Friday, June 28, 2013

How I got my child to sleep through the night at 5 weeks.

I'm excited to write this one. Probably because I'm extra proud of coming up with something that worked so well for us and to share it with people who want to know :)

Let me start off by saying.. 5 weeks is young for a baby to sleep through the night. Usually they are still eating several times through the night at that point, but we got permission from our pediatrician because Abigail has been a really good eater. She is already well over 10lbs.. oink oink ;)

Also, 'through the night' does not mean the same thing for big people and little people. When I say 'through the night' it means that we put her down at 9:30pm and she sleeps until 4:30am. Good enough for me!

When we brought A-bomb home from the hospital, it was rough (post coming). I struggled with where to have her sleep, because the second night home she kicked herself out of her swaddle and turned herself over on her belly. No, no, double no! All I wanted to do was hold her while she slept to make sure she kept breathing and because I was an emotional disaster, sorry Billy! After the first couple of nights, sleeping on the couch in the living room and waking up every 2 hours to feed her, we decided it was time to move the family into our bedroom. We had the pack and play in there, but I still didn't want her to sleep in it because I thought I was going to find her face down again. So we brought her bouncer chair in and put it next to my side of the bed. Seemed ok, but none of us slept well. Getting her to sleep was such a struggle, we held her and rocked her and she would be sound asleep (drool style) and then we put her down and all we saw we were bright blue eyes. It was so frustrating.

Just before her 5 week mark, I decided to try something different. And it worked! So I am going to share with you our 'bedtime routine'. We started it that night and haven't looked back since!

Somewhere between 9pm and 9:15pm we give her a bath. We use lavender soap that is supposed to make babies sleepy. Does it actually work? Who knows, but my kid is sleeping so I'm not switching it ;)
Bath time leads straight to HER room where we change her, put her in PJ's, and swaddle her VERY tight.
Then, with the lights off, sound machine on (nursery songs, she doesn't like the white noise) and the fan on high, we feed her a bottle while sitting in her glider.
Sometimes she falls right to sleep when we feed her and sometimes she is still wide awake. But she knows now that it is bed time. When she is done with her bottle, we put her in her bouncer (still in HER room)(she isn't sleeping in her crib because she has reflux, the bouncer works great to help her), give her her pacifier and walk out of the room with the door closed.
From that point on, if she cries (usually just because she spits out her paci) we go back into her room and give it to her. We have found that its super important to NOT pick her back up after we put her down. If she cries, figure out a different way to soothe her. 9 times out of 10, the pacifier does the trick. However, we do not let her 'cry it out'. She doesn't cry herself to sleep. If she cries, we give her a minute and then go in her room and try things until she is calm again.

We put her in her own room VERY early. And it was scary. And some people might not agree with it. But it has really worked for us. None of us slept well being in the same room. She would wake up every time we moved and we would wake up every time she made any noise. We have a GREAT monitor and obsess over it after we put her down for the night. I literally look at it every 2 minutes.

She usually falls asleep between 9:30pm and 10pm and wakes up anywhere between 3:45am and 4:30am. When she wakes up, we give her a bottle (in her room, in the dark) and put her right back down and she goes right back to sleep until about 8am and then we start our day.

This might not work for everyone and some people might not want to try it. But I know that I have told several mama's or mama to be's that Abigail was sleeping well and they were curious how we did it, so I thought I would share.

And I'm going to leave you with a picture from a VERY impromptu photo session we did the other day. My aunt (the photographer) was staying with my parents and decided to take some pictures, which turned into a full shoot! More to come :)

UPDATE: I wrote this last night.. and as of this morning we have a new record! Down at 10:30pm and did not wake up until 6:30am!!! :)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

baby favorites - the first 6 weeks

I thought it might be fun to highlight some of the baby items that have been super amazing to have around for these first few weeks of mama-hood, in case there are any mama-to-be's out there. I know I had a lot of fun looking around websites and blogs to figure out the best items to put on our registry or purchase myself when I was pregnant.

First Years Sound Machine: This has been an absolute lifesaver.  Abigail has been sleeping through the night since 5 weeks (yes!) & I attribute part of that to this little machine or amazingness. (Will be posting a blog about her sleeping habits, not to worry!)

Summer Infant Video Monitor: We put Abs in her own room pretty early on. It was scary, but this monitor has been great. You can literally see her breathing. You can also talk through the monitor to her room (like a walkie-talkie) and can control the camera from the monitor. Must have!

Summer Infant SwaddleMe: If I could have 100 of these, I would! The second night we had Abigail home, she was swaddled (with a hospital blanket) in her pack & play and ended up kicking herself  out of the swaddle and turning herself over on her belly. I was a wreck! These swaddles are like little baby straight jackets! They zip & Velcro your little one in so there is no kicking out of it. Such a relief!

Boon Lawn drying rack: You are going to be spending a lot of time at the sink. Between bottles, pump parts, pacifiers & toys you are going to feel like all you do is wash things. This drying rack is so perfect for everything you need to wash. And its adorable. Don't forget about the accessories for it either. So helpful to have! There is nothing I love more than seeing a full drying rack!!

BabyGanics Bottle Soap: Some people are fine using regular dish soap, I like to know mine is made specifically for the babe. And I LOVE this soap!!

Boppy Pillow: We use ours for literally EVERYTHING. For feeding, sleeping, tummy time and occasionally putting my face into it and screaming when I have tried everything to get her to sleep ;)

Puj Tub: This tub is a staple in our 'sleep through the night' bedtime routine. Any tub will work, but this one really conforms to any sink and I'm really happy with it. We will have to get a different tub once Absicles grows out of this one, but for now we really love this!

Britax Car Mirror: We made this purchase about 4 weeks after Abigail was born. And I wish we would have had it sooner. It gives us SUCH peace of mind to be able to see her when one of us isn't sitting in the back seat, next to her!

There are probably so many more that I am forgetting, but I will pick back up for the next 6 week favorites post. Right now, I had a crying baby to tend to & a pillow to scream in ;)

Monday, June 17, 2013

One month birthday!

I can't believe our little girl is already a month (5 weeks, now) old!! It was the fastest and longest month of our lives (longest only applies to the nights when she doesn't sleep and we are sitting next to her crib, holding her pacifier in her mouth & wanting to hulk smash the clock just so we don't realize how much sleep we aren't getting ;) )

I really wanted to capture how much Abigail grows each month and also document the little things she likes and doesn't like so much. I was messing with a photo app on my iPad one day and came up with this:

I love the way it turned out and cant wait to continue doing it each month.

I want my baby to stay little forever but I also can't wait to be able to play with her, make her smile and hear her laugh!

I'm a bit of a stalker when it comes to taking pictures of my girl & the shenanigans we get in to, but don't always post them (I swore I wouldn't become THAT mom ;) ) but if you are interested in keeping up with us, you can follow me on Instagram: jlhuff13

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Abigail's Birth Story & a look back at my pregnancy.

It dawned on me last night as I was sitting on the floor of my baby's room, Lauren Conrad style crying (see image below) because for the 4th night in a row she wouldn't fall asleep, that I realized I didn't want to forget about any of these ridiculous (sometimes unbearable) moments. And just like that 'Baby A & Mama J 'was born.

Mascara tears.. Nothing Better.
Pretty much from the moment I found out I was pregnant in late August, I was throwing up. Morning sickness was no joke. And it didn't just last in the morning. I had it morning, noon & night. It felt like for 4 straight months my head was in the toilet. I had hyperemesis gravidarum before Kate Middleton made it cool. I landed myself in the hospital 3 times for IV's of fluids and had managed to drop 17 pounds in the first 3 months of growing a human being, which led me to being put on bed rest for 2 weeks... who does that?!

Months 4-9 continued to be a shit show. Between the back pain, the swelling and still managing to be nauseous every. single. day., I was struggling to enjoy the whole pregnancy experience.

I remember hitting week 37 and thinking to myself (and probably out loud to ANYONE who would listen) that it was safe for her to come out now and I needed to do everything in my power to get her here.

And then I was waking up on the morning of week 39 and day 3. Pissed. Why was she not budging?! Didn't she know I was miserable?! I had a doctor's appointment that morning (Friday, May 10) so Billy left work to come with me. Side Note: I landed myself BACK on bed rest from the end of week 36 until I delivered because my blood pressure was sky high. Hot. Mess.. anyways.. Walking into the doctors office this was what was going through my mind, 'this is it, doc is going to tell me it's time to go, I'm ready to deliver, go straight to the hospital. you may pass go and collect your $200.' and here is how it really went down.. 'You're not dilated enough, we will see you next week.' Cue the waterworks. I was SO upset!
The day before I went into labor.

So upset in fact, I decided to go to my parents house and cry on their couch for a while. Billy was back to work for the night and I was drowning myself in a bucket of tear filled ice cream. And then around 4pm, my mom came home from work. We chatted for a bit, and I decided to lay back down on her couch to try and get rid of the headache that I gave to myself from crying too much (seriously, get over it!).
And just like that, I felt a POP! in my stomach, something I DEFINITELY had never felt before. I stood myself up, took myself to the bathroom and that's when I realized my water had broke. To spare everyone from the details, it was JUST like the movies, water everywhere. (Which I later found out only happens to about 2% of pregnant women). Once I was over the initial shock, I yelled for my mom and I think it went something like 'MOM!.. I need some towels and my phone!' It took us about 3 seconds to make all of the phone calls we needed to make and get everyone where they needed to be.
Our drive to the hospital was stressful and exciting. I, of course went into labor on a Friday during rush hour and our hospital was 35 minutes away. But Billy and my dad navigated like pros and I was secretly wishing we would get pulled over to just be able to tell the cop I was in labor and get a police escort... how fun?!

I was feeling pretty good when we got all checked in at the hospital and not in much pain at all. And then the story takes a 180..

We were checked in and given a room in the triage unit (not where I would be delivering, just where they check you out to make sure you were really in labor, like the puddle of water surrounding me wasn't a good enough indication). We hung out in that room for what seemed like forever. I was hooked up to an IV and belly monitors, still feeling pretty good. A nurse came in and told me they weren't really picking the baby up on the monitors and I needed to roll over to my side in order to try and hear her better. Sure, no problem! As soon as I turned on my side, I was a different person. I was in full on, excruciating labor. Again, just like you see in the movies. Screaming bloody murder and squeezing my mother's and Billy's hand so hard that I broke a ring on my poor mom's finger. I was having contractions about every 30 seconds for about 3 hours, without drugs. That wasn't my choice, but they couldn't give me an epidural in triage without my doctor's approval, and my doctor was in a C-section.
 My last picture pregnant. Waiting in triage, before things got painful.

Right around the 3 hour mark, they finally came in and said they had a delivery room ready for me and I could be wheeled up and get my epidural. WOO! Once I got it, it definitely took the pain away, but I was still so uncomfortable.
The next 12 hours are kind of a blur. I was in the delivery room for such a long time, all night in fact. Things seemed to be going well, I was dilating and contracting but they wanted to try and speed things up a bit, so they gave me Pitocin. And that's when my labor stopped. Completely stopped. I was 7cm for 3 hours. Once I hit that 3 hour mark, the nurses came in and started talking to me about a C-section.
Finally got my epidural, smiling in the delivery room.
From the moment they mentioned the word C-section to being cut open, seemed like 30 minutes. Everything happened SO fast. I was brought into the operating room to be prepped, while Billy waited outside (which was awful!!). I remember laying on the table, all drugged up just thinking to myself, 'don't have a panic attack! If you have a panic attack they won't let you have your baby!'.. Yeah, I was pretty drugged up. ha! Once Billy came in and sat next to me, it seemed like 2 minutes and he was being told to get the camera out because we had a baby!
I'll never forget hearing the first little cry coming out of her mouth and being so relieved. They yelled out her weight and told me she was healthy. Got her cleaned up and they laid her on my chest. To date, it was the best moment of my life. We took our first family photo and they started to stitch (staple) me up. I wish I could say the C-section was pain free, but it wasn't. It was actually pretty painful. You can feel pretty much everything except the actual cutting of your skin. I could feel like pushing, pulling and slamming of all my organs, trying to get her out and everything back into place. That being said, looking at my daughter, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
First family picture!
Abigail Grace Huff 05/11/2013 5:39am
7lbs 14oz.

Proud daddy!
The next 72 hours are a bit spotty. So many people in and out of our room. Family and nurses. Our stay was great, but we were so ready to get home and start our new life.

I'll never forget the drive home. I've never been so stressed in my life. Sitting in the back seat of our car with our 2 day old daughter, during rush hour (yes, again). Billy made me play a game on my phone because every time he hit the brakes I would gasp! Let the fun begin....