Happy Guy

Deacon is such a happy little guy.  

 He seems to think I'm hilarious, which will be really fun while it lasts.

He is also a morning baby and a night owl- but not exactly a happy night owl. 

He is getting really good at tummy time, he can hold it for a minute or two now.  I'm not sure what's normal, but I'm just going to go ahead and call him "very advanced."  

Also, this should have been my leading story- Deacon has only been waking up once to eat night for about a week now.  It has been a total game changer.  Last night I got 6 hours and 50 minutes of sleep in a row.  He still refuses to go to sleep before 10:30 or 11pm, but I am not complaining.  My mom tells me I did the same thing for most of my childhood.  Anyway, when he wakes up between 5 and 6am, I feel like a human, I'm happy to feed him, and then we both go back to sleep for another hour or two.  Now I'm just sleepy tired instead of so tired I feel like I'm dying.  I can deal with that, no problem.

Deacon really is a good baby.  If it wasn't for his sometimes 5 hour stretches of "cranky time" in the evenings, we'd really have nothing to complain about.  Well, we'd still have his distain for running errands.  Yesterday, after screaming his way through Target a girl behind me in line told her friend "yeah, I'm definitely not ready yet."  I pretended not to hear her.  

I have a feeling we wont know just how good we have it until we have another one.  Or maybe we'll luck out and have only happy babies, Evan is a pretty easy going guy, after all.  


Newborn Photos

These photos were taken when Deacon was 6 days old.  Today he is 8 weeks old and looks like a much different baby with a much rounder head (but with much less hair).

I had no idea the work it takes to get babies to look peaceful in these photos.  There was projectile poo twice, and once on me.  I was literally covered in poo and pee; it seemed like a good initiation into motherhood.  Already I am nostalgic about how small and squishy he was, and everyday as he grows bigger I all at once love watching it and beg him to stop!  Today, at 8 weeks, the fog has started to lift and I'm wondering where the last two months have gone.  I'm sure my relationship with time will forever be changed now that there is such a distinct marker of it in my life.  

I'm already that old lady talking about how fast life goes- but it's true! 


Sorry Mom

This guy weighed 10 pounds, 10 ounces this morning.  He is 5 weeks today, which is hard to believe! 

He gave me the best smiles today.  He typically stops immediately when I put a camera in his face, this time was no different but I caught one.  I really need someone else on the sneak attack with the camera.  

I am beginning to see why my mom thinks/thought she could kiss my face anytime she wanted.  I was telling Evan the other day that someday soon Deacon is going to wince away and give me "the look" when I kiss him.  I know the look because I gave it- and because he has my face.  I can already see my expressions looking back at me.  

For example:

Or this one:

In the mean time, I will be sure to kiss his face nonstop until he knows what I'm up to.  I should have at least 3 or 4 years right?  Maybe 5 even?  I don't know kids, so I really don't know.  
I'm sure I'll embarrass him terribly soon enough, which struck me as I was singing along to the Black Eyed Peas this morning.  So unhip with my two thousand and late music.  Plus I say things like "unhip."  I can hear my 15 year old self saying "stop dancing mom, it's so embarrassing!"  

I'm sorry mom.  You get down with your bad self.  

Look, he already hates it!  haha

These two are being so nice to me even though I'm cranky, sleep deprived and so incredibly unhip.


Deacon or Rebecca?

My mom brought my baby book out here last month, and since looking through it last week, we've been playing the game "Deacon or Rebecca?"

If the fuzzy picture, countertop and girl parts didn't give it away, that is me in 1982.

Come to find out (from the baby book) Deacon and I were also baby twins in size.  
He was 8 lbs, 8 oz, and I was 8 lbs, 12 oz and we were both 21 and a half inches long.  I've been pretty sad that I was a long baby too, since I thought his length meant he had a shot at being a tall person.  My length as a baby certainly didn't translate in me turing out tall.  Luckily, even though I looked like a boy baby, he actually is, so maybe he'll get some tall boy genes.  

This picture doesn't do our twinning justice, but he sure looks cute in the bath! Also, I see more of Evan in him everyday.  What a relief! 

I was going to tell you more fascinating updates, but I hear a little bird starting to squawk.  Our nap times haven't been perfect, but they've been getting longer, which makes cranky time shorter, which makes everyone around here really happy.  


Deacon: One Month!

I can't believe Deacon is one month old today- and that we survived!

He decided to celebrate his one month today with a stuffy nose.  He sounds like a snorting little piggy, poor guy.  This was our second photo shoot of the day, the pictures were just pitiful when he was feeling worse in the morning.  Take two went better. 

He loves to kick his legs, especially when we lay him down.  He loves bath time, licking the water off his face during bath time, and sticking out his tongue in general.  He also loves staring at our blinds, you can see his little mind turning "what are those crazy lines across the windows???"  So far he is a pretty great night time sleeper but doesn't much care for naps.  

Oh!  And he loves to eat!  It's pretty much his favorite thing about the day or night.  

Most of the time he looks at me like I'm just another shape, but within the last week or so, he'll look up at me like "hey, I know you."  That's almost as good as a smile, which he's also given me about 5 times now.  That is the greatest.  

I have been surprised at how much I automatically loved this little human, and also at how completely flustered I get when he screams without ceasing.  I've locked myself in the bathroom a few times already.  I know its silly, but I feel like we have this understanding, and I don't know why I can't just level with him.  He looks so reasonable, so thoughtful with his scrunched up little brow, we have a good rhythm going, and then he totally looses his cool.  And so do I.  Luckily, we have a calm man in the house to settle us both down.  

Also, I've been surprised at how slow my physical recovery has been.  Wrongly, I assumed I'd be back to exercising by now, or at least taking long vigorous walks.  Wrong.  Today, I took my morning shower at 3pm and finally changed out of my pajamas (which, to be fair is the first time that's happened in several weeks).  Some days we take walks, but they are way shorter and slower than they used to be.  My poor body still hurts, and I still very much feel like I'm recovering from being hit by a bus.  

So, I'm not sure when I'll be back at it, but between recovering and sleep deprivation, I'm not optimistic about it being anytime soon.  The good news is I can still do 2 push ups.  I thought for sure I'd be down to zero.  

In the mean time, Deacon and I will be here, staring at each other. 


All Baby, All the Time

This month has been the weirdest time warp I've ever known.  I was counting down the minutes until Deacon arrived, and time was moving as slow as tar.  Now time is this bizarre thing moving at lightening speed, and I'm so tired I don't quite know what day it is.  I cannot believe Deacon will be a month old on Wednesday.  It feels like he was born about 2 hours ago- and a decade ago.  

When I have free moments during nap time (which aren't many, and even less when we work on having a "proper nap" as I call them, in a crib) I'm either rushing to do the dishes/ laundry/ find the bottom of our room under all the baby crap, or I'm taking a nap myself.  So since we already tried two proper naps today, Deacon is happily sleeping in his swing and I have more than 2 minutes.  You think I would give up and just put him in the swing 4 times a day to sleep, but I am stubborn.  We are going to get this, and I'm making us try twice a day.  We are usually successful once.

It is my goal to be able to put him in his crib and have him fall asleep on his own- nap time or night time.  I don't want to have to tip toe out of his room holding my breath for the rest of my life after rocking him for an hour.
I do like rocking him, but I'd like to not be a slave to the rocking.

I know he's not even 4 weeks old, and people have kindly alluded to the fact that they think my goals are both ridiculous and unattainable- and that I'm nuts.  But I don't care.  We are going to keep working on it.  And I'm his mom, so there.  

Deacon really likes bath time.  It's really a joint effort, mostly because we are both slightly terrified of dropping him.  But he calms right down and becomes really happy and alert, so we all really like bath time.  His bright blue eyes look up in amazement "I feel so good and clean, and you guys must really like me."  We do, Deacon, we do.

He is out growing a lot of his newborn clothes but is still too small for 3 month stuff- but I've been putting him in 3 month anyway.  It's way less torturous for both of us for him to wear stuff that's too big.  We go with it.  
Also, we got him several 3 month footsie pajamas at a consignment shop- and they fit.  I think since they've been previously shrunk, it works!  New outfit featured below.

I think he really looks like me and my dad as babies here (below).  But I've decided that he has Evan's eyes/ eyelashes and I think eyebrows.  So from the cheeks up, I see Evan.  Below that- he's all me.  Most of the time his hair looks blond/brown, but in some lights its really reddish.  We'll see! 

 Currently Tebow likes Deacon's activity mat more than he does.  Tebow was laying on it, belly up, whacking toys with his paws.  I didn't grab my camera fast enough.

We've been getting sunshine and some real smiles!  That was just about the most exciting thing ever.  It was like he saw me for the first time and said "oh hey!  I know you!"  Luckily, he seems to have Evan's disposition.  I wasn't a happy baby.  

We've been enjoying our walks with him in the Ergo (Evan prefers the stroller, I like the Ergo).  Today Deacon watched the trees go by for about 2 minutes, which is a new record.  Then he fell asleep- it totally ruined the proper nap that came after, but look how cute.  He had his little pudgy hands folded. 

Even though I'm tired, I know he is doing really well.  He is getting better everyday at going to sleep at night- last night he went down at 9, without waking up again until midnight!  No walking the halls with a screaming baby!  He usually wakes up twice to eat at night, we get 4 or 4 1/2 hour stretches, which is as good as we can or should be doing right now.  I started getting 7 or 8 hours of sleep last week, but somehow being awake for a few hours in the night takes its toll anyway.  But again, I'm not complaining.  He knows day from night, he would love napping if his crazy mom didn't insist on putting him down in his crib, and he is still eating like a champ.  

This blog will probably be all baby, all the time now.  But it's a blog about our life, this is our life now.  And I'm sure the grandmas wont mind.  


Deacon Daniel: A Birth Story

TMI warning: If you think birth is gross or do not care to know the gory details, please just skip this post.  I for one find people's birth stories fascinating, especially in the past few years as I was thinking about having a baby myself.  Also, I'm writing this as a record for myself, so there is quite a lot of detail (ie, it's super long with probably too many gory details for public consumption, sorry).  Anyway, if you just want the bottom line, here is the short version: 22 hours with pitocin, no pain meds, no food, water or sleep, 8 hours with an epidural, two hours of pushing, and then he was here!  

Now for the extremely long version:

Since I knew a baby had to come out one way or another, my goal was to have the most natural experience I could: natural childbirth sounded the best and most empowering route to take.  I wanted the oxytocin, the "love hormone cocktail" at birth (which sounds like happens the best if no interventions are used; no pitocin, no pain meds, etc) and all the natural chemical help of bonding with our new baby that I could get.  Because of that goal, I was dead set against being induced, I knew it would set off a slippery slope of interventions and that was the last thing I wanted.  

The plan was to go into labor naturally, labor at home for as long as possible with the help of Evan and our wonderful Doula, Tina, and then swing by the hospital and push a baby out.  

That is not what happened.

My doctor was threatening induction on February 19th, but after my appointment on the 18th, he decided that it was more risky for the baby to be inside than out and that I needed to be induced right away.  I was prepared to fight if the baby looked good and passed the non stress test, but he didn't.  I knew in my bones he was just fine in there, but I couldn't stand up to "it's for the good of your baby" pressure.

We were considering not showing up, but ultimately we sucked it up and headed to the hospital a few hours after that appointment.  We got checked in by 3pm (I guess my doc had called a few times to see if I was there yet, he knew I was a flight risk :-) and they started pitocin at 4:07pm on Feb 18th.  Between my doctors appointment and checking into the hospital, I went from 4cm to 5, so I felt relieved that I was in labor anyway (I had been having real contractions all day).  It just sucked that I couldn't do this at home without being strapped to several different IV's, tight monitors, machines and without the intensity of pitocin.  

The pitocin started working right away, and by 6pm, I was in really intense labor.  Our Doula Tina showed up and we were off.  

For the next 22 hours, this is what it looked like:

Except you are missing Tina applying counter pressure and/or this amazing heated riced filled pillow to my lower back.  I had very intense back labor: I absolutely could not have made it without Tina and that counter pressure.  It was just excruciating.  I could hardly take a contraction sitting down and laying down was entirely out of the question.  So for 22 hours, I couldn't rest, not even by just laying down, I couldn't eat and I couldn't drink (hospital rules) so there was no way to get my energy back up.  I was wishing I hadn't gone straight to the hospital just so I could've gotten a good nights sleep before doing all this work.  My poor "team" couldn't rest either, they had to be on their feet the whole time too.  In fact, two weeks later, Evan's feet still hurt.  We are wondering if he legitimately injured them.

The on-call doctor that night was pushing to break my water, but I knew once that happened the clock would start and there would be a time limit to how long I'd be allowed to labor.  They told me "girl, if you are still in labor in 18 hours, we'll have bigger problems."  Haha.  My water broke on its own at 9:20pm, so at that point, I let the doctor break the rest as the clock had started then anyway.  

I should stop now and acknowledge how wonderful the nurses were.  They were truly the best thing about that hospital, they were supportive of my goal to go as natural as I could and were the best cheerleaders.  I also got to know a lot of them, as I went through 4 shift changes of nurses before it was all over.  Of course my very favorite nurse I had for the least amount of time, but Evan did point out that I had her when I was in the least amount of pain.  My opinion might have been skewed a bit.

At 11:00pm the nice nurse tuned off the pitocin to see if my body would take over on its own, it did, and on I labored through the night.   At 2:30am, I was at 7 cm, and we all thought "we're going to have a baby by morning"!  The contractions were so intense and at one point things were so awful Tina thought I must be going through transition (the awful part of labor that happens right before you get to have the baby).  But at about 6am, things stalled.  It was like my body said, "eh, I'm done here."  The contractions slowed way down and got more manageable.  I was not complaining!  I should have asked right then for the pitocin to be turned back on, but instead I laid down for the first time all night and tried to doze.  It was actually quite heavenly.  My doctor was on call that day (now February 19th) and checked me at 8:30am, all excited about the progress he heard I made all night, and I was only at an 8.  It was such a blow: 6 hard hours of labor and I only progressed one lousy centimeter.

At that point, the doctor cranked the pitocin back up.  I was so exhausted, I told Evan and Tina that we should just forget it and go home; never mind about this whole baby idea.  Tina told me that the only one that could make it go faster was me.  I had to stop standing in the same (bearable) position during the contractions and get my hips to open/ move the baby down.  I knew she was right, even though I didn't like it, so for the next 4 hours I willingly sought out the most horrifying pain of my life.  It was no peaceful Bradley Method Relaxation- I was wailing in pain and begging for my mommy/ to go home/ to please please get me out of this somehow.  Honestly I thought that my body might be splitting in half.  

Anyway, after 4 hours of that fun, they checked me again.  8 and a half centimeters.  Four hours of the most intense pain I've ever felt and I had only gone a half centimeter.  We were all pretty devastated.  That was the first time of this whole ordeal that I had even considered an epidural.  Right then, I considered it and pretty much made up my mind I needed one.  I couldn't do 12 more hours of that pain, and I knew my doctor wouldn't let me anyway (I thought only because of my water breaking so long before).    

To get this baby out, my contractions had to be stronger and closer together, and I knew I couldn't take the pain of the pitocin dose going any higher.  I also figured my best chance of not having a C-section at this point was to get an epidural; I had done enough reading about labor to come to that conclusion.  Evan and I talked it over and decided we'd given it the best shot we could for a natural labor, and now it was just time to have a baby.  I felt so at peace about the epidural and decided it was the best decision we could make given the circumstances, I still feel that way.  

So get this, I call my doctor in to talk about my pain options, he suggests right then and there a C-section.  I said, "how about we start with an epidural?"  He okayed it, but warned that when babies are slow to progress after 7cm it often means that they are too big to come out naturally. 

Anyway, within an hour, I had the weirdest sweet relief I've ever known.  I had a love/hate relationship with that epidural.  I finally got to lay down and rest, which was awesome, but I was so grossed out by seeing my legs and not feeling them that I nearly threw up- and I'm not exaggerating.  I put a bunch of pillows up blocking my view so I wouldn't accidentally see those dead fish legs.  It also didn't block all the pain, I could feel quite a bit on my left side- but compared to before, it was absolute heaven. 

My "team" was pretty happy about the epidural too, as they got to have their first real break in 22 hours; I didn't need them every 2 and a half minutes.  Evan was honestly the best "coach" I could have hoped for, so encouraging, positive and supportive.  It was a lot of work!  He definitely deserved a break after all that.

The next time the doctor came in and checked me, I was at a 9.  I think that happened really quickly just from my body relaxing, but no one thought to turn up my pitocin, so a few hours later when he came back, I was still at a 9.  That's when the C-section threat got real.  The doctor was convinced this baby was too big for me, and was genuinely worried about shoulder dystocia.  He warned of the baby having nerve damage for life, of breaking the baby's collar bone or arm, or of having to shove the baby back in and do an emergency c-section with only minutes to get him out safely.  He is a "by the textbook doctor," and he was legitimately concerned and seriously fear mongering.  I couldn't help but have a little of his fear rub off on me even though I knew this baby could come out.  I just knew it.  

I put my foot down.  I told the Doctor he had to let me try, I explained how we had been watching the contraction monitor and they weren't very intense or close together, and that no one had thought to turn up the pitocin dosage.  I had to be allowed to try for one more measly centimeter since both the baby and I were doing fine.  I knew I could do it and a C-Section was my absolute last resort.  I wasn't begging, I was demanding.  He acquiesced, and said he'd check me in an hour after he finished his next C-Section (his sixth of the day so far), and if I made that last centimeter by then, he would let me try to have the baby naturally.   

As soon as he left I did two things: I was on the nurses every 20 minutes to crank up the pitocin (they have to pump it up gradually) and I texted everyone I knew who was asking about me to please please pray for one more centimeter.  The baby did just fine through all the pitocin increases, and friends throughout the country were praying for us.  Also, the nurses were flipping me and my dead legs like a fish back and forth to help turn the baby if he was in fact sunny side up.  Sometimes babies will come down slower if they are face up, and with all my back labor that was a real possibility.  With all this effort and prayer, I felt mostly confident.  Mostly, just because nothing in our "reproductive life" has ever been easy or gone the way we wanted it to.  Reproduction is not my spiritual gift.  

Lucky for us, the doctor returned in 2 and a half hours instead of one, so we had a lot of time for all these things we were doing to work.  He checked me at 8pm and said "Rebecca, you've proved yourself, you're complete, you can push."  

I have never been more excited/relieved in all my life.  

While I was clear headed with the epidural in, I had been peppering Tina with questions and asking for tips on pushing.  Because of that, I felt like I had a really good mental image of what I should be focusing on and how I should do it.  I really think that made all the difference, because as it turned out, I was really good at pushing.   

The first hour was with the nurse, and the last hour the doctor came in.  Evan was really proud that I was doing so well in front of the doctor after all that naysaying.  The doctor was still really nervous, but I wasn't at all (I told him, you can be nervous for both of us, I'll just focus on having a baby).  In between contractions the doc told me how badly I was going to tear and I said "hey, I'm having a baby right now!  Save the bad news for later!"  He also looked tired and just plain awful, and in my resting breaks I guess I was asking him repeatedly if he was okay.  Here I am, 31 hours into labor and I'm concerned about his health and wellbeing.  That's when I learned he was "just tired, he'd done six c-sections that day."  

Everyone kept trying to bring me a mirror, but I had zero interest in seeing that junk.  I was asking repeatedly the status updates of what they saw: I was trying to gage how effective the pushing was: I was going all out, and if it wasn't working I knew I needed to pace myself.  But it was working. He was coming!  After lots of prodding from the whole room, I finally reached down and felt his head. That was the strangest/grossest/most exciting thing I've ever felt.  

After a lot of great steady counting from Evan and cheerleading from the entire room (it filled up- they all show up for the fun part) that baby's head came and the rest of him slid right out.

Honestly, it was the strangest thing I've ever seen.  He was this slippery gray thing that looked like stone- but he was flailing and screaming and very much a live human.  The doctor said "that is no small baby- he's huge!  He has to be 9 pounds!"  (I had been telling the doc that 8 or 9 pounds is a perfectly normal size for a baby- he said "no, that's huge.")

It totally felt like an out of body experience for me, that all that work- the longest WOD of my life- resulted in this moving baby statue.  There really was a baby in there after all (I decided about 15 hours into labor that it was all a cruel joke, there was no baby after all and nothing was going to come out).  

Evan got to cut the cord (I could have given two craps at that point about the delayed cord clamping that was in our birth plan, I just wanted them to hand me that baby already).

The first thing I saw when I held him was that he had my nose, a gigantic cone head, and that he was the most beautiful creature I'd ever seen.

Neither of us had ever been more relieved or exhausted in every possible way, but I also felt so triumphant!  I did it!  He came out!  He was healthy!  I proved the doctor wrong!  It was over!  He was a real baby!

He weight 8 pounds, 8 ounces and was 21 and a half inches long.

After they put him on my chest and let me dry him off, they took him away for his tests and such.  Apparently I was hollering for them to "give him back already!!!"  Evan said the poor nurse was working frantically, and Deacon was only away for a few minutes.  Too long.

After about an hour they took him for more tests and his bath.  I thought I would want to skip the bath- no way, he stunk.  I heard that vernix is odorless: not for my sensitive nose.  So, he and Evan were gone for a few hours and I had to lay there and recover from the epidural, which I did not mind one bit.  I was nearly delirious in my exhaustion.

We spent that night and the next in the hospital, I didn't sleep much while there, but also didn't leave the room.  We just huddled together in our cave and got to know each other.

Leaving the hospital was quite overwhelming for me.  As Deacon and I waited for Evan to bring the car around, I thought about the past 2 and a half years and of watching other happy families getting to take their baby's home from that very spot.  I could hardly believe that at long last, it was our turn.  We got to leave that hospital happy this time, with a baby, our baby, our perfect little son.

Welcome to the world, baby bird! 


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