Baby E’s Two Month Update

I can’t believe my tiny little peanut is two months old already! She went from being a fragile 6 pounds 10 ounces, to a much sturdier 11 pounds 1 ounce. I look at pictures from when she was first born and I can’t believe that skinny, squirming newborn has turned into my chunky, flailing infant.

She had some issues with acid reflux and lactose, so she was switched from the regular Enfamil Newborn to the Gentlease. I noticed an almost immediate improvement in her eating – no more choking and gagging during feedings, no more kicking and screaming, no more arching her back and crying, no more wanting to eat every hour. Now she eats calmly, roughly every 2-4 hours, although for the past few days she has been giving us a nice long stretch at night. Except last night, when she was up at 11:00 pm and 3:30 am. I blame that on her shots, though. She slept most of the day because of them and I think it threw off her new sleep schedule.

Around six weeks, we really started to implement a bedtime routine for her. Around 7:30 pm, I tell her it’s bedtime and she says goodnight to daddy. She and I go upstairs and do a diaper change by nightlight in her room. I put her pajamas on as well, and then if it’s time for her to eat, she has a bottle also by nightlight and with her Sleep Sheep playing white noise in the background. There is no eye contact or talking during any of this, which is really difficult because she’s usually super smiley and adorable at nighttime. I rock her for a little while (she has to stay upright for 15-20 minutes after eating) and then she is transferred to her bassinet in our room. Her Sleep Sheep goes with her. Most nights she will wake up when I put her down, but she is pretty good and will only fuss and flail around a bit. As long as she doesn’t cry we just watch her on the monitor and she falls asleep about 20 minutes later. If she does cry, one of us will go up and offer her a pacifier and rub her tummy and hair until she calms down. We don’t pick her up unless she is inconsolable, which has only happened once. Usually as soon as we walk into the room she stops crying.

She was waking up at midnight, 3:00 am, and 6:00 am, but for the past several nights she has been taking a small amount of formula at bedtime and then she sleeps from roughly 8:30 pm to 3:00 or 4:00 am. This is fantastic for me because it means she is in bed by 8:00 pm so I get to spend some quality time with hubby, watch a little TV, and then go to bed by about 9:30 pm. That gives me a nice lonnnng sleep. I do her middle-of-the-night feeding and then she goes back down until about 7:00 am when she is ready to get up for the day. Mommy is not a morning person, so Baby E has learned to hang out in her bassinet and watch the ceiling fan, look at the light coming in the windows, and babble to herself and me while I get to keep my eyes closed just a little bit longer before beginning the day. I’m very blessed that she is calm and perfectly content to entertain herself. Obviously if she starts to fuss or cry I suck it up and get going.

She is not a big fan of daytime naps lately, although I do usually get one long one out of her at some point during the day. The only problem is that in order for her to sleep for a decent amount of time during the day, she has to be sleeping on me. This means I get very little done because I am often confined to the couch for 2-3 hours while she sleeps. I don’t mind too much because at least I get to rest and zone out while watching TV or playing on the internet, all the while enjoying warm baby snuggles. Hey, one day she’s not going to want anything to do with me, so I’m trying to soak up the loving snuggles while I can.

If she’s feeling especially generous towards me, she’ll tolerate me putting her in one of the carriers and wearing her around the house while she naps. This way I can wash the dishes and her many bottles, or throw in a load of laundry, pay the bills, go to the bathroom, etc.

Now that she’s on a different formula, she’s much calmer when she’s awake. I read to her a lot even though she has no idea what’s going on. She smiles and waves her arms around, but I think that’s more so because I make funny voices and faces at her during the story. She does tummy time several times per day and is usually ok about it, but towards the evening she gets lazy and will just lie there and grunt. I put her down on her activity mat, but she doesn’t really swat purposely at any of the hanging toys yet. She likes watching the lights and looking at herself in the hanging mirror, though. She has also grown to love her swing. She hated it the first couple of times I put her in it, and then I discovered that she only likes swinging forward and back, rather than side to side. Also, it has to be on the fastest setting and the mobile and lights have to be turned on. Now when I sit her down in it, she immediately smiles and waves her arms around. She is much more talkative now, so when we sit on the couch together and I talk to her, she will often reply with some kind of noise – and she is making new ones every day!

She definitely likes things done “with purpose.” When we rock her, we better do it like we mean it. No gentle rocking for this little lady! If we walk her around the house to calm her down, we have to speed walk. The swing has be on full speed. She likes being in the stroller only if we’re going over slightly bumpy ground – if it’s too smooth, she fusses.

She had her two month checkup and vaccinations yesterday. The doctor was pleased with how much she has grown and said that she looks “perfect.” She is right around the 50% percentile for everything. I was concerned about a flat spot on the back of her head, but the doctor assured me that it is minor and common. She said all babies have a preference for lying on one side and it’s hard to avoid a flat spot since they spend so much time on their backs: sleeping on their backs at night, napping on their backs, lying on the floor on the activity mat, sitting in the swing, sitting in the car seat, etc. She said if I notice her sleeping on that side, I can try to turn her head, but she might not like it. As long as she has full range of motion in her neck (she does!), then she is fine.

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Five on Friday

I attempted to write a blog post last week, but Baby E just wasn’t having it. I am currently sitting in the dark in her nursery listening to her Sleep Sheep play water sounds while she fights sleep in her crib. She is just over six weeks now and thinks it’s her job to not nap during the day anymore. It’s like she’s afraid she will miss out on something awesome.

Anyway.

  1. I realize I haven’t posted anything book-related in quite some time. I am actually currently reading Prep, and by “currently reading” I mean that I haven’t touched it since just before she was born. In fact, that is the book I was reading the night I went into labor. That was almost 7 weeks ago. Oops. I bring it down to the living room every morning with the intention of finishing it as soon as the baby falls asleep, but then I realize I would rather be napping.
  2. Baby E has been congested since birth, and the doctor keeps saying that we need to get the boogers out of her nose. Problem is, the nasal aspirators don’t work all that well. I read really good things about the NoseFrida online, but the idea of sucking her snot out with my own mouth kind of grossed me out. I asked a friend about it and she said it is the greatest thing ever. She ended up buying me one so I had no excuse not to try it. Oh my goodness. It is a lifesaver! I will be buying one of these for every expectant mom that I know. It’s so much less gross once you actually try it, and it gets EVERYTHING out with a little saline spray beforehand. Baby can breathe much easier now.
  3. I tried hard during my pregnancy not to made any bold “I’ll never…” statements. One thing I was very iffy about was baby wearing. I thought it was for hippies. I’ve never seen anyone wear their baby around here and I didn’t know if any of my friends did it. I registered for a basic wrap (K’tan) anyway and my coworkers ended up buying it for me. I finally tried it one day when I really needed to get off the couch but Baby E couldn’t stand not to be touching me. She screamed for a couple of minutes at first and then promptly fell asleep. FOR HOURS. The K’tan is good because there is no wrapping involved – just put it over your head and go. But, the downside to that is that you can’t adjust it to fit either more snugly or more loosely. Also, it’s REALLY hot. I keep the baby in a onesie and I wear a tank top and we still both sweat like crazy. A friend let me borrow her Boba wrap and I like it a LOT better. Yes, you have to tie it, but it’s so easy. I can do it by myself without any problems. It’s also a little more breathable so we don’t get as swampy when we use it.
  4. Apparently my company is having a BBQ tomorrow for everyone and I wasn’t invited. One of my coworkers texted me to ask if I was going and I told her I never received an invitation. My boss then emailed me and told me he forgot to include me. Thanks a lot, that makes me feel great. I know I’ve been out since May, but I’m still an employee.
  5. Last week was the baby’s baptism. I was really nervous that she would cry during the whole thing and cause a scene, but she was a perfect angel and slept for most of it. She only cried when the priest dumped water on her head and then went right back to sleep. Whew!

Life with a Newborn

It’s true that you really don’t know what it’s like until you’re living it. Every single sleep-deprived, poop-stained, screaming second of it. I am sitting here with a sleeping baby strapped to my chest because that is the only way she will stay calm and quiet long enough for me to get anything done.

Overall Baby E is a REALLY good baby. She eats well, she sleeps occasionally, and the only time she really cries or fusses is when she’s hungry and we’re too slow with the bottle prep or when she’s overtired. She is nowhere near a routine or schedule of any kind, but she seems to only need 1-2 night feedings now, and she actually gave me a 3-hour block of sleep the other night! I felt like a new person when I woke up (in a complete panic because of course something must be wrong with her, right?).

My days (and nights) consist mostly of washing bottles, drying bottles (seriously, if I ever meet Dr. Brown, I am going to punch him/her in the face for creating the most annoying bottles on the planet), feeding her, changing her, changing her again because she just pooped in the brand new diaper, bathing her because she pooped all over herself (and me), snuggling her to sleep, annnnd repeat. That being said, I have managed to find time to shower and eat, although most of our meals are eaten cold these days. Also, my husband and I have perfected the art of hand signals and lip-reading so as not to wake the sleeping baby. If you’re pregnant, work on this now. Oh, and figure out how to turn on the closed captions on your TV. You’re going to need them.

Sarcasm and joking aside, it’s been really great. Sure, I’m tired and stressed out and there has been more crying on my part than I anticipated (mommy guilt is no joke, you guys), but I wouldn’t change it for anything. I love having her sleeping on my chest, I love when she looks into my eyes when I feed her, I love how cute she looks wrapped up in her towel after a bath, I love her little noises (there are new ones every day, it seems), I love seeing her with her dad, it’s all just so amazing.

Let’s Talk About Labor and Delivery

Having never given birth before, I was unsure what to expect during labor and delivery, so I did what anyone would do and I hounded my mommy friends for details and scoured the Internet for information. Even then, I still felt unprepared, aside from expecting the worst pain of my life.

I was scared my water would break and I wouldn’t know it. As any pregnant woman knows, there is a lot going on, and coming out, down there all the time. I was terrified that I wouldn’t have a giant gush of fluid, but rather a slow leak that I wouldn’t even notice. At my last OB appointment I discussed this with my doctor and she assured me I would definitely know the difference between my water breaking and me peeing on myself. I still wasn’t convinced. My water never ended up breaking on its own, so it had to be broken for me in the hospital. I was so scared it was going to hurt – that hook thingy they use to rip it open does NOT look pleasant – but I didn’t feel a thing aside from a huge gush of warm liquid. It was then that I understood there is no mistaking leaking water for anything else.

I didn’t know what real contractions felt like, and I was worried I wouldn’t recognize them. I started having Braxton Hicks contractions on a regular basis around 20 weeks, and although everyone told me the real thing would be much different, I was still nervous that I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference and I would end up having the baby at home or in the car. While BH felt uncomfortable and tight, when I woke up with period-like cramps and waves of pain at 2:00am, I knew it was the real deal. Well, that’s not true – I was in denial for about an hour even while I was timing them and they were 3-4 minutes apart and getting progressively worse. I didn’t want to get to Labor and Delivery only to be sent home for false labor. It wasn’t, though – 14 hours later my little peanut was born.

Real labor is nothing like the movies. You know the screaming woman in a hospital gown trying to push a human out of her body? That is obviously only the end part of the whole process. There are hours and hours of not a lot going on before that. Hubby and I walked around the unit for awhile, I sat in the sun on the windowsill, and then we watched a whole lot of Food Network. My contractions weren’t that bad until the very end – and had I known it was the very end, I would have been able to cope with them a lot better. Also, there is no room for modesty in childbirth. I knew this to a point, but the movies make it seem like it’s just you and the doctor and maybe a nurse in the room. Not in my experience! I had a nurse, a resident, a student, and the nurse-midwife all down there inspecting my lady parts. I seriously felt like I was on display, but I couldn’t have cared less as long as someone got that baby out of me.

That being said, have a birth plan but realize it may get thrown out the window at any moment and you have to be OK with that. I wanted a natural childbirth – no IV drugs, no Pitocin, no epidural. I didn’t have it written down anywhere, but I had discussed it with my husband and let him know what my plans were. I also knew that if I or the baby were in any kind of distress or I just couldn’t do it, I would accept the epidural. I made it about 12 hours with absolutely nothing other than breathing and warm towels on my back before I caved and got the epidural. I really wanted them to check me and see how dilated I was first, because I felt like if I was close, I would just continue on. I knew that I had hit a wall and that most likely meant I was in transition and it would all be over soon, but I was so scared that I wouldn’t have the energy to push. I had only gotten about an hour of sleep the night before – not to mention I had no food in my system aside from a few saltines I scarfed down as we left the house – and I was already exhausted. I was told that they didn’t like to check for no reason because it can introduce bacteria and increase the risk of infection, so I told the nurse to go ahead and call the anesthesiologist. I was disappointed to find out shortly after the medicine took effect that I was already at 8cm. I briefly felt like I had failed, but then the resident came in and told me how shocked she was to learn that I hadn’t been given Pitocin at all – she was sure I had been just based on how quickly and well everything was progressing. She told me I should definitely consider it a “natural” childbirth because my body did everything on its own. Looking back, getting the epidural was a good decision for me – I had to push for close to an hour and I don’t think I would have made it if I didn’t get that half hour of pain-free rest beforehand.

Labor is hard work. My best advice to anyone who is pregnant is to get as much sleep as possible if you’re close to your due date. You never know when that baby will want out, and you’re going to need your energy. I made the mistake of staying up until midnight watching TV and then going upstairs to bed to read for another hour. That means I got about an hour of sleep before I was woken up by contractions. My labor lasted 14 hours, and then I had an hour of mandatory skin-to-skin with the baby, another hour of weights/measurements and moving to a new room, visitors, dinner, more visitors, and finally it was time for bed. But, it’s incredibly difficult to sleep with a newborn in the room. She was calm and not crying, but newborns make all kinds of weird noises and scary breathing sounds and it is impossible not to check on them every few minutes. Not to mention the fact that they were coming in every couple of hours to check my blood pressure because it was too high, then they needed to take blood, then I needed to take more medicine… basically it is impossible to get good sleep at the hospital and you won’t be sleeping once you get home, either.

Overall, I had a relatively easy and drama-free childbirth experience. The pain was worse than I was expecting, but it wasn’t completely unmanageable like everyone had me believe beforehand. I had great support from my husband and the medical team at the hospital, which I’m sure contributed to how well it went.

Bumpdate: 25 weeks!

IMG_7151Only 15(ish) weeks to go! Now that I’m on the downhill slope of this journey, and since I’ve been feeling a bit better, I can’t believe how fast it’s going.

I’m exhausted almost constantly. I either need to take a nap most days, or else I start dozing off around 8:30 pm. I love how some of the pregnancy books and websites recommend putting your head down on your desk at work for 15 minutes, or finding a quiet conference room to take a quick nap in. Where do these people work?? There’s no way that would fly in my office.

My food aversions are decreasing, and I feel like I’ve been eating more “normally” lately. I still can’t eat much at a time, however, so I find myself eating a lot of small snacks during the day and then a slightly bigger (still small compared to pre-pregnancy) dinner. I’m still favoring things like cereal, bagels, fruit (grapes and blueberries, yum!), and chicken (Perdue chicken nuggets with “real” cheddar cheese – horrible for me, but deee-licious!). Chocolate has made a major comeback. I haven’t had any cravings, per se, although there are times when a certain food sounds better than anything else. It’s not the OMG-I-have-to-have-it-now kind of thing that is portrayed in movies, and I haven’t desired anything weird… it’s more like, “A salad from Panera sounds really good today. I think I’ll get one for lunch.” Hubby keeps waiting for me to send him out on some middle of the night run for donuts and pickles. The closest we came to that was the other day when we were having leftover pizza for dinner and I needed to have a glass of Coke to go with it! I don’t even consider that a pregnancy thing – you just HAVE to have Coke with pizza.

My sense of smell is still in overdrive, as expected. Normally I love the smell of carpet powder before vacuuming, but now it literally smells like garbage to me. I was going nuts crawling around the room thinking something had died under the sofa or the cat had gone to the bathroom somewhere, and then I just shoved my nose in the carpet and realized it’s the stupid powder! I made my poor hubby take half-full bags of garbage from the kitchen outside because I swore it was coming from there originally. Oops.

Getting off the couch and out of the car is now a two-step process: sort of shimmy to the edge of the cushion and then push myself up. Even getting up from my desk chair at work requires focus and purposeful movement. I find myself moving a lot slower in general, being careful not to turn too quickly or get up too fast.

The bathroom breaks are still going strong, as expected. I’m waking up a few times a night, which is super fun, and I’m pretty sure I spend more time in the bathroom at work than I do at my desk.

My back hurts, my fingers and toes tingle from time to time, my nose is still bloody every time I blow it, and although my fingers don’t look swollen, I feel like my knuckles have spread because it’s hard to get my rings on and off now.

I feel the baby kicking and moving around almost constantly now. S/he is especially active in the morning at work, after dinner, and again when I lie down for the night in bed. I can see my belly move from the outside now, although it’s hard to catch because it’s still subtle and baby seems to know when I’m watching! Just like when I want to get hubby to feel a kick – suddenly our little acrobat gets really shy and halts all movement.

We’re really starting to get serious about what needs to get done before baby’s arrival. I still don’t like having to be a bystander to most of it, but it is what it is. I know that there are certain things I just can’t do right now, and luckily we have lots of support and offers of help.