One month old

Brendan is 1 month old today! He has grown so much it takes my breath away! He squeaks, makes this rapid-fire hiccupping sound (“hic-hic-hic-hic”) when he’s excited and is even starting to coo. He has only smiled in his sleep but I’ve heard him make giggling sounds that sound like the real deal- once in response to Darrell tickling his neck! Both of us just can’t wait for some positive reinforcement (smiles and laughter) to prove that we are doing things right. Brendan is definitely the sunshine in our lives now! I can’t believe I MADE him!! A whole little perfect person just for us! :o)
I am sad that I have not been better in making the time to post an entry in this journal before this. It upsets me that I have not “captured” this wonderful time for my son. I had been making near daily posts to our message board of all that has gone on, but sadly, I lost my son’s first 18 day’s posts due to an archiving problem that I had not noticed before.
Birth-
We were astounded when the sonographer told us that Brendan was about 10 ½ pounds!! At my 41 week OB appointment the next morning, a quick check revealed that he was still floating inside me. Dr. Gallagher really left the choice of how to have him up to me, but advised that an induction would only have about a 15% chance of success and with him so big, he might not fit if he descended anyway. Having made up my mind the night before that if I wasn’t given at least a 40% chance of success with an induction, I would opt for a c-section, the decision to actually go for a c-section was easily made. But it was a shock to my system to see her go out into the hall, get on a phone and reserve the c-section room for 5:00 that night! I just stood there dumbly and thought to myself, “Today is the day, today is the day, oh my god, today is the day I meet my son!” For how long the last 2 weeks dragged on, birth day sure came on fast! LOL.
Darrell and I were grateful that we were given an afternoon to prepare the house, repack our bags for a c-section delivery and longer stay & to prepare ourselves mentally at a leisurely pace. We arrived at the hospital at 3:00 to get checked in and fill out paperwork. Soon after, I was being wheeled into the operating room. It surprised me (and shouldn’t have) when Darrell had to wait outside the OR while I was being prepped. I pretty much had a panic attack as they prepped me and put in the epidural. I am sure the epidural doctor rolled his eyes behind me because I couldn’t stop shaking and my crying made me jumpy. I wasn’t scared so much of the epidural, but of the immensity of the whole thing. There’s no going back now!
Once I had the epidural in place (and my right arm and head stopped going numb) they let Darrell into the room. I was really zonked- the feeling you have when you are woken up from a deep sleep quickly. They had strapped my arms down loosely, but the doctor made me calm about that b saying that I could easily break out of them if I wanted to. They were using the straps just to remind me that I needed to keep my arms away.
As soon as Darrell came in, Dr. Gallagher came in and her and Dr. Cox (her partner) set to work. It seemed like just a minute or so and then Dr. Cox was pushing with all his might on my upper chest to move the baby down. Apparently he was really up high and being stubborn about it, because I learned later that Dr. Gallagher was also using the vacuum on his head! Soon, he was out and his head was popped over the curtain briefly. I remember him not crying for a minute or two, but I was too zonked out to be concerned about it. And then he started crying a bit and I started crying a lot and told Darrell to go be with him. They let him over to where they were cleaning him up and all of a sudden I had a baby next to me. They let me kiss his forehead- it was very warm- briefly and then they took him to do some more stuff, like put on the security leg bands and take his footprints. They handed him to Darrell who brought him over to me. I was crying so hard that by the time they unstrapped me and I got to hold him, I was crying too hard to see him! I just remember him being warm and solid and in my arms!!
I was sewed and stapled shut rather quickly (the whole thing took only 15- 20 minutes) and wheeled into recovery. There, we met up with Darrell’s family and my aunt. Darrell joyfully announced that we named him Brendan Gene, with the Gene being after his Dad and his own middle name. Gene was so happy he came right over to me and thanked me. It was great to hear such emotion in his voice. We witnessed his first shot and he got weighed right there We had a hearty laugh that he was 2 pounds lighter than the sonographer had predicted.. We also had our first breastfeeding attempt there. It went very well.
Soon, I was taken to my room. I was treated to the luxury of a deluxe private room, since the regular private rooms were all taken. I loved that room! It was huge and had a regular bed for Darrell and a living area for all our guests. It also had a refrigerator that was continually stocked with sodas, juices, bottled water, muffins, fruits, cheeses, peanut butter and crackers. If it hadn’t have been for the breastfeeding issues and my incredibly fragile state of mind, I would have loved my hospital stay. I was surprised by how mentally affected I was by giving birth and having my hormones or whatever being out of whack. I cried very easily and was helpless to stop it.
My beautiful son was soon brought to us and seldom left after that. The pediatrician from our group called him perfect. We agreed. We spent the first day giddy with joy. I wasn’t even in pain- which one nurse told us had all the nurses baffled and I was the talk of the break room. Imagine- no pain medications after a c-section!! But I did go through 30 hours of awful total body itching that only shots of Nubaine could keep at bay. I was up and walking that same night, carrying my catheter bag around and accidentally knocking my IVs out. By the second day, Darrell and I noticed that Brendan was sleeping an awful lot and got more lethargic as the day went on. The pediatrician that day said he was still perfect. By the third day, my son was peeing salmon-colored urine crystals- a sign of dehydration. This time the verdict was that he was “okay”. That hurt! Apparently my breastfeeding was not enough. I gave in and allowed him to have some formula by syringe and pumped my colostrum for him every few hours, all the while attempting to nurse him too. It was exhausting work and I knew we weren’t getting it right. By the last day (we stayed an extra day for him) my son’s pediatrician came to visit. He had been out of town. He advised us to start giving him a bottle and drop the syringe-feeding. He said that he didn’t want the baby to lose his sucking ability. At that point, we agreed and so did the lactation consultant. Scary enough, by the third day, Brendan had lost 9 ounces already. We didn’t want any more weight loss. The pediatrician told us he wanted to see Brendan in his office in 2 days. By that time, with the pumping and formula, he had gained all the loss back!
I don’t want to go through our whole breastfeeding ordeal here. In this case, it is probably a good thing that I don’t have his daily ups and downs. I’ll just summarize what happened. We spent his first 2 weeks home in and out of the Lactation Center trying to get the breastfeeding issues worked out. Finally by the start of his third week, we had progressed to the point where he could get latched on and get about 4 oz from me in 35 minutes. So I bit the bullet and for the next 2 days I nursed him on demand. It seemed to work, even if he did suck on me like he sucked on a bottle- with his tongue thrusting (ouch!). By the end of the second day, Darrell and I noticed he was a sleepy baby again- seemingly lethargic like he had been in the hospital. So, I pumped that night and only got out half as much as I had been getting. And since then, I have continued to only be able to pump about 50% of what he needs. What happened? I don’t really know. I had been producing more than 5 ounces at a session. I am guessing that his sucking didn’t stimulate my milk production well enough but my pumping around the clock since then has not brought it back up. I think my breastfeeding days are over and my pumping days are numbered. The day-pumping isn’t so bad, but getting up several times a night is very difficult! I have mourned this loss for weeks now, but am coming to terms with it. I’ll miss this perfect, free nutrition for my son and I have really enjoyed the weight-loss benefits too. By 4 weeks I had lost just over 30 pounds!
Coming Home-
It was so great to go home! It was like a fresh start and we couldn’t believe that they let us take this tiny thing home with us! In celebration, we had lunch at Whataburger before even getting home! Once home, he fit right into our lives. I sure thought we’d be saying, “Okay- now what do we do?” but we had no time for that! Once extra person sure made for a lot more work- laundry, dishes, and his personal care and feedings! We were very happy that Waynell stayed for a week. She was and continues to be great at feeding him his bottles and settling him! He slept wonderfully that first week, even in his bassinet. I wish it had lasted! LOL. Darrell and I both thought we’d be home-bodies for awhile but we managed to go out on some small errand or for a meal just about every day. That was a mental-saver! Being a new mommy is very overwhelming! Brendan grew out of his newborn-ness fast and soon had a big head and grew a forehead too! He outgrew a few of his onesies that first week. His newborn hair never fell out but his eyes started getting browner every day. He’d make the funniest sounds too! We spent a lot of time cuddling him and marveling over how perfect he was. He was a very calm and content baby right from the start. He seldom even spit up.
His first pediatrician visit went fast- basically just a glorified weight check. He had bounced back and so we were told to bring him back for the normal 2 month appointment. Against the pediatrician’s advice, but in our opinions and the lactations consultants’ opinions too, we took Brendan to get his short frenulum cut. Like me, he was born tongue-tied and we had it cut in hopes that it was the answer to our breastfeeding woes. It turned out to be an easy, painless procedure and worth our trouble even if it wasn’t the magical cure-all. For future reference, in case any other children of ours have short frenulums, we took him to Dr. Dana King. She is a dentist and was awesome! Apparently she is the only doctor who’ll do a frenulectomy in town!!! We asked about having mine cut too- but in all likelihood, I’d have a speech impediment if I had a frenulectomy now. How strange! Dr. Gulde, the pediatrician, did react immediately when he saw the white spot under his tongue. We had some fast talking to do, but we still believe we did the right thing, even if the doctor had said nothing needed to be done.
Week 2-
Week 1 slid right into week 2 without us blinking our eyes. I had started to swell at my incision site, even though the cut line looked fine. So we had a couple of OB appointments and I went through a course of antibiotics. By 12 days old, Brendan weighed 9 pounds, 2ounces! We nicknamed him piglet (and puppy, LittleB, Lil Bub…). Brendan has goopy eyes (we are told he has plugged tear ducts and nothing to worry about) and adores his pacifier. An astonishingly heavy “I miss being pregnant” mood hits me.
Week 3-
By week 3, Bren really started vocalizing more. He started saying “guh!” I also started putting him in his Baby Bjorn front carrier and he adored it! His bouncy chair was just too big for him, even though he loved his car seat. On April 13 (3w3d), he finally lost his umbilical cord stump and gained a belly button! Darrell was sad he missed it, since we were having dinner with our friends Coll and Donna at Olive Garden, so the big event happened in the women’s restroom. Two days later he had his first bath. He loved it! Week 3 was also when my mental fragility left. I just woke up one day and knew I was back to my old self. Weird, but I was thankful! He weighed 9 pounds, 12 ounces at the start of 3 weeks and goes through 15 diapers a day! I am plagued with plugged milk ducts. Ouch!
Week 4-
Week 4 saw a big jump in growth and Brendan seemingly overnight grew out of most of his 0-3 month sleepers and all of his socks. He and Darrell developed a game where Brendan would lay on his belly on our bare mattress and Darrell would place his hands on the bottoms of his feet. Brendan would push off on his hands and scoot across the bed. It was a lot of fun to watch! He also developed a passion for lights. He loves to look at lights! I have started to take an occasional bath with Brendan. He loves it and I love how I can hold just the back of his head and he floats! He loves to kick in the water! We occasionally get 6 hours of straight sleep from him at night now! But he sleeps the last half of most nights with us now. Keeps us on edge and we get less sleep, but he sleeps well! Waynell, Anthony & Gene visit again. Grandma stays for another week once more and is a big help. I love to watch them hold and interact with Brendan. He is clearly adored all around!
1 month old-
Brendan turned 1 month old on Easter day. He wore a cute light blue onesie with a white bunny on it that said “My 1st Easter!” We spent the day at my Aunt Cathy’s and my grandparents’ houses and had a barbeque. Turns out my Aunt Sue and Cousin Jamie are miffed at us because they weren’t invited to the birth. Who knew?! We also got his one month portraits taken at Wal-Mart. They are not the cheapest place!!! I hope they turn out well. I have spent weeks printing out pictures and making nice albums for our families. I am going to add some of the professional pictures to them and send them off as mother’s and father’s day gifts.
I very much adore my son but time is slipping away so fast. He grows more every day and as much as I try to savor him, I know I’ll miss this time with him.

6 days old… everyone loves this picture!

Same day.

1 week old.

11 days old and smiling in his sleep!

2 weeks old. Brendan helps us do laundry.

3 weeks old to the minute.

Brendan after his first bath. Grandma Waynell gave him the ducky robe!

1 month old.

1 month old. I love his shoes!!!

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