Four Months

Wow.  I know it’s cliche, and that I’ve said this every month, but I can’t believe how fast time is passing.  E is four months old now.  Wow!  Four months ago, I brought this little guy into the world.  In some ways it feels like yesterday, but in some ways this feels like how it has always been.

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At four months, E loves:

– Playing in the mirror.  We get all kinds of smiles, giggles, and laughs out of him by rocking him to and away from the mirror.  He is fascinated by that adorable baby he sees!

– Noisy toys.  It has already begun.  The awful, plastic, loud, obnoxious toys that I never wanted to have around, are the ones he loves the best!  So of course now we’ve acquired a few more.  🙂  Anything to please this little man!

– Holding my hands.  E is fascinated by his hands, and has them in a prayer pose and/or in his mouth at all times.  He loves to watch them as he moves them, and clasps his hands together when happy or sad.  So expressive!

– Flying.  E loves being “flown” around the room, especially taking nose-dives towards a mom or a dog.  It’s one of our go-tos when he is getting fussy.  This kid is well on his way to being a thrill seeker.  He loves it!

Here are some of our favorite pictures of E from this month.

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Could not love this little guy more!  Happy 4 month birthday, E!

 

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Three Months

E is now three months old. I can’t believe how fast the time is going! We now have some semblance of a schedule, one that basically consists of me knowing that he can only handle two hours of being awake before he needs another nap. Our days consist of many cycles of eat (35-45 minutes), play (45 minutes-1 hour), and sleep (anywhere from 45 minutes-2 hours). But it is so nice to finally know (for the most part) what he needs when he cries.

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This month, E loves…

– “Hush, Little Baby” – Somehow this became the song that I would sing to him when we was upset or tired (most likely because I started out shushing him, which led into the song). It really seems to calm him. He hears it before every nap during the day. We had a couple instances this month of VERY drawn out crying sessions in the car, which prompted me to make a recording of the song as well, in order for it to be heard (via the speakers) over the noise of the road and the crying. This came in handy during a ten hour drive to visit E’s Great-Grandma, Great-Aunt, and Great-Uncle as well!

– Hand and Foot Games – E loves to sit on our laps facing us and play games like “This Little Piggy”, “Pattycake”, “The Wheels on the Bus”, and “The Itsy Bitsy Spider”. He also loves to have us play with his feet, moving them or tapping them quickly against our cheeks (with sound effects of course). He gets to see quite a bit of sign language in this position as well, while we read books and sing songs. He loves to watch my hands move, and enjoys when I “help him” make some signs too.

– Putting toys in my mouth – E’s motor skills have improved leaps and bounds this month! He is now not only grasping things placed in his hands, but reaching and grabbing for toys and our hands and bringing them to his mouth. It is so much fun to watch his determined little face as he directs his limbs to do what he wants them to. Although everything is extremely slobbery.

* This month, E laughed. His first instance was early in the month, February 4th, and we didn’t hear it again for a couple weeks. Since then there have been just a few laughs, mainly during the hand and foot games. I can’t wait until we hear more!

E is growing up so fast, and I am so glad that I get to be home with him right now. I love our cuddles and playtime, and I am so grateful that life has given me the opportunity to be with him all day to enjoy it!

Here are some of our favorite shots from this month:

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Breastfeeding Woes

Breastfeeding has not been easy for us… After E was born, he lost nearly 10 percent of his body weight, dropping from 8 pounds, 9 ounces to 7 pounds 12 ounces. That is the high end of weight loss for a new baby (nearly ten percent), but what was really worrisome is that he wasn’t gaining any of it back. He was also screaming inconsolably unless he was nursing, so he was at the breast non-stop. That was especially hard for me; it was awful to see him so distraught with nothing I could do to help because my milk hadn’t come in.

The doctor suggested that we needed to supplement E with formula. I begged and pleaded to try something, anything else, having believed that beginning formula would forever affect our abilities to exclusively breastfeed. So the doctor have us two days to try to build my supply and supplement E with breastmilk. I was feeding him at the breast, pumping for an extra ten minutes, pumping an hour later, then feeding him an hour after that and giving him the expressed milk in a tube at the breast, and starting the cycle again. It was crazy.

I was so sore, and it seemed like I was really just giving him milk he would have gotten during a feeding anyway. And when that didn’t show any effect on his weight, we were given no choice but to supplement him with formula while I was continuing to try to build supply by pumping. My midwife suggested a number of supplements to help: Fenugreek three times a day, Mother’s Milk tea three times a day, More Milk tincture four times a day, in addition to pumping after feedings at least four times a day.

Eventually, E kind of self-weaned from the formula, going from taking an extra full ounce, down to a half, then a third, until we stopped. Of course then he hit a growth spurt, and we had to add it back in when his constant screaming indicated he was again clearly not getting enough to eat.

We’ve gone back and forth between not needing it, and hitting a patch where we do. But breastfeeding for me is kind of ruined. Every day I have multiple mini panics: if he doesn’t wake up to eat my supply will drop, if I feel full for awhile my supply will drop, if he doesn’t fully drain me my supply will drop, if I don’t pump my supply will drop, if I let Michelle give him a bottle from our stock of pumped milk my supply will drop, etc etc. To the point where I kind of obsessively pump and stock milk and feel like we can’t use the stored stash because we may not have enough (We do. There’s at least 20 bags in there, and I’m only away from E once a week for a couple hours.). I wish I could enjoy breastfeeding more, but I’m constantly worrying about my milk supply and feeling guilty that something that’s supposed to be so natural is something I can’t do well for my baby.

I still take the tea and supplements, and pump as often as possible in addition to breastfeeding around the clock (every other hour for an hour). I don’t know how to break my brain out of its cycle, and I don’t know if I ever will. It may be a long ten more months. I can’t even bring myself to consider weaning early, I have so much guilt.

It has helped a little to have people tell me things like “formula is NOT the devil”; I have no idea how I came to have such extreme negative connotations with feeding formula to my baby! I know logically that the most important thing is to be able to feed my baby, no matter how that has to happen, but I still can’t shake the guilt I feel when that involves formula. And I still wonder whether, if the doctor had let us go about our business nursing constantly (even though that was also causing me breakdowns), if E would have established my supply himself, naturally. (I have kind of negative feelings towards doctors as well).

I never thought this part of having a baby would be so hard. As we talk to people about our experiences, we are finding quite a few who have dealt with something similar. It’s another somewhat “taboo” topic, apparently, like infertility seemed to be. New moms should be warned that it is work… A 96 hour job for me. Thank goodness there are so many benefits to my baby. I just hope I will look back on these experiences without too much regret.

2 months!

Yesterday, E turned two months old!

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I can’t believe how much we love this little guy.

This month, E loves…

His Ergo and sling carriers. The minute he’s put in either one, he calms and goes right to sleep. He loves being cuddled up with us, and we love having him close and happy!

His zebra. He has a zebra toy that he absolutely loves. The black and white stripes enthrall him! And it has rings and toys hanging from the legs that he hits and grabs. It was a great buy!

Taking a warm bath. E has a little plastic and mesh seat that is in our tub, and we fill the water so he’s mostly under it. He is so calm in the warm water and likes to kick. So cute!

Being on his playmat. He just hangs out on there! Sometimes he’s happier being by himself on the mat than being held. Funny boy. He lives to look at himself in the mirror on it, stare at his toys, and try to hit them.

Smiling at his moms. This month has been full of smiles! He has been smiling mainly in response to our smiles, but also in response to our voices. It melts my heart!

We love him so much! Here are some of our favorite pictures from this month.

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Time is just flying by!

Circumcision

I have a number of things I’ve wanted to blog about but haven’t gotten around to, so I apologize for the un-timely nature of this post.

When we found out we were having a boy, of course the question of circumcision came up. And at first, without giving it much thought, we agreed that we would have E circumcised. I felt like I had a good idea of the pros and cons, and we both felt a little like “we aren’t men, so how can we decide?”.

E’s Birth Story

Here is E’s birth story, exactly as I wrote it after we came home from the hospital.  I didn’t want to forget a single detail! It’s written to E, in case he ever wants to know just how he came into this world.  🙂

Saturday, November 23, I lost my mucus plug.  I ran into the bathroom to Michelle, yelling “Babe! I’ve got mucus!”.  We knew it was a sign you’d be coming soon.  We called and told Nonni (my mom), but we all knew it could still be a few days.  We went and ran a few errands, went to Maya’s basketball game, and then went to our friends’ to watch the Ducks game.  While we were there, Michelle and our friends were bugging the kids to tell you to come out, and making them tell us their predictions on when you’d be here.  Brian told them that only whoever was closest would get a birthday that year, and Pete was very worried that he might be serious (Pete guessed you’d be here in one day!).  When we got home around 7, I started feeling contractions.  I didn’t want to tell Michelle in case it was a false alarm, but she figured it out when I kept looking at the clock to time the contractions.  Contractions were irregularly spaced, but we decided we’d better try to get some sleep in case this was it!  Around 10:30, though, we got up – I couldn’t sleep through the contractions – called Nonni and told her what was happening, texted our midwife, Sam, and went to make dinner since we hadn’t eaten very well during the football game.  Nonni got here around 2:45am, and we all tried to get a few more hours of sleep.  Michelle and I had about 4 hours sleep total Saturday night.

            Sunday, we mostly stayed around the house, resting and timing contractions.  They continued to be irregular, and weren’t becoming longer or closer together.  We spoke with Sam, our midwife, and she said it was definitely still early labor.  We walked the dogs, played some games, read, and went to the dog park, and I dozed between contractions.  Michelle kept encouraging me to walk around, knowing that would intensify contractions, and we started walking laps around the house.  I had a few more intense contractions that made me sick, and Michelle said she thought it was time to go to the hospital.  Sam said they would directly admit us to the hospital, even though it still sounded like I was in early labor.  We got to the hospital around 7, and spent the first few hours doing admission.  The nurse was driving us crazy!  She seemed to be going so slowly, and couldn’t figure out my IV (I had to have penicillin because of Group B Strep).  We had asked that there not be anyone extra in the room unless absolutely necessary, and the nurse just hung around, commenting on our conversations, and making everyone feel awkward.  Amy met us there too and started taking pictures.  When Sam arrived, she checked me and I was 4 cm dilated.  She suggested that she break my water since we’d been up for so long, and we didn’t know how slowly things would continue to progress.  Michelle and I went for a walk around the birthing center, and the contractions made me sick again.  The nurses in the hallway had to run to get something for me to throw up in.  At 10:30, I was 5 cm dilated, and Sam broke my water. 

            After that, things changed quickly.  I got into the tub, and stayed there for hours.  My contractions became much stronger, and I needed Michelle to push on my back during each one.  Around midnight, it was time for another IV.  The nurse couldn’t get it figured out, and I was stuck in an uncomfortable position, with my hand raised up out of the water for what felt like forever.  The nurse even dropped her glasses into the tub, and I had to fish them out for her.  I wanted to kill her.  I asked for Sam, and she came and stayed with me the whole rest of the time until you arrived.  At one point, I needed to go to the bathroom, but the thought of going all the way across the room with contractions was too much, so the nurse brought me a bedpan.  The contractions were incredibly painful, and Sam coached me to moan/yell in low pitches.  Michelle helped me to keep my breathing even too.  After what felt like forever, Sam suggested that I try hands and knees on the bed.  It was freezing out of the tub!  When she checked me, I was 8cm dilated, and I was really upset that I wasn’t closer to being done!  I was so tired, I couldn’t hold myself up on hands and knees, and it was impossible to find a relatively comfortable position.  Finally, around 3am, the nurse set up the birthing stool, and I knew we were getting close.  I sat on it, with Michelle behind me on the edge of the bed, and Sam sat cross-legged on the floor in front of me.  I had to wait to push for a few minutes because my cervix was stuck blocking you.  Finally, Sam announced I was “complete”.  I pushed for about 45 minutes before you arrived.  I had almost no pain during contractions at this point, but I felt a little nervous about tearing, so I didn’t push hard right away.  I had no idea how close you were to arriving until they called in the extra nurse.  Sam had me feel for you just before you were born.  A couple good pushes and you were here!  Sam held you down below me for a minute, and we marveled at you.  I kept saying, “Oh my god, oh my god!”.  Michelle was in shock.  Sam handed you to me, and I got to hold you for the first time.  Then your momma cut your cord (it took two tries), and I got into bed with you so that Sam could stitch me up (I had a small 1st degree tear).  We were so happy you were finally here!

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Early Labor

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Laboring in the tub

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Our first look

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We are so in love with him!

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Michelle and E

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And baby makes three!

 

 

One Month Old

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On Christmas Day, E was one month old! I took this idea from The Terrells – I love the idea of documenting the first year of my baby’s life this way. So here goes!

E loves…

To eat. This kid would be on the boob all day if he could be! He tries to suck on his hands, clothes, toys, and any skin that comes into contact with him (read: shoulders, chests, hands, cheeks, noses, etc.). He’s very good at it too!

To be sung to. Often when he is crying, singing to him is the only thing that calms him down. We’ve mostly been singing Christmas carols to him; I don’t know what we’ll do when the season is over! And luckily, he doesn’t seem to mind that Mommy is often a little off-key. He likes music as well, but he doesn’t stop and listen to it like he does with our voices.

To be held. E doesn’t like to be put down. He always knows! Even when he’s fast asleep, the minute he is put down, he wakes up. He especially likes to be held really close or up over our shoulders.

To go fast in the car. He cries if we go under 35mph, but once we hit that speed or above, he’s out like a light. Slow down or stop? He’s crying again. Should be interesting when he’s a teenager!

I can’t believe it has been one month already… It has gone by so fast!