Sleep has made all the difference...

Charlotte is sleeping.  

When we first arrived home from the hospital, I assumed I knew how to take care of a baby.  For the most part, I did... but I realized quickly that I didn't know what I was doing or what I should do for a large portion of the time Charlotte and I were together (which was constantly).  She cried often and even produced tears much faster than most babies... those tears were so so sad.  Surely, as her mother, I should have known how to handle every situation with my God-given intuition, right??  There were numerous times when Ryan would come home to see Charlotte and I crying together in the rocking chair because I felt so sad that I didn't know how to make her feel happy.  He handled those moments so well.  I really couldn't ask for a better husband.  The best thing I ever did was decide to get outside at least once every day.  The sunshine and fresh air can really help put things into perspective while experiencing the life changing event of becoming a parent.  Nearly 8 weeks have gone by and I've learned so much about this little girl.  It seems as though there is a large group of mothers (or not) who believe they know everything about motherhood and will tell you the "right" way to do things. 
For instance:
your body WILL produce enough milk as your baby's needs grow.  I didn't find that experience to be true for me.  Charlotte was insatiable and nursing constantly.  Therefore, I have been able to supplement her with breast milk from a lovely neighbor of mine.  She is happier and finally looks as if she is putting on weight.  

Your baby MUST sleep on her back.  There is an entire campaign with outspoken advocates who are very much against any sleep position except for on their backs.  Do YOU sleep on your back? I sure don't... and I couldn't wait to sleep on my stomach again once Charlotte popped out of me.  She is a light sleeper - movement seems to rouse Charlotte very quickly and I learned that she didn't enjoy being on her back or her side.  Once I put her on her tummy to sleep - she slept like an actual baby!  Yes - I know it may increase the chance of being at risk for SIDS... but nobody knows what causes it and I don't believe any mother has control of whether or not her baby dies in this manner (our mothers were told to make us all sleep on our stomachs as infants) - information is always changing.

  I guess my point is that you are the parent for a reason and you have to make difficult decisions about how to raise your own children, don't let people put so much fear into you for making these decisions.  

Now that my baby girl has been eating enough - I have moved her out of our room and into a crib.  She's growing so fast!  For the benefit of our entire household, I have made the decision to begin helping Charlotte learn sleep independence.  I think my whole world has changed and I found myself with so much extra time today.  My poor baby has needed far more sleep than I realized before - and she is quite capable of putting herself to sleep with the occasional (who am I kidding, I can't let her cry more than 2 minutes without swooping in) pat on the back, rub of the hair, and whooshing sound.  We are ALL better rested and more relaxed (especially my smiling baby) now that the longest it takes Charlotte to go to sleep is 15 - 20 minutes.  What a dream.  

Do what feels right to you - don't let anyone rush you or tell you that you're wrong. 

Co-sleep if you so desire
Formula feed if you want
Give birth with an epidural or go for the natural
Swaddle your baby
or Don't

But never underestimate the power of trying new things and wisdom from those who have gone before!  Thank heavens for my Mom, Mother in law, Sisters, and Friends.

Happy parenting, world!


Finally made the switch

Charlotte is taking a lovely nap, what an angel.  So I took the opportunity to do a blog update.... name change, inclusion of family, etc.

Ryan and I feel as if we have been given so much, bounteous are we!

I also feel as if we need to strive more and more to be more giving, so I found the name suitable. 

I've promised a few of you Charlotte's birth story, so here goes nothing!

Monday, March 25th, Ryan and I were scheduled to check into labor and delivery.  I was a week past my initial "due date" and put on a list to be induced.  We arrived around 7am and I was put on pitocin around 9.  It was extremely uneventful up until that point... I hadn't experienced any real contractions, the baby was sitting fairly high, and I felt better than I had in months.  After a couple of hours, I began to feel the contractions in bed gripping manner.  I took the greatly appreciated advice, and received an epidural around 11 and my midwife broke my water shortly after.  Let me tell you something about that epidural: it was awesome.  I managed to sleep and eat snow cones (flavored ice chips) for a good portion of the next few hours until my nurse came in and informed us that I was fully dilated and ready push, this was at about 3pm.  The nurse told me my hips were perfect for child bearing.  Swoon! every girls dream to hear that, right?? This lady's hips don't lie.  I gave my first push before the nurse said "k, stop - we need to get your midwife in here before I end up delivering this baby."  The head full of black hair was clearly visible.  Jenny (midwife) arrived along with a team of who knows what they were, and they prepped the landing strip for the baby to arrive.  Ryan looked at me with excited eyes and said "are you ready??" It was such a strange feeling, so much thought, worry, excitement lead up to that moment.  I said "I'm at the top of the roller coaster and there's only one way down." I was totally ready.  About 3 pushes later, the baby came "shooting out" down the slip n slide as Ryan described it.  I immediately felt my stomach drop when she came out, what an awesome feeling!  She graced the earth at 3:50 that afternoon.  She was instantly placed in my arms while they stitched me back up.  I had 3rd degree tearing (no bueno) and lost a lot of blood because of it.  They called in another surgeon to help with stitching (4 hands were required, apparently) and he kept commenting on how he was stitching creatively.  Jenny kissed me on the forehead, commented on how kind I was being, and felt so awful about my pending recovery.  I remember shaking uncontrollably and feeling a bit out of sorts, but completely dazed by this new baby in my arms.  She pooped on me twice, the little jokester! 

I can't tell you how amazing I think giving birth is.  I loved every second of it, truly!  I realize this may be a very rare experience and that I may tend to really keep on the sunny side of life, but I look forward to delivering another baby!

Recovery is not as bad as I anticipated, and Charlotte is a dream.  She cries a lot, and sleeps sometimes, and eats whenever she feels like it, but she is such ball of personality already, and I couldn't ask for a greater gift than becoming a mom. 

Charlotte Kristy Hunter
8lbs 6oz, 21 inches long
3:50 pm March 25th, 2013