Sunday, February 26, 2012

Our First Mardi Gras as 3

It's crazy to think about how much can change in one year. Last year's carnival season was not so enjoyable for this pregnant momma. This year....well, this year was the best yet. We went out just the two of us to see Katie in Muses. I looked forward to this night for weeks...however a stomach bug that Mark brought home from daycare prevented me from enjoying the night too much. But it wasn't so bad that I didn't enjoy myself at all. Friday night we decided to just hang out the 3 of us since the weather was crummy and we all still had lingering remnants of this awful stomach virus. Saturday was a washout. Sunday, George had to work that am, so our good friends Melissa and Jordan agreed to pick up Mark and I so I wouldnt have to tote all of our gear and baby alone. George was to meet us as soon as he got off work that morning. It was freezing but Mark was perfect.
Can you sense how cold we are?!

Not this sweet boy! Always happy.

After a little confusion about our location, My mom, Mr. Peter, Pierce, George, Aunt Erin, Steve, Zac, Sophie and Kim and her family were all together! The clouds parted and it was a beautiful day. Mark got plenty of Mimi time which I loved watching.
He adores his mimi.

Monday was one of my favorite parts...mostly because it was so unplanned and I put my schedule/crazy planner self aside. We anticipated a sitter for Monday night but when that didn't work out, I let George talk me into bringing Mark out for an evening parade. Mark loved the bright lights of the parade and the marching bands. He was in such a good mood and we had a wonderful time the three of us. Mardi Gras day was very low key. We went to see my Aunt Erin before they headed back home and we were home by lunch time. We had a glorious family nap that afternoon. All in all, it was the perfect Mardi Gras! I cannot wait to watch Mark next year when he understands what is going on. I can't wait to get his ladder and wagon. I felt incredibly blessed this Mardi Gras.


Trip to visit Kaki and pictures.

We've been back from Winter Park, FL for several weeks now. But I wanted to post some pictures from our trip. We had such a good visit. Mark was so good. We did a lot of relaxing and visiting. Mark went in the pool for the first time and LOVED it. Then he got in the hot tub with us and loved that even more. He especially loved when daddy went underwater and came up....cracked him up! Love that sweet giggle. Here are some pictures from our visit...enjoy!

Hanging out with daddy!

Love my papa!

Miss you Kaki!

First dip....LOVE it!

Just relaxing....

Right after Daddy dunked me.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Birth experience I always dreamed of....and the one I still hope for.

I stumbled across this AMAZING photographer on Facebook. Now I am in tears looking at her blog. What a gift to be a photographer. To be able to capture life's most precious moments. This is on an entirely different level. She has captured life's most precious MOMENT. How beautiful.

Friday, February 10, 2012

We survived.

Well, we made it! Two flights in 5 days...phew. The way to Orlando was a breeze. Mark was so enthralled by all the new sights at MSY that he put his teething crankiness aside and was such a joy. He even ate ALL of his sweet potatoes. The entire 2 ounces.

Side note- my chunky monkey of a baby does not enjoy solid foods nearly as much as I anticipated. The pediatrician reassured me that this is totally normal and not to force it as it is just for fun right now and not where he receives his nutrition. He gets that from his favorite tatas.

So after we made it through security, which is no fun on a regular day and a real treat with a 6 month old, we arrived to our gate with time to spare and baby giggles and coos to enjoy. He was in such a good mood we didn't need any of the 10 or so toys (read: distractions) I packed. The flight was to take off at 8:15 and baby Bensabat's bedtime is 8:00. Turned out to be great planning on my part. I had my nursing cover out, the lights out and baby positioned when we began taxiing. (is that how you spell that?!) He was nursing through takeoff and asleep by the time we were at cruising altitude. He slept the whole way, as did my arm. When we landed, he woke up. I felt a rise of panic to which George responded with his usual sigh and something along the lines of "don't freak out, it might not be that bad." God, he is my voice of reason at times. Ok, most of the time.

Mark stayed awake until we got him in his car seat, in the car. As I stressed that this would somehow mess up his sleep schedule (which I admit, I am obsessed with), I was so relieved when he did not wake up until 8 am the following morning; right on schedule with his 7 am wake time at home.

Our flight home was not as breezy but it was not bad by any means. We made it through security relatively unscathed and with a little less time to spare. The flight was late and we had to wait for what seemed like 20 minutes after boarding. Well little baby Mark knows what he wants; and when he wants it, he wants it. He decided he wanted to eat, and no amount of toys/smiles/songs were going to put him off course. George leaned over to me to alert me that the young teenage girl who was in Orlando for some sort of dance/cheer competition, had just updated her Facebook status to  "sitting next to a crying baby, fml." I felt torn. I do remember being that age and could see myself making a similar remark. Hell, a year ago I can picture making the same comment. But now, I was just plain offended at someone making any negative connotation toward my sweet, precious baby boy. I know, I need to get over it. But not before I said, in a voice loud enough for her and her bleached blonde friends to hear, that I should update my status to say, surrounded by a bunch of peppy, obnoxious teenage girls, fml. I couldn't help myself.

Anyway, Mark nursed like he had gone days without eating, only to be full and refusing to nurse anymore right as the plane was taking off. I was panicked (again) that the pressure would bother him. But he fell asleep as we were going up and did not wake up until halfway through the flight. When he did wake up, we thought he was up for good and as such, started to try to play with him. bad idea. He protested for some time before finally  snuggling into my arms and falling back asleep. Overall, it really was not that bad. It was just a packed flight and I had a passenger reminding me of how noone likes to fly with a crying baby. But before we knew it we were landing and making our way to baggage claim. We wont be flying again until just before Mark's first birthday for our family vacation in the Florida Keys. No doubt that will present a new set of issues.

I'll update about our actual trip later. Too much to do as we are heading out of town this evening to visit my sister, brother in law, and sweet nephew!

Friday, February 3, 2012

First Flight

So this evening we will be flying with a baby for the FIRST TIME EVER! George has two weeks of vacation so we are going to visit his parents in Orlando. No, we aren't going to Disney World this time. I just can't rationalize spending over $100 for a baby who is just as easily entertained by a water bottle and my terrible singing.

If I can be honest, I'm a little apprehensive and excited all at the same time. About the flying, that is. Apprehensive because we are embarking on unchartered territory (at least for us) and excited for, well, the same exact reason. I'm a little nervous because we scheduled the flight to take off at his bedtime. This could either be incredibly genius or awfully stupid. I guess we'll see. I'm excited because I just love watching my little man discover new things. The airport, the plane, the sounds of the engine. I'm sure I'll be that annoying mommy taking tons of pictures. I have been told to nurse him during take off and landing if he is awake in order to aleviate the pressure. I have all my props packed in the event that is necessary. I am very proud that we managed to pack EVERYthing in one large suitcase and one small suitcase and two reasonable carry ons. We are even bringing two King Cakes with us! I can't wait to see us try to maneuver all of that plus the stroller, car seat and BABY! Or maybe I can. Thank God he is such a good baby. Well, it should definitely be an interesting experience. I'm sure in the future, when my family has hopefully grown by two more, I will look back on this and think it was a piece of cake. Until then, I may or may not order a glass of wine on the flight to help with my nerves. Added benefit- may help sweet baby boy sleep more soundly. Don't judge. I am from New Orleans after all.

Here are some NECESSARY ITEMS:

Well I better get back to packing and checking my list twice! I'll update after the trip. Here's to a smooth journey and a wonderful trip with wonderful family!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Time flies...

Exactly 6 months ago at this time, George and I crawled into bed, knowing that we would consider ourselves lucky to get a couple hours of sleep. Several hours later (4am to be precise), we would be heading to the hospital to meet our baby boy. I had a planned c-section (more on that later) because Mark was breach. I think we both managed to get a couple hours sleep, although for me, I was lucky to get 20 minutes consecutively. We arrived to the hospital with all the expected jitters and excitement. We were so excited to finally meet our little man and hold him in our arms.

Just before we left for the hospital.

At the hospital, we managed to have some quiet time alone to try and soak up the magnitude of the moment. It so true that nothing can prepare you. They pumped me full of iv fluids which made for some beautiful photographs (read:sarcasm). We waited around for a couple of hours while they monitored Mark. As usual, he was doing great on the fetal monitor. Before I knew it, it was time. I felt like I was about to panic and throw up at the same time. Luckily, there was very little time for that....everything happened so fast.  When it was time to head to the OR I was given the choice of being wheeled in or walking. I wanted to walk as it felt like something I had control over at a time when I felt completely out of control. The kicker- I had to go to the O.R. alone. Not only was I terrified of what was to come, but I had to go it alone, at least initially. In the OR, they had difficulties placing the epidural...I was told that my spine was compact and they had trouble going between the bones. OUCH! Once they did manage to place the spinal block, it was such a weird feeling. My anesthesiology team was AMAZING; they reassured me that my jaw wouldn't come unhinged from all the chattering and gave me some good drugs to help with the nausea. Before I knew it, they were ready to get Mark out of there. After the first incision was made, George was allowed in the room. He held my hand through it all. I kept asking, do you see him yet?! Then I heard the most wonderful sound- the sound of my baby. A healthy baby boy. He scored 9 and 9 on his Apgars (and didn't stop screaming until some time later :)).
Our first kiss. Absolute Perfection!

My beautiful and healthy 8 pound baby boy!

I was so excited to meet my son but I would be lying if I said I was anything but devastated at the way in which he was entering the world. I had planned for a natural childbirth. I took lamaze classes and read everything I could get my hands. I knew my low tolerance for, um, anything uncomfortable. But I was determined to try, to trust my body and it's design, and to go as long as I could without asking for medication. I told myself that if I made any progress, if I was able to "labor" at all, I would consider it a success. We went the whole 9 yards, buying a birthing ball, tennis balls, taking the Lamaze classes, getting Lamaze updates on my phone,  practicing Lamaze techniques at home, writing a birth plan and packing a separate lamaze bag for the hospital. Boy was I emotional when I had to unpack that bag.  I know most will think I'm crazy for wanting this experience, but I truly did. With every part of me, I wanted to labor and deliver my child. I even wanted to tuck my hands under his arms and pull him to me. I feel like it is a right of passage, something I wanted to go through. I recall thinking that a c-section is cheating and I struggle referring to the event as a "delivery". Afterall, I was a passive participant, who just laid on the operating table. After Mark was delivered and he was nursing, I can remember being excited at the pains of afterbirth contractions because atleast I was able to know what it felt like, if even for only one contraction. Woah, I was warned about these but there was one that was particularly intense. After the pain subsided, I was joyful that I got to experience it for a moment.  I feel that I was deprived of this dream of childbirth. I know the c-section was necessary and I truly was so happy to hold my sweet Angel. There was no other way for him to be "delivered," I just dreamt of something different.

The first 24 hours are a blur. I don't really remember who was there to visit us. Thank goodness for pictures. I was very well attended to at the hospital and I never really experienced pain from the incision during my stay. Breastfeeding went very well. Painful at first and although it crossed my mind at times, I never quit and am extremely proud of that fact. I couldn't walk and hold Mark for some time, hell, I couldn't "walk" for some time for that matter. The recovery was not fun to put it mildly. I don't write this with regret, after all, it was out of my hands. I write it because I think it is ok to mourn the childbirth experience I did not get to have. Aside from the experience not being what I wanted, I know I received the very best care. My OB/GYN is amazing! She will let me try for a VBAC next time. I also choose to see this as my first lesson of many, that I do not control everything. A lesson I'm sure I will be faced with countless times on my journey through motherhood.

I'll never know if my whacked-out state of mind was due to the patient-controlled-pump of dilaudid or new mom hormones, or a combination of both. I'd like to believe the latter. I do know that I cant imagine going through all of that without my rock and best friend at my side. I went home after 48 hours because I knew I was in good hands with dr. Husband. George was amazing and I melted watching him with our son.
How can this not melt your heart!

I also do not want to imagine those first weeks without my wonderful mother who comforted me when I cried every day (yes, there were oh so many tears) and spoon fed me when I was too weak to eat. She was nothing short of wonderful and I will cherish the memories from that week for the rest of my life. I also couldn't have survived without my amazing mother in law who graciously flew back after being gone one week to attend to me, the emotional basket case, Mark and George. Our first night home from the hospital was pretty rough. Mark wanted to nurse CONSTANTLY. Seriously. And I was in pain, sleep deprived, and a hormonal train wreck. Thank God for Ms. Kathy. She would take Mark into his nursery and tend to him so that I could rest in between nursing. She is the only reason we got any sleep at all that night.

So here I sit, 6 months later and feeling like the luckiest girl in the world. Mark is wonderful beyond words. I Could never imagine a love so strong, so powerful, so unconditional. But it is all that and so much more. And yet it grows deeper with each passing day. He is such a happy baby, only fussing if he is tired or hungry. He is all boy, so rough with his mamma. It is truly the best feeling in the world to watch him grow and discover the world. The first few months were challenging and required alot of adjusting on our part. It is true that parenting is the hardest job you'll ever love doing. To me, this is the hardest thing I've ever done, harder than law school, the LSAT, passing the bar, etc. you name it, and this is harder. I think that is because of the responsibility I feel at doing it right. I know I wont do it right all of the time, but I know  I will do it with love. Even though it is the hardest thing I have ever done, it is the most rewarding, awesome, humbling, blessing I have ever been given. It will certainly be my finest accomplishment in life. Can you tell I'm kind of obsessed?! Sorry for the rambling. I'm a new mom who is overwhelmed (in a good way) with the role of mother.

Well it is late and this mamma is tired. I promise to do better about posting. Good night everyone!