usually this is an indication that he wants some space and he’ll happily hang out on the floor.

The biggest difference between the two is sleeping habits. At six weeks, Maximus moved to his crib. Come Saturday, I will not be moving Quinten. If I did, that would mean I’d walk to the front of the house four times during the night. I’d rather stumble to the foot of my bed to get him out of the pack ‘n play. It’s rough, but as his weight shows, little dude wants to eat. Who am I to deprive him of that luxury? {A few more weeks and then we’re going to figure something out!} We realized the first few days at home that Quinten didn’t like the blanket swaddle. Maximus rocked the swaddle until sometime between 5-6 months. It’s my comfort. I thought it made my babies sleep. Quinten is in a swaddle me sack, but he can’t be bothered to have his arms swaddled in. So, we adapt as we can.

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Maximus DID NOT like tummy time. Quinten loves it a little too much. Sometimes he moves his head around, but most of the time he falls asleep. FOR HOURS. I’m fairly confident that the reason he’s not sleeping at night is because he’s just not as comfortable. {Like I said, a few more weeks until I feel confident that he *might* be able to sleep on his tummy at night.}

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Quinten is his own little person and I’m excited to see how he grows into this personality. In the meantime, we’re adjusting our baby style to reflect him.

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Sleeping like a baby

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Is he sleeping? It’s the second most asked question after “what’s the baby’s name?”

In my house, half of us love sleep and the other half don’t necessarily need a lot of it. Maximus and I are the ones who love it. I’m hoping that eventually Quinten moves to our camp. After all, it’s nice and cozy over here! 😉

I’d love to get more consecutive sleep at night, but I’m impressed with how well my body has adjusted. With Maximus I remember feeling sleep deprived for what seemed like forever. This time around it didn’t last longer than that first week. I still wake up feeling really tired and the early morning feedings are the worst. That 3 or 4 am wake-up is really tough. It takes me a while to wake up to Quinten’s cries and I often find myself with long blinks and burning eyes once we sit down. I’ve been known to start putting myself to sleep with the rhythm of the back patting.

When you’re up every two hours, in the middle of the night, there’s not much to do that is engaging. No one else is on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. I’ve been known to send text messages during the middle of the night or respond to emails. If you’ve got blog suggestions or activities for the middle of the night, send them my way!

For the next feeding, I want to hit the snooze button. Except, you can’t do that with a hungry newborn. 🙂 As hard as those early morning feedings are, I haven’t been smart enough to go to bed early. I value my time with Bryan too much to go to bed when Maximus does. If I didn’t stay up, my marriage would suffer a lot during the next few months. It’s the little piece of normal that we can hold on to.

I’m not sure why this time feels easier, because Quinten is definitely not sleeping as well as newborn Maximus ever did. I can only believe that it’s those superhuman mommy powers that you get. I thought I already had them. It appears that you get more each time you have a baby!

I’ll give Quinten a few more weeks until I start getting desperate for sleep. He’s still an itty, bitty little guy who wears newborn clothes. I can’t fault him for having a little stomach that doesn’t hold much or for burning through the milk. But, if he wants to start sleeping a little bit more, I’ll consider giving him the spot of favorite child.

Brothers

Maximus is doing a great job of being a big brother. It started a little rocky with a lot of whining and tears, but he has gotten the hang of our new life. There was one time that we thought Maximus wanted to send Quinten “home” but we soon realized that he had confused the word home with going somewhere. {I’d being lying if I didn’t tell you that Bryan and I burst out laughing when we thought he was asking if we were taking Quinten home that first time we all left the house.}

Maximus includes Quinten in his morning and evening rituals. Whoever wakes Maximus has to answer the questions of where the other parent is. Now, baby Quinten is included in that conversation. Nighttimes include giving baby Quinten a hug and kiss too. Sometimes meals include baby Quinten too. Recently, Maximus asked if Bryan was eating chips and then promptly told me that baby brother was going to eat chips too, but only one chip. In our house that is considered sharing. 🙂

I was a little nervous about the transition from one toddler to a toddler and a newborn. I wasn’t so much worried about the newborn part but I was uneasy about the toddler part. That first week was exactly what I envisioned – the whining and crying! Oh my! After that we adapted into the routine that I hoped we would have.

Maximus doesn’t leave a room without knowing what his little brother is up to. Quinten goes from a moses basket, my lap, pack ‘n play in our room, or a baby seat. In Maximus’ mind baby Quinten doesn’t do much other than eat. If he’s making noise or awake he expects him to eat. With a schedule that is every two hours, that’s pretty spot on.

Maximus thinks it is his job to cover up Quinten when he’s in his basket or seat. He’s very good at not covering his face and making sure the blanket is perfect. He likes tickling his feet too. Maximus loves to look at and talk about baby Quinten’s little hands. It’s hilarious to listen to a two year old talk about a baby being little. Maximus doesn’t miss a diaper change and loses his mind if he can’t give you a clean diaper and the wipes. He’s 50/50 on throwing those diapers away. Apparently that got old after the first 20 diapers!

I can’t wait to watch this relationship grow and see how much fun {and trouble} these brothers get into!

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Quinten: Four Weeks

It’s hard to believe, but Quinten is four weeks old already! This first month has flown by, which shouldn’t be a surprise with the holidays sprinkled in there.

Here’s what Quinten is up to at four weeks:
* Spending a couple hours awake each day.
* Eating every two hours during the day
* Eating every two hours at night and sometimes giving me a break and stretching that to three or four hours
* Falling asleep during tummy time – I think we have another tummy sleeper 🙂
* Lots of sneezing and grunting
* Getting startled by Maximus and Wrigley
* Waving his arms and kicking his legs non-stop when he’s awake
* Prefers to sleep with his head turned to the right
* Does a good job of turning his head back and forth when he’s on his tummy
* Loves to snuggle
* Talks and coos a lot when he’s laying awake on his back
* Still wearing newborn clothes, but has outgrown some of them
* Per our unofficial measurements is 21 1/2 inches long
* Per our unofficial measurements is somewhere between 8 and 9 pounds

Here he is the day of his birth and at four weeks.

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Adapting to the new normal

The Leger house has adapted pretty well to our new normal. I anticipate that our normal will be ever-changing, but we’re handling the newborn stage pretty well. As I told Bryan, the newborn phase should be pretty easy because we’ve done it before. I was a little nervous that Quinten would have a completely different personality and we’d have to figure out how to deal with him. For the most part, he’s similar to Maximus.

Baby snuggles are at the top of my list.

He’s a much more efficient nurser and doesn’t ever miss a meal. He’s also a lot more vocal. Not necessarily a crier, but a grunter. We’ve had a few nights that he’s been pretty loud and we haven’t been able to get much sleep. I think that also makes him wake up more frequently. I think part of it is gas, but like I said, he’s not crying about it. He’s also a loud nurser. He likes to coo and make noises while he eats. Maximus did this a little too, but Quinten does it every.time. Eating makes his life complete.

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He’s doing great with sleep. If he goes longer between feedings, it’s during the night. Lately he’s been on an every other night sleep rotation. That means that every other night he gets up every two hours. Then the next night he’ll only get up once, meaning he goes about 3-4 hours between feedings. That every two hours is rough. I’ve been thankful that he’s done it while Bryan has been on break. While Bryan gets up when Quinten wakes, he quickly falls back asleep and it’s me who is up for 45-60 minutes each time. That means that I’ve been able to sleep in* the next day while Bryan deals with Maximus and Quinten. *Get another hour of sleep between the 6 and 8 am feedings.

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Maximus is back to his good-natured self. He’s remembering his manners and giving me hugs and kisses at bedtime. {The first two weeks he refused to say goodnight to me. 😦 } He’s spent a lot of time coloring, drawing, playing with Play-Dough, reading books, and watching a ridiculous amount of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. In the beginning, he spent a lot of time playing IN the moses basket when Quinten wasn’t in it. Now he grabs onto a blanket or other baby item that isn’t being used. He’s gotten comfortable with me nursing Quinten and now simply says, “Baby Quinten eat again?” That’s much better than a few weeks ago when he was saying, “Uh oh! Baby Quinten biting.”

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We’re enjoying this family time and the slow transition into our new normal. Some of us are taking a lot of naps. The rest of us are slowly getting back into the rhythm of cooking and cleaning {and blogging}.

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*These pictures were taken when Quinten was two weeks old. The post written when he was three weeks old.

A birth story: Quinten Marcus

Saturday, December 8, 2012

I woke up at 4:40 am with a pretty strong contraction. I’d been having strong ones at night the previous week, but nothing had woke me up. I didn’t think much of it and tried to go back to sleep. A little while later I had another equally strong one so I rolled over to look at the clock and saw that it had been 15 minutes. Also not all that unusual but I was surprised that they had both been strong. I tried sleeping again and had another one 15 minutes later. By this one I had to focus through it and woke Bryan up with my breathing. At 5:25 I got up and took a shower. Bryan made me leave the door open in case I needed him. I really enjoyed that hot shower as I imagined it would be my last relaxing one for a long time. {I remember being afraid of the water after I had Maximus. I didn’t want it touching my incision.} Close to 6 am Bryan called my mom and asked her to come over. He’d showered and we’d both finished packing our bags. I was able to stand up during all my contractions but I did have to stop until they passed. A little before 7 am Bryan called First Nurse to let them know we were going to come in. At this point I was sitting on the couch eating a donut and drinking water. My contractions had gotten closer together but I was also experiencing a little bit of inconsistency. I should note that i I never wrote any times down. I just looked at the time and tried to remember when the last one had happened. I suppose there’s a little room for error in that method! 🙂 They had not gotten any easier, but I was a little leery about the timing. Being the second time around, I knew the pain I felt was the beginning of a quick labor with Maximus. There were only 5 hours between those sharp pains and my first born.

We arrived at the hospital around 8 am. As we walked in I anxiously said, “I hope I’m not that woman who shows up and she’s not really in labor.” The contractions had continued on our drive but I felt oddly calm. Maybe it was because I’d done this before. But it made me doubt that it was actually happening. We were taken to a tiny observation room and I was hooked up to a heart monitor and a contraction monitor. I sat in there for over an hour before the doctor came in. I had experienced a few really STRONG contractions and was extremely uncomfortable. But, again they weren’t getting any closer. The nurse came in a few times and commented that it was unusual for me to have such strong ones and then have ones that I barely felt. Finally, the Doctor came in to talk to me. He’d just watched the monitors at the nursing station and saw that I’d had a very strong contraction. It was the one that made me wiggle and start to panic in my head. I needed a plan. I needed to prepare myself if I was going to actually DO THIS. It was the same doctor who delivered Maximus and that was very reassuring to Bryan and I. He walked in and greeted us as if it hadn’t been 2 1/2 years since we’d last met. He checked me {and it was JUST as uncomfortable as I remember!} and determined that I was 4 cm and 100% effaced. Everything appeared to be good. He told me I was in active labor and then told me what I’d been dreading. “This isn’t a VBAC hospital. We can let you labor longer or I can find the anesthesiologist and book the OR.” I expected this response because it was a Saturday morning, but I tried anyway because they didn’t seem busy. I asked if there was any chance I could do a VBAC and he repeated again that the hospital policy said no. I agreed to a c-section and requested that we do it as soon as possible because there was no point in suffering through the pain if I was going to have a c-section anyway.

At 10:15 am the Doctor came back into my room and said that the hospital had declined my request for a VBAC. He explained the procedure as well as the preparations the nurses would do. I signed the consent form and they started hooking me up to an IV, putting in a cathedar, and putting bracelets on me. Soon, the anesthesiologist came in and explained what he’d be doing. Until this point, my contractions had stopped. I think it was at least 40 minutes that I’d gone without them. I was also sitting up cross-legged on the bed and I’m not sure if that had anything to do with it. When the anesthesiologist came in I was laying back in the bed again and had the hardest time listening to him because I was having contractions again. And they were STRONG. I remember thinking Get on with it buddy, I can’t hold eye contact with you much longer!

Around 11 am my nurse asked me if I was able to walk back to the OR. It wasn’t on my list of things I wanted to do, but I said yes. I awkwardly walked with her holding on to one arm, Bryan holding the other, and the nurse pushing my IV cart. Awkwardly doesn’t fully describe it because I had a cathedar that made me not want to move and I had at least one contraction while we were walking back there. Bryan waited in the hall while the anesthesiologist started my spinal. This was one of my fear points. It turned out to not be as bad as I expected. The initial numbing agent did hurt, like he told me. After that I couldn’t feel it. My body felt cold, like he told me, and they had me lay down. They tilted the table to the left and then with my feet above my head. As nurses prepped me and the room, the Doctor came back in. I was checked to see if I could feel a cold alcohol swab, then the table was adjusted some more so the medicine would travel a little higher on my body. I was given an oxygen mask and Bryan came in the room.

I didn’t feel anything that they were doing. In the reflection of the lights, I could see the Doctor and the nurse assisting him but I didn’t look long enough to see if I could tell what they were doing. Bryan did a good job of talking to me in the beginning to turn my focus from what they were doing. At the time I remember being kind of groggy but coherent. I didn’t have much desire to talk, but I knew everything that was going on. If you know Bryan, you won’t be surprised to hear that he started geeking out with the anesthesiologist about equipment. Then he realized that I wouldn’t care about that so he started talking about random things again. I had three small panic attacks throughout the whole process. They were mental panic attacks probably brought on by feeling claustrophobic. I had on a huge oxygen mask, a hair net, and my glasses. My panic attack morphed itself into my eye itching. Like crazy! Bryan had to take my glasses off and was softly trying to itch my eye. I finally told him to literally jab my eye.

After what felt like an eternity, the anesthesiologist stood up and looked over the curtain. He poked his head into my line of sight and told me they were almost to the baby. A few minutes later, at 11:20 am, we heard someone say, “I see boy parts.” {Later Bryan commented that no one knew if we knew what we were having. During the spinal, one of the nurses asked if we knew and what we already had.} Seconds later, a nurse brought our little boy around the curtain so we could see him. We never got to see the gooey Maximus. She handed him to the pediatrician and they got his stats while a nurse asked us if he had a name. Quinten Marcus. The pediatrician came around the curtain and told us, “He’s perfect. 7 pounds, 4 ounces and 20″ long.” They took him to the nursery while the Doctor finished with me. This was by far the longest portion of the surgery. Soon we heard the nurses counting. It took me a couple of series to realize they were counting tools and instruments. It took me even longer to realize that he couldn’t close me up until they were done counting. This was by far the oddest part of the whole thing and I know at least one of those panic attacks was during this period. I just wanted it to be DONE. Finally, he told me he was going to close me up.

I was in the recovery room with my nurse. Bryan had gotten his bracelet as soon as Quinten was born so he’d gone to see him. The difference this time around was the he was told he could go back and forth between the recovery room and nursery as often as he wanted. Bryan came back to see me and showed me pictures of our little guy.

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The nurse got on the phone and asked a lactation consultant to bring Baby Leger to recovery for skin-to-skin. And that phone call is the reason I go to that hospital. I hadn’t asked for anything or even asked to see him. With my previous recovery I hadn’t been able to see Maximus until I was in my room. I assumed this recovery was the same. A very nice nurse {who I think we talked to later but I’m not sure because she was in scrubs the first time} uncovered Quinten and put him on my chest. When my hour was almost up I started feeling nauseous. I asked the nurse to pick him up and then told Bryan I was going to get sick. Little did I know that was the first of many times I’d be sick that day. The rest of the day is a blur to me. After I got sick, they transferred me to my bed and wheeled me to my room. The same nurse brought Quinten back to my room and tried to get him to latch. The first few times we tried I had to have someone hold him because my arms still felt weak. That evening he latched for the first time and we’ve been going strong since. I continued throwing up until 10 pm that night. Unfortunately they couldn’t find an anti-nauseous medication that would work for me. They even tried a motion sickness patch. I wasn’t able to keep my eyes open because it made me dizzy. I wasn’t able to sit up because it made me dizzy. That makes for an interesting experience to try and throw up after just having stomach surgery. Not pleasant doesn’t exactly describe it. 🙂 When Maximus came to visit I was only able to open my eyes a few times and had to fight back throwing up until he left the room. I didn’t want to scare him any more than he probably already was, but he didn’t seem to notice too much.

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We’re two weeks out and all doing well. My recovery has gone great. Quinten has a good schedule and doesn’t need much other than feeding and burping. Maximus has adjusted ok. Our first week was full of a lot of whining and crying. Our second week was much better and we got back into a routine.