Mal Smiles

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Let's Talk About Newborn Sleep

Or lack of sleep in our case... I was hopeful Wyatt would be a magically good sleeper but he's a newborn so we're working on it. He wakes up every 2-2.5 hours and stays awake for an hour each time. Needless to say, I am exhausted.

When I do get a few hours of sleep at a time, I rest easy knowing Wyatt is comfy and safe in his HALO SleepSack Swaddle. As a second time mom, I know this phase won't last forever and it helps that I have the tools to make safe sleep easy.
SleepSack Swaddles are fool-proof and my go-to because I never figured out how to swaddle with a blanket. My swaddles would always come undone and leave baby cold and unsafe. HALO SleepSack Swaddles are safe swaddling made easy. If you're like me, you like easy. A zipper and some velcro are so much easier to do in the dark than trying to wrap a blanket around a squirmy baby.
Both of my kiddos like to sleep with their arms above their head and I love that SleepSack Swaddles allow that to be an option. I will swaddle Wyatt with his arms in if he's having a hard time settling down to sleep (like today when I took pictures for this post). With the SleepSack Swaddle, you can choose to swaddle three different ways: them arms in, hands-to-face, or arms out.
We took our SleepSack Swaddle to the hospital with us and continue to use it at home each night. Over 1,400 hospitals are using SleepSack Swaddles now rather than the traditional nursery blankets to keep newborns safe.
Like everything else, I order my SleepSack Swaddles on Amazon. The designs are adorable and offer boy, girl, and gender neutral options. We have a mix of patterns at our house but this Jungle Pals Fun print is my favorite.

September is baby safety month and HALO is sharing some important tips for safe sleep:

  • Place baby to sleep on his or her back at naptime and at night time.
  • Use a crib that meets current safety standards with a firm mattress that fits snugly and is covered with only a tight-fitting crib sheet.
  • Remove all blankets, comforters and toys from your baby’s sleep area (this includes loose blankets, bumpers, pillows and positioners). The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests using a wearable blanket instead of loose blankets to keep your baby warm.
  • Offer a pacifier when putting baby to sleep. If breastfeeding, introduce pacifier after one month or after breastfeeding has been established.
  • Breastfeed, if possible, but when finished, put your baby back to sleep in his or her separate safe sleep area alongside your bed.
  • Room share, but don’t bed share. Bed sharing can put a child at risk of suffocation.
  • Never put your baby to sleep on any soft surface (adult beds, sofas, chairs, water beds, quilts, sheep skins etc.)
  • Never dress your baby too warmly for sleep; keep room temperature 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Never allow anyone to smoke around your baby or take your baby into a room or car where someone has recently smoked.
It is not only important that YOU know these safe sleep guidelines but also to make sure can caregivers (babysitters, grandparents, friends) follow these guidelines too. Remember, back is best.
To celebrate baby safety month, HALO is hosting a giveaway on Facebook. There are just two more days to enter (I entered this morning) to win a SleepSack Swaddle and a Bassinest Swivel Sleeper.

Follow HALO on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube for even more tips and future giveaways.

There are plenty of baby products that are "must haves" but HALO SleepSack Swaddles are not only cute and easy to use but keep g your baby safe. I was so scared as a new mom and using this product helped me feel more confident. Using a SleepSack Swaddle will not only help your baby sleep but help you sleep, too. I don't know about you but I could use a little extra sleep.
  • Do/did you use a SleepSack Swaddle for your little one?
  • How do you practice safe baby sleep?

Friday, September 16, 2016

Collins Kathryn- 24 Months Old

Collie Kate turned two earlier this month and it's hard to believe she's already so big. It's been six months since I posted a Collins update (whoops) and there's so much I don't want to forget. I really wish everyone could come spend a day with us and experience how awesome she is. She really is the best little person and my sidekick.
Stats: Somewhere around 25 lbs and 32.5 inches tall.

Teeth: After months of waiting, her canines finally broke through in August (or was it late July?). They are still working their way in so she has a goofy grin. Now if we can get those dreaded 2 year molars out of the way, we will be home free.

Words: Collie's vocabulary EXPLODED this summer. Even within the last month she has so many new words and is stringing them together. She asks questions like, "where did Mommy go?" and says adorable things like, "come on, Daddy!" She is very polite and says, "thank you" unprompted and "peas" for please. She says, "baby cry" when Wyatt gets upset but it sounds like "Baby Guy" which has become his nickname. She started saying "yeah" recently and is more willing to try saying new words. She can identify and name all of her colors and has started working on numbers and letters. She has to C-O-L-L down in her name. She blows us away with what she picks up on and DLW is always asking, "since when can she say that?" Almost every day she will say a word that I didn't know she knew.

Favorite Foods: Our girl is a picky eater. Like most toddlers, one day she will eat something and the next she wants nothing to do with it. Our go-to foods are scrambled eggs with cheese, low sugar brown sugar oatmeal, chicken nuggets, turkey burgers, waffles, grilled cheese, mac & cheese, pizza, pasta with ground turkey, apple sauce. She loves carbs. She eats 2-3 pouches a day to get her fruits and veggies because she will not touch them on a plate. She just recently started eating apple slices and we are ecstatic. Her favorite food might be cookies and she can make a mess with just one Oreo. Since she fully weaned on her own when Wyatt was born, she now only drinks water.
Sleeping: Praise the baby sleep gods that Collins started sleeping through the night in April-May. She regressed a little with all the moving around but she's back so a solid 11-12 hours a night. She naps between 11am-12pm for about 1.5-2 hours but if you miss that window of opportunity she will be a No Nap Baby. Collins started falling asleep on her own for nap and bedtime in August and that has been a huge help with the new baby around. She still sleeps in her crib and probably will for a while.

Movement: She walks, runs, climbs, and jumps all day long.  She will often use our living room chair as a trampoline and get a running start to fly into the dog bed. You'd never guess Collins was a little late to the walking game but it goes to show they all do things in their own time.

Mood: Collins is just the best. She is happy, loving, laid back, and sweet. Occasionally she will act like a tiny terrorist but she's two years old and a brand new big sister so that's to be expected. She is opinionated but also willing to compromise (usually in exchange for something she wants). She wakes up happy and smiles all day long.
Clothes: Shorty is still rocking 12-18 months shorts and pants. Most of her 12 month shirts are too small and her belly peeks out. She wears 24 month pajamas (why are those always so much smaller?) and needs new size 5 Tiny Toms. I just bought her 18-24 month shirts for Fall.

Likes: Activities: Pool time outside, bath time, walks with Daddy, pink car rides in "Beep Beep," the playground slide, FaceTime with Khaki and Tim, Dancing, watching "Ayla and Zadie" run, coloring.
TV & Music: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (anything Minnie Mouse related), Frozen, Sesame Street, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, PAW Patrol, Justin Timberlake "Can't Stop The Feeling," DNCE "Cake By The Ocean."

Toys: Her pink push car, the Frozen ride-on toy, stuffed animals, Little People princesses & farm, soccer balls, balloons, Minnie Mouse dress up puzzle and figurine.

Dislikes: Being banned from YouTube- We had to have a mini YouTube intervention and she has been YT free for almost three weeks. Despite my best efforts, she was watching scary videos of adults dressed up as Disney characters chasing each other with chainsaws and screaming. It was bad. Who makes videos like that?!

Other dislikes include high chairs, shopping carts, and generally being contained. She likes to be a free-range toddler.

Nicknames: Bunga, ColCol, Collie Kate, Collie

What I Want To Remember: You are starting to count and spell your name, you have one little freckle on the back of your left thigh, you think your name is "Baby," you are the best diaper helper, you are absolutely gorgeous, you sleep with Ellie and B every night, you think Snow White's name is "Apple," you get mad unless you get to stomp up the stairs, we painted pottery for the first time, you comfort us when we're upset and wipe my tears with your blanket, you were my sidekick and best friend this summer, you love to spray the hose in the yard, we spent 18 days in Florida this summer, you adore your Khaki, every night we talk about how much we miss you when you're asleep.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Wyatt's Birth Story Part Three: Our $18 Baby

Read Part One: Denial and Part Two: Going 95 on 95 

Let's just take a minute to appreciate this gem. I think it sums up my feelings on the whole experience.
Just two minutes after we got into the delivery room and ten after we pulled into the parking lot, Wyatt Lee Whitt was born.  My first thought when I saw his little face was, "that's a different nose!"

Despite having meconium in his fluid, he was placed on my belly and I was allowed to hold him right away. Collins was also born with meconium and they scooped her over to the baby warmer for an exam and deep suction right away. Wyatt's came out crying and his APGAR scores were 9 and 9 so they weren't concerned about him having inhaled any meconium (baby poo). Because there wasn't enough time for an IV and no reason to put one in now, I got a shot of Pitocin in my thigh to make sure everything continued to contract back down. I also needed a few stitches which was less than enjoyable.
When OB from my practice finally showed up and said, "but you were so calm on the phone..."

"That's just her though," said DLW. Apparently my ability to keep my composure while in labor is very confusing to medical professionals; the nurse in Colorado didn't believe I was in labor with Collins either because I was so calm.

Olympic track and field was on the TV in the background and we all started talking about running. The OB was a sprinter and one of the nurses was training for her first half marathon. I told them I ran the Disney Princess Half Marathon at 13 weeks pregnant and assured her that she would survive her first half.

Eventually the crowd thinned and it was just me, DLW, and our nurse in the delivery room.

"I can't believe you just had a baby naturally," DLW laughed.

"By accident," I added.

"Oh? Natural wasn't your plan? You'll have to be careful on the next one because it will come even faster," said our nurse.

Next one? Is she crazy? There will be no third Whitt Baby after this ordeal. I am locking down Baby Town.

Wyatt nursed right away for about an hour. The nurses seemed pleased I was still breastfeeding Collins and that I already had milk. I think they were also a little relieved that I knew what I was doing and didn't need their help.

"Is the cafeteria open?" asked DLW at 8:30 pm. The man is always hungry. The cafeteria was closed and we settled for delivery from a pizza place.

Not too long after I was eating a meatball sub while wearing mesh underwear. Now that's living.
DLW grabbed a couple hours of restless sleep while I returned text messages and worried about Collie. Until that night, I had never spent a night away from her. In fact, no one else had ever put her to bed but me. It was also the first day she did not nurse at all. That is a lot of mama firsts and emotions to handle even without having another baby!

Because Wyatt measured "small for gestational age" on the charts, he had to have his foot pricked and glucose tested before each feeding. We stayed in L&D for a few more hours and foot pricks before being cleared to move up to the Mother/Infant floor. We gathered our bags and I asked to walk rather than ride in a wheelchair.

"Oh this is going to be great. No one walks. They're going to be so confused upstairs," said our nurse. I loved her.

And confused they were. It took them a minute to realize I was the mom because I was carrying my own bags and wearing normal clothes. They showed us to our room and I immediately starting setting up the cot for DLW. He was able to catch a couple hours more sleep while I stayed awake pretty much all night. It's hard to sleep with baby heel pricks and tummy checks every few hours.

Sunday morning we woke up and took showers while Wyatt got checked by the pediatrician. The OB from my practice came to check on me and told me that I was "impressive" for running and teaching group fitness while pregnant.

DLW went to hang out with Collie at our friends' house for most of the day while I sat around and twiddled my thumbs. I was so bored I straightened up our hospital room. Our hospital room looked like a hotel and we were pleased with the accommodations.
I had packed my good camera and took advantage of a sleeping baby to snap some photos.
DLW brought Collins over to the hospital around 2pm just before my parents arrived from Florida. Collins was very happy to see me and gave me lots of hugs and kisses. She walked in the room and said, "Baby night" when she saw Wyatt sleeping. Overall she wasn't very interested and did not like when he cried.
My parents headed back to our house with Collins late that afternoon. A couple of DLW's buddies dropped by and then DLW and I split the hospital dinner before watching Revenge on Netflix. Staying awake all night hit me hard that evening and DLW held Wyatt for a few hours so I could sleep.

Monday morning we showered and got ready before DLW made a Starbucks run.
I completed my discharge teachings and chatted with the lactation consultant. We paid our $18 copay (thanks, TRICARE) and loaded up our bags. I was allowed to walk out on the own two feet rather than ride a wheelchair which was super important to me. Less than 40 hours after we rushed in, we were heading home.
I somehow made it out of the hospital without wearing a single hospital gown, having any blood drawn, or getting an IV. Every one of our nurses was fantastic and I felt like we could have all been friends.

While natural childbirth was never my plan and I can't say I would do it again by choice, Wyatt's birth was a wonderful experience. It wasn't the pain free labor I had hoped for (I was really looking forward to the laughing gas) but I'm proud of my body and all it can do.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Wyatt's Birth Story Part Two: Going 95 on 95

After my water broke like out of a movie, I just stood there until DLW threw a towel under my feet. I called the OB's answering service again and waited for the on-call doctor to call me back. I then called my parents to let them know I was having a baby and nearly hung up on them as a contraction hit. For some reason I also thought it was important to brush my teeth. Labor makes you do strange things.

The doctor gave me the green light to head to the hospital and I gathered the last of our things.  They say contractions get worse after your water breaks and they aren't kidding. I was yelping and pacing in our bedroom while grabbing pillows and phone chargers.

Meanwhile DLW was downstairs greeting our dog sitter and getting Collins ready to go. A guy from DLW’s BOLC class generously offered to hang out with the dogs. This poor kid is a brand new lieutenant fresh out of college and had to witness me in labor. I think I scarred him for life and he may think twice before ever procreating.

We were rushing around the house and I looked at DLW and said, “It’s okay. It’s going to be fine.” To which he responded, “I’m having a panic attack.” My poor husband does not do well when I’m in pain because he can’t take it away or fix it.

"Babe, we need to go!" urged DLW.

As we rushed out the door I yelled, "car seat!" and DLW had to go back inside to grab it. Minor detail.

I paced around in the street while DLW got Collins buckled into her car seat. We left the house at 7:18 pm with a 37 minute drive up 95 North. I let my friend Ashley know we were on our way and she and her parents planned to meet us at the hospital to grab Collins.
My contractions were intense and just 2-3 minutes apart. With each contraction I would arch my back and push my fists against my lower back to apply counter pressure. The breathing exercises went out the window and I was doing whatever I needed to do to get through the 30-40 seconds of pain. I talked to the baby and told him to "slow down" and "be nice." I counted to 5 repeatedly because I knew they only lasted 30-40 seconds. DLW will tell you that I “howled at the moon.”

Poor Collins was in the backseat watching Paw Patrol and saying “Mommy?” whenever I cried out. I would warn and apologize to DLW before each contraction because I knew my pain increased his anxiety. I was able to text friends and family between contractions because you feel fine for 2-3 minutes until suddenly you are not fine at all.

Not once during the drive was I afraid I was going to have him in the car. My concern was that I would get to the hospital and have to wait for my epidural. I’m not sure how fast DLW was driving but he might have a future as a NASCAR driver if the Army doesn’t work out.

We pulled into the hospital drop off at 7:52 pm (in a record 32 minutes) just as the strongest contraction yet hit. 

DLW ran inside to get someone because it was clear we needed help. Ashley and her parents pulled in behind us and came running to our car. I unbuckled my seatbelt and kneeled on the floorboard. I told them they “just missed a bad one” and was able to stand up. They helped us gather our bags, I said goodbye to a crying Collins, and another contraction hit. DLW and Ashley’s mom were holding me on either side as we walked towards the hospital doors.

“Guys, I can feel him coming,” I said as we walked towards the doors.
I just wanted to keep moving and get to Labor and Delivery. Now that I wasn’t sitting down, I could feel his head trying to evacuate my body. Thankfully a random woman was sitting outside and ran in ahead of us to get help. I could hear her yelling for help but there wasn’t a soul in the hospital lobby. She ran to the ER and got them to bring me a wheelchair. The doctors wanted me to sit down and I remember the random lady saying, “Don’t make her sit! She’s having a baby RIGHT NOW!”

Since I said I needed to push, they wouldn’t let me go up to labor and delivery because I couldn’t give birth in the elevator. I kneeled on the wheelchair and they took me into an ER room to make sure the baby wasn’t crowning. A “Code White in the lobby” was called over the hospital intercom and there were people rushing everywhere (we later learned a Code White means someone is giving birth somewhere other than L&D). Despite the sense of urgency, I felt so relieved we were at the hospital.

The ER doctor quickly checked and determined the baby hadn’t crowned yet and I was cleared to head up to L&D. I was on all fours on a stretcher as doctors and nurses literally ran me through the hallways. I remember seeing lots of feet moving fast and a nurse rubbing my back and telling me to breathe. I would say, “here comes another one” when a contraction was building and couldn’t help but feel like I HAD to push. The footsteps turned to silence as we rode the elevator up to the second floor; DLW broke the silence by saying, “I have never driven so fast” and everyone laughed.

The elevator doors opened and there were nurses and a doctor waiting for us. The on-call doctor from my practice hadn’t arrived but there was a weekend on-call OB ready to deliver the baby.

“Whitt? We’ve been expecting you!” the nurse said as we got into the room. There was some debate on how to get me into the bed until a nurse spoke up and said, “She can stand. Let her stand.” There were no less than twelve people in the delivery room scrambling to get everything set up. I remember the doctor asked if anyone had checked to see how dilated I was and no one had. It turns out that the baby had crowned and DLW says the OB was holding his head inside with her hand until they could get the materials set up for delivery.

I had another contraction while on all fours and then the nurse told me, “you’re going to turn over and push your baby out.”

With the next contraction I pushed once and felt instant relief. A nurse called out “8:02” and Wyatt Lee Whitt was born.
Wyatt's Birth Story Part Three will be up tomorrow (hopefully).
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