Wednesday, January 23, 2013

1 Month

I wrote this post a while back but never added the pictures. So here is a very late 1 month update on the man child...

Growth
This month started off a little rough. He was so sleepy and didn't want to eat. He lost weight like most newborns do and then has slowly been recovering those pounds. I still feel like he is so tiny. At his lowest he was 6lbs 8oz. At his two week appointment he was back up to 6lbs 15oz. I was relieved. I think I can relax now. I'm glad we don't need to worry about supplementing anymore (something they had us do for a few days until my milk came in). I couldn't be more pleased to see that he is now pooping and peeing like a normal baby should!

The first time daddy got to feed you!
Health
We have had two major hurdles to overcome this month. He was very jaundiced. His yellow hue had us trekking to the doctor the day after we brought him home from the hospital. The bilirubin was still high, but not high enough for phototherapy. This left us in a pickle. It meant his little heel had to get stuck yet again the day after Thanksgiving at Childrens Hospital (the only place open for the test). Once again, that level came back high (but not high enough for treatment) and so we were left with no choice but to repeat the test on Monday. I was so tired of watching them stick him and exhausted with having to get out of the house so early in the mornings after broken hours of sleep. We eventually were told that we were in the clear! Then we hit our second hurdle. At the end of his third week of life he began to sound a little stuffy. Before I knew it green and yellow crud was clogging his nose and making him sound like a dolphin when he tried to clear his throat. Patrick and I started calling him flipper. It was scary to watch him struggle to breath at times. I remember sitting up at a 2am feeding and working so hard to help him eat. He was crying so hard and I just wanted to melt into a heap and cry with him, but I stayed strong. I knew that his little body would eventually recover so Patrick and I did everything we could to help in the meantime. We used saline drops at every feeding, a bulb suction, and a cool mist humidifier.

The day after Thanksgiving at Childrens Hospital



Milestones
He is slowly waking up to the world around him. The first two weeks of his life he stayed in that blissful newborn stupor that left him sleepy and unaware of much of the days and nights. He would barely wake up for feedings before drifting off to never never land again. Around his third week of life, however, he began to wake up. Little by little I've enjoyed watching him watch us. He now picks up his head quite a bit when on my chest and even turns it from side to side. Around 3 weeks we began to catch little glimpses of smiles here and there. They are probably just gas related, but it's cute just the same.


Eating
He eats every 2.5 to 3.5 hours. The first week of his life I was instructed not to let him go longer than 2.5 until his weight and color improved. I was exhausted. It's amazing how much easier it feels to let him have that extra 30 minutes. There were many days that I wondered if he would ever just wake up hungry on his own or if I was always going to have to wake him. I know it was silly. Around week 3 he started waking up and making his hunger known. While he would wake up hungry, he wouldn't always latch on to the source of food. I had to get creative many times to get him to eat. We would sometimes "trick" him by putting a paci in his mouth and then doing a quick switch. Other times, when that failed, we would give him a couple of sips from a bottle (expressed breastmilk) and that would calm him enough that he would latch on. He finally settled out during week 4. I'm still having to use a nipple shield but I'm learning that the most important thing is that he is getting breast milk so who cares if there is a nipple shield involved. Gosh, I feel like I could write a whole post on breastfeeding and weaning from a nipple shield. Let's just say that I'm learning a lot of patience. We were both very happy to see the bottles go, though. Those early weeks made me happy that formula is not our plan. Daddy and I both hate dishes!

Sunbathing on the new deck.
Sleeping
He slept in our room for the first week home. It made life so much easier on me. I still needed lots of help from Patrick with feedings. There were times that he was the only one who could wake the kid up! I think Owen likes Patrick's deeper voice. By the second week I could tell how tired it was making Patrick and he had to go back to work so I decided it was time to put Owen in his crib. I think we all sleep better this way. Now Owen and I don't wake daddy up anymore. Well, most of the time we don't. Owen still naps a lot in his cradle during the day, but at night we put him in his crib. At this point,  Owen hasn't slept longer than 3.5 hours. It's starting to catch up with me, but I'm holding out hope that it will soon pass.

We tried keeping him in sunny spots around the house.
At one week we would frequently find him on his side.
At two weeks we were getting better.
Playing
There hasn't been very distinctive playtime this month. We've put him in the swing some but mostly he sleeps! Playing consists of the few minutes of burping and looking around after eating. There have been a few days that he has decided to stay up for hours. I can remember one day during week 3 that he wanted to stay awake and eat over and over again. So I fed him again and again (about 4 times I think) and then he slept. I think it was a growth spurt.

Pretty awesome face after bathtime.
Out and about
Surpisingly, we have managed to go other places than the doctor. I took him out when he was exactly one week old so that he and I could get some sun. I drove to the Youth House and put him in his stroller. All of the students came and looked at him after Sunday School. They thought he was pretty neat. Sometime during his third week we managed to get out so we could eat dinner (Mexican, of course) with church friends. The next trip, and the longest, was to Granny's house in Atalla. He did great. During his 4th week we made it to a Christmas party with him. Overall, I feel pretty good about this. I know that I've got a long way to go in this department, but I think it's just hard with the first baby. I don't have any other kids that force me to go out and about. Sometimes it is so much easier to sit at home, but I know this isn't healthy. I'm working on it!

2 week checkup
My Dear Sweet Owen,

You are a month old. I can't believe that I've now been a mommy for that long. It's just the beginning and it is still sinking in. There are moments during the day that I look at you as if for the first time- like I'm surprised to see you in my arms. It then hits me all over again that you're real and that you're my son. Do you realize how special you are? There may come a day that your daddy and I decide you need a little brother or sister, but it won't be the same. I'm not saying we won't love him or her, but that we've already been irreversibly changed. You will always be the one that changed me first. You are the one that made me a mommy.  

While these early weeks have been exhausting, I wouldn't trade a second of them. The tears, sleeplessness, laughter, worry, and indescribable joy have put us on the roller coaster of our lives thus far. You are hard work, but somehow I don't mind it. I have been amazed at the strength that God has given me. There have been days that I've been acutely aware of His Spirit providing strength and patience. My prayer is that I will remain patient in spite of the fatigue. I want to be a good mommy to you. I hope to exhibit the love and grace that I've received.

My prayers for you started long ago- the day I learned of your existence. I can still remember your daddy and I sitting on the couch with tears of joy in our eyes. I remember our prayer for you. We prayed then that our Heavenly Father would call you his own. The longing of our hearts is that you will never know a day where you didn't know God as your Savior and Lord. Even now, I'm in constant prayer for your future. It's hard to believe it but I know that you won't be my little baby forever.

 I love you more than words can say doodle bug! You are the sweetest and cutest baby I've ever seen. It's already been so much fun being your mommy and I'm looking forward to where we will go from here!