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.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Newborn Summary: Week 4

Establishing some form of consistency...

Nursing: Nursing is going great. She is still doing 1 side at a time for the most part, but I did have an issue this week where I pumped first thing in the morning after I fed her & then my supply seemed weird all day & I had to feed from both sides several times so she would have enough. I've decided that I'm going to start trying to pump after every feeding to build up a supply before I go back to school and I'm also going to try feeding her from both sides every time if I can. I just know I need to start pumping more, so I'll see if that changes anything.

Burping: She still burps after most feedings, but not all. I don't burp her in the middle of the night. That's still going fine.

Reflux: She's been spitting up occasionally, but not every time. It's not excessive or anything, just a little here & there. She'll do more if she has a really big feeding or eats really fast at first. I also still try to keep her upright for a few minutes after she eats & that seems to help.

Waketime: Okay, this I have really played around with this week. Right now, she is awake for about 45 minutes first thing in the morning. Every wake time after that (keep in mind I do the Eat-Wake-Sleep cycle with her, so she has 4 wake times a day - I'll talk more about that in the schedule part) I work for her to be up for an hour, except for the last one before bed. She is usually up for about an hour and a half before bed. We have to work for that & sometimes she's fussy, but she sleeps a lot better after that.

Witching Hour: For the most part, the witching hour has taken care of itself since we started doing a consistent bedtime. She can still be fussy at night when we are trying to keep her up that last period before bed, but it's not just straight screaming like it was before.

Swaddling: We are still swaddling for all naps that she is in the crib and at nighttime in the crib. She's getting stronger, though, and she usually gets her left arm out of the swaddle. If she does that, we just leave it. It has left us with a few nights where she's cried more before going to sleep, but overall she's starting to seem happier with that arm unswaddled. That's good because we have to stop using the swaddle eventually & I'd rather do it sooner than later & teach her to sleep without it.

Nighttime Sleep: We started a consistent bedtime with a bedtime routine this week and it has made a huge difference! I try to feed her around 6:30/6:45 every day and then give her a little sponge bath while Isis takes her bath at 7:00. I then swaddle her, sing Twinkle, Twinkle and put her to bed. I leave the room while she is awake. This does mean we have to let her cry a little bit, but she's been up for at least an hour & a half at this point, so the crying has been minimal before she falls asleep. We then just let her sleep as long as she wants & feed her when she wakes up. Here's how she's been doing all week: 

Night 1 - Friday Night - We hadn't started the consistent bedtime yet. She ate at 7:30, 11:45, 3:30 & 7:00. Her longest stretch was 4 hrs and 15 minutes after the 7:30 feeding. There were 2 feedings after we went to bed (11:45 & 3:30).

Night 2 - Saturday Night - Still hadn't started the consistent bedtime. I also think she was having a growth spurt or something. She ate at 7:00, 10:30, 12:30, 3:15 & 7:15. Her longest stretch was 4 hours after the 3:15 feeding. There were 2 feedings after we went to bed (12:30 & 3:15).

Night 3 - Sunday Night - This is when we started the consistent bedtime. Our goal was to feed her anytime between 6:30 and 7:00. This night she ate at 6:30, 1:00, 4:15 and 7:00. Her longest stretch was 6 1/2 hours (she was asleep for about 5 1/2 of that) after the 6:30 feeding. There were 2 feedings after we went to bed (1:00 & 4:15).

Night 4 - Monday Night - She ate at 6:30, 1:00, 4:15 and 7:00. Her longest stretch again was 6 1/2 hours after the 6:30 feeding. There were 2 feedings after we went to bed (1:00 & 4:15).

Night 5 - Tuesday Night - She ate at 6:45, 9:00, 1:30, 5:30 and 7:30. Her longest stretch was 4 1/2 hours after the 9:00 feeding. (There were 2 feedings after we went to bed (1:30 & 5:30).

Night 6 - Wednesday Night - This night her feedings during the day didn't work out to feed her before her bath, so I fed her right after. She ate at 7:30 (then went right down to bed), then at 2:00, 6:00 and 7:30. Her longest stretch was 6 1/2 hours after the 7:30 feeding. There were 2 feedings after we went to bed (2:00 & 6:00).

Night 7 - Thursday Night - She ate at 6:30, 9:00, 11:00, 4:30 and 8:00. She had a rough night this night & couldn't really go to sleep, so I just assumed she was hungry & fed her a couple extra times. Good news is, I didn't go to bed until after the 11:00 feeding, so the only feeding we had to get up for was the 4:30 feeding! Her longest stretch was 5 1/2 hours after the 11:00 feeding.

Naps: Her naps are pretty hit or miss overall. She naps for every nap in her crib in her room unless we are going out to run errands or something. I put her down awake every time. On a good nap day, she takes 3 longer naps in her crib and then 1 catnap at night downstairs before bed while somebody holds her for about 30 minutes. On a bad nap day, it's the first nap that gets messed up. She'll wake up early & sometimes I'll be able to hold her and get her to sleep and sometimes I'll just feed her and start the eat-wake-sleep cycle over again. Usually if the latter happens, then she will be really sleepy the next time and take a longer nap for the second time.

Sibling: Isis is doing much better in terms of transitioning with Lux. She's very helpful! She loves getting wipes and a diaper for me when I'm changing Lux. She also loves to bring things to you, so I feel like I'm constantly sending her on errands. She will go upstairs to get the nasal bulb syringe or she will get me the boppy from across the room or get a kleenex or something. She just always goes, "oh, mommy, I get it!" She really is just the sweetest. She also loves to try to comfort Lux if she's crying or to go with me to get her from a nap in her room. I'm excited to see their relationship grow over time.

Schedule: This is our ideal schedule at 4 weeks - 
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
5:30-ish - wake up, diaper change (if needed - usually is)
6:30 - nurse
7:00 - bath & down for bed
She usually wakes up twice in the night for a total of 7 feedings a day.
If she wakes up early from naps, it's usually been at least 2 hours since her last feeding. If I can't get her back to sleep by holding her, I assume that she woke up because she was hungry & I feed her & start the eat-wake-sleep cycle over again. I then try to adjust feedings and stuff throughout the day to where she eats somewhere between 6:30 and 7:00 before bed.

Mom Stuff: I'm feeling good overall, but this week I started having an almost cabin fever sort of situation. And I wouldn't call it cabin fever specifically because I am getting out of the house several times a week. It's more that I haven't had time out of the house by myself without either of my girls except for 1 day for about an hour (when I went to school). I need some me-time. I also am feeling fat lately because none of my pants fit. So I'm starting to go to the gym next week. Hopefully it'll give me some time alone out of the house. I'm going on Sunday when Lewis is home and then next week I'm hoping my mom will be able to come a couple times so that I can go. I also want to go out next weekend with my friend Diana for some much-needed girl time. 

I got my birth control put in this week. I'm doing Implanon. It's inserted in your arm and it releases a certain amount of progesterone each day. It lasts for 3 years and is as effective as an IUD. It's fine with breastfeeding & has no estrogen, so I'm happy about it. It's not really an important part of my summary, I just do want to remember at what point I put it in for next time (if there is a next time - a post for another day as well).

Saturday, November 10, 2012


I love the Currently posts on Sometimes Sweet. I also found a good one on Cailyn. I thought it'd be fun to try one!

Watching: The main thing I am watching lately is Vampire Diaries because Lewis finally agreed to start at Season 1 with me. We've been doing it since Lux was born & we are almost done with Season 3! I love when we get into a show together! I also just this week started watching Nashville. I caught up on Hulu and then watched this week's episode on DVR! It is really fabulous. I love Connie Britton & I really don't love Hayden Panettiere, but after watching the show, I can totally deal with Hayden & I love all the stories & the scandal & the relationships! I'm also really loving Partners! It's great to see Sophia Bush from One Tree Hill and Michael Urie from Ugly Betty back on tv!

Reading: Lately I've just been reading my Bible Study and then lots of blog posts. I'm doing the Beth Moore study, John the Beloved Disciple. I've been reading blog posts on my Google Reader. Particular favorites include Dear Baby, Everyday Reading, Naptime Diaries and a blog by some guys I know, The Thing About Flying. I have a couple books on my shelf that I need to start reading. These include Jane Eyre (can't believe I've never read that), Rapture by Lauren Kate and The Night Circus.

Thinking About: I'm wrapped up in thoughts about sleeping and schedules and breastfeeding, obviously, but the main thing on my mind lately: CHRISTMAS! I am way more excited about the upcoming holiday season this year than I have been since I was a kid! I think it is because this year I have a child who will really "get" it for the first time and seeing that season through her eyes will be just as magical as it was when I was a kid! We already have our tree up & she was so excited about it that I just didn't even think twice about the fact that we weren't even in the double digit days of November! I've also been looking at lots of Christmas things on Pinterest and I plan on posting about that soon!

Loving: My husband. I realize that goes without saying, but since having Lux, I've been even more amazed by how much he does for me and my family. He is incredibly active in our lives and helpful and sacrificial and it's really such a blessing to have him. He wakes up with me for every night feeding. He takes Isis to the babysitter everyday before he goes to work and he picks her up most days if his schedule allows it. He makes dinner half the time because I'm usually feeding Lux right around dinner time. He's just very involved and engaged with us when he's home and it means more than I can even fully express here.

Listening to: Ooh actually I just purchased several new songs on iTunes & made a new playlist. Some of my favorites are "I Will Wait" by Mumford & Sons, "Skyfall" by Adele, "I Won't Give Up" by Jason Mraz, "Poison & Wine" by The Civil Wars, and "Be Still" by The Fray.

Making Me Happy: The fact that Lux has been sleeping like a champ at night & eating like a champ during the day. It makes everything easier & definitely makes for a happy mom!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fearless Friday: All Day

This week, I had my first day at home alone with both girls! Election day was Tuesday and Isis' babysitter only watches kids on a teacher's schedule (which is fabulous for me because it means we don't pay for spring break or fall break of Christmas break, etc.), so Isis was at home with me & Lux while Lewis was at work. I was less nervous about this than I was about doing bedtime by myself, but it still feels like a big deal to be outnumbered by 2 little ones that need your help!

Happy to say, it went really well! My friend Emily & her 2 kids Reese & Aiden came over in the morning, so Isis got to play with Reese & I got to talk to a friend! Lux napped like a champ all day, so I also got some great alone time with Isis & then when their naps overlapped for an hour, I got a little bit of time to myself! 

I also got to go vote when Lewis got home & Isis got to go with me! That was exciting for her to see that even at a young age. I hope she grows up learning that it is an important part of our rights and responsibilities as citizens. I'd love to always make sure she goes with one of us to vote!
On that note, though, notice that I made it a point to go out with just Isis. So far I have yet to go out with both of them alone. Looks like that'll need to be an upcoming Fearless Friday post!!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Dear Isis,

Dear Isis, 

Mommy made a mistake today. A bad parenting choice. One that made you and mommy both very upset. And although we had a conversation about it and I explained why I was wrong, I don't think you fully understood. But what I hope that you do understand is that I am honest and open with you about my mistakes. I recognize them. I own them. I confess them. I ask forgiveness for them. Maybe not right away, but thankfully we serve an amazing, loving and forgiving God who is also very able to guide us in wisdom to our bad choices so that we can seek change. He doesn't let me go very long before He points out my bad choices. I am thankful for that.

I wish I could tell you that I will always be the perfect example to look to for life choices. But the truth is that some of my life choices will be more of an example of what not to do. I will not hide those choices from you and one day we will discuss the choices, both good and bad, in my past. I pray that it helps you discern good and bad choices in your future. The truth is that life is messy and we have the capacity for great light and for great darkness. With our words and our choices, we can lift someone up or tear them down. The power is in the choice you make and the ability to accept responsibility for where those choices lead you. 

Teaching you to be independent and wise in this life is a difficult battle. One that I struggle with everyday. Today I messed up in that. Good intentions unfortunately do not always ensure a good outcome. Sometimes our good intentions do not come off so good to someone else. But we reflect, we own up, we apologize and we learn. Oh, how I hope you are always learning. Don't let your mistakes define you, but also don't let them go unnoticed. You will learn so much from your moments of weakness.

If I could teach you one important thing through my mistakes and your own, it would be that forgiving others and forgiving yourself will be an important and necessary part of your life. A life I hope is filled with that forgiveness and grace that comes from knowing Jesus - a forgiveness and grace that once you fully understand, you can't help but to bestow on others.

Today, I need your forgiveness. And as much as a 2-year old is able to give it, I hope you do.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Newborn Summary: Week 3

Time for the sleep issues...

Gas: Still no issues! I may stop discussing this unless it becomes an issue.

Nursing: She's still nursing like a champ. She usually does 1 side a time still for about 12-20 minutes, but there have been a few times that she's done both sides. She may have had a growth spurt early this week, but it wasn't as pronounced as it was when Isis has a growth spurt. Lux seems to just eat a lot either way and we've gone to the doctor once a week basically since she was born and she's been gaining a pound a week!! She is now at 9lb 11oz as of 3 weeks exactly. So she's clearly getting whatever she needs from her breastfeeding!

Burping: She will usually burp once after a feeding. I only occasionally burp her in the middle of the night. She's usually been so tired while she was nursing & completely asleep afterwards in the middle of the night that I just don't even bother.

Reflux: She did have a day or 2 where reflux was an issue, but I think it was more due to something I had eaten. She will spit up a little if you don't burp her or if you lay her down quickly after feeding. I try to keep her upright for a few minutes after eating to settle everything & then she's fine.

Waketime: She is doing pretty good at being away for at least 40 minutes each eat-wake-sleep cycle. We also figured out this week that we need to keep her up for a little longer - more like an hour or so - right before we put her to bed for the night. She's a little fussier, but her nighttime goes better. 

Witching Hour: We pretty much figured out this week that if we keep her up from about 6:00 to about 7:15 or so before putting her to bed, then she will cry for a little bit when we put her down, but then go to sleep. So it virtually got rid of the witching hour. I'm not sure if this will last, but we'll see. We figured it out about halfway through week 3 and it's worked the last 2 nights.

Swaddling: We are still swaddling her for all naps and nighttime when she is in the crib. I figured out that I need to swaddle her with 1 arm bent up so she can suck it or at least rest it on her chin or cheek. If I do that, then she sleeps well and doesn't fight the swaddle as much. Most nights and naps, she gets that bent arm out, but it doesn't seem to affect her sleep.

Nighttime Sleep: This week was where things got a little more challenging with nighttime sleep. She is starting to be more alert during her wake times and she is starting to be awake a little more after nursing, even in the middle of the night. I was basically nursing her back to sleep in the middle of the night and then putting her down, but now most times she wakes up a little before we put her in bed. This is fine, because ultimately we want her to be put down awake and soothe herself to sleep. So we also had to do a little cry-it-out in the middle of the night. Some people may not agree with that, but I always make sure she is fed, has a dry diaper, and has had plenty of cuddle time with us. In the middle of the night, she may cry for 30 minutes or less and if she cries for longer than 5-10 minutes straight, we will go in and comfort her. But she always gets back to sleep. Here's her breakdown each day:

Night 1 - Friday night - She ate at 7:30, 11:00, 1:00, 3:30, 4:45 and 7:45. This was the first night that she had a hard time going back to sleep and we were trying to let her cry a little. I also think she had a bit of a growth spurt this day/night.

Night 2 - Saturday night - She ate at 7:45, 9:30, 11:45, 4:30 and 8:00. She was having a witching hour issue earlier in the evening, but then she went from 11:45 to 4:30, which was very exciting!

Night 3 - Sunday night - She ate at 7:40, 9:45, 4:00 & 7:30. Witching hour from 7:40 to 9:45, but then slept until 4:00!! That night was crazy exciting!

Night 4 - Monday night - She ate at 7:30, 9:30, 1:30, 4:45 & 7:45. Pretty normal. Still having witching hour from 7:30 to 9:30.

Night 5 - Tuesday night - She ate at 7:40, 11:30, 2:15, 6:00 and 8:15. Again pretty normal. No witching hour that night.

Night 6 - Wednesday night - She ate at 7:30, 9:30, 11:00, 3:30 & 7:15. Witching hour basically from 7:30 to 11:00 that night. Nothing really worked getting her to sleep, but then she went from 11:00 to 3:30.

Night 7 - Thursday night - She ate at 7:40, 10:00, 2:30, 5:45 and 8:00. No witching hour really that night.

We've decided to actually start our normal bedtime routine for week 4. We are going to feed her around 6:45, then do bath at the same time as Isis at 7:00, then put her to bed before we go do Isis' bedtime routine. Even if she has the witching hour & fusses in her crib or something, we're at least getting some consistency about what to expect for bedtime. Again, updates next week!

Naps: Naps always start in her crib unless we are going out somewhere. I put her down sleepy, but awake and she sometimes fusses before going to sleep, but will 9 times out of 10 go to sleep in the crib. Occasionally she will wake up early, but still be sleepy & if that happens, I just hold her for the rest of the nap. Her first nap of the day is usually the best and most consistent one, probably because she's still continuing her nighttime sleep to a certain extent. Her last nap of the day is the roughest one. She usually won't go to sleep in the crib, so I will hold her for that one and then try to get her up about an hour before we are going to put her to bed. She's not really consistent yet, but we are just focusing on the pattern of eat-wake-sleep. 

One thing I will say about naps and stuff is that although this sounds really rigid or scheduled, I am way more relaxed this time than I was with Isis. It's crazy. If a nap doesn't go well or something, I just kinda go with it. I'm less stressed. Now, if all the naps don't go well and she just has a rough day sleeping in general, then I get a little more stressed! But overall, I'm way more laid back with Lux.

Sibling: Isis has shown difficulty in this transition with a few things: whining/crying, bedtime and waking up. She whines and cries a lot more lately than she did before. I think it's because she sees Lux whine & cry a lot & then we have to attend to her, so she is trying to use the same tactic to get what she wants. We are enforcing that she use her words to tell us what she wants. At bedtime, she has gotten a lot more defiant. She will hit Lewis when she's getting out of the bath and she will kick me when she's getting dressed or putting lotion on. These things result in a loss of her bedtime routine. We try to use natural consequences with her as much as possible. For example, with hitting or kicking or being mean or things like that, it's a social thing, so it results in a social removal of the person. "If you hit mommy, mommy isn't going to sit here." This has resulted in a few nights of her having to go to bed without a story and a song. It is always followed up by a discussion later, but it's been upsetting for all of us some nights because we all enjoy that time. We are working on telling her ahead of time what is going to happen in the day or at night with the routine. Letting her know what's coming rather than just doing it has helped her with this transition a little bit. The last couple of nighttimes have been better. She is also having a hard time with waking up in the middle of the night with bad dreams or waking up really early in the morning. I'm not exactly sure why or how these things play into a new sibling, but they came along at that time, so they seem to be possibly connected.

Schedule: I'm still trying to get her up around 7:15 or 7:30. This doesn't always work out based on nighttime feedings. But I'm trying to also get her down around 7:30 at night. I feed her every 2.5 to 3 hours during the day. Next week I'm working on getting even more consistent, so we'll see how that goes.

Mom Stuff: I'm still feeling good! I'm ready to work on getting back into my pre-pregnancy clothes, so I'm way ready to go back to the gym. The only problem is that I'm nervous. As moms know, the bleeding after pregnancy is just plain old annoying because it's like a month long period (sorry to any men who may be reading this). But it's like you get 9 months off from a period & then a whole month to catch yourself back up. Gross. But I'm almost done with that now & I'm scared that going to the gym will make it start up again. I hope to go back sometime in week 4.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

My Favorite Recent Links

Amazing post. Amazing song.

Cute new blog for children's books that I found!

Thinking about going back to the gym soon & this Post-Baby Bootcamp series seems interesting - and really hard!!

116 things I need to throw away while I'm home on maternity leave.

Sometimes Sweet reminds me that it's ok to be an adult now.

Looking for more books to read & What She Saw has a great book list!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Fearless Friday: Bedtime

Because I didn't capture any pics of my Fearless Friday escapades, here's a cute pic of my 2 ballerinas from Halloween on Wednesday! Isis was Angelina Ballerina, but she refused to wear the ears or the tail.
I read a post on Rookie Mom about how we should observe Fearless Fridays. Her blog is for rookie moms, which I am now not one anymore, but I am embarking on a new stage of motherhood with 2 kids. You can be as prepared as possible & adding a child to the mix is still going to throw you for a loop. So I think it'll be fun to try to do something each week that scares me in terms of motherhood! I may not always do it on Friday, but I'll post about it on Friday.

This week my Fearless Friday activity happened on Thursday. During the day, I took Lux out for our first shopping trip alone to Target & then we met a couple of women for lunch. I was nervous about both, only because you never know if your child is going to cry throughout the shopping trip or that I'd need to nurse her in the middle of Panera. It's been almost 3 years now since I was going out alone with a newborn. Neither of those things happened, so while I did face my fears of going out alone with her, I didn't really end up having to deal with anything scary. 

Lewis has something he does at church every Thursday night and he hasn't gone for the last 2 weeks because we were getting acclimated to life with Lux, but this week he needed to start going back. So I was left to do bedtime by myself. Now, bedtime lately has been a bit of a nightmare. For 1, Isis is having a rough transition in terms of a few things when it comes to Lux. Bedtime has been difficult because of this. She will fight us, sometimes literally (kicking & hitting) at bedtime. We've had some upsetting evenings where we've had to leave her in her room without singing a song or giving her hugs and kisses like normal. So I wasn't really looking forward to dealing with that by myself. Then Lux is having her nightly fussy time, that I now believe all newborns have, which lasts from about an hour before bedtime through whenever she may fall asleep, which could be anywhere from 30 minutes to like 3 hours after bedtime.

I was going to have my mom come help me with bedtime, but I decided that in honor of Fearless Fridays, I needed to face this fear, put my big girl pants on & do it myself! So I did!!

I realize there are a lot of moms who start right away being alone with both of their kids, but I just haven't had to do that yet. Isis still goes to the babysitter all day Monday through Friday because we had to pay for her spot anyway, so we figured it'd be great for her to stay in that routine, get some time with other kids her age & give me some time alone with Lux. So during the week it's just me & Lux while Lewis is at work & Isis is at the babysitter. When both Isis and Lux are at home, Lewis is always there, with the exception of maybe 30 minutes here & there. Lewis has been home every night for bedtimes, too. He also gets up with Isis if she wakes up at night and he brings Lux to me to nurse in the middle of the night. (Have I told you recently how much I adore & appreciate my husband? He's pretty fabulous.) But that basically means that I'm not really left to do a lot of this alone very often.
Seeing how it was the first time I've ever done bedtime alone with 2, I feel a little like Super-Mom. I was able to get them both bathed, Isis in the regular bath & Lux a sponge bath at the sink, I also got Lux's sheets changed & I did a load of laundry. There were no major breakdowns & everything went fairly smoothly! I was really celebrating afterwards! And I think that's okay. I feel like I need to celebrate my firsts with them and my mommy milestones! That is definitely one of them!
Only sad thing is that I don't have any pictures of it to share because, hello, look at everything I was doing! I was busy. But I shared a cute Halloween picture from Wednesday night! Yay!
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