Friday, March 30, 2012

Thoughts on motherhood, six weeks in

  • Before your baby is born, "they" always tell you how much time you'll spend just staring at him. Well, "they" are right. I could just sit for hours and look at Jude's sweet little face, marvel at his tiny fingers and toes, and giggle at the dimples that seem to be appearing daily. I've always loved babies, but there's just something about having my very own baby to hold and watching him grow daily.

  • Another thing that "they" tell you before you have a baby is how everything will take more time, and how much STUFF you have to take with you when you go anywhere. It's all true. When I plan to get out of the house, we have to start getting ready at least two hours before we go anywhere. If it's in the morning, Judah needs to eat, have a diaper change, then I have to get showered, dressed and ready, maybe have some breakfast if I'm lucky... then Judah needs another diaper change, and probably to eat some more, get strapped into his carseat... and the diaper bag has to be packed up for every possible emergency, my phone and the keys need to be found... etc etc.

  • I always thought that once I had a baby, my baby fever would be cured, at least for a little while. But no, it's still here. I want another one! Ha. I remember thinking that even just a few hours after Judah was born - I wanted to do it all over again. But it will be a couple of years, don't worry!

  • It feels like my heart grows bigger every day, just to fit all the love that I have for Judah and Thomas and our new little family. A side effect of this is that I seem to feel more... as I hold Judah close, I often think of all the children in this world who don't have a loving family - or even just food and shelter. Now that I have Judah it seems incomprehensible to me that anyone could harm or abuse such an innocent little life. It's really hard for me to read or watch the news because there are so many stories of abuse, abandonment, and starvation. My heart just breaks, and I wonder to myself what I can do about it... because I truly believe that what your heart feels most strongly about is what you are meant to do. This is something that has always pulled at my heart strings, but having Judah has just heightened it.

  • Having a child also makes you more aware of all the dangers in the world. Judah is only six weeks old but I already feel this overwhelming urge to protect him - keep him from getting hurt, getting sick, or being abused in anyway by anyone. This is something I know is going to be a daily battle for me as he grows up... finding a happy medium between protecting him and letting him have adventures and experiences and live his little life to the fullest. I don't want him to be afraid, but at the same time I want him to have a healthy awareness of the dangers of this world so he can learn to make his own judgments.

  • I have a bigger desire to make every moment count now that Judah is part of our lives. I want to be purposeful as a mother - to actively help him to learn and grow. I don't want to be distracted by things like the computer or the TV when he is awake and wanting my attention. He is growing so quickly and I just want to soak it all in. I refuse to miss any smiles, any gurgles or coos, and any "conversations" that he might want to have with me!

  • The sense of responsibility for this little baby is overwhelming sometimes! I believe that every child is a gift from God, and we have been entrusted with Judah's care. Even at this very young age Judah is taking in everything, so Thomas and I should be acting like we want him to act - with kindness, respect, compassion, and doing things out of love. We should model the behaviors and character traits that we want him to have, and this means constantly being aware of our actions and living mindfully. 

  • Last, but not least, it's just incredible how one little smile from Judah makes my heart melt, even if it's at three in the morning. Every wakeful night, every tearful moment... it's all worth it. The fact that he always stops crying when I pick him up and hold him close makes me feel like the most special person in the world.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Judah William's Birth Story

I can't believe it's been six weeks since my baby boy was born. Judah William made his way into the world quite suddenly and unexpectedly. Well, not unexpectedly in the sense that we knew he was coming... the unexpected part was the way he got here! I'm still trying to wrap my mind around it. Writing out his birth story has helped me remember all the details of that magical day.

Just a little forewarning... I am not going to be graphic, but this is a BIRTH story... so I will talk about various things that happen during birth :)

On Monday morning, the 13th of February, my mom and I went to my 39-week appointment at the birth center. We were in a rush to get out the door, because we were late (as usual, in my case). Mom had made me a cup of tea, and I only got to have a few sips before we left. I remember thinking to myself  "I'll heat it up in the microwave when we get back in an hour and drink it then."

I had been having contractions all weekend, but this wasn't anything out of the ordinary after 9 weeks of pre-term contractions. They had been getting more uncomfortable, but I was in denial... feeling like this baby was just never going to come out. We got to the birth center, and everyone there was surprised that I was STILL pregnant after all the pre-term contractions, dilation and effacement. I had begun to wonder if maybe my body/uterus was just too tired out after weeks of contractions to effectively go into labor and push the baby out (hence the "this baby is never coming out" desperation). I was starting to get anxious, because my mom had been here for almost a week already and he still hadn't arrived. I was well aware that she only had a limited amount of time with us and I wanted the baby to spend as much time with her as possible.

The midwife, Beverly, was a little late, so we just sat in the waiting room for a while. When she arrived we went in and proceeded to do all the usual pregnancy appointment checks... weight, blood pressure, listening to the baby's heartbeat, measuring the baby bump etc. Then Beverly checked to see how dilated/effaced I was... 3cm and 75%. She noticed the rash on my belly that had been irritatingly itchy for the past week, and went to ask Cherie (another midwife) what we should do about it. Cherie came in and looked at it, measured my belly again, and decided to check me for dilation/effacement as well. As she was checking me, I felt this warm gush of water... at first I had no idea what had happened, and Cherie hadn't noticed either. But then it kept happening and I said "Ummmm... I think my water just broke!" And sure enough it had. Because of my high amniotic fluid level, there was a lot of it to come out... all over the exam table... ha. Beverly and Cherie were running around finding towels! Cherie checked to make sure the baby was all right - there was a slightly higher risk of cord prolapse, because of the high amniotic fluid level and the fact that his head was still floating. Everything was fine though, and Cherie could feel his head had moved right down and engaged when my water broke. It was 10am at this point.

All this happened in the space of a couple minutes, and I hadn't really realized what it meant - we were having a baby today! Once your water breaks, you have to go into labor within 24 hours because of the risk of infection. My mom brought me my phone as I was lying there on the exam table with the midwives bustling around me. I called Thomas, who was at work, and said something like "My water broke and I think you should probably come here!" My mom and I had the car (Thomas had ridden to work with a co-worker), so he then had to get a ride to the birth center. Somewhere in there, I was moved to the upstairs birthing room (which is more of an observation room) and Cherie monitored the baby's heartbeat for a few minutes before sending me and my mom to walk around. The contractions had started almost immediately after I got up from the exam table. When Thomas arrived, we basically sent him right out again to go home and get all of our stuff. Unfortunately a lot of it was still spread out over the house, partly because I was in denial that the baby was ever coming out and hadn't actually put everything in our bags! I knew where everything was, but explaining it to Thomas proved difficult and the poor guy was madly running all over the house trying to find everything on my list.

While Thomas was running around at home, my mom and I were walking. We went outside into the freezing rain, and walked around the tiny little park next to the birth center. Cherie told me to walk right through the contractions, so I did that as  much as possible. There was a gazebo in the middle of the park that we took shelter in, and I just walked in circles under the roof. The contractions were about 3-4 minutes apart at this point, and lasting for about a minute. I had to concentrate during the contractions, but in between them I was still in the "excited" stage... texting people and Skyping and facebooking on my phone and talking with my mom. It was really cold - the coldest day of the year so far in Dallas, I think. My poor mom was freezing, but the cold air actually felt good to me as I marched through the contractions.

At about 11am, we came back inside and Cherie checked the baby's heart rate again. He sounded great. She asked me how the contractions were feeling and I said they were getting a bit more painful and the pain was mainly down in my lower abdomen - it actually felt like knives stabbing at my cervix! She told me that once I was feeling pain all over my belly then we would be in serious labor - but that never actually happened for me. Cherie said that I should go home and labor there for a while because I was a first time mom and labor would take about 12 hours. I said  "ok" but was thinking internally "I don't think I really want to ride in a car right now!" My phone had died, so we had to wait until Thomas arrived to let him know anything. I continued walking around the downstairs waiting room, and then around the main birthing room as well through the contractions. They were starting to get more intense. I tried sitting down for a bit while we waited for Thomas to get back, but I couldn't keep still - the contractions felt much worse when I wasn't walking.

Thomas finally got there, and right as he was arriving the contractions kicked up another notch on the pain scale. I literally had to speed walk through them to manage the pain. I must have looked so funny - speed walking around the big birthing room breathing deeply through my nose. In between contractions I filled Thomas in - told him that Cherie had said to go home and labor for a while, but that I didn't think I would survive a car ride - I wouldn't be able to walk through the contractions in a car! At this point the contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and lasting for a good solid minute. Thomas went to find Cherie and tell her this, and I guess she said it was fine to stay because we stayed! Somewhere around then the birthing assistant, Debbie, came in and checked the baby's heart rate. She had to listen to him through a contraction... that meant I had to stand still during one, which was quite agonizing. Thomas held me up and put pressure on my lower back with his fists. Debbie came in about every 15 or 20 minutes to check his heart rate.

It was after 12pm now, and I was getting quite exhausted from all the speed walking through contractions. I started having to walk more slowly, with Thomas walking behind me and putting pressure on my lower back. We used socks filled with rice and heated up - he pushed them into my back during contractions while I was walking and that helped. The contractions were every 2 minutes and lasting a minute or more, so I usually had less than a minute to rest in between. It was too uncomfortable to sit down and get up again, so Thomas and my mom piled up cushions on one of the couches in the birthing room and I would just lean against it.

Sometime around 1pm, Debbie suggested using the shower as a pain relief method. So I got in the shower and had the hot water running on my back. But the shower was too small to walk around in and I just could not get comfortable without Thomas to hold onto, so that only lasted about two contractions. I got out again and continued laboring with Thomas pushing the hot rice socks into my back while I moved. I was getting too tired to walk, so I just swayed back and forth.  Somewhere around 1:30pm, I asked to try the jacuzzi tub, but Debbie said she would have to get Cherie to check me before I could get in - she said they like people to be 5cm-7cm dilated before using the tub because the hot water can slow labor down. So Cherie came to check me, and said I was a good 5cm. I barely had time to think between contractions, but I was a little discouraged at this point. I couldn't imagine going through 5+ more hours of labor at this level of pain to get to 10cm dilated. While Cherie was checking me, however, she also did something - I can't remember exactly what - either she pulled my cervix down or adjusted the baby's head position... or something like that. When she was done, I got up and had the two WORST contractions ever. I hardly knew what to do with myself - the pain was blinding. I was grabbing at Thomas, pushing him away, leaning over, squatting down, standing up... just trying to do SOMETHING to help the pain. (I now know that those two contractions were my body going through transition and dilating almost instantaneously from 5 cm to 10cm). It was now about 2pm. When those contractions were over, the jacuzzi tub was ready and I climbed in and slid my whole body under the water. The pain relief that came with the weightlessness and hot water was incredible. My whole body relaxed, and with the next contraction came an uncontrollable urge to push - my body was shaking with the effort not to push.

I was confused - just a few minutes ago I was only 5cm dilated! I told Thomas to get someone quickly because my body was just pushing. Debbie came in and calmly told me that it usually takes 2 hours for a first time mom to push a baby out, but I just didn't believe her. I knew the baby was coming out right now! I pushed for a few minutes in the tub and then they wanted to check me again so I got out, and was pushing while squatting down (which is one of the best ways to push because it opens up your pelvis). The nice thing about this part of labor is that the contractions don't so much hurt anymore... they just feel like immense pressure waves, pushing the baby down and out. They were very intense, but compared to the pain of the previous contractions these were so much better. I guess the midwife could feel the baby's head because they started getting the bed and the equipment ready. I pushed through two more contractions while holding onto the bedpost, and then the midwives quickly got me on the bed because the baby's head was coming out. I remember while I was pushing at the bedpost, someone asked what we were going to name him - we said we had two options but were just waiting to see him first! A few more pushes on the bed holding my knees back, and his head was out! Immediately followed by a little hand, waving hello to the world :) The rest of him slid out and Cherie handed him to me. There was another birthing assistant taking pictures with our camera, and the picture of this moment is one of my favorite pictures - I had a look of utter shock on my face as I pulled my brand new baby up to my chest! I could not believe I had just had a baby. Thomas got to cut the cord. He was born at 2:32pm, and was absolutely perfect from head to toe. A few minutes later we realized we still hadn't named him, and after a little discussion we decided he was a Judah William!

The whole experience was incredibly empowering in an "I am woman, hear me roar" kind of way. What an incredible process birth is, and I felt like I lived Judah's birthing to the fullest, even though is was just a short four and a half hours. For someone who has often struggled with body image and self confidence, child birth really made me proud of my body and confident in my own capabilities - I look at Judah and I think to myself how my body grew him from one cell to an 8lb 4oz baby, and now continues to nourish him completely by breastfeeding. I know it's not for everyone, but natural child birth was the right thing for me - a great sense of accomplishment fills me when I think back to laboring and birthing Judah. I am grateful that God blessed me with the natural, uncomplicated, beautiful birth that I prayed for.

Thomas and my mom were with me for the whole birth. Mom mostly hovered in the background, bringing me drinks or anything that I needed. Thomas was right there with me from the moment he arrived at the birth center. He was on the massive four-poster bed next to me as our baby was born. We just laid there for half an hour or so with our brand new baby wrapped up in towels and surrounded by warming rice socks, staring at him. Debbie took him to be weighed and measured and everything (8lbs 4oz and 20.5 inches long) just a few feet away while Cherie stitched up my two tiny little tears. Thomas stood there with Judah and held his hand and I just stared at my new baby boy. He was back in my arms after a few minutes and we stayed snuggled up for a while. About an hour and a half after Judah was born, I got up and showered. It felt very weird - my body felt like I had run a marathon - my legs were shaky, and my stomach muscles hurt like I had done 1000 sit ups. The shower felt amazing, though, and I was soon back in bed with my new family.

We were texting and calling and Skyping people all afternoon after Judah was born... we woke my Dad up at 3am his time (he was in Kenya for meetings) and he got to see Judah via Skype at 2 hours old. We texted Thomas's parents (who also happened to be in Kenya) to let them know but they didn't have internet then. We Skyped with them later that night from home.

At 7pm we went home. Judah was just 5 hours old. It felt so surreal driving home with him, less than 12 hours after I had left the house that morning thinking I would be back in an hour to finish my cup of tea! We had a couple of visitors, and then settled in for our first night of baby adventures. Honestly, I hardly slept a wink... I just lay awake staring at him! Newborns make the funniest noises and squeaks and I was just not sure what they all meant so I felt I had to stay awake and make sure he was ok! The first few days are a hazy, magical blur. It was so special watching our newborn take in the world, figure out breastfeeding, listen to his cute little noises, and marvel at his tiny perfect body. It's incredible how fast they change and grow and learn new things. I've just loved every single minute so far.

Our brand new family, with Judah just minutes old.

Friday, March 23, 2012

life with a little Jude...

I can't believe my little newborn is almost 6 weeks old... and not so little anymore at 11lbs 11oz! The pediatrician took one look at him and said to me "What do you put in your milk?!"... haha. He is 100% healthy and growing and we are so thankful for that.

When Judah was 3 weeks old, two of his uncles came to visit... Thomas's brothers Robert and Stephen.

We all went out for Ethiopian food... with Stephen Whitson too!

The food was amazing... we ate every last bit!

Hanging out with Uncle Stephen.

And Uncle Robert.

Some Congdon men!

Last day with Nana :(

Jude decided to wear a super cute outfit just for her.

Saying goodbye at the airport.
Sad day :(

Candid shots of the past few weeks:

Staring up at daddy.

Jude loves his bouncy seat. We call it the "magic chair" because it puts him right to sleep. 

Resting on mommy.

Super baby! Look at that squishy face... adorableness.

Outing to Target. We go there a lot just to wander around.
(OK, and for mom to get Starbucks!)

My little snuggle bug.

We like to go for walks around the country club of our apartment complex.

Daddy says Jude looks like a little prison inmate in his jumpsuit.

... and mommy is bananas over Judah!

Looking grown up in big boy pajamas, hanging out in his crib with Gentle Giraffe (which makes sleeping sounds!)

Talking to momma.

I can honestly say I've loved every minute of Judah's 5 and 1/2 weeks of life. The only hard part is keeping up with things like laundry and dishes and trying to keep the house presentable, when all I want to do is snuggle and stare at him. It helps that he's such an easy baby - he eats well and sleeps well. He usually only wakes once a night to eat and stays awake for about an hour. I thought I would be way more sleep deprived... but I feel quite rested most of the time. Thomas gets a little more sleep deprived because he has to get up and go to work early, and he doesn't get to nap during the day when Jude naps like I do.

Motherhood is definitely my favorite stage of life so far!

Life is getting back to normal... well a "new" normal anyways. I still love cooking and coming up with new things. The other day I made a mushroom-asparagus-proscuitto saute with yummy things like garlic and red wine. I ate it on toast with some feta cheese and fresh basil... it would have been even better with goat's cheese, I think.

We also had a delicious fondue dinner with Andrew and Janelle!

So life with a little Jude, in short, is wonderful :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

One month old!

Judah William, you are one month old! This month has been the fastest one of my life, watching you change and grow before my eyes. It's also been the best month of my life... the first month with YOU!

A little one-month-old photoshoot.
(Thanks for the awesome stickers, Caden!)

"Maybe I'll play along and give them a smile..."

"Here it comes..."

"Oh yeah, they're gonna love this smile!"

"Phewsh, that smile was hard work"

Deep in thought.

Oh! We are distressed!


Taking a little paci break...

"This photoshoot business is hard work..."

How big you are: 
At two weeks, you were 9lbs 4oz and 20.5 inches long, and you haven't been weighed or measured since then. You were supposed to have your one-month appointment this week, but the doctor isn't in her office, so we have to wait until next week to find out how much you've grown! I'm guessing you're at least 11lbs by now... you are a little chunker!

Things you love:
You LOVE your bath time. As soon as you are put in the water, your whole body relaxes and you make happy little sighs and coos. We always make sure the bathroom is nice and warm so you don't get cold. You often fall asleep while we're bathing you!
You LOVE to be held, especially with your head on our shoulders. You love having your back patted. You are quite the little monkey, because you know that if you cry (when you're laying in your play gym or bassinet or something) we will usually pick you up. Most of the time the only reason you cry is so that we will pick you up, and you are as happy as a clam as soon as you are in our arms! We love it. Maybe we are spoiling you, but I don't think babies can be spoiled by being held... they just need lots of snuggle time. It must be quite the shock to the system to suddenly be out in the big wide world after being snuggled up in mom's belly for so long! Sometimes we fight over who gets to hold you :)
You LOVE your food - you are a very good eater (as evidenced by your very healthy weight gain!) I feed you every 3-4 hours during the day, and at night you go 4-6 hours between feeds. We introduced a bottle (of pumped milk) at 2 weeks, and you sucked it down like a champ. You get one bottle every day so you stay used to it. That way someone else can feed you if mom needs to go somewhere!
You LOVE to suck on things. I figured this out when you would nurse for up to an hour - really you were just using me as a pacifier! You suck on your fists, and you try to suck on anything that comes close to your mouth. So we introduced a pacifier and you love it. Unfortunately you're not great at keeping it in your mouth (and when it comes out you tend to get upset) so we have to keep plugging it back in, but you'll get it soon enough.
You LOVE music... and being sung to. Daddy makes up silly songs for you, and I often sing you to sleep. You love it when there's music on, you go very quiet and look like you're listening intently.
You generally like tummy time... it depends on what kind of mood you're in. You do love to sleep on your tummy, but we only  let you do that when we're awake and watching you.

Things you don't like:
You DO NOT like having your diaper changed. It makes your little bottom cold and you do not like anything cold! Anytime we touch you or pick you up with cold hands, you start crying! You will usually cry while we change your diaper (as quick as we can), and as soon as we are done and pick you up you are perfectly happy again.
Sometimes at night you decide that you don't like being alone in your bassinet (which is in our room), so we move all our pillows and blankets and put you on the bed with us. Then you can sense us next to you and you sleep like a rock! Little monkey. Being close to us makes you feel secure, so we don't mind.
There's really not much you don't like... you're a pretty laid-back baby!

What you've been up to this month:
It's incredible how much you've changed in just a month. You've gone from a helpless, floppy (but oh-so-cute) newborn to a happy one-month-old who can hold his head up for short periods, smile at us, and "talk" to us. You've figured out that your arms and legs are attached to your body and you kick and wriggle and wave your arms around happily. You like to put your fist in your mouth and suck on it.
You started mimicking simple facial expressions when you were about a week old. You can make "kissy lips", stick out your tongue at us, and smile :) You smiles are now becoming more purposeful and sometimes you give them spontaneously which makes us squeal with delight :) (OK, maybe the squealing mostly comes from mom, but it makes daddy very happy too!).
You get hiccups all the time, just like when you were inside me. Usually you get them after you eat. So far we haven't figured out how to get rid of them... they eventually just stop on their own. You are starting to get more annoyed with your hiccups as you get older! Poor baby... I would be annoyed too!
You've "talked" to us from the very beginning with your little body. When we talk to you or smile at you, your whole body starts moving, you mouth opens and closes, and your hands start waving as you try to communicate with us. More recently you've started using your voice to talk to us too... with little oohs and aahs and agoos. It's so cute. You've made grunting and squeaking noises since you were born... often in your sleep. Sometimes you sound like a horse and we laugh at you :)
You've developed a pattern of being very wakeful and playful from about 2am to 4am. You wake up to eat at 2am, and then you're wide awake usually for a couple of hours, and you just want to have our attention! We're working on getting you back to sleeping then, but we're enjoying the happy smiles you give us during that time. We just wish it was more like 2 in the afternoon instead of 2 in the morning :)

Oh, what joy you have brought to our lives Judah William! We love you so very much, and we are so grateful that God has chosen us to be your parents! We are excited to watch you grow (but not too fast, ok?) and explore and learn about this big wide world of adventures and possibilities.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

35 - 39 weeks

This post is written in retrospect... Judah William is one month old already! At the end of the pregnancy I finally got off bedrest and we moved to a new apartment and I was just focused on baby, so this little blog kind of fell by the wayside.

How far along: 35 weeks (Jan. 12th), 36 weeks (Jan. 19th), 37 weeks (Jan. 26th), 38 weeks (Feb. 2nd), 39 weeks (Feb. 9th), and then Feb. 13th, 2012 - Judah William was born!!!

Baby size: When he was born at 39 and 1/2 weeks he was 8lbs 4oz! I had lots of extra amniotic fluid, so that was the main reason I was measuring so far ahead. He was definitely a full-term baby, which makes me think his actual due date was more like Feb. 10th or 11th like we originally thought when we found out we were pregnant.

Total weight gain/loss: +30 lbs by the end!

Sleep: Got more difficult as the weeks went by... when I got off bedrest (gradually after 36 weeks) I was feeling great during the day but sleeping was hard. When I hit 38 weeks I was just uncomfortable all the time! I was so huge!

Movement: Slowed down the further along I got...  poor kid just had no room to budge! He got hiccups right until the very end though. (And still gets them now!)

Food cravings/aversions: Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate... one night when I was feeling particularly discouraged that he was STILL inside me, I ate a whole bar of chocolate... one of those big block ones... yah. We tried all sorts of food to get him out...  spicy Indian & Thai food, Italian (eggplant parmigian!), pineapples. The night before he was born I made a spicy Thai noodle soup... I think it worked :)

Pregnancy symptoms: The famous pregnancy waddle was definitely happening those last weeks, especially once I was off bedrest and trying to walk him out! I felt all right until about 38 weeks, and then I was just DONE with pregnancy and wanted him out and in my arms. I was huge... carrying around an 8 pound baby and extra amniotic fluid. After my water broke and all came out on the day he was born, my belly was so much smaller!
In general, I was achy and unable to move very far or very fast. The usual for late 3rd trimester! But I was SO HAPPY to be off bedrest that I went walking every chance I got. It felt so wonderful to go grocery shopping again.
At 35 weeks, on Jan. 12th, I ended up in hospital again with contractions that wouldn't slow down. At that point I could have had the baby reasonably safely, but they decided to try and stop it so that I could have the baby at the birth center (they only allow you to have babies at 36+ weeks there). I was given an IV and two shots of Terbutaline... they couldn't give me the third dose because my heart rate had sky-rocketed. The contractions had slowed down a bit, so they sent me home with a prescription for Nifedipine, which is actually a blood pressure medicine, but it also relaxes smooth muscle... ie. the uterus. I took that until I was 36 weeks.
Ironically, once I hit 37 weeks the contractions that I'd been having since 30 weeks seemed to slow down... right when I was finally ready to have the baby, my body decided to take a rest. Haha.

What I miss: Hmmm... well, from the other side... with a one-month old... I actually miss being pregnant! I loved having him inside me and feeling him move. I still get "phantom baby" kicks sometimes that startle me and make me wonder if there's another one in there... haha.

What I'm looking forward to: I was so ready to meet the little guy by the end... so I was just looking forward to him being born! I remember feeling like he was NEVER going to come out.

Milestones: We made it to full term! And 2 and 1/2 weeks beyond!

Best moment of this week month: Getting off bedrest! And then meeting Judah William!!!

Pregnancy moments with the hubby: Thomas was so good to me those last few weeks. When I was still on bedrest he was my "warden" and didn't let me get up, and made sure I had everything I needed. We moved apartments when I was still on bedrest (36 weeks) and he basically organized it all. We had lots of help from friends to pack, move, and unpack... and Thomas didn't let me do a thing. When I finally got off bedrest, he still made sure I was resting enough. He had to help me get up basically every time I sat down because I was so huge, haha. He took me on a "last" date night before baby... we went to Red Lobster and just had the most wonderful evening talking and laughing and dreaming. And when it was finally time to have the baby, he was amazing throughout the whole labor and delivery.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

forever changed

As most of you know, Judah William Congdon was born on the 13th of February and he has changed our lives forever for the better. I'll write a more detailed birth story over on his little blog soon, but I was blessed with a very short labor and delivery. My mom and I went into the birth center on the 13th for my weekly appointment (I was 38 and 1/2 weeks), and I was fully expecting to be back home within an hour. However, while the midwife was checking me, my water broke (at 10am). Contractions started almost immediately, and four and a half hours later, at 2:32pm, Judah was born! The midwives were all shocked... they kept telling me I would be in labor for 12-14 hours and it would take about 2 hours to push him out, because I was a first time mom. But happily, we proved them wrong!

A brief record of Jude's first three weeks:

Brand new family!

8lbs, 4oz... 20.5 inches long... perfect from head to toe!

 Holding Dad's thumb.

Staring intently at each other.

Not even 2 hours old.

Jude is 2 hours old, mom is all showered, feeling great and loving every second!

The new grandmother, who was there with us for the whole birth! Thomas was at work when my water broke at my appointment, and I'm so glad she was there with me. Thomas had to go home and pick up all of our stuff (which was kind of spread out all over the house, and while I knew exactly where everything was, my poor husband was running around frantically trying to find the stuff on my list!), so mom was with me through the first hour and a half of contractions. They started getting really painful right as Thomas arrived.

When Judah was 5 hours old, we headed home.

Our first night as a family in our own home!

Cute little bean in his carseat, going to his first pediatrician appointment at 18 hours old.

Snuggled with mom.

First little sponge bath... he LOVED it. We made the bathroom all warm and toasty for him.

 Hanging out with dad.

2 days old.

Talking to Nana :)

Love those chubby cheeks!

Little burrito.

 Thomas tried to put together Judah's links in a pattern with 6 different colors and 4 different designs... harder than it sounds.

Monkey butt!

Jude and his rugby ball from Grandad!

We think he's going to make a great rugby player... he already has the intimidating look down!

Sleepy newborn... won't stay awake for tummy time!

 Bear hug for dad.

My little 1-week-old snuggle bug.

Trying so hard to wake up!

At his 9-day-old visit (he weighed 8lbs 9oz!), Judah got his little footprints on the wall of the birth center along with the 3000+ other babies that have been born there.

First time napping in his crib (he sleeps in his bassinet in our room).

Going for a walk in our Maya ring sling.

"My Uncle Matthew is awesome!"

"My Uncle Daniel is awesome!"
(These onesies are how we told my family we were pregnant :) )

Getting ready for an outing.

Funny story... our good friends the Whitsons came to visit Jude, and while they were here he needed a diaper change. He proceeded to pee ALL over the wall next to his changing table while I was changing him, so the guys all came in, moved the changing table (because of course it dripped down behind it as well), and wiped the wall down with Clorox wipes. What good friends!

Nap time.

Thomas decided to join Jude in a nap in the middle of studying for a presentation for grad school.

 Just hanging out. We do that a lot. I don't want to miss a moment!

We are developing a little double chin! Love it.


Jude looks wearily up at me after a long photoshoot... "Are you done yet mom and dad? There will be plenty more opportunities to capture my adorableness!"

We've been blessed with an easy transition into parenthood. My recovery was quick and not bad at all, and Jude is such a laid back baby. Having my mom here for a month has been wonderful... very reassuring when we wonder if something Jude is doing is normal. She's a baby expert. I get to learn from the best. The three of us are going to be very sad when she has to fly back to South Africa next Saturday, especially because we don't know when we'll get to see her again.

For the first week or so, Jude was eating every 2-3 hours during the day and 3-4 hours during the night. It's now stretched out to 3-4 hours during the day, and 4-5 hours during the night. He's even "slept through the night" a couple times (6 or 7 hours). The first time he did that we were worried because he hadn't eaten all night, but he was just as happy as a clam (and then so were we!). He is certainly getting enough food because he gained a whole pound by his two-week appointment!

It's amazing how much he has changed in just three weeks... he is so much more alert now. He stays awake for 2-3 hour stretches sometimes. His face is looking more and more "grown up". Right from the beginning he has been staring at our faces intently, so we take those opportunities to teach him to do things like stick out his tongue at us, make "kissy lips", and even smile. He gets better at mimicking us every day. I can get a smile out of him almost instantly now. He loves music and being sung to, so we try to have music on, and we sing to him whenever we can. It's so fun to interact with him, and I'm sure it's just going to get better and better as he gets older. 

I love watching his little personality develop. He makes these cute little squeaky sighing/grunting noises when he likes something (like his bathtime... he LOVES baths). He gets a quivery lip and a pitiful little cry when he doesn't like something (like diaper changes... he doesn't like having a cold bottom!)... but as soon as you pick him up when it's done he's perfectly happy again. He does this little fast breathing/panting in anticipation thing when he knows he's about to be fed, and then sighs contentedly while he's eating. His little face is so expressive, and his hands are always moving when he's awake like he's trying to talk to us.

We are just loving every minute. It's going so fast already, I don't want to blink in case I miss something!


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