Happy Birthday to our RAINBOW BABY, Brayden!! He is officially 1 year old today and I am in tears! I am not a typical emotional person on the regular, but today I am overwhelmed with emotion as I recount only 1 year ago I was headed into my doctor’s office 4 days from my anticipated due date and was told that my blood pressure was HIGH and I needed to go straight to the hospital to be induced! I had always feared having to be induced, I had heard multiple horror stories and knew that without a shadow of a doubt this would lead to a hard and tumultuous delivery. By chance my aunt went with me to the appointment and so she and I got in the car and everything from there seemed to travel at LIGHT SPEED! I had to call all of my family and then had to get something to eat because I had barely eaten breakfast! My husband quickly left work and after a full 8 count nugget Chick-fil-a meal later I was ready to head to the hospital! I was admitted to the hospital around 1:30 pm and was taken to my room, VERY ANXIOUSLY!
Once I was checked in my doctor thought it would be best to try and break my water and have me go into labor ‘on my own.’ I will say that I was already dilated for weeks so my body had started to naturally try and progress so this was helpful! Once the doctor broke my water (which was slightly painful, I’m not gonna lie) my father and I strolled the halls waiting for something to ‘happen’ and it did not so it was time for pitocin! Pitocin was what made the contractions almost unbearable so I asked for the epidural! For all of you who may be scared of this, my experience was AMAZING, I did not even feel it go in! I was so scared about some stories I had heard, but everything was great except it did not fully take on my right side. At about 7pm the nurse said I would most likely have my son in the wee hours of the morning of the 14th because I was only 5cm dilated! Within less than a few hours the nurse checked and said, ‘you are READY to push’ and I was SHOCKED! I had Brayden that evening! I pushed for a total of 45 minutes roughly and the pain of actually pushing him out was rough, but something I truly forgot almost the minute they laid him on my chest! I did have second degree tear that and healed back to normal after 6 weeks! Brayden had his cord wrapped around his neck twice when he came out and the doctor had to act quickly so I am so grateful for Wake Med North!
One thing that no one really talks about when they talk about delivery is the amount of time it takes for you to feel ‘normal’ down there again and for a few months I was so nervous that it never would, but about 3 months after having Brayden everything felt ‘normal’ again and every woman is different, but for all that I have talked to it does return, some people take longer to heal than others depending on delivery!
The first night in the hospital with Brayden was so special and I have never loved someone any more! It was THE BEST holding my sweet baby for the first time!
The hardest thing hands down for me in the first year was BREASTFEEDING! It was the biggest commitment and labor of love for me! Brayden never latched properly in the hospital. I asked for lactation consultants and they came and helped and he would for a short minute and then he wouldn’t anymore! In the hospital I was introduced to a nipple shield! This was basically a little device you put over your nipple and it helps babies latch easier and it WORKED! It was NOT FUN to put on, but he was actually getting milk! I fussed and fooled with these shields for 3 months trying to breastfeed him naturally and GOT FED UP! I would have to lift my entire shirt to look at my breast to apply and would have to excuse myself from every room to find a quiet and empty place to do this and I just knew this could not last… If you are in this place though, the shields do help, but for me they were so hard! I turned to ONLY pumping after this! I used the Spectra S2 Pump and RELIGIOUSLY pumped 5 times per day EVERY DAY and once in the night when Brayden would eat so my supply stayed up! I used the WILLOW PUMP during the day especially when I was working and this pump was a LIFESAVER for me! It was a TOTAL investment, but is HSA approved and worth every dime if you solely pump! These pumps are cordless and sit right in your bra and pump while you are on the go and run through an app in your phone telling you how many ounces were pumped on each side, TRULY A BREASTFEEDING GAME CHANGER! I was a cow when it came to milk thankfully and the pumps allowed me to store up over a full month of milk in addition to what he was eating daily! I will say for supply I did eat tons of fatty foods, I did not restrict my diet and probably ate more carbs than ever in my life while pumping! I pumped for 8 months and then got totally burnt out and allowed it to affect me mentally (I want to say this so if you are in this place, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!) Us only pumping mother’s really do deserve an award (which is truly a healthy baby) and it is a labor of love that you will never get the ‘appreciation’ verbally for! Pumping was the source of so many arguments with my husband and I because it would keep me from doing prolonged activities! I went to two wedding while pumping and would have to retreat to the car and pump during the reception! I don’t regret ONE DAY of pumping so Brayden could have breastmilk, but I want to be so REAL and TRANSPARENT, IT WAS SOO HARD!
On the flip side: EQUALLY as hard was my decision to STOP! I wanted to stop with every ounce of my mental being, but the maternal side of me cried and cried because I thought I was no longer ‘providing’ for my son when I was still capable! I had to pray and really talk through this with God and family to push through! They reminded me I was a great mother no matter what! Emotions and hormones RUN HOT & QUICK after a baby and I can say that I (prior to a baby) was very level headed and not super emotional easily!
I feel that recapping my experience during this part of Brayden’s first year is so vital because as mother’s that first year is both AMAZING and CHALLENGING and I like to shed light on that part!
As far as life with Brayden he was only 6 lb. 11 ounces and as of yesterday’s one year checkup he is 23.6 lb. of PURE SWEETNESS! He is a happy healthy, vibrant and growing boy who has stolen our hearts from DAY ONE!
The first three months at home with Brayden were quite an adjustment for ALL of us! He was so small and my primary concern for those first few months was that he was getting enough breast milk! He woke up about every 3 hours and started sleeping better (about 5 hours straight at night) around 2 months! He did regress every few months though so his sleeping through the night didn’t last forever! I learned during this time that I was capable of so much more than I knew so if you are going through this, this time is short and will pass!
Months 3-6 his personality really started to show! He has always had an electric smile that filled a room and I LOVE IT! He was such a CUDDLER and LOVED his MAMA! He needed me at night to go to sleep and it made me feel so good 🙂 He was still on all pumped breastmilk and did so good! He also started getting in a better sleep pattern!
Months 6-9 Brayden started to really become the little boy I see today at 1! He loved jumping in his jumper and really started to notice EVERYTHING and become his own little person! He literally NEVER stopped SMILING at this age! He also started eating solid food around 8 months and did so good! He loved sweet potatoes and prunes a TON! At the end of 9 months Brayden transitioned to formula and he did so good! He pretty much slept through the night 75% of the time with occasional bad night!
9 Months to PRESENT – Brayden said his first word, ‘MAMA’ (he may have associated it with food I learned later) but it was his first word! He started taking his first assisted steps and now cases the house unassisted, but not quite walking independently! Loves FOOD!! He is down to two bottles (one in the morning, one at night) and we are slowly weaning him off now! He loves all fruit especially KIWI! He is such a fun loving child and KNOW NO STRANGER! Every time we go to a restaurant we leave with new friends 🙂 He primarily sleeps through the night now unless he has a ‘bad dream’ and startles himself or if he is really cutting teeth! Brayden currently only has 1 tooth for his first birthday 🙂 However, the way he is drooling and chewing he should have a mouthful!
These photos below were taken last weekend and Brayden’s Baby Shark Party and he had a blast! I will be doing a separate post on the party and what all I used and purchased! I hope you all enjoyed this post as much as I did writing it! In so many ways this is like my modern day baby book for Brayden!
You all have been so kind and sweet during this time of transition in my life and you will never know how much that means to me! I know how many people you can ‘follow’ and it means THE WORLD that you all want to follow along with my journey and my little family so, ‘Thank you!’ I hope this post was helpful for any soon to be or new moms and it shed a little light on truth and reality as well and the true BLESSING and JOY children are from God!
To OUR Son: We pray that you will know Christ first and foremost! That HE came to this earth and DIED FOR YOU so YOU can have ETERNAL LIFE with Him in Heaven! That you will know how much your father and I love and adore YOU! You are perfect in every way and you are capable of ANYTHING you set your mind to! You can achieve all your hopes and dreams with love, hard work and determination; NOTHING comes without hard work! You will FAIL, but do not allow those moments to define you, instead let them TEACH YOU and help you when you move forward and SUCCEED because, my son, YOU WILL SUCCEED! You are a precious gift from God and We LOVE YOU! HAPPY FIRST BIRTHDAY!