Monday, December 27, 2010

Merry Christmas, Little Thomas

This is perhaps the moment I have been waiting for since I found out I was pregnant--Thomas' first Christmas. Now, normally I am absolutely in love with all things between Thanksgiving and Christmas--the family gatherings, the music, the special Advent services at church, the food and everything else surrounding the holidays. But this year was different. This year there was this special little person to make all the normal excitement even more grandiose.
Our church did a phenomenal job with the presentation of the Christmas story. Josh and Thomas were lead roles, playing Joseph and Jesus.

The congregation absolutely fell in love with Thomas and he added some comic relief to the show. (Yes, that's my son smacking a shepherd.)

He was exhausted by the end of the play and despite a full orchestra two feet away from him, he managed to fall asleep in Mary's arms.

After the play Thomas went off to Camp Grandma (my mom's house) while I had some major events at work. Josh and I drove to Augusta a few days later and spent Christmas with my parents, who are divorced. First stop was with my dad. 

 Thomas was spoiled with every educational toy known to man--walking aides, singing bath toys, race tracks with little toy cars, widgets, music tables and more. He also got a "healthy" dose of paper. We're still waiting for the evidence of that one to show up in the diapers.

Next stop was Mom's. For every toy Thomas got at Dad's, I think he got an outfit and a book at Mom's. He, however was a little to tuckered out to enjoy too much of it.
Alas, he awoke and joined the festivities and oh, how his eyes did shine...

Unfortunately, duty called and I had to be back at church that night for our Christmas Eve services. We opted to keep Thomas with us for the service rather than sending him to the nursery. He was perfectly fine until the sermon began and then he decided everyone needed to listen to him babble and coo. So Mommy gladly listened to the service in the Narthex until the little man calmed down. It was a great family night.
Thomas and Daddy headed home while I attended one more service, but I did make it home in time to tuck him into bed and hear Josh read "Twas the Night Before Christmas" to him.
 The next morning was fantastic. Santa left Thomas with a slew of toys and Josh and I gave him a St. Christopher pendant as a symbol of God's protection over him during my pregnancy and his lifetime.

Then it was off to Alabama to visit more family! Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, great aunts and uncles, friends and more greeted us and made Thomas' first Christmas even more enjoyable.

 To top everything off it came a fantastic snow; Thomas' first snow. He absolutely ate it up (almost literally!)

What a wonderful week. What a wonderful season. I can't believe that it's already over. As good as this year was, I think next year will be even better. By that point Thomas will be walking and into even more than before. Between now and then I just want to soak everything up--every laugh, every milestone, every snuggle--that's all I want for Christmas.

Friday, November 19, 2010

My Breastfeeding Journey

During my pregnancy I initially thought I would formula feed. As a type 1 diabetic, I would have to maintain excellent blood sugars if I wanted to breastfeed and with hormonal changes and the stress of a new baby, I wasn't sure I could do it. After learning more about breastfeeding I decided that I would give it a shot--if it worked, great; if not, no big deal.

On May 20 I gave birth to a beautiful 6 pound 12 oz. baby boy who we named Thomas. He was the absolute light of my life from his first breath. After he was weighed and given the initial check up, the nurse asked if I wanted to breastfeed and I said yes. I held Thomas and...nothing. This went on for about 15 minutes before the nurse said they needed to take him to the nursery and check his blood sugar (a very important task when dealing with the baby of a diabetic).

I gave him to the nurse and we reunited in our Mother/Baby room. We tried again and Thomas still would not latch properly. I finally had to express some milk in a cup and deliver it to him via syringe. We fell asleep and continued trying to nurse the next day. With visitors coming in and out all day and Thomas dealing with the drowsiness from his circumcision, it wasn't easy, but we kept trying with the help of the lactation specialists. That night, DH went home to get a good night's rest and I said I would stay up with Thomas and work on nursing.

Not 20 minutes after DH left the nurse came in to tell me that Thomas had jaundice. He would have to sleep on the bilibed that night and she stressed that he really needed to eat to "poop" out the excess bilirubin. I tried to leave him on the bed as much as possible, but also continued trying to nurse. He hated the bed and I hated watching him on it. At one point the nurse came in to check on us and Thomas was wailing on the bilibed. The nurse very rudely told me that I could not continue to "starve" my baby. I kept trying to breastfeed, but finally I broke down and called the nursery to request a formula bottle. I cried the whole time I fed him from the bottle.

We went home the following day and I continued to try to breastfeed, but he was so hungry we had to give him a bottle. I asked the lactation specialists if I could just pump and give him a bottle and she looked at me like I was crazy and told me, "Oh no, you definitely don't want to do that." After about a week we finally gave up breastfeeding completely and went to formula.

At about two months postpartum I began hearing about relactating. I had regretted not trying hard enough to breastfeed and thought I would give it a shot. I began taking Fenugreek and Reglan, started eating oatmeal like crazy and pumped 8-10 times a day. On August 17 Thomas successfully latched and I don't think I had ever been happier. I don't know what happened, but about a week later, Thomas stopped latching properly again. He would scream, arch his back and showed no interest in nursing. I continued pumping and giving him breastmilk from a bottle, against the wishes of the lactation consultant.

Around this time, I started feeling very depressed. I talked with my doctor and was diagnosed with PPD. They put me on Paxil and were sure I'd feel better. But I didn't. It got much worse. I got to the point where I didn't want to get out of bed, I couldn't eat, I hated holding Thomas and was constantly thinking of killing myself. I was having panic attacks that left me breathless and fearing being in public, which is a huge part of my job. I went back to the doctor and he suggested I take Xanex. The only drawback--I would have to stop breastfeeding/pumping. I bawled like a baby when he told me that. I had worked so hard to give my baby breastmilk and now I was going to have to give it up because I was nuts. However, I knew that if I didn't take the Xanex my life was in danger and my son didn't deserve that.

Last night I gave my son his last bottle of breastmilk. It was bittersweet. I know I did the best I could for him. I love him and I show it in so many other ways besides breastfeeding. I'll never have silver or diamond boobies, but my son will have his mommy...and he seems pretty happy with that.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Return to Normalcy

Tomorrow marks my return to work and I am incredibly torn about it. I miss my youth kids like crazy, but I'm gonna miss my little man so much too!

We took Thomas to Stone Mountain to visit the youth last week during Youth Week. It was great to see everyone and introduce them to Thomas. Some of them met him during TIME, but others didn't get a chance to. We also got a chance to spend some time as a family and got some great pics.
We also had a chance to head to a family reunion in Alabama this weekend. It was great to see family I don't get to see very often. Thomas was, of course, the youngest family member there. I tried to get a photo with him and the oldest relative, but it didn't work out. I did get some with him and my aunt and cousin:

 So our "summer of love" is coming to an end. Tomorrow I'll go back to work and I won't get to take in every moment of my little boy's life journey. It'll be hard, but he'll be with Josh for a few weeks and then he'll stay with a woman from our church who is also expecting a baby very soon. It'll be a great opportunity for him to play with other babies his age and will make me more appreciative of our time together. Right now I'm cherishing every little snuggle, coo and whimper I can.

Just taking it all in...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Fourth!

This weekend we went to Alabama for one of my favorite holidays: Independence Day. In addition to celebrating our nation's independence, I love, as you can tell, spending time with my family. We kicked off the weekend by meeting up with my grandparents over at my aunt's house. 
My granddaddy was absolutely enthralled with Thomas.

As was everyone else:

The most special moment was when Thomas got to meet his great, great grandmother. It's special for obvious reasons--how many people can say they've met their great, great grandmother? I know I can't. But one week before Thomas was born--on May 13--my grandfather, my great grandmother's son, suddenly died at the age of 68. It was completely unexpected. We all were shocked. As soon as I told my granddad that we were pregnant, he began talking about a five-generation picture and how special it would be. Family was number one to him and it was apparent in everything he did. So we didn't get an official five generation picture like he wanted, but we got did the best we could:
We also got a picture of my mom's family and Thomas. On that side we have four continuous generations
Overall it was a great weekend. We visited everyone we could, showed Thomas off, went shopping and actually managed to get some rest while other family members helped take care of Little Man. It was great being around family. We laughed at one another, we still cried over the loss of my grandfather and talked about memories and the future. 

Oh the future...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Will You?

Today we had Thomas' baptism at our church. It was great to be back with our church family. We haven't been  back since I started my maternity leave after Thomas was born. It was also wonderful to have family and friends with us on our special day. Mitch and Andrew, two of Josh's best friends, came with their significant others. My parents and my mom's husband Bill, the Henleys, Josh's sister, Val, and my maternal grandparents. It was quite a crowd!

The service was amazing. With our family and friends, Josh and I promised to raise Thomas in a Christian home and our church family promised to serve as his Christian home. This liturgy has always made me tear up when I think about the promise we make to infants and new believers. Today it was even more powerful as we made that commitment to our son.

To the Parents:
Will you nurture Thomas
in Christ's holy church,
that by your teaching and example they may be guided
to accept God's grace for themselves,
to profess their faith openly,
and to lead a Christian life?
We will. 

The pastor addresses the congregation:
Do you, as Christ's body, the church,
reaffirm both your rejection of sin
and your commitment to Christ?
We do. 

Will you nurture one another in the Christian faith and life and include Thomas now before you in your care?
With God's help we will proclaim the good news
and live according to the example of Christ.
We will surround this child
with a community of love and forgiveness,
that he may grow in his service to others.
We will pray for him
that he may be a true disciple
who walk in the way that leads to life.

So today is the beginning of Thomas' Christian journey and we can't wait to see where it leads him. I don't know how he'll go--maybe he'll stay on a straight path like his daddy, or maybe he'll veer like me. All I know is he has an amazing group of people looking out for him.