Sunday, February 26, 2012

Plastic Boxes

We're watching the Oscars. Did you? Throws a little change up in our otherwise monotonous life.

We've actually been pretty busy! We were at home last weekend for our nephews first birthday party. Jason reluctantly agreed to get in his uniform and go to the play I wrote about earlier. It was the first time he wore his uniform since he was injured, and the first time he got to wear his new rank of Staff Sergeant. The standard issue boots were way too bulky, and he couldn't drive because he said they were way too heavy. He's got lightweight ones in his personal belongings back in Colorado, so hopefully those will be better. It was like wrestling an alligator to get it on and off that fake foot though, so hopefully we can figure out an easier way so he won't struggle with it every single day. His mom and her fiance flew in from England to stay with us for the week. They stayed with my mom for the weekend, and then we all drove up to Bethesda for a very eventful week.

We successfully ate out for an entire week. I can't say I'm necessarily proud of that, but it was fun :) We went to Cheesecake Factory, Chick-Fil-A & UNO (in one day), Outback Steakhouse, Ruby Tuesday, Cheesecake Factory (again), and Texas Roadhouse. Phew. We went to Potomac Mills on Tuesday, and it was dead. We had a bit of a shopping spree. Mostly in the Carter's Outlet. Baby clothes are like crack to me. Poor Jason was exhausted after that day, his leg got a work out! We relaxed the next day, and then on Thursday we went to the Zoo. It was a beautiful day! "The sun is in that baby's face! That's bothering him!" says one passerby. I wasn't aware my 6 week old could talk, but when did he tell you that? It looks to me like he's sleeping, and I think a little sunshine is good for him, and oh by the way, I'm the Mommy. Thank you! We went to the National Air & Space Museum by Dulles Airport on Saturday before his mom left. It was really cool, and a nice day out. Cooper did great on all these outings. I fed him right in the middle of Potomac Mills (!), and he was fussy the whole time we were at UNO, but it was pretty dead, so I didn't care. He slept through pretty much everything else we did that week.

Did I mention we both got treatment for thrush, and that helped the breastfeeding pain immensely? Feeding him is now enjoyable, and I don't dread it! Yay. Small victories!

We're coming to the realization that Jason will be in and out of medical care for the rest of his life, which isn't a normal thought for any other 25 year old. It's kind of a bummer. I always nag him to put cocoa butter on his scars, and a couple of weeks ago we started noticing excessively dry skin under his left leg scar. It kind of started looking like a rash the weekend we were home, and with other eyes seeing it, we agreed he should get it checked out. He went to Wound Care who thought it was a fungal skin infection and they put a consult in for Dermatology. Some wonderful guy told him that he lost his leg to a fungal infection...fabulous. Dermatology said it was actually a bacterial skin infection, and gave him antibiotics with instructions to come return if it wasn't better within a week. After a couple of days, we can't decide if it's looking better or not. He's probably going to go to Infectious Disease tomorrow, just to be sure, since last time he had an infection, he lost part of his finger. He's now (and rightfully so) paranoid about losing another limb. He's currently googling pictures of really scary skin diseases & cancers which is only going to freak him out even more. Ugh. I just wish he didn't have to think about this stuff at all. He thinks it's spreading to his arm, and he's terrified of giving it (whatever it is) to Cooper.

So while I was spending money on myself and Cooper at Potomac Mills, Jason kept refusing to shop for anything. Until we came to the Lego store. I twisted his arm, and he told me which set he wanted. He put it together the last two nights, and we now have a Lego Village in our window sill.

(Back Story)
When we were in Colorado, I always bugged him about organizing all his Army gear. I would say "I'm going to go buy you some plastic tubs and you can put it all in there, in the garage." He would get so annoyed with my plastic tub fascination. He hates when I buy them. He attributed it to my being a female. "You females always want to put stuff in plastic tubs." (I hate when he starts a sentence with 'you females'.) He then gave the example that one of his work buddies' wife said the exact same thing to him, too. That just confirmed to me, that it was indeed, a wonderful idea!

(Present Day)
I told mom about his Lego Village. She promptly says "You should get plastic boxes for each of the sets." I said "Jason would scoff at that, but I definitely agree." I actually was already thinking that, but also wondering whether or not it would be worth the explanation. He'd be just as fine with mixing them all together. Gasp!

Still watching the Oscars! Hopefully by the next time I post, we will have solved the leg rash mystery :)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cooper - Part 2

Saturday January 7, 2012


7cm dilated, 90% effaced, +1 station. I had been changing on my own this whole time, without pitocin, and he came all the way down to +1 by himself. I couldn’t sleep because of the loud oxygen, stupid blood pressure cuff, and his even louder heart beat. My mom and Jason nodded off a few times, though.


Jason is starving and exhausted. I am starving and exhausted. He finds a Hot Pocket in the vending machine that he is sure is at least five years old. He eats it anyway, and subsequently has to use the restroom multiple times after that ;) It was either the Hot Pocket, or the nerves. It's the weekend in a military hospital, so of course, the refrigerator on the floor was empty with no hopes of getting a refill any time soon. Jason takes a trip down to the 4th floor, his alma mater, and steals me a red popsicle. I've never eaten a popsicle so fast in my life.


10cm dilated, 100% effaced, still +1 station. We did a couple practice pushes, but she recommended that we wait another 2 hours so that he has time to drop more.

Meanwhile, I’m numb from the waist down, it feels like my legs have been asleep, and when I try to move, I can’t. I have to concentrate to move my legs. Hate.That.Feeling. I’ve been catheterized. Ugh.


I’m getting antsy. I really want to start pushing, I want to have this baby. I know it’s shift change, and I’m trying so hard to be patient. They check again, and he’s still +1 station. I’m wondering if I didn’t have the epidural if he would’ve come down on his own because I would be able to move better, and maybe let gravity do it’s part. But I can’t worry about that now.

My day nurse says I don't need the oxygen anymore, or the pulse ox, thank goodness. She's my new best friend.


Finally, the doctor comes in to check me, and he’s still at +1 station, but she says we can start pushing to see if he’ll come down. So it begins. My nurse was wonderfully patient. She was literally in my room almost all day long. When I was working, I remember getting so upset because when patients would fill out the satisfaction surveys, they would always remember their L&D nurses, but not their post partum nurses. Now I know why. Thankfully I was her only patient that day, and she was able to stay with me the whole time. We pushed and pushed and pushed and pushed. After about an hour, I was asking “How long does this take?? Why is there no baby?!” Apparently it takes a while. She said “Expect to be pushing for at least another hour.” Great. The things they don’t tell you...(and the things I should know already anyway)


Two hours in to pushing. Still no baby. I can’t remember if he was still at +1 station or if I had pushed him down to +2 by then. Either way, there was still no baby. I was starving, and I really wanted to brush my teeth.


The fun begins. The doctor comes in and gives me her speech about maybe requiring assistance to deliver this baby. I guess, by this point I knew this was coming. I had the mirror during pushing, and could tell I was using the right muscles to push, but I also knew that I wasn’t seeing a lot of his head either. She says, “We can give you another 30 minutes to try to get this baby down, but after that we’re going to have to talk about using another method.” At this point I know I’m going on 24 hours with ruptured membranes, and I was afraid of he and I getting an infection for that reason. I was trying to be practical - what could happen in the next 30 minutes that hadn’t happened in the past 3 hours? Probably not much. I asked everyones opinion, and we all agreed - assistance it was.

Shockingly, to me at least, they were going to use forceps. I was much more used to seeing vacuum assisted deliveries, and was certain that’s what they’d use. I had also seen some babies not fair very well at all due to vac assists, and I actually welcomed the forceps idea though many think it’s more out of date. I was actually a forceps delivery. She tells me about the risks, all of which I know about. My epidural starts wearing off..big time. I’m feeling everything, plus becoming more and more emotional about his need for forceps. I’m lying flat, and crying, which doesn’t help my breathing situation. Meanwhile, my mom is becoming more and more mommy like, and bossing my poor husband around. He takes it like a champ, and says nothing. I just want this baby out! I feel like I’m having a mini panic attack. I feel like a failure to this child, and just wanted to get him out all by myself like everyone else seems to be able to do. What was wrong with me that I couldn’t do it the natural way?

They explain to me that there will be a lot of people in the delivery room now, because of the forceps. They explain these things over and over and over again. I just wanted to scream “I KNOW - Just get on with it!”  (with a few expletives) Of course, right before they start another doctor says “If this doesn’t work, we will have to go back for a C-Section.” Duh. But I did NOT want to hear that at that moment. I start welling up again, but have to talk myself down because I know I won’t be able to get through the delivery while sobbing uncontrollably. The anesthesiologist loaded my epidural, and I couldn’t feel anything for a long, long time - which ended up being a very good thing.

The doctor who delivered him was a resident I believe, so her superiors were also there coaching her along. I felt like a pumpkin being gutted at halloween. They literally lined up and had their hands in places I wish hands never went. One after the other. All confirming his position. Apparently his head was angled just a little too much. That's the only explanation I ever got. Then they put one forcep in, and more hands in to confirm that position, another forcep, and more hands to confirm position. Thank goodness I couldn’t see (or feel) what was happening. Jason said “for something so natural, it did not look natural at all.” But he was wonderful, and by my side (speechless) the whole time.

When she snapped the forceps together, I thought for sure she had cracked his skull. I was so mad that I had to have those things, and still feel guilty to this day that I did that to him. (He still has a scar on one cheek that I'm convinced will be there forever.) It was hard to focus with the 15 people in there yelling at me to push or not to push. They said I’d have to push really hard in order to get him out, and I tried my hardest. Jason said her hands were shaking because she was pulling so hard (the doctor). I think the forceps came off as he was crowning, and I pushed him out all by myself after that.

My belly instantly felt like jelly, which was really weird. Our baby was out! He was pretty blue. She had his head in her hands, and his body over her arm. His limbs were hanging, and he looked completely limp. I should know that this is pretty normal, but like they all say, when it’s your own, it’s different. First of all, I couldn’t believe he was ours, that that human grew inside of me, and second of all he wasn’t crying. They took him to the warmer first (as they told me they would since he was now an assisted delivery), and Jason followed. I heard him cry, and then it hit me that this really was our child, and now it was real. A very surreal feeling.

They held him up from the warmer “Look Mom, he’s so cute!” Only I didn’t think so. His right eye was swollen shut, and already bruised. He had very distinct forceps marks and abrasions on both of his cheeks, and his left ear was really bruised. He had the typical little old man look that most little boys have at birth, and a nice little cone head. I felt terrible. His APGARs were 7/9 so it must not have been as long as I thought it was before he started crying. He weighed 7 pounds 11 ounces, which is just what his mommy weighed at birth.

Finally I got to hold him, our stunned little boy. It was all very surreal, and sometimes still is. He remained nameless until we had to fill out the birth certificate paper work. When I still couldn’t decide, Jason took the reigns and decided on Cooper Graham. Who didn’t see that coming?

Our first few days in the hospital, and as a family are now a blur. When we were discharged, we took him downstairs and showed him off briefly to his physical and occupational therapists, and then walked back home to glorious building 62. Where I've always wanted to bring a baby 'home' to! He didn't actually get his first car ride until he was about a week and a half old. But, Cooper Graham will certainly teach me a lot of things as he grows, and I can't wait to see how wonderful it will be!

Monday, February 13, 2012

6 months

Parenting still amazes me. There are so many surprises! Like, five weeks later, breastfeeding is still so painful. In the beginning, I was just focused on survival, and making sure my baby survived. Now, I just want to feel normal again. I thought the pain was on its way out a few weeks ago. And then I got a blister on one side. Now, both breasts are just killer all.the.time.

By the way, if you haven't figured this out already, this will probably be another TMI post :)

I've been to the Lactation Consultant who is also a Pediatrician, about 5 times in the past two weeks. I'm pretty sure she hates me, and whoever invented the internet - because I've diagnosed myself multiple times over these past painful weeks. I sound like a mental patient every time I see her, asking questions I should already know the answers to, and asking the same thing in about eight different ways.

Right after he was born, everyone kept saying 'it shouldn't hurt' and 'just get past the first two weeks'...well here I am at week five...and every time he latches, I taste blood it hurts so bad. I'm not even kidding. Then I think, is this normal? Is it supposed to feel like this and I'm just a huge wimp about it? Going anywhere in this cold weather is miserable - when already sore/cracked/bleeding/blistered nipples get cold, they still get hard...and holy cow, that hurts. So does getting out of the shower. Drying off. Anything touching them hurts. I dread feeding my baby, and I hate that I feel that way.

Last week, she mentioned that he could be slightly tongue tied. I didn't want to jump in to anything, and didn't want to put him through any unnecessary procedures if I wasn't sure it would work. But over the weekend, as the pain got worse and worse even though the blisters and cracks were almost healed, I decided we should try it. So today, he got a frenotomy. Not a big deal, and I've actually seen them done before where I worked. He fed right after, and I still felt pain, but I'm hoping over the next few days, it will get better as he relearns how to use his newfound tongue freedom. I pray it will get better. And I'm not the praying type of person. I want to be able to enjoy breastfeeding so bad, like everyone else seems to do. I don't want it to be so much of an ordeal every time I need to feed him. And I want to be able to feed him in public without making a grimace face and not being able to speak until it somewhat subsides.

I'm also faced with a new challenge of getting dressed. It seems, with breastfeeding, you can't really wear anything you want anymore. So it's a lot of nursing tank tops and sweaters. Probably another reason we don't go very many places anymore. Or maybe this is just another one of those things I think is a big deal, that looking back in a few months, I'll scoff at myself for being so dramatic. Ha.

So that's the main thing we've been dealing with over here. That, and what I think is normal growing pains to any new family. Jason and I both are very sensitive, and sometimes we both feel like the other person isn't doing anything to help out around the house or with the baby. When it comes to that kind of stuff, I think we just both need to grow up. But since we don't really do anything else, there's not much else to get mad about. Now, when we go back home, and he starts having full work days again, and I'm at home all day, I can see another argument brewing there. Which brings me to my next dilemma of whether or not I should return to work full time, part time, or not at all. I don't know if I'll be able to leave my baby for that long, but I also don't know what I'll do with myself staying home all day. I'm sure I'll be able to stay busy, but I'm not sure if it will be a good kind of staying busy. And by that I mean I'll probably do a lot of shopping and not enough working out kind of busy :)

In other news, Jasons mom is arriving in town this weekend from London, so we're excited to see her, and for that nice change of pace. Jason is supposed to be recognized at the high school we both graduated from, this Friday. The drama club is putting on a play, and apparently all the proceeds will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project. My mom, who is wonderfully social, and still working in the school system even though she's been retired for 8 years, made sure to tell the drama teacher that there was a wounded warrior who graduated from King George. She of course didn't know this, because Jason hates to put himself out there, so no one in the county really knows, other than our family and family friends. So now he's been voluntold (an army term) to be recognized at one of their performances. They really want him to wear his uniform, and he is so not excited about that. He feels very uncomfortable in the spotlight, and does not want peoples sympathy. I wrote up a little bio about him, and his journey in the Army, but I haven't decided if I will read it, or if I will have my mother - the social butterfly, and puppeteer - read it instead.

His recovery is all but finished. We've sent out every pair of long pants he has (here) to be altered with zippers in the right pant leg. He only goes to occupational therapy three times a week now. Still waiting on final shrinking, and while he's up to 7 ply in socks, his leg is still very painful. It wasn't like this with the second socket, so I'm a little worried that too much pressure is being put on his shin bone which is fairly prominent now that his nub has shrunk so much. He takes his leg off pretty much any time he's sitting down for more than five minutes, and then it swells, and hurts even more when he goes to stand up on it again. I hope it gets better soon so he can get his carbon fiber socket. Everything is still a go to leave towards the end of March. I want to have a banner made and have someone hang it outside of our house before we get back in to town. Last summer, when I would walk Sadie through our neighborhood, another unit had just returned, and there were banners on what seemed like every other house welcoming their husband or daddy home. I think it will be nice to do this for him since I was planning to do it anyway.  I just have to figure out the logistics of getting it mailed out there and putting it up before we get back.

And of course, today is the 6 month mark of Jason's injury. "Half a year...geez" as he put it earlier today. But, if you think of all we've overcome, endured, and gotten through in the past half a year, it's really quite astonishing. And sometimes scary; I hope future years are slightly less eventful. We're so looking forward to the next half a year, though :)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cooper - Part 1

Friday January 6, 2012 - 12:00pm

I don’t think I should have to warn you that this will be a very personal, and at times, graphic entry. I will heed this warning anyway for those who don’t understand quite how detailed I tend to get, and how graphic the process of birth is. So stop reading now if you can’t handle this kind of thing :)

Jason and I started the day off with a shower. Already TMI, I know. This is something we used to do in Colorado. People thought we were weird and crazy I guess, saying their shower was the only alone time they got all day. For us, it was a way to bond, and talk about the day since we were both working long hours. Anyway, since his injury, we can rarely do this anymore. He requires a shower chair, and that usually takes up the whole shower. Here, in lovely Building 62, the showers are handicapped accessible, and so we have enough room to share this moment. On this day, we slept in, and finally got in the shower around 11:30. I sat down to shave my legs. I was preparing for the delivery. I mean my due date was the next day, and everyone knows, babies come right on schedule! I refused to go in to labor with hairy legs. Anyway, I sat down, and started shaving. I felt a warm gush, but not a huge or powerful gush. Remember, we’re in the shower, so I couldn’t tell if that’s what it was or not. Not to mention, I’ve never had water to be broken before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I felt a couple more small warm gushes, and decided I was pretty sure it was my water. Thankfully, it was clear. Now Jason is starting to get a little freaked out, though.

I wasn’t feeling any pain whatsoever, and so we decided to go upstairs for lunch. One of the regular cashiers was shocked I still hadn’t had this baby yet, and was convinced it was twins (thanks lady!). I didn’t feel like going in to details with her that I was probably in labor at that moment, so I just laughed and continued on. I ate pasta with alfredo sauce, all the while thinking, “man I really hope I don’t throw this up later.” We went back downstairs to our room, and Jason went out to buy a “surprise” for me for after the delivery. He debated on whether or not to even go, but I still wasn’t feeling anything, so of course I insisted. He came back not too much later, empty handed - I think he was afraid to be gone too long. I was gchatting with a friend, and googling, trying to figure out if my water really was broken. She of course told me to go to the hospital to be checked. I refused.

Finally around 2pm, I started feeling some cramping. More like menstrual cramps. I guess I was expecting to be feeling pain at the top of my uterus, and feel it contract. I never really felt that. The cramping would come and go, and we decided to start timing them. They were very sporadic, some were really close, and others weren’t. We watched Gattaca, and it brought me back to my high school days :) If I laid on my side, I felt better, and didn’t want to move for fear of making them feel worse. Walking helped too. The contractions never really got that bad, but finally around 9pm I knew I had to go in because I was ruptured. And by go in, I mean walk.

I had been in touch with Mom all day, and she and Dad came up by dinner time. Jason, Mom and Dad went upstairs to eat dinner, and I stayed in the room not feeling hungry. I decided later, that was a bad idea, because I was starving. Anyway, by 9pm, we packed up our stuff and walked over to the hospital. They tried to get me in a wheelchair, but I refused, knowing walking would be good for me. I have to say, arriving at the front desk and saying “I think I’m in labor.” felt very weird. Not words I ever thought I’d say. They put me in a triage room, and hooked me up to the monitor. I could tell my contractions weren’t picking up on the monitor because I wasn’t feeling them high in my uterus where they had the monitor placed. At that point I thought maybe they’d send be back home.

The doctor came in and did an internal exam to see whether or not my water had broken, and how dilated I was. (the previous day at my doctors appointment I was already at 3cm.) As he was checking me, it became clear to him and everyone else in the room that I was in fact, ruptured, if you get my drift. Their little paper test took no time changing color. And he decided I was 4-5cm dilated, 80% effaced, -1 station, and that I would have to be admitted. Crap.

Now, I did have an idea of what I wanted during the labor process. All of which got quickly squashed. She came in with a bag of fluid and an IV to start. I was ok with the IV, but I just wanted it saline locked. No, she said, “because what if your baby starts doing something crazy”. Oh, ok, I’m not sure what that is, but ok, fine give me the fluids. I was trying so hard not to be that crazy patient with the birth plan, but I just think we have so many unnecessary interventions these days for something that was meant to be done naturally. The doctor came in to go over consent forms. I asked if it was possible that I could only be monitored intermittently, that I really liked to be able to walk around because of the contractions, and that I wasn’t planning to have an epidural. But because I was ruptured, “No, you can’t do intermittent monitoring, no you can’t walk, and if you don’t want an epidural, that’s fine.” I knew my contractions hadn’t been picking up on the monitor, so I asked if they were going to use Pitocin - “Yes, you’re not contracting enough, and if you don’t make any change on your own, we’ll have to use pitocin. Usually if you don’t change in 2 hours, we start pitocin, your water has already been broken for 9 hours. If you want, we can wait 2 hours and check you again to see if you make any change on your own.” I thought I had already done a damn good job being at 5cm and just going in to triage, but I guess I’m the niave patient now. “What scares you about using pitocin?” she asks. I said, “It doesn’t scare me, I just think it’s unnecessary.” It could’ve been me being entirely too sensitive which I’m known for, but her tone of voice really rubbed me the wrong way when she responded with “Well, normally we would have used it by now seeing as you’ve been ruptured for a prolonged period of time, the longer you’re ruptured, the more at risk your baby is for infection, and he could die.”

Really? I am not stupid. But she just had to throw that in there as a scare/guilt tactic. Like, if you don’t agree to this, I am going to question your morals and ability to be a sound mother for this child. Ok, maybe that was me being insanely sensitive, but that’s how I heard it.

She said, “By all means, you can go back home and continue to labor, but you have to sign out AMA” (against medical advice). Only from working where I do, I know that if I did that, and then went back to the hospital, Tricare (our insurance) wouldn’t cover anything. At this point, I was just so irritated I signed the paper and decided it was not the end of the world.

Before I even left the triage room, I was feeling defeated. Jason kept trying to reassure me that everything would work out. “In the end we’re going to walk out of here with the same result.” I know, but not the way I wanted it. Really, Stephanie? You should know by now not to want things a certain way!


We walked to the labor room, and again, I was hooked up to the monitors. I knew I would hate that. I always said I don’t know how women tolerate those things while in labor. It was so uncomfortable to have things tightly strapped to my belly as I was in pain. All I wanted to do was sit up, walk around, or even move around in bed. But every time I moved, the monitor would lose his heart rate tracing. The nurse was in and out readjusting it because I kept moving. I wasn’t even in there for 30 minutes when she came in and said “Ok, I think we’re going to have to do an internal monitor for his heart rate.” I knew what that meant, and I really didn’t want that. Now that I think back though, I wonder if it would’ve saved a lot of pain and heartache in the long run. There’s no way to know now.


After about 30 minutes of deliberation, I decided that if they were going to have to use Pitocin, I would not be able to sit still at all. I knew it would make my contractions longer and stronger. I also knew I did not want an internal monitor in his scalp even though I’ve seen babies that have had them, and you can barely tell. Something about those has just always freaked me out. So, I quickly turned in to a statistic. Something I was so worried about doing, and knew they were all talking about me at the nurses station, but what can you do I guess. I went in there not wanting an epidural, and within about 3 hours, got an epidural. The pain wasn’t unbearable at that point either, but I just knew I couldn’t sit still. For some reason, I had 3 contractions right on top of each other during the epidural, and about 15 minutes after getting the epidural, the nurse came in to move me from side to side, something I also know isn’t good. When she handed me the oxygen mask I really knew we were in some sort of trouble. They put me on my hands and knees and about 3 other people came in. Jason didn’t know what was going on, but I did. They all stood there for a while, and I’m just thinking “Ok, great, now they’re going to tell me I have to go back for an emergency c-section because his heart rate isn’t coming back up.” Apparently he had a low baseline anyway, and he was dropping in to the 90s, but his baseline had been in the 115s so they weren’t as concerned. They gave me terbutaline to relax my uterus, because the 3 contractions in a row didn’t leave enough time for him to get oxygenated blood, plus my blood pressure had dropped a little. So here I am on my hands and knees, shaking uncontrollably, with a stupid oxygen mask in my face blowing so loud I couldn’t hear anything else. After what seemed like forever, they decided he was ok. My uterus should start contracting on its own again after a little while, but I dared not move for fear of making his heart rate drop again.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Baby's First Month

Tomorrow our sweet baby boy will be a month old! Where does the time go? When you're enjoying life, it goes way too fast. Right now he's curled up on my chest while I write this. I don't know if he'll be small enough to do this next month. I think we're going to have to retire some of his newborn outfits soon. He's outgrowing them by length - sad day. We're officially in size one diapers instead of the teeny tiny little newborn ones. We started co-sleeping because it was easier for me, but it made for very poor sleep. We have a very noisy little boy, and he loves to be vocal in his sleep. He grunts and squirms all over the place. We're pretty sure he has his days and nights mixed up, which they say is normal for newborns, but we're over it.

We were just at home this past weekend, so he slept in the port-a-crib, and did fairly well. We decided we'd try to give up the co sleeping, and he did really well last night back here in his own port-a-crib. I caved and bought one of those swaddle blankets with the velcro. All this time I thought "I swaddled babies all day long, I don't need one of those silly gimmicks." Ha. It really works better. Hospital swaddling, I'm convinced, only works while they're in the hospital. They're so tiny, and tired, they don't really bust out of it. But at home, it's a different story. I don't think he enjoys having his hands down, but then they're out, he startles himself and wakes up. We're thinking we might get him a noise machine too, because the co sleeper had one in it, and he seemed to enjoy it. Of course, he sleeps the best in anyones arms.

The breastfeeding is getting better, but is still initially painful. It's amazing the difference in my outlook just from the last time I posted. Then, I felt like I was drowning, and I'd never see the light of day again. Now, it really is not that serious. The time between feedings really isn't any different than it was before, but it's not as big of a production as it used to be. I've tried to feed him about every 3 hours during the day, and at night, I let him sleep as long as he will. Once the initial hype wore off of making sure he was gaining weight, the lactation consultant said I could pretty much just feed on demand. I'm trying not to focus as much on the clock, but I still don't feel like I can not time his feedings. Going out is not near as big a deal as I initially thought it was. I do still have to sit in the car and feed him, but most of the time when we go out, we're going to friends houses, and none of them mind seeing my boobs - and I honestly probably wouldn't care if they did mind :)

The birth story is still on my desk top. I haven't edited it or re read it for that matter. I'll probably post it, maybe in parts, because it's long winded.

Jason is doing well, still in his third socket - I'm not sure if I mentioned that last time. It seems like this one has been more painful for him, and for longer, unfortunately. He's hoping to get his carbon fiber socket ordered this week and then he'll be able to start running! We're still aiming for an end of March return :)

People ask me how it feels to be a mom - and I always tell them I don't feel like one. I still feel like a robot and a cow. Just sleep, feed, change, repeat.

These next couple of weekends will be pretty busy as we (hopefully) wrap things up here on the East Coast. Jason's mom is coming in to see the baby in about two weeks and our nephew is turning one that same weekend. He will be baptized the following weekend, and then we're hoping to have a 'Meet Cooper' party so everyone can see him before we go and we don't feel like every time we come home, we have to go introduce the baby to someone new.

I am going to miss being this close to all my friends and family, but I'm ready to get back to our house and our things and start a new routine and figure out things for ourselves. I can't believe how much of parenting is guessing. I am not the guessing type of person. I am more of a second guessing type of person. So, everything I do, I still second guess or 'what if' to death. I hate that you literally have to figure this all out as you go! Apparently I think about these things entirely too much.

And so now, our days consist of sleep, eat, change, repeat. Jason goes to physical therapy and occupational therapy by himself, and Cooper and I spend time sleeping some more and then feeding and watching The Price is Right. Daddy comes home and we go upstairs for lunch. Every day is touch and go on whether or not C will stay asleep so Mommy and Daddy can eat their lunch. Get used to it, right? Usually about 30 minutes after lunch, we're thinking about what we should eat for dinner. Mondays are pretty boring, but Tuesday nights there's Teen Mom 2, Wednesday is American Idol, Thursday is American Idol and Grey's Anatomy, and for the weekends there are usually good movies on. If there aren't, we go find a Redbox. And that is how we spend our days.

I'm off to address birth announcements :)