Behind the Camera and Dreaming

Ezra's Birth Story

I don't really remember how much I shared about a birth plan or really much leading up to the day. I know I shared about gestational diabetes and maybe that Ezra was measuring fairly big - like 82nd to 85th percentile over several weeks leading up to my due date. At 32 weeks I began having weekly biophysical profiles to check size, lung development, fluid - all normal things, but all things that can be affected by diabetes. So, talking to my doctor, we decided that we would go the same route we went with my previous birth and induce labor when he was at full-term. I had already decided that I did want an epidural but wanted to avoid any oral pain medications prior to birth if I could. I know my body and I do not handle pain well. I tested Strep B positive and would need antibiotics during delivery. I was already 2cm dialated and having irregular Braxton Hicks fairly often. I was nervous of course, but knew we were ready. On top of it all, I was done being pregnant for weeks prior and just wanted the time to go by. 

So, at 5:30AM Monday, September 29th we headed to the hospital, which is just a few blocks from our house, ready to have a baby. 

I say ready, but really Ezra's birth felt so much more surreal than Jonah's. I couldn't seem to make myself be present. I was there. I knew what was happening. It was so similar to what I had done just 20 days shy of three years prior that it almost felt like I was reliving a different time. I just kept saying things like "I can't believe we are having a baby today" or "I feel like this isn't really happening." I knew it was, but it's hard to explain. It's like my brain had been so busy leading up to this day that I hadn't had time to just really think about what was happening.

Before 8am everything was rolling along. I was starting to feel contractions. I wasn't able to talk much they were coming fast, but still pretty irregular. By the time my mom got there I was already so uncomfortable, it was almost all we talked about. They hurt. They hurt more than I remember with Jonah. I kept forgetting to breathe, but I did and in between I was happy because I knew it meant we were moving along.

side note: can we get one of those blanket warming drawers in our house? the best. 
My in laws came in the night before and stayed at our house with Jonah. I kept wanting him to come to get my mind off the pain, but I was also a little nervous about him seeing me in pain. Turned out I didn't have to worry about it because around the time he was coming, we had decided it was time for the epidural. I had already spoken with the anesthesiologist and gotten some questions and concerns out of the way. I was really feeling strong regular contractions at this point (around 10am). The nurse had offered me other medication while we waited for epidural but I'd chosen to wait. 

Anesthesiology came fairly quickly and started the process for the epidural. The worst part of it is them having you sit on the side of the bed and a strong contraction coming while they are telling me to bend over and pushing on my back. It doesn't take that long but with both labors now I wound up in serious stressfilled tears. After it was done I had some issues with blood pressure. It was just dropping a little so I had to get flat on back for a while - which I worried would then slow labor down. It took what seemed like forever to feel better but it eventually evened out and I was able to relax. Family came in and visited for a while which was good for my mood. Jonah was so excited when he came in. We'd talked about this day and the anticipation was so exciting for him. 

I'm  a little blurry on the timing here but after visiting a while MeMe decided it was time for her and Jonah to go get lunch. Wesley asked if he could go get something to eat after they left and I just wasn't sure and I told him to get someone to bring him something, but I don't think he ever got lunch. I just didn't feel like he should leave. I was right. I'm not sure when it started happened before or after jonah left but the nurse came in to adjust the monitor for my contactions. I was still feeling them but wasn't in pain. I could look down at my abdomen and see it rise up and tighten with each one, however, from the nurses station it looked like I hadn't had one in a while. A second nurse came in and adjusted the monitor and they finally started picking them up again. I hadn't even thought about look at the monitor because I was comfortable and knew they were still coming pretty regularly.

After another amount of time I'm not sure about (withing 30 minutes or so) my OB came in and there was some hushed talking - seemed like some concern and the nurse had put me on my side because they were seeing some early dips in the baby's heart rate - which I think is more common if you are further along. So, according to the monitors I wasn't having contractions and his heart rate was dipping. The doctor checked me and said I was at about 5cm (I don't remember the effacement, etc) so I was quite discouraged. She also put a monitor on the baby's head to get a more accurate heart rate. I stayed sitting up but turned to the side and everything was fine. As soon as everyone left though, I broke, I was so emotional. I was slightly worried about his heart rate dropping and just nervous in general but I think it was just a sign that things were happening and he was coming!

Then within the next half hour everything just progressed really quickly. During my first labor (with jonah) the epidural seemed to really strong and I could really not tell when I was contracting, I couldn't feel him move down, but this time was totally different. I had actually had them turn it down when my bp was dropping and I felt short of breath shortly after they'd put it in. Needless to say, I was feeling a lot more. I could feel him drop (you know really strong in my booty). My nurse, Bradley, who was awesome by the way, kept telling me to call her if I felt the urge. She wasn't out of the room five minutes. Then she was alerting the nursery and getting things ready. Wesley called his mom to come back because they were still at lunch - it all happened so fast! With 45 minutes I dilated from 5 to 9+ and then 10 within the next half hour or so and by 1:54pm we had another baby boy!

Ezra Oliver was born.

I'm sharing these very intimate photos because I treasure them so much. I'm so thankful my mom was there to capture. I know when I see birth photography of other's births it always makes me cry. So much raw emotion in those few moments when you first lay eyes on your child.

As soon as he and I were cleaned up and checked out Wesley brought him back over to me and we soon transitioned to skin to skin. Then my dad brought Jonah in so that he could share in as much of this experience as possible.

Ezra Oliver was 8 pounds 14 ounces and all cheeks! He was 20 inches long and came out sucking on his fingers. We nursed within the first hour after birth and did pretty well. I wrote more about it in my breastfeeding post. He was so strong pushing his little head around and fell asleep on mommy while we all fell in love.

There's so much more to share about our newest little man and the struggles of my hospital stay, but the story of him coming into our world is perfect and complete. We now get to love him forever!

Read Jonah's birth story here.

Breaking Radio Silence.

hi. hello? anyone still there? Finally here breaking radio silence and it feels so good. I finally gave up on trying to blog a few weeks ago. Mostly, just because I really just couldn't physically sit down at the computer. I could sit and stare into space, scroll through instagram, or at the tv but forming words and putting them into semi-grammatical sentences was just too much. The truth is, I feel a lot of disappointment in not being able to write about the last seven weeks. I mean SEVEN weeks have gone by since I came home with this new baby boy.

Confession: It's been a lot harder than I thought it would be. I mean, I have done this before.

Haven't I?

After I had Jonah 3 years ago, I had a hard time recovering and blamed it on gallstones. I had to have my gallbladder removed when he was 11 weeks old. I blamed how bad I felt on that but I think the truth is, my body doesn't handle pregnancy and birth as well as I'd like it to. I am exhausted and there has been some issue I'm battling every week since before Ezra was born.

  I wrote some about our Breastfeeding journey a few weeks ago and I wish we were all better and I could say I'm enjoying it, but honestly we're not there yet. I think by the time I get there, I'll be going back to work and we'll have a whole other set of issues. I have come to terms with the possibility of weening him at that point if I have to and I'm happy either way. Actually, I've stared at formula sitting on the counter for weeks and have been to the point where I just can't nurse him one more day. Then I just keep going.

You see, I've had some type of infection in my body since well before Ezra was born. A few weeks before my due date, I was diagnosed with an urinary tract infection. I started an antibiotic (1), the next week it hadn't gone away, so she started me on a different anti-biotic(2). I also found out around this time that I was Strep B positive, so I had to be on antibiotics during delivery (3). Then, after delivery, I wasn't able to empty my bladder on my own - so I went home with a catheter and was put on antibiotics to prevent infections from the Foley (4). A week after delivery I went back to have the catheter removed and my blood pressure was really high. (probably from all the pain I was in breastfeeding) and they scheduled me to go back the next week (2 weeks post postpartum) and thankfully my BP was fine, but I was finally told that a culture they sent off before Ezra was born when my UTI wouldn't go away came back as STAPH. Of course, it's resistant to every antibiotic I'd already been on so I got another (5).

 Around this point, was Ezra two week check up, where I was surprised to find out he'd lost a significant amount of weight and he really needed to start gaining back. Let me tell you.. NOTHING makes you feel like more of a failure than for your child who depends solely on you for nutrition has lost over a pound since birth. So, let's just add more stress to the flame that was already burning in the previous paragraph.

Fast forward to Ezra is 5 weeks old, my breasts are healing but there is still an awful stinging burning pain deep in my breasts. Diagnosis - yeast infection. A week later - sudden onset of flu like symptoms. I called Wesley home because I felt like if I walked around, I might pass out. Diagnosis: mastitis. Treatment: more antibiotics. Still on those (6). To say my immune system hates me at this point would be an understatement. To top it off I've had a pretty yucky cold this week and GAH! I just NEED to feel better. It will happen. I'm sure of it and feel like I'm headed in the right direction.

So here we are. I chose to step back from blogging because I need to choose rest instead of writing. I really miss being here in the this space. I count on it really, so I'm trying to slowly come back. I've missed so much and hope to eventually put everything here. Ezra's birth, first almost 8 weeks now, Jonah's 3rd birthday, Halloween, and by that time I'll need to add Thanksgiving.

Forgive me for dumping all of this here, but I just feel like getting all the yucky stuff out of the way will allow me to write all the good stuff without feeling  like I'm glossing over the hard stuff.

Thanks friends for always being just a "publish" button away.

photo credit Mary Moment Photography

Catch the Moment 365 | Week 42

We've had our ups and downs over the past week. From a doctors appointment that didn't go as expected to celebrating our big boy turning three! There is so much I want to write about but for now.. A glimpse into this roller coaster ride! 






An InLinkz Link-up

Breastfeeding: Round Two + Ameda Purely Yours Review and GIVEAWAY!

    Aahhh breastfeeding. The most natural and occasionally controversial subject among mothers of newborns. Are you? Aren't you? How's it going? How often does he eat? What do you do if...? Are you supplementing? The conversation can go on and on and trust me it's been a daily subject of conversation for me since September 29th. Jonah and I didn't have the best nursing relationship.  So, this time I felt it'd be a little easier as long as things were "normal" when Ezra was born. I was surprised right after his birth at how much I'd forgotten and how natural it felt at the same time. 

From day one, Ezra has fought latching. This has just now started to improved over the last week. He's very aggressive (because I can't think of another way to describe it) and cannot figure out how to get his hands out of the way. The first week, every time I fed him, my husband had to hold his hands. This somehow led to my breasts becoming VERY sore, cracking, splitting, and bleeding. I have cried more tears over this pain and frustration than I expected. Thankfully though, my milk came in quickly and I found myself able to grit my teeth and make it through each feeding. I am here to say that breastfeeding is NOT easy. Yes, for most, it gets easier but I would never expect there not to be challenges in the beginning. So, I just wanted to share some things that have helped me over the past few weeks, tell you how much I like my new pump, and provide some support for new nursing moms. 

Must haves for breastfeeding

1. A comfy place to sit where most nursing needs are within your reach. I set up our glider to me my go-to nursing spot for those first weeks and have most of the following within reach when I'm sitting there.

2. A water jug. I always have to have something to drink within reach. 

3. A nursing pillow. I love My Brest Friend for these early days. Breastfeeding can kill your back and neck. It really supports your back and puts baby in a good position. I still use my Boppy in certain settings too though and love having it around. 

4. A note pad to track intake and output. This is hard to track and not necessary for some nursing moms, but in the beginning it really helps, especially when those challenges arise. Ezra began to lose weight after he was a week old, so this was very valuable for me.

5. Comfort products such as lanolin, hot and cold packs and  ComfortGel Pads which have been a life saver for me due to the cracking I mentioned earlier. They are a bit pricey but worth it. They have really kept me from re-injuring between feedings. 

6. A good electric double pump, like the Ameda Purely Yours pump. 

When my milk first came in, having a pump was invaluable to me, an over supply can be very painful, BUT I can't stand the thought of that milk going to waste! After a few more days, I got a plugged duct (which can turn into mastitis pretty easily) and was able to nurse and pump through it. On the plus side it gives you a little extra while you are working on regulating your supply. We've been up and down a lot! So, I haven't incorporated a regular pumping time to work on my stash for when I go back to work just yet, but have been pumping here and there. 

The Purely Yours Pump by Ameda works really well. It's quiet for an electric pump and smaller than the pump I used in the past. The suction is great. I've only barely turned it up at this point - not even close to the half way point. I love how it has dials to increase suction and speed, so they can both be increased gradually. 

My favorite part of this pump is that it holds the bottles. No juggling bottles or risking spills. You can simply set each bottle down right into the pump without losing a drop of that liquid gold.

I will be using this baby for hopefully months to come! PLUS Ameda has been nice enough to offer a pump to a Behind the Camera and Dreaming reader. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

oh and one more thing on my list..

7. Someone to talk to about struggles that come about when starting to breast feed your baby! Please reach out if there's no one in your life that has been through the experience resently. I'd love to cheer you on or just commiserate in our struggles.

Ameda sent me this pump for review. I was not otherwise compensated for this post. 
Remember to check your insurance plans for coverage of pumps.