Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Mary: 1 Month

We made it one month! And boy what a month it's been. For us, going from 1 to 2 kids has been much more difficult than going from 0 to 1. This is mainly because Mary hates sleep with the fury of a 1,000 suns. So there has been lots of baby cuddling going on at our house! With Drew I was very rigid with his schedule because I was afraid to deviate. It's also easy to read online what has worked for other moms and then get stuck in the rut of trying to make that work for your own kid; I definitely did that with Drew. With Mary we're more flexible because we have to take the entire family's needs into account. It's also easier to be flexible when you have one child already because you have more confidence that it will all sort itself out eventually. I also have an amazingly optimistic husband and wonderful support network of seasoned moms to help remind me to take things one day at a time. It takes a village!

Overall Mary is happy baby. She's only not happy when she can tell the transition to a nap or bedtime sleep is approaching. The last month has been one long, never-ending, "choose your own adventure" attempt to figure out what would make Mary most comfortable going to (and staying!) asleep. At this point I think it's safe to say we've tried every reasonable combination of advice out there and we're just taking it nap by nap and night by night. Her worst time of day is predictably in the evening; she has a fierce witching hour. It used to be from 7pm - 10pm, but now is comes on promptly at 8pm and usually subsides by 9:30pm. Then she's essentially out for the night. She is sleeping well at night once she's asleep, thankfully. She takes a late evening feeding around 10:30pm and then a middle of the night feeding around 3:30am. On a good night she basically sleeps through those feedings or falls asleep right after them, and then wakes at 7am to start the day. On a bad night Kyle will go in and sit with her until she falls back asleep after a feeding. So while I'm not getting any naps during the day, I am getting some decent hauls of sleep at night. Kinda.

At about 2 weeks old I figured out that Mary was suffering from silent reflux. To clarify, silent reflux does not mean reflux with no crying (wouldn't that be a treat!). Silent reflux is when the baby has reflux but there isn't much actual spit up because she's spitting up and then swallowing it back down. Silent reflux is extra uncomfortable for babies because the milk they tried to spit up goes back down their throat, so it's double exposure to the acidic content of their stomach going up and down. After talking with her pediatrician we decided to put her on medicine for it and she's doing much better. It's not totally cured (and wont be until she naturally grows out of it as she gets older), but there is much less crying and general fussiness after eating.

Speaking of eating, she nurses well and I'm finding it's so easy to breastfeed her in comparison to Drew because this time my wrists and hands aren't numb; it's amazing the difference not having carpel tunnel makes! Right now she's exclusively breastfeeding, however we do a bottle of breast milk every few days to allow her to work on her bottle skills. She takes the bottle without issue, which has been great because I don't like nursing in public so I'll often pump a bottle of milk to take with me before we go out somewhere.

Her awake times are short, but I try to maximize them none the less. We do singing, baths, tummy time, "play time" with Drew, tours around the house, looking in a mirror, etc. She just started smiling at me a few days ago and that's been a wonderful development!

Drew is still adjusting to having Mary around and last week he started showing some aggression toward me at bed time. The following days I made an attempt to increase the amount of quality time I spend with him and that seems to have helped. I also am making more of an effort to stop and look him in the eyes when I'm talking to him. Baby Mary takes up a lot of my attention, but I desperately want Drew to know he's still important to me. When Kyle is home on Wednesdays he takes Mary in the mornings and I take Drew out of the house for mom + Drew time. I really look forward to those times because I find myself missing Drew throughout the week. My dad and Kyle have been so helpful in taking care of Drew, but sometimes I just want to be with my son! I've been told this is normal and eventually Mary will become easier to care for and I'll be able to better split my time evenly between my two kids.

Side note: my two kids? It feels like just yesterday I was in a puddle of tears because I was having trouble getting pregnant with Drew. And then another even bigger puddle of tears when we had even more trouble getting pregnant with Mary. And now we just have two kids. How crazy awesome is that?! God is so good and His timing is so perfect. Whenever both the kids are sleeping and I'm watching them side by side on the video monitor I can't help but just thank God profusely for giving us these two tiny humans to love (I guess it's extra easy to be thankful when they are both sleeping peacefully!).

I've been re-reading this book in the spare moments I have when Mary is  (finally) sleeping and Drew is elbow-deep in legos; I love this book because the chapters are so short I can usually finish one each time I start reading. The last chapter I read was talking about not counting the minutes of lost sleep in the middle of the night with a newborn. The idea is that as a mom you are simply there when your baby needs you. I love this concept and I'm trying to apply it to all of my mothering right now. Because there are many, many lost minutes right now. Minutes I could have been showering, minutes I wanted to be with one child but the other child needed me, minutes I couldn't spend to get dinner on the table on time, minutes lost in the middle of the night dealing with diaper changes in the dark...but the point is, I'm there when my kids need me. And as the weeks go on and we get some semblance of normalcy back, I want to extend this to my marriage as well - because my life isn't just about being there for my kids, it's about being there for my husband as well. He needs my minutes, too.

Alright - enough rambling, here are some pics from Mary's first month:

She has kept all of her hair from birth, so far!
Working on their friendship
Baby sleeps!
That little lower lip!
Tandem naps
Mom and Mary selfie!
Baby stretches 
The noodle pose never gets old for us! So cute!
Don't let her sleep smiles deceive you - she hates sleep!
Drew loves all the visitors because they usually end up reading him
books! Drew struck gold with my Aunt Shirley, because who better to read you
books then a retired librarian?!
Mary with great-grandma Pat
Mary with great-grandma Eva
Drew likes to help me wake Mary up from her naps
Full hands, full heart!
My standard view when I'm nursing. In this picture Drew is "talking" to Mimi
 (my mom) on the phone. I hardly even talk on the phone so I don't know
where he learned this pretend behavior from, but he loves to
call Mimi, Uncle Zeke, and Aunt Brooke (in that order).
Our bedtime routine has changed a little, but we still
all gather on the big bed for evening Bible stories (not pictured: Mary nursing).
Snuggles with dad
Finally got those eyes open bright!
Tummy time on mom's tummy
Wearing her cute little bow from Sew Crazy
We've been using this swing a lot!
My first walk with both the kids: Mary in the
carrier and Drew in the stroller.
Heaven: what it looks like when they are both
sleeping at the same time!
Sibling "play time"
Kyle camped out in Mary's room after a particularly rough night
 (Mary's in her crib, NOT under the blanket!)

Mary at 1 month...
...and Drew at 1 month!

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