Wednesday, December 26, 2012

1-Month Old and Very Blessed

Owen turned 1-month old this past Thursday, December 20th.  I can't believe that it has been a month already, but it feels like he's always been a part of our family at the same time.  I took his one month picture with two of the stuffed animals he got for Christmas. 
He's such a sweet little guy, and he's a pretty easy baby overall.  I feel so much more laid back this time around with him being the second child.  Look at this cute face...
Owen started smiling at around 4 weeks and 2 or 3 days.  It is nearly impossible to catch him doing it, but here's the best I could do :)
He'll also "talk" to us with great eye contact.  His coos are so cute, and he'll shout out when he gets excited.  I have a feeling we're going to have another talkative guy in the house to add to the two already here.  As far as other development, Owen has a strong neck, and he does really well for his age at holding his head up and looking towards sound and light.  He usually goes to bed at around 9:30 or 10pm and sleeps for about 4.5 to 5 hours initially.  After that first wake up he generally wakes up every 2 -3 hours until he's up for the day at approximately 6:45am.  I generally have to wake up 2 times per night.  Sometimes I get lucky and wake up once a night, and other nights are not as fun waking up 3 times before he's up for the day.  He has increasingly more awake time during the day, but he still naps for about half of it.  Jack usually gets up pretty late in the morning (around 8:45 or 9am), so I've learned to enjoy my time with Owen in the earlier hours.  I usually catch up on all the reality shows I DVR that Jonathan hates watching and drink my coffee.

While taking Owen's 1-month picture, Jack was not liking that all of the attention was going to Owen.  I had tried to take one picture in our bedroom, and when I came out I found this:
He then pulled down Owen's play mat, laid on it, and said "I baby."
Jack has become the master manipulator when he feels that Owen is getting too much attention.  The other day I was feeding Owen, and Jack came up to tell me that he pooped.  I put Owen down when I finished feeding him and walked back to Jack's room to change his diaper.  When I went to pick him up to put him on the changing table he collapsed to the floor so I had to pick him up while he was laughing.  When I went to change his diaper, he had not pooped...he hadn't even peed.  He just wanted my undivided attention!  For a moment I was frustrated, but then I realized it is kind of funny that he could think through a plan and execute so well :).

One other thing I wanted to mention now that this first month has come to a close is how grateful I am for everyone who has supported us during these first few weeks.  It almost goes without saying that our parents have been so helpful.  My mother and father-in-law gave up 4 weeks of their normal lives so that my mother-in-law could be out here to watch Jack while we were at the hospital for Owen.  While waiting for labor to happen, my mother-in-law packed our freezer with food so that we will have meals to defrost when needed and did a major cleaning of our house while we were gone.  My parents also made a trip out here and helped with appointments, cooking meals, cleaning around the house, and just giving me alone time with Owen while they took Jack to the park.

Beyond our family, the women in my bible study and MOPS have been AMAZING!  I have been completely blown away by how these women have served our family during this first month.  My bible study leader set up a meal train, and we had someone come to our home every other day for 3.5 weeks with a dinner for us.  Almost all of the dinners were big enough that we had leftovers for lunches and/or another dinner.  Two of the girls from my MOPS group also called me out of the blue to say they wanted to stop by with a meal when I have only gone to MOPS 3 times.  As Owen turned 1-month old I had cooked a total of ZERO dinners.  I cannot even begin to describe how helpful this was.  There is no greater way to bless a new mom who is sleep deprived and has an older child struggling a bit with the transition to a family of four than food, and I hope I can pay it forward to others in the future!

2-week and 2-year Updates

Jack and Owen had their pediatrician appointments for the 2-year and 2-week marks on December 6th. I'm so thankful that my mom was still in town for this appointment and could come with us, because Jack was an animal.  He took it to another level during the appointment when it was Owen's turn, because I don't think he wanted Owen to get all of the attention.  The poor nurse even had to chase him down the hallway when he tried to run out!  The pediatrician was asking at the beginning of the appointment how the terrible 2's were going, and Jack made sure to give him a show :).

Jack weighed in at 26.5 lbs., and he measured 33 inches long.  He is pretty much at the 50th percentile for both height and weight.

Owen weighed in at 8 lbs., 10 oz., and he measured 21 inches long.  In just over 2 weeks, he gained back all of the weight he lost plus another 11 oz. on top of that.  He also grew 1/2 an inch!  
I'm pretty much completely obsessed with this little face:
Owen spends a lot of his time each day in his swings while Jack and I play or I do things around the house.  Owen is usually pretty interested in what we are doing and will watch us.
Other times he is just too sleepy from the crazy life of a baby.
Jack has started to warm up to Owen a little bit more.  He definitely does his fair share of tantruming and trying to distract me while I hold or play with Owen, but he also has some sweet moments with his little brother.
On a few occasions, Jack has tried to pick Owen up.  
We have kind of been hermits besides going to bible study and MOPS last week, so I've been trying to find things to do with Jack around the house.  This past week Jack helped me do some baking.  He is very good at stirring.
My mother-in-law, Ann, bought Jack the Fisher Price nativity scene, and we've had a lot of fun playing with that.  Jack likes identifying the animals and the sounds they make.  It's also a good way to introduce the Christmas story in a fun, child-friendly way!
Jonathan has made sure to get Jack out of the house so he doesn't go completely stir crazy.  We got out to the park as a family last weekend, and Jack had fun with the frogs at the fountain.
He and Jonathan also went to Dick's Sporting Goods and played with some of the equipment.  Jack LOVED golfing, and they spent almost an hour putting at the store.
My goal is to start venturing out a little bit more with both boys.  I'm a little bit scared of cold and flu season, but we can't stay indoors forever and maintain our sanity :).

We got Owen's newborn photos taken just after the 2-week mark, so I'll try to get some of those up sometime in the near future! 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Owen's Birth Story and First Week Home

I'm so excited that Owen is finally here, and he is such a sweet baby.  I wanted to share his birth story like I did when Jack was born.  I went into labor at the 41 week, 3 day mark on November 19th.  I had been to the doctor that morning, and she was beginning to talk about what we would do if I got to 42 weeks.  Wanting a VBAC, I was hoping I didn't make it to that point.  The day I finally went into labor, my mother-in-law, Ann, was helping me do some of the natural induction methods.  My ObGyn told me that she had patients who swore by caster oil, and she encouraged me to try it.  When I got home, I made a caster oil smoothie where I put 2 oz of caster oil into a berry and yogurt smoothie to mask the taste.  Right after that, Ann and I researched different pressure points, and Ann massaged and pressed on those points for about 10 minutes.  Several hours passed, and I didn't feel anything from either method.  At around 9:30pm, Ann did another pressure point massage, and the contractions started!  By 9:45pm I was able to track a pattern of contractions :).

Jonathan decided to go get some sleep since we didn't know how long everything would take.  Ann and I watched tv and walked around our block throughout the night probably 10 or more times.  Jonathan came out to check on me around 2:30am, and he went back to bed at 3am.  At 3:13am I went in and told him it was time to go to the hospital.  I had called, and the nurses told me I could come in with contractions lasting one minute, two and a half minutes to three minutes apart.  We drove over to the hospital, and they checked me into triage.  I had not made ANY dilation progress from the 2.5cm I was that morning, but I had effaced a little bit more.  Since I was set for induction on Friday, they let me stay and decided to augment the labor with pitocen. After my labor with Jackson with pitocen, 23 hours long, and no pain meds, I knew I wasn't going to go through that again.  I decided since they were using pitocen and my progress was already slow, I would be getting an decision I could have made!!  Here I am after my epidural enjoying the numbness :):
I'm not sure what point it was since they didn't tell us until later on, but probably around 20 hours in, they turned off the pitocen since Owen's heart rate was dropping with each contraction.  My contractions kept coming even without the pitocen, which was good.  23 hours in around 8pm they started mentioning the possibility of a c-section.  I was at 8cm, but they were worried I wouldn't get to 10cm without Owen's heart rate staying where they would like it to be.  Finally, at 9:45pm (24 hours in), I felt like I needed to push, and I had reached 10cm.  They told me that he hadn't dropped quite as much as they'd like to start pushing, but they would let me try anyway.  After 20 minutes of pushing, Owen was here!  Owen Jonathan Nichols was born on November 20th, 2012 at 10:15pm at 7 lbs., 15 oz., 20 1/2 inches long, and 37 cm head.  
They weren't able to put him on my stomach right away, because he didn't start crying immediately and they wanted to make sure he was ok.  When he came out, the doctor cradled him in her arms, and he was sleeping :).  He had a lot of mucous that needed to be sucked out, which they said can happen when the pushing phase doesn't last as long.  Once he was checked out and doing well, we got our skin to skin time.
Though it was a 25 hour labor similar to Jack's birth, it was such a different experience.  The epidural made the time bearable, and I had a great VBAC experience!  
Jonathan got to cut the cord, and here he is snuggling Owen in the recovery room.
I was discharged on Thanksgiving morning, and we were able to make it home for Thanksgiving dinner.  Here's Owen waiting to go home:
And us on our way out the door!
Since we've been home, there has been a lot of this:
It is taking Jack a while to warm up to the idea of having a brother in the house.  When we first got home, he said "Awww" and was looking at him in the car seat.  Once he realized he was staying, he hasn't been nearly as interested.  You definitely cannot force interaction.
If you let him approach Owen on his own terms, he'll come see him in the morning or on occasion throughout the day.  The other day Owen was crying in his swing while I was in the kitchen, and I heard Jack shouting "Stop!"  When I walked into the room, Jack had removed Owen's blanket off the swing, and was holding his hand up in front of his face telling him to stop haha.
Jack does like to show Owen how to do "tummy time."
We washed Owen's hair for the first time a few days after he arrived home, and we got it nice and fluffy!  We are loving the brown hair...we're thinking it'll fall out and turn blonde eventually, though. 
We have a ton of pictures that I would love to share, but I'll try to do another post soon with some of the day-to-day stuff :).