Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Evan: 1 Month

Evan is almost 2 months old now, but who's counting? (ME! I'm counting! Make time slow down!). I'm obviously a little behind :-) I'm not even sure I intend to do a monthly post for him each month, but I have a spare moment of free time right now so I thought I'd at least share about his first month. 

It was a total blur. I took a gillion pictures and videos so that maybe when life slows down I can go back and re-live some of his first weeks home. Kyle was home from his birth (Dec 16) until the first week of the new year. It was so glorious. When Mary was born Kyle only took a week off work and then took off several week's worth of Wednesdays in a row. My dad was also still living with us at that time so I had a built-in babysitter for Drew. This time around though, my dad no longer lives with ys, so I knew I needed Kyle home for two straight weeks so I could get breastfeeding established, heal from birth, and just get a smidgen of my whits about me before he returned to work. It was also Christmas and New Years while he was home, so that was really special getting to be together as a complete family during the holidays.

When Evan was born he had a tongue-tie, which they clipped in the hospital. After that his nursing got much better. About 2 weeks after he was born, he starting showing signs of reflux (just like Mary did). Mary's was silent reflux (meaning she would reflux but not spit up), whereas Evan's was definitely not silent. Still - at almost 8 weeks old - he spits up after every single feeding. I took Evan to my favorite breastfeeding support group to check his breastfeeding status (mainly, how well is he transferring milk and how much milk is he transferring). The lactation consult (whom I LOVE and she's helped me nurse all three of my babies now) confirmed that yes he does have reflux. We also found that Evan transfers a high amount of milk in a short amount of time - basically, he guzzles while breastfeeding. Which really doesn't help his reflux. I talked with his pediatrician and we put him on some reflux meds, but after a few weeks I didn't feel they were helping. I held out as long as I could, but eventually I caved and took the advice of both the LC and his pediatrician that I needed to eliminate dairy from my diet to see if that would ease his pain from his reflux. After two long weeks (how long is takes for dairy to clear my system - and his), his skin had cleared up and his pain seemed nearly gone. He still spits up after every feeding, but he rarely seems to be in pain from it anymore. Hooray! I'll just be over here in the corner mourning the loss of cheese from my life until I'm done breastfeeding.

Having my gallstones over the summer and not being able to eat much fat for those few weeks before surgery really prepared me for going off dairy. I already had practice in altering my diet, and knew what to expect in terms of my emotions. When I had to limit fat in my diet before, I was surprised at how upset I would get about not being able to eat freely. I had no idea I was that much of an emotional eater - that I got that much joy from yummy food. I don't think it's wrong to get joy from yummy food, but my underlying reaction to not being able to eat whatever I wanted revealed some bitterness that helped me realize I had some emotional ties to food that I wasn't aware of. I was ready for that this time around, because nothing brings out a postpartum woman's emotions like telling her she can't eat cheese! Because I'm breastfeeding, I need to be strategic about the protein I eat so that I can stay full. Because of the older kids, I can't just snack all day (or they would then want to snack all day too) so I have to be smart about my meals and make sure they are filling enough to hold me over until next meal time. Unless I want to sneak snacks in the bathroom, which I'm not above doing! Fortunately, I have a brilliant girlfriend who has all sorts of degrees and certifications and what have you in the nutrition field. She currently work in the NICU at Swedish Downtown, but has worked with adults as well and her knowledge of all things nutrition is outstanding. I've consulted with her countless times about my kids diets, our diets, my diet, vitamins, supplements, breastmilk questions, toddler food behaviors. She held my hand through the gallbladder attack, and is again holding my hand through my elimination of dairy from my diet. Couldn't do this without her - love you, Leah!

Other than eating and spitting up, Evan just sleeps. The Lord clearly knew I needed a sleepy baby this time around. I was so confused about what I was doing with Drew, and Mary hated sleep until I whipped her into shape. She and Evan now rival for title of "best sleeping child". At nearly 8 weeks old, Evan stays awake about an hour before needing another 2 hour nap. He's waking once to eat at night. 

He's started smiling at Kyle, but only a few times for me. Seriously, why do little boys insist on breaking their mom's hearts?! I do all sorts of embarrassing things to get him to smile and he'll kinda lift his cheek a little. Then Kyle comes home and it's like Jesus himself walked into the room - big smiles, a laugh here and there, wiggly arms and kicks. Although I don't totally blame Evan - my attention is so divided between the three kids that he probably legit thinks it's only my job to feed him and then nothing more. 

So three kids, three and under. Woof. It's been rough. Just like I expected. Logistically it's fine, but mentally it's a lot for me. I think an extrovert might fair better, but as an introvert being "on" all day saps the energy from my brain. I'm hoping it's something I will continually build up a tolerance for. Drew and Mary are so cute and full of life and I want to be present and engage with them as much as I can, while also slowing down for Evan and not rushing him through his infancy. All three have very unique needs right now and it takes up a lot of my mind trying to keep a pulse on each of them. I try to get as much sleep at night as possible, so sometimes it feels like Kyle and I barely manage a high-five in the kitchen as one of us is cleaning up dinner while the other gets the kids in the bath. Kyle is truly amazing. He's like a steam train right now - nothing can slow him down. He gets the kids up, makes breakfast, goes to work, comes home, roughhouses with the kids, does their baths, gets them to bed, cleans up the house, goes to bed, repeat. And somehow he does all that with a cheerful and optimistic attitude! Love him lots.