Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mommy Challenge #1

It's amazing the things you DON'T care about when you're in love. I'm not talking about that euphoric, romantic love, either; I'm talking about the most indescribable, miraculous, unconditional love of a mother for her child. Yes, it has only been 3 weeks (tomorrow), but it only took 1 second to feel the most deeply bonding love for my baby boy. Already I have been peed on, pooped on, puked on... normally, bodily fluids (among other things) would completely gross me out, and while it's not like I WANT to be covered in my son's nasty's, it doesn't bother me. In fact, in the moment, I don't really even think about it; my only concern is making sure Judah is safe, cared for, and loved.

Last night, however, I faced my most difficult mommy challenge thus far. After Judah's circumcision, he had a gauze bandage around his treated area. The doctor told us that it would fall off on its own within 24 hours. As of yesterday, the bandage still hadn't come off, so we were instructed to soak him in a tub of warm water and gently guide the gauze off. I know this probably doesn't sound like a difficult task, but every second of it, I was so scared that I was going to hurt him, or pull off some sort of scabbing that would cause him to bleed. Of course, his crying didn't exactly help matters along. I couldn't tell if he was crying because he was cold (being naked and only half his body in water), or hungry (it was about time for him to eat again), or scared (it was his first "bath" experience that wasn't a sponge bath), or in pain. I absolutely hated every minute of it.

Now, though, things seem to be healing up quite nicely, and that is all behind us. Pheeww, bring on mommy challenge number 2! ;)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My Favorite Things Judah

I love all the little sounds my baby makes; He makes all sorts of cute little snorts, squeaks, whimpers, sighs, and coos, but there is one in particular that makes me laugh. When he gets really hungry, he starts frantically punching the air (right, left, right, left...), and as he punches, he makes these cute little grunting noises, "uh, uh, uh-uh-uh...". Perhaps he will become a boxer, though, I'm praying that he does not. Call me crazy, but I don't think I could watch my son take several punches to the head.

I love the way he lifts his hands and shakes. In my belly, I would frequently feel this fast paced beating that would quickly alternate between my left and right sides, and I would always wonder what he was doing in there. Now that he's here, I think I know what he was doing. He does this thing sometimes where he will lift both of his arms with open hands, and he quickly shakes them. I honestly have no idea as to why he does this, but it is quite funny.

I love Judah's big beautiful eyes; There are times when my baby boy will open those wonderful blue eyes of his (I think it would awesome if they stayed blue, but I know that most babies are born with blue eyes and gradually turn over the first few months), and instead of closing them immediately after, he will look around as if he's discovering a new world (which, he is).

I even love his little cries. While it completely breaks my heart when my baby cries, I am so glad that he has such a cute cry. You know how some babies have that high pitched, ear-piercing, screaming cry? Yes, well, I am so thankful that Judah's cry is nothing like that.

I love all his little faces; My favorite is when he lifts his eyebrows as high as he can without opening his eyes and stretches his head up toward the sky. His little neck gets all skinny supporting his little bobble head, and he starts to resemble a little turtle. He seriously, melts my heart.

I love all his warm embraces. When his little hand grabs hold of my finger, I can't help but fall even more in love with my Judah baby, but when he lays his head on my chest while holding that finger, it is the best! I have never experienced a better feeling in all my life.

I love it when he stares at me; His eyes meet my eyes, and we connect in ways I cannot explain. It's like we're communicating with each other, and we don't even need words.

I am just in love with my baby!
Already, I could not imagine my life without Judah...

Four Generations

Richard E. Rivera, Richard M. Rivera, Richard J. Rivera, J. Richard Rivera

My husband comes from an amazing family. They are not perfect, but they're even better than the Brady Bunch! They are big (in number not in physique), and they love and support and pray for each other; they are God-fearing, strong, and genuine. Even before Richard and I were married, they opened their hearts and made me part of the family, and I love all them so much. Since, I never met the great-grandparents, I have to say that this wonderful family legacy has stemmed out from Grandpa Richard and Grandma Lillian. Those two have the biggest most beautiful hearts, and they have definitely been an inspiration to me.

So when my husband and I heard we were having a son, it seemed only fitting to follow tradition and name him after greatness. Our only concern with this decision was one of confusion. As we have learned over the years, having the same name as your father has a tendency to create a bit of chaos. For instance, when we purchased our car (from the same dealership that Richard's parents purchased one of their vehicles), they processed all of the loan information and paper work under the correct Richard Rivera with the correct social security number, but when we picked up our registration plates, the car was registered to a Mr. Richard M. Rivera - that's Richard's dad. Also, when Richard moved out of his parents' home, he was unable to forward his mail. Had he attempted that change, it would have forwarded ALL Richard Rivera mail which would not have been good for my father-in-law... :/ Anyway, that's when we decided that a middle name would be the perfect solution. Our son would carry on on the Richard name but leave behind the confusion.

Judah's Big Day

On Sunday, November 14, 2010, at only 10 days old, Judah had his first big day out. Since my dad is in town, we decided to have Judah dedicated early, and I must say that I have the best baby in the world. He seriously did so good, and I am so proud of him. He didn't even cry once all day - even when everyone was passing him around and snapping about a million pictures of him, he remained perfectly calm.

As for the dedication itself, it took everything that was in me not to cry.
I was seriously holding back tears to the point where I had that weird knot thing in the back of my throat... It was an absolutely beautiful service, and I am extremely happy that so many of our family could be there to stand in agreement with us. I am thankful for everyone of them, and I am truly blessed that my son gets to grow up around so much love.

Nursing Update

Things are seeming to improve with the nursing business, but not without some tricks. My cousin suggested I try a nipple shield since it worked so well for her. Desperate, I purchased the shield from Target, and immediately, Judah latched on and nursed - best $7 ever spent! We have been using the shield for about a week now, and it has been an absolute life savor. In a couple more weeks, I will hopefully be able to wean him off the shield and nurse without tricks or gadgets.

Even with the success of the shield, however, this system is not without its flaws. While at the hospital, my baby's latch was perfect. The nursing issues were not due to poor latching, rather they were birthed out of frustration. Since my milk hadn't come in yet, Judah would get SO hungry, he wouldn't want to work to get the colostrum out; he wanted his food immediately. By the time my milk came in, he had already been exposed to the bottle and all of its ease. Now, with this shield, my son thinks I am his bottle, and I am noticing that his latch is getting lazy. He now latches onto just the nipple instead of the getting the mouth full of boob that is needed for a good latch, and with a poor latch comes blistered nipples - OUCH!!

In an attempt to let my nipples heal up a bit, I have decided to pump all of his feedings today (and possibly tomorrow). It takes a little more effort and time to pump (washing the cups, hooking up the tubes, finding the right setting...), but at least my pump doesn't make me bleed. I am extremely grateful to my dad and Deb for my breast pump; that thing has been an absolute blessing, especially since formula seems to upset Judah's tummy.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Boobie Bothers

Today is day 6 of trying to get my little one to nurse, and in that time, I have had ONE fully successful session. Yesterday, at his 6:00 PM feeding, he didn't fuss or cry; he didn't punch or kick me or pull his head away from me; and I didn't have to use any tubes, pacifiers, formula supplementation, finger feeding, etc. I just sat him up in the football hold, and he immediately latched on and began to eat. I was so excited and relieved; I seriously thought we had a major breakthrough. Then his next feeding, everything went back to what I am now referring to as "The Norm."

I have seriously cried several times over this whole nursing business. I really do not want to feed him formula if I do not have to, but pumping his EVERY meal is beginning to wear me out - especially in the middle of the night when I have had about 3 hours of sleep. It would be so nice to not have to fight with my child for 1-2 hours EVERY feeding just trying to get him to nurse before finally giving in and pulling out the pump. Don't get me wrong, the pump is WONDERFUL, and such a life-savor at the moment, but for EVERY feeding?? I thought breastfeeding was supposed to be a natural instinct. There are so many benefits to nursing, and I want to give my baby the best start possible, but every time he refuses my breast, it makes me feel like the worst mom on the planet. I am just praying it gets better soon.

On another note:

It's hard to believe that my baby will already be a week old tomorrow. Wow, time sure is flying by. Already I am noticing many changes in him. For one, he isn't quite as chubby and his cone head has rounded out. For two, he now opens his eyes all the way and keeps them open for longer amounts of time. Along with that, I think he's starting to see more; he'll look at me, then look up at something else, then look back at me... It's really quite adorable.

So far, the mommy thing is great. Sure, I am more exhausted and tired than I have ever been in my life, and my vagina feels like it might just rip in two every time I use the restroom, but I look at my little Judah's face, and he makes it all worth it.

Finally Here and SO in Love

After 63 hours of labor, I was blessed beyond belief with the arrival of my precious baby boy Judah Richard Rivera. He was born 8 pounds, 3 ounces and 21 inches long on Thursday, November 4th, 2010 at 11:19 AM at McKay Dee Hospital in Ogden, Utah. It was the most amazing experience to meet my son for the first time...

I had this little person growing inside of me for all these months. I heard his little heart beat, and I was instantly in love; I felt him turn and kick, and I knew I would forever be changed; even so, I didn't feel like "Mom." Then, as they laid my little one out on my stomach, and I looked at his not so little, little body/face, I not only became "Mom," I became Judah's mommy. I found myself loving him even more than I ever imagined possible.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Too Much Excitement for one Pregnancy

SOOOOoooooo, I just got back from the hospital, annnnnd, well, let me first catch you up.

I most definitely want to have a natural childbirth, but it has been a concern of mine for two reasons: 1. I have an artificial hip - well, if that's what you would call it. I was born without the head and neck of my right femur and no indentation of my right acetabulum (yes, thank you Kinesiology for teaching me these fine terms). As a baby, I had several surgeries to create these parts, but I believe they used cartilage, so technically, I do not have an artificial joint. 2. My mother could not have children naturally. Both my sister and I were delivered via Cesarean, and while I'm not sure whether her cervix condition is hereditary or not, I do not wish to have the same fate.

Reason 1, thus far, has not given me much concern. Though I have had quite a bit of hip discomfort, it has been evenly distributed between both of my hips, and I am told it is a normal pregnancy pain. Reason 2, however, has begun to present some issues. For the past 4 weeks, my cervix has barely dilated to 1 cm. and is, apparently, rather difficult to reach.

With Richard soon facing his winter layoff, it is extremely important for Judah to arrive as quickly as possible so that we don't end up in a delivery room with no insurance. Being that I am currently 40 weeks along, I decided to explain the insurance situation with my doctor and ask if she would be willing to induce my labor. She shared with me that the hospital does not allow labor induction (without medical cause) for first-time moms with complication-free pregnancies to be induced before 42 weeks. She also expressed concern that I would have a 100% chance of a c-section if induced under the present state of my un-dilated cervix. Then she said that she would strip my membranes and hope that would help to dilate my cervix and send me into labor.

After I left from that appointment, I went with Mike & Jessica to check out some apartment complexes for Mike before coming home for a Redbox night with Richard. Then to my surprise, I started having some intense contractions. They started maybe around 8:00 PMish, and as the night went on, they became very consistent and extremely difficult to talk, walk, do anything, through. I thought to myself, "could this really be it? Am I in labor even though I was barely dilated only a few hours before?" Uncertain whether I was experiencing true labor or not, we decided to go into labor and delivery.

By the time I arrived at the hospital, I had been experiencing regular contractions, growing in intensity, lasting about 45-60 seconds each, and about 5 minutes apart for over 3 hours. SO, they wheeled me up, had me pee in a cup, hooked me up to a machine to measure my contractions, asked a bunch of questions and checked my cervix. Even though the machine showed that my contractions were indeed regular and intense, (by the time they were taking me off the machine, they were 2 1/2 minutes apart and reaching the very top bar - needless to say I felt a little less crazy for going in at 1:30 in the morning), they decided to send me home due to my barely dilated cervix claiming that I would be more comfortable laboring at home than in a hospital bed.

ULGGG, so here I sit, writing away with my heating pad since I am in too much pain to sleep. In fact, even as I have been writing this little entry, I have had to break every couple of minutes for these stupid contractions to pass, and while, I do agree that I am possibly more comfortable at home in my own bed, I am concerned now that I won't know when to go back into labor and delivery. Pretty much unless my water breaks in a giant gush (since I don't think I would recognized the trickle version with all the discharge I have been releasing lately), I am afraid that I will just remain at home in order to prevent being sent home a second time. I am just praying that my body will start to cooperate and that this will all be over soon.