Wednesday, February 20, 2013

2 1/2 weeks in...

It's hard to believe that Henry is already 2 1/2 weeks old! I feel like each day zooms by!

Things have been going pretty well. I think I have been surprised by how challenging the first weeks with a newborn really are. I wished away the end of my pregnancy without realizing how great it was! Not to say I am not thankful that Henry is here. I love him to pieces!!! He is the greatest thing ever, and Joe and I are amazed each day.

That being said, some of the greater challenges have been:

1. Healing physically: As you can imagine, pushing out an 8lb 4oz baby takes it's toll on your body. I think because of my quick delivery and  being a first timer, the damage was pretty severe. Luckily, I have the most wonderful and supportive husband, and he was off for the first 9 days. He definitely took care of me, Henry and our home. I am very grateful! By now, most of the pain is gone and I'm feeling pretty good. But I'm still taking it easy.

2. Breast feeding: Oh my! I was definitely anxious about breast feeding before giving birth. Rightly so! Breast feeding has definitely been the biggest challenge. Not only does it take a substantial amount of my day (feeding on and off all day, on demand), and make it so I have no routine or schedule at this point, but it hurts! I'm talking excruciating, tooth-grinding, grunting pain. It is extremely painful still and I'm going to see a lactation consultant this afternoon. I hope she works some magic because I need it... and so does Henry. Luckily, Henry has been feeding like a champ!

3. Lack of sleep: I know, I know... this is what everyone talks about. I have to say, I prefer the lack of sleep to number 1 and 2. Also, Henry has been pretty good at night for the most part, and we have been co-sleeping, which makes nights a lot easier. Still, there have been a number of fussy stretches through nights, so Joe and I have both been feeling it.

4. Lack of time: You'd think that being an at-home mom I would have lots of time to do things around the house and cook. And write on my blog. However... being at the beck and call of a newborn means very little time for anything else! It is amazing... poor Joe has been coming home and STILL picking up my slack. I can't wait for there to be more of a routine in place so that I can do more. The good news... it has given me lots of special time with Henry, and time to read :)

Despite the challenges, I couldn't be happier. Being a mum has been something I always looked forward to. Having a baby with Joe makes it even more special! He is the greatest Dad and Husband. I feel extremely fortunate. Plus, Henry is pretty darn adorable! He makes me smile and laugh out loud every day. I am one proud Mama. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Introducing Henry

Anyone who is friends with me on Facebook probably already knows our news! 
Today marks one week from the birthday of our first son, Henry Louis. He was born on Friday, February 1st, weighing 8 lbs 4 oz. He shares his birthday with my brother, his Uncle Mike!

This first week as a Mum has been more challenging than anything I've ever done before. It has also been the best week ever! One of my students' Dad's said to me this fall when he found out I was expecting; "Having kids is the best thing you'll ever do. The hardest thing, but the best thing!" I thought it was cute... but only now am I fully understanding the truth in his words! The lack of sleep, recovery from birth, and challenges getting started breast-feeding are all worth it when I get to hold my sweet little boy in my arms. It's still surreal! And I know things are only going to get better.

I've decided I want to write out his birth story, so I don't forget it! Plus... I am still amazed at how things went down. It was NOTHING like I expected it would be... and in hindsight, it was perfect!

As a precursor... there were a few reasons that I wasn't supposed to go into labour on February 1st. For one, my sister-in-law and Dad were both out of town. More importantly, my midwife had the weekend off! So, I told my pregnant belly, "you can't come until Monday!"

On Friday, I was feeling pretty normal. Well... pregnant-normal. I had a busy day planned. I started off visiting with my sisters and nephews for a few hours. My sister, Kate, and I played a couple of games of Dominion. Kate told me she was playing Dominion when she went into labour with her first... and we joked the same might happen to me! I left and dropped off my other sister at about 4:30. At this point, I still felt normal.

Afterward, I went to a coworker of Joe's house for a little gathering. I had been there about an hour when I stood up to go to the washroom. That's when I felt a small gush of waters. It wasn't the big gush I pictured... but enough to make me wonder if I was about to go in labour. As discreetly as I could, I convinced Joe it was time to go. I still didn't know for sure if this was labour, so I was trying not to let anyone know why it was so important we leave!

We called my back-up midwife after leaving, and told her what had happened. She told us she would meet us at our house at 7:00 to test whether or not it was my water that had broke. It was about 5:45, so Joe and I went to a local restaurant to order some take-out. While we were waiting for our food, I started feeling some cramping in my lower abdomen. I told Joe I was even more sure that this might be labour! We were pretty excited.

By the time we got home at about 6:30, some real contractions started to come. I managed to scarf down a few bites of my dinner, but the contractions seemed to be coming too close together for me to really get anything in. The midwife and a student midwife came at 7:15 and checked me. I was 4 cm. Yep, I was definitely in labour! They told me to stay home, eat as much as I could, and come to the clinic in 2 hours, at about 9:30. (For those of you who don't know, I decided to labour at the KW Midwifery Birthing Suite as an alternative to hospital or home birth). She told me I'd be having this baby tonight! I couldn't believe it... aren't first labours supposed to be longer than a few hours?

As soon as they left, the contractions became even more intense. From what I'd learned in our prenatal classes and talking to others, you usually have some time between contractions in early labour. I expected to have at least 5 minutes between to relax and eat. However, the contractions were coming every 1-2 minutes, and were extremely intense. After an hour of this, I told Joe to call the midwife...we needed to go! At this point, I was feeling like I didn't know if I could do it all natural. This was WAY more intense than anything I had ever imagined. I was still pretty set on a natural birth, though. I had 4 intense contractions in the 3 km drive to the clinic... just to give you an idea of how things were going!

We were at the birthing suite at about 8:50 p.m. or so. After a few more contractions, the midwife checked me, and I was already 8 cm dilated! When I heard that, I knew I could do it. It was definitely a good thing that we went there earlier than planned. I powered through some more intense contractions, and in no time I was ready to push. After 20 minutes of pushing, Henry came into the world at 9:50 p.m.! Joe's first words were "It's a boy... it's our son!". My first words were "He looks just like you!" Henry was placed on my chest and it was the most amazing and perfect moment of my life.

Our healthy boy!
The birth was intense and fast, but I am so proud that I was able to deliver him naturally. It was everything I wanted.

Our first family photo
After a week with Henry, Joe and I have learned so much and our lives have changed completely! Everything revolves around wee Henry! We are completely in love, and couldn't be happier.

Here are a few photos, just because I can't NOT share his cuteness :)