Monday, January 30, 2012

One Month of Baby

Can you believe Livi turned one month old yesterday? It's been quite the month to say the least. You've seen the pictures-we've got a CUTE daughter!! I thought I'd share a few things I've learned on the journey so far.

Childbirth is indescribable. You'll hear story after story of nurses, epidurals, birthing pools, pushing, etc., but you can never really understand what it's like until you go through it yourself. I admit the whole hospital experience is a blur, but giving birth to Olivia with Jeff holding my hand is something I'll never forget. A miracle!

I've never experienced tired like this tired. I love sleep and let's face it, it's elusive these days. If there is anything worth losing sleep over, though, it's our little gal. (side note-that doesn't mean it's fun to lose sleep!)

Dressing babies is hard! They wiggle and move and cry LOUD. I have still only attempted to put clothes over her head about twice. I much prefer snaps or zippers. We have tons of cute outfits, for which we are so grateful, but I have to stick with what is easy for both of us right now, and that is SNAPS. She's already too big for her newborn clothes. The 0-3 months are a little big, but I have a feeling she'll grow into them pretty quickly. Yikes, she's almost a teenager!

Having a plan for a newborn is a sweet idea, but being flexible is a much better idea. And being flexible for an OCD type A mama is a bit on the tough side. I had all these grand ideas about how our days would look and those ideas stayed ideas, not reality. Week 1 was different than week 2 and so on.

The first month is HARD. Side note, that doesn't mean I don't love my baby! But getting up every 2 hours to feed her is hard. Feeding her feels like being a milk machine. Not knowing how to make a baby stop crying is exhausting and terrifying and depressing and sad and I feel so bad for our little girl not knowing how to make her feel better. Emotions are not just runing all over the place, they are jumping, screeching, swaying, punching and kicking through me, causing many tears for me and many nights of my poor hubby not knowing what to do for me or Olivia. But that's normal. LOTS of babies cry a lot. Lots of mamas wonder what they are doing wrong and what to do that is right. Lots of daddy's are at a loss for how to help and are also experiencing their own emotions and tiredness.

Here is a hard one that goes with the whole planning thing: newborn cloth diapers are not working for us :( I feel sad that not only are we going to have to not be as green as I'd like, but we'll have to spend more money on disposables for now. I'm hoping and praying that the big girl diapers will work like a charm, but until then, with our poor fussy girl, we'll do what works best for us at the time. Hey, I bought the diapers used, so hopefully I can sell them used and it will at least be a wash financially on that side.

I don't think doctors know what they're talking about, they seem to just do a lot of guessing. Poor Olivia cries. She didn't at first. She seemed like such a happy, easy baby for the first 2 weeks. Well that's probably because tiny newborns just sleep most of the time. Plus I've heard that you'll get used to something for 2 weeks and then it will change! The 2nd two weeks have shown us that Livi seems to be at least very uncomfortable if not fully in pain a lot of the time. THe doctor thought it might be acid reflux, but the meds for that didn't work. There might be another med that could work, but of course it's unavailable and the brand name is like $300! Then it might be colic. What is colic? Well the doctors aren't really sure. Apparently since she cries more in the evening it could be colic, but since no one really knows what that is, how do we make her feel better? Maybe gripe water? Maybe gas drops? Maybe she just doesn't like being awake? Maybe she is allergic to my milk? Maybe formula would help? Who knows? Who KNOWS? (no seriously, if you know, TELL US!)

Laundry is never ending. Period.

Babies are SO CUTE. Not just "babies" but OURS. Her little eyes, her scrunchy face, that pretty dark hair. Those little big feet and hands. The rolls on her thighs. Her adorable outfits. Her dimples. We are so excited to see her smile, find out her personality, make her laugh, laugh with her, teach her things.

Finding what works best for your family is what IS best. Not doing it like this book says, like that expert says, like that mommy bloggers says, like your neighbor says, doesn't mean you're doing it wrong. The best thing for your family is what works best for you.

The support of family and friends is immeasurable. I'm so grateful for the meals we've been given, the visits, the trips to the store and the help with laundry and cleaning, the extra hands holding and walking and rocking the baby, the stories from other parents who had similar situations. THANK YOU!

Give yourself grace. For the things that didn't go the way you planned. For the frustration you feel. For the tears. For the questions. For the worries. This is a huge life change. It's for the best. It's a great change. So while you figure it out, let yourself let go of some of those things. Let yourself settle into what is going on. Let the adorable new life in your life wrap you up in her dimples, her tiny fingers, her precious lips and even her tears.

I've mentioned that Olivia doesn't like to get her diapers or clothes changed. She cries a lot while she is awake now. But let me tell you what she likes. She likes to be snuggled facing you on your chest. She likes to look around while you hold her when she's not crying. She likes the sound of a bathroom fan and a vacuum. She likes to take a bath (although doesn't like getting out of the bathtub-brrrr!) Swaddling worked for a while, but I don't think she loves that any more. She seems to like sleeping either on one of our chests or in her vibrating seat. She likes to be walked around and held on your chest. She likes car rides and stroller rides.

We've learned a lot, but I feel like I still know nothing. We have much more to learn and figure out and I'm crossing my fingers and toes and eyeballs that the next month will be even better than the first. Being a parent to a newborn is a lot more work than I thought, but already it's rewarding and fun and has taught me a lot about myself. Having a wonderful husband makes all the difference in the world. Jeff is much more patient than me, and is so soothing and empathetic to Livi. He is amazing for both of us as he has been for Cade these past 13 years. I don't know how single parents can do this, but I am so impressed by any and all parents who lovingly raise their kiddos.

We appreciate your thoughts and prayers as we try to figure out if Olivia is hurting or just fussy for fussy sake. Thanks again for journeying with us.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Olivia - 4 weeks


Olivia Layne is now 4 weeks old! She had her well baby appointment today and seemed to do great. She is still 21.5" tall, now in the 70th percentile. She weighs 8 lb 13 oz. I love her chubby cheeks and chubby thighs! She is fitting into her cloth diapers a bit better now :) 

We've had a rough go of it the past couple of weeks. She has been crying a lot during the day and evenings. We tried some meds for acid reflux, but it didn't seem to help, not to mention it's peppermint flavored and babies don't like that! It might be a combo of reflux and colic (and the doctors don't even really know what colic is, nice) so we're considering another type of medicine, me cutting out dairy and perhaps a special formula. She also hates being put down now, so setting her in her crib or swing results in crying and a tired mama. I wish I could say she likes her sling or the Moby Wrap, but at this point that's a no.

However today has been the BEST day she's had in a long time. Daddy stayed home today and I think they just love being together so much that it made her much happier.  I wish all FOUR of us could be together all the time. Who knows how this evening will be, but I hope it will be better than usual, too. Livi is making all kinds of grunts and squeaks. She wiggles around and kicks a lot. She has accidental smiles and we're looking forward to real social smiles soon so we can see those dimples!

Jeff loves to play with Livi and Clarence and Clare Bear is a pretty good sport :)

Here is Livi in her princess kitty shirt from Aunt Sara. So cute!

And here are some gorgeous roses Jeff brought home for me last week to tell me I'm being a good mama.

This is a TOUGH job for me and I'm still having trouble coping at times. Some days are good, some are really good, and some are pretty hard. To keep things honest on this old blog, I'm going to see a counselor next week to try to help me out with some of the hard emotions I'm going through. I'd appreciate your positive thoughts and prayers so that I can really cherish this precious girl and all our special time together. Thanks!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Another post about Olivia

like a little doll

snuggled up with Grandma

content in her crib for about 5 minutes-a good start!

her first real bath! I cried a little because I was worried about how high the water was. Jeff just shook his head and told me she'd be fine-she's going to be a swimmer. She LOVED the bath!

Watching Daddy

Daddy with a silly face

Taking our first walk as the 3 of us

Olivia is still a Tebow fan, despite the loss against the Patriots

Visitors! Aunt Sarah came to meet Olivia. Such fun!

Clarence either protecting or choking his new baby

Grandpa set Olivia right on the table so he could eat!

More visitors! Aunt Tiff with baby John (maybe they'll get married!) and Aunt Steph

A little angel

Snuggle time!

Olivia - 3 Weeks

Our computer has been broken :( Luckily Grandma Smalberger is here today and she brought her laptop so I can catch up at least a little. Can you believe Olivia is 3 weeks old already? I can't tell you how many people have said "enjoy every moment, it goes by so fast!" I've also had a few friends remind me that not every moment is enjoyable and that's OK, too. I can see little Olivia changing bit by bit-she is really getting bigger! Her little legs are still a bit too skinny for our cloth diapers, but I still like to use them. Hey, if I have to wash the diaper, what is the big deal about washing her outfit, too? I think we'll continue to use the disposables at night for a while. I'm just not quite in the place where I can be awake enough to rinse the cloth diapers out at 3am. It's a compromise and I'm totally fine with that. She layed in her crib contently for about 5 minutes a couple of days ago. YAY! She also looks around quite a bit now when she's awake-she likes looking at the lights on the ceiling. We've had a couple of hard nights with her crying a lot, but we've also had a couple of good nights with long stretches of sleep. Last night was awesome because she slept in her little chair most of the night rather than on her mama. A good friend, Kimberly, told me she thinks babies go in cycles and as soon as you get something "figured out" it will change and you'll have to figure something else out. We're certainly getting more used to things, but we have a long way to go. Thanks for keeping up with our journey :)

This was our attempt on her actual 3 week birthday-not so into it. So the above photos are the following day.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Olivia - 2 Weeks

On Wednesday at 11:00 PM Olivia turned 2 weeks old! We had her well baby visit and the doctor (who I love, by the way) said she is looking good. She went from 7 lb 9 oz at birth down to 6 lb 13 oz but is now back up to 7 lb 14 oz. Good girl! She also grew 1.5" and is now 21.5" long. She is in the 90th precentile for height! She continues to be a good little baby. She is already starting to sleep a little longer at nights. Well, last night was amazing, the night before that was one of the hardest. Let's hope tonight is more like last night with 2 almost 4 hour stretches! She still hates getting her diaper changed and hates getting her clothes changed, which makes for a frazzled mama, but I'm trying to learn that it's OK that she screams for a few minutes, because when the changing is all over she'll be happy again. She loves to cuddle with her daddy when he gets home from work. She is staying wake a bit longer during the days and watches the mobile on her swing or the toy on her seat. Her eyes go back and forth, sometimes looking at things, sometimes looking at nothing. She loved being swaddled and held to sleep for the past 2 weeks, but it seems like now she prefers to lay on her back with her arms out, thank goodness! We'll see if that lasts-I sure hope so. She is SO.CUTE. I think we'll keep her ;)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The baby

we tried out our sling today and Olivia seemed to love it!

Look at her little face!

Taking our first walk in the stroller

Same picture different day

Love those little hands!

Grace sent Olivia the prettiest roses and sweetest note-thanks Grace!

Sleeping in the swing-doesn't happen often-baby girls loves to be held and snuggled

Clarence and Olivia taking a nap together

All snuggled up in her new Swaddle Me wrap-thanks Grandma!