Wednesday, October 23, 2013

1 Month Old

My Dear Caroline! This past month your father and I have embarked on an incredible journey with you joining our little family! Words cannot describe the happiness and love you have brought to us already! Along with the joy you have brought us, it has also been one of the most challenging months we have faced as well!

I already get sad to see how much you have changed since you were born! From day 1, you have always been an alert, bright eyed baby and as you got bigger and older, you have not missed a thing!

Your one month appointment isn't for another week but I had you weighed at a breastfeeding support group and you were 8 pounds 11 oz! Woohoo! I know you are also growing in length as well because your newborn sleepers are becoming too short!

Your very first picture! 
Getting to hold you for the first time!

Meeting Grandpa Murphy the first time!
Meeting Nana the first time!
Cuddle time at the hospital!

Our first outing with dad! You slept through the whole thing...

...but everyone thought you were so cute!

We love our mornings together at home!

You like to make the silliest faces when being burped!

Playing with Grandma all week!

At your first doctor's appointment. You were only five days old!

Looking cute in polka dots! You love sitting up in your Boppy pillow!

I love snapping pictures of you sleeping!

Your activity mat is one of your favorites! You never look straight up but always to the sides... we set up your black and white pictures around the mat for you to look at! You love your black and white pictures!

You also like to make silly faces at mommy!

Sitting up in your Boppy again!

I was finally able to capture one of your sweet smiles. Your Grandpa Murphy says it is just you making faces because of gas but I think you are thinking happy thoughts!

We risked going out to dinner with you awake the WHOLE time and you did so well!
Hanging out with dad watching the Chiefs game...

...but you liked hanging out with Mom more! Go Pack Go!

We started tummy time!

You were baptized!

  • Breastfeeding was much harder than I thought it would be but I was determined. 
  • Our first night home was ROUGH! Between our challenges with breastfeeding and us not knowing what we were doing, we barely got any sleep! You have always liked to snuggle and that first night all you wanted to do was sleep in our arms!
  • My C-Section has made things a little more difficult than I thought it would be. As much as we take walks throughout the day, I am ready to be more active and get into shape!
  • Keeping our home picked up has been difficult! I try to do this when you are sleeping but that isn't always easy! 
  • When you were about 2.5 weeks old, both your dad and I started getting sick with a sinus infection! Having both parents sick makes it more difficult to take care of you!
Successes (these may be simple but I have to celebrate the small successes!):
  • We were able to really get the hang of breast feeding at about 1.5 weeks! Woohoo!
  • I have showered every day since you were born! This may seem ridiculous but it makes me feel more human! I usually grab a quick shower mid-morning when you are down for a nap and I just bring your monitor into the bathroom with me!
  • I was able to complete my thank-you notes by three weeks! 
  • I try to venture out a couple times a week wearing real clothes and doing my hair and make-up. This also makes me feel more human!
  • At about five days old I realized you weren't getting enough milk. Once I started feeding you more through nursing and from pumped milk, you start sleeping A LOT better! From that point on, you usually sleep for about 4-5 hour stretches at night, wake up for a feeding and to be changed, and then go back to sleep for another four hours! We have been very blessed that at night, you don't wake up every 2 hours!
  • Having you has made your dad and I even closer and has made us work more together as a team. We have settled into a routine when it comes to feedings, changing you, when you wake up in the middle of the night, etc. 
  • Our first road trip. You pretty much slept the whole way. We would stop every couple hours so I could feed you. Even when you were awake in your carseat, you were still very happy!
Your month of firsts:
  • Pretty much everything, you slept through!
  • As soon as you are in the car, you fall asleep!
  • You slept through your first lunch out with mom and dad!
  • Your first walk in your stroller!
  • And through your first time at church!
  • And your first visit to my office!
  • You also had your first road trip for your baptism in Missouri! You traveled really well and met so many new people!
What I couldn't live without:
  • The first few nights at home you loved to be swaddled. Luckily we had some Swaddlers given to us that we used!
  • The Medela Pump In style Advanced. I really liked the bag we got because the pump is removable and not built into the bag. 
  • Aden and Anais Swaddle Blankets-we actually have never swaddled you in these but they are the perfect weight and are super soft! We use these all the time!
  • Mult-use pads-these have saved your sheets and mattress from accidents and spit up multiple times! 
  • Old school cloth diapers-We use these ALL the time and have a few in each room. These serve as burp cloths, wiping up spit up, when I am nursing you, etc. We pretty much use these for everything. I don't even hardly use "burp cloths" because these are so much bigger and work so well!
What makes You, You!
  • When you eat, you hold your hands as if you are praying!
  • You have never liked sleeping on your back but have always liked sleeping on your side! In fact, your second day home, when you were put down on your back, you rolled to your side!
  • Your crazy hair that we love! As much as I try to tame it, there is no point because it always goes back to spikey!
  • Your BIG blue eyes! You have been so alert since the day you were born!
  • The cooing noises you make when you sleep and eat!
  • The smiles you make when you sleep!
  • You love to snuggle with me! You can always find a place on my chest to rest your head and I could sit with you like that all day if I could!
  • You love to be propped up and look around at things. We often wonder what you are staring at sometimes and what you are thinking! 
  • You also love to look at your black and white pictures, faces, and bright colors!
  • We know you are hungry because you are constantly sucking on your fist or on a few fingers!

Friday, October 11, 2013

My Essential Items as a New Mom!

By no means do I have this parenting/mothering thing down yet but what I can give you is advice and a  list of items that I wouldn't have been able to live without these past couple weeks!

My hospital bag:
  • Toiletry items: The hospital provided shampoo and soap but I felt more like myself if I could use my own items!
  • Make-up: Yes, I even attempted to do my make-up while in the hospital. That didn't last long!
  • A robe-After I delivered and could move around more, I wore my robe a lot. It provided more coverage and, again, made me feel like I wasn't just wearing a hospital gown.
  • Slippers-when walking around the hospital
  • My going home outfit-a nursing tank, sweatpants, a jacket, and flip flops! That was it. To be honest, I packed underwear but didn't even wear what I brought because the hospital provided me with some. And trust me, you will want to use theirs!
  • Lanolin Nipple Cream-It is best if you start this early if you plan on breastfeeding. 
I brought my iPad and I had my phone. We also had a camera, of course! You will also want to bring your own pillow!

When leaving the hospital, take as much stuff home with you as you can! We were able to take home:
  • Two days worth of diapers!
  • Travel-size baby bath items
  • A tub for giving a bath
  • Nasal aspirator
  • A brush for washing her hair and another brush for combing her hair
  • Gauze wipes
  • Sanitary pads for me (I didn't even use all of the ones I took)
  • A couple pairs of extra disposable underwear for me!
Surviving the first month items!
  • A good water bottle! I drank a ton of water when I was pregnant but it was still important to keep my water intake up in order to keep my breast milk supply up as well!
  • Granny panties! Sorry but you will want them! Regardless if you have a c-section or not, you will want underwear you don't care about. I bought a cheap pack from Target that came up higher than I normally wear. This was great since I had a c-section so they wouldn't rub against my incision. 
  • If you are breastfeeding, nursing tanks and nursing sleep bras. I wore/wear these all the time! I had a couple before she was born and I am grateful for my mom buying me several more when she visited! I either wore the tank on its own if I was just hanging out at home. Sometimes I would throw a t-shirt over it. Everything I have I got from Target and they have worked great!
  • Nipple Shield-This has been a lifesaver for us! I haven't needed this because of cracked nipples but I won't got into detail on why I need this either! I was given this at the hospital to aid in starting breastfeeding so I haven't had to buy any yet!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

2 Weeks Postpartum

I knew after having a baby I would be feeling a wide range of emotions between my hormones and exhaustion; I just didn't know they would be so strong. There are days (usually when I don't see Adam all day) where I just don't feel human-not being able to shower until noon or wear real clothes and I am running off of four hours of sleep and all I want to do is cry.

Luckily, I think I have passed the point now as we are starting to settle into some sort of routine. It also helps that we have FINALLY gotten the hang of breastfeeding (WOOHOO!) I had pretty much reached the point of just exclusively pumping until I realized she was going through a growth spurt and I could barely keep up with her demands. So, one night, after one of the most tiring days we have had together, I just decided to try again and we were successful-had no issues! She latched on right away and we have been pretty much smooth sailing ever since. Breastfeeding was something I really wanted to do because it is best for her and for me but I never realized it would be so difficult. Everyone told me the first two weeks are the hardest and then after that it is a breeze which is exactly what happened with us. We still give her a bottle every so often if Adam wants to feed her, we are out and about, if she still needs a little more after nursing but so far it the combination of bottle-feeding and breastfeeding hasn't confused her at all!

Some updates on me:
-Weight loss-19 pounds (3 more to go). I had to go to the doctor for something five days after delivery and I was already 14 pounds down. I think breastfeeding has a lot to do with my weight loss and I started to retain A LOT of water in the last month and now that a lot of my swelling has gone down I think that contributed to some of the weight loss too.
-This brings me to my next point/advice for pregnant women: Your swelling gets worse before it gets better. I remember several nurses commenting on how swollen my feet and ankles were and me making the comment "I know! I can't wait until I deliver so the swelling goes down!" Each of them would reply with something along the lines of "Oh, it will get worse before it gets better!" and they were right! But after about a week post-partum I was able to wear my wedding ring again (after about a month and a half of not being able to) and shortly after, wear my normal shoes again!
-I am still wearing maternity pants (blah) for two reasons: My c-section incision is still kind of sore so my regular jeans aren't the most comfortable. Also, even though my weight gain is pretty much gone, my stomach is still kind of stretched out so my jeans don't quite look right.

When I reflect on my pregnancy, I wanted to provide a list of things I couldn't live without and things that I thought were a waste of money:

  • I took Tums almost everyday before I went to bed for the last month and a half. I didn't have bad heartburn but really bad acid reflux-I had a burning sensation in my throat which made trying to sleep difficult. Tums were a lifesaver!
  • Heating Pad-Towards the end of my pregnancy I felt a lot of lower back pain. Come to find out, it is because of how she was positioned (which lent to my difficult labor) instead of being positioned face down, she was face up which means her back was resting my lower back. The only relief I could get from it was a heating pad both at home and at the hospital. 
  • Bananas-I ate a ton of bananas. I think this helped with not having as many leg cramps throughout the night. If I at a banana a day, I was in pretty good shape.
  • Cereal bars-In my first trimester and the end of my third trimester, I would wake up in the middle of the night hungry. It was much easier to keep a cereal bar in my night stand for me to eat real quick in bed then getting up to get something.
  • I don't think a pregnancy body pillow is necessary. It was just as easy to position a bunch of regular pillows. Plus I have more freedom to do what I want with them and the pregnancy pillows are HUGE and take up too much room!
  • Palmers cocoa butter for stretch marks-I have written about this before but if you are going to get stretch marks, you are going to get them. I could bathe in that stuff or apply 10 times a day and I still would have gotten them so I don't know if it was necessary!
Overall, I had a pretty low-maintence pregnancy so I didn't require a lot of "things" to make me comfortable.

Being a new mother is definitely an adjustment! I have never watched more TV, wore more sweatpants, and have been more tired. When I have the chance and I do venture beyond our apartment, I do make the effort to feel human (actually do my hair, makeup, and wear real clothes) because the last thing I want is to fall into a "slump." With all of the changes, it is hard for me to get too frustrated with my "new" life when I look at her and am still in disbelief that Adam and I created her because she is so remarkable!