two weeks!

We treated Jude's jaundice with an intense feeding regimen and he is all better! Thank goodness. :) Mary, my lactation consultant, was right when she said we'd have a new baby by the weekend. He is so much more awake and alert now. It's more work but also so much more fun. We had another consultation yesterday and he is up to 9 pounds 1 ounce! You go baby. I absolutely idolize my lactation consultant. She is an angel on earth. The best news of all... he is breastfeeding again! We are still adjusting and figuring it out. But I am soo happy (understatement). Pumping every two to three hours gets old. But the real reason is because I want to breastfeed! Not only is it more convenient, it's important to me. It is the way God meant for us to be and I want that special bond with my sweet baby.

We had his two week appointment with the pediatrician today. She said "keep doing whatever you're doing because you're doing a great job." She said he looked great and healthy. She was impressed that he has gained so much weight and said now we can let him wake us up at night instead of waking him up every three hours to eat. Woah! This is a major landmark.

We love our boy. I wish I could figure out a stronger word than love. It feels like so much more than I could never explain in words. He is getting to be more fun every day. We are just so entertained by his hilarious faces and his eternal cuteness. He makes life so much more fun and full. I love always having him with me. I wish we could sleep together and cuddle all night. I just adore my two boys. Dan is such a sweet father. It has been so nice having him be off school for Christmas because we just get to be together every day!

Dan's mom just landed at the Birmingham airport... Jude is excited to meet his other Grandma!


merry christmas!

We have had a lovely first Christmas together! Just us three. :)

Clam chowder, king crab legs, and sushi for Christmas Eve dinner

Cuddle time :)

My two handsome boys

Jude's Plastibell came off on Christmas.Now that's a good Christmas present!

Ohhh, I'm in love with those lips, double chin, and arm rolls! We just can't get over his cuteness at bath time.

Merry Christmas!

Dan, Rachael, and Jude



Monday evening:

I didn't know breastfeeding would be the most exhausting full-time job ever. Regular old hospital nursing has nothing on baby nursing! I am supposed to feed him every 2-3 hours since I am exclusively breast feeding. That is a lot! The past day has been especially exhausting. He would not eat and I couldn't figure out why. He was either so, so fussy and hysterical when I tried to feed him and I would eventually have to feed him breast milk out of a bottle or he would be so tired and lethargic-like that I couldn't wake him up for long enough to eat. So we just thought, "Oh, he must be full." He was showing signs of contentment and no signs of hunger. I couldn't figure out what was wrong and why he wasn't feeding. It would take me at least an hour for him to eat five minutes. That can be exhausting at 3:00 in the morning when all you want is for your baby to eat and be happy. He is the absolutely sweetest baby in the whole world. I just die over his lips and little chin. Every time I see him it's like the first time. It takes my breath away and I just can't get close enough to him.

We had an appointment with the lactation specialist today at 1:30 as a follow-up that all new moms do. (Thank goodness for lactation specialist! They have my heart.) We waited for what seemed like hours but I didn't mind because I knew I would need a lot of time, too. I brought his "diaper diary" and my list of questions, so hopeful for help and some sort of answers. I had been doing everything I knew how. She saw him and within 60 seconds she knew he had jaundice. He also lost about 4 oz since Saturday. Newborns livers aren't fully developed so they have a hard time digesting bilirubin. She described jaundice as one big sleeping pill. They need to eat, like, twice as much as more frequently. If they go too long they get too hungry and too exhausted to breastfeed because it's too much work. So I was trying to feed him but by that time he was starving because he wasn't getting enough food. So I would try to breastfeed him and he would cry and cry and fight and I couldn't figure out why. It was because he was so starving he just needed food now and he was too hungry to get the tiny little squirts from breastfeeding. At that point he just needed food right away. And that is what will make his jaundice better. Three or four days of feeding him no more than ten minutes of breast feeding (so he doesn't get too tired) and then at least 75 ml of breast milk. 

I was so relieved and also felt so bad that he was so hungry and I didn't know. I felt so bad that my sweet little baby wasn't getting what he needed. I was so relieved that now I had answers and knew what was wrong. I felt relieved and empowered that I knew how to help him.

The plan is to feed him no later than every 3 hours. No more than ten minutes of nursing so he doesn't get tired and worn out and then at least 75 ml of breast milk after that. She said the plan is guaranteed to work.

Wednesday morning update:

We have been feeding him like crazy and he is doing so much better! No more hysterical crying fits and he is hardly ever really lethargic acting. He seems so content and happy after he eats. Luckily I have been producing enough milk so he hasn't had to have formula to get to his 75 ml. Mary said he should be feeling better within a few days and will be "a new baby." I feel like a new woman now that I know what to do for him and now that he is feeling better!

We have an appointment with the pediatrician and a baby weigh-in today with the lactation specialist so we'll see if he's gained weight! I love him. I love him. I LOVE HIM!!


Jude's first bath

Jude has his first real bath tonight. He did not fuss or cry and was as content as could be! He has such a sweet, mild spirit. 

We love our Puj Tub. What a fabulous foreign find. :)

Mid-lather. It looks curly when its all shnagglerocked.

Daddy brushed his hair, of course. Like father, like son.

Such a perfect little part! It melts my heart every time.

I love his so much it's RIDICULOUS.

What other newborn has an inch long little tail?! I love it!




8 pounds
21 inches
we are in looooooove.



birth story

I woke up on December 15 as calm as can be. 40 weeks and 3 days pregnant. I knew we would be having our baby, but had no idea what that really meant! I slept for about 4 hours that night and slept pretty well. Looking back, it is so sweet to think that he was there with me, sleeping. I know he was so content and happy and warm in there. I woke up and got showered and all ready. We (me, Dan, and Grandma and Grandpa James) got to the hospital around 6:30 and checked in. They took us to our room, Womens Pavilion 6. It wasn't as new and spacious as the rooms we had seen on the tour, but we warmed up to it. I put my gown on, we got all settled in and I climbed into bed. It felt so funny to be the patient. Debra was my nurse and was as sweet as could be. She started my IV in my left wrist.Dr. Smith was on call from 0700 that morning to 0700 the next morning, so he came and saw me all throughout the day. He came in at 0710 and checked me. We were hoping I had made some progress since he had stripped my membranes a few days prior (ouch). I was still at 3 cm, 80% effaced, and a negative one station. The the nurse handed him a little plastic yellow "amniotic membrane perforator" and he ruptured my membranes. There was a huge waterfall gush of fluid. And it kept coming. All day.  My IV fluids and Pitocin started at 0730. It was running at 4 ml/hr, which is the usual starting dose and then they see if they need to increase it. We then just waited for the Pitocin to start working. I was chipper, happy, and conversational. Dan never left my side. He pulled up a chair right next to me and stayed right there where I wanted him.

Mom and Dad went to K-Mart to buy me the pens I had to have to write in my baby book and buy us some Luigi's Italian ice and drinks. They got back and by then Dan was starving. I convinced him it was okay to leave me for a few minutes so he went with Dad to the cafeteria to pick up some lunch with Dad. Dr. Smith checked me at 1113 and I had progressed to 
4 cm, 100% effaced and a negative one station.

I was starting to feel some pain with my contractions. Dr. Smith checked me again at 1227 and I was at 6 cm, 90% effaced and still a negative one station. I was able to walk to the bathroom and back only with help from the nurse because of my IV pole and baby monitor hooked up to my stomach. I managed to use my birthing ball right next to my bed and I loved it. Dan played with my hair, used our little massaging tool a little bit and read me a couple Ensign articles. We pulled out the iPod, played Uno, and ate some Luigi's Italian ice. The pain started to get more severe and my ball was just annoying me at this point. I felt restless because my movement was so limited. I got back into bed, we dimmed the lights, Dan laid his head by me and I breathed my way through the contractions. I felt like I was really coping well and working my way through them. It was almost like I would just go to another place. I would squeeze Dan's hand during the contractions. Dan said he never knew how strong I was! Before much longer had passed I was miserable. I couldn't talk. I could hardly move because of the pain. I was snappy and mean. I wanted Dan to know how I was feeling and what I wanted but couldn't get the words out. I would use hand signals for what I needed. If I squeeze your hand once than you squeeze mine, when I squeeze twice then stop. I can see now that that was not rational but at that time it was just perturbing that Dan wasn't doing it right. I remember looking at Dan and saying "I just wanna die," "I wanna die." I surely knew I did not really want to die. I realized I was in no way enjoying the experience, making a sweet memory, or proving anything to myself or anyone else.

I had my nurse check me to see if I had progressed at all. I couldn't stop thinking about getting an epidural but I thought if I had progressed I would have hope to get through it. I had not progressed at all. I asked her about how much longer she thought it would be if I continued at this rate. She said it would be about 5-6 more hours. I knew I couldn't go through this for that much longer and I told her I wanted the epidural. It was 1300 and I was around 6.5 cm. She called the doctor and in about fifteen minutes Dr. Verzino came in. He was so young. He looked like an angel. He said "It's a good thing you called when you did because right after you called two other nurses called for epidurals. But I came to you first." I was so relieved. I didn't think I could make it through one more contraction. I crunched over in a little ball and held on to Debra. She held me so lovingly (sounds so cheesy now, but she did). I was not afraid. I knew the slight pain of the epidural could not compare to the pain I was having. Dr. Verzino does spinal epidurals, which means I had immediate relief. With normal epidurals, it takes ten to fifteen minutes to kick in. I kept waiting for the next contraction to hit and it didn't. I felt so relieved. I felt so thankful. I felt like I could finally relax. I had been holding so much in and I was trying so hard to be strong. I started to cry because I finally felt better. Happy tears! I could finally relax. I could tell Dan how I was feeling and actually talk. I could hold him and have him hold me and enjoy the experience. I finally felt excited. I was still in disbelief of what was happening. We listened to music and tried to take a nap but we couldn't. We just dimmed the lights and relaxed and Dan laid by me in bed.

Dr. Smith checked me again at 1453, I was 8 cm, 100% effaced and at a zero station. We were all started to get so excited... we were getting close!

I perked up and was happy and back to myself. I worked on my baby book and enjoyed being with Dan and my sweet Mama and Papa. My evening shift nurse came in, Lindsey. She was so young. She had only been a nurse for a few months. I loved her. She was sweet and thoughtful. She was nonjudgmental and soft-spoken. Exactly what I needed. Dr. Smith came in at 1700. We thought we would be so close by then... only 8.5 cm. But still closer!

He came back in at 1832 and I was 10 cm, 100% effaced, and at a plus one station. So, so, sooo exciting! You could feel it. I started pushing at 1845. Our baby was on his way! My epidural was just how I had hoped. I could still feel and move my legs. I could lift my hips up and hold my legs. I had the ability to press my epidural button for more medicine as I needed it but I only pressed it a couple times so I could still feel. I could feel each contraction so I knew when to push. I could still feel the pain, it just wasn't unbearable. Lindsey was on one side and Dan on the other. My mom was behind me with the video camera and Dad was trying to keep his distance in the corner on the couch.

Dr Smith came in and said "Well, it looks like I'm going to have to do a C-section so... try to hold off a little bit." He thought that at the rate I was progressing the baby might come before he got back.

HOLD OFF?! It is difficult to hold off. It's painful. Very. So I kept pushing. Occasionally a contraction would come and go and I wouldn't feel it so I wouldn't push. Dan was counting and coaching me through it. He was so calm, supportive, and lighthearted as he always is.

Dr. Smith came in after the C-section and was there to stay. He knew the baby was close and he was encouraging me. This baby was ready to come out! My little boy was so close but just couldn't make the escape. He would make two steps forward and one step back. We decided an episiotomy was in order and literally on the next push... there was our baby!

Our baby.

The most precious, absolutely perfect, healthy, strong, chubby, gorgeous, special, active, angelic, lively little being I had ever witnessed.

The feeling I had when I first saw him is indescribable. I have accepted the fact that I will never be able to find words to express it. It's something I hold in my heart.

I was in complete and utter shock when I saw him. I could not believe how gorgeous he was. I could not believe that this big bump in my belly that was giving me acid reflux was this precious little creature. He was beautiful. Like literally, not a cone-headed funny looking baby.

He was stunning. Perfect.

He was mine. I loved him. I was in love with him. I wanted to hold him and kiss him and feel his soft, slippery skin.

When he very first came out the doctor said in his thick Southern accent, "Heya there big boy!"
So cute.

The cord was loosely wrapped around his neck once, but it slipped right off without any intervention. Dr. Smith quickly suctioned him and they gave him to me. He had let out a few really good cries but when they gave him to me he stopped crying so I didn't hold him long so they could stimulate him. I was sobbing out of... joy and disbelief and indescribable love. I gave him back to the doctor and my sweet husband cut his slippery, shiny white cord.

They gave him to the nursery nurse and she did her five thousand little tests on him. I could not take my eyes off him. My eyes were glued to him and I sobbed. I could not stop. I can't describe it besides that I had instantly fallen in love. I watched him on his little warmer, squirming around, crying, making little noises, just laying and looking around, his rolls, his long, wet brownish reddish hair... perfect. Perfect perfected perfection. I was changed forever.

She weighed him right after he was born and he weighed eight pounds. The next day he weighed 8 pounds and 3 ounces. Dan had watched her weigh him and he didn't think she zeroed out the scale right. Babies really never gain weight right after they are born, they usually loose so the 8 lb 3 oz weight is probably more accurate! His Apgar scores were eight at one minute and nine at five minutes.

The next few days were a blur of lots of people coming in and out, my sweet friends visiting in the late night and early morning and all throughout the day, the nursery nurses coming in and helping us, not making it to the bathroom, ordering meals and sharing them with Dan, our celebration dinner complete with a bottle of Martinelli's, phone calls, skyping, colostrum, teaching, a Motrin, and lots of oohing and aahing. I didn't change one diaper while I was in the hospital. Thank you nursery nurses and Dan! Although I certainly wouldn't have minded. The lactation consultants were heaven-sent. Although I think everything they said went in one ear and right out the other since I was so overwhelmed and sleep deprived, they helped so much. 

Dan slept on the little pull-out couch. I have never seen him so tired in all my life. We were trying to find a ten minute span to talk and think about/choose his name... we couldn't find it. There were too many visitors coming in and things going on; we would get interrupted every time. The medical records lady was hounding us about turning in our paperwork... "We're not ready..." Nevertheless, we settled on a name. It was the name we had always known but I just couldn't commit. Despite being busy and so exhausting, it was a special,  magical, unforgettable two days.

I will never forget that feeling I had when I first saw him. I will never forget his fresh little smell. I just couldn't get him close enough. I will never forget how it felt to watch Dan hold him and look at him with such love and tenderness in his eyes. I will never forget the faces of my sweet parents when they first saw him. I will never forget the experience of bringing my precious first born son into this world. I am so thankful I could have that amazing experience and share it with the people who are most important to me. I am so thrilled that I get to be with these two perfect boys not just until we die, but for eternity because we have been sealed together. It was the most indescribably amazing day of my life. Knowing that I get to be with these two boys forever is the best part of my day, every day. It's this love that makes my world go round.