Monday, December 31, 2012

Top 10 for 2012 & 5 Resolutions for 2013

It was a really wonderful year! This was the year we became a family of 4! This was the year Isis really went from being a toddler to a child! This was the year I finished my first year of teaching & began my second year, which is wonderful because it's not considered an intern year anymore! Here was my top 10 for the year!
 
1. Isis turned 2 years old!
2. We found out we were pregnant with baby #2!
3. I finished my first full year of teaching (& KTIP)!
4. Isis was potty trained!!!
5. Isis took her first swim lessons at the YMCA!
6. I joined the gym - which if you know me well you know that's CRAZY.
7. We found out we were having another girl!
8. Lewis and I celebrated 8 years of marriage on October 2!
9. Lux Violet was born on October 12!
10. We celebrated 1 full year in our house, right before celebrating our first Christmas as a family of 4!
And then in honor of the new year, here are 5 resolutions for 2013!
1. Read through the entire Bible. I'm planning on doing this with a YouVersion reading plan. They are the only thing I'm consistently able to keep up with!
2. Complete P90X. I start tomorrow, January 1! I won't be able to do it every day, but my goal is to do it at least 4 times a week.
3. Start my Masters. I'm planning on starting in the Summer!
4. Complete at least 1 service project per month. I will be doing this mainly with my Life Group girls in the high school program at church.
5. Read at least 1 book a month. I just feel like I need to not slack on reading this year.

Christmas 2012

Christmas was really fun this year! I have never had a little baby at Christmas before. Isis was born right after Christmas, so she was almost a year old her first Christmas. It was really great having Lux there. It was also truly magical seeing the Christmas experience through Isis' eyes.

Our festivities started on Saturday. My parents, my grandfather, his wife & daughter all came over for a brunch & gifts! I was excited because we had gotten my parents a Keurig! Isis got a super cute Coach purse from her Aunt Ellen! She loves it and puts her lip gloss and dress-up rings in it and carries it around. I didn't even know they made little coin purses like that, but it is just Isis sized! She also got a Sit & Spin! I loved those when I was a kid!! She loves spinning around on it while I make dinner in the kitchen now! Lux got a really cute little play mat. We are taking her old one to the babysitter's house when I go back to school, so we needed a cute one to keep at home! My grandfather is my only grandparent left, so I really cherish spending time with him. It was really fun seeing him interact with Isis & Lux as well!

We then hosted a Christmas dinner for my mom's side of the family on Sunday night. My parents came over again, my aunt and her husband and then my cousin and his wife. Isis gets so excited just to have people in the house! I don't get to see this side of the family as often as I would like, so I really enjoyed seeing all of them and letting Isis play with everyone! She loves to show off her bedroom and play tea party in her play room in the bedroom. She also got a Rapunzel baby doll from Tangled from my aunt. She has been brushing her hair and putting her to bed ever since!

Christmas Eve we went to Lewis' cousin's house to celebrate Christmas with his side of the family! It was really special because his other cousin, who is a missionary in Thailand, was in town for the first time in years!! We got to see them and their family of 4 kids! The cousin who was hosting also has 3 children, so it was a lot of kids!! Isis is much younger than all of them, so she wasn't quite ready to play with them alone, but it's always fun to celebrate the holidays with a group of kids!

Lewis' parents came home with us Christmas Eve and spent the night. They did this last year, too. I love that we have a house with the room for them to do this and it was really fun cooking food and exchanging gifts with them that night, but I do have to say that next year, we aren't going to have anyone spend the night on Christmas Eve. When we woke up Christmas morning, my parents came over at 7:30 so that all the grandparents were there when we came downstairs to see what Santa brought. That was just a lot of excitement for everyone! It was so fun to see Isis run up to the empty plate & cup from the milk & cookies and go, "Mommy, Santa ate them all up!!!" And then she noticed her new Pottery Barn Anywhere Chair! She had seen one at her friend Jeremiah's house and just absolutely loved it, so there was no question what Santa would be bringing her this year! She seriously has hardly gotten out of it since she got it! She also got an adorable princess dress that her Babaw made her! It was a really wonderful Christmas! I love that Isis spent some time singing Happy Birthday to Jesus during the day too. Such a cutie!

There is one thing I really hadn't considered much before, but we have decided we have to make a priority next year, is the sacredness of Christmas morning for our family. That is why next year we aren't going to have anyone spend the night on Christmas Eve and we aren't going to have grandparents there first thing Christmas morning. We want to keep that time sacred to our little family of four. Grandparents can come over later in the day or we can go to them, but we just really look forward to just the 4 of us cozying up on Christmas morning and enjoying those first moments together. I think it's funny that this year, now that we have 2 children, we are really starting to realize the importance of separating ourselves from more extended family and celebrating the 4 of us. That isn't to say anything negative about grandparents or aunts & uncles or anything like that, but rather to just emphasize our immediate family unit. Seeing my 2 girls on Christmas just really brought to mind how thankful I am for our family. I have a wonderful husband who is a truly gracious and giving father and two beautiful girls who are just bursting with joy. What a wonderful blessing and really the best gift!

Newborn Summary: Week 11

This week was Christmas! It was so fun!!

Nursing: Same as last week. Both sides at a time, exclusively breastfeeding.

Waketime: Hour & 15 minutes to Hour & a half.

Nighttime Sleep: Dates of 12/21-12/27. Due to all the Christmas stuff, we had some difficult nights, but it was worth it!

Night 1 - Friday night - I fed her at 7:15 and put her to bed. She woke up at 11:15, 3:30 & 7:15. She had 2 feedings after we went to bed (11:15 & 3:30) and her longest stretch was 4.25 hours from 11:15 to 3:30.

Night 2 - Saturday night - I fed her at 7:30 & put her to bed. She woke up at 12:00, 4:00 and 8:00. She had 2 feedings after we went to bed (12:00 & 4:00) and her longest stretch was 4.5 hours from 7:30 to 12:00.

Night 3 - Sunday night - I fed her at 7:15 and put her to bed. She woke up at 12:30, 4:00 & 7:30. She had 2 feedings after we went to bed (12:30 & 4:00) and her longest stretch was 5.25 hours from 7:15 to 12:30.

Night 4 - Monday night - I fed her at 6:45 and tried to put her to bed. She wouldn't go to sleep (I think it was all the Christmas festivities!) so I fed her again at 8:00. She slept pretty fitfully and woke up again at 10:00. She then woke up at 3:00 and 7:00. She had 1 feeding after we went to sleep (3:00) and her longest stretch was 5 hours from 10:00 to 3:00.

Night 5 - Tuesday night - I fed her at 7:00 and put her to bed. She woke up at 1:30, 4:30 and 6:30. She had 2 feedings after we went to bed (1:30 & 4:30) and her longest stretch was 6.5 hours from 7:00 to 1:30.

Night 6 - Wednesday night - I fed her at 7:00 and put her to bed. We decided to try a dreamfeed because we thought she was waking up a lot & that it would help. So I fed her at 10:00. She woke up at 3:00 and 7:00. She had 1 feeding after we went to bed (3:00) and her longest stretch was 5 hours from 10:00 to 3:00.

Night 7 - Thursday night - I fed her at 6:45, then tried the dreamfeed again at 10:15. She then woke up at 2:30 and 7:30. It didn't seem like the dreamfeed was really helping. She had 1 feeding after we went to bed (2:30) and her longest stretch was 5 hours from 2:30 to 7:30.

Naps: Same thing. Inconsistent and about 45 minutes to an hour. (Really frustrating).

Sibling: Christmas with Isis & Lux was awesome! I loved seeing the 2 of them together! I have some really great pictures of the 2 of them. I really look forward to the coming years of them together.

Schedule: Same. Every 3 hours. Waketime 1.25 to 1.5 hours.

Mom Stuff: Saw my counselor for the last time this week only because my insurance changes on January 1 and the co-pay/deductible stuff changes enough that I won't be able to go regularly. But I still feel really good and I am hoping I'm able to keep that up as I start back to school next week!

Milestones: Lots of cooing & smiles! She's doing great with holding her head up and she's very alert!

Newborn Summary: Week 10

I'm so behind on these. Thank you, Christmas festivities! LOL so I'm going to keep this one short.

Nursing: Things are normal. Nursing both sides every time. She's feeding every 3 hours. I'm not going to stretch her past 3 hours until after she starts consistently sleeping 12 hours. I want to make sure she gets enough during the day. I also met with the pediatrician at Lux's 2 month appointment and she said not to do formula once a day unless I have to, so I stopped. I mean, we've done it a couple of times because we needed to when I had an appointment and had to leave or something, but other than that, I've just been exclusively breastfeeding.

Waketime: She was at 1 hr and 15 minutes this week. Sometimes an hour & 30 minutes.

Swaddling: She is successfully unswaddled. I have her in the blanket sleepers. She will either wear a long pants, long sleeved pajama outfit with a sleeveless blanket sleeper over it or she will wear a short sleeved onesie with a long sleeved blanket sleeper.

Nighttime sleep: Just to keep track of this, these were the dates of 12/14-12/20. I also am so late doing this that I forget what happened each night.

Night 1 - Friday night - We were out this night looking at Christmas lights, so I fed her at 7:30 and put her to bed. She woke up at 12:30, 4:30 and then 8:00. She had 2 feedings after we went to bed (12:30 & 4:30) and her longest stretch was 5 hours from 7:30 to 12:30.

Night 2 - Saturday night - I fed her at 6:45 and put her to bed. She woke up at 6:15, so I just got her up for the day! She had no feedings after we went to bed, so her nighttime stretch was 11.5 hours!

Night 3 - Sunday night - I fed her at 6:30 and put her to bed. She woke up at 11:30, 4:00 & 7:30. She had 2 feedings after we went to bed (11:30 & 4:00 - yes we go to bed at like 10:00) and her longest stretch was 5 hours from 6:30 to 11:30.

Night 4 - Monday night - I fed her at 6:45 and put her to bed. She woke up at 9:15, 2:45 & 7:15. I think she was having a growth spurt these couple of nights. Isis did this, too, where rather than have growth spurts where she ate more during the day, she would instead just wake up more at night. They'd last longer - like a week - but at least there was no every hour & a half around the clock growth spurts anymore. Anyway, She had 1 feeding after we went to bed (2:45) and her longest stretch was 5.5 hours from 9:15 to 2:45.

Night 5 - Tuesday night - I fed her at 6:45 and put her to bed. She woke up at 9:30 and then 7:30. She had no feedings after we went to bed and her longest stretch was 10 hours from 9:30 to 7:30.

Night 6 - Wednesday night - I fed her at 6:30 and put her to bed. She woke up at 11:45, 5:15 and 7:45. She had 2 feedings after we went to bed (11:45 & 5:15) and her longest stretch was 5.5 hours from 11:45 to 5:15.

Night 7 - Thursday night - I fed her at 6:45 & put her to bed. She woke up at 12:45, 2:30 and 6:30. She had 2 feedings after we went to bed (12:45 & 2:30) and her longest stretch was 6 hours from 6:45 to 12:45. 

Naps: Naps are still a hot mess. 45 minutes to an hour, never consistent. 

Sibling: Isis is just so sweet with Lux all the time now. Her potty issue is getting a little better. She only woke up about once a night this week to use the bathroom and I think that's totally normal.

Schedule: The only thing that is really consistent is that we are feeding every 3 hours. Her waketime was about an hour & 15 minutes to an hour & a half.

Mom stuff: I have been seeing the counselor once a week & that's helping a lot!!

Milestones: Still just lots of cooing & smiling! I love it!!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Newborn Summary: Week 9

Best thing about this week was that we had 2 nights where Lux slept through the night & didn't have a night feeding!!
 
Nursing: Nursing has been great. I'm still doing 1 formula bottle a day most days. She also started sleeping longer at night really consistently, so I've added a pumping session around 9:30 to get me through the night & build my frozen supply. She's doing both sides at every feeding except the first one of the day & any in the middle of the night.

Waketime: She has been being a lot more interactive during waketime! You can play with her more, which is so fun! I love taking pictures of her, which is really obvious from my Facebook & Instagram. She's very clearly alert for longer, so waketimes have also gotten longer.

Swaddling: I've been transitioning her out of the swaddle at all. She's still got both arms out, but she's swaddled around her torso. My friend Laurel gave me some more swaddle blankets that were fleece & actually a little bigger, so they can be swaddled looser around her body. I tried one night with her in a blanket sleeper to see if that worked. She woke up an extra time that night, but I'm not sure if that was because of the blanket sleeper or because of Isis waking up several times with her potty issue that I mentioned last week.

Nighttime Sleep: This week I noticed that Lux was having a harder time going down to sleep. I tried a couple times to go in and feed her a little while after I put her down, but she wasn't interested in eating. It was like she just couldn't calm down. I had noticed that the bath seemed to stimulate her more than it did Isis. Isis was always really soothed by a bath, so I would feed her, then do a bath, then put her to bed. I was doing that for our routine with Lux, but just like a lot of other things, they're different! So I switched Lux's routine and I'm doing her bath and then feeding her and then putting her to bed. I'm just making sure she's still awake when I put her down. I don't want to nurse her to sleep. Here's our nighttime breakdown: 

Night 1 - Friday night - Two of my high school girls from church went out to dinner with our family this night & it went later than we were anticipating. Lewis ended up having to take Lux home & give her a bottle before bed while I took my girls home. So Lux took a 5 oz bottle at 7:30 & then went to bed. She woke up at 3:45, 5:45 & then 7:30. She had 2 feedings after we went to bed (3:45 & 5:45) and her longest stretch was 8.25 hours from 7:30 to 3:45.

Night 2 - Saturday night - I fed Lux at 7:00, then did bedtime routine & put her to bed. She woke up at 6:00 and we just got up for the day! That was a very exciting day! She had no middle of the night feedings and went 11 hours between feedings!

Night 3 - Sunday night - I fed her at 6:30, then did bedtime routine & bed. This was one night where she seemed to have trouble going down. I tried to feed her again at 8:15, but she ate for maybe 5 minutes and then as soon as she was done, she spit up all over me. And I mean I think she spit up everything she had just eaten. It went over my shoulder & down my whole back. It was so bad we had to change the sheets on our bed. So I knew she wasn't hungry. She went to sleep after that and slept until 5:00. I then got her up for the day at 7:30. She had 1 feeding after we went to bed (5:00) and her longest stretch was 8.75 hours from 8:15 to 5:00.

Night 4 - Monday night - I fed her at 6:30, then did bedtime routine & bed. This was another night that she just didn't seem to go down well. She was okay for a while and then started crying again later, so I fed her at 9:00. She woke up at 6:15, so we just got up for the day! This was the 2nd night that she didn't have a feeding after we went to bed! Her longest stretch was 9.25 hours from 9:00 to 6:15.

Night 5 - Tuesday night - This was the night I switched up her bedtime routine. I gave her a bath and then fed her after and put her right down after I fed her. She was awake, but she went to sleep on her own fairly quickly with almost no fussing whatsoever! So I fed her at 7:00 and she woke up at 4:00 and then I got her up for the day at 7:15. She had 1 feeding after we went to bed (4:00) and her longest stretch was 9 hours from 7:00 to 4:00.

Night 6 - Wednesday night - I fed her at 7:00 & put her to bed. She woke up at 5:45 and then I got her up at 7:45 for the day. She had 1 feeding after we went to bed (5:45) and her longest stretch was 10.75 hours from 7:00 to 5:45.

Night 7 - Thursday night - I fed her at 7:00 & put her to bed. She woke up at 4:00 & I fed her from 1 side for 14 minutes. I put her back to bed & she still wasn't asleep at 4:45, so I fed her again. She ate from the other side for 16 minutes, so I think she just needed both sides that night! I got her up at 8:00 that day. She had 2 feedings technically after we went to bed (4:00 & 4:45) and her longest stretch was 9 hours from 7:00 to 4:00.

Naps: I made a little progress with her naps this week. I extended her waketime to an hour & 15 minutes or so. I usually start watching her around that time. She can go as long as an hour & a half. When I do that, she will sleep for at least an hour for her naps. I've been trying to put her down in her crib for every nap unless we are out running errands. That doesn't include the last catnap of the day, though. For that one, I usually hold her. I'm not really big on holding my babies for all their naps, but I don't mind holding her for that last one. For one thing, it's a catnap that lasts at most 45 minutes, and another thing is that I go back to school soon & I'm going to enjoy holding her for that nap when I get home from school each day. I'll really miss her.

Sibling: Isis is still having her potty issue, but it's getting a little better. She's gone back to only waking up twice a night maybe. That's better than 4 or 5 times that she did a few nights there when it got really bad. As far as Isis with Lux, she's been really fun. Since Lux is getting more interactive, Isis is getting more interested in interacting with her. She'll get really excited when Lux is looking at her or when she smiles at her! It's so fun to see them interacting.

Schedule: Our days have kinda gotten off the eat-wake-sleep cycle that is encouraged in most routine-favoring resources. I'm just going with it for right now because I'm hoping her naps will eventually extend themselves whens he's down to 2 or 3 a day. I also know that she eats better at 3 hours or more, so I'm trying to hold her off to there. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I'm just kinda going with it each day. My focus is to try to get her to nap in her crib and to not nurse her to sleep. Other than that, I'm taking it easy.

Mom Stuff: I've been seeing my counselor once a week. This week our focus was on cutting myself some slack & seeing the big picture. It's really helped to just work through everything with her. I'm feeling a lot better. I'm getting a little anxious thinking about going back to school, but I think that's normal. I'll just really miss Lux and I get nervous about her being at the sitter & around all the germs!

Milestones: This week she's been cooing a lot more & like I've mentioned several times now, she's really interactive. It seems like she's really trying to talk to you. She's also been reaching for things a little & batting at things.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Reading List

Time for a new reading list! I just finished reading the 4th book in the Fallen series. It's called Rapture. I liked it! It wasn't an absolute favorite, but I like the series as a whole a lot. But it got me fired up again about reading! I've been so busy lately that I just haven't thought much about reading. So I've updated my reading list and here are a couple that are on there!

Young Adult Fiction: This is one of my favorite genres. I can't handle the really steamy stuff, like the 50 shades books. I just can't do it. It's not my thing. But I really enjoy love stories, so young adult books tend to really fit my need for a love story without having anything that leaves me super embarrassed. A couple from this genre I'd like to read are: Falling for Hamlet, a modern-day retelling of the Shakespeare story; Daughter of Smoke & Bone, a fantasy kind of story; If I Stay, which I was drawn to because apparently it has lots of emphasis on music; Reached, the 3rd and final book in the Matched series; The Elite, the 2nd book in The Selection series; Pandemonium, the 2nd book in the Delirium series. Can you tell I love reading books in a series?

Adult Fiction: I like reading adult fiction as well as young adult fiction. I just tend to be more choosy about it, because like I said, I can get embarrassed. I have had The Night Circus on my reading list for so long now and it's just getting ridiculous that I haven't read it. It's going to be my next read. I also would like to read Shadow of Night, which is the 2nd book in the Discovery of Witches series, which I loved! I also want to read Signs of Life, although it isn't fiction. It's a memoir. It looks like it'll be really sad because it's about a young woman whose husband dies when she is pregnant, but I still want to try it!

Chick Lit: This is one genre that I go to when I need an escape from reality. I don't want to be challenged or in any way thought-provoked, so I go for something easy and quick. Some books in this genre that I'd like to read are: Heart of the Matter because I love Emily Giffin, Miranda's Big Mistake, I've Got Your Number and What Alice Forgot.

Non-Fiction or Parenting: I do enjoy reading non-fiction books as well. Even if I don't 100% agree with everything, it interests me to read different people's perspectives on life and on parenting and things like that. I always enjoy being challenged in my thinking. I'd love to read The Five Love Languages of Children because I think learning me & Lew's love language with each other was important & it can be just as important to understand our children's. I'd also like to read Dinner: A Love Story, about a family that emphasize the importance of a regular family dinner. Also on my list are Bringing up Bebe, about French parenting; The Happiness Project & Happier at Home, both written by a woman just trying to focus on the things that really matter; Teach Your Children Well, the idea of authentic parenting is appealing to me; and then finally Give Them Grace and Shepherding a Child's Heart, which are both about parenting with the love of Jesus.

Christian: I love to read Christian books & challenge myself with these wonderful thinkers as well! It's always encouraging and challenging to grow in these areas with these authors. I'd love to read Road Trip, Girl Talk and Make Over by Jennifer  Hatmaker. I love her as an author. She's so authentic and really funny! I'm currently reading her book 7 as well & I love it! I would also like to re-read a lot of Lee Strobel's books. When I was younger, I read a lot of Elizabeth George books and I would love to read her books on parenting: A Mom After God's Own Heart and Raising a Daughter After God's Own Heart. I would also like to read The Law of Happiness by Henry Cloud. I read his Boundaries book and found it to be incredibly helpful in my life! I think this one would be just as good!

So there's a lot of the books on my list. There are more and you can find them on my Amazon wish lists (I have one general wish list and then one wish list that includes the books that are available to check out at my local library) or on my Goodreads to-read bookshelf!

Do you have any suggestions for me based on what it looks like I like to read?

Newborn Summary: Week 8

Nursing: This week I started doing 1 formula bottle a day most days. I pump in place of that bottle & save the breast milk. That way I'm building up a supply & Lux is getting used to both taking a bottle & taking formula. She's done great with both! We are using Tommee Tippee bottles. We used Born Free with Isis, but after seeing the Tommee Tippee & how many fewer parts they have, it's just way easier & I actually like them a lot more. 

Actually nursing has been fine this week. She nurses from both sides most feedings now except in the middle of the night and first thing in the morning. Both of those I seem to be really full on just 1 side, so she just takes 1 side and is fine.

Reflux: If she eats a lot, she spits up. That's really all I've seen. There is a little spit up with most feedings, but nothing crazy. I didn't notice any change with breast milk as opposed to formula. She seemed to do fine with the formula, both with bowel movements & reflux!

Waketime: I got out Isis' old toys this week and have been showing a few to Lux and seeing if she can follow them with her eyes and things like that. It was fun to get those out and remember when Isis played with them! That doesn't seem that long ago, but it really was!

Swaddling: She is successfully sleeping with both arms out for naps & night time. I am supposed to meet up with my friend Laurel sometime next week to get some sleep sacks from her that I can use with Lux, but until I get those, I'm still swaddling her around her midsection just for warmth.

Nighttime Sleep: She is getting so great with nighttime sleep!! I'm writing this on Sunday of week 9 & I've got really exciting news from last night, but I'll share that next week!! Here is her breakdown for the last week:

Night 1 - Friday night - I fed her at 6:30 and she woke up at 12:30, 5:30 and then 8:00. She went down fine after the 6:30 feeding. She had 2 feedings after we went to bed (12:30 & 5:30) and her longest stretch was 6 hours from 6:30 to 12:30.

Night 2 - Saturday night - I fed her at 6:30 and she woke up at 3:30 and then 7:00. She did great after the 6:30 feeding. She had 1 feeding after we went to bed (3:30) and her longest stretch was 9 hours from 6:30 to 3:30. (Keep in mind I feed her at 6:30 and she's asleep by 7:30, so it's a 9 hour stretch between feedings with an 8 hour block of sleep.)

Night 3 - Sunday night - I fed her at 6:30 and she went down fine by 7:30, but she woke up at 11:45 and then 2:15. I wasn't sure why she had such a short stretch there or why she didn't sleep a long stretch at first. I guess she was just hungry. She woke up for the day at 6:45. She had 2 feedings after we went to bed (11:45 & 2:15) and her longest stretch was 5.25 hours from 6:30 to 11:45.

Night 4 - Monday night - This night I decided to go out with my friend Diana for the first time since Lux was born! I fed Lux at 6:30 and left the house at 7:15 after I put her to bed. Well, she went down okay, but then Isis had a really bad night - she's having some potty issues - and she ended up screaming so much that it woke Lux back up and Lewis had to end up giving Lux a bottle again to get her to go back to sleep. So she had a bottle around 9:30. She drank 4 oz. She then woke up at 3:30 and 7:00. She had 1 feeding after we went to bed (3:30) and her longest stretch was 6 hours from 9:30 to 3:30.

Night 5 - Tuesday night - I fed her at 6:30 and she woke up at 11:30, 4:15 and 7:15. She actually didn't go right back to sleep after the 11:30 feeding so I fed her from the other side at 12:00, too. She had 2 feedings after we went to bed (11:30 & 4:15) and her longest stretch was 5 hours from 6:30 to 11:30.

Night 6 - Wednesday night - I fed her at 6:30 & then I left to go to church around 7:30. My mom was there to watch them while we were at church and Lux didn't go to sleep right away, so my mom had to go in & offer her a bottle, which she didn't take, and then just cuddle her for a minute before putting her back down. She ended up going to sleep fine. She woke up at 4:00 and then at 7:30. She had 1 feeding after we went to bed (4:00) and her longest stretch was 9.5 hours from 6:30 to 4:00.

Night 7 - Thursday night - I fed her at 6:30, but she didn't go to sleep right away. She kinda fussed & woke up again so I fed her at 9:00. She then slept until 4:15 and then woke up at 7:15 for the day. She had 1 feeding after we went to bed (4:15) and her longest stretch was 7.25 hours from 9:00 to 4:15.

Naps: Naps are still extremely inconsistent. She will take a 45 minute nap in the crib, but then that messes up our whole feeding cycle of eat-wake-sleep. I do not nurse her to sleep, so I like for her to eat after she wakes up & then play before going down for a nap. It gets all messed up when she wakes up early because then I feed her earlier than 3 hours & she's never as hungry plus I have less milk & it's just a vicious cycle. I put her in the swing for several naps this week to get her to sleep longer. That usually worked. She also napped in the car several times this week because I was running errands or something. She always naps pretty well in the car, too. 
 
I'm still trying to figure out the right amount of wake time so that she can take a good nap. I have this app on my phone that I used with Isis & have used for tracking feedings with Lux. With Isis, I used it to track diapers, feedings & sleep as well as growth at doctor visits & milestones. With Lux I've used it just to track feedings but I also enter her growth & milestones so I remember. I've decided to start using it with Lux to track her naps. That way I can stop the timer when she wakes up & I can actually be a little more precise about getting her down for a nap in the right amount of time. I know that seems a little particular, but I'm seriously so sick of these 45 minute naps & I'm ready to stretch her to longer than 3 hours between feedings, so I've got to do something.

Sibling: Isis is doing great with Lux! If she sees that Lux is laying on the floor or in the swing or something & doesn't have a blanket over her, Isis will always cover her up. She's so sweet with her & I love watching them together! Lux will stare at Isis & follow her with her eyes around the room. Especially during bath time - Isis always helps me by using this cup to keep pouring water on Lux's belly and legs so she will stay warm. Lux will just lay there & grin at Isis while she's in the bath!

Isis has been having some potty issues related to holding her pee and BM's. We've taken her to the doctor twice in the last couple of weeks to check for a UTI because she all of a sudden started asking to go pee all the time - like 4 times an hour! We, of course, assumed UTI, but it ended up that it was a holding issue, where she'd held her BM's for so long the last several months (like every 3 days or so she would go), that she was also holding her pee. They said her bladder now just can't take it, so it's like she has to go all the time. They said if we treated the constipation, it should help with the pee stuff, but it would take time. So for the last week we've been giving her apple juice once a day & putting a half capful of Miralax in it. The doctor said that should help with making her more regular & it really has! We've also just been letting her go to the bathroom by herself whenever she feels like she needs to pee. At night was the real problem. She started waking up crying and asking to pee at least 3 times a night! One night she woke up 3 or 4 times and Lux woke up twice and between the 2 of them, we were up every hour & a half that night! It was awful. But it's gotten better the last couple of days and we're back to almost normal. Isis even had a BM on the potty by herself today, which hasn't been happening in the last couple of months. It's always been an ordeal when she had to go.

Schedule: Schedule has stayed about the same. If I can figure out the nap stuff, I'll be able to stretch her a little bit between feedings!

Mom Stuff: I saw my new counselor on Thursday of this week. That was really helpful and I think she's going to be a great fit! I have another appointment next week & the week after. She encouraged me in some things & gave me some stuff to read and look at this week that have helped me with some perspective as well. I'm feeling a lot better. As far as the Zoloft goes, I'm really not sure how much to expect from a medication. I still feel like myself & I don't feel a major change or anything, which I think is good. I don't want to take something & it make me into a different person. The way I describe how I feel to others is just that now I feel like I have this huge buffer where my patience is stronger & I'm less affected by stress or anxiety in my day to day life. That's really helpful. That could be the counseling or the medication, but either way, it's a positive change.

I'm starting to get a little nervous about going back to school in January. There are just a few weeks left & that just seems so crazy to me! This time has really flown by! I have 1 full week left at home just me & Lux. Then I'll have half a week just me & Lux & half a week with both girls. Then I'll have a whole week of both girls, but Lewis will also be home the whole week with holidays and vacation days. I will then have 2 days with both girls & then I'm back to school. Crazy. That's 17 week days & 3 weekends! I can't believe it!!

Milestones: She is now making eye contact with me and others throughout the day. She will smile back at you if you smile at her. She follows objects with her eyes and she makes little coo sounds throughout the day as well. She loves this little bug thing that you can hang from things & she will look at it & swat at it when she's laying near it. During tummy time, she can hold her head up for a while and even sometimes push up a little with her arms. She likes to push with her legs when she's on your lap. She seems pretty strong.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Newborn Summary: Week 7

The week I earned my Parent Card. Seriously. The week began with Thanksgiving celebration at Lew's parent's house. 2 days later, the stomach bug hit our house really hard. Lewis got it bad and it basically lasted the whole week between him, me & Isis all getting it to some degree. Thankfully Lux didn't get it, but it did end up affecting things with her. Here's how:

Nursing: Nursing was fine at the beginning of the week. Then Tuesday I got sick. I never had the vomiting like Lewis did, but I had other stuff and I lost my appetite completely and didn't eat the entire day. So then on Wednesday, I noticed a significant drop in my milk supply. It was clear that Lux wasn't getting enough and finally on Thursday I had to supplement with some formula a couple of times. I usually can pump from one side and get 5 ounces since I was doing single side nursing. On Thursday, I decided to pump one time to see how much I was producing and I got 2 ounces total from both sides. I took that 2 ounces and mixed it with 2 ounces of formula and gave her that. She drank that whole bottle. Then that night, I offered her just formula after I breastfed her. She wouldn't take it, so I just assumed she wasn't hungry. From the time I noticed my supply had dropped until now, I've been feeding her more often. I'm writing this on Saturday and it seems to be back up to almost normal, but I have to feed her from both sides most times rather than just 1 side at a time. 
 
I haven't had to use formula again, but I think I might start giving her a formula bottle a day and pumping during that time. Since I'm feeding from both sides now most times, it shouldn't mess up my supply like it did before. It also will give me that extra supply of frozen milk and it will get Lux used to a bottle and formula because I know I'll have to give her formula anyway to supplement when I go back to work.

Burping: I'm going to stop posting about burping because it's just normal. Sometimes she does, sometimes she doesn't, but it's not an issue.

Reflux: Reflux also hasn't been an issue. She will spit up sometimes if she's had a lot, but it's not a problem. I will wait and see how it goes once I'm giving her formula more often to see if that has any impact.

Waketime: I'm doing the same hour with each wake time right now, although you'll see in the nap section that I'm playing with it. I have also been doing more tummy time and I've been spending some time really trying to play on the floor face to face to maintain eye contact and to help her start to track things with her eyes and things like that. (See milestones for more on that.)

Witching Hour: She can still be fussy before bed. I've been trying to get her to take her last nap of the day right up until about 6:15 or so and then feed her at 6:30. From 6:15 to 6:30, she's really fussy, but 15 minutes is nothing.

Swaddling: This week I had a mini mom meltdown with all the stomach bug stuff. I was just really tired and overwhelmed and my fears and anxieties just got a little out of control. I noticed this week that Lux was starting to have a little flat spot on the side of her head. It's nothing crazy, but it was enough that I noticed. Because I was swaddling her with her left arm out, she would always sleep on the left side of her head. So I decided it was time to just buckle down and get rid of the swaddle. I finally just swaddled her with both arms out for bedtime and decided that if it meant a rough night, it was worth it. But, the night was actually exactly the same as normal! So I did it for naps the next day, too and they were also the same as normal. That's very exciting! I feel a lot better about that. I'm going to leave her swaddled around her midsection for the next week or so and then go to a sleep sack.

Nighttime Sleep: This week her bedtime routine has been similar. She goes down on her own, awake, and will cry for about 10 minutes while we put Isis to bed, but she's been quiet once Isis was down every night. I can see in the video monitor that she isn't asleep yet, but I don't hear her again and she's finally still after a little while. She's had some interruptions due to sickness and just getting back to normal after the Thanksgiving disruptions. We did notice a difference after we had to change things on Thursday and Friday night.

Night 1 - Friday Night - We went to Lew's parents house this day for Thanksgiving. We were there all day and we left around 6:15 or so. I fed Lux at 7:25 when we got home and then did the bedtime routine. That's about an hour later than normal. She woke up at 1:30, 3:00 and 7:45. It's really unusual for her to wake up like she did after an hour & a half in the middle of the night, but she ate full feedings at both of them.  She had 2 feedings after we went to bed (1:30 and 3:00) and her longest stretch was 6 hours from 7:30 to 1:30.

Night 2 - Saturday Night - We tried to just get her back to normal this night. I fed her at 6:30, then did the bedtime routine and put her to bed. She woke up at 11:30 that night, which is also unusual. I think it was dealing with the disruptions to the routine during Thanksgiving. She woke up at 5:00 and 8:00. She had 2 feedings after we went to bed (11:30 and 5:00) and her longest stretch was 5.5 hours from 11:30 to 5:00.

Night 3 - Sunday Night - This was the night Lewis woke up sick in the middle of the night, so I was up with him from about 1:30 to about 5:00. Thank goodness she only woke up once after we went to bed. She did have a hard time going to sleep this night, though. I fed her at 6:30 and did the bedtime routine and put her to bed. She briefly fell asleep and then started crying again later, so I fed her at 9:15. She then woke up at 3:30 and 7:30. She had 1 feeding after we went to bed (3:30) and her longest stretch was from 6.25 hours from 9:15 to 3:30.

Night 4 - Monday Night - This night I fed her at 6:30, then did her bedtime routine and put her to bed. She slept pretty fitfully until 10:00 when I decided to just feed her. This night I started feeling sick in the middle of the night. It was also the night that I slept downstairs on the couch because we didn't want me to get what Lewis had. I also didn't want him to deal with either girl, so I had both monitors just to myself. It was a really rough night for me, but thankfully Lux only woke up once at 2:15 and then at 7:00. So she only had 1 feeding after I went to bed (2:15) and her longest stretch was 4.75 hours from 2:15 to 7:00.

Night 5 - Tuesday Night - This night was the night that Isis woke up sick around 11:30, so Lewis and I were up with her most of the night. When she finally stopped throwing up, we got her to sleep in her bed if we slept on the floor of her room. The problem was, there was lots of commotion and noise throughout the night because she threw up about 8 times between 12:00 and 9:00 in the morning. Most of that was between 12:00 and 4:00. We had to take her in the bathroom and then we had to do some laundry and then we had to go downstairs and she kept throwing up on her clothes and blankets so we kept having to go upstairs to get more things. Anyway, I think that contributed to Lux waking up a little more because of all the noise. I fed Lux at 6:30, did the bedtime routine and then put her to bed. She woke up at 1:15, 4:00, 6:00 and 8:00. This was a rough night all the way around. She had 3 feedings after we went to bed (1:15, 4:00 and 6:00) and her longest stretch was 6.75 hours from 6:30 to 1:15.

Night 6 - Wednesday Night - This night nobody got sick and it was finally starting to get back to normal. I fed Lux at 6:30, then did bedtime routine and put her to bed. She woke up at 1:15, 5:30 and 7:30. I had mentioned last week that I was not going to do the dreamfeed anymore. I started on Wednesday night last week and it was great, but then started the 2 night of Thanksgiving disruptions and then everybody got sick. When I stopped the dreamfeed, I assumed that it would mean 2 night wakings because it would push back her first waking. So this night when she had 2 night feedings, it fit with what I was expecting. I think this will go back to 1 within the next week or so. She had 2 feedings after we went to bed (1:15 and 5:30) and her longest stretch was 6.75 hours from 6:30 to 1:15.

Night 7 - Thursday Night - I fed her at 6:30, then did bedtime routine and bed. She woke up at 1:00, 5:00 and 7:45. She had 2 feedings after we went to bed (1:00 and 5:00) and her longest stretch was 6.5 hours from 6:30 to 1:00.

Naps: Well, her naps got consistent this week, but not in the way I wanted. They consistently started only lasting for 45 minutes! The Babywise mom blog talks about the 45 minute intruder, so I'm trying to troubleshoot by adjusting her wake time. I've tried 45 minute wake time and like an hour & 10 minutes. It worked better at longer than an hour, so I'm going to keep trying that. It also was hard to tell anything when my milk supply dropped. I just kept feeding her whenever she woke up because I knew I needed to get it back up. She would always take a long nap if I held her, but I've decided I have to stop holding her for naps except her very last one of the day because she's not going to be able to do that at the babysitter's house and I only have 4 1/2 weeks left until I go back to work!!

Sibling: This week, possibly because of everything else that was clearly going on, I just didn't notice any real issues with Isis. She was super sweet to Lux! She always tries to calm her down if she's fussy. And she is constantly coming up when I'm holding her and she'll put her hand on Lux's cheek and go, "mommy, she's so pretty." Sometimes these girls just break my heart!! Love them!!!

Schedule: My schedule is staying the same overall as the last couple of weeks, but it may change next week as I adjust wake time for the nap issues. We'll see.

Mom Stuff: Well, I saw my midwife on Monday for my 6 week appointment and we talked a lot about how I've been feeling lately. I talked about it last week on my newborn summary. I shared with her about feeling overwhelmed, all my anxiety, the moodiness and grumpiness and the fact that I've been more mean and short with people. There was a lot more to it than that. When I say anxiety, I feel like that word alone doesn't cover what I've been going through. So she said it sounded like a good idea to stay on top of this and try a low dose of Zoloft. She also referred me to a counselor and I have an appointment next week to see her. I started the Zoloft Monday night, but that was also the day Lewis was sick and the following couple of days was just dealing with my family being sick and lots of sleeplessness. So honestly I can't really tell if anything has helped because I feel so overwhelmed after this week and I think anyone would feel like that! So I'm going to re-evaluate next week and see how I feel. I also hope that meeting with the counselor goes well. I'm really looking forward to it.

Milestones: This is one thing that sort-of goes hand-in-hand with the mom stuff and anxiety. I had mentioned last week that I was a little worried about Lux not holding eye contact with me. Well, for one thing, to say I was a little worried is a gross misrepresentation. I was completely freaking out. I wasn't sleeping, I would be in tears when I would try to put myself in her line of sight and she would look away. I couldn't stop thinking about it. It was like I was completely fixated on it. This should give you some insight into the anxiety I was talking about. This was just one example of the anxiety and I've had anxiety about many different things, not just her eye contact. 

Anyway, so I was worried about her not making eye contact. Well, finally I just started really getting down and working on it. I was worried that it was an eye sight thing, that it was an autism thing, I even worried that it was a brain damage issue (omg anxiety). So I started by putting myself further away from her and trying to get her to look at me. She would sometimes. I would eventually get closer and closer as we were playing. Then one day later in the week, it was like it just clicked. Starting from the moment I brought her downstairs in the morning when she woke up, I was changing her diaper & she just started watching me and looking me in the eye and smiling like 6 times! She then did that at every wake time after that. I would get close to her or above her when she was laying on the ground and she would look me in the eye and smile over & over. Then I was holding her at dinner and she just stared at me the whole time. My first thought it "whew!! She's okay!" And my second thought is, "Seriously, Cameron, you have to get your anxiety under control." 

So goal for next week: get the anxiety under control.

Newborn Summary: Week 6

(I wrote this last week & then never edited & published it. Whoops!)
 
First of all, I need to get back to posting on this blog! With the holidays, our week was a little crazy and I don't even think I opened my computer!
 
Nursing: Nursing has been about the same this week. I tried a few times to offer both breasts for feedings. Sometimes she will take the other one, sometimes she won't. The biggest thing this week was a growth spurt on Sunday. She ate every 2 hours the entire day.
 
Burping: Also about the same. I try to burp her after every feeding except the middle of the night. Sometimes she burps, sometimes she doesn't.
 
Reflux: She spit up several times this week, but several times over the course of a week really isn't bad.
 
Waketime: I'm doing about 1 hour of waketime at each cycle. At night she will go longer before bed. Sometimes I can't get her to go a full hour, so she goes down early. I've been trying tummy time each wake time, but she usually doesn't like it very much right now, plus she rolls over! See the milestones section for more on that, but I try to do tummy time on the boppy now or on the couch because she can't roll over on either of those. 
 
Witching Hour: She's usually pretty fussy around 5:30-6:30. She'll take a catnap during this time, but that's been harder to get her to do lately. I'm hoping in the next few weeks we can stretch her schedule a little bit to where she wouldn't need a nap during that time, but I'm not sure. I think Isis kept that catnap for the first 4 months or so.
 
Swaddling: I am still swaddling her with her left arm out. I have let her take a couple of naps without the swaddle, but she only sleeps about an hour and wakes up after 1 sleep cycle, so I don't think she's ready yet. I'd like to try to drop the other arm next week, but I need to give her some time after the Thanksgiving festivities to get nighttime back to normal.
 
Nighttime Sleep: She did awesome overall this week! We decided about halfway through the week to drop the dreamfeed at 10pm. My reason was first of all that I didn't do one with Isis & I just don't think they're necessary. I also didn't want to have to deal with dropping it. I don't mind having 1 feeding in the middle of the night for a while, and I'd rather do that than have to be home to feed her at 10 if we go out or something. We did have to push our nighttime routine a little Thursday and Friday because of the holidays. Here's her breakdown for each night:
 
Night 1 - Friday Night - I fed her at 7:00 this night & then put her to bed. She cried while we put Isis to bed and then went to sleep. I did a dreamfeed at 10pm. She then woke at 3:30am and 7:00am. She had 1 feeding after we went to bed (3:30am) and her longest stretch was 5.5 hours from 10:00 to 3:30.
 
Night 2 - Saturday Night - I fed her at 6:45 and did a dreamfeed at 10:00pm. She had cried again while we put Isis down and then slept until her dreamfeed. She woke at 2:30am, 5:40am and then 8:00am. I thought it was weird that she woke up twice during the night like that and I was right because it was followed by a major growth spurt. She ate every 2 hours on Sunday. Anyway, she had 2 feedings after we went to bed (2:30 & 5:40) and her longest stretch was 4.5 hours from 10:00 to 2:30.
 
Night 3 - Sunday Night - I fed her at 6:45 and then she woke again to eat at 8:30. I was worried we'd do every 2 hours through the night like we had all day, so I didn't wake her for a dreamfeed because I assumed she'd wake herself for one. Instead, she woke at 2:00am and then at 7:20am. I was very happy to have a good night after such an exhausting day! She had 1 feeding after we went to bed (2:00) and her longest stretch was 5.5 hours from 8:30 to 2:00.
 
Night 4 - Monday Night -I fed her at 6:30, put her down at 7:15, she cried & then slept until her dreamfeed at 10:00pm. She woke up at 4:30am and then at 7:30am. She had 1 feeding after we went to bed (4:30) and her longest stretch was 6.5 hours from 10:00 to 4:30.
 
Night 5 - Tuesday Night - I fed her at 6:30 and put her to bed at 7:15. She kindof fussed and slept and fussed and slept until I fed her at 9:15. She woke up to eat at 3:30am and then 7:00am. She had 1 feeding after we went to bed (3:30) and her longest stretch was 6.25 hours from 9:15 to 3:30.
 
Night 6 - Wednesday Night - I fed her at 6:45 and then put her to bed at 7:15. This was the night we decided to try not doing the dreamfeed. She slept until 4:30am and then I woke her for the day at 8:00am! This was a major success for our first night without a dreamfeed! She had 1 feeding after bedtime (4:30) and her longest stretch was 9.75 hours from 6:45 to 4:30!!!
 
Night 7 - Thursday Night - This night we did Thanksgiving at my grandfather's house. We met them for dinner at 6:00. My mom fed her a bottle of breastmilk around 7:00. She kinda napped at dinner and then I fed her at 9:00pm when we got home & put her straight down. She woke up at 2:30am and then at 7:00am. She had 1 feeding after we went to bed (2:30) and her longest stretch was 5.5 hours from 9:00 to 2:30.
 
Naps: Still not consistent. She will take the 1st nap fairly consistently in the crib, but she doesn't always sleep the whole time. Usually if her first nap is bad, her second one will be better. She does nap every day and now especially since I've found that she will nap in the swing, I'm able to get her to sleep somewhere for naps everyday. She also naps in the car if I need to run errands. I just always try to plan my errands around a nap so that she can nap the whole time I'm out. If I remember correctly with Isis, once nighttime sleep got really consistent, naps became more consistent after that. So I probably still have another month or so to go with that.
 
Sibling: Isis has just gotten so sweet with Lux lately. She is always patting her and shushing her and trying to be sweet to her. We are still having to talk to her about being whiny & fussy to get attention, but it's gotten better. 
 
Schedule: We are trying to follow the same schedule I shared last week. I have noticed that she sometimes doesn't eat very well after 3 hours like she used to. A couple of times, I tried stretching her to about 3 hours 15 minutes or 3 1/2 hours and she eats better. I may try to get more consistent with that, especially because we weighed her after her growth spurt & she was more than 12 pounds! So I think she'd be okay with 6-7 feedings a day rather than 7-8.
 
Mom Stuff: I actually got really honest with myself this week and admitted that I'm having a harder time than I'd like to admit. It's not the same as it was with Isis where I'm weepy or sad or anything. It's more feeling overwhelmed, having some anxiety and lots of mom guilt. I'm going to talk to my midwife about it at my 6 week appointment on Monday. It's not too bad right now, but I don't want it to get worse and I want to stay on top of it. Lewis has brought up concerns with me too that lets me know that it's affecting him & our family as a whole. There's definitely a pride issue there - being a mom & not wanting to admit that you're a mom who needs help feeling okay, but I think honesty is important. I also think it's important to be honest about it to others. I think too often moms put on this happy face and act like everything is perfect when really it's a struggle. I think we'd all feel more unified if we admitted when we have those struggles. So there ya go, I'm having some struggles. I'm going to be proactive in overcoming them.
 
Milestones: She started smiling right around 5 weeks. She will track things with her eyes. The one thing that I've been worried about is that she doesn't hold eye contact with me a lot. She does make eye contact when she's nursing sometimes, but not otherwise. I looked it up and it's a 6-8 week milestone, so I'm going to keep watching for that one.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Newborn Summary: Week 5

Nursing: I had some issues with nursing this week. I had mentioned last week that I wanted to start pumping more to build a milk supply. Well, I tried that, but it didn't work. Because I nurse from one side at a time, when I pumped in the morning, it just basically took what I had and it hadn't fully replenished by the time she would eat next. So I tried feeding her from both sides all day, but she never seemed to have enough & she wouldn't sleep well & would be fussy all day. I tried it for 2 days & decided it just wasn't that worth it to build a pumped milk supply. I went back to just feeding her in the morning & doing one side at a time all day. As soon as she starts sleeping 12 hours consistently, I can pump at 10:00 before I go to bed to get a bottle. 
 
I'm also going to just pump when I'm at school when I go back to work & just have that. This means I'll have to supplement with formula, but I knew I would have to do that either way at some point. This way I can keep my supply up and for sure be able to at least feed her first thing in the morning and right before bed for an extended period of time. I would love to keep doing that until she's a year old if I could maintain the supply.
 
Once I stopped pumping in the morning, she went back to eating like normal and eating a lot. We weighed her one morning and she was 11 lbs! So she's doing fine with eating.
 
Burping: She still burps once after most feedings, but I don't burp her in the middle of the night.
 
Reflux: She spits up if she's eaten a lot and she spits up a little bit after most feedings, but it's really not a lot at all. She did have her 3rd projectile spit-up situation one day & it went all over my clean jeans - which are 1 of 2 pairs of jeans that fit me right now. I wasn't very happy.
 
Waketime: I'm still doing about 45 minutes first thing in the morning and about an hour every time after that. If you're looking for a great post on how I figure out what to do and when, check out the Helpful Routine Information post on the Babywise Mom blog. I seriously refer to this post all the time. I also use her Optimal Waketime post to figure out what is about normal for wake times in different age ranges. If you look at both of those, 1 hour of waketime is at the high end for her age range, but I'm trying to get her to a schedule that would be helpful for my babysitter at 12 weeks. It's a process to get her there, so I'm taking it slowly.
 
Witching Hour: We have really figured out this time. She is still a little fussy from about 5-6:30, but we've found that she will take a little catnap in the swing for about 30-45 minutes & usually she will sleep until about 6:00. She'll be a little fussy from 6 until about 6:30 when I feed her, but it's really not bad.
 
Swaddling: I have successfully dropped 1 arm from the swaddle for naps and nighttime. I swaddle her with her left arm out. I plan on keeping this for the next 2 weeks and then trying to take the other arm out. That is, unless she does something that makes me think she's ready for it sooner. I love Babywise's idea of parent-directed things. I do parent-directed feeding where I use both the clock and my own observations and intuitions as I watch her cues to decide when to feed her. I also use parent-directed decisions with other things. For example, that I would think I would wait 2 weeks before dropping the other arm from the swaddle, but that I will watch her for signs that she's ready and use both of those things to decide when to actually drop it.
 
As far as the process for dropping it, I started by swaddling her left arm really loosely and I had always swaddled it with her arm bent up by her face, but with it swaddled loosely she could pretty easily get it out. I did that for a few days and she did fine and got her arm out about 9 out of 10 times that she was sleeping. So I then just took her arm completely out. She cried a little more than normal before going to sleep the first night, but then she slept fine! So the next day I took it out for all the naps and she still slept about the same as normal. That just told me for sure she was ready, so we never went back.
 
Nighttime Sleep: This week she has started consistently stretching her amount of time she sleeps at night. She had a rough time most nights going down to sleep, but then she did awesome for all her feedings at night. We are still doing the consistent bedtime. I feed her at 6:30 and then do a bath at 7:00 and put her down after that. I can't decide if doing the bath for her bedtime routine is the best. It seems to wake her up a little more than it did Isis & I wonder if that contributes to her crying before sleep, but I would like to give them a bath at the same time at night to just make it easier on us and to not do 2 baths a day in terms of water usage. So for a little while I'm going to keep doing it, but I might experiment next week with doing the bedtime routine without a bath a few days and see if she sleeps better. I can always add it back later once she gets really consistent with going to sleep on her own. Here's her nighttime rundown for the week: 
 
Night 1 - Friday Night - This night, we put her down at 7:15-ish and she cried most of the time until 9:00, with about a 30-45 minute period of sleep in the middle. I got her up & fed her at 9:00 and she went right down after that. She ate at 6:45, 9:00, 3:15 & 7:00. There was only 1 feeding after we went to bed (3:15) and her longest stretch was 6.25 hours from 9:00 to 3:15.
 
Night 2 - Saturday Night - This night, we put her down at 7:15-ish and she cried until about 8:30 and then slept for an hour. She woke back up at 9:30, so I fed her again and she went right down after that. We are trying to do a dreamfeed, but she doesn't usually make it that long. She ate at 6:40, 9:30, 1:30 & 7:00. There was only 1 feeding after we went to bed (1:30) and her longest stretch was 5.5 hours from 1:30 to 7:00.
 
Night 3 - Sunday Night - This night, she did about the same thing as Saturday night. I fed her at 6:30, 9:30, 5:00 and 7:30. There was only 1 feeding after we went to bed (5:00). This night, she actually didn't wake up after the 9:30 feeding. We woke up at 5:00 and realized she hadn't woken up & what time it was & we got her up to feed her. We were worried because we think she still needs a nighttime feeding like that to get enough to eat. When we got up in the morning, that was when we weighed her & we realized that she is at 11 lbs now. According to most sources I've looked at, once a baby reaches 12 lbs, they are physically able to sleep 10-12 hours at night, so I decided if she does a night like this again, we won't wake her up to eat. She is clearly doing fine in terms of eating & weight gain. Anyway, her longest stretch was 7.5 hours from 9:30 to 5:00. 
 
Night 4 - Monday Night - This night, she did about the same as the other nights where she cried, then slept briefly, then woke up at 9:00. She ate at 6:30, 9:00, 4:00 and 7:00. She had 1 feeding after we went to bed (4:00) and her longest stretch was 7 hours from 9:00 to 4:00.
 
Night 5 - Tuesday Night - This night, she did the same as the other nights. She ate at 6:30, 9:00, 3:30 and 7:30. She had 1 feeding after we went to bed (3:30) and her longest stretch was 6.5 hours from 9:00 to 3:30.
 
Night 6 - Wednesday Night - This night was actually pretty great & I'm not sure what the difference was. I didn't do as much of a bath this night. I actually didn't even wipe her off. This is what made me think that maybe we shouldn't do baths with her bedtime routine. She ate at 6:30 and I put her down around 7:15 again. She cried for about 10 minutes or so while we put Isis down for bed, but by the time we came out of Isis' room, she had stopped crying. From there she barely fussed the rest of the night. She fell asleep and didn't wake up, so I got her up at 10:00 for a dreamfeed. So her feedings for the night were at 6:30, 10:00, 4:15 and 7:30. She had 1 feeding after we went to bed (4:15) and her longest stretch was 6.25 hours from 10:00 to 4:15.
 
Night 7 - Thursday Night - This night she did the same thing as Wednesday night! She cried after I put her to bed, but by the time I was out of Isis' room from doing her bedtime stuff, she was silent. I saw she was awake on the monitor, but I didn't hear her again. I checked a little while later & she was asleep! Very exciting. So her feedings for the night were at 6:30, 10:00, 3:20 and 7:30. She had 1 feeding after we went to bed (3:20) and her longest stretch was 5.25 hours from 10:00 to 3:20.
 
Naps: Her naps are still a little hit or miss overall, but this week we had a breakthrough!! On Tuesday, I brought the swing downstairs & decided we were just going to really go for it because she was having a really rough nap day. I put her in the swing for a nap & she cried for a little bit, but then fell asleep in the swing for about 2 hours!! I then put her in it again that night for a catnap during her last nap of the day & she slept in it again! So then I tried it again for a nap on Wednesday when my mom came over to watch her while I went to the gym. She slept in the swing again for my mom for about 2 hours! So that actually makes my life a lot easier. If she will nap in the swing, I have that backup if it's a bad nap day. I am still trying to put her down for a nap in the crib at least for the first nap every day, but I can always switch to the swing if she's not sleeping. 
 
I did this with Isis and here is my personal opinion on it: I think that for the first several weeks, it's most important to get them to sleep & to establish that routine. I think that routine works for a lot of reasons, the main one being that all of our bodies operate on circadian rhythms and metabolism. Just like I get hungry about the same time every day because I eat lunch about the same time every day when I'm at school, babies do the same thing. I think our bodies learn to get hungry or tired about the same time every day if we are on a consistent schedule. Therefore, I think it is important during the first 12 weeks to get their bodies used to a certain routine. With Isis, I let her nap in the swing from about 6 weeks to about 12 weeks. Her body got used to sleeping about the same time everyday and when I transitioned her to the crib, it was fairly painless! So I'm using the swing when needed right now, but I'm still working on the crib for naps at first. All of it is really trying to set her up for a good schedule for the babysitter in January.
 
Sibling: Isis is doing great with Lux, but she's still having transitional issues with me & Lewis. There are several things: she is louder & more whiny & I believe it is to get our attention. We are trying to give her attention & lots of positive reinforcement. We are also being firm that we do not tolerate being whiny & I feel like my mantra when I'm around her is "use your words" or "use your big girl voice." It can be exhausting, but we're all just adjusting. Some of that was there before Lux came as well. I think she's also just at that age.
 
Schedule: Here is our goal schedule for the day, although sometimes it starts at 7:00 and sometimes it starts at 7:30.
 
7:00 - wake up, diaper change & nurse
7:45 - nap
10:00 - wake up, diaper change & nurse
11:00 - nap
1:00 - wake up, diaper change & nurse
2:00 - nap
4:00 - wake up, diaper change & nurse
5:00 - nap
5:45/6:00 - wake up, diaper change
6:30 - nurse
7:00 - bedtime routine with bath (?)
7:15 - bed
9:30/10:00 - dreamfeed
1 night feeding
 
Here are some thoughts about the schedule that I was thinking last week I should include:
  • I have to wake her pretty  much every time during the day. She's not waking on her own. I am waking her to fit in a certain number of feedings, to get her on a good schedule & to make sure she doesn't sleep longer than about 2-2.5 hours during the day. I personally don't let a baby sleep longer than 2.5 hours during the day to make sure their long stretches are at night & that they differentiate night & day.
  • I work for that amount of wake time, but it doesn't always happen. Sometimes she's too sleepy & so I just put her down. This goes back to the parent-directed thing I was talking about. What I do is at about 45-50 minutes, I start watching her. I look for nap cues. If she yawns or rubs her eyes or her eyes get droopy or she starts to get a little fussy, then I put her down. If it gets to have been an hour of wake time & she doesn't show any of those signs, I just go ahead and put her down & assume I missed them. This has worked for me & she naps well most days.
  • On a bad nap day, she will wake early from naps. If she does this, I first of all try to hold her or put her in the swing or something like that. If that doesn't work to get her back to sleep, then I feed her. I assume she's hungry & I always take into consideration that it could be a growth spurt - or like in the case with my pumping issue, it could be that she didn't get enough to eat before. So I am in no way a slave to the schedule or a slave to the clock. I'm definitely using it for a guide, but I'm watching Lux to see what she needs.
  • There is crying before she goes down for pretty much every nap and night time. So here's my philosophy on cry-it-out: If she has a clean diaper, a full belly, has been cuddled & kissed & has shown signs of sleepiness, then I am okay with putting her down & if she cries, I will let her. We usually wait about 7-10 minutes & if she has cried the whole time, one of us will go in (obviously me if it's during the day) & comfort her. This could be patting her belly, it could be just talking quietly to her & in some cases, it could be picking her up & trying to burp her or just calm her down. No matter what we do, we try to leave the room again within 1 minute. We always want to put her down awake. If she cries again, we start the 7-10 minute timer over again. When we go in, we are also checking for if she has spit up or if she pooped, because if either of these happen, she could need to be changed (clothes or diaper). Also, with the 7-10 minutes, if at any point in there, she stops crying for more than like 15-30 seconds, I start the timer over again. Usually if she's crying really hard, like really screaming, we might only do 5 minutes and then sometimes if she's just sort-of fussing, but not really crying, we may not go in at all. Again - I use my instincts. But I needed to be clear that I'm not doing anything to help her go to sleep like rocking her to sleep or anything like that. The only thing I may do now is put her in the swing, but I put her in the swing and walk away, just like the crib, so if she cries, it's the 7-10 minute situation. Either way, she is alone while she is learning to go to sleep.
Mom Stuff: This week I focused on going back to the gym!! I went on Sunday and did 18 minutes on the elliptical machine. I'm focusing on cardio at first. I also went on Wednesday and did 25 minutes on the elliptical. I went to Old Navy and bought some new gym clothes. I got some cold-weather clothes so that I also can go run (or walk) around my neighborhood when I can't go to the gym. Right now my mom is coming over for an hour or so on the days that she isn't working. (She's working at Macy's for the holidays.) This way I can go to the gym really quick. I am also going on either Saturday or Sunday mornings because Lewis is at home. Then when Lewis gets home from work on the days that I can't go to the gym, I'm hoping to go out really quick for a run (or walk - let's be honest - running would be overly ambitious). Going back to the gym has made me feel a lot better!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Lew's Birth Story for Lux

       Pictures taken by Sara Corman Photography
Also, a note about the pictures - they don't necessarily follow with what his writing may be saying at that point, but I wanted everyone to see these pictures of Lewis. I feel like so many times the focus is on the mother during labor (understandably), but Lewis is so active and involved throughout labor that these pictures are really special to both of us. Also, you can read my version of Lux's birth here. - Cameron

It’s difficult to start this story as it’s so different than I remembered from the first time.  First, I must admit that though I had spent many hours in research, watched dozens of births on YouTube and had lots of classroom hours before Isis’s birth, I was not prepared to be a father before her.  My story of those events were completely colored with my overwhelming anxiety about what to do afterwards.  Fast forward almost 3 years, lots of lessons, many difficult nights and conversations later.  I was ready for this one, especially when it comes to my mental state.  I know that the woman has the baby.  I know that the woman carries the baby.  Still, there’s definitely a role for the man in pregnancy and labor.  In fact, if he doesn’t prepare, all of it will rush up on him and destroy everything he knows about the world (more so if it is his first child).  

“She’s going to be born early.”  Yeah….I’ve heard this before only to anticipate arrival for several weeks.  Cameron’s body showed all signs of imminent labor except well…labor.  As it turns out she held out long enough for us to be able to schedule a natural induction.  Thanks to a little God help, I was able to fall asleep about 8:45 the night before our 5 am hospital appointment.  3:45 AM, YAY…Yawn, I’m up.  It’s very hard to find coffee that time of night, so I settled for some so so coffee at the hospital around 5:30 am.  Then we waited.

8:30 arrived and Melissa came in to break Cam’s water.  I know what this is like because I had seen it before.  The procedure itself didn’t make me nervous, it’s what might or might not happen afterwards that did.  No active labor within 2 hours or so would mean Pitocin and that’s generally not a good thing if your goal is a natural labor.  I did my best to keep the mood light and there was always the cheering from Diana after each contraction.  It’s funny to me how when you are going natural, you get excited about watching the contractions get regular and closer. Around 10:30 contractions became more regular, nothing super strong yet but enough to be timed.  Sara Corman was also in the room with us.  She was invaluable when Diana had to leave for a bit.  The deeper you get into this process the more a distraction helps keep you mentally refreshed.  Sara was great at encouragement and conversation.  After a couple of hours and several times walking the square of hospital halls, contractions were sometimes coming 1.5 minutes apart.  We noticed that when she sat to rest, we could add about 60 seconds in between contractions.  This helped as I was able to give Cam a good idea of how long she had to rest and when to prepare.  We made sessions of walking mixed with sitting to give a little rest.  

Melissa came to check on everything about 12.  I had been timing all the contractions and I gave her an update.  She said that things should really get solid within an hour.  1 pm and just as advised, things were getting heavier.  I helped fill up the tub in the room and then helped Cam get in.  These tubs must be awesome because it always slows labor down.  Suddenly there was 3-4 minute breaks between each contraction unlike the 2-3 min max we had for about the last hour.  These moments were always a little worrisome for me as I remembered just how long it took for Isis to be born.  Having a baby is hard but it’s definitely harder if you have to be up the entire day AND night before hand.  I pushed the thought out of my head and got back into coaching Cam through each contraction.  I could tell she had the same fears as it wasn’t long before she noticed the longer rest times between.  Minutes later she was out and we were back in the hall.  

Labor progresses in physical demands but also increases in mental demands as the baby gets closer.  You can’t tackle one without preparing for the other.  It was after 2 and each contraction was a stop and endure event at this point.  Cameron does this thing where you can see her internalize her struggle as the pain gets worse.  I gauge how bad it is based on how long it takes for me to see her normal personality come back to her face.  Sometimes I had to encourage the “normal” Cameron to come back. Once I can’t get her to return to normal, I know a baby is close.  For an hour we were in and out of the room.  This is the point that I want to give all men out there a tip when supporting a labor; ask what you can do to help, try it if requested, but don’t let it hurt your feelings if the action is suddenly met with abrupt displeasure.  It’s not personal, it’s just that some things seem helpful only to seemingly be the worst idea ever.  Don’t give up! Stay in the game.

3 p.m.   I decide to text Diana and tell her that things are getting closer.  She says she is on her way.  As I’m timing the contractions I tell Cam that she has 45 seconds to rest only for her to have another immediately.  This happened occasionally.  We called them “aftershocks”.  Thing was, this wasn’t that.  The next 45 second rest didn’t come either, and neither did the next.  A few passed and I knew we had passed the barrier of pain maintenance.  This is the point at which I have to realize what’s happening and get prepared to watch the person I’m in love with battle to maintain their sanity.  Again and again I watched as she took the pain and buried her face in the bed as she leaned on it.  Another text to Diana, “Help, she’s breaking”.  Cam crawled up on the bed and asked to be checked.  I held my breath as she had a contraction and then the nurse checked.  “You’re a full 7”.  My heart sank.  Another couple of hours I guess.  I need to really step up.  

Each contraction was hitting hard now and there were only brief moments of conversation.  “I want Melissa!” Cam said. Things began to move fast and I began to get swept up in it all.  No matter how many times I thought it through nothing ever prepares me for watching this pain.  To stand and endure watching the tidal wave you cannot stop.  Each cry brought me closer to tears.  As if on queue, Diana rushes in to Cameron’s side quickly to embrace her.  Next comes Melissa who talks with Cam and gets her to flip to her hands and knees.  In the midst of fans and cold wash cloths I stood there wondering how long this could continue.  When you try not to cry, why is it that’s when it becomes impossible?   

Looking to Melissa for comfort I watch her check Cam and show evidence of blood.  Realize that just 15 minutes ago she was 7 cm. “This baby is coming out!” screamed Cameron.  Half frozen I looked down to realize she was right.  A cart had been wheeled in and there were suddenly several extra people in the room.  My skin went cold and I realized that this was really happening now.  Cameron had gone primal and each push was a full body scream and growl.  It’s amazing how you can actually see the baby descending through the birth canal.  Then she crowned and I saw hair.  “You were right, she has tons of hair!” I said knowing that Cam had terrible heartburn the entire pregnancy.  “Is Lewis going to catch her!” Cam asked.  I pulled my mind back into reality and a nurse put gloves on my hands.  Her head came out.  “There’s her head!” She was a little stuck due to her hand being by her face but because Cam was on hands and knees it was a quick fix.  A couple intense pushes later and out she came into my hands.  Then I wept.  I tried to stop but it burst out of me uncontrollably.  

As I handed her through Cam’s legs I hadn’t noticed that Lux had a bowel movement all over my arms as I held her.  These are the moments you remember.  Looking into Cameron’s eyes and those beautiful eyes of my daughter God swept up my heart and I had to look away. I saw a passerby out the window in the parking lot and something inside me hoped that they would feel what I was feeling in that moment.  “How does she do it?”  “Cameron, you beast, you did it again.”  

 I feel like most people stop thinking about the labor here but there’s still the placenta and first feeding.  After the entire ordeal, this part always seems annoying.  Couldn’t God just let it go at this point?  As Lux fed and laid on Cameron’s chest for the next hour I realized how much I loved being a dad and how much God has destined for me to have daughters.  I kissed Cameron gently on the cheek watching her lay there finally in relief.  Then I realized for the second time why God orchestrated everything exactly how He does.  We don’t know each other until we see each other pushed to the limit. We can’t love each other until we see sacrifice and sacrifice ourselves.  Wrap up this labor and it’s exactly what it was, another reason for me to love my God, love my wife and sacrifice for my children.
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