Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Sleep Training: Day 2

The only good thing that came out of Day 1 is that Little Guy slept fine that night. He got up twice to eat (no big deal) and promptly went back to sleep after each time, until starting his day at 7:20. I know The Book said don't let a baby sleep past 7am, but after his stressful day I figured he needed his rest (plus, what's 20 minutes anyway?).

So, Day 2. Everything is fine until I lay him down for Nap #1. Total scream-fest for the entire hour - again, no sleep. Afterward, husband and I decide to make a slight adjustment. I think I was going for too much change all at once - from the swing or our arms to the Pack & Play, unswaddled (he is swaddled at night still, for the time being, and isn't used to sleeping on his back unswaddled). For his next nap, we put him in the swing and let it soothe him to sleep. The Book says this is fine, as long as the swing is turned off after he falls asleep. I do just that and he sleeps for a little over an hour, after which he wakes up happy and smiling. Oh, sweet relief. I think I'll stick with the swing for as long as I can, which at the rate he's growing really won't be much longer!

Later, he takes a nap...in Dad's arms on the couch. According to The Book, this would be a Total Fail. But, both he was able to sleep for over an hour, which was good. The Book says sleeping in arms doesn't give babies the good restorative rest they need. I don't want Little Guy to get into the habit of sleeping in Dad's arms - it would mean hell for me when he goes TDY or deploys. But they both love it, so I guess I'll have to wean them both off it slowly.

I was really nervous to put him to bed tonight, as he screamed for 1.5 hours last night before falling asleep. Plus, I'm on my own tonight as Bryce is at work - would I have the resolve on my own to withstand that much crying??? Luckily, Little Guy cried/whimpered for only 33 minutes. And it wasn't anywhere near the intensity it reached last night. It was definitely more of the "Hey this sucks" crying as opposed to "OH MY GOD I HATE THIS COME GET ME RIGHT NOW" crying. It wasn't easy, but we did it. :)

I have another sleep book on the way - The Sleepeasy Solution by Jennifer Waldburger and Jill Spivack. I read 2 chapters online (thanks, Google Books) and I like what I read. I'm not ditching The Book - it just never hurts to have more resources!!

Monday, 27 December 2010

Sleep Training - Day 1

The time has come for Little Guy to learn how to sleep. Never thought you had to teach a baby to sleep...there's so much crap you don't know about parenting until you're in the thick of it!

We're using the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Children to help Colt learn how to sleep during the day. It involves adhering to a schedule of naps that flows with his natural sleepiness. His night sleep has been regular and predictable for quite some time, but he's never been much for day sleeping.

I thought Day 1 was going to be great at first. We woke at 6:45, and after a change and a nursing session, he slept from 7:20 - 8:30 in his swing (even put himself back to sleep a couple times even though I turned the swing off). Wow! Then we played for awhile. At about 10:00, I put him in his swing (since The Book advises no longer than 2 hours of wakefulness between naps). He cooed to himself in the mobile mirror for about 20 minutes, let out one or two small whimpers and fell asleep. What?? He only slept for about 40 minutes before he woke up crying, which usually indicates he hasn't had enough sleep. And it was downhill from there.

When we went for the afternoon nap around 12:45, he fell asleep nursing and slept for about 15 minutes in his Pack & Play, and then woke up screaming. The Book advises letting the baby cry for no longer than an hour at nap time, so we let him cry, hoping he'd fall back asleep. Yeah, right - he cried the entire hour. Longest hour of my life. The attempt at a late afternoon nap was even worse - he fell asleep nursing, but as soon as I laid him in the P&P, he woke up screaming. This time I didn't let him cry as long - The Book says a late afternoon nap might not happen and I couldn't take another hour of screaming.

Our next sleep time: bedtime. The Book advises putting babies to sleep between 6 and 8. No problem - he usually goes down around 7ish, give or take. However, he was so exhausted from today's endeavors that when I nursed him at 6:00, he was out...or so we thought. I swaddled him and laid him in his crib, just like we do every night. 20 minutes later, he was screaming. Now, this is pretty normal. It sometimes takes us one or two tries to get him to sleep. We never thought much of it. But our new method also has a prescription for night sleep: Let the baby cry it out AS LONG AS IT TAKES. Whew. For our little guy, it took an hour and a half before he fell asleep. My living room is spotless, because I couldn't just sit there and listen to his cries. It absolutely broke my heart and almost broke my resolve. Thank God Bryce is here for support.

So, we'll see how he does overnight after our first attempt at day sleep. If we're consistent, The Book claims young babies can catch on very quickly. I hope it's true.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

First visit with Santa (and don't forget to vote for Colt!)

We took Colt to visit Santa (or Father Christmas, as he's known over here!) last weekend. He's too young to really care either way, so this was mostly for Mommy. :)

In the UK, Santas aren't allowed to actually hold the kids. There was a little bench in front of him that kids could sit on, but that didn't really work for our little guy...hence the reason Mom is in the shot! Colt is also wearing the adorable bear suit Gram got him from Old Navy. It was super cold in Bury that day, but his little bear suit kept him nice and toasty.

I recently heard this song by Taylor Swift - Never Grow Up - can relate to it as a mom and as a daughter. :)

In closing...don't forget to vote for Colt!!!


Monday, 20 December 2010

Vote for Colt!

I entered Colt in the American Baby Cover Contest over at parents.com, and he's in the running to become one of the weekly Reader's Choice Finalists!!! This is the photo they selected:

Cutest little reindeer
Adorable, right? If you agree, help us win! Head over to http://photos.parents.com/category/vote/photo/640260?esrc=nwphotofaves7 and vote!

Also, if you have a blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc., please share this link and ask folks to vote for him! The more the word gets out, the better our chances!! Thank you!

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Mornings with Colt

My favorite part of the day with my baby boy has to be in the morning when he wakes up. No matter whether it's 0530 or 0800, or whether I'm cursing the early hour or wide awake, I'm instantly happy when I reach his crib. He always wakes up with a smile on his face. Our routine is pretty much the same every morning (well, except for today, funny enough):

He never makes that much noise when he wakes up, so I'm never quite sure how it wakes me up. I'm a light sleeper, but not that light (plus we have white noise playing in the room). I guess it's just I sense a change in the room or something - I'll call it my Momstinct. :) Anyway, I get up and go over to his crib. He's either squirming around or just lying there looking at his woodland animal mobile. Sometimes he makes little happy noises, especially if he's looking at the mobile. Often the swaddle is around his waist and his little arms are raised over his head in his Victory pose (like, hooray, I defeated sleep again!).
An early combo of Victory and Stiff Baby poses

I let him see me and then put my hand on his little tummy (don't want to startle the little guy too early!). As soon as he sees me, he gets the biggest grin on his face. And that's what I look forward to every morning. It's a truly beautiful sight, where his whole face lights up and his little body wiggles - he really smiles from head to toe! I say good morning and ask if he's ready to start his day, to which he responds with more wiggles and smiles. I usually give him 1 or 20 kisses on the cheeks while unwrapping the swaddle, then it's off to the changing table. He gets in a good stretch (Stiff Baby!) while I get ready to change his diaper, then it's downstairs for a meal then playtime or playtime then a meal, depending on what he wants.

I really treasure these mornings with him. Even though we spend all day together, there's something special about these moments when it's still dark out and everything feels mellow. Today was different only because he didn't wake for a nighttime feeding until 5:30am, and then didn't want to go back to bed afterward! Though my day started a bit earlier than I would have liked, the upside is that my baby boy slept through the night for the first time!

Since the above picture is from quite awhile ago (don't have any newer pics of him being stiff or victorious), here are some recent photos of my 3 month fella (who now weighs 15.5lb and is 26in long!):
New toy from Gram's advent stocking!

Playing with Rudolph

Yummy baby paper in the Bumbo!

Monday, 13 December 2010

Tummy time!

Little Guy and I hit up a tummy time class on base this morning. It went pretty well. He wasn't into the infant massage portion...guess he just wasn't in the mood! He did better at the tummy time portion...we've been doing tummy time since he was 2 weeks old and he does pretty well with it. The ladies running the class said he was ahead of what they expected for his age. That's my boy!!
Doing some drooly tummy time with his new duck toy
The rest of the day will be spent relaxing inside...it's super foggy again today and temps are below freezing. Though he did just get a wonderful fleece bear suit from Grandma. We'll have to take it for a spin sometime soon!

Friday, 10 December 2010

Another giveaway from Houghton Happenings!

Now she's reviewing items from My Baby Clothes Boutique, which has some seriously cute stuff. I've got my eye on a skull beanie or a teddy bear hat if I win the gift certificate. You should head over to Houghton Happenings and read all about it here!

Thursday, 9 December 2010

It's the little things!

Awhile ago I posted about getting serious about working out and losing this bit of baby weight that has taken up residence on my middle. The exercising is going a little slower than I had hoped, but that's the way it goes with an infant and a husband with an erratic work schedule. :) Therefore, I'm trying really hard to pay attention to the other side of weight management: nutrition.

I eat pretty healthy - whole grains instead of white, low fat dairy products, try to limit products high fructose corn syrup and trans fats, try to eat whole foods over processed foods, etc. However, I've never really paid attention to how much I eat, since I figured I worked out enough to offset any extra calories I ate. And I was correct, since my weight was pretty stable for years prior to getting pregnant. However, now that I'm trying to lose weight it's not so easy.

Counting calories is boring (and not how I want to be spending my few bits of free time), so I'm focusing more on making and celebrating small changes in my diet. For example, I tried a new healthy snack the other day: Cherry tomatoes with cream cheese and oregano on top. Delish, and better for me than if I'd scarfed a handful of Fritos. If I keep making tiny changes like that, in no time I'll have an even healthier diet - and one that will help the weight melt off.

Now, onto little things that are much cuter than diet talk...

Colt (the duck) and his BFF Nolan (the monkey)

I just love his little pants with animals on the rear

An apparently deliciuos Gloworm from Grammy

Most adorable reindeer ever

Komfort Kids!

Houghton Happenings is at it again...this time, giving away a beautiful homemade blankie from Komfort Kids. Ch-ch-check it out here.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Baby Dipper giveaway

Houghton Happenings is the bomb-diggety...she does lots of giveaways of awesome baby/kid stuff, so expect to see lots of posts about this! I'm a sucker for free, quality products...lol. :)

The latest giveaway is for the Baby Dipper, a bowl that helps toddlers learn how to feed themselves. It was developed by a mom! Check out the giveaway details here.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Lazy days...

...are a thing of my past...LOL. :)

No Mom, I will not nap
It's hard to believe I used to spend hours doing mindless things like playing The Sims 3, watching Family Guy marathons or reading a good book. What's weird is I don't even really miss doing those things (well, maybe the good book part!). Sure, I feel like I'm working harder than I ever did at any money-paying job, but it's a thousand times more rewarding. And, I really appreciate those snippets of time when Little Guy is napping (especially when it comes after 30 minutes of fussing!).

Colt and Nolan enjoying tummy time
I've started watching our friends' baby for them. Not sure if it's permanent - their regular sitter was a flake, so they canned her and I've stepped in to help for now. Their boy Nolan is about 3 weeks older than Colt. He's a really good baby and will actually sleep unswaddled on his back unlike SOME babies I know. :) Watching Nolan gives me a glimpse into what life with twins might have been like. While I enjoy watching him, I'm glad I only have one on a permanent basis!

Is this my present? Sweet!
We've started opening Christmas presents! Every year, my mom does advent stockings for us. Starting on Dec. 1, we get to open 1 present a day until Christmas. It's pretty sweet, especially since Colt is too little to open his own presents. It's like we get an extra present to open! He's opened some fun toys so far, though he's been more interested in the wrapping paper. :)

Heading to base in a bit to pick up some prescriptions, a few necessities and pizza for dinner. Then it's back home to watch Oregon take on Oregon State...if Oregon wins, they go for the national championship. Go Ducks!!

Friday, 3 December 2010

Super cute baby hat giveaway!

Houghton Happenings is hosting a giveaway from My MojoBaby! My MojoBaby is the brainchild of a fellow Air Force wife. She makes the most adorable baby hats and pacifier clips. Check out Houghton Happenings' giveaway here:


And check out My MojoBaby's shop at Etsy:


Sunday, 28 November 2010

Work, Work, Work it out!

Welp, I've decided it's time to get serious about working out. I'm in this awkward in-between stage where my maternity pants stopped fitting a week or two after giving birth, but all of my pre-preggo jeans (save for one pair) now give me horrendous muffin top (it's truly a scary sight). I feel like ounces are slowing creeping off (and yes, I mean ounces not pounds - its that slow!!), but I'm still softer than I used to be. I refuse to buy new pants for financial reasons and for plain stubbornness - if I buy pants in the next size up, that basically says I plan to stay this size. No way - I'm not giving up without a fight!

I've run a few times, which is my favorite exercise. However, it is getting frickin' freezin' over here now! While I do have tons of sweet cold weather running gear (thanks to my wonderful husband and his former job at Nike!), it's hard to go for a run with an infant and a husband who works crazy hours. It's usually dark by the time he gets home, and dark + cold + evening = time to get cozy, not run. In my book, anyway. I may look into a jogging stroller once Little Guy has better neck control and it warms up a bit (say, around May).

Until then, my best option is workout DVDs. My wonderful parents gave me P90X and I finally dug it out yesterday. I'm going to do the lean workout. I started with CardioX yesterday and did pretty well. Little Guy sat in his chair and watched Mama jump around like a fool...I think he was pretty amused until he dirtied his diaper. Once that was take care of, he let me finish the workout. I feel pretty good today...not too sore...so on to Core Synergistics!!

Friday, 26 November 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Our second Thanksgiving in England has passed. Even though we didn't share it with family back home, we had a great time with our friends at the Steinkellners' place. There was a ridiculous amount of food: turkey log, spiral ham, mashed potatoes & gravy, sweet potatoes, pineapple, green bean casserole, biscuits, cranberries and appetizers galore. Did I mention there were only 6 of us that could actually eat the food? The babies just kind of looked at everything. :)

This was the first real time Colt and Nolan met. Nolan turned 3 months yesterday - he's about 2 and a half weeks older than Colt. They weren't that interested in each other. I'd have some cute pics to post, but I left the dang camera at the Steinkellners. After dinner, we played Dance Central on the Kinect...so freaking fun. Colt even fell asleep while watching Mom make an ass of herself with it. I told Bryce that if it soothes the baby to sleep, we HAVE to get it. ;)

Today, we woke up to a light dusting of snow. I really hope it stays that way, even though the weathermen have been saying we could get heavy snow this weekend. I'm such a weenie when it comes to winter driving - even more so now that we have a baby in the car! These tiny British roads are treacherous enough on a sunny day - forget about a snowy, icy night!

Thanksgiving is past, but I still give thanks for my life. It's not always the easiest right now, but I'm still very fortunate. I have my husband, who gives me strength when I don't have any. I have my health. I have wonderful friends, both near and far. I have an incredible family who has always supported me. I have a sweet and super fluffy kitty who loves me unconditionally. I was able to finish my Masters degree this year, something I wasn't so sure about last year. I have a warm house and plenty of food. Last but not least, I have a healthy, handsome baby boy, who can melt my heart with a single look. I am truly blessed. :)

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Giveaway over at The Rogue Milspouse

Laura at The Rogue Milspouse has some super cute prizes to give away! Check it out!


Thursday, 18 November 2010

A few recent pictures!

Hanging out with his owls - Nov 10 2010

He loves his daddy! Nov 12 2010

Quack, quack! Nov 1 2010

Baby yawns! Nov 2 2010

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

First vaccinations

Colt had his 2 month well baby visit today...and boy is he well! My big strapping guy is 25.25 inches long and weighs in at 13lb, 15oz. He's in the 95th percentiles for both length and weight. The visit went well - no problems for him. I got scolded (basically) for not following up with EDIS about getting his left ear checked (it didn't pass at birth, though the nurses said their equipment is old and this happens often). I kept waiting for the call and eventually forgot about it - he seems to hear just fine. Well, apparently they like to have all babies checked before 1 month and now he's missed that mark. I feel bad enough that I haven't followed up on this - I don't need the guilt trip from someone who I suspect does not have any children of her own. Maybe I'm wrong for blaming my forgetfulness on the fact that I've been learning how to parent an infant for the past 2 months, but it hasn't exactly been easy! I don't think I really like that pediatrician - she's a good doctor and she's great with him, but she's not as good with the parents, in my opinion. Hopefully we'll get someone else for his 4-month visit!

Then after that, he had his first set of vaccinations. I'm a firm believer in and supporter of vaccinations, so I'm happy that he got them. But hearing his screams when the needles went in nearly killed me. This was the first time I've seen tears come out of his eyes. Usually when he cries, his eyes get really bright and wet looking, but I'd yet to see any tears fall. Today, there were some damp spots under his eyes. Heartbreaking. He also does this thing where he holds his breath until his face turns different shades of red and then lets out a huge scream - it terrified me the first time he did it. Now it still scares me, but I can handle it (except today). I didn't get to comfort him right after it as much as I would have liked, 'cause I had to get him back in his seat before I could leave (I was on my own; Bryce was sleeping since he works 11p - 7a now). He nursed when he got home, which made us both feel better. He's been crankier than usual, but I don't know if that's due to the vaccines or the fact that he hadn't taken much of a nap today. He's sleeping on Dad right now, which always makes him happy.

Tomorrow we start trying to get him to sleep in other places besides Mom or Dad's laps during the day (since we could be forming bad habits by letting him sleep there all the time). I didn't want to start today 'cause I figured he'd had enough stress without letting him cry it out at naptime. That's something I'm really not looking forward to, but I guess it's a necessary evil. I'm sure it'll be worse for me than him. :)

Monday, 8 November 2010

Midshift sucks; baby's voice does not

Bryce is on midshift for at least the next 2 weeks, which means he works 11p - 7a. UGH. It's hard on him to be up all night and try to sleep during the day. Today he slept from 8a - 2p. Only 6 hours, but not bad for the first time. Colt actually slept better than I did on our first night alone. I kept having weird dreams and waking up all freaked out, while he slept like a log until about 3a. I like to think I'm a strong woman, and I am, but I really don't like being alone at night. :)

Colt will be 8 weeks tomorrow...in 6 days he'll be a full 2 months. He's still sleeping like a champ (which I'm so thankful for). He's been pretty fussy during the day lately, but today was a good day. I'm slowly starting to see a routine emerge. He likes to eat, play a little bit and then fall asleep (well, he doesn't like falling asleep but it happens). Repeat. :)

He's starting to find his voice, which is so darling. His little gurgles and coos just melt my heart, especially when they're paired with his big, enthusiastic smile. We have several conversations throughout the day, usually shortly before he goes to sleep. I'm so excited that this will continue and increase as the days go by!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

7 weeks!

My baby boy is 7 weeks old today! We measured him the other day and think he's about 24 inches long...not sure how much he weighs, but he's firmly in 3 month sizes, so he's at least over 12.5 lbs! He's even grown out of some companies' 3 month sizes (there's even a pack of Gerber 3-6 month size onesies he never got to wear - they were already too small for him shortly after birth!).
Happy Halloween! Oct 31 2010

He fights sleep so much these days. I can see the signs of sleepiness - droopy eyes, rubbing his face in my shoulder (as if to rub the sleepies out!), but it's a fight to get him to actually close those eyes! I've learned what true panic is: when the sleeping baby in the swing spits out his pacifier and starts to wake up. You have about 10 seconds to get the pacifier back in before the baby wakes up and the nap is history. Luckily, Mom moves quickly! :)
My little prize fighter :)
He's becoming more alert these days. When he's not fighting sleep, he's such a smiley, happy boy. He's so curious about the world - he'll be still and study something new for so long. He tracks faces and things with his eyes and head, and turns his head towards the sources of noises. The first time he did that was on a Skype date with Grandpa Tom. Colt was super fussy, so Grandpa started whistling. Not only did Colt stop fussing, but he looked over at the computer to find the source of the whistling! That was at almost 6 weeks.
Smiley, happy boy in the mornings
Another note about the swing: when the music shuts off, you have about 3 seconds to turn it back on before baby wakes up and doesn't want to go back to sleep. Ergh. :)

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Naps...I love them, my child hates them :)

Barely 5 1/2 weeks old and my baby already hates naps. Actually, he just hates sleep in general. He will fight falling asleep until he pretty much passes out. We swaddle him at night and it helps, even though he fights that too (probably knows it will put him to sleep). Unfortunately, he's getting too strong for his swaddle and can easily wriggle his little arms out, so today is the first day I'm trying to help him learn to sleep without it. I'm starting with his daytime naps, figuring that if he learns to sleep in his crib without a swaddle during the day, it won't be such a fight when/if I try it at night. So far, that means he takes a 3 minute power nap, flails himself awake and then I have to help him calm down so he'll fall back asleep.

This might just be karma...apparently I hated sleep as a baby, too. My parents always tell me how I wanted to be awake all the time, afraid I'd miss something. Well, I guess that's hereditary 'cause that's exactly how Colt is. My baby boy is just too curious about the world for naps! :)

Friday, 15 October 2010

One month later...

...and I'm still madly in love with my little man. :)

I can't believe we've had him with us that long already! Time is flying by. My parents left on Sept 21, and then Bryce's parents, brother and sister came on Oct. 2 to visit for a week. The past couple of days have been my first "official" days as a full-time mom. It's challenging and tiring caring for a newborn, but so worth it. He has started smiling in response to my voice, which is the best feeling in the world. He also can lift his head up pretty high and hold it up there for quite some time. He's a very strong little baby! He's also doing pretty good at night. After his last feed at night, he'll sleep for 3.5 - 5 hours at a stretch, which is nice for Mom. :) After that, he'll get up every 2 hours or so. Lately he acts wide awake around 4am, but luckily I've been able to convince him to go back to sleep for a few hours!
I had hoped to update this blog more, but life with a newborn does not allow much time for anything besides the newborn! He prefers to be held all the time while awake (which Mom has no problem with!), but insists that I walk around with him. If I sit down, he fusses. I think he gets bored staring at the wall, couch or Mom's face while we're sitting. The only problem is that he is a big boy and my arms get tired! The plus side is that I'm getting some nice definition in my upper arms. He also likes going up and down the stairs, so at least I'm burning some extra calories! He's been having some problems with gas bubbles, so we got him some Infacol (the UK version of Mylicon). It seems to be helping him a bit (and helping Mom too so I don't get yelled at so much during meals!). I also started infant massage. He liked it at first, but I think I took too long (had to reference the book for some of the strokes) because he got fussy and we cut it short. I'll get better, though, and I think it will be a nice experience for us to share.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Colt's Birth Story

In the 12 days since my last post, I've had a baby! Here is the story of how he entered the world. :)

The due date came and went. On Friday the 10th, I went in for my last OB check-up. The news? No progress had been made since the last appointment. I was still only 1cm dilated. This was pretty disappointing and made the induction more likely. I know the end result is the same, but I had really hoped to go into spontaneous labor and let the baby decide when he wanted to come out.

The induction kicked off on Monday, Sept 13 with the placement of a Foley catheter balloon. This balloon is placed in the cervix and filled with water until its diameter is 4cm. The idea is that it mechanically opens the cervix to at least 4cm (at which point, the balloon falls out). It's a very weird sensation - not exactly painful, but not the most comfortable thing to sleep with. I was very excited when it fell out around midnight that night. Whoo hoo! Dilated to at least 4cm finally!!

All hooked up, ready to go!
The next part of the induction started at the next morning. We arrived at the hospital on Sept 14 at 0630. I was so excited - that was the day I'd finally meet our baby! I got all strapped into the hospital bed, with a monitor for Colt's heartbeat and a monitor for my contractions. They started my IV and got me all hydrated before starting the Pitocin at 0800. Then, we sat there and waited for the contractions to begin. I also learned that I was dilated to not 4cm, but 6cm!! We started to get excited, hoping our little man would be with us in just a few short hours. However...

Waiting for the Pitocin to kick in
Last pic before we're parents
...the rest of the morning was actually pretty uneventful. My contractions did get more intense, but they were manageable. I had really wanted to avoid having an epidural, and I was pretty pleased with how I was doing with the pain so far. And then...my water broke. At 1:00, we heard a pop (Bryce even heard it) and then a huge gush of liquid. It startled me so much I almost started crying! The nurse advised me that my contractions would get more intense and painful, since I now did not have the amniotic sac to dull them. Boy, was she ever right. I tried to manage the pain with my breathing, but by about 2:30 I couldn't take it anymore and asked for the epidural. Now that was painful. In between contractions, I was getting poked in the back with needles and cords. The anesthesiologist had to do it twice because the first one only went down my left side, leaving me with lopsided, painful contractions on my right side. Because I had held out for so long (my midwife said I lasted longer than about 90% of women before requesting the drugs) and apparently have a high tolerance for pain, they had to dose me with quite a bit of meds to catch up to my pain. The result? Complete and total numbness from the waist down. It's quite a freaky experience - I had to try really hard not to think about it or I'd freak out!

Anyway, besides freaking me out about my legs, the epidural also rendered my contractions painless. Sweet relief! It also helped me dilate from about 7cm to 9.5cm in a few short hours, since I was so relaxed. At 7pm, they dialed the pain meds back because I started pushing! Since I couldn't feel anything, it was hard to know if my pushing was doing anything. After about an hour, I started getting some feeling back and it made pushing easier. Bryce and one of the nurses had to hold my legs for me, since I couldn't feel them let alone hold them up! After an hour and a half, I was really frustrated with what I perceived as a lack of progress. One of the nurses set up a mirror so I could see the action...and I realized I was much closer to holding my baby boy than I'd realized. I could see and feel the top of his head. This definitely helped motivate me, and at 8:59 pm Colt Bryce McCall entered the world.

Colt Bryce McCall
Our boy was a strapping 10lb, 3oz and 22 inches long. How this man-child fit inside my 5'6" frame, I'll never understand. But I'm so glad he did, because he is absolutely perfect. He came out with a good amount of dark brown hair, and so far his eyes are a dark bluish-gray. I think he has my husband's eyes and lips, and my nose and dimples. He's not chubby, like you might expect from his birth weight. He's very solidly built and perfectly proportional. We're not sure where his size comes from, because there is no history of large babies or tall people on either sides of our families.

Our new family
I instantly fell in love with this handsome little man. Nothing in the world matters to me when I have him in my arms. Going through this experience with my husband bonded us in a way I hadn't imagined - he was an amazing birth partner and already is an incredible Dad. My "Next Step" is finally here, and it couldn't feel more right.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

The Waiting Game

Well, the due date has come and gone, and still no little man! I'm not too surprised, given that my original due date was 12 Sept and they changed it to 6 Sept after the first ultrasound. In fact, one of the OB docs told me I would probably go past the 6th - something about the providers being more confident in their ultrasound skills than trusting in Mother Nature! Which made me chuckle a bit, because I've had similar thoughts. That stupid wheel they use to set the due date assumes every woman has a regular, 28 day cycle, which is so far from the truth. And, when the provider set our due date of 6 Sept, it literally took her about 10 minutes to decide whether it should be the 6th or the 7th. Bryce and I sat there and looked at her while she deliberated with herself, trying to choose the date. We were like, Really? Does it require that much thought? 'Cause the chances of him actually coming on either one of those dates are slim to none. And, since today is the 7th, it's sliding more towards none. :)

While we're waiting, we're trying to show my parents what it's like living in England for us...which is a lot mellower than they're used to, I think! On the days that Bryce works, we're pretty much stuck on Feltwell since we only have one car. I can take him to work and keep the car for us, but I'm afraid to venture too far from base without Bryce ('cause if I went into labor, there'd be no one to drive us home!). I think they're adjusting to my sleepy home life - taking walks, watching TV (college football season started, so that's keeping my dad occupied), reading. At home they're usually go, go, go, so hopefully it's a nice break for them! They had their first pub experience on their second day in the country - fish & chips all around! We met our friends Kaitie & Austin, along with another England newbie, Carley, who had just PCSed into Lakenheath that day (literally - K & A picked her up at Heathrow and met us at the pub not long after they got back to the village!).

Last weekend, we did try to pack in some sightseeing. On Saturday we went to Bury St Edmunds, since they have their market then. We toured the gardens and the cathedral, as well as showed them Asda (one of our favorite places to buy produce, lol). Sunday, we spent walking around Cambridge, checking out all the colleges and architecture. It's nice to do all this again with my parents, who are seeing it with fresh eyes. I guess we've gotten a little blasé about buildings that were built before America was even discovered, which is kind of sad to say. The other highlight of our Cambridge trip was lunch at Nando's - oh, how I love the peri-peri chicken at Nando's. Super delish. Bryce actually had yesterday off for Labor Day (often, the flightline workers won't get days off that the rest of the base does), so we had lunch with a bunch of friends at Webb's in Mildenhall village. Webb's is our go-to place for lunch at the vet clinic, and Bryce had never experienced it. Best paninis in the world. I'm sure the rest of their menu is phenomenal, but I've never been able to resist the call of The Italian to experience it. :)

Whoops, sounds like my man just snuck in the door a little earlier than I thought he would. Let's hope his son follows suit...LOL. Cheers!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

My parents are here!

My parents arrived safely in the U.K. today! After some terminal snafus at Heathrow, we collected them and made the long drive back to Lakenheath. We gave them a quick tour of Lakenheath before heading over to our house on Feltwell. They're pretty exhausted after the 10.5 hour flight, so not too long after making it home they disappeared for a nap. It is so nice to have them here!!

On the baby front, we're making progress! I'm 1cm dilated as of the OB appointment yesterday, which is super exciting! I don't know when I'll go into labor, but at least I know my body is thinking about it! Now that my parents are here, I'm ready for him to come - bring on the long walks, lunges and squats!!

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Preparations underway!

It's the last weekend before my parents get here! And that means...cleaning. Whomp whomp! :) Actually my nesting tendencies have kicked in, so I don't mind it too much. It's good to give the house a nice thorough cleaning before the baby comes anyway...can't bring the little guy home to a dirty house (he'll see plenty of that for the rest of his life!!). His room is pretty much set up - got the changing table arranged and made sure I had all the diapering necessities within easy reach. The crib will be in our room for several months - for his safety and also because his room doubles as the guest bedroom while my parents are here.

Our friends just had their little boy a few days ago. Bryce went to basic training and part of tech school with Adam, and he met Mallory over here in England. It was quite the shock the day we told those two we were pregnant...because their response was, So are we! Their little boy Nolan is so adorable. We went to see him when he was about 9 hours old. It was weird to hold him and think that we would have one of our own very soon. It made both Bryce and I all the more excited!

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Having faith in the universe

One of my favorite quotations of all time is "Faith sees what the eyes cannot." I saw it on a church message board once and it just stuck. I think it stuck because I have a hard time with having faith and patience. I can be impetuous at times and get frustrated if I don't get what I want RIGHT NOW. I suppose that's human nature. :)

I try to remember that my life is running on a different timeline than the one I have planned for it. Death Cab for Cutie said it best in their song What Sarah Said: every plan is a tiny prayer to father time. We can make all the plans in the world, but watch out if those plans don't coincide with what the universe has planned! Any time things don't work out as I planned, I try to remember that the universe may be trying to tell me something. Like, when I applied to nursing schools for three years in a row and never got accepted, I realized that maybe I wasn't meant to be a nurse. Now I have 2 degrees in public health and I am enthralled with its study and practice. Most recently, I've been trying to find a job in my field of public health. Not so easy on an Air Force base, and after a year of applying to many different jobs, I've gotten one call back in July for a temp job that would have ended in September. So frustrating. Since I am about to have our first child, I'm wondering if the universe is saying that I shouldn't work right now; that maybe my place is at home with our baby. I like the idea of staying home with him; it's just that I've worked since I was 17 and I have a hard time not contributing financially to our family. But I think being a good mom is the most important job I'll ever have, so maybe I should listen to the universe again and quit trying to find employment outside the home...for now. :)

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Here we go...

So what is this "next step" that I've been so ready for? Mommyhood! Today I am 38 weeks pregnant with our first child - a little boy. I've felt ready for a child for quite some time, so to be on the brink of having one is very exciting.

My husband and I have been married for almost 3 years. He joined the Air Force in February 2009 - partly so that we could better afford to have a child. There were other reasons as well, of course, but free health care and a guaranteed living wage for at least four years was a compelling reason. Imagine our surprise when we found out our first duty station after his tech school was RAF Lakenheath in England. We had hoped to go international at some point in his career, but didn't expect it so soon! It's been an adjustment, but we are enjoying living over here. Plus, it's pretty neat that our son will be born in a different country, with the possibility of dual citizenship (still need to check on that, though).

Even though we moved overseas midway through my graduate program, I managed to finish my Master of Public Health degree in June 2010, thanks to a crammed Summer 2009 schedule, online classes, a few flexible professors and a very dedicated advisor. It's hard to find a job in my field over here (the base is out in the countryside, 2 hours outside of London), which has been frustrating. I'm torn between wanting to be a stay-at-home mom while my baby is young, and using this degree that I worked so hard for, that's in a field I'm really passionate about. Not to mention the student loans that are hanging over my head. :)

I finally feel inspired to write again - now that my life is about to change so much. Moving to England was a big change, but I don't think it'll compare to caring for a tiny human. Hopefully you'll find my journey as interesting as I do!