Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Good Night's Sleep

Yesterday, Matt went to the boat drags, so I took Gav to a friend's house. He looked so cute wearing jeans for the first time! They are still a little big, but I know he will grow into them soon.

After we left our friend's house, we went over to Matt's parent's house where Gavin got to have some quality time with his Grandma and Grandpa S. Since we were gone most of the day, Gavin never got to lay down and take a good nap. He fell asleep in my arms a few times, but that just isn't the same. Also, just before we left for Grandma and Grandpa's house, Gavin had some gas pain and began screaming. He screamed on the car ride over there and what was probably half-an-hour seemed like three hours. Any time he screams it is absolutely heartbreaking! When I finally got to Matt's parent's house, I jumped out the car to scoop him up as fast as I could. He finally calmed down after a bit and spent some time cuddling in Grandma's arms.

The combination of not getting a good nap and having gas pain for awhile made him exhausted. So I knew my sweet boy would sleep well. He slept 7 3/4 hours last night! A new record! And, now that he has been changed and fed, he is taking another nap. My poor baby was so tired!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Fun-Filled Days

The past two days have been very fun for us! On Wednesday, I dressed Gavin in his new shorts and of course, he looked adorable. It was a bit sad for me, though, since I officially had to box up his newborn clothes and move him into the 3 month size. Awwww....
Mamaw and Papaw came to visit that day and we always enjoy spending time with them. When Papaw held Gavin, he was so comfortable that he fell asleep!
Yesterday was my 27th birthday and it was a great day for me! My good friend, Virginia, who I met while attending Cal Baptist University, came to visit with her adorable 5-month old son, Vincent. While going through the teacher credential program together, Virginia and I realized we had a lot in common and we became great friends. She was there for me during my miscarriage and throughout my pregnancy with Gav and I love her for that! It was so wonderful to visit with her just have some girl time!

After she left, Evie came over and gave me a pedicure for my birthday. It was soooo wonderful, just what I needed. She has her cosmetology license and is amazingly talented. She was going to give me a head massage as well, but Gav woke up from a nap right then, so I had to take a rain check. I was so excited because Gavin loves his Aunt Evie and smiles at her constantly, so she was able to get a good smiling picture of him. It is so cute!
My boss, Karen, also came over to deliver my birthday gift from my co-workers yesterday afternoon. It was very nice to see Karen as she is more like family than a boss. While at work, I love all of our conversations and constant laughter, so I miss that. But, I still don't want to return to work! I'm going to miss Gav terribly! I am scheduled to return August 1, that way, I can stay home to care for him after his surgery. Then, Matt will begin working nights so he can watch him during the day. So, we won't have to use daycare. Hooray!

We ended the night by going to dinner with two good friends, Billy and Courtney. My mom and Evie watched Gav while we were gone. Before we left, my mom tried feeding Gavin a bottle because he was hungry. He started fussing, but then Matt turned on the vacuum (another sound he loves in addition to the blow dryer!) and lo and behold - he took the bottle! He drank 3 1/2 ounces and we were so excited! Some friends and family have asked why I want him to bottle-feed when he is breastfeeding so well. I want it for a few reasons, but one is that once I return to work, Matt will need a way to feed him while I am away. Also, it is nice to have it as a back-up in case I need to go somewhere or just need a little "me time." :o) But I am planning on continuing breastfeeding as long as I can.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

No Cheese, Please!

When Gavin was about 6 weeks old, we discovered he had colic. I had suspected it for some time, but after doing some investigation, I was certain that he had it. He was very gassy and would often arch his back and scream in pain. This was awful for me because it broke my heart to see my little man in pain when there was nothing I could do about it. I read that the most common offender of colic is cow's milk and other dairy products. Unfortunately, I pretty much live on dairy products and high-fiber foods - bean and cheese burritos, cheese quesadillas, grilled cheese, milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, etcetera; so I knew it would be a difficult transition for me. Well, it wasn't nearly as hard as I thought. For someone who ate Taco Bell bean and cheese burritos at least three times a week, I thought that I would go through withdrawals, but I didn't. When it comes to doing what is best for Gav, anything is doable. So I cut out all dairy products and bought Mylecon drops to help with Gavin's gas pains and over the course of the next few weeks, we saw a big improvement.

Unfortunately, when we tried the bottle the other day, the milk I had frozen was pumped prior to my change in diet, so poor Gavin had more gas pains that evening. He didn't even sleep through the night that night. He went to bed at his usual 10 p.m., but then woke up at 1:30 a.m. crying in pain. We had discovered quite by accident that the sound of the blow dryer soothes him, so Grandpa and Grandma S created a 40-minute blow dryer CD for us! :o) When he wouldn't stop crying that night, I rocked him in our recliner while the blow dryer CD played. He finally calmed down and was back to bed by about 3:45 a.m.

The next day (yesterday), he was still feeling the effects of that gas-inducing milk. He was a bit fussy all day and cried in pain on and off. He didn't take very many naps so I figured he would sleep well. Thankfully, he slept last night from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. - a very nice 7-hour stretch after our rough previous night!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Trying the Bottle

Matt and I ended up trying the Pigeon bottle again at home a few days after I had success with it at Loma Linda.  Well, it was a terrible experience.  Gavin screamed at the top of his lungs the whole time and had big crocodile tears pouring out of his eyes.  It was so heartbreaking!  We tried and tried, but ended up just letting him breastfeed because it was too traumatic for all of us.

On Friday, I got a call from the Speech Pathologist, Heather, because she would like to set up another appointment for us to meet with her and work on bottle-feeding again.  I hope we can because I really want Matt to go this time since he will be doing a majority of the bottle-feeding.  Last time, he couldn't go because he had to work.  So we are keeping our fingers crossed for another appointment, it has to be pre-authorized for our insurance, but they are pretty slow lately.

When I told Heather about our awful bottle experience, she explained that it may be best for Matt to try the bottle-feeding since Gav already associates me with breastfeeding.  Also, babies can sense their mothers up to 20 feet away, so it might also help if I am not in the room.  Wow, very interesting!  So today we decided to attempt the bottle again.  Matt tried first, but Gavin starting screaming and both my boys were feeling frustrated pretty quickly.  I calmed Gavin down and then tried the bottle myself by placing it right near my breast, and surprisingly, it worked!  He fussed a bit, but then took the bottle!  I was so excited.  We never know how much he drinks when he is breastfeeding, so I was interested to see that he drank about 2 1/2 ounces. This experience left Matt and I feeling a bit more encouraged about the bottle.  We want to try it again tonight if we can.  Let's hope for more success!

Here are two cute pictures of my sweet boy napping yesterday.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Gavin: The First Two Months

The day before Mother's Day, I put together a little photo montage of some of my favorite pics of Gavin (most of which appear in the blog as well) during his first two months. He is just so cute!

2 Month Check-Up

Gavin had his 2-month check up with Dr. Shafai on May 22. We found out that he is 10.12 pounds and 23 1/2 inches long! He is growing so fast! He is about 23% for weight and 78% for height, so basically, he's on the long, slim side. He looks so much longer to me lately, so I knew he was going to be much bigger than last time. But wow - 2 inches in a month! And he's already 5 inches bigger than he was at birth. How amazing!

He also got 5 immunizations during this appointment - yikes! It was awful for me, I cried more than Gav did. I had to hold his little arms down while the nurse gave him 2 shots in his left leg and 1 shot in his right. I hate the fact that she had to stick the entire length of the needle in his little legs, it's terrible. He was laying there being cute and when she stuck him, he immediately got big tears in his eyes and started crying, and so did I. As soon as it was over, I scooped him up and gave him lots of love. He calmed down pretty quickly because he's a tough little guy, but I cried all the way to the car.

Plastic Surgeon Consultation

On May 19 we had our consultation with the plastic surgeon. It was a long day for Gavin, since we had to wait 2 hours to see the surgeon! We were told that Dr. Martin is very high-demand and, in addition to his regular appointments, he also takes all the trauma patients who come into the hospital. The day we saw him, he had already seen 50 other patients!

During our consultation, he explained that Gavin will probably only require one surgery, not two or three like we had originally been told. Phew! What a relief! That was so wonderful to hear. I hate the idea of having to put him through even one surgery, but it's still much better than two or three. Dr. Martin also said that in 97% of cases, the bone in the gum area will repair itself after the lip repair is done. I guess once the lip is repaired, it will pull the gums down over time. Hmmm... very interesting. I asked if he would still be able to breastfeed right after the surgery and Dr. Martin said yes. He said it may be a bit irritating on his stitches, but it should be okay. I also asked if we could both stay overnight with Gav in the hospital, but Loma Linda only allows one parent to stay overnight, just like Riverside Community Hospital where Gavin was admitted for dehydration. It's rough being without Matt overnight, but I am feeling much more confident as a mom now, so I know I can handle it.

So Gavin's surgery is scheduled for June 15, one day before his 3-month birthday. We are nervous and excited!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

2 Months Old

At 8 1/2 weeks, my sister, Evie, and I brought Gav back to Loma Linda to meet with the Speech Pathologist for dysplasia, which is basically his suck, swallow, breathe reflex. He is still struggling a bit with feeding; he pauses frequently and often makes gulping noises. For this appointment, I brought some breast milk and the two bottles the Speech Pathologist had provided for us at our previous appointment-the Pigeon and the MeadJohnson-along with a Nuk bottle I had purchased. I was nervous to try the bottle, but also hopeful, as it would allow others to feed Gavin if needed. He was a bit fussy at the appointment, but surprisingly, he took to the Pigeon nipple with the MeadJohnson bottle right away. I was so excited to see my precious boy drinking so well from a bottle. I felt happy and encouraged that he would be able to take a bottle when Matt stays home with him once I return to work.

Gavin officially reached his 2 month birthday this week! He is growing so fast. He has his consultation with the Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Martin, next week. We are feeling very anxious about it. I had read about other parents feeling sad when their children had surgery, as they had gotten used to their baby's "wide smile." Well, Matt and I know the feeling! Gavin is perfect and adorable just the way his is and the thought of his cute face having a new look is a bit sad. It brings tears to my eyes thinking about it! But I know he will be just as cute as ever and it will be better for him. I'm hoping that breastfeeding will be a bit easier for him once the surgery is done.

Gavin has always slept on his tummy, despite doctor's warnings. He simply does not like to sleep on his back. He does do so on rare occasions, but usually, if I lay him on his back, he will fuss. However, I did notice that he seems to enjoy laying on his back when he's awake and looking up at things. So, Matt and I bought him a Lay & Play mat with a rainforest theme. We figured he would like it, but we had no idea that it would become Gav's favorite play thing! He went crazy when we laid him on it! He was cooing, kicking his legs and smiling a ton! It was the cutest thing.

Friday, May 22, 2009

7 Weeks Old

I am still desperately trying to get a picture of Gavin smiling, but every time I bring the camera out, he becomes fascinated by it and stops smiling to stare. However, I was able to catch the end of one of his sweet smiles in the adorable pic:

We had an appointment at Loma Linda this week to meet with the speech pathologist. She had wanted to check in with how Gavin was eating and see if we had tried the bottles. I told her that I hadn't tried them and explained my apprehension. She was very understanding and said that she and Dr. Elmendorf (the team pediatrician) would actually prefer that I breastfeed, so it was okay. However, I told her that I wanted to have the option of a bottle as a back-up, so she said she wanted to see us again the following week to work on getting him to take a bottle.

I also realized that Gavin was really growing fast. His feet no longer fit in some of his cute newborn shoes and socks. Although Gav was born at 7.98 pounds, he dropped to just 6.1 pounds when he became dehydrated. However, this week, during our visit to Loma Linda, we found out that he was already up to 10 pounds! It was very exciting to know that he was growing so quickly. Here is a cute picture of his little "big" feet:

This was also an exceptionally special week for me because I got to celebrate my very first Mother's Day! It was so wonderful to celebrate being a mom, which has proven to be the most wonderful job in the world! Gavin wore a very appropriate onsie for the special day.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

6 Weeks Old

We reached two milestones at 6 weeks. On our 3-year anniversary, Gavin slept through the night for the first time! What a special gift our sweet boy gave to us. He began sleeping about 5 1/2- to 6-hours a night from that point on and it was wonderful. Also, by 6 1/2 weeks, he gave me his first smile! It absolutely melted my heart! I was having a little "conversation" with him and he gave me the sweetest smile! I cried tears of joy as it was one of the most heart-warming moments in my life. I never could have imagined just how much joy one little smile could bring.

During this week, we ventured out with Grandma S to Babies R Us. With all of the trouble we had had with breastfeeding, I am always nervous to leave the house, since Gavin usually doesn't stay latched on and requires a lot of assistance latching on in the first place. However, I felt comfortable going to Babies R Us, since they have a nice, private little "Mother's Room" where you can breastfeed and change your baby. Gavin wore his brown sneakers for the occasion:

I bought the "Mommy Bear" for Gav while we were shopping. It is a teddy bear that plays the sound of the womb to comfort babies. Gavin really seems to like it.

I keep trying to get a picture of Gavin smiling, but each time he smiles, I grab the camera and then he just stares at it in amazement. I can't get him to smile at the camera when he's awake, but I managed to sneak this one while he was snoozing on Grandma C:

5 Weeks Old

Returning to our own schedule was working great. Gavin would take about 2-3 naps a day for 2-3 hours each. Here are 2 of my favorite napping pictures taken of him at 5 weeks:

We continued to add some finishing touches to Gavin's room. When he was 5 weeks, we added his name above his closet. I think it turned out very cute!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

4 Weeks Old

The day before Gavin's 4 week birthday was Easter. We celebrated by visiting Grandma and Grandpa S's house for dinner, where Gavin got to spend time with other family members as well. Afterwards, we went to Grandma and Grandpa C's house for dessert. Overall, it was a wonderful day. Gav wore his light blue suit for the occasion and he looked absolutely adorable!!!

After Gavin had that rough first bath experience, Matt started preparing the baths. He used the 4-in-1 tub we had purchased for Gav. When I felt the water, I thought it was too warm, but Matt insisted that we give it a try. Well, Daddy must know best, because Gavin had a much better experience! He was so calm and really seemed to enjoy his bath time. So ever since then, Daddy prepares the baths, while Mommy prepares Gavin and then we usually bathe him together and it goes much smoother. Here is a cute picture of Gav after his bath in a hooded towel (which is still a bit big for him!):

After hearing some wonderful things about the Babywise method of helping your baby sleep through the night, I decided to give it a try. Even though Gav was a pretty good sleeper, the book said that about 97% of Babywise babies sleep through the night by 7-9 weeks. That sounded nice to me, so I gave it shot. It suggests putting your baby on a 2 1/2- to 3-hour feeding schedule, with feedings followed by some playtime, followed by a short 1-2 hour nap. However, the schedule is not set in stone and can be modified if your baby is hungry or requires more sleep. This sounded great to me, so I gave it a shot. Unfortunately, Gavin did not seem to like it at all. He didn't want to go to sleep when he wasn't tired and he didn't want to eat when he wasn't hungry. We tried it for about 2 days, but the part about letting him cry himself to sleep for a few minutes was much too heartbreaking. I would sit and cry anytime I tried to let him cry himself to sleep. So I decided just to do what I was doing in the beginning, which was to let him eat when he was hungry and sleep when he was tired. That seems to work best for both of us. Here is one of my favorite pictures of my precious boy napping:

We also had Gavin's 1 month check-up with Dr. Shafai. During this visit, he was 8 pounds and 21.5" long. This made him about 3% for weight and 20% for height. I knew his weight would be low since he had a rough start, but he was doing much better and I knew he would get caught up soon.

3 Weeks Old

I had always been a girl who loves my sleep. Prior to being a mom, I would sleep in on weekends until just before noon at times! Well, being a mom certainly changes that! I found the new hours difficult to adjust to, and would try to sleep anytime Gav was sleeping. Although, most people considered me lucky since Gavin was only waking up once in the middle of the night to eat, usually around 3 a.m. However, I was still feeling sleep deprived and exhausted. I called my mom almost daily in tears and would ask for her advice. Being Gavin's mom is wonderful, but at the time I was feeling like I had lost myself. I was sleeping so much that I would stay in my pajama's all day and take my shower when Matt would get home from work. So I was feeling gross and tired most of the time. Finally, my mom gave me the best advice I could have gotten, which was to get my lazy butt up when Gav woke up for the day, take my shower, put on make-up and feel like a human being! LOL. That truly was the advice I needed. After that point, my whole attitude changed. I felt so much better after I started doing that! That's what moms are for! Here is a picture of Grandma C with Gav:

Gavin also got his first real bath. I prepared the water in the little basin they gave us from the hospital, but he didn't seem to enjoy it at all!

We also tried to have his infant photo shoot with my sis-in-law (the one who did our amazing maternity pics). Gavin was just waking up from a nap when she got there, so all he wanted to do was eat. Unfortunately, it was also one of those days when he was having trouble latching on, so we only got a few shots done, but they are so adorable:

At 3 1/2 weeks old, we had our first visit to Loma Linda Children's Hospital, where Gavin will have his surgery. During this visit, we also met a few members of Gavin's craniofacial team, which consists of about 8 different doctors and medical professionals who will meet with us regularly over the next few years. We met the pediatrician, speech pathologist, and geneticist. The pediatrician explained that generally, cleft lip repair requires 2-3 surgeries, which was not exactly what we wanted to hear. We didn't like the idea of putting our baby through even one surgery, but we knew it had to be done. But we were both happy with the pediatrician; he seems to be a kind and knowledgeable person.

The speech pathologist was also very wonderful, she gave us 2 different bottles to try at home, since Gavin will need to bottle feed when I return to work. I still plan on breastfeeding when I am home, but he will have to drink pumped breast milk while I am away. The bottles were the Pigeon, which has a very soft and thick nipple, and the Mead-Johnson, which has a long, thin nipple and a squeezable bottle. I was nervous about trying the bottles, considering all the difficulty we had getting Gav to latch on and wasn't quite sure I would try either one. But I knew eventually it would have to be done.

The geneticist asked us a series of questions to try to determine a possible reason for Gavin's cleft. When I told her that both my mom and aunt had cleft palates, she was surprised. Then she explained that cleft lips and cleft palates are two completely different abnormalities, so having a baby with a cleft lip, when cleft palates without the lip are in my family, is quite unusual. Therefore, she was unable to estimate our chances of having another baby with a cleft lip. This was interesting news, however, Matt and I agreed that it wouldn't make a difference to us whether or not our next baby would have a cleft as well. Gavin has brought us so much love and joy and his cleft is just a small hurdle for us to overcome. He has truly made our lives so much greater!

2 Weeks Old

Gavin finally got to be home when he was 2 weeks old. It was so much nicer to have him home and begin trying to establish our own routine. He also got his first official sponge bath with Grandma C's help:

Breastfeeding was proving to be quite a challenge, though. I never realized just how much work it is, especially with Gav's special circumstance. During this week, I found myself becoming overwhelmed at times and breaking down in tears when Gavin would try to latch on couldn't. He would try so hard and become so frustrated that it would break my heart. Luckily, Matt would always come to our rescue and take Gavin for a little walk around the house to calm him down and give me a chance to relax as well. Then, we would try again and it would always work. Thank goodness for Matt! Here is a cute picture of Gav on his 2 week birthday enjoying a "milk high":

Sunday, May 17, 2009

1 Week Old

After being released from the hospital, I thought that we could go home and begin our happy lives together. However, Gavin was very lethargic and didn't want to eat at all. He was so limp and I was so worried and scared. So the next day, on Tuesday, I had scheduled an appointment with a lactation specialist at Loving Support. My mom went with me and the lactation consultant was concerned about Gavin's lethargy and sent us directly to Dr. Shafai. Once there, the doctor determined that Gavin was dehydrated and wanted us to go directly to the hospital. So once again, we were readmitted, but this time to a different hospital, which proved to be much better! The nursing staff was wonderful and treated Gavin with love. I was sad to be back in the hospital again, but I wanted Gavin to be healthy more than anything.

Unfortunately, Matt needed to return to work, so he couldn't stay with me. However, my mom stayed with me in the hospital from morning until Matt got there after work. And I am so glad she did! I needed the love and support. Luckily, while we in the hospital, I was introduced to the most amazing lactation consultant ever. She was the only one to get Gavin to latch on. When he did, I cried tears of joy. It was so wonderful to finally know he was getting the nourishment he so desperately needed. Without her, I know he would not have latched on, and I am so grateful. Once the doctor determined that I was feeding Gavin regularly, he released us. We finally got to go home for good on Thursday, 11 days after Gavin's birth day, and it was such a relief to be home!

Gavin's First Week

I am proving not to be a very good blogger. My posts are so few and far between. However, I am going to work on posting more often. After Gavin was born, we remained in the hospital until Wednesday, when we were finally released. I couldn't wait to bring our baby home. We carefully dressed him in the little sport onesie and placed him the car seat. I sat in the backseat on the ride home and Matt drove slower than he's ever driven before. But it was so wonderful to be home!

The next day, on Thursday, everyone wanted to come and visit. We had quite a busy day! I found it difficult to breastfeed Gavin with so many visitors, since it was difficult to begin with and Gavin and I hadn't quite mastered how to latch him on while trying to conceal myself under a blanket. I began to realize how difficult breastfeeding was, especially with Gavin's cleft and I began to get nervous that maybe he wasn't eating enough.

On Friday, Gavin has his first appointment with his pediatrician, Dr. Shafai. When we arrived, the doctor determined that Gavin was jaundice and wanted us readmitted to the hospital immediately. That was one of the hardest days of my life. Seeing Gavin wearing just a diaper and laying under the bili light was difficult, but when they hooked him up an IV and put his tiny little arm in a split to keep the IV from coming out, I was a wreck. I couldn't stop crying. I don't think I could have gotten through it without Matt. He was my rock. As hard as it was for him, he stayed strong for both us. Each day, they would check his bilirubin level by drawing blood from his heel. That was awful for me also. I wished I could trade places with Gavin so he wouldn't have to go through all that.

During his stay, we also met with several lactation specialists. Unfortunately, Gavin was not eating well and none of them could get him to latch on. We even tried a bottle, a medicine dropper, and a spoon, but none of them seemed to be working well. I was nervous, but determined to get him to eat. We had to squeeze milk from the nipple on the bottle to get anything in his mouth. By Monday, his bilirubin level had dropped enough for us to go home. Once again, we were extremely relieved to be going home. But, our rough road wasn't over yet...