Friday, June 15, 2012

Parker's first stomach bug

I'll never forget the look on Parker's face when he ran down the driveway to me last night and proceeded to throw up all over himself and me.  I felt so bad for him.  I was holding Braden, so I called to Justin so that he could come grab the baby and I could comfort Parker.  Parker was so scared, and he just told me he wanted "Up."  I didn't hesitate to pick him up...puke and all.  The poor kid felt better in my arms throwing up than he did standing alone throwing up.  We cleaned him up in the garage, and I took a bath with him.  He made it about another 30 minutes before he threw up again...while we were sitting on the couch watching Sprout.  He kept telling me "Parker don't have to" and pushing the bucket away, but I knew what was coming.  After he threw up again, he seemed to be much better.  But, he wanted extra cuddles and I laid in bed with him for a few extra minutes and just loved him up.  He slept so peacefully last night, you wouldn't even know that he was so sick just a few hours before.  He seems fine today...his normal self.  But, today, I'm different.  Last night I realized that I am everything to this little boy.  I'm the first one he comes to with everything.  He shares his good things with me, and he shares his most vunerable times with me.  I'm the first one he calls to in the morning, and the last one he kisses good night.  I'm the one he looks up to, and the one who comforts him in his time of greatest fear.  It's an awesome responsibility...and it humbles me and makes me take a look at myself.  I know I'm a better person for this.  As horrible as being sick is...I'm so thankful that Parker got sick last night.  This kid continues to teach me things that I could've never learned without being his mommy.  Parker, you are amazing, and I love you more than words could ever, ever say.  I won't let you down, bubba.  :)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Braden's Ways

Everyone who follows my blog, and knows me in person, knows how much I loved breastfeeding Parker.  He was a great little cuddler and Braden is no different in that area.  Braden loves to comfort nurse, and I'm the type of mom who doesn't mind it one bit.  I love the way that he grabs my fingers and holds on while he nurses.  I love the way that he looks at me and smiles when he's nursing.  Sure, it interrupts the milk part of it for a second...but, it deepens the bond infinitely.  Braden is a super snuggler, and if he had it his way he would just latch on and stay there all day long.  It's ok.  I like to feel his tiny feet moving when he nurses.  He just moves them back and forth real slow 'cause he's totally happy.  I love watching him open his hands and close them a la Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman when she's drinking the champaign 'cause he's enjoying himself and he doesn't have a care in the world.  I love watching his eyes open and then they roll back in his head 'cause it shows me he's in total heaven.  I love the eye flutters as he falls asleep.  I love the tiny suckles every 30 seconds or so.  I love how he plays with his ear when he nurses.

With Parker, I got to soak in every.single.second.  With Braden, I don't often get to just be in the moment with him because I've got Parker to take care of at the same time.  But, every so often, I am present with my baby boy...and loving it.  What a gift God has given me.  I'm truly blessed to have two healthy boys, and to be able to provide them every bit of nourishment and love that they need.  I now know my purpose in life.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Traditions...Oh how they change but stay the same

When Justin and I were dating and he would come spend the weekends with me in Ohio, we would wake up Saturday and Sunday mornings and cuddle in bed watching tv.  Each morning we would say to one another, "This is the best part of my day."  It was like we tuned everything else out and there were no worries and no obligations.  Who would've known that the first time we said that we were putting something into place that would ground us and remind us of what was truly important in life.

Now, I'll admit that since we've had kids we don't often have the time or the energy to cuddle in bed and remind ourselves of what the best part of our day is...but, some days we do.  When we do have that time, though, it's even more special than it was before, because I know we truly mean what we are saying.

This morning, Justin and I laid in bed, on our respective sides.  Layla was at my feet.  Braden decided that he didn't want to go back to sleep in his bassinet, so naturally I brought him into bed with me.  He got comfy on my right side and snuggled up.  After a short time, I heard Parker stirring in his crib down the hall.  Justin went to get him and he brought him back to our bed.  Parker climbed up next to me on my left side and greeted me in his usual way...with a kiss and a "Hi babe."  He snuggled in on my left side and asked for cartoons.  So, we turned on the tv and Thomas the Train was on.  He loves Thomas.  Just then, Layla crawls up on my belly and lays her head on her paws just inches from my face.  Justin rolled over and puthis arms around Parker and Parker said, "Dada hug."  I was at the center of it all...holding Parker and Braden, Layla cuddling me and Justin holding onto us all.  I looked at Justin and smiled and said, "Oh, I love my boys and my little girl.  This is the best part of my day."  

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Great Poop of 2011

I'm not sure why these things happen to me...but, I've got more stories stored up than I care to share.  This one, however, deserves a blog entry.

Today was Braden's first check up at the doctor's.  He is 4 days old.  We get in there and they naturally want to do a weight check.  Well, he peed in his diaper and they wanted me to put on a fresh diaper so that the number was accurate on the scale. problem.  I take off the diaper and as I hold his feet in my left hand and lift his bum to put the diaper underneath him...wait for it...yep...he began to explosively poop all over me, the floor and the wall.  :(  We thought he was done...but nope.  Onto diaper number 2, and I stupidly do the same thing.  More poop...everywhere.  Although this cannot possibly sum up the damage, it at least gives you an idea.  Notice my hair.  Thank God I had a nursing tank on underneath my t-shirt, 'cause that's what I wore home.  There was still poop on my shorts and shoes...but at least it wasn't THAT noticeable.  *sigh*

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Braden's Crazy Arrival!

I feel like I need to back up and explain Parker's arrival, you get the full effect.

Parker's arrival:

After getting out of the bathtub one night, my water broke...just a trickle.  It was 8:30 pm and I was 34 weeks 4 days gestation.  I wasn't convinced it was my water breaking, and I certainly wasn't feeling contractions, so I took my time getting in touch with the doctor.  At 9:30 pm the doc called me back and told me to go to the hospital.  I thought for sure they were sending me home since I still wasn't feeling contractions.  Well, I got to the hospital at 10:30 pm and upon exam at 10:45 pm the ER doc told me that I was 5 cm dilated and 100% effaced.  He also told me I had 5 hours to go before I'd be ready to push.  So, I declined an epidural at that pain, no epi, right?  Well, about 15 minutes later I was in the worst pain of my life and things were happening so fast.  My body began pushing the baby out and I yelled to the nurse that I couldn't stop pushing.  My doctor ran in, lifted the sheet...and things started coming off the walls.  I remember Justin's face.  He was in shock.  I was scared.  They coached me through the pushing, and after 4 pushes, Parker William arrived at 12:03 am on 2-13-09.  He was early, but otherwise perfect.  After testing, etc., there was no determination as to why Parker was early.  He was perfect.  a 9-day NICU stay was necessary, but he has no lasting scars.  Me, however...that's another story.

This whole pregnancy Justin and I have been worried about having another lightning fast delivery.  At the same time, we have been thinking that another delivery like that would be impossible with a full-term baby.  Hmmmmmm...

Fast forward to last Thursday, when I woke up and was convinced that I had lost the baby.  I was 37 weeks 6 days.  My belly was a lot smaller, I didn't have pain in my ribs, I poked and pushed and moved my stomach around with no response from the little person inside.  I was scared.  All I kept thinking was that over the last four days while I was losing my mucous plug, I must've been leaking fluid too and now the baby had none and could not survive.  I called my mother, my in-laws, and my husband.  My husband was on his way to work and was on the T.  He told me to go to the hospital and he's meet me there.  So, I grabbed Parker out of bed, got him dressed, let the dog out, got Parker a quick breakfast that he could eat in the car, and off we went.  I called the doctor from the car and she told me to go to the office, not the hospital, and she would meet me there.  At the office, they hooked me up to a monitor and the baby's heart rate was perfect, and the baby responded (on the monitor) to poking on the belly.  However, the nurse could not feel the baby moving either, and she sent me to the hospital for a biophysical profile.  The profile turned out great.  Baby looked beautiful, fluid was good...everything checked out.  As soon as I got up from the table, the baby decided to move right back where it was before, and suddenly responded to poking, etc.  What a relief.

The next day, I had my regular weekly appointment, and my first internal exam.  The doc calmly tells me that I am "a good 4.5 cm dilated already."  I have felt nothing in the way of contractions.  She goes over my plan to get to the hospital and she didn't like my idea that I was going to drive myself and son to the hospital and meet my family there when I went into labor.  She calmly told me, "If I were you, I'd make sure the ambulance knows how to get to your house."  Ha ha.  Real funny, doc.  She also scheduled me for an induction one week from that day...I would be 39 weeks exactly.  She thought induction would be better given how much I was dilated already.  She also scheduled me to be seen in the office on Wednesday, just to check progress.  Alrighty then.

I went about my business on Friday...Wal Mart, and I had a viewing to go to for a funeral scheduled on Saturday for my husband's great Aunt.  Everyone was amazed I was there...and everyone was worried.  I wasn't.  I don't know why.  Justin kept asking if my water broke.  ha ha  Silly boy.  We went to bed and planned to get up at 8 the next day to get ready for the funeral.  This baby had other plans.

At 7:36 am I felt "something."  I also had to use the bathroom.  Hmmm...just a digestive thing.  Back to bed.  5 minutes later...same "something" and same bathroom usage.  Yep...just digestive.  Back to bed.  5 minutes later...really?  Again?  Maybe this is contractions.  I wake up Justin and tell him I think I'm having contractions, but that I'm going to get in the shower and I'd like him to get up and make breakfast.  In the shower...after about 2 minutes, it became obvious...I was in labor.  So, I get out, get dressed and go get Parker up.  I pick him up, play with him, laugh, joke...contractions not bad at all, but close together.  I go tell Justin that there won't be time for us to eat breakfast.  We grab Parker a pop tart and chocolate milk, and off we go.  I get in the car...and O.M.G.  I get a contraction that's b.a.d.  Justin jumps in the car, we call his parents to meet us at the hospital so they can be with Parker.  We are about 5-7 minutes into the ride to the hospital and it becomes clear that we aren't going to make it (we are 45 minutes from the hospital).  Now, it's only 8:15 am...and I haven't been feeling pain long at all.  But, this was WAY too much like Parker's labor.  I call 911 from the road.  They want me to pull over.  No thanks...there's a cop right across the street in a car, I'll ask him for an escort.  "Ma'am, we don't do that.  I'll get you an ambulance."  I'm annoyed.  Wasting precious time, I thought.  2 contractions later I was getting into the ambulance.  The cop told Justin and Parker to get a move on to the hospital and meet the ambulance there.  Parker pointed to the ambulance as they pulled away and said, "Mama."  Poor kid.  :(  On the way to the hospital, Justin gets rear-ended.  Needless to say, he didn't stop.  (No damage to the car, we later found out.  Whew.)  In the ambulance, I was pretty sure I was going to deliver the baby.  So, they took off my shorts and underwear and they kept saying, "We don't see any crowning."  Ok...but, I'm telling you...  So, I'm trying not to push...trying not to push.  Instead, I just moan and scream.  They start an a moving vehicle...right in the middle of back-to-back contractions.  (My arm's a mess, by the way.)  We get to the hospital and I'm in triage in a matter of seconds.  I'm in pain...bad pain.  Doc examines me and says, "She's full, the head's right there.  Mrs. Friend, DON'T PUSH!!!!"  They throw me in an elevator and I get to an LDR room at 9:04 am.  Some doc is there...not mine...  They page mine...and he comes running in.  I tell him I'm going to push.  He says ok!  I push at 9:05 am.  At 9:06 am, Justin runs in.  He made it.  Whew!  The doc breaks my water...and...contraction...I 9:08 am all of Braden Reed Friend comes flying out!  Two pushes.  Everyone is amazed and happy and laughing.  Whew...I feel much better now.  And Justin made it to see his second son born.  No pics on my belly...are you kidding...I almost delivered by myself!  :)  So, after we hung out with Braden a few minutes, they took him to clean up him...and they gave me a hospital gown.  I still had my shirt and socks on.  I looked at the pics that Justin took of Braden while they were weighing him...and being the steller cameraman that he is...I am spread eagle in the background with the doc sewing me up.  Nice.  At least we'll have a momento.  *blech*

So, there it is.  My lightning fast second birth.  I guess my first one wasn't a fluke.  Parker came out weighing 5 lbs 1 oz and was 18" long at 34 weeks 5 days gestation.  Braden came out weighing exactly 7 lbs and was 20 3/4" long at 38 weeks 1 day gestation.  Not bad, boys.  You did great.  I think I did, too.  Two very natural births...very fast...and everyone is healthy.  That's just the way I like it.  The first question out of everyone's mouth..."Do you still want three kids?  If so, you better camp out at the hospital for a month before your due date!" 

I think I still want three kids...but, honestly...these fast births are starting to scare me...

Sunday, June 6, 2010

...And we're done...

Last night, I nursed Parker for the last time.  It was such a great experience, and I'm glad I was in the moment for the entire marathon session.  I think he sensed something was up, as he never nurses that long anymore.  But, he seemed so calm, and he took his time with what would ultimately be the last time we both would experience such closeness in that way.

Many of you know how much difficulty Parker and I had learning to nurse.  In the end, the two of us have battled:  Not being put to the breast until days after birth and even then we weren't "allowed" to nurse long since Parker was so tired and needed to eat quickly at each scheduled NICU feeding; constant around the clock pumping in the first few weeks of Parker's life; a nipple shield to help Parker latch since I had flat nipples; NICU bottles and nipples full of expressed breast milk which ultimately contributed to nipple confusion; pacifier use by the hospital within the first hour of his birth (and continued throughout  his 9-day NICU stay) which also ultimately contributed to nipple confusion; bruised, cracked, bleeding nipples that led to several visits with a lactation consultant; plenty of days where crying was the only thing on the agenda; after learning how to latch and nurse properly, Parker refused all alternative methods of feeding until solids were introduced at six months, which made it impossible for me to go anywhere or do anything without Parker in tow; three bouts of mastitis (one at 4 months, another at 14 months, and another just a few weeks ago); chronic clogged ducts and milk blisters that have lasted our entire breastfeeding journey and Lecithin supplements up to four times per day to help thin out my milk...and that's just what I can remember.  I feel so proud of myself for perservering in the face of adversity throughout the past 15 months, 3 weeks and 2 days.  You never realize how difficult it is to breastfeed your child not only physically, but mentally as well...until you're doing it.  Everyone has something to say about breastfeeding.  People love that you're doing it, but they don't want you to do it too long and when you do it for an extended period of time those same supportive people sometimes become non-supportive.  Some people think you shouldn't do it at all.  Some people will try to convince you that it doesn't matter, even when they know it matters to you.  Some people will support you no matter what you choose...but, those people are not the norm.

But, along with the battle came a great that I hope I'll never forget as time goes on.  One that I hope I'll be able to experience again someday if we're blessed with another baby.  I loved the time that Parker and I spent together, just us.  I blogged a few months ago about a snapshot in time during one of our nursing sessions...and I can't tell you how many times per day I have felt the same wasn't just that one time. last night...

I knew this was our last nursing session.  It has been planned for a week or so.  Parker has been getting more and more independent and he has been self-weaning in his own way over the past few weeks.  We always nursed in the recliner in the family room.  But, Parker began to latch, unlatch, get off the chair and grab a toy and come back and want to latch...lather, rinse, repeat.  It became too much, and he wasn't getting in some good nursing sessions.  So, we started nursing in the glider in his quiet.  Parker sprawled out on the boppy pillow and would self-soothe by playing with his hair, and just wrapping himself up in me.  It was like old times.  But, I began to feel that I was forcing the issue since I knew he would be more distracted if we were downstairs...and I wondered if he was just ready to let go...but, had some ambivalence...just like his mommy.  So, the date was set...and I cherished every nursing session even more so...if that was possible.

I let Parker nurse as long as he wanted last night...and long he did.  He began on the left breast.  A calm came over him almost instantly when he latched.  He played with his hair and his eyes fluttered.  He put his left leg on my chest and shoulder and nestled in.  When he finally switched breasts, he nestled in again.  Only this time he seemed to be trying to savor the moment.  My heart melted as he reached up and guided the hand that was propping up my face to his hair.  He wanted me to play with his hair.  Then, at the same time I was playing with his hair, he reached up and pulled some of my curls so that they landed on my chest.  He began twirling my curls.  With his other hand, ge held my breast.  A little later, he reached up and grabbed my hand.  He held my hand for a long time...twirling his fingers in and out of mine.  Then, he put his fist to my mouth.  He wanted me to kiss his fingers, and his open hand, and the inside of his wrist, and the inside of his forearm, and the inside of his elbow, and eventually his cheek.  That was our thing.  He loved when I did that.  The anticipation as I kept moving towards his face always made him smile and laugh...but, he never unlatched.  I don't know how he did it...but, he always did it..he never missed a beat.  When he was finished nursing, he unlatched...something that he did sporadically.  Most times I would have to pry him off of me, even when he was in a deep sleep.  But, I think he wanted to do this his way.  He unlatched, and smiled at me.  I picked him up and laid his head on my shoulder.  I walked around the dark room with him and held him.  He held me back.  His nighttime turtle was turned on (it's a turtle that sits on the floor and the shell has little star-shaped holes on it where the light passes through and shines "stars" and a "moon" on the ceiling and walls in either blue, orange, or green.  Tonight it was green.).  He was looking at the stars and cuddling me.  Then, he reached out to touch a star on the wall.  So, we walked around the room, quietly touching the stars and smiling.  I began singing his sleep song...Silent Night.  I always have to sing all three verses and then hum through it one time before putting him down.  So, I did.  He laid his head down on my shoulder...and I heard him take that deep breath that he takes just before he falls deeply asleep.  I kissed the back of his head.  I laid him in the crib...always on his tummy and his knees.  He didn't move.  I didn't either.  I just looked at him for a little while.  I felt truly blessed.

It was a good ending to this chapter of our lives.  I'm not sure who to thank for this.  Parker?  Myself?  God?  All I know is that I'm thankful.  I'm thankful for being able to experience pregnancy, childbirth, taking care of a newborn, taking care of an infant, and now taking care of a toddler.  I'm thankful for being able to feel pain, sadness, love, joy, heartache, compassion, worry, fear, responsibility, and unconditional love.  It makes me human.  It makes me feel alive.  I love my family...and they remind me every day how special I am...and how lucky we all are to have each other.  Thank you, Parker, for making me a mommy...and making me love it.

Every ending symbolizes a new beginning.  I wonder what the future holds...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Remember this...

These days I find myself constantly saying, "Don't forget this."  I have always had a horrible memory, but it never really bothered me before.  I used to keep calendars in my purse and I would write down certain things on each day like "went grocery shopping," or "saw such-and-such movie with so-and-so."  I would go back and read these calendars years later...and I would swear that I never did whatever it was that I saw written down...but, I knew I had because I wrote it down.  These days I'm not so anal about writing down my every move, but truth be told I would be if I didn't have Parker.  That's how I used to spend my days...recording my memories in ink.  Now, I try hard to record my memories in my mind...and I take lots of pictures.  But, I know that my mind fails me more often than naught.  So tonight I want to record a black and white...just so I'll never forget it, for sure.

Parker is a loving baby.  He's very cuddly with me.  And from very early on, he would wrap himself up in me while he nursed. 13 1/2 months old...Parker still just wraps himself up in me.  I wish I had that kind of focus.  I would love to know what he's thinking during those times.  He looks so in love.  Before he nurses, he gets all happy knowing what's to come.  When I pull out the Boppy pillow he knows the boobie is close behind.  So, I pick him up and lay him down on the Boppy...and he kicks his legs.  He looks like a little horse!  He also smacks his lips and smiles.  When I put my nipple in his mouth he sucks hard...and his eyes tell the story.  They blink and get heavy.  He looks like he's in ecstasy.  And then he takes his hand, and he twirls his own hair.  And then he gets his other hand up to his head and plays with the hair on the other side of his head.  Then, he twirls my hair...and he puts my hair on his face and rubs his eye with it.  I know now why God never allowed a straightener to ever work on my hair.  Parker loves my curls.  Funny, but Parker's Daddy used to love playing with my curls back when we were first dating.  That's a nice memory, too.  But...back to Parker...  Parker takes his leg and puts it up on my shoulder when he nurses.  It's like he just wants to crawl inside me.  He can't get any closer...there is no air between us.  And he reaches for my hand and holds my fingers.  And he loves when I touch his face, so he oftentimes leads my hand to his face so that I can lightly run my fingers over his cheeks and forehead.  And he looks at me and smiles...'cause he knows what I'll do next.  I take his hand and kiss his knuckles...and I kiss the inside of his wrist...and he giggles...and I kiss the inside of his forearm...and the inside of his elbow...and he is laughing now...and I hurriedly kiss his bicep and then his face.  Parker loves it.  He never unlatches.  He just giggles and laughs and stays right where he is.  Not even laughter can break him from me.  He smiles and waits for me to do it again...and I do...I always do.  And when I'm done kissing him...he reaches up and fumbles with my nursing necklace and my cross that hangs on a gold chain.  I've worn this nursing necklace for so long, it's a part of me now.  I don't know how I'll ever not wear it.  I don't know how I'll ever wean Parker.  I love these times with him.  Tonight...while nursing him to sleep, I had a talk with God.  I thanked him for giving me Parker...and for knowing that I would love being his mommy.  I thanked him for Parker's health...because I don't ever take that for granted.  And when I was done talking to God, I looked down...and Parker was asleep...still latched...   I was tired, and hungry...but, I was in love more.  So, I stayed right there in that rocker and kept rocking and loving Parker.  As I sat there in Parker's nursery with nothing but the night light on, I saw so much.  I saw the love of my life.  And as I felt his heart beat with my hand I realized that Parker is the only person who has ever heard my heart beat from the inside.  And then I understood why he always wants to be so close to me.  I unlatched Parker and held him on my chest for a few minutes before I put him in his crib.  He was sound asleep, breathing heavy...but as soon as I took my hand off of him he woke up and cried.  I picked him up...he grabbed one of my curls and he went silent.  Within 10 seconds he was breathing heavy again...  I've never loved anyone this much.  I hope I never forget that moment...