July 27, 2012

Dear Isaac :: 1 month old

My sweet Isaac,

I'm so enjoying this squishy sweet stage you are in.  You are such a pleasant baby.  You are already cracking smiles for Mama and Dada and just gaze lovingly into our eyes.  If I hold you tummy-to-tummy you are constantly lifting your head to look at my face.  You are already so alert and aware of the people around you.  It's so fun to experience each of these "firsts" with you. 

You are still sleeping in our room.  The difference this time, from your brother, is that I am changing and nursing you in bed.  I might keep you with me a bit longer. :-)  Your brother was kicked out at 5 weeks old, but I'm enjoying having you close.  You are sleeping 5 hour stretches and then usually 3-4 hours after that.  So, I typically get up with you about twice a night.  Although, right now your fussy time is from about 7:30 until 10:30-11pm.  We took you to a kinesiologist about a week or two ago and saw tremendous improvement immediately.  You're starting to act fussy/gassy/in-pain again, so I think another adjustment will help soon.

You basically never wore newborn clothes, as you were already 9lbs 11oz at your two week checkup.  I'm certain you are over 11lbs now.  Possibly 12.  Oye!  My big boy!  I also recently packed up your newborn diapers and you are now up a size in your prefolds.

You have a lot of happy awake times.  You love to just lay on your back and look around and take it all in.  Unfortunately, you have a young big brother who just rampages through the house without looking where he's going, so we have to be very careful where we just set you down.  You are often in the swing, or bouncy seat on the kitchen table.  Or, of course, Mama's arms. :-)

You are taking after your brother - loving your crib.  Already, you will be fussy and tired and prefer your crib to any other place in the house (even Mama's arms at times).  You love to be swaddled up and will take great naps in the crib.  You love taking bath, although your dry skin means you only get a bath twice a week right now.

Your big brother is already so good with you.  He leaves you alone for the most part, but is certain to make sure you always have your paci.  :-)

I'll admit, before you were born I was not loving the idea of going back to the newborn stage.  But let me tell you - I am loving this stage with you.  I'm soaking it up, because now I know how quickly it passes.

Love you my sweet second son.  

Love, Mama

July 23, 2012

The newborn season.

I'm three weeks and five days into this Mom-of-two gig.  And we've survived so far.  Haha.  I am happy to say that, despite preparing for and expecting the worst case scenario, we are doing well.

The baby fog doesn't lift the second time around.  It is still a cycle of eat, poop (while eating), scream, pee, spit, *insert happy awake time for a couple minutes*, sleep, poop, scream, and poop some more.  The difference this time is I know this is a short season.  I know it gets easier.  The screaming subsides.  The happy awake time lengthens.  And the fun times begin.  I'm trying hard to enjoy the newness of my sweet boy, though.  I don't want to wish it away, yet at the same time I can't wait to see the smiles and hear the laughter.

Many people have asked how Jude has been adjusting.  He honestly hasn't shown a whole lot of interest in Isaac at all.  It's just his young toddler age.  He goes about his daily craziness without much concern for his little brother.  And this is fine by me!  He is on paci patrol - if Isaac loses his paci, Jude is quick to shove it in his face give it back.  He also loves "helping" me change Isaac's diaper - meaning he climbs around on Isaac's rocking chair and empties his drawers while I change Isaac.  The biggest struggle for me concerning Jude has been my recovery from c-section surgery and knowing I'm not supposed to be picking him up, etc... which I have been doing (only as needed) anyway.  It's hard to say "no" to a crying baby who is begging you to hold them (not to be confused with a temper tantrum... we also see plenty of those).

Jude's age has posed some problems, but I think in many ways I'll look back and see how it was even somewhat easier than had he been a few years older.  I have all the struggles any mom would with a 15 or 16-month-old {enter tantrums, being rough, climbing on furniture, and just being a crazy boy in general}.  But he's not jealous.  He hasn't regressed in sleep or anything.  I think he hardly thinks anything of Isaac being around all the time.  He's used to it now.  We're working on being gentle.  I still rarely allow Jude around Isaac for this reason, but I know this will change as they both get older.  We're still very much in just get through the day mode.  I have to say, I am very grateful to Barney for keeping Jude occupied in the same room while I nurse every 2.5-3 hours. {don't judge}

I often find myself wondering, what the heck was so hard about a newborn the first time around??  When it is just me and Isaac, I feel like it's just so simple.  Being a Mama for the second time has definitely eased many of the anxieties I had with Jude as a newborn.  There is also a light at the end of the tunnel.  Isaac is, in general, a much more fussy baby than Jude was.  But, I find it doesn't give me anxiety like it would with Jude.  I feel horribly bad for Isaac as I see him struggle with the gas pain and scream trying to poop {poor buddy}, but it doesn't make my blood pressure elevate and I don't freak out.  I just try to get him comfortable the best I can, and know that this developmental stage will pass soon.  I'm grateful for this perspective this time.

But the mommy-guilt is still real.  While my love has surely doubled, the amount of time in the day surely hasn't.  Right now, Isaac demands most of my attention, and I'm not able to give Jude the one-on-one attention that I used to.  Luckily, Jude is a real daddy's boy and if Dada is home really couldn't care less about me. :-)  I'm fine with this, as it makes it easier.  On the other side of mommy-guilt is feeling like I'm not giving Isaac the same attention I gave Jude at that age.  Of course not - I have a 16-month-old climbing on the couch and grabbing the dog's tail!  I try not to be too hard on myself for this.  It's life.  It is what it is.  And I'm sure that what I'm feeling is normal. 

Right now, I go back and forth between thinking that anyone who has more than two kids must be crazy.... and then also knowing deep in my heart that we're also not done at two.  Having a newborn in the house adds a different dynamic to life.  It's a bit more crazy... a transition... but, as I said, it's a season.  A season where we take things day by day and moment by moment.   A season of chaos, but loads of love.  I'm trying hard to embrace and appreciate the chaos of today and not wish for simpler days ahead.

July 18, 2012

Isaac Lee... behind the name.

Naming this child was way harder than naming Jude.  I found Jude's name early on, before I even knew he was going to be a boy, and it was just the perfect name.  I loved the sound.  I loved the meaning {praise}.  And I loved the timeless, yet rare, style.

It was hard to find a name I loved near as much.  We had a long list that was ever-changing throughout my pregnancy.  The name we chose for this child would somewhat determine the "style" of our kids names.  Were we going biblical?  Were we going unique?  What was the right fit with our last name?  And did it sound good with Jude? {because I am bound to be saying the two names together for years and years to come}.  All of these were things that I considered.  Jordan has always been more concerned with the meaning of a name.  I didn't care as much about the meaning, but I grew to appreciate this concern.  We kind of see it as a way to speak blessing into our child's life.  I like that both our boys now have names with a meaning and history they can be proud of.

I was sold on another name for a very long time, but it never felt right.  I constantly second-guessed the name, which, to me, was a sign that the search wasn't over.

One day, I was doing my devotional time and read the story of Abraham and Sarah when they were told they were pregnant with their son after years of barrenness.  Sarah laughed, as she was in her 90's and thought she would never have children.  Clearly, I am not 90.  Also, I have a child already, so I know I am not barren.  But Isaac means laughter.  He was a surprise blessing to Abraham and Sarah, and it made Sarah laugh when she learned of her pregnancy.  It is Isaac who carries on the lineage of Christ, as the promise the Lord made to Abraham.

It is a stretch, but I felt somewhat of a kindred spirit to this story.  It took us over a year to get pregnant with Jude.  That is why we weren't so careful to prevent pregnancy after having Jude - we assumed that it would be another long journey when the time came.  But, surprise surprise!  It truly does only take one time.  God surprised us with the blessing of another son.  My first instinct wasn't to laugh {more like oh crap!}, but my fear has turned to laughter and optimism as I embark on this journey.

The name Isaac stuck with me after reading this story.  But, to me, it was too common.  I didn't want a top 100, much less a top 50 name for my child.  I searched and searched for other names.  Then I found myself dismissing names based on the sheer fact that I didn't think they went well with the name Isaac, and I just might want to use that name someday.  Ridiculous.  I know.  I realized I was doing this and my heart began to warm up to this classic, timeless name.  And I fell in love with it.

Isaac.  laughter.  May you bring joy and laughter to all you meet, sweet boy.

I love how it sounds.  I love how it sounds with Jude.  I love the meaning.  I love the story.  And, I love the boy.

We haven't experienced any laughter from Isaac yet... but plenty of tears. ;-)  I'm hoping he will compensate one day once the laughter starts.

And now, Lee.

All along Isaac's middle name was going to be Luke.  Jordan's middle name is Luke and we have a tradition in my family of passing along family names.  There wasn't really a family name in Jordan's family that he felt like passing on.  His dad has an initial for a middle name and we felt weird giving Jude a middle name and Isaac an initial. Plus the boys will bear the last name "Griffis" for their entire lives.  And this is my family's tradition.  Not Jordan's.  So, last minute, like a week before Isaac was born, we decided to go with Lee.  Mostly in honor of my sister, whose middle name is Lee.  {and, funny enough, so is her husband's}  My sister got the middle name from our paternal Grandfather and our maternal Grandmother who both share it.  It is gaining momentum as a strong family name, and it just felt right to continue it.

So, there you have it.  My sweet Isaac Lee. 

July 12, 2012

Isaac Lee's birth story....

* * * I know many of you have asked about this post! A week or so ago I started writing it and accidentally published instead of saved.  It wasn't finished!  I am just now finding time to complete this story.  Thanks for your patience! * * *

I need to be honest before writing this. 

I think a lot of moms have a similar worry going into their second child.  They wonder, can they love another child as much as they love their first?  They don't feel as bonded or attached during their second pregnancy, because, well, they have a baby out of utero that they have spent the past year (plus) building a relationship with and haven't had the time or energy to bask in the joy of a second pregnancy. 

This was so me.  For most of my pregnancy, I feared the day Isaac was born.  I dreaded it.  Because I knew it was going to change my relationship with Jude and I didn't know what that was going to look like.  I prayed and prayed about it.  I asked God to cover my weakness.  To give me a calm in my heart about this transition.  But I feared... 

Until the day before Isaac was due to arrive.  Something switched in my heart and my fear turned into joyful anticipation.  I told Jordan that night, I was finally more excited than anything else.  It was as if my heart finally felt what I had been praying for.  And I couldn't wait to meet my littlest son.

June 27, 2012

last belly shot - 39 weeks 4 days
Preparing for Isaac's birth was so different than Jude's.  For Jude, I spent months preparing for a natural unmedicated birth... that didn't happen.  For Isaac, I prepared myself for a birth required me to not be near as involved.  Not even laboring.  It was so surreal.  It seemed so unnatural.  But after much prayer, I made that decision based on what I felt the best was for my family... what gave me the most peace.

The morning began as most do.  We got Jude out of bed and had breakfast together.  Well, Daddy and Jude did, as I couldn't eat or drink for 12 hours before surgery.  I didn't need to be to the hospital until 10, so we asked my mom and dad to come to pick Jude up at 8:30.  For some reason, the morning seemed to go slower than most.  But in a good way.  We got Jude dressed in his "Most Awesome Big Brother" t-shirt and played for awhile.  We went outside and played in the sandbox while we waited for my parents to show up.  And it was a gorgeous morning.  Not too hot, yet.  The sun rising was a reminder of God's blessing.  I just sat with my oldest boy and enjoyed the moment and the anticipation.

Somewhere around the time Jude needed to leave with my parents, he fell and scraped his hand and even though he is usually fine with bumps and bruises, this one got to him.  It was nearing 9:15 and we needed to pack Jordan's bag yet.  Jude was screaming as we put him in his car seat.  He also usually never has a problem leaving with my parents, so this was just weird.  I took him out, held and calmed him, and tried to put him back in, but got the same response.  If there is anything I HATE it is needing to leave my kids while they are upset.  Ugh!!  I don't know why he was upset.  I think kids sometimes just have an intuition that something big is about to happen.  Even though I didn't want to, I said bye to Jude and gave him kisses through his tears, knowing that as soon as he realized he got to spend the day with his Papaw he would be all smiles.  Luckily - soon after they left I got a text from Papaw that all was well. :-)  

Jordan and I quickly got our things loaded in the car and made our way to the hospital.  We just sat holding hands and I don't remember if much was said at all.  It seemed so odd that we were going to meet our baby.  I wasn't even nervous.  Maybe it still didn't feel real.  We walked through the hospital, not in labor, through admission, and down the same halls that we had labored in great anticipation of meeting Jude just 15 months earlier.  Literally.

Even though I wasn't in labor, I still needed to be hooked up to the fetal monitors in preparation for surgery.  I sat on the bed and watched the littlest boys' heart beat beep along.  At some point, the nurse came back and asked, "Are you feeling your contractions"... "What?? No....??"... "You're having contractions two minutes apart.  Probably just pre-labor, but your body is getting ready."

After that I started paying attention and realized that the feeling of the baby in my ribs really was my uterus getting extremely hard.  But it was not painful at all.  Braxton Hicks, I suppose.  But in any case, my body was doing something.  And it made me feel a lot better about scheduling the c-section on that day, because I felt that my body was then telling me the time was near... or now.  I do wonder if I had waited it out, how long it would have taken those contractions to become active labor.  With my history, labor would have started that day, but Isaac wouldn't be born until July. ;-)

Jordan and I tried to guess how big this guy would be.  I guessed an ounce or two less than Jude, but Jordan was convinced he'd be bigger - about 8lbs or so (Jude was 7lbs 11oz).  A previous surgery was running behind (I heard rumors of a 4th c-section with someone getting their tubes tied), so we didn't go back until about 12:30. In preparation they put in my IV and drew blood.  Jordan got his OR gear on and before we knew it we were going back.

I didn't get nervous until I was in the OR.  I felt my chin start to shake, taking in what was about to happen.  I told the nurses that the last time I was in that room, I was having back to back contractions.  They were all shocked to hear that I labored the entire time last without an epidural.  Apparently it isn't as common as one might think!  I used some of my previously learned relaxation techniques to completely relax my body as they prepared the spinal.  I know a lot of this happened last time, but it was all such a blur since I was in labor and exhausted.  That may have gone to my benefit as now I was completely aware of everything going on, and it made me a little nervous.

I soon started to feel the effects of the spinal.  Jordan joined me at my side, and my fabulous OB started his work to bring my baby into the world.  Jordan was ready with camera AND video camera in hand.  (That's right, we got the entire thing on video.  And amazingly enough he got some great photos at the same time - although they are graphic and not included in this post!) 

About 15 or so minutes went by, and at 12:52pm I heard my son's first screams.  And they didn't stop. :-)  Which is a great sign. They laid him on the table next to me so I could see him as they got him warm and cleaned him off.  I could tell he was a big boy just by looking at him.  But 8lbs 12oz and 20.5"?  Big boy!!  Immediately my OB said he was glad I didn't attempt to push that kid out, because it probably would not have gone in my favor.  

Isaac Lee.  My sweet boy.  He came out rooting and ready to eat.  A wonderful nurse brought him over and laid him right near my face as they stitched me up and I got to meet my boy and kiss his face.  It wasn't too long before he was in my arms in the recovery room.  I hear of many hospitals where the mom is separated from her baby for hours during recovery, but I am so glad I got to hold my boy as soon as possible.  

I can hardly believe he is now over 2 weeks old.  Time flies.  This time, I am soaking up the newborn stage.  Good and bad.  I know how quickly it passes, and now that my attention is split, I know I can't give him the same one-on-one time I had with Jude.  But he is blessed to have a big brother who already clearly loves him.  
It's funny how adding to your family makes you love each of your family members even more.  Love abounds in my heart and having Isaac has not taken away from Jude - only added to it.  Watching him give kisses to his baby brother just warms my heart.  It is challenging to have two small ones, for sure, but I'm ready to roll up my sleeves and dig into motherhood.  I choose to focus on the blessings in the midst of chaos.

And so begins my journey as a Mama of two.  

Love my sweet little Isaac Lee. 

July 2, 2012

Jude :: 15 months

You may have noticed I stopped doing the monthly posts.  I feel like the milestones start to mush together after a year and instead of doing a post every month, I have decided that after a year, every three months is sufficient. :-)  That said - time for an update!

But my 15 month-old is wild, crazy, mischievous, and so.much.fun.

First of all - he became a big brother the day before he turned 15 months and this transition has been better than I expected.  I have already experienced occasional moment where I am holding baby brother (Isaac) and Jude wants to be held and I just can't hold two babies, so that makes it hard.  I've decided at this point, it is important to make sure Jude knows he isn't being pushed aside or that he isn't less important, so if I'm not nursing Isaac or something, I slip him in the bouncy to give Jude some of my full attention when he needs it.  I know this will get more and more complicated, but I also hope that Jude will grow to understand and love what it is to have a brother at the same time. :-)

On the wild and crazy front, Jude is running, climbing, jumping (kind of) and just this adorable little tornado that tears through my house.  He's very much in an exploring stage.  Figuring out how things work, figuring out what the boundaries are, and testing those boundaries.  I find myself saying "NO" more often now than ever, but that's our stage!

He's talking more, but still babbles a lot - saying something very very important that nobody can understand. :-)  He has said strawberry, dog, duck, kitty cat, baby, open, that, more, book, ball, banana... and I'm sure more random words that I'm missing.  I find they come and go.  But he talks non-stop.  I'm sure it will be hilarious when he starts using actual words and sentences.  :-)

He's getting very good at identifying body parts.  Eyes, ears, nose, tongue, hair, feet, toes, hands, etc... smart boy!  He also is good at identifying a few animals and what noises they make.  Among our favorites are dog, cat, cow, duck, elephant, and monkey.

He is no longer taking a bottle at night.  We stopped that somewhere between 13 and 14 months and he does perfectly fine!  Our routine includes, bath, brushing our teeth, reading some books, saying prayers,  kisses, then night-night!  He does pretty good with this most of the time. :-)  Although during the routine he likes to play his game of "come and catch me" - running away when we tell him to brush his teeth, etc.  He thinks it's hilarious.

Jude Michael - you continue to be such a joy in our lives!!  I can't wait to see you grow in your role as a big brother.  I can't wait to see that relationship blossom.  You make us laugh every day and continue to amaze us as you learn about the world!

Love you, bubba!