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Monday, April 16, 2012

Still standing.

So, tomorrow marks Joseph’s 2 week birthday, and even though it’s not a monthly mark, I figured I’d blog about what’s been going on in our world since we brought our bundle of joy home with us.

Since I like to break things down into categories, I’ll go ahead and start here…

I feel like I hit the baby jackpot with my little guy.  He’s the calmest, sweetest little baby I’ve ever been around.  I thought I had it fairly easy with Anna, but Joseph has taken it to a whole new level.  He rarely fusses – the only time he does is when he’s hungry or needs a diaper change.  Even when he’s at his fussiest, he’s still pretty mild mannered and only cries for brief periods of time.  He’s also easily calmed down by the “shush” sound, and he loves being swaddled and close to people (me especially). 


Feeding: Breastfeeding is going pretty well.  At this point with Anna, I was giving her more bottles than straight BFing, and she was starting to have a lazy latch/difficulty getting latched.  I had to exclusively pump for months with her, so I wanted to avoid that this time around.  I haven’t given Joseph a bottle yet although I did cave in and give him a pacifier one night when he woke more than normal.  He’s not really a fan of the pacifier at this point, but I think it’s because even the smallest one is still too big for him. 

He’s currently eating every 2 to 3 hours, sometimes every 4.  He eats for about 30 minutes (15 minutes/boob).  I change him in between boobs, and after he’s done he falls asleep pretty easily and is good for another 2 – 3 hours.  I’ve honestly gotten more sleep since he’s been born than I did while I was pregnant with him.  I guess having pregnancy insomnia for 9 months really helps you build up a tolerance for sleep interruption. 

I will start pumping probably next week to build up a freezer supply.  At this point, I’m unable to go anywhere without him since I’m his only food source.  Plus, Joe hardly gets to see him since he’s always with me.  I think he’d like to be able to feed his son once before he goes off to college!


Joseph pretty much sleeps about 22 hours/day with very few moments of alert/awake time in between.  I was honestly worried about his sleepiness since I didn’t have that issue with Anna, but I got confirmation from some friends that this is totally normal with some newborns and that I just got lucky with him.  We’ll see how this pans out.  I’m sure it won’t be like this forever – especially since I’m jinxing myself by typing it out! 


Joseph has had an eye infection since we left the hospital.  We were told that it is fairly common for newborns to have eye infections in the first few weeks of life, so he’s been on an eye antibiotic since we got home.  I was a bad mom and didn’t give it to him every 8 hours around the clock initially, so he still has some gunk issues, but we’re staying on top of it now and are hoping it clears up soon. 

At his first pediatrician appointment, he’d gained 4 oz. and was nearly back up to his hospital weight.

hospital weight: 7 lbs. 12 oz.
weight when he was discharged: 7 lbs. 5 oz.
weight at first pedi appointment: 7 lbs. 9 oz.

According to the measurements at the appointment, he’s already grown an inch (21.5”), but the nurse said that the hospital measurements aren’t always 100% accurate, so it’s hard to say if he’s really grown that much or not.  Just looking at him, I can tell he’s getting bigger for sure. 

His circumcision has healed perfectly.  It looks totally normal, and we no longer have to put Vaseline on the tip (thank God). 

We’re still waiting for that darn belly button stump to fall off!  I’m excited to give him his first real, non-sponge bath, but we have to wait until the belly button stump is gone.  I apply alcohol to it daily, but it’s still holding on for dear life.


Activities: Since I get cabin fever very easily, we’ve already taken J a few places – Target and Chili’s (my two favorite places on earth).  He got a little fussy in Target, but we were able to check out before he had a meltdown.  He slept the entire time at Chili’s.  I’ve yet to nurse in public, so I’m scared to bring him too many places at this point.  There aren’t many options for nursing mothers, and I’m not empowered enough at this point to just whip it out and feed him anywhere. 

As you’ve seen peppered in between each category, I’ve added some newborn photos that I took of Joseph.  I took them when he was 9 days old, but unfortunately he chose that time to be wide awake throughout most of the session.  So, I only got a few decent shots where he wasn’t crying and fussy.  Oh well, at least I got a few. 

Anna has been a great help with Joseph.  She’s helped me give him sponge baths, change his diaper, gotten me supplies when I need them, etc.  She’s totally in love with her brother, but she also wants to own him.  I think she’s having a hard time understanding that Joseph is not her baby, and that’s probably all my fault.  I tried to really pump her up while I was pregnant to let her know that Joseph was coming and that we’d need her help once he was here.  I think she just assumed she’d be his mom and that I would be the helper. 

She’s also had some issues with jealousy and needs a lot more attention lately.  If I start feeding him, she immediately becomes clingy and wants me to hold her (which is nearly impossible with a baby in your lap).  She also gets upset and tells me to not feed the baby.  Then when I do, she throws a tantrum for what seems like hours.  It’s been very frustrating these past few weeks, and I’ve lost my temper more than I care to admit.  Who would’ve thought I’d have more problems with my toddler than my newborn?  I hope the new car smell eventually wears off of the baby and Anna soon realizes that we still love her very much and nothing has changed (or will change) in that department.  I think it will just take time. 

We’ve kept Anna out of daycare these past few weeks and plan on keeping her home while I’m on maternity leave (to save money), but I may send her at least one day/week just so she can have some interaction outside of us.  I want her to still feel like she’s living a normal life.  So much has changed for her. 

So, that’s where we are now!  I hope to keep my blog updated with everything this time around.  I would add more pictures here, but all J has been doing is sleeping, and there are only so many sleeping photos I can take of him.  :)

Monday, April 9, 2012

The stork paid us a little visit.

I’d like to introduce the newest addition to our little family – Joseph Bruce III.


Joseph made his grand entrance on Tuesday, April 3, 2012 at 6:50 p.m.  He weighed a whopping 7 lbs. 12 oz. and was 20.5” long. 

So, how’d it all begin, you ask? 

I’m not sure why I automatically assumed my body would evict Joseph at week 37 like it did with Anna.  Week 37 came and went.  Week 38 came and went.  Every day, every hour, every minute of those last few weeks honestly felt like torture. 

What frustrated me the most was the constant “this is the beginning of labor” signs that teased me on a daily basis.  Timeable contractions, cervical changes, dilation/effacement, baby dropped into a low position and was ready – every little sign made me think that today would be the day I’d finally get to meet my son, but morning, noon, and night came and went with no baby.  Every woman who has been pregnant can totally commiserate on how miserable those last few days truly are. 

So, the morning of April 3 – the day I officially hit 39 weeks gestation – I woke up around 5 a.m. and noticed that I was having some pretty intense contractions.  Not wanting to jump the gun again like I did the Saturday before (I went to L&D late at night after having contractions all day, but we left after a few hours when no cervical changes were happening with the contractions – false alarm), I decided to just wait it out and see if the contractions continued or stalled out. 

I used my contraction timer app on my phone and saw that they were about 10 minutes apart.  At least they were timeable, but 10 minutes is really nothing, so I just went on about my day.  I’d been working from home the past few weeks because sitting at my desk all day long at work was killing me.  As each hour passed at home, I felt more pain with each contraction, so I decided to go lie down in bed and time them again.  At this point, they were coming every 8 minutes. 

Hmm, they’re getting closer.  Could this be it?

I tried to work in between, but each contraction hit me harder, and it was hard to focus through them.  Timed them again – 5 minutes.  Holy hell!  It’s go time!

I jumped in the shower and quickly got ready.  Joe was supposed to go into work early that morning, but he hung out around the house once I told him my contractions were getting closer together and harder to handle.  I’d had my bags packed since 35 weeks, so I only had to throw a few things in there before we took off to bring Anna to my cousin’s house. 

We got to the hospital around 10:40 a.m. and checked in through L&D.  They asked us to wait in the waiting area until they could move us to the triage unit for observation.  While we were waiting, I was having intense contractions that were becoming more unbearable to talk/walk through.  A particularly bad contraction started coming on, so I walked out of the waiting area since an older woman and her granddaughter came into that area – I didn’t want to scar them when I started cursing like a sailor through the contraction. 

I went to hallway outside of L&D and leaned over to work through the intense contraction.  As soon as I bent over, I felt a small pop and gush and quickly realized that my water had broken.  YES!  Definitive proof that I would finally get to meet my little boy.  There was no turning back at that point, it was show time. 

I ran into the waiting area where Joe was and said, “Joe!  My water just broke!”  We told the nurses at the front desk, and they said the triage room had just opened.  They quickly took me back there because who wants a leaky pregnant woman standing in the main waiting room?  Thank God I was wearing jeans and not a skirt.  At least it wasn’t too blatant that my water had broken. 

The nurses were very quick in getting me setup in the triage room.  Unfortunately, all of the rooms were full or being cleaned, so I had to stay back in triage for quite a while until they could put me into my own room.  It’s a pretty miserable space, but at least I was the only one back there at the time. 

I was checked as soon as I got there and was surprised to hear that I’d already dilated to 5 and was 90% effaced.  At that point with Anna, I was in such horrific pain that I was close to vomiting.  This time around the contractions, while painful, were much more bearable.  The nurse asked me if I wanted my epidural now, and of course I said hell yes!  I admire women who go without medication, but it’s just not for me. 


Just waiting for an epidural. 

IMG_7927Please give me my damn epidural.

eIMG_7923In between contractions doing what I do best.

The angel of mercy, aka the Anesthesiologist, came in rather quickly and administered the back crack.  My, was it heavenly!  He was actually the same Anesthesiologist who administered my epidural with Anna.  It was nice to see him again – super funny guy!

While he was administering the drugs, the nurse who was giving me support throughout the process said that she didn’t think I’d labor long at all and that baby J was ready to come quickly.  I had a panic moment at that point because I was GBS+ and had to have a four hour round of antibiotics administered before the baby could arrive.  My last labor went fairly quickly, and given the fact that I’d already dilated and effaced halfway and showed no signs of stopping, I was concerned I wouldn’t get the full four hours. 

After my epidural was in place, I was finally moved into my own room where I would labor and deliver my little boy.  Once everything was settled, my mom and sister came, and Joe’s brother also came. 

Here I am feeling a little bitter that I can only eat ice chips!

(My sister did sneak me a piece of cheese, though. Tsk. Tsk.)

We’re just waiting.  And waiting.  And waiting.

After hanging out for a few hours, one of the nurses checked me again and noticed that my fore bag of water (this was something I’d never heard of) was still in tact and was stalling out my labor.  I was still at 5 cm/90%, so I’d made zero progress even though I’d been contracting steadily the entire time.   While it was a bit disappointing, it was actually pretty miraculous since I needed the extra time to labor while my antibiotics kicked in.  Had the fore bag not been in tact, I would’ve labored very quickly and not had sufficient time to get the antibiotics in my system. 


So, we just waited some more and took goofy pictures.  Joe’s face in this picture is hilarious!  He’s really excited to meet his namesake!

Thank God I couldn’t feel these bastards…or could I?

After laboring for quite a while, being checked every few hours and progressing a little (about 1 cm/hour), I’d finally hit the active labor stage where my contractions were coming very quickly and lasting for long periods of time.  As each contraction came, I could feel them hitting harder and harder. 

I  kept pressing the epi button to administer more back crack, but nothing was really working.  At this point, I’d been on the epidural for about 6 hours, and it was obvious that the effects of the drug were starting to wear off.  I spent the better part of the day not pushing the button because I didn’t think I needed it, but by not keeping on top of the pain meds, I let the pain get away from me.  Even with the epi, the contractions were about an 8 on the pain scale, and since I was essentially paralyzed from the legs down and hooked up to IV bags and antibiotics, I couldn’t get up to position myself better to deal with the contractions. 

That’s when nice Natalie went away and evil Natalie came out in full force.  I was shaking, I was crying, I was begging for my Dr. to come and break the fore bag (yes, it was still in tact after all of this) so the baby would just come.  The nurse kept telling me that my Dr. would come by around 5 and that she didn’t want anyone to break my water since I needed to be on the antibiotics for as long as possible.  It was 4 p.m. at this time. 

This is basically how I spent the next hour and a half until my Dr. finally did show up.

push the button
push the button
begged my mom to find any Dr. in the hallway to come in and break my bag of water (the pressure was impossible)
begged my mom to find a monkey or a donkey or anything with a pulse to come and break my bag of water
begged my mom to give me a wire hanger so I could break my own bag of water
push the button
wish for death

If I’d had the ability to be more mobile, I probably could’ve dealt with the contractions better, but being confined in an uncomfortable bed for that long a period of time just makes them that much worse. 

Finally, the nurse got a hold of another anesthesiologist who came in and gave me another dose of the drug.  Within minutes, I could feel it taking effect, so I was much more comfortable at that point.  This is a good thing since my Dr. showed up right around that time and discovered I was fully dilated and ready to go.  She popped that stubborn fore bag, and it was time to go! 

Getting the stirrups all set up!  I love this photo because I’m looking at the baby incubator and thinking how crazy it would be to see my son in there in just a short while! 

After a few test pushes, it was time to get real and finally meet our son!

My Dr. is getting suited up!

After pushing for maybe 5 minutes (3 sets of pushes, I think), baby Joe was born into the world at 6:50 p.m. 

Big Joe instantly assessed his son and was happy to report that he had all of his extremities – 10 fingers, 10 toes, and 1 manly part.  :)

Joe was so excited that he got to cut the cord with this baby.  The Dr. who delivered Anna never gave him an opportunity to cut the cord.  He still talks about that to this day, so I made sure I asked my Dr. to allow him to do this with his son.  He was a pro! 

Oh, and in this photo you can see them passing my son over to me for the first time. 

The first moments:


Our first official family photo
The love I felt in this moment was so incredibly overwhelming that I can’t even describe it. 

I was lucky enough this time to get a photo with my Dr.  She was absolutely wonderful throughout the delivery – she kept me calm and motivated. 

Here she is showing me a picture of her new baby girl – she had her FOUR weeks ago!!!  What’s funny is that my Dr. actually went back to work after two weeks.  I guess Doctors don’t need as much maternity leave as the rest of us.  I

‘ll take as much as I can get!


Mimi is excited to hold her new grandson

Aunt Lea Lee is excited about her new nephew and probably a little freaked out that she will have to go through this in a few short weeks (she’s three weeks behind me with her pregnancy).

Here’s her adorable baby belleh.

He wasn’t a happy camper at first!

After not eating for the entire day, I was begging for some food – specially a large chili & cheese fry from Sonic. My goals for the day were to 1) pop out a child and 2) eat a large chili cheese fry.  I’m happy to say I accomplished both.  My mom and sister ran to Sonic for me while Joe stayed back to take photos of our son getting his first bath/weighed.





It seems like they took forever and a day to bring him back to my room.  When they did bring him back, Joe got the pleasure of changing his very first tar poop diaper.  His facial expression says it all.


Since I was so tired that night, I opted to have Joseph stay in the nursery except for when he needed to be fed.  He was extremely sleepy (probably from all of the epi I had while delivering him), so he only woke to eat every 3 – 4 hours.  He had a lot of fluid that he kept spitting up, so most of the precious colostrum I gave him was sent right back up. 

Joe and I woke up the next morning feeling pretty darn good for just going through such a huge ordeal.  He left fairly early that morning to go and pick up Anna from my cousin’s house.  I couldn’t wait to have her meet her little brother for the first time. It was a moment I’d been looking forward to pretty much my entire pregnancy.

Forgive my swollen mug in the following photos.  I’m retaining about 10 extra lbs. of fluid from the IV drip.

Anna holding baby J for the first time.

Family of four!

Anna was super excited to meet her brother and a little upset with me for leaving her overnight.  Her first words to me were, “Mommy, I missed you so much.  I cried for you.”  How do you even respond to that?!  Tore my heart right out!

Anna was quite possessive of her brother and wanted to hold him herself w/o any help from us.  When we put our arms near her, she would get really upset and try to push us away.  Baby Joe was HER baby, not ours, and she really tried to take ownership of him.  It got to be a little frustrating throughout the day, and after a few hours of it, we opted to bring her back to my cousin’s house.  (That’s awful, right?) Being in a hospital setting with a sassy three year old and a newborn is not my idea of a fun time. 

For the rest of the day I nursed Joseph and just took it easy.  It was nice having round-the-clock care, and the nurses were absolutely fabulous.

My Dr. came back to give J his circumcision around 7 a.m. that morning.  The whole process scared me, but he came through it just fine and was not fussy at all after the procedure. 

We checked out the next day around 2ish in the afternoon.  It seemed like the process took forever to discharge Joseph and me. 

Before we left, I was able to grab a few more photos of my little squish while Joe was loading our stuff into the car.


Then came the daunting task of putting the baby into the car seat.  We’d forgotten just how tiny newborns are and how little the infant seats are in comparison to Anna’s huge convertible seat.

All strapped in and ready to go.

One last picture before we check out.

IMG_8241This lady was so friggin’ sweet.

IMG_8243Our get away car. 

Anna greeted us as soon as we got home.  She couldn’t wait to see her brother again.

Then she brought us our bills.


She couldn’t wait to hold him again. 


The first night at home was pretty tame.  Joseph is a very chill baby.  The only time he cries (which sounds like an injured bird) is when he’s hungry.  He eats every 2 – 3 hours, sometimes more, sometimes less, and he’s a little pro at breastfeeding.  He pretty much latched on right away in the hospital, and he’s been continually amazing me by how great he’s doing.  I certainly hope he keeps it up.  I also plan on not giving him a pacifier until at least three weeks.  I think I messed up Anna’s latch by giving her a bottle and a paci too quickly.  I wound up having to exclusively pump for months because of that, and I’m trying to avoid that at all costs now.  We’ll see how this pans out!

Easter Sunday was a nice, laid back day and also the first day that Joe’s parents got to meet their grandson.  They’d scheduled a cruise months before we found out about the baby, and he decided to make his grand entrance while they were gone.  What a nice coming home gift!

This is Joseph meeting his grandfather for the first time.


Three generations of great men right here. 

Meeting grandma (maw maw) for the first time.

Anna’s face in this photo is hilarious!

Anna’s Easter loot from Mimi.  We totally dropped the ball on egg dyeing and egg hunting this year.  I figure having a baby excuses me from this duty – right?

If you’ve made it this far, you deserve a cookie.  I just feel so blessed to have such a wonderful and supportive family and wonderful in-laws who have been with us every step of the way.  I couldn’t have asked for a better pregnancy, and a more awesome labor and delivery experience.  I’m also grateful that Joe has been able to stay home with me for a longer amount of time this time.  I don’t think he had any paternity leave when I had Anna.  I feel truly blessed in so many ways.

I have some video as well, but I need to carefully go through it to make sure there aren’t any choice scenes that I don’t want the viewing public to see. 

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