Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Week!

Warning: Picture overload!!

Thanksgiving was wonderful. It was spent with Mitch's family in Gillette, Wyoming, where we lived the first semester we were married. My family was supposed to drive the 12 hours there and join us so we could bless Nathan, but it couldn't happen because of the weather on their end. Actually, we weren't exactly sure WE would make it, either! In hindsight, we had to cut the trip short and leave before we would've blessed him, so it would've been hard to work out anyway!

My family felt awful that they couldn't be there with us, and it was sad not having them there. We all made the best of the situation and had a great time wherever we were. Camille has been studying at BYU in Provo and was able to take a shuttle from Provo to Rexburg, then drive with us to Gillette. She got to meet Nathan and was a HUGE help with him, especially in the car. Every few hours I pumped a meal for him, and she fed him. This made our stops only ten minutes long every few hours, to burp and change him, as opposed to 45 minutes every few hours to feed, burp, and change him. What a difference it made! (Wish she wasn't too stubborn for pictures or I'd have a great picture of her and Nathan to put up here!)

We're so glad she could come and we loved seeing how much fun she had with Mitch's family. We even taught her Progressive Rummy, the Dooleys' favorite card game (it's very complicated and takes hours to play). She, of course, ended up BEATING us all, only after picking up the game super fast! She IS the smart one; i'll never doubt it!

It was the best experience to watch Mitch's parents meet their first grandbaby. They both fell in love and we loved watching them with Nathan. They've picked out their "grandparent" names, GG and Papa. We have been told that "GG" stands for "Grand Goddess," because, "I am waaay too young to be Grandma Dooley." She's also working on her Graduate Gemologist degree, so the acronym fits!

It helped that our little N man "discovered people" while we were there and stared at everyone, making eye contact for a very long time. I was very impressed and proud of my little guy! You could tell he was just focusing and studying out the detail in people's faces. We just had so much fun with everyone! It's hard to recall details because so much went on, but it was relaxing at the same time. Mitch's grandparents were there, so they got to meet their great grandson. We were incredibly pleased to be able to show off our tiny new addition to the family. He brought them (almost) as much joy as he brings us every day!

This is one of my favorite pictures from the week, of Nathan with his Uncle Danny. Danny really likes holding sleeping babies. (Who wouldn't!?) He got to change his first diaper ever while we were there. Nathan was even nice and refrained from peeing on him! I love this picture of them all cozied up. This is one of my favorite parts of the day, and I can see why Danny liked it!

Another memorable part of the week was visiting my dad's mom, my Grandma Salveson, on the way home. She absolutely loves babies, and is an expert after having eleven children of her own. She's had a few strokes and has trouble communicating and coming up with the words she wants, but mentally she's very sharp and knows exactly what she wants to say. This can be frustrating for her, but we knew she'd enjoy Nathan so much, and that there wouldn't be a ton of need for detailed conversation. I am so glad we stopped! We were trying to beat a storm but took a chance on sparing about an hour for her to visit with him. It was seriously the cutest thing ever! We couldn't get her to look at the camera for any pictures; she wouldn't take her eyes off him!
"He knows Grandma. Grandma loves you! Oh, he already knows it!"
"I've never seen anything like this in my life!"
(We kept thinking, "Really!? You had so many kids! And they've all had kids! You've seen a ton of babies!" She was soooo sweet!)
PS--my hair really isn't that short; I don't look like a man every day. It was just tucked behind my ear! Sorry to be vain; I couldn't help but notice it!)
"He's so big! It's like he was born a toddler!"
(We finally decided she meant that he was really aware; he happened to be wide awake when we stopped by. He's only in the 20th percentile for height and weight!)

We also finally got a Nathan smile on camera. They're so sporadic and pretty accidental right now, but it's happening on a regular basis. It was fitting that the first smile caught in a picture was for his dad :o)
I also discovered why parents love to gush over their children so much...can you tell!?

Missing the Good Days...

...don't look too much into this title!

I love my life :o)

I also miss the good days, though. No, not these days, specifically, the ones before we were married. I don't know if I ever miss those!
I'm talking about the 14 days my supermom was here, right after Nathan was born. She seriously got here 24 hours after his birth; couldn't have been more perfectly planned if we'd tried! She was the perfect help, and we miss her every day!
She cleaned our house while we were in the hospital, which we were so grateful for. See, Nathan was born on a Tuesday, which is usually a day reserved for chores. Needless to say, I felt guilty leaving my chore list out on the counter, where she eventually found it a day later and did it alllll. She's the best.

My mom also took Mitch (and later Nathan and I) grocery shopping for all kinds of fun things. Our college budget doesn't allow for many things like chips and cookies, so this was fun! She fixed tons of meals, helped us find delicious, diet-friendly recipes for Mitch, and kept it all organized.

The most vital thing she did for us was probably taking night shifts on a regular basis, or taking Nathan all night a few times! The woman doesn't sleep much, she never has! So, she and Nathan became great friends in the wee hours of the night/morning. It was amazing, and SO needed.

There was one night where I'd laid Nathan down in his bassinet and he (almost) immediately woke up, wanting to be held or rocked or something...who knows.
There was no reason for him to be crying and it was VERY late.
We'd only been home a couple days and I was trying to wrap my mind around:
-this new, crying life that needed me all the time,
-what my body looked like the week I'd had major surgery, and trying to recover from it
(it's all kinds of depressing seeing your body after a c-section...),
-trying to move around, get up, or lean over to the bassinet after said surgery,
-getting a handle on breastfeeding...and how much it hurts!, and
-dealing with all the raging hormones that made everything harder.

Needless to say, I pretty much felt like a basket case, and the baby blues had hit me hard. Thank goodness we're finally coming out of that! I never crossed into the postpartum depression range; no dark or harmful thoughts, but I definitely dealt with a lot of despair. That's really the only word for it.

I remember saying to Mitch, "I can't do this tonight...i'm SOOOO exhausted!" He walked around to my side of the bed, kissed me on the forehead, took Nathan out, talked to my mom for a minute, then came back in and said that he and my mom were giving me the night off. I had probably had a combined 10 hours of sleep in the whole first week after we'd had Nathan, and I was definitely at the end of my rope. There is NO break after you have a baby! Life just starts and you have to deal with it!

It was probably one of the nicest things I remember anyone doing for me. The two of them were just wonderful. It's exactly what I needed. I probably slept a solid 14 hours that night, only getting up to pump so Nathan could eat while I slept.

I miss having my mom here terribly. She and Mitch don't agree on absolutely everything. All the important things are agreed upon, though. They get along well. He has said over and over that she was a ton of help, and told me how grateful he was for her. We didn't expect to need much after Nathan was born, but I guess that's the point, and that's why we have mothers who know what we'll need and are willing to be there to give it. It was very humbling; our mothers have been there! They can see past the things we think we know and just serve wholeheartedly.
Nathan and I are planning a trip to Kansas City this January, since my family couldn't make it up to where we were for Thanksgiving. They have to meet this sweet little boy, and I can't wait to show him off and see everyone again!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Changing Already!

We have loved having our little Nathan around. In fact, when I think back at things we did before he was born, like our fun summer trips, it just feels like he's missing from the picture! It's amazing how real the feeling is that he's always had a place in our family!

Nathan hasn't changed a ton since we brought him home; he's lost his cord, he's gradually spending more and more time awake during the day, and he's almost done shedding his "sea skin". Every day I hope he'll just stay this little and sweet (but I wouldn't mind getting a little more sleep!). He's grown out of most of his preemie clothes, which is expected, considering he never was a preemie. (I did a lot of garage sale-ing this summer and picked some up cheap, just in case!)

He's impressed us a lot so far. He holds his head up on his own most of the time, which he's been doing since we were in the hospital! He still looks a tiny bit like a bobblehead. Especially when he's tired and is just like any other floppy newborn! We also noticed him rolling onto his side, then eventually onto his stomach, in his sleep. What the heck!? We had to get some of those stabilizer wedges to have him lay on so he wouldn't roll over. He'll also roll over onto his back from his stomach if left on his stomach for about ten minutes. (Again, unless he's tired, then he's just grumpy and doesn't want to show off!) He's rolled over a handful of times, but his mother isn't ready for him to be mobile, so it doesn't happen as often as it could!

We love the little faces he makes. Especially the hilarious newborn trait of making googly-eyed faces when he's falling asleep. It's the funniest thing ever. That's also usually the time when he smiles the most, "practicing using the muscles he'll use one day to smile on purpose" (thanks, multiple child development textbook authors!). The smiling + the googly eyes makes him look all kindsa crazy, but we still love him! Mitch caught this picture recently when we were out and about in Idaho Falls:
He's been doing great at getting on a schedule at night. Since my mom left on the 17th, he's been pretty good, except for last night. He usually wakes up every two hours like clockwork, which I don't mind, because it means he's sleeping for a LOT longer in his own room than he did in the bassinet in our room. Our noisy little man woke us up with his constant "sleeping noises", and since we can only hear his crying over the baby monitors, we don't pick him up when he's sound asleep (but SOUNDS like he's wide awake and talking/gurgling...). We're all a lot happier and more rested than before! :o)

The biggest change we've had has occurred in the last few days. I told you all about how much he loves the black and white pictures above our couch. He still stares at them for hours, but he's now noticing almost everything we have hanging against our sterile white walls! I love when he's really alert and I can just walk him around and let him stare at everything. He loves it. I love that he's focusing in on colors and objects and shapes. It's the first step to building motor skills of any kind! Woo hoo! He loves the bright colors of his room (I'll put up pictures of his room eventually...), which makes me glad that I changed from pastels to bright colors a few months before he was born.

He'll follow us with his eyes if he can see us walking around the room, which is amazing. I love to think that he knows who I am and can recognize my voice. I love him so much and all I want is for him to love me back! :o) I savor every one of his little hints that tell me he knows and recognizes me!

This week he gets to meet his (almost) entire extended family. He's met my mom and one aunt and uncle so far, but that's it! This week he'll meet my family, one set of my grandparents, and Mitch's family and his grandparents. He's started these moods where he just wants attention, and I love that he'll get so much this week! We can't wait to bless him** over Thanksgiving break and enjoy being together with family!

**(In our church, we give babies a name and a blessing when they're born. It's kind of like a christening, but is just a blessing and official name given to the child, usually by their father. It's a very special occasion, but is separate from baptism, which we carry out at eight years old).

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I've discovered something...

...this mothering thing is HARD stuff!!!

Taking care of this little baby 24/7 is much harder than anyone could have prepared me for. It's much harder than years and years of babysitting, a major in child development, and growing up as the oldest could have prepared me for.

Thank goodness it's also more rewarding than anyone told me, or I don't know what I'd do! Getting to cuddle this little baby and calling him mine is more rewarding than I imagined!
Our biggest challenge so far: this little man is reverse cycling, sleeping all day and partying all night. In fact, he takes it to extremes. During the day, feedings put him right to a deep, lethargic sleep. My mom calls it "baby drunk"'s pretty funny! But at night, I feed him and he's suddenly full of energy, wide awake and ready to go! It's kind of frustrating.

He's also trying to learn how to fall asleep. Major life skill if you ask me! Our little Nathan is a very noisy sleeper. The hospital nurses call it "singing himself to sleep." As sleep deprived as we are, it's very hard to sleep next to. We've decided he's out of our room after we get back from Thanksgiving! Lots of times, the noises he makes at night wake him up. We swaddle him to keep his uncontrollable movements from overwhelming him. He loves it and he sleeps much better when he's all swaddled and cozied up in his sleepers. Even if I've spent an hour trying to get him to sleep, his angelic little, tiny face makes it all completely worth it.

I used to have awful dreams about having an ugly baby. I know, weird, but I blame the hormones. Hormones always make you think darker, right!? Anyway, because he came by c-section he's always had the most perfect, round little head and unsquished little face. It's beautiful! He has clear, pretty skin and has shed a lot of his "sea skin"...although we still have a ways to go! He hates lotion but loves baths, and makes the cutest little faces. I love his accidental little smiles. All my textbooks have said that he's practicing using the muscles that he'll later use to melt our hearts by breaking out huge grins.

I just love spending my days with our little Nathan Patrick. He's such a dream; he's a very happy baby and loves to stare at any black and white he can find, especially the huge black frame and black and white pictures above our couch. (I'm glad he approves of my decor!)
Nothing in my life is about me anymore. It's the weirdest change of mindset I've ever had. I first noticed it when I was on vacation with our family trying to ride a jetski and just not feeling safe for some reason. The next time I noticed it was when they were talking c-section in the delivery room and I was pretty much all for it, just because it was the only way to get my baby here safely. It's just weird! I don't mind it, though. I'm doing great emotionally (and physically), and I'm adjusting well...

...however, I felt really disappointed at the pediatrician's office this week when he told me Nathan had gained weight back up to his birth weight already.

He'll just be getting bigger from now on!! :o(

Sunday, November 7, 2010

He's HERE!!

Warning: Mitch's pictures of my c-section are included...

Well, I guess i'm updating a little late! We had our baby on Tuesday evening!! He wasn't due until today, but we're just in love with him and i'm SOOO glad I didn't have to be pregnant for the rest of the week!!

I'll try to do a quick, Reader's Digest version of the story...with pictures, of course!

I woke up with contractions at about 5:45 am on Tuesday. I'm sure I slept through about an hour of them before that; I kept getting up to go to the bathroom and then realized they were contractions, not bathroom urges! I woke Mitch up at 6:15, after i'd timed one or two of them. There was a consistent three minutes between them. I called the midwife and she confirmed I was in labor and told me to take a shower then head to the hospital. Mitch grabbed the bags, installed the carseat base (oh yeah...we thought ahead!) and scraped snow/ice off the car windows...yeah, we live in the arctic.

We got to the hospital later when they checked me I was only at a THREE after eating breakfast there and walking around for about an hour. The contractions were getting stronger and more intense. They gave me morphine (it was AMAZING! I could almost sleep through the contractions!) and let us rest. When the morphine wore off I was only at a four...ugh...and the midwife came in and brought me to the jacuzzi. Oh it was WONDERFUL! It actually helped lessen the pain of contractions, too!

Mitch was a champ through everything. He was SO good, helped me breathe, gave his hands to me to squeeze, and helped me focus. It was great. I really don't know what I would have done without him.

Nathan's heartbeat had a baseline of 140 bpm the entire time, which they said was great. I was in the jacuzzi having his heart monitored every half hour by the midwife, Rachel. The second time Rachel listened to his pulse it had dropped to just above 100 bpm. She took us back to the room and measured me. I was only at a 5 1/2!! Ugh! (Earning every centimeter slowly!) She broke my water so she could put a heart monitor on his head. All these nurses and people rushed in and pushed Mitch out of the way. I remember two things: 1) worrying about Nathan and 2) seeing the poor, helpless look on Mitch's face and seeing him trying not to cry. It broke my heart! I was only scared for Nathan, but he had to be scared for the both of us!! I swear my heart grew for him 1000 times!!

Rachel called in the on-call OB/GYN from their practice and he recommended an epidural in case a c-section was needed (it would make it a non-emergency as opposed to an emergency cesarean). I took the epidural. At this point the contractions were completely unbearable. I was pretty embarrased; I usually have a really high pain tolerance. I wanted a natural birth and thought i'd have a better handle on the pain. It was horrible trying to sit perfectly still through the epidural while contracting. Luckily I didn't feel them give me even the numbing shot (I HATE needles!! It's more of an anxiety thing...) because of the contraction. Anyway, they watched his heart for about half an hour to make sure it was stabilizing. It did for about ten minutes, then plumetted to about 56 bpm.

The ob/gyn measured me and found I was at a 9-9 1/2 and 100% effaced. He had me start pushing to try and move the rest of the cervix so he could do a vacuum or forcep delivery. He wanted Nathan out ASAP, and there was no time to waste! His heart rate kept dropping, down to about 50, and mine was shooting up and reached about 160 (or so Mitch says...I wasn't paying attention to my monitors, only the slow, high-pitched pinging of Nathan's heartbeat).

They decided to do a "dual setup" and prepared for a normal delivery in an operating room, so they could switch plans immediately if needed. He had me pushing and pushing but the cervix just wouldn't cooperate. I felt really guilty and thought it was something I wasn't doing well enough, but he kept assuring me I was doing fine.

They gave me the dose in my epidural for a c-section and immediately prepped everything. Mitch was already in sterile clothes and was sitting at my head with the camera ready. He's such a science guy, I knew he'd want pictures and to watch...I, however, would have puked all over if I saw anything! I've never been more grateful for a draped piece of fabric at my neck!!
Mitch has quite the story about the c-section, and tells it quite gorily, like something straight out of a horror movie! I loved seeing him look around the drape in amazement and finally not seem so stressed. I'm so glad he could enjoy the experience. About five minutes after they put the drape up, they started the procedure and soon we heard a quiet little cry from Nathan!! It was amazing.

(I think this picture is SOOO cool! You can see his tiny little face off to the right! Mitch said they didn't have to tug on him at all, and that the whole process of getting him out was pretty gentle. The doctor is on the right and the midwife is the one on the left).
They weren't going to show him to us, because they thought he had congenital heart issues and wanted to rush him out right away. The midwife, Rachel, who got to assist with the surgery, pulled him up over the drape and let me see him. It was amazing, and a feeling i'll never forget. I'm so glad I got to see him before he left. We were both bawling and so overjoyed! It was the most relief i'd ever felt in my life; I just felt immediate trust for the doctors and knew that it was safer with them than inside me for our little boy, and I was SOOO relieved that he was finally here!!
Mitch was able to go follow our baby and make sure he was okay. At this hospital, the NICU is a lot closer than the nursery so they take all the babies there and check them out. He got great pictures and even poked his head into the operating room and told me he had a perfect little heart and really high Apgar scores! Nothing could have made me feel better than to see Mitch appear in the doorway and say, "Honey he's perfect!!" It turns out he was just laying on his cord and that his heart is perfectly fine! We're so grateful for our healthy little boy and we have had so much fun with him so far!!

The doctor was so, so patient and didn't rush into a c-section before he absolutely had to. He was encouraging and positive the whole time. He made the incision in the safest place for a VBAC and said i'm a perfect candidate for one since I was almost completely dilated on my own before the c-section. He told me I shouldn't have a problem finding a doctor who would agree to a VBAC. This made me feel so much better about everything!
The weirdest thing about all of the chaos was that I was completely calm. I have major anxiety when it comes to medical procedures, shots, my own blood, the list goes on. However, when they started mentioning a c-section, about an hour before Nathan was born, I had no anxious feelings whatsoever. My only concern was for our little baby. I didn't know my concern for him could outweigh my anxiety in doctors' offices or hospitals!

Mitch and I have finally realized what everyone was talking about when they promised all the pregnancy yuckos would be worth it! We are so in love with him and do nothing but love on him and cover him with kisses and adoration every minute of the day!!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Maternity/Fall Family Photo Shoot!

Warning: Photo Overload!!

I found an ad on our school's "bulletin board" (like Craigslist for students) about a girl who was offering photo shoots to expand her portfolio. I thought, "why not!?" and decided to book a session. Mitch was a terrific sport the whole time, and earned lots of "wife points." She took some bare belly pics just for us (I'll spare you...) and some gorgeous ones that we can share with everyone! Here are some of our favorites:

I think we picked the last pretty day in Rexburg to do this shoot! (Although the weather today isn't bad, either!)
No, my fingers aren't swollen at all...I just have man hands!!
(nothing has swollen, actually! I'm counting my blessings!)