Wednesday, April 25, 2012

2 Month Appointment

Last week was Gunner's 2 month doctor's appointment, and I can't believe how fast time has flown by! Cliche to say, I know, but it is the truth. I was really excited to see how much he had grown since his 2 week appointment. He officially weighed 11 pounds, 14 oz! HOLY BIG CHILD.

The part I was dreading the most, was his vaccinations. He was due for 3 shots and an oral vaccine, and I wanted nothing to do with it. Of course, Bobby was working, so I had to brave the 8:15 AM appointment alone, and see him in pain alone. Sad day indeed.

This is Gunner at around 7:30 AM that morning, feeling great, not knowing what was in store for him.

To this sad little face after he got stuck. WAH.

My poor little buddy slept for 6 straight hours after the appointment which he never does, and I felt so bad for him.

On the bright side, after he woke up, he felt completely fine, because he gave me the BIGGEST smile he has ever given me!

The doctors must be doin' something right :]

Back to Work/ Alone

Now that Bobby is back to work, I am having a hard time adjusting to being alone all night, and most of the day. I forgot how brutal his schedule is, and how much work it is for me, when he goes to work. Extra laundry, packing lunches, extra groceries, extra gas money, the list goes on and on.

I appreciate that he made the smart decision for our family to go back early, but it really shook me up to have to deal with Gunner by myself so suddenly. In my mind, I still had a good 4 weeks left to prepare for life alone with a newborn. It was a shock to say the least.

Luckily my mom was able to come over almost every night that first week and help me adjust to being alone again. After an entire month of sleeping next to my husband every night, having breakfast together every morning, and having conversations that didn't include "I'm so tired" or "I don't want to go back to work", I got a taste of what life must be like for people with normal 9-5 jobs.

I know it must sound a little bit conceited, but the fact that I can run a household, take care of my kid, take care of myself and manage to keep my sanity is kind of amazing to me. When Bobby works the night shift, I see him for a total of about 3 hours per day, and it is usually spent cooking for him, and trying to get him to wake up enough to have a conversation. Then it's off to work again, and I'm alone for the night. He's gone from 4 PM - 6 AM the following day, and that will never get easier. I just miss him so much.

On the flipside, Goonie Butt and I get tons of quality time together. We get to snuggle all day, and that's just fine with me!

2 month birthday/ No Coachella

Before I got pregnant, I bought tickets for the Coachella music festival, and had been planning on going even after I had Gunner. My one condition was that Bobby still had to be off of work, otherwise I wouldn't feel comfortable leaving him. Thanks to the extreme intelligence (sarcasm, can you tell?) of the state disability office, Bobby had to go back to work early, and I sold my ticket, which made me so sad. I had been looking forward to doing this one nice thing for myself for a long time. Anyone who knows me, knows that I NEVER do anything nice for myself. I'm extremely frugal, and a little bit overly responsible sometimes, so this was a huge deal for me.

On the other hand, I was dreading having to leave my little man, and was secretly hoping that Bobby would decide to come with me, or that something would happen that would force me to stay home. Low and behold, the universe decided I should be home with my baby instead, which was probably the smart thing to do anyway.

So, I settled for watching the live stream on youtube of a few of my favorite bands and drinking a few beers to make up for it. A few days later, Gunner turned 2 months old, and I can honestly say that being around him and seeing his handsome little face, even for 5 minutes, is so much more satisfying than any damn festival in the desert could ever be. I love my son, and I think this decision/ experience is teaching me the most important lesson of parenthood: you can't always get what you want. 


On March 17th, Bobby and I celebrated our 5 year dating anniversary, and 2 days later on the 19th, we celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary. In the past, we've always made a huge deal of our anniversaries, but this year, it was a little tough to get out of the house for even a few hours, and since the state disability office was being ridiculous, money was kind of strange too. Mostly, I think we both felt... complete. We didn't need to buy each other extravagant gifts or go on an expensive vacation to show how much we love one another. Our wonderful son, and all of the challenges, adventures, and memories we've shared over the past month was more than enough.

Now that we are parents together, I definitely see Bobby in a new amazing way. He's not only the love of my life, but the father of my child, which is such a beautiful thing. It has been so special seeing him become a father, and I definitely feel incredibly lucky to have such a kind, loving, and patient husband. I couldn't handle this rollercoaster without him, that's for sure.


Now, this might not be a topic for all of you, but it is a huge part of my life right now, and I find that the more I talk about it, the more motivated I am to keep going.

First off, no one ever told me how much of a lifestyle and commitment breastfeeding would be. I'm not going to lie, there have been a few moments where I really considered giving up all together, but true to form, I am WAY too stubborn to do anything I don't want to do.

After Gunner was born, I discovered he wasn't very coordinated, and had such a hard time latching on, and when he did latch on, it wasn't right, and I was in a lot of pain. He was SO bad at the whole latching on thing, that I literally had scabs on my nipples and would silently cry every time I fed him, so I wouldn't scare him and discourage him from eating. He took a really long time to open his mouth the right way, and I think he sensed my frustration, because it got to a point where every time I pulled out the boppy pillow, he would start screaming.

So, after about a week of pure agony for both of us, I made the call to just pump and bottle feed. I originally had planned to hold off on pumping or bottles until he was a few weeks old, because of various literature I read that said it can affect your supply, and cause nipple confusion, so I was completely relieved when he took to it so well.

Poor little guy was probably hungry the entire time. He just wasn't coordinated or calm enough to get the hang of it. It really bummed me out that I couldn't bond with him through nursing, but it was a relief that I wasn't the only one who had to get up at night to feed him. On the other hand, having to pump every few hours was really limiting. I couldn't go anywhere for more than a few hours, and it seemed like every time I needed to go somewhere, my boobs had different plans. Plus, I think people found pumping way more awkward than just feeding my baby under a blanket.

After venting to one of the gals in my Baby & Me class about how I had offered my boob to Gunner a few times, and he had no idea what to do with it, the lactation consultant that teaches the class told me to try and take a bath with him, and for some reason, the water will create a re-birthing experience and he will know what to do. I sort of brushed the idea off, because I figured I'M SMART AND HAVE TRIED EVERYTHING. Wrong. The very next day, I was giving him a bath like I always do, with him in the tub with me after I take my shower, and he looked at me, I looked at him, and we had this... moment. I knew it was the right time to try again, and it worked! I was so happy, that I almost cried. I called Bobby in to show him, and we were both really excited that our little guy had finally gotten the hint.

So the past few weeks, I've been nursing him most of the time, and pumping at night when he goes down for his 5 hour stretch. Things couldn't be going better, and I'm so happy that I have the resources to help me through tough times!

All I have to say, is that mothers who breastfeed for any length of time deserve a major high five. This crap isn't easy!

Baby Weight

I'll be the first person to admit that I'm not very proud of how much weight I gained during this pregnancy. I started at.... bigger than I would have liked to be, and ended up... MUCH bigger than I would have liked to be. 42 pounds all together. BLAH.

The first night after I had Gunner, I was really nervous that the weight was going to stick around forever, because after the chaos wore down, and I was finally able to take a shower, I weighed myself in the bathroom, and I had only lost 7 pounds. But... Gunner weighed 8.4. I blame it on all of the fluids they pumped me full of.

Luckily, I weighed myself 2 weeks later and I had lost 25 pounds. Sweet! Only 17 more to go. BLAH.

Even though 25 pounds seems like a huge number, I was still bigger than I have ever been in my life, and my body was not in very good condition. It literally felt like my muscles had separated and were lazy/dead/disintegrated. I tried doing a few sit ups, and although my brain knew what to do, my body just wasn't responding.

That was a few weeks ago, and in the mean time I've lost another 6 pounds, and joined a gym, which is great, but I'm still not where I would like to be. Eating healthy is really difficult with a newborn. I used to really enjoy making homecooked meals every night of the week, but most of the time I can barely get more than a half hour to myself, and usually I try to sit down and rest, rather than cook. Needless to say, our freezer if full of Trader Joe's easy meals, and our cupboards are full of snacks that probably aren't doing my waistline any justice.

I am trying to workout about 2-3 times per week, and just trying to do as much cardio as I can, in the hopes that the surrounding muscles will help my core get back into a place where I can start targeting them again. I know it is probably going to take me as long, if not longer, than 9 months to get back to where I was. It's going to be a long road, but I'm willing to do the work. I really missed the ritual of going to the gym while I was pregnant, and I am determined to not let life get the best of me!

Until I reach my goal, nothing but dresses to hide these baby rolls!

Baby & Me Classes

Since Gunner was 2 weeks old, I've been attending Baby & Me Classes at the New Parent Resource Center, and I have to say, it was the best money and time I ever spent. Not only do I get the chance to meet other moms that have babies within a few weeks of Gunner, I get educated on a ton of important subjects. It also gives me an excuse to get out of the house once a week, which has been somewhat of a challenge.

The topics they cover in the class are things like sleep training, adjusting to parenthood, infant massage, crying, brain development, and newborn care. Most of the things I'm learning, I'm already halfway doing, or already halfway noticing, but it really gives me great perspective, and puts the pieces of the baby-puzzle together. At least 3 times per class, I have a "doh" moment, and ideas just sort of click. I feel like I can handle the challenges of motherhood a little bit better with a bit of knowledge.

In class a few weeks ago, they covered brain development, and apparently, crying between the hours of 6 and 8 PM is not only normal, but completely necessary. It has something to do with their nervous systems being wound up, and needing to get all of that energy out, to prepare for the next day of development. So, now, when Gunner is being fussy at this time of night, somehow knowing that it is normal, and knowing that the end is in sight, it makes it a little more tolerable.

On another note, it has been really neat to see other babies in the same age range grow and develop at different rates over the weeks. It is so interesting to see how every baby is different and how early their personalities come out. Even hearing the different pitches of their cries just blows my mind. Everyone in my class has commented on how big Gunner is for his age, and how well behaved he is. Usually, he sleeps during the class, and when we get home i feed him and we play on a blanket on the floor, which is really nice. These classes are a great way to break up the day, and I'm really sad there are only 6 weeks worth of topics.

I think Gunner might really like these classes too!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

2nd week home

Our second week home was filled with doctor's appointments. First, he had his 2 week checkup, which we found out he had gained back all of his birth weight, and then some! He was already up to 8 pounds, 13 ounces. Way to go little man!

Also, we had to take him back to the hospital for his hearing screening. The silly hospital staff decided to do the test right after he was circumcised, so of course he was wiggling around and fussing, and they couldn't get a reading. Thanks a lot...

Even though it was a pain in the butt to pack him up and go to the appointment, I was so relieved when he passed. I can't even imagine how sad I would be to find out he was deaf or had a hearing issue. Never being able to listen to music, hear the sound of our voices or anything. I know there are a ton of programs out there these days to help the disabled, but I was so happy to find out that he is healthy and happy.

As for the rest of the week, we just spent our time trying to convince him that bath time isn't so bad (I think he likes it now!), and trying to remember to not put him to bed with a pacifier. He tends to spit it out when he falls asleep and then realizes its gone and starts crying. About every 30 seconds. That was a fun night!

On another note, Bobby's aunt threw a "Welcome to the World Gunner" BBQ for us, which was really fun. Here's a picture of Bobby and his bestie and his son :]

First week home

After we were released from the hospital, our first week home had so many special moments. We were so excited to finally have some alone time- silly hospital staff just doesn't know when to quit! We were also really nervous because despite reading a ton of books, articles, and watching videos on how to care for a newborn, it was still a really new experience. I mean, it has been more than 10 years since my nephews were infants, so I was feeling really rusty.

The first milestone (that was really special for Bobby) was our first family trip to Lowe's hahaha. MEN...

Of course, Gunner's first bath... Which he hated.

Then his first walk, which he slept through, but hey, it's a start.

And of course, he peed on himself in the middle of a diaper change at least 3 times, which was lovely. Oh the joys of parenthood!

Gunner Lee Stovall

The last few weeks of pregnancy were especially grueling, and I can really remember how frustrated and anxious I was, by reading the last few posts on here. Let's start from the beginning... My "new" due date came and went, without any real signs of progress. My cervix hadn't made any changes since the week before, and I was feeling so scared and angry about the possibility of an induction. After my last appointment, my doctor let me choose whether to be induced on the 20th or the 25th. Of course, I chose sooner, rather than later, out of pure excitement. After I got home and realized how soon that actually was, and how my body wasn't doing ANYTHING, I started to second guess my decision, and wondered if Gunner wasn't ready yet. I started to feel really guilty and selfish about wanting to force him to come out. I mean, the longer he stayed in there, the healthier he would be, right? It was a really confusing few days to say the least.

So, naturally, since my induction was already scheduled and there was nothing I could do but wait, I decided to do everything I could to induce myself naturally. I bounced on an exercise ball for HOURS. I took black cohosh. I went power walking. I did nipple stimulation (sorry, TMI). I ate pineapple. I ate spicy food. I went walking again. AND AGAIN. After 3 days of trying to make my body a really uncomfortable place to be, I gave up hope. Gunner was going to come in his own sweet time. I realized this sad fact while I was in the shower, and I started crying, and decided to level with my little man. I let him know how afraid I was of unnatural drugs, and the possibility of a c-section. I stood there in the shower for a good 20 minutes letting him know that it was OK to come out and meet everyone. That we loved him, and he needed to listen to his mommy. I went on another walk that afternoon and Gunner finally decided to cooperate. While Bobby and I were on our long walk, I felt something weird in my underpants (TMI again haha), and when I went to the restroom, I realized I had lost my plug! I have never been so happy to see blood in my life. I knew labor would be right around the corner, and I started to get really excited, and really nervous all at the same time.

The next night, after an entire day of simultaneously jumping for joy, and crapping my pants out of fear, I decided to go to sleep at around 11 PM.

Then, at 2 AM, I woke up with FULL. ON. CONTRACTIONS. 3 minutes apart, 90 seconds long. According to my doctor, you're supposed to head to the hospital when they are 5 minutes apart and 1 minute long, so I was already ahead of the game.

I hopped in the shower, and realized that I need to get the show on the road when my contractions started to blur together. I rinsed my hair as fast as I could, and yelled for Bobby to put the hospital bag in the car. Poor guy had only gotten 1 hour of sleep, but amazingly didn't forget a single thing on the list. He was great. But I know he was just as nervous as I was.

When we got to the hospital, they checked me in, and I was only 3 cm. They usually aren't supposed to admit you until you are 4 cm, but since I had a really nice nurse, she decided to keep me. They put me into a room, and it was basically just hurry up and wait from that point. 4 hours go by, and they check me again. Still 3 cm. They break my water & leave. 2 more hours go by. They check me again, still no progress. I ask for the epidural because at this point, I am laboring so hard, that I fall asleep between contractions and I can't even talk straight.

The anesthesiologist comes in, preps me, sticks me and keeps pumping up the dosage because I can still feel everything. He leaves, and about 10 minutes later I become completely numb from the chest down. One of my legs is dead, and I can't move it at all. 6 more hours goes by, and because of the pitocin they give me, I am actually dilating now. I'm at 8 cm. It won't be long.

I start feeling a lot of pressure, and somehow know that I shouldn't push the epidural button anymore. My mommy instinct kicks in, and I ask the nurse to check me again. I'm at 10 cm. Bobby is out getting coffee in the lobby, and he makes it back to the room in 1 minute flat. They chase everyone out of the room, hand Bobby a leg and tell us its time. I don't even know how I was able to lift my leg, but I got a second wave of energy and motivation. Maybe that's because they turned off the epidural...

Then, all of a sudden, I see a tiny, red, fist go into the air, and a triumphant little wail along with it. My son. My strong, wonderful, baby boy is finally here. That first moment, seeing his hand in the air, and hearing his voice for the first time was the best feeling in the world. All the months of waiting, hurting and stressing were suddenly worth it. They pick him up and put him on my chest and I can barely see his face because I'm crying so hard. I can't even believe he is in my arms. Bobby and I are hugging and bawling and shaking and hugging some more. I can't say anything except OH MY GOD I LOVE YOU SO MUCH. Both of them. They are my family.

Gunner Lee Stovall was born at 5:37 PM and he weighed 8 pounds, 4.2 ounces and was 21 and 3/4 inches long. I feel like I've just won a race. It is the best feeling in the world to go through hell and meet the person you've been waiting for at the end. I feel like I have known him my whole life. I recognize him. He is me, he is my husband, he is mine, he is ours. I can't even believe it. I'm seeing stars.


I want to apologize to you all for not updating you on all of the wonderful (and not so wonderful) things that have happened in the past 6+ weeks. I always knew taking care of a newborn would be a full time job, but I really wasn't prepared for how in love with this little man I would fall. I couldn't justify spending more than a few minutes away from him, especially not to blab on a blog I'm not sure anyone even reads. as the weeks went on, there seemed to be a mountain of milestones, and I wasn't sure how I was going to organize all my millions of thoughts. I sat down and wrote a list, so please bear with me! At least 10 posts are in the works. Coming soon, I promise!