Three weeks old!

JOur little girl is three weeks old today! She really is such a great baby - here's a little bit of what life looks like for us these days. 

Carson is on a nice little schedule so far - she eats every three hours during the day and will do one 5 and one 4 hour stretch at night. Breast feeding is going very well, thankfully. Sometimes waking her up to eat well is the hardest part. 

Carson is a very alert baby. She's usually awake for an hour or so after each time she eats, but thankfully goes back to sleep quickly after her nighttime feedings. 7-9pm is still her fussy time and she usually skips this round of nap. 

I am feeling much better -- growing in confidence as Carson's mom daily. My anxiety has mostly subsided. The biggest adjustment for me personally now is being at home so much and feeling a little bored at times. I'm comfortable taking her out of the house, but we only have a 2 hour window until the next feeding. Sean's job is a little more flexible now that school is out so he's here quite a bit, which is awesome. 

I'm trying to figure out the whole pumping situation now so we can introduce her to bottles before I go back to work. I've only done it a couple of times so far and it's a slow start. 

It's simultaneously hard to believe three weeks have already gone by and that she's only been with us three weeks! At her two week check up she was 9 pounds and in the 75% for weight, length and head circumference. 

We love you, Carson! 


Weekend in Branson

We decided to load the baby up and head to Branson for the memorial holiday weekend. We tried to get as much quality time with family as possible and learned quickly it takes much longer to get anywhere with a baby! Carson did great on the trip despite being toted around everywhere. Her nighttime sleep routine was uninterrupted, thankfully. 

We are back home now and ready to settle back in to the routine at home. This will be my first full week on my own, so I'm looking forward to some extra snuggle time with Carson. 


Life lately with Carson

We are settling into a new normal here at the Huddleston House -- here are some recent pictures and updates on life with Ms. Carson. 

Carson really is a great baby. She's eating well, about every three hours and gives us some nice stretches of sleep at night -- sometimes 5 hours between feedings (praise the Lord). She's a pretty alert newborn, probably because she sleeps so well at night. I love her pretty eyes, so I don't mind her alertness. Sean has been SO great with her...his patience is beyond impressive and he's always willing to lend a helping hand and word of encouragement. Carson has a fussy time from about 7-9pm -- that's probably the hardest time right now. 

One of the biggest adjustments has been switching from a busy on-the-go lifestyle to a new pattern of three hour routine on repeat. I'm learning to embrace this time with her -- I mean...my maternity leave is already a quarter over with! She will never be this tiny again and might be our only baby, so this is a season of life to cherish and not just slug through. God has ordained this time and season specifically for me right now!

Today is my first day by myself with her because Sean took the first week off and my mom has been here for a while. My gosh I was so thankful to have her here. Do you know what is better than any baby book? My mom. Seriously. She was the perfect mix of baby master, best friend and helper around the house. I was pretty sad to see her go -- not so much because I feel like I have to have help with the baby, but because I just enjoy her friendship and laughter so much. Thankfully she's only a couple of hours away and I have a feeling we will be seeing a lot more of each other now that precious Carson has joined the family. 

I feel like my emotions are starting to level out, praise God. I don't feel 100% like myself just yet, but have noticed a considerable decrease in anxiety and an equally noticeable increase in confidence as Carson's mommy. Please keep praying for this -- the prayers are working!


Google is not my friend

In the first few days with Carson I was so unsure of everything. To be expected. I read babywise in an hour and I found myself googling everything: 

Where should my baby nap? 
Babywise pacifier 
How long should I be nursing? 

Big mistake. I really think this was the source of my anxiety earlier this week. I was relying on a stranger who posted online to influence my own intuition and it felt suffocating. I'm sure there's a time and place for that but not now for this new momma. I felt like every decision I made was so heavy and would influence Carson for years to come - she wasn't even a week old yet! 

Yesterday, instead, I sought wisdom from trusted mom friends who have been there and done that. I had such a better day - what a blessing. I was reminded my feelings are normal and that I know what is best for my baby and family. All sympathized with the tough few weeks as my body adjusts hormone levels and acclimated to new sleep patterns. 

I'm sure anxious moments are not all gone, but giving up control and myself some grace to figure this out feels so good. Sean said he feels like I have done a 180 and I would agree. 

So thankful for those of you who are loving our family right now and keeping us in your prayers -- I'm feeling them! 


Our first week with Carson

Little girl is one week old today. We survived the first week together and are learning a lot about one another every day. 

This week I really tried to lay low at home to focus on my healing and recovery and to be as comfortable as possible. It has been a huge blessing to have Sean home with us this week - gosh, I love that man so much. Thanks to his help, I feel like my body is recovering very well. For documentation purposes, I have lost almost my entire pregnancy weight gain in one week. I think it's a combination of nursing and a decreased appetite. Im really working on eating more, smaller meals and staying hydrated. 

I think nursing is going very well -- she's eating about every 3 hours during the day. Night is another story and she seems to want to eat more frequently. I tried to tell her that's backwards but turns out it is hard to reason with a newborn. I'm feeling more confident with nursing now that my milk is in and her diapers are evidence of healthy eating patterns. She's really chill during the day, pretty fussy in the evening and I haven't noticed a consistent pattern at night yet (some have been easier than others). 

This week we had her first checkup and the doctor said she looks perfect and that her clavicle is healing great. She was down to 7lb 13oz at the appointment, but when I went back the next day for an appt with a lactation consultant she had already gained 5oz back! 

God hand picked us to be Carson's parents and I'm looking forward to the many adventures ahead of us as a family.  For those interested, Wyatt has been great with Carson! 


No one said it would be easy

There's not a single mom out there that would say being a mom is easy and I didn't expect to have a perfect baby -- but, my goodness, this is tough stuff. The combination of physical aspects of caring for Carson, dealing with {high} emotions and being spiritually challenged is a lot of my heart to handle right now. It's amazing how quickly I can feel defeated, even after a previous small victory we celebrated. As someone who thrives with clear direction, frequent feedback and measurable results -- caring for a newborn has proven pretty difficult. There are so many options: where to let the baby nap, should I let her have a paci?, what to do when the typical diaper/feeding needs are met and she's still not happy. Each decision I make I wonder if it's the "right" one (does that exist?) and if I'm taking the easy road now that will make it more difficult for us down the road.

I know these truths -- she's only 6 days old, I'm a brand new mom and I need to offer myself some grace to allow time for learning and understand that I'm going to mess things up sometimes. In the midst of it, though, -- 3am and a crying baby that is not easily consoled -- I feel like a failure. I don't have the answer. I'm not meeting her needs. That is hard for me to handle and, to be honest, I haven't handled it well so far. Thank goodness for Sean who is a great encourager and who recognizes when I need a little TLC intervention. God is using this motherhood role in a mighty way already, pointing out my sinfulness and it's pretty ugly.

Two verses have crossed my path today, confirming God knows exactly what I'm going through in this moment and what I need:

Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith produces perseverance. James 1:2-3

Many are the plans in a mans heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21

It feels silly to ask for your prayers, because I know so many of you have been exactly where I am and that getting through the first weeks with a newborn is something every parent has to go through -- but I'm asking anyways. Please pray for my patience to increase and that my pride would transition to humility.

Carson is so precious. She is perfectly healthy, of which I'm very thankful. I've got a great support system and a Jesus who loves me unconditionally. I know I will get through this, but I want to get through this with a joyful heart and be able to look back fondly on this time I have at home with her.


My First Mothers Day

What a special day! Although I'm certain reality has not yet set in for what life will be like with Carson, I do know she will so loved and cared for by Sean and I. It was so fun and encouraging to get all of the Mother's Day texts and messages from friends and family. I know God is going to use this role as a mom to help identify and deal with sin in my life - particularly selfishness. It's not going to be easy, but I'm looking forward to the challenges ahead and to see growth and progress as I look back. 

Sean really could not be more perfect right now. He is such a huge help and source of encouragement and wisdom. My emotions are a little crazy right now, but I've cried multiple times out of thankfulness for his support and deep love for me, and now Carson, too. 

For Mothers Day and as a "push present" Sean bought me a diamond band that matches my wedding band -- to now signify that there are three of us in the family. It's perfect and so thoughtful. 

Just as meaningful was the very kind letter he wrote to me. His words are like salve for my soul. He also shared with me that he journaled through my late pregnancy and labor/delivery. How special to read those words -- I was a crying mess! 

My first Mothers Day was a blessing and a great way to kick off my new role! 


Carson's Birth Story

Writing this post on Mother's Day has me all kinds of emotional! I feel like I have received a blessing so much greater than anything I deserve -- I'm humbled, excited, scared. Sean has been my perfect helper the past few days, coaching me through labor, and seemingly instantly knowing when to step in and when to let me figure it out. Y'all -- seeing him hold our baby girl with such tender melts my heart!

Here's the story of how she came into this world:

On Wednesday the 8th I started having some discomfort. I knew it wasn't full blown labor, but decided to switch my appointment from Thursday to Wednesday just to get an update on progress. I was still dilated to a 2 and the monitor only showed some uterine spasms, not contractions. The doctor reminded me that if the contractions get to 3-5 min apart or I notice any other change to go to the ER at the womens hospital.

That night I had a few reasonably strong contractions with some bleeding, so I went to the ER to get checked out. The ER doctor wasn't very nice to me at all and I hadn't progressed any since the appointment earlier in the day. They sent me home -- lesson learned.

I fought contractions all day on Thursday (her due date). The intensity was definitely there (stopping to breathe through them), but they were spaced about 7-10 minutes apart. I really wanted to avoid another trip to the ER, so I went ahead to the clinic at 3pm to have my doctor check again since the contractions were so painful. Sean was at football practice, and I was sure she was going to send me home so I told him not to come. As soon as my doctor checked me, she said "are you ready to have baby?!" -- I had dilated to a 5 and she was pretty sure my water had already broken, so she admitted me directly to labor and delivery. Within the hour they had me checked in and Sean made it to the hospital.

Labor was getting real at this point -- contractions every few minutes, a few tears were shed while waiting on labwork so I could get the epidural. The epidural was placed at 5:30 and they started pitocin at 8:00 pm because I was still at a 5. I was feeling so great after the epidural!

At 10:00 pm I noticed more pressure and was at 8cm. By 11:15 I was at 10cm and ready to push. Since I had an epidural, they just rotated my position to help the baby come down a bit to make pushing easier. At 11:50 I started pushing and with some excellent coaching by Sean and our wonderful delivery nurse, Carson was born at 12:15am -- missing her due date by 15 minutes, fashionably late. :) She was a whopping 8lb, 10oz and 20" long. Both Sean and I were low 7lb babies, so we were certainly surprised by her weight!

One of the hardest things is that she didn't get to stay in my room for a couple of reasons. Her cord was caught during delivery, causing her some breathing distress early on. In addition, her collar bone broke during delivery, poor thing. Its apparently pretty common, but I just hate that it happened. They said it will heal nicely on its own, we are just keeping her sleeve pinned to the collar of her shirt to act as a mini sling for the first week or two. They wheeled me to the nursery around 3:30am and amazingly after some skin-to-skin with me all of her vitals improved and she was in our room by 5am!

Recovery has been pretty good so far -- for sure some soreness, but nothing out of the ordinary. Sean has been a champ at helping care for her so I can get some sleep. Last night from 11-2 was pretty rough, but she slept from 3-7:30 this am, giving both of us a nice stretch of sleep. We  have a lot to learn, but thankfully God offers a lot of grace, too.


Almost there!

How far along: 39 weeks, 4 days. Would love to have this bundle by Mother's Day! Yes, that's snow in the pic -- we had a dusting of snow in May, which is very rare around here. Today it's 70 degrees.
Size of baby: 20 inches and just over 7 pounds (ish)
Gender: A girl! Carson Ruby Huddleston
Maternity clothes: Mostly maternity, but I've been able to sprinkle in quite a bit of non-maternity wear throughout. I usually have to add a maternity tank for length at this point.
Weight gain: 24 pounds - my doc gave me a goal of 20-30lb and I'll split it right down the middle.
Movement: She's still kicking, but for sure doesn't have much room to move around in there. Her little foot sticks out much of the day. :)
Sleep: Still sleeping well -- bathroom breaks 2-3 times a night but I usually fall asleep pretty quick. I woke up around 2:30am with some contractions this morning and thought it might be the start of something good, but I fell asleep, so I guess it wasn't the real deal!
Best moment this week:I love that Sean and I had this past weekend to ourselves. I honestly didn't think we would have the weekend free, as I thought I would for sure have this little girl by then. We watched a few movies, did lots of walking (including 2.5 hours at Sams Club) and really just enjoyed each others' company.

My technical due date is this Thursday - did you know only 5% of babies are actually born on their due dates? I really had a feeling I would have her early, and maybe I still will. At this point, I just want to celebrate Mother's Day with Carson in my arms. My next appointment is on Thursday so we will wait and see what the doctor says!