Tag Archives: baby update

Audrey’s One Month Old Update

It’s been a while since I’ve checked in, but I figured Audrey’s first month of life was a good enough reason to come on and update you!

I’ve been asked similar questions by a lot of folks this month, so I will answer them here as a sort of baby update and postpartum update in FAQ’s.

How is she eating? Audrey is breastfed a majority of the time via pumped milk in a bottle, with the occasional formula supplement. She had problems latching right after birth, so we developed a routine in the hospital of using a nipple shield to attempt breastfeeding, followed by formula to supplement, and I’d pump to initiate healthy production (a routine that was great for those early days in the hospital… not realistic at all when we got home). Audrey had a tongue tie that we did get clipped early on, but it did not help with latching (I’m still glad we did it; tongue ties can lead to speech problems later on in life, along with needing painful and repetitive procedures).

Attempting the breast was stressful, tear-filled and exhausting for both me and Audrey. I finally decided to put away the fight and the feelings of guilt that I wasn’t able to nurse naturally (similar to the guilt I felt needing to have a c-section) — I’ve realized that a huge part of becoming a parent is putting aside your “ideals” and ignoring those voices in your head that tell you that you’re doing it all wrong. Just like with the c-section, the need to pump and supplement was so much easier to accept because I wanted her to be healthy and happy, regardless of what I wanted.

Now, I pump 7-8 times per day to provide her with breast milk for most of her feedings, supplementing with formula every now and then when it is more convenient or if she needs to sleep. The truth is, I feel just as bonded with her on the other side of a bottle as I would if she were directly on my chest. God bless women who can nurse their babies naturally; direct nursing (or my attempt at it anyway) actually brought on resentment, depression, and chaos for me, so bottle feeding (with or without breast milk) is what makes us both happy! (Plus, Alex is able to help out with feedings … a huge blessing for us!)

How is she sleeping? Her stretches of sleep at night are getting longer and longer, where we will only get up once around 2 or 3 am to feed her, then not again until 6 or 7 am. It’s awesome! But, this also means that sleeping during the day is spotty for her. She is easily over-stimulated and distracted so it is hard to put her down for naps. (However, as I type this, she is going on her third hour of sleep in the middle of the day … seems to be the calm before the storm!)

What fun things have happened this month? She is growing so fast! She’s able to hold her head up for a while when we hold her or when she is on the floor for tummy time. She is showing signs of beginning to smile in response to stimuli.

Audrey has already gotten out of the house a few times this month. We brought her to church a couple times (and she slept through the whole service), and she’s been out for trips to see family (my Grandma’s 87th birthday, a lake day at my aunt and uncle’s house).

She has already pooped and thrown up on me, so literally nothing grosses me out anymore.

So many family members and friends have visited us to see her and to just make sure we are fed, which has our cups overflowing with gratitude.

What’s my favorite part of being a mommy? Seeing a sincere curiosity in her eyes is amazing. We have been watching her take everything in as her vision and reflexes / responses get more and more refined every day. It’s pretty cool!

I also have just loved seeing Alex come into being a daddy. It happened right away in the hospital; as I laid on the operating table, waiting to see the baby, Alex was watching her intently, holding her gently, and smiling from ear to ear … which he still does every time he sees her.

How is recovery going for me? Great! I am already below my pre-pregnancy weight (a huge benefit of breastfeeding) and my incision has healed up nicely. I will be back at work in about a month; until then, I’m eating and resting when I can, and soaking up these early weeks with my baby during the day.

xo,
Jan

Welcome, Baby Audrey!

Audrey Marie, with the sweetest face we ever did see!

Our sweet baby Audrey made her arrival on Monday, July 3rd, 2017 at 8:12am via a scheduled c-section. She weighed 8 pounds, 3 ounces and was 19 inches long. She is healthy, freaking adorable, and has changed our lives forever. I am giving as many details as I can remember because I want to remember this story down the road, and I’ve always loved reading/hearing people’s baby delivery stories! (Note: Her eyes are closed in many of the photos because she is already a super-sleeper! I’m sure you’ll see many more photos of her pretty eyes in the near future.)

Watching Alex become a daddy has been, by far, one of the greatest joys I’ll ever experience.

Why a scheduled c-section?

When I was 36 weeks pregnant, Audrey was still breech and I had some decisions to make because we were coming close to her due date. My doctor offered to do an external cephalic version (ECV) at week 37; this is a procedure where I would’ve been kept on monitors at the hospital while they tried to manually turn the baby from breech to head-down position. I considered it for all of maybe 30 minutes; after running through it over and over with Alex, we decided it was a no-go. My OB was very honest with me about the ECV — she said that first-time moms have less than a 50% success rate with ECV’s because of the tightness of the uterus. So we would be paying for a hospital visit with a huge risk that the procedure wouldn’t even work. Moreover, she said that there is also always the risk that, if baby’s heart rate dropped drastically during the procedure, I’d have to have an emergency c-section right then. What an anxiety attack waiting to happen! I was not necessarily excited about the idea of scheduling a c-section (I was pretty animated about having a vaginal birth from the beginning), but if I could be sure that we had a safe way to bring baby into the world (and give her until week 39 to grow, instead of risking it at week 37), then I was going to do it.

I cried for a couple of days over the idea of a c-section but, again, I knew in my heart that my “picture perfect” delivery experience was all in vain if it risked her health and safety. Standing here on the other side of the c-section now, I wouldn’t trade the delivery experience we had for anything. I wish I could go back in time and comfort myself with this four weeks ago.

Basically all we did for four days in the hospital was stare at her in awe!

Delivery Day!

So, a scheduled c-section it was. Our surgery was at 7:30am on Monday, July 3rd. We were told to arrive at the hospital two hours early for pre-op preparation and monitoring. I had to abstain from eating or drinking anything after midnight the night before my surgery. People told me to get lots of sleep … yeah right. It felt a lot like the night before my wedding day: the anticipation for the events to come was so overwhelming I could barely even let go long enough to close my eyes. So I probably got … four hours of sleep, tops.

We spent July 4th in the hospital — an Independence Day I’ll never forget!

Once we made it to the hospital, I was put in a gown and on monitors to watch my contractions and baby’s heart rate. I was given an IV for fluids and my OB checked Audrey’s position on the ultrasound — still breech (which, at this point, was relieving; if she had flipped, they would’ve sent me to labor and delivery to start Pitocin and I would’ve had a much more miserable waiting-game delivery experience).

I was brought into the OR first so that they could prep me and administer the spinal block (not nearly as bad as the IV needle, I can promise you that). After I was numb, they hung up a drape, brought Alex in, and the rest is a little bit of a mystery (which I’m sure was intentional on their part). I didn’t feel any nausea during the procedure; just tugging and pulling in my abdomen and a little bit of shakiness from the morphine.

Here she is, less than an hour old!

I don’t know how much time passed by — Alex kept me distracted and comforted, as did the nurse anesthetist. She’d warn me when there was going to be a particularly startling push or tug, and she let me know when she could see the baby emerging. “Oh, I see a foot!;” “We’ve got two feet!;” “You’re going to feel one big push and she’ll be here!”

Audrey’s c-section birth was even more beautiful than I could’ve asked for!

They invited Alex to look over the drape to see her. He was speechless, and his face showed a combination of shock and awe (he said he was caught off-guard by all the vernix coating on her skin, but simultaneously fascinated by seeing the baby in real life right before him). Suddenly, I could hear her cry and immediately I started yanking on Alex’s hand and bawling my eyes out. They wiped away a lot of the cheesy vernix from her skin, wrapped her up and brought her to me. The next ten or fifteen minutes were absolutely blissful, even with my body strapped to the table and being shaken and stirred — I didn’t notice any of it. That moment was so incredibly indescribable and emotional… I’ve been a little weepy when I think about it ever since!

Sometimes, when she’s sleeping, we get to see the most precious little smirk.

So here we are with a healthy, precious baby girl! We are still figuring everything out, but we are amazed every moment at how much has changed because of her, for the better. Alex and I have bonded more, our self-centeredness has all but disappeared, and we have grown so much in gratitude for the life God gave us and the people He has put in our lives to support us and love us well.

So, welcome to the world, baby Audrey. We are so, so in love with you, and we cannot wait to see what’s in store!

There’s those pretty eyes!

xo,
Jan

My Very First First-Trimester

Yay! I am happy to announce that my husband and I are expecting our very first Hooper baby! (Right now, we are nearly 13 weeks.)

Now that I am further along and we’ve announced the good news to our loved ones, I am excited to share with y’all the process we’ve gone through the last few months. It is also my wish that I would mostly have these types of posts to look back on in the future. I won’t only post about baby stuff from now on, so if you aren’t interested in this stuff, don’t fret! I’m keeping my vision for this blog pretty open.

Side-note: I know it has been a long time since I’ve posted; my life has been in constant ebb-and-flow recently (mostly having to do with my career and my inability to make confident decisions), so I’ll have to update you on that at a later date. Hopefully this happy post makes up for my absence!

I made this photo using the PicMonkey app on my phone! Free, and simple!

Monday, October 31, 2016
I went in to the gynecologist for an “irregular bleeding” appointment. [Brief, yet maybe TMI back story: I stopped taking my oral contraception at the end of August because we wanted to start trying; I had a light (yet certain) period the first week of September, and never had a period after that. I attempted using an app on my phone to calculate when I was ovulating, but it’s obvious to me now how completely unreliable my cycle was (and always has been, honestly) and how tracking every single symptom into that app was a complete waste of time. So days and weeks went by past my period due-date. All the while, every home pregnancy test I took–and I took a lot–was a bold-faced negative.] So, on Halloween, I finally had an appointment with the doctor; my blood pressure was perfect and they even got a negative urine test from me. I sat down with her and told her everything I’d been experiencing. She recommended a blood pregnancy test at their lab that day, though she doubted a urine test would come up negative and a blood test come up positive. I was relieved to hear that I’d get a blood test, because I knew that if there were ANY trace of HCG in my system, the blood test would probably catch it. (Bonus: my blood was drawn by a woman dressed as a witch, so that helped.)

Friday, November 4, 2016
Finally, the end of this most agonizing and anxiety-ridden week had arrived. I left a voicemail with the office so that they would (hopefully) prioritize my blood test results; yeah, I’m annoyingly Type A like that. I decided to hang out with a friend that day and try to forget about my lingering results. I had also, by this point, resolved that my body was adjusting to not being on birth control, and that my next appointment at the gynecologist would be for progesterone treatments to trigger my cycle, not for pregnancy.

When my friend and I were in the car, my phone rang. I answered, as coolly as possible, and was absolutely breath-taken when the nurse on the line told me that my blood test came back positive for pregnancy. My HCG levels were low (around 352, putting my gestation at no more than 3 weeks) but those numbers were certainly there. My body was, without any doubt, at the beginning of pregnancy. I cried. I cried a lot. My poor friend — she congratulated me (knowing that the news I’d received was good news) but wasn’t sure how to respond to the news, being that she knew before my husband even knew! I was grateful to have her with me in the moment, though.

The nurse on the phone asked me to come in for a follow-up blood test that day so that we could be sure the numbers were rising throughout the week. Still in shock, I dropped my friend off and was left with my own racing thoughts for the day. Plot twist: Alex (my husband) was on his way back from Iowa, in the car with his dad and guys from church, so I couldn’t tell him yet. Plus, I knew I wanted to tell him in person… it was just so hard to wait! I went to the doctor and got my blood drawn again and came home, only able to stare at the wall for four hours, still in shock.

Alex arrived home later that afternoon, and all I had for him was the print-out of the blood test results. (I always had an image in my head of revealing it with a cutesy picture of me holding a positive home pregnancy test… but I never actually got one of those. Throw everything Pinterest has allowed you to dream about and just toss it.) I had the blood test results taped to the bathroom mirror, assuming that would be the soonest he would see it. When he finally got home, he was not sensing my urgency to get him upstairs and unpacked. He wanted to do some yard work, play with the dog… basically a bunch of USELESS activities compared to the news I wanted to share with him.

He eventually looked up from playing with the dog and said “hey did you hear from the doctor today?” The best I could do was not answer his question, and silently gesture for him to follow me to the bathroom (in that good ole’ awkward Jan fashion), where I took the blood test results off the mirror and showed them to him. He was very shocked, almost in disbelief, but eventually he hugged me and it was a great feeling for both of us to just sit in this moment. We sat in that moment for a long time. We are still sitting in that moment, actually!

Monday, November 7, 2016
Monday morning, I did that Type-A thing again where I called the doctor’s office as soon as they opened and left a voicemail so that they would prioritize my test results. A few hours later, they called me and very excitedly let me know that my numbers jumped significantly from Monday to Friday the week previous. I thought that they’d say something like yeah, so we think you are ___ weeks along, we will see you at 12 weeks. Nope. The doctors’ office wanted me to come in that day to get my first vaginal ultrasound. I was so excited to hear that we would actually get an ultrasound this early, because I’d heard that doesn’t happen often. [First lesson learned: do NOT trust the internet, basically ever. Other women’s experiences will always be different from yours, too, but it’s better to eliminate at least the anonymous stranger factor that online forums offer.] I had Alex come home from work so that he could go with me to the ultrasound.

Five-Week Ultrasound

We were able to see the gestational sack, the yolk sack, and very faint evidence of the embryo (pictured above). It was still too early to hear a heartbeat, so we were a little bummed about that. However, we were on cloud nine to have our first glimpse at the Little Nugget (as he/she will henceforth be referred). The ultrasound tech estimated that we were about 5 weeks along at this point, and wanted us to come in one week later to check for growth and a possible heartbeat.

As soon as we left, we started planning our reveal to close family and friends. We wanted to keep it as minimal as possible, being that we were so early in the pregnancy. I have plenty of family and friends who’ve had miscarriages (some early, some late), all so heartbreaking and enough to turn me into a worry-wart. I know that choosing to not tell people doesn’t mean it won’t happen; I am trying to find a healthy balance since I am definitely an over-planner, and forward-minded individual. I don’t want to get way ahead of myself, but I also don’t want to dismiss all the exciting feelings that come with pregnancy (and my first pregnancy, at that).

I resorted, after consulting with Alex, to tell my mom first. If anything were to happen, good or bad, the one other person I would want to share it with other than Alex would for sure be my mom, a woman who has been through the good, the bad, and the ugly. Plus, she knows my personality and she knows what truths I need and how to talk me down when I’m freaking out. My method for telling people, I decided, would be quick and subtle. For example, when I got to my mom’s house that afternoon after the ultrasound, she told me she was preparing for a doctors’ appointment that day. I said “oh, that’s funny, I went to the doctor today too” and pulled out the ultrasound picture to show her. She freaked. And cried. It was awesome.

We told the rest of my family that evening. They all freaked. Also awesome. My parents are going to be grandparents, and my three younger brothers are going to be uncles — all for the first time; I was so thrilled to share the news with them.

Friday, November 11, 2016
We had been attempting all week to tell Alex’s mom and sister the news. My father-in-law was out of town, so we constantly went back and forth on waiting to tell them until they were all together. We kept coming back to wanting to tell my mother-in-law and sister-in-law as soon as possible. We tried multiple times to have an excuse to go over and surprise them with the news, but it kept falling through. Finally, on Friday, Alex had the day off. We went to see Doctor Strange (awesome) and met his sister and mom afterwards for lunch. I had bought a Christmas bib from Target that said “Grandma’s Joy” and presented it and the ultrasound to them. I know that they wished my father-in-law was there, but really, it’s his fault that he was gone for so long. 😉

Monday, November 14, 2016
Alex and I went to our second ultrasound, where we finally caught a glimpse of a heartbeat of 123 bpm! We watched Little Nugget flutter on the screen (it was a vaginal ultrasound, so we could only watch the heartbeat, not hear it) and I fell in love, seriously. The tech put us at 6 weeks 1 day, with an official due date of July 9, 2017.

Six-Week Ultrasound

My father-in-law arrived back in town in the evening, and we were already over at their house, waiting, so we could tell him the news. Being a man who is seemingly impossible to surprise, he walked in the door and within 30 seconds guessed that we were there to announce that we were pregnant. Still, he was very excited to be affirmed in his assumptions. Finally, our immediate families knew and we could relax with pregnancy reveals for a while.

So, how’ve I been feeling? I get asked this a lot. I appreciate these check-ins because they keep me light-hearted about the good (and not-so-good) symptoms I’ve been experiencing.

Nausea – I haven’t been able to confidently call myself nauseous, more queasy and un-appetized. I never feel hungry; I usually have to force myself to start eating and then I’ll develop an appetite. But my stomach always feels just full and bloated. I feel okay in the morning; it usually hits me around 10 am and lasts until around dinner time every day. Nothing settles it, really. I’ve tried all the ginger and peppermint and saltines that I could get my hands on, but nothing really ever helps.

Exhaustion – Of all of my symptoms, this is the one that I cannot wait to pass. I wake up very groggy, and I’m normally a morning person. Any productivity lasts for about half an hour before I need to sit down and relax. I’ve never known a tiredness like this; it is almost painful.

That “pregnancy glow” – *fart noise* Yeah, this hasn’t happened for me (yet). My acne is worse than it was before pregnancy, my hair is brittle, and my nails are soft. I am taking a monstrosity of a prenatal vitamin prescribed by my doctor; I hope it is doing its work on the inside, because I can’t see any benefits right now on the outside.

Cravings – These come and go; as I said before, I really don’t have an appetite, so I hardly ever “crave” food, whether it be healthy or unhealthy. I’ve had a significant increase in appreciation for the following, however: sausage-egg-cheese biscuits, ramen noodles, grape tomatoes, naval oranges, and water. So. Much. Water.

Mood swings – Yeah, these have been around. Most of the time, I am upset about something pregnancy related (like a weird pain in my hip, or the fact that SOMEONE AROUND HERE HAS EGGS AND IT’S MAKING ME SICK). I can feel these emotions starting to taper off a little bit, but they seem to just be culminating in a tendency of mine to randomly burst into tears a couple of times a week.

And that’s about it! I am growing steadily; Alex and I went in for an OB appointment this week and got to hear a 154 bpm heartbeat! Alex’s reaction when it came through the speaker was a smile I don’t think I’ll ever forget! We are nervous, but so so excited to be on this new adventure!