Weight: 14lbs 8oz (just over 25% judging by my own reading of the chart; pediatrician appointment is on Monday)
Height: 25.5 inches (almost 75%)
Hair: Strawberry blonde and definitely growing in more
Eyes: Blue/grey with some honey color in the middle
Clothes: 3-6 and 6 month
Diapers: Size 2. We tried on his first 2 cloth diapers the other day. Time to hook up the sprayer before I need to clean a dirty diaper. We’ll start using them more frequently once that’s hooked up.
Sleeping: He goes to bed between 7:30-8:30 most nights. For a couple weeks he was having a very rough time with falling asleep (or rather staying asleep when we’d put him in his crib) and was waking up every 2 hours. I believe it was a growth spurt combined with sleep regression. Once he hit 16 weeks, he started sleeping better again. The other night he slept for an 8 hour stretch! That was a fluke though and he’s since been getting, on average, 5, 3, and 2-3 hour stretches, equaling about 11 hours every night. He still eats whenever he wakes up. About an hour and a half after waking, he takes a 45-60 minute nap and then I try for a nap every 2 hours. He’s still not good at napping in the afternoons. We’re going to start lightly sleep training him with methods we found that do not include letting him cry it out.
Likes: Kisses on his cheeks, when we smile at and talk to him, talking/yelling to us, taking a bath and trying to grab the water coming out of the faucet, standing/bouncing with our help, looking at the world around him, when we sing to him, swatting at/grabbing the toys on his playmat
Dislikes: Getting out of the bath, naps
Eating: Every 2-3 hours during the day for 5-10 minutes total
Milestones: Lots of talking to us and smiling all the time, raspberries, holding his head up really well, reaching for and touching/grabbing everything in sight, starting to laugh, touching his toes, petting Pepper. He rolled over from back to belly a couple times last week but hasn’t attempted to since.
Hair: Strawberry blonde, especially his eyelashes. It’s coming in more on top and a little thicker in back
Eyes: Dark blue/gray
Clothes: 0-3 months, 3 months, but no feet! 3-6 month footy outfits fit perfectly (only reason I’m ok with cooler weather the next few days; I have a bunch of cute outfits I thought he wouldn’t get to wear!)
Diapers: Size 1 still, but starting to get smaller. We’ll move on to 2s when we run out
Sleeping: We got on an earlier schedule, thank goodness! He goes to bed between 8:30-9, sleeps until 3ish, gets a new diaper and eats, then back to sleep for another 5-6 hours. Depending on how much sleep he got, he might go back for another hour or 2, but if not, he takes a roughly 45 minute nap an hour and a half after waking up. Still working on longer naps though; this boy doesn’t want to miss anything! He’s the king the kitten naps (too short to be cat naps)
Likes: When we smile at and talk to him, talking/yelling to us, eating, taking a bath, standing/bouncing with our help, bouncing on the yoga ball, walks in his stroller with the actual stroller seat and not his car seat
Dislikes: Getting out of the bath, being hot, staying in one spot for too long, naps
Eating: Every 2-3 hours during the day, but the major part is that he only eats for about 10 minutes total now! I’ve gained HOURS back to my days. So happy we got his tongue and lip ties fixed…he eats like a champ now
Milestones: Lots of talking to us and smiling all the time! Holding his head up really well, reaching for some objects, looking at everything around him
Two years ago, Conrad and I were “trying” on our own with temperature charting, as advised by my first fertility specialist. That didn’t work. One year ago, I was taking Estradiol in preparation for an embryo transfer that would happen mid-May. Today, my 12 week old baby is happily cooing in his swing behind me. What a difference a year or two can make. National Infertility Awareness Week: a week where many women decide to come out with their story of suffering through infertility. But many women remain silent, as they are embarrassed or ashamed by their issue. A year ago in February, I decided to go public with our infertility struggle on my blog, which I had been writing in Microsoft Word for a couple of months, just for my own benefit of remembering everything. Writing became cathartic as I put my feelings into written words. Going public was so relieving and brought so much support that I never expected. It informed my readers how much is really involved in fertility treatments. It also brought forth more people than I hoped that were going through the same journey and hadn’t told anyone; for some I gave them courage to tell others, and for some I gave them hope. For all, I sent up some prayers that we would all be successful in creating and growing our families, for this is not a club anyone wants to be a part of.
Infertility never leaves you. Just because I had a baby does not erase the fact that we couldn’t get pregnant on our own. Conrad and I are in a “funny” place right now. When we first got married, we weren’t ready to start a family so we prevented pregnancy (although I guess we didn’t need to). The next two years were spent trying to get pregnant. Now we’re back to preventing it. They say you’re super fertile after giving birth, even a lot of times for women with PCOS. I don’t know, and will never know, if this holds true for me. For one, I’m not ready to be pregnant again just yet or have two babies so close in age, and two, we have our 2 snowflake babies (frozen embryos) waiting to join our family over the next few years. We would like to have 3 kids and will definitely be transferring those embryos. If I were to get pregnant naturally, we could potentially have 4 children, which is not our plan. If God blesses us with a surprise after our other 2 snowflakes, then of course we would be happy. But kids are expensive! Four kids is just too expensive for us to afford and still be able to live the life we would like with traveling, a nice house, and being able to do fun activities without having to question whether or not we’ll be able to afford it.
As happy and blessed as we are that we have our 2 snowflakes waiting for us, it’s still nerve-wracking to think that they might not take. What if they don’t implant? Am I missing my chance right now at being fertile and getting pregnant naturally? These questions go through my head ALL.THE.TIME. A part of me is also sad that I’ll never be able to surprise Conrad one day with a pregnancy announcement. On the same note, we get to experience the joy of seeing each 5-day-old embryo as it’s transferred to me; who gets to see that?! We also know that our 2 snowflakes are genetically normal and healthy and we know their genders (no, I won’t be sharing what they are until each pregnancy, and no, we didn’t, nor will we in the future, choose which gender to transfer. Still leaving a little bit of this up to God).
Earlier today, I was Facebook messaging with a friend…well, a distant (by marriage a few times) family member in another country. She told me that she and her husband have been trying to get pregnant for 10 years. 10 YEARS. They’ve seen multiple doctors, who can’t find anything wrong with them, and in turn, will not proceed with any treatments. I guess they’ve never heard of “unexplained infertility”? It absolutely breaks my heart knowing that they’ve been trying for so long, have sought help, and have been denied. I wish she lived here so I could send her to my amazing doctors.
This also made me think about how it took us just about 2 years of travelling down this awful, bumpy, pothole-filled, hellish, but totally worth it road to get to our beautiful baby boy. It doesn’t matter if it takes 6 months or 10+ years; the pain is the same month after month, failed cycle after failed cycle. The tears are the same. The anger is the same. The questions are the same. The hope is the same. That is, if you’re able to hold on to that one little shred of hope. The hope that grows a bit at the start of each treatment and the hope that is torn away when it doesn’t work.
Infertility is a road no one should have to travel. It is a road that too many people these days are on. Why? Is it something in the food we eat or the air we breathe? Why are there so many people, both men and women, suffering from it now? Was it the same percentage of people in the past but now seems like more because our population has grown? I’m not sure anyone knows the answer to that yet.
As I wrap up this post, I want to remind you to think before asking someone questions like: Why don’t you have kids yet? When are you going to have a baby? Aren’t you going to give your child a sibling? They may answer politely with a smile, but inside, they could be crying, with their hope dying a little more each time a similar question is asked. If you know someone struggling to get pregnant, just listen. Don’t offer advice. Just listen and be a shoulder to cry on. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone suffering through infertility, this week, and always.
Hair: still strawberry blonde and super soft and fuzzy in the back. The top front is slowly starting to come in more
Eyes: Dark blue/gray
Clothes: 0-3 months
Diapers: Size 1 We go through so many diapers every day, as Bradley is very sensitive to being wet and goes at least twice after eating, usually 10-15 minutes apart. Eventually we’ll get him in his cute cloth dipes!
Sleeping: Still going to bed around midnight every night and taking almost 2 hours to get to sleep. Either he wakes up or I wake him after 4-5 hours to eat, then he goes back down for another 3-4 hours. He eats again and sometimes goes back to sleep for another hour or so. Bradley still isn’t a great napper, but we’re trying to get him to sleep more during the day. Getting wrapped up in the Boba wrap on me is a sure-fire way to ensure he’ll sleep 2-3 hours.
Likes: Smiling when we talk to him, eating, taking a bath, playing on his playmat, sitting in his little seat, trying to stand, bouncing on the yoga ball, naps while wrapped in the Boba (he smiles when he sees me putting the wrap on)
Dislikes: Clothes going over his head, waiting 2 minutes while I get ready to nurse him, staying in one spot for too long, pacifiers, doing his lip and tongue stretches (only a few more days of these to ensure his tie revisions don’t grow back)
Eating: Every 2 hours during the day, unless he’s sleeping. At night he lasts 4-5 hours
Milestones: Smiling all the time! Looking at us while we’re talking to him, holding his head up really well, more control of his arms, lots of grunting and sounds/trying to talk to us
Seven weeks ago, my life was changed forever. It was a change I had been looking forward to for years. My whole life, I knew I wanted to be a mom and my dream finally came true. Having Bradley has been the best thing that has ever happened in my life and it’s also been the most challenging. I’m not going to lie, the first couple of weeks were really hard. Bradley was either eating, screaming, or sleeping from exhaustion. We tried everything we could to help him settle down, but nothing worked. He was never awake and just content; we figured he was colicky (Conrad was as a baby). We were so tired and so frustrated that we couldn’t help our baby and didn’t know what he needed. By 2 weeks and 3 days, my mom convinced me to call the pediatrician to see if she had any suggestions. I called and she made time to see him that evening. She suggested that he probably had silent reflux and that we should start Zantac. Silent reflux is when a baby shows no outward signs of reflux (spitting up a lot), but seems gassy and uncomfortable, stiffening up a lot, and hard to settle down. A lot of babies have reflux because the sphincter between the esophagus and stomach isn’t strong enough yet to stay closed, so the acid comes back up and gives the baby heartburn.
We picked up his prescription that night and he was like a different baby after the first dose! He was calm, he fell asleep more easily. It was a miracle. At this point I felt horrible knowing that our sweet boy was in pain the first 2 weeks of his life and we didn’t know it. I’m glad we caught it fairly early though and that Zantac is a very safe medication for babies with hardly any side effects (he hasn’t had any).
Once we had Bradley on Zantac, life got a little bit easier. When he was awake, he was happy, and that made a world of difference. Conrad went back to work after being off for 2.5 weeks and my mom and/or dad would come over for a little while so I could eat or shower. They still stop by almost every day to see if I need anything and to see their grandson. I’ve managed to get showered and out of the house by myself a few times, but some days are harder (it’s 4pm as I write this and I still haven’t been able to get showered or dressed and I’m just now eating lunch, but dinner is in the crockpot! The only way I’m able to sit and write this is Bradley is wrapped up on me and sleeping. He’ll be up fairly soon though.)
We had a good somewhat routine going with our little night owl until 5.5 weeks. Bradley slept for 7.5 hours on a Monday night, which he’s never done, so I didn’t wake up either. On Tuesdsay morning, I was certainly more than ready to feed him! He only ate from one side so I pumped the other for relief. He went back to sleep and I decided to make myself some eggs for breakfast. Just before I finished cooking, I started to feel lightheaded and sat down. I had Conrad finish cooking (he was home because of the snowstorm we were supposed to have) but then I couldn’t eat. I felt really off so I decided to go lay down thinking I was just extra tired. I got back in bed and got the chills…for over an hour. It was time for Bradley to eat again so Conrad brought him over to me in the bed. I didn’t feel well at all; Conrad thought I needed to eat but I knew it wasn’t that. I started to feed Bradley while Conrad got ready to go shovel some snow. It was only about 3 minutes before I called Conrad back into the room- I was going to be sick. I handed him Bradley and quickly made my way into the bathroom. I threw up a few times and started wondering a bunch of things: did I eat something bad? Did I pick up a bug from the hospital when I went to the breastfeeding support group yesterday? How am I going to feed him if I’m so sick? Will my supply dry up if I get dehydrated? Is this from going so long without a feeding last night?
All this while, Bradley is crying with hunger so I told Conrad to give him a bottle of frozen milk (luckily I had some!)
I then had Conrad call my OB and explain my situation to her. She said that I was severely engorged and to pump until I was completely empty; if my fever went above 100.4*, call them back. Well my fever was 100.4 but went down as soon as I pumped. I started to feel a little better, showered, but then felt awful again. At night my fever came back and I ended up sending Conrad to 7-11 at midnight, on icy roads, to get me some Advil (everything we had here had aspirin in it, which you can’t take while breastfeeding). I suffered through the night, alternating between sweating and shivering, and pumping every few hours.
First thing in the morning, I called my OB back and told them my fever was higher at 101. My Dr confirmed that I had mastitis and called in a prescription for me; I was so thankful I didn’t have to get dressed and go in for an office visit. That day I felt awful. I don’t remember the last time I had a fever. It’s one thing to be sick, but a whole other ball game to be sick while having to take care of a 6 week old infant. Thankfully my mom came over and spent most of the day here, helping with Bradley.
I was feeling a bit better after 24 hours on the medication and a whole lot better by 48 hours; I hope I don’t ever get that again!
Back to our little night owl: Bradley has been going to sleep anywhere between 11pm and 1am. I can’t figure out how to get him on an earlier schedule; he doesn’t like to nap during the day, get super tired early in the evening, takes a nap wrapped on me, then is wide awake for a couple hours. He IS, however, sleeping wonderfully at night now. We moved him from his swing seat into his crib, with the mattress propped up for his reflux. Once he eats and falls asleep on me, he sleeps for 6-8 hours, wakes up to eat, and goes back to sleep for 2-3 hours. During his long stretch, I wake up to pump in order to avoid mastitis again. If I had to choose, of course I’d much prefer this long night sleep to shorter intervals with an earlier sleep time or more naps during the day. I’ve been getting 7-9 broken hours of sleep, but I am still exhausted at the end of each day, even if we don’t go anywhere or really do anything.
This past week, Bradley had a lip and tongue tie revision. He had a tongue tie clipped in the hospital when he was just a day old, but we still had some feeding/latching issues, not to mention my Raynaud’s affecting my milk-makers…ouch. We saw a couple different lactation consultants since being discharged from the hospital, and both agreed that Bradley had a posterior tongue tie (father back under his tongue). I was referred to a pediatric dentist and he confirmed that getting rid of it plus the lip tie would help with latching and feeding. He had them lasered away on Monday and is doing well so far.
During the past 7 weeks, we have had some difficult times. We’re all getting used to this new life. We’ve also had some amazing times, which trump all else: the coos, smiles, and snuggles are the best thing in the world. I wouldn’t trade this for anything.
Over the past 7 weeks (and 9 months), I have also gained a whole lot of respect for my body. Before, I was frustrated with my body not working correctly and preventing me from getting pregnant. Once pregnant, my body knew exactly what it needed to do; I gained enough weight, baby grew perfectly, and I went into labor on my own. After that, I was able to give birth to an 8lb 8oz baby! I still can’t believe that I was able to do that. Go me! Once Bradley was here, I was able to begin breastfeeding right away. My supply is great and he is growing nicely. I was worried about all of these things not being able to happen; I guess I was used to my body failing me. I find it truly fascinating that my body alone has been able to grow and completely nourish our baby from the time he was a 5-day old embryo. Being a mother is by far the hardest and best thing I’ve ever done. I look forward to this new journey of life with my little family.
Weight: 9lbs 6oz The doctor said he’s a slower grower, but 1 pound 6 oz in 4 weeks is a lot to me! It’s an average of 5.5oz a week, which is normal for a breastfed baby
Height: 22 and ¼ inches
Hair: still strawberry blonde and super soft and fuzzy in the back. The top front is barely there
Eyes: Dark blue
Clothes: 0-3 month fits best. Newborn onsies still, but no newborn clothes or sleepers fit in length
Diapers: newborn still for our skinny-legged boy!
Sleeping: Bradley seems to be awake from 9-12ish every night. Once he goes to sleep, he sleeps for 4-5 hours, wakes up to eat, then goes back to sleep for about 3 hours. (Of course I also sleep while he does and love getting 8ish hours myself!) He takes 1-2 naps a day, but no regular schedule yet.
Likes: Eating, taking a bath, playing on his playmat, trying to stand, bouncing on the yoga ball, naps while wrapped in the Boba on me
Dislikes: Getting out of the bath, changing clothes, waiting 2 minutes while I get ready to nurse him, staying in one spot for too long
Eating: The past 4 days or so Bradley has wanted to eat roughly every 2 hours, instead of 3. I feed on demand unless he has napped entirely too long since his last feeding, and then I’ll wake him (but not at night). He has gotten much better at eating lately but sometimes has a hard time latching because his hands get in the way. His arms are super strong so it’s hard to get them out of the way.
Milestones: Bradley has started tracking us, looking towards sounds, and focusing on different objects. He is smiling a lot more, though we’re not sure if it’s on purpose yet. He is also finding his voice and making more sounds.
On Tuesday, January 31st, I was due. I went to my doctor’s appointment and ended up having a non-stress test and discussing induction. My doctor had to state my case to the main doctor in the practice to get his approval. He is not a fan of inductions, as they up your risk of a c-section, and their practice has a very low percentage of c-sections. He called me later that evening to talk to me about it and I adamantly told him that “I am ready to have this baby, I’m worried he’ll be too big to deliver if we wait, and I’m extremely uncomfortable with all of these contractions I’ve been having the past few weeks.” He finally agreed to start an induction on Thursday night, around 7pm. A light at the end of the tunnel!
I continued working on my 1000 piece puzzle that Conrad gave me for Christmas to kill time. I knew that if I started it while pregnant, I’d have the baby before I got to finish it, but I was still determined to try. (I ended up finishing it when he was about a week old, while wrapped up on me sleeping.)
We got ready for bed around 12:30 but as soon as I tried to get in bed, I started having a bad contraction…nothing out of the ordinary. Except right as it started to fade, it immediately spiked back up without a break. This went on for about 20 minutes and led to tears. I was in so much pain I didn’t know how I was going to make it through another 2 days and nights, let alone sleep that night. I rolled some lavender oil on my belly, hoping to relax some of the contractions, walked around a bit, and eventually got in bed around 2am. From then, I was up every 45-60 minutes with a contraction and to go to the bathroom. Wednesday morning I finally gave up trying to sleep around 7 since I was having too many painful contractions. I was playing around on my phone a little after 8 when I started getting contractions again. Nothing out of the norm. Except it was. I realized that these contractions were lasting a much shorter duration than in the past (remember they were lasting 5-12 minutes most of the time) and seemed to be a little more regular. I decided I should probably start timing them around 8:25am. A little before 9, I got out of bed and went to sit in the nursery. I texted my mom about how I wished I was getting induced that day, as the pain was now radiating into my hips and thighs. She said, “I think you’re in labor. Keep track of the # of contractions in an hour.” I told her that I had been for about 35 minutes at this point and they were “definitely more intense than I’ve had, anywhere from 2-9 minutes apart, lasting 1-2 minutes each…These are stop-me-in-my-tracks, heavy breathing and moaning to get through.” My mom’s response was, “Yep, you are in labor!”
At this point I realized that I was hungry in between contractions and knew I should eat before they got worse and I wouldn’t want to. Around 10, I woke up Conrad by nudging him and telling him, “You need to get up now. I’m in labor and need to eat breakfast, but I can’t stand for long enough between contractions to make myself something.” Talk about being woken up! Once he comprehended what I had just said, he flew out of bed and headed right to the kitchen, where he made me an omelet and toast. It took me quite a while to eat it, since I had to keep taking breaks for contractions, but I was happy to have a good breakfast before my upcoming marathon.
I took a shower around 11:30, with Conrad in the bathroom still timing my contractions (they had to be 5 minutes or less apart for a full hour before calling the doctor). By 1pm, we were on our way to the hospital!
Once there, I had to be assessed in the labor and delivery triage to make sure I was in labor. I told the nurse, “Oh I’m definitely in labor.” I was 4cm dilated and 85% effaced. Far enough along to be admitted!
We got to our room at 2:30 and I got changed and all hooked up for a future IV and had my vitals taken by Nurse Terry. Conrad and I (slowly) walked up and down the hallway for a little while, pausing every couple minutes for a contraction. Just before 5pm, my doctor checked my progress and I was only 5cm, so she wanted to break my water to speed things up a little. She also advised that if I wanted to get an epidural, now was the time to do so. At 5 o’clock, I had the epidural put in. I got scared at this point because, let’s face it, who wants to have a needle stuck into their spine?! Especially after hearing some stories of people throwing up from the medicine, back pain that persists for years, and terrible headaches for days to months long. Luckily my anesthesiologist was fantastic and I couldn’t feel once the catheter was in my back. My legs got mostly numb; they felt like they were asleep, but without the tingling feeling, and they were heavy.
5:20pm: My water was broken and I immediately progressed to 6cm and the baby dropped a bit lower.
7pm: Nurse shift change. Our new nurse is Caryn.
Sometime after this, they started me on Pitocin to move things along more. All this while, I was lying in bed resting (sleep is impossible) and talking to Conrad with a peanut ball between my legs. Every now and then the nurse would come flip me over to the other side (helps the baby move down more).
By 1am, I was 10cm and ready to push. My nurse went to get the doctor and came back with some interesting news: another lady came in, ready to give birth right away, and the doctor had to deliver her first. Hey, I was here first! So I had to wait. And wait. And not push. I asked my nurse a couple times to check on how long the doctor would be. Up until this point, labor wasn’t as bad as I had expected.
Eventually she came in and I started pushing at 2am. This was after 18 hours of labor already. Conrad was an awesome coach, holding me up by the shoulders (my belly was in the way too much for me to really bend myself) and telling me what a good job I was doing. My nurse was counting, and a tech was also there, getting really animated and loudly telling me to keep going; she had to be shushed and told to calm down by the doctor a few times. All the while Dr. Bohnert was super calm and supportive. I pushed for an hour. It was tough and very painful at the end, even with the epidural. What gave me the strength to literally push through it all was 1)wanting so badly to meet this baby and 2)knowing that once he was out, the pain would be gone. I pushed with every last bit of strength I had and out came our 8lb 8oz boy at 3:07am! The cord was wrapped around his body 1 or 2 times and he needed a little bit of rubbing to start crying, but he was perfect. They gave him a quick rub down and immediately put him skin to skin with me. I bawled. Conrad cried. It was a moment I will never forget. The moment the three of us became a family. The moment we waited so long for. The moment that wait was worth every minute.
One funny part I remember is the nurse asking if I wanted her to put a diaper on Bradley for skin to skin because he might pee on me. At that point, I couldn’t have cared less if I got a little pee on me so I said no (and he didn’t pee on me).
While the doctor continued to clean and stitch me up (I bled more than usual and needed a shot to help stop the bleeding), Conrad headed out to the waiting room to tell our parents and my brother that we had our baby boy! Unfortunately they didn’t get to come see me and Bradley for another hour because of the doctor working on me. They came into our room around 4am and stayed about 20 minutes learning Bradley’s name, meeting/holding him, and congratulating us. After they left, I nursed him for the first time before being moved to my recovery room.
Around 6:15, I was wheeled into our room. The first thing I saw was an absolutely beautiful sunrise out the window; the start of a beautiful day and the start of a beautiful brand new life. It really was special.
Checking out his mama
The rest of our hospital stay continued to be a blur, as I was only able to sleep a couple hours total. Bradley passed all his tests with flying colors and we were discharged on Saturday morning, February 4th. It was so surreal finally bringing our baby home.