Posts Tagged first time mom

My New Normal

IMG_1618My little boy just turned 10 weeks old. That means I only have a couple weeks of maternity leave left. This time has gone by slowly (sometimes the days feel long when I’m at home all day and not doing much except caring for baby), but also too quickly. Jaylen had a rough morning at his 2 month doctor appointment by getting 3 shots and another vaccine to drink. It broke my heart to see him cry harder with each vaccine injection. 😦 But other than that, he had a great check-up and is perfectly healthy and growing well.

This week I took Jaylen to visit my co-workers at Tyndale and also to visit Gerald’s class and his co-workers. We got stopped in the hall at his school every few feet by more teachers who wanted to ooh and ahh over the baby. That’s what happens when you work in a female-dominated profession. People usually ask how we’re doing and how he’s sleeping. He sleeps about 3-4 hours in a row at night, sometimes less and sometimes more (though this only happened once so far). Apparently this is normal though for a breastfed baby according to the pediatrician. Somehow God made it so parents can function on very little sleep.

As for how we’re doing, I say we’re doing alright. We’re adjusting to this new normal. A new normal that includes:

  • Interrupted sleep
  • Letting dirty dishes sit in the sink and household chores that don’t get done
  • Staring at Jaylen’s adorable face all day (for me)
  • Getting up hours ahead of time when preparing to go somewhere because it takes twice as long to get ready
  • Lots of outfit changes for me and for baby because of spit up (or diaper blowouts)
  • Doing laundry almost daily because of the spit up and blowouts
  • Cars that feel a lot smaller because of all the baby gear
  • Enjoying lots of smiles and cooing from our smiley 2 month old 🙂
  • Getting peed on various times a day (the joys of baby boys)
  • Speed-eating during meals or taking turns to eat
  • More time with family (the grandparents mostly want to see the baby, not so much us ;-P)
  • Naps with my newborn
  • Looking in awe at this little person we created and being amazed at how awesome he is

A lot of these things seem negative, but they’re really not that bad. I think of it as our badge of parenthood. We wouldn’t be parents if we didn’t get spit up on or peed on. It’s definitely not easy being a new parent, but when we look at our little boy, we can’t help but be filled with love and joy. I can’t believe I’ve been given the privilege of being his mother. It’s a huge responsibility as I think about how what we do now will shape him (in positive and negative ways) in the future. I pray he comes out alright. 🙂 I also love knowing that I’m the main person he depends on for nourishment and comfort right now. I hope that never changes!

So while I sometimes wish I was still pregnant (I actually got more sleep while pregnant) or that I had some of the freedoms I had when we didn’t have Jaylen, I wouldn’t trade life with him for anything. He is so precious and a true gift from God. This newborn stage can be hard, but apparently everyone forgets that and still goes on to have more kids. I know one day I’ll look back and miss this, but for now I guess I’ll try to enjoy all those late night nursing sessions and how my baby won’t let us put him down to sleep sometimes. There will come a day when he’ll be more independent and won’t want to stay in my arms all the time. So I need to try to cherish all these mommy and son times while they last.

Such a smiley boy!

Such a smiley boy!

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Love my son!

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Jaylen’s Birth Story

IMG_1051It’s hard to believe that just over a week ago, our firstborn son, Jaylen Micah Stroud, was born. Toward the end of my pregnancy, I had December 11 in my mind as a possible birth date for some reason. My actual due date was December 14, but I was hoping the baby would come between my birthday (Dec. 8) and then. Similar to the dream I had early in pregnancy where I dreamed I was having a boy, there may have been some kind of mother’s intuition or something going on because I went into labor on December 11 and our little boy was born the morning of December 12.

I’m not going to go into great detail, but here’s a nice little timeline with my commentary of Jaylen’s birth.

December 11
10:30 pm     We arrived home from having dinner at some church friends’ home. I’d felt some contractions while we were there, but I thought they were Braxton Hicks contractions and they weren’t very regular so I didn’t think anything of them. I took Chloe outside, brought her back in, went back out to check the mail, came in & had to go to the bathroom. After I went, I had an extra gush of liquid and my first thought was, “Oh no…did my water break?” I was taking a while so Gerald came down to see if I was okay and I told him, “I think my water broke!” That’s when I think we both started getting a little nervous & anxious.

I wanted to wait a little while to make sure I was actually leaking amniotic fluid before actually calling the doctor. So I texted my mom to let her know what happened and Gerald finished up some of his sub plans while I was trying to decide if I should call or not. Finally, at about 11:00, I was convinced I needed to call because I knew once your water broke you needed to head to the hospital soon. When I talked to the on-call doctor, she told me to start heading to the hospital. So I set my out of office message for maternity leave for work and quickly finished putting together my hospital bag. I also set everything out for Chloe and told my parents they needed to come pick her up.

December 12
12:00 am     Gerald and I finally headed off to the hospital

12:30 am     We check in to labor & delivery. I’m still not really feeling any contractions. They immediately hook me up to the monitor to monitor baby’s heart rate and my contractions and then get me started on an IV. That’s when I knew I was going to be stuck in bed  so I wouldn’t be able to move around in labor like I would’ve liked. I was already 2 cm dilated, which I had been for a couple weeks. The nurse talked to the doctor and said that they would monitor my contractions until about 4 am and then if they didn’t get stronger and closer together, they would start me on Pitocin. I even had a contraction while she was talking to me but I didn’t feel anything. She asked me what my pain level was on a scale of 1 to 10 and I honestly said it was a zero. So Gerald and I tried to take advantage of those next few hours to get some rest, which honestly was hard for me to do. It wasn’t very comfortable in that bed and being hooked up to all these things.

4:30 am     The nurse came back to check on me and said they were going to start me on Pitocin because my contractions were still irregular. I really didn’t want to get on Pitocin if I didn’t have to be because I would’ve preferred if my labor could continue naturally, but oh well. They gave me the lowest dose and soon after that, I started feeling the contractions more. I felt them before they started Pitocin too, but they weren’t very painful. As I lay there and the contractions started getting a little more intense, I started thinking maybe now I should ask for an epidural because this could take a while and if it’s going to get worse than this, I think I might want the medication.

5:00 am     My nurse came back to check on me and I told her I wanted an epidural. It took a while for them to get everything ready for that and to call the anesthesiologist in. While I was waiting, my contractions started getting more intense and painful. Gerald had to leave the room while they administered the drug. Unfortunately my contractions were getting more intense at this point and I had to try to hold still. I started sweating  and felt like I was going to throw up. It didn’t help that the blood pressure monitor also started trying to read my blood pressure while all this was going on. This was the worst part of my labor. It felt like it took forever for him to get the epidural in & start the medication. Even after he finished and they had me lie back down, I could barely talk and I still felt miserable. Soon after that though, the drugs started working and I felt SO much better. This was around 5:30. Gerald came back in and said I looked so relaxed. I actually started getting sleepy and wanted to take a nap. I couldn’t feel any contractions anymore, but I could still move my legs (though they felt numb).

6:00 am     Nurse came back to check on me and told me that it seemed like I just needed the epidural to relax me because now I was dilated to 8 cm! I was shocked when she told me that because I didn’t expect it to go that quickly. She said she would tell the doctor to stay close by and that I should let her know if I felt any pressure. I felt slight pressure off and on for the next hour and finally called the nurse in again at 7 am.

7:00 am     Nurse came back to check me and she could see the baby’s head. So he was just hanging out there probably for a while! She called the doctor and then a whole slew of other nurses also came into the room and started preparing for baby’s arrival.

7:20ish     The doctor and nurse had me do some practice pushes and said I was a good pusher. That was helpful to know because I couldn’t feel anything down there to know if I was making any progress. The nurse had to watch the monitor to tell me when to push because I couldn’t feel my contractions at all. Then the doctor left for some reason and the nurse was just having me push, but baby’s heart rate started dropping drastically and the next thing I know they’re paging the doctor to get in there quickly and she said they were going to use the vacuum to get him out quickly. It was a little scary (probably more for Gerald since he could see the whole thing happening), but I just prayed in that moment that our son would be okay.

7:30ish     I started helping the doctor by pushing during the contractions in addition to her using the vacuum and we got Jaylen out in probably about 5 or 6 pushes. All I know is it happened quickly.

7:46 am     Jaylen was born weighing 6 lbs. 13 oz. and at 19 inches long.

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I didn’t get to do skin-to-skin with him right away because the nurses took him over to clean him up and probably check on him. Gerald did get to go over there though (after cutting the umbilical cord). So unfortunately I could only watch from a distance while the doctor stitched me up. I heard him crying and I could see his little legs and I kept thinking, “I can’t believe he’s really here.” I’m thankful for a fairly easy (and actually relatively pain-free for most of it) and short labor.

So we’re about a week into this parenting thing and life with a newborn is a little rough. The lack of sleep, I think, is starting to catch up with me now. Plus no one talks about how difficult the mother’s recovery after labor & delivery can be. I was dealing with pain and discomfort from that up until a couple days ago. Not to mention the challenges of breastfeeding. Everyone keeps saying it gets better and it’s worth it, but sometimes I just keep wondering when that “better” stuff will start. It’s already a little better and I keep reminding myself that this is only a season. It won’t always be like this. Thankfully Gerald has been amazing with helping out around the house–cleaning up things that have been packed up in boxes in our basement and washing dishes (which he hates)–and changing diapers or holding Jaylen while he sleeps so I can get some rest or get something done.

Despite all the challenges of being a new parent, we love our little guy. His name, “Jaylen,” means “tranquil healer.” We chose this name because we like more unique names, but also because his birth is a reminder to us of the healing power of the cross and how God can redeem brokenness. His middle name, “Micah,” means “Who is like God?” We hope that Jaylen will grow up to be a young man who strives to follow God and be more like Christ daily. Jaylen, we’re blessed to be your parents!

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Growing Baby

I haven’t been posting a lot of pregnancy pictures online, but for those who may be curious as to how Baby Stroud has been growing, he is definitely hitting a growth spurt.

First half of pregnancy

First half of pregnancy

belly2

2nd half of pregnancy

I started out taking photos every two weeks (except for the first two). I will note that on week 12, it looks like I have more of a belly, but judging by the photos after that, it wasn’t exactly baby belly showing at that time. 😉 Now that we’re only about two more months until Baby’s birthday, I’m taking pictures every week. I think this is when we’ll see the most growth anyway.

I’m still feeling pretty good. No back pain or other aches yet…unless I’m sitting in the same position for a while. Then I start to get uncomfortable. I’m tired, but I also need to work on getting to sleep earlier (5am alarms are tough). Gerald and I are getting excited to meet baby, but I know I’m also a little anxious! I don’t feel ready for baby yet (in terms of…we don’t really have anything for him!) We did set up the Pack ‘N’ Play in our room and I bought a stroller, which arrived last week. We finally also ordered the crib, which should get here Saturday. Maybe I’ll start to feel better once we start putting things in the nursery. Speaking of Saturday, we have an all-day childbirth preparation class that day so it should be interesting! Hopefully it won’t make me more nervous about labor and delivery. 🙂

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It’s a…

Last Monday we had our anatomy scan. Any time I get to see or hear baby is exciting and reassuring because then I know that it’s still alive and that everything’s okay. This ultrasound was also special because it’s the first one Gerald could come to and the first one since 10 weeks pregnant. Baby looked a lot more human and less like a bean! We were also hoping to find out the gender of the baby.

The scan went pretty well except for the fact that baby was curled up and made it more challenging for us to see his/her face. It also means I need to go back for another ultrasound in a couple weeks so they can get better pictures of the heart. We tried to get baby to stretch out by having me change positions, but no such luck. The ultrasound tech kept saying, “Baby’s hiding.” So maybe baby’s taking after mommy a little bit by being shy! Everything seems to look good though.

Profile view of Baby (it wouldn't let me rotate it)

Profile view of Baby (it wouldn’t let me rotate it to landscape, but the head is at the top)

Since baby was curled up, I was getting nervous by the end of the appointment that we wouldn’t be able to find out the gender. But I asked the tech about it before we left and she said she was able to tell. She even had a picture for us so she wrote it down on a piece of paper and put that with the pic in the envelope we brought. We sealed it and had to wait until our gender reveal party to find out!

On Sunday we had a small gender reveal party just for our families and one family from church (the husband and wife used to be my youth counselors). We passed the envelope with the gender to Susan, the wife, earlier in the week and I asked her to get helium balloons in pink or blue (depending on what the paper says) and told her to put them in a big box. Originally I was going to have my sister do this, but then I thought it would be more fun for all our family members to be surprised together.

Ready to open the box!

Ready to open the box!

So we all gathered at our new house after church (so it was sort of a house warming party too) for lunch and the big reveal. It also happened to be my mother-in-law’s birthday, but she was gracious to share the day with us because scheduling was so hard to do. My brother surprised us too by coming in for the party from Minnesota! We kept the party casual by doing a potluck and stressed we didn’t want people to bring gifts. Gerald grilled made-to-order burgers for everyone and the only game/activity we did was a quiz I found online about old wives tales that supposedly indicate the baby’s gender. We also had everyone vote on a tally board for whether they thought baby was a boy or a girl. Gerald voted boy and I put my vote on girl (even though a few months ago I dreamed we were having a boy). The boy had more votes.

The Votes

The Votes

After everyone ate, we gathered together to go over the quiz answers and then finally the big reveal, which you can watch for yourself (just scroll down if you don’t want to watch the video to find out what we’re having):

(keep scrolling…)

So we’re expecting a baby boy this December! 🙂 I got a little emotional once we opened the box, not because I was sad, but knowing the gender makes this pregnancy a little more real. Baby is a “he” and not just “it” or “baby” anymore. So although I probably won’t get a little equestrian out of my baby boy, I may be able to turn him into a runner. Gerald’s looking forward to fishing, basketball, and dressing our son in H&M Kids clothes. 😛

It was special to share this moment with our families by all finding out the baby’s gender together. I’m not sure if I’ll end up doing this with any other children God might bless us with, but I definitely prefer finding out in a more special way than just at the doctor’s office. I gave Hershey’s bars to all the people who voted for a boy as a prize. I was going to color the Hershey part with markers, but the ones I had wouldn’t stay on the wrapper. Oh well.

Blue cupcakes were brought out after the reveal!

Blue cupcakes were brought out after the reveal!

So enjoy a few more pictures from our party.

We're having a boy!

We’re having a boy!

Team Blue - the winners!

Team Blue – the winners!

Team Pink - the losers

Team Pink – the losers

Even the pugs are excited

Even the pugs are excited

22 weeks

22 weeks

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A Special Father’s Day

It’s been a while since I posted on here, but life has been a little crazy in dealing with some really tough personal stuff, unexpected condo fires (not ours, but our neighbor) and by some exciting changes. I’m not going to go into the hard things now (maybe I will years down the road), but I’ll just say that I have not had to depend on God more for strength and grace. It’s not easy, but He is walking us through it and bringing us now into a new chapter of life. This brings me to our special Father’s Day announcement:

We're having a baby!

We’re having a baby!

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Chloe’s going to be a big sister!

We’re excited that God is blessing us with this new life and it’s also a reminder to us that He can bring beauty from what is broken. I just went to the doctor this morning and everything looks good! Gerald finally got to go to an appointment with me and hear the baby’s heartbeat. He actually recorded the audio. 🙂 I thought I was at 14 weeks, but the doctor said I was at 15, so I guess we’ll go with that. The second trimester is underway!

I’ve been blessed to not have any morning sickness at all up to this point. My mom never had it either and her mom didn’t, so I hope I continue to take after my mom. Yes, I’ve still been trying to run during my pregnancy. It was easier in the beginning until I started getting really tired and had less energy. My pace has definitely slowed down (it was anyway during the winter) and whenever I run now I just try to take it easy and listen to my body. Lately I’ve been walking more, but hopefully after the baby is born I can go on more runs with the jogging stroller and get my running fitness back.

A few other updates–I retired from my role as a youth counselor at church. It’s bittersweet because I enjoyed spending time with the kids, but I was also getting a little burned out after doing youth ministry for six years and I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it anyway if I had a baby. Gerald and I also need more time together so my Friday nights are now designated as date nights or just for us to spend time with one another (especially important before and even after baby comes). While serving in youth group is great, focusing on my marriage is more of a priority. We hadn’t been seeing much of each other during the weeks and so this time is important for us.

Hopefully I’ll be updating more frequently from now on, but we’ll see how that goes!

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