Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Elias: 5 Month Update

Age: 5 Months

Weight: Not really sure, but probably around 15-16 pounds. Little tank. He's just SOLID.
Diaper Size: 2's with 3 overnight diapers at night
Clothing Size: 3-6 month

Sleep: I always put him down wide awake and he generally does great at going to sleep with minimal, if any, fussing. Naps are pretty great. Night, however, is another story. He's generally down from 7pm-12am, with the DF. But, starting around 12am, he wakes several times needing me to go re-paci him or pat and shush him. I only feed him once, around 2am. Then, starting around 4:45am til DWT is a constant battle of re-paci's. It's exhausting and frustrating. I'm hoping now that I'm really working on the day time schedule and we're going to introduce solids, he'll cut that on his own. But, something tells me I'm going to need to do some very intentional and not so fun sleep training. Ugh. I'm giving him til 6 months.

Schedule: Right at about the 5 month mark, we began working pretty hard to get a better and set schedule. It's not easy and it's not fun. It's sacrificing going out and doing things during the day which can make me go a bit stir crazy, but it'll be worth it in the long run... I hope. His current schedule is (ideally):
6:30am: DWT and nurse, then play
8:30-10am: Nap
10am: Nurse and play (no nap, or at most a quick cat nap on our way home from somewhere)
12pm: Nurse and play
1-3pm: Nap
3:30pm: Nurse then play
4:30-5pm: Catnap
5-6:30pm: Play
6:30pm: Nurse, then bedtime routine
7pm: Bed
10:30pm: Dream Feed bottle
~2am: MOTN feed

Nurse/Eating: The same. We're nursing exclusively, with 2 bottles of pumped milk a day-- at about 3pm because my supply just seems to dip then and again at about 10:30pm from the Hubs while I'm asleep. I still stare longingly at the formula every time I'm at the store. I know formula would be easier, but I also know nursing important to me. So, after I stare for a few minutes I walk away empty handed. I don't know if we'll make it a whole year nursing, but I'm trying.

General: Still working through the colic. It's definitely not been easy. He's a high maintenance baby through and through. But, I do think he's getting easier and less fussy everyday. It's a slow process, but I think we're getting through it.

He LOVES to stand on his legs and to kick like crazy when he's laying down. He's got some super strong legs. Maybe a future soccer star!

Likes: Still super into the play mat. He also loves his bouncer thing.

Oh, and me. He's a total and complete mama's boy.

He loves watching his big sister which is just the cutest thing in the world.

He likes bath time until he gets out and then it's meltdown city. And, being outside. He'll be totally content for his longest stretches as long as he's in the fresh air.

Of course, with this being March in Michigan, the days we can get outside right now are limited, but we make sure to take full advantage of the nice days.  

Dislike: Losing his paci, getting into the carseat, and keeping socks on his feet. Kid is always barefoot.

Special Moments: More smiles and giggles. First St. Patrick's Day!

Little man is definitely a handful and keeps me busy. Those checks make me want to do nothing but kiss them all day! He is so very loved.  

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Elias: 3 & 4 Month Recap

Poor second kid. I totally meant to get the 3 month recap up and I just never got to it. Blah. I suck. But, whatever. Here's a few 3 month pics!

Now, let's dive straight into a 4 month recap!

Age:4 Months


Weight: 14lb
Length: 24.5 in
Head:16.5 in
Diaper Size: Moved from 1 to 2 right after he turned 4 months
Clothing Size: Some 0-3 month stuff still fits, but moving to 3-6 month stuff

Sleep: Blaaaaaah. I mean, he's not a terrible sleeper, I suppose. But he most certainly isn't a great sleeper. At night, he's up anywhere from 2-10 times needed just to be paci-ed and once around 3 to eat.

I feel like the needing to be re-paci-ed issue is a mess. I don't know if I should just say screw it and force him to drop it altogether with some oh so fun CIO or if I should just sorta stick it out til he can pick it up and put it back in himself (not that he even could right now b/c he's still swaddled). Ugh. I don't really remember B needed me to stick it back in sooooo often in the MOTN, but maybe that's just been blocked out. I'm not sure. Hopefully he gets the hang of it soon, dammit.

Schedule: Welp. Turns out it's SUPER hard to keep a good schedule with kid 2. Like, really hard. Or at least it's super hard for me. He's LOOSELY on the following schedule:
6:30-7:30/45am: DWT. Nurse, play
7:30/45-9:30am: Nap 1. Always in crib. This is generally his best nap.
9:30am-12:30pm: A totally cluster. He eats and then its just a mess of play and sleep and play and sleep. We're always out and about during this time, so it's just a mess. It's never in his crib. It's almost always in his car seat or being held. It's just a freaking mess. Ugh. And it's all my fault because we're go-go-go.
12:30pm-1:30pm: Nurse, play. Sometimes it's only til 1 if he had a really short nap for nap 2.
1:30-3:30pm: Nap 3. Almost always in crib. Generally this one is pretty good.
3:30-5:30pm: Nurse, play, catnap. Ideally, it'd be 3:30-4:45 as wake time, and then 4:45-5:30 as a cat nap, but this really just varies because we're often at the gym during this time and sometimes he naps there and sometimes not. Again, totally my fault.
5:30-7pm: Nurse and play
7pm: Nurse and bed
10:30pm: Matt gives DF bottle (~4oz)
3am: MOTN feed

I know in order to get him on a good schedule, he need consistency. And I know to get consistency he needs me to sit down and not leave the house for weeks. And I just can't. And I just won't. So, I really don't know. We'll see how this pans out. I'm going to really try to focus on DWT being the same, getting the times of the feeds at the right times, and getting at least 1/2 solid naps a day and hope the rest sorta play themselves out.

One way to pretty much ensure he naps is to move him to the RNP. I'm trying hard not to move him there every time because I know he can't be in there forever even though it's the magic bullet for now. It's a last resort and I try not to crack too too often.

Nurse/Eating: The same-- it's going. I genuinely do not enjoy nursing this time. I feel awful saying that, but it is what it is. I'm committed to it and I'm sticking with it. It's important to me, but I'm counting down the moments til we're done. 8 months and counting... :)

And I'm still pumping 2-3 times a day. Matt's consistently giving him a DF bottle. He generally takes a bottle great, but has had a few weird spurts where he COMPLETELY refuses to take the bottle for some reason. He's such a weirdo kid. What works one day seems to not work the next for no reason.

General: Ugh. Have I mentioned Eli has colic? Because he does. And it's the absolute worst. Every time I think he's growing out of it, we have bad days. There's just sooooo much crying. All the time. Sometimes no matter what. We have good days and moments too, but sometimes he just will not stop crying. And it's soul crushing. But, we're moving through it. Slowly. I think we're slowly getting through it. SLOWLY. Or at least I hope.

Likes: The playmat! He LOVES looking into the mirror and now he bats at the toys and grabs onto them. We also started putting him into the jumper sometimes now. It's hit or miss, but I can tell he's going to love putting the pieces into his mouth any day now. He's slowly starting to get interested in toys. He's still a total mamas boy.

Dislike: Getting into the car seat. He haaates it. Once we're moving he's generally happy, but the second the car stops (even at stoplights), he hates it. He's better than Bailey but still not a happy car baby. Beyond that, who knows. Like I mentioned, some days he HATES the bottle, some days not. Some days he likes being held one way, and some days he screams his head off.

Special Moments: Much more smiles! Which is so great. It makes the screaming moments much easier to handle. We've even got a couple little chuckles which is great and we're getting more coo's and sweet noises. He's started to notice his hands and more things and people around him. We had our first time where he smiled at strangers at a restaurant and they just loved him, so that was fun. He's sorta starting to wake up and starting to become more baby and less infant. We're not there just yet, but we're getting closer.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Elias: 2 Month Recap

Age: 2 months!

Weight: 10.27 pounds (13% on normal non-premie scare)
Height: 22.9 inches (44% on normal non-premie scare)

He's growing great! Both his percentages are up and the doctor is really happy with his gains. He's happy and healthy... well, happy might be pushing it... :/

Sleep: Wait... what's this sleep you speak of? No, no, I kid... he's doing... ok.

MOST nights, he goes to "bed" at 7:15pm right after nursing. Then, he wakes on his own b/t 10-11pm, 1-2am, and, then again around 5-5:30am, before getting up-up for the day at 6:30am. The last wake-up is the worst. SOMETIMES, if he doesn't get up til 2:30am for the one before, he can make it to 6:30am. It's just so inconsistent and nothing we try seems to ensure 1 thing or another. And trust me, we've tried it all. Bottles, nursing, nursing and bottle, gripe water, gas drops, sleeping in Rock N Play, sleeping in crib, sleeping near us, sleeping in own room. We've tried. it. all. Ok, everything except co-sleeping. It's just not for me. But, beyond that- man. We've tried it. I think... perhaps... he's JUST A BABY and just not ready to be consistent yet. SHOCKER, I know. Keep reminding me of this, ok? I forget. A lot. LUCKILY, most nights he goes right back to sleep, so he has his days/nights figured out pretty well. I'll take that. Oh! And we moved him to his crib (and often RNP) in his room sometime at about the 1.5 month mark. We all sleep so much better when he's in his room. Newborns are so noisy! 

Awake Time/Schedule: Right now, his schedule is pretty good... it's a lot more fluid and changing than Bailey's was (poor second kid) because we're on the go and our schedule changes day to day. Baby's gotta fit into family, right? So, his schedule is:

6:30am: Desired Wake Time (DWT). Wake, nurse, change, play. We also get big sister at 7am and she joins us for some playing
7:30-9/9:30am: Down for nap and big sister and I go down for our breakfast and I do my work from home stuff. This is an important nap that I TRY to have be consistent everyday and try to have be in his crib.
9/9:30am: Wake, nurse, change, play. Often, we're getting in the car right after this feed to go to a play date or something.
10:30-12: Nap (often in carseat or being worn b/c we're on the go)
12-1: Wake, nurse, change, play. We're usually just walking in door from somewhere, so I get Bailey her lunch, then nurse him.
1-3: BOTH KIDS NAP. This is the #1 most important time to my mental health. OMG. I'd lose it w/o it. BOTH kids go to their rooms, in their beds (I try to do Elias in his crib, not RNP), for 2 solid hours. It's all that keeps me sane. I eat my lunch, prep dinner, clean, do some work, and SOMETIMES take a shower or a nap myself.
3: Wake, nurse, change, play. Then, we get big sister (who RARELY actually falls asleep) from her room and all play.
4:15-5:15pm: Cat nap. He fights this one the most. We're working on it.
5:15pm: Wake, nurse, change, play. No nap b/t this feed and the next.
6:45pm: Stories, song, nurse and bed, in his crib in his room.
MOTN Wake-ups and feeds around 10-11, 1-2, and sometimes 5ish

Nursing/Eating: Going well. I wish he'd stay latched on better instead of pulling off every 2 minutes, but it's going. He's gaining so I assume it's going ok. He's getting more efficient and our nursing sessions are quicker now. I'd say he averages about 7-8 minutes a side each time, when it was about 12-15 minutes per side. B never got faster, so this is a nice change. BUT, I still just DON'T enjoy nursing this time. I'll do it. I'll give it all I have to stick with it, but MAN, I'll be jumping for joy when we're done. Maybe you're not supposed to say or admit that, but I'm saying it. I just don't like nursing. There. Said it.

Likes: He's a mama's boy. Poor Hubs. Elias sometimes will only stop screaming if I'm holding him, esp during the witching hour. I'm hoping it's a short lived phase, b/c man it's rough. He also loves looking at lights and his big sister. He'd rather be held than anything in the world. He loves his paci, even if he spits it out constantly. He likes to be
elevated. Tummy time is either a total miss or a total hit.

Hates: Getting into the car seat and being confined to it unless we're moving. Not being held. EVERYTING IN LIFE between the hours of 4-7pm. The doc said he has "a bit of colic". YAY. Super fun times.

Special Moments: First Thanksgiving! First Christmas! (ok, I guess technically that was after his 2 month birthday by a couple days). SO MANY FIRSTS! He's still so little and certainly doesn't "get" anything yet, but it's fun to have the first ones with him and makes me even more excited for when he does "get" it next year!

Nicknames: Eli, Nugget, Chicken Nugget, Bub, Snuggle Monkey, Baby Brother 

Can't believe it's already been 2 moths. I barely remember life before him and can't wait to see what tomorrow brings. Love this little nugget!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Elias: One Month Recap

Age: I just can't. How has it been a month already? I thought time went by fast when Bailey was at this stage-- well, then it's been in hyper drive since Elias has been born. I just cannot believe he's a month old already. We just passed his official due date, which is also just so crazy. Where does the time go??

Weight: 7 pound
Height: 20 1/4 inches

Elias has taken after his big sister in the slow-weight-gainer category. He was born bigger, but has struggled with nursing more and we've had more weight checks than I can count. By 4 weeks, we've finally been given a (potentially temporary) OK stamp by the doc and don't have another visit til 2 months! He never lost after leaving the hospital, but he gained very slowly and less per day than they wanted til he was about 3 weeks when he started gaining about an ounce a day, which is right on track. Hopefully we'll hear the same at the 2 month check up in a few weeks.

Sleep: About 2-3 hour stretches

The doctor had us on a strict no-more-than-3-hour schedule for feedings, very similar to his big sister, as he too needed to pack on the pounds. But, after his last weight check, the doc has backed off. He still needs to eat 8-10 times per day which is about every 2-3 hours, so not too much has changed. We've never really given him the opportunity to "sleep through the night" not that I think he would even if we let him.

During the day, we try to follow the eat/play/sleep plan and he'll eat every 2-3 hours, making his napping times vary a bit too. We're definitely not on a schedule yet, but we do have some consistencies-- I try to wake him every day at about 8 after Bailey wakes up and has breakfast. Then, I try to get him to nap each day from 1-3, as that's what Bailey "naps" (aka- plays in her bed quietly) and we put him to "sleep" every night at about 7:30pm, after we read books with Bailey and she's down. Everything in between is pretty much a free for all. Having Bailey to entertain and care for all day makes Elias have to go with the flow much more. Poor 2nd kid.

Generally at night I've been nursing him to sleep (I know some people say not to do that... whatever. We did it with Bailey and it worked and I 100% plan to do it again.) and then putting him in his crib til he wakes around 10, when Matt gets him and changes his diaper before waking me to nurse him. Then, he sleeps in the PNP near our bed. Usually he's up again at about 1-2am and then again at about 5am. I then stay awake, shower, pump, and do some work before getting Bailey at 7am and starting our day.

Awake Time:
Again, Elias is similar to his big sister and can stay awake for LONG stretches, if he just isn't feeling the whole nap thing. He can be awake for HOURS at a time or can barely keep his eyes open. There's not a super happy medium just yet. That's fun.

Ugh. I'd say this is the one big area Elias and Bailey have differed on the most. Nursing has been a STRUGGLE with Elias. We're making it work and are still going strong, but with many bumps and bruises on our way. We've been to more weight checks and lactation consultant appointments than I can count. We're FINALLY appointment free til just after Christmas, so that's amazing but also a little nerve wracking to wait and see how he's doing scale wise. We'll see soon enough.

The LC's were/are concerned about my supply and think somehow I just don't have as good of a supply this time around. The LC even had me give him 1 ounce of formula in their office once because he was still hungry and I was totally dry. That's been all the formula he's had, but my supply has still not skyrocketed or anything. I'm taking my weight in fenugreek and other herbs. I'm drinking water all the freaking time. And, I'm pumping. Joy. I HATE pumping and THOUGHT I wouldn't have to do it this time since I'm not working out of the house and all. WRONG. Pumping helps increasing and maintain supply, so I'm doing it. A lot. About 3-5 times a day for about 5 minutes right after nursing. I'm getting about 2.5 ounce a day TOTAL which is essentially nothing, but it's enough for the Hubs to give Elias 1 bottle a day if we want.

Eli is nursing every 2-3 hours, about 8-10 times a day. He does about 10 minutes a side, both sides every time. But, that's a FIGHT. He's so sleepy and really makes me work to get full feedings. Sometimes I win, sometimes he wins.

He cluster feeds often during his "witching hour" which is about 4-7pm almost nightly. Nursing is generally the only thing that can keep him happy during this time.

I'd love to say I'm loving nursing, but I'm not really. I'm committed to it and want it to be successful but it's been MUCH more stressful this time. I don't have the time or energy to simply sit on my ass all day and nurse like I could with Bailey. I just can't do that with a toddler running around who also needs love and attention. I think we'll fight through this initial hard period and will end up being just as successful as Bailey and I were, but man! It is HARD this time. Much harder.

Likes: Being bundled up in a blanket or swaddled, looking at lights, his paci, his big sister, and his mama. Bailey was a daddy's girl at this age, but Elias is pretty much all about me right now. Luckily, Bailey still LOVES and adored her daddy and we can divide and conquer a bit til little man outgrows the mama stage and wants nothing to do with me. :)

Dislikes: Diaper changes. Holy bajeez, he screams bloody murder for every, single one. He also really doesn't like tummy time. Oh, and not being held while he's awake. He really doesn't like to just sit in a swing or in a bouncy seat. He wants to be sleeping, swaddled and in his crib or to be held and awake. No in between.

He has a pretty bad witching hour(s) from 4-7pm. Nothing much can make him stop crying during this period which makes dinner super fun.

Oh, and he hates getting into the car seat. After he's in, he's generally OK but does cry now and then while in the car too. He's definitely not a car-loving baby. Sometimes he's OK and not screaming, but definitely doesn't love it ever.

Hit or Miss: Elias is indifferent to being worn. We've used a wrap and an Ergo with the infant insert. He doesn't like getting into it, but then seems OK most of the time.

Special Moment(s): 
Pretty much every time Bailey asks to hold him or to give him a kiss is a special moment and my heart explodes into a gazillion pieces. We also had Elias's first Halloween. And, ok for him that pretty much means nothing but still! He looked mighty cute in his first Halloween bib. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Elias Birth Story

I've been wanting to write Elias's birth story since... well, since he was born so I won't forget even the smallest of details. But, life has had other plans. Turns out, having a new born is HARD. And exhausting. And, having a newborn while also having a toddler is really, really freaking hard. Like really hard. Like way harder than I anticipated. Anyway- it's more delayed and less detailed than I wanted, but here it goes... sit back and get some popcorn... Elias's birth story...

I had my last doctor's appointment on Wednesday, 10/19 when I just shy of 36 weeks. I got my last progesterone shot (which was SUPPOSED to stop pre-term labor... spoiler, it didn't) and had my cervix checked. I was 1 cm dilated. I went home and carried on life as usual. There was no sign anything was moving down there.

Thursday, 10/20: I lost my mucus plug. SO SEXY. Anyway- again, not a big deal and not a sign anything really was happening. No big deal. I'll admit it did make me wonder if we were getting close to D-day but I brushed it off and told myself not even to think about it til after Halloween (spoiler: I did not make it to after Halloween). I had no contractions or anything.

Friday, 10/21: The Hubs took Bailey to his parents for the weekend because it was our anniversary Saturday, 10/22. He got back that evening at about 8pm and I told him I was having some crazy Braxton hicks. They went away when I changed positions and I slept pretty well that night, so I really do still think they were Braxton hicks and I wasn't actually in labor just yet. Soon, but not just yet.

Saturday, 10/22: We woke up that morning after sleeping in because we were kidless (HA! Not for long!). When I went to the bathroom that morning, there was a lot more mucus than before. Still not a sign of labor, but I just knew something was off. I told the Hubs that morning I had a feeling today would be the day. I told him about the mucus, but that I was having no contractions or cramps at all. He said I was insane and we carried on our morning. The Hubs had a doctors appointment and I took a late morning nap. Still, no cramps or anything. We left to see an afternoon movie (The Girl on a Train) and thankfully had some food during the movie (though I had cheese fries which would give me insane heartburn which I later was super pissed about during labor). After the movie, I went to the bathroom and there was blood. I debated about not calling the doc because I was sure they'd make me come in and it'd be for nothing. But, after leaving the theatre, I decided to call. Of course, I was right and they said to come in so the hubs turned the car around and we headed to L&D. I kept saying over and over that it was stupid and it would be nothing but still, we went.

We got to the hospital around 4. We parked and walked to L&D, me feeling totally fine with no cramps or contractions. We checked in and they got me undressed and hooked me up to the monitors where it was very quickly very clear that I was having contractions. All of this was very new to both the Hubs and I, as with Bailey there was never any time for any of this and I was never hooked up to any machines.

The doc said he wanted to monitor me for 30 minutes to see if the contractions got closer together. While we were waiting and I was laying down attacked to a machine monitoring my contractions, I called my sister and was on the phone with her when I said "Either I peed myself or my water is breaking slowly". She immediately called it that I was having this baby that day. The doc came back and checked and sure enough, my water broke and the doctor told us I was having Elias today. To say I was shocked is an understatement. I was SO SURE I was going to go full term, I think I was more caught off guard this time than with Bailey. We called the Hubs parents and let them know what was going on. Thank goodness B was already with them and we didn't have to figure those logistics out. Best timing ever in that way. The fact that it was 4 weeks early and the stinker wasn't due til 11/20.... well, that wasn't great timing.

Anyway- for the first 2 hours or so was fine. I wasn't in any pain and thought things would progress quickly. The Hubs ran home to grab some stuff. I started feeling more pain about 6:30pm just as the Hubs was getting back so I went in the tub for a bit. It helped but I was sure I was having contractions very close together so I got out and asked to be checked. I was shocked to find out I only 4cm! I thought they were going to tell me I was 9 and it was going to be time to push. I was very disheartened to learn I was only 4cm and it was really starting to hurt. From 7-9pm is sorta a blur. I got in and out of the tub one more time, walked circles around the L&D floor and just waited to get further. The contractions started coming closer together and got more and more painful. By 9pm I thought I was gonna die. For real. I thought it couldn't possibly hurt any more (spoiler: it did). I asked for some IV-given pain meds. It meant I couldn't get out of bed, as many women get light headed but I needed something to help with the pain at least a bit and I really didn't want an epidural.

I got checked again and was happy to learn I was 7cm and got the pain meds at about 9:45pm. I stayed in bed for 20 minutes or so and felt like I was given nothing. It hurt more than ever. I got out of bed to try to bounce on a birthing ball and told the Hubs I just couldn't do it anymore and I wanted an epidural. The Hubs supported me, but, as I told him to do, asked the nurse about the risks. As the nurse started explaining the possible risks I already changed my mind and was going to tell her never mind. Before I could even say that though, I literally yelled "I NEED TO PUSH RIGHT NOW!"

It was unlike anything I experienced in my life. Totally unlike Bailey's birth. I literally felt like I HAD to push RIGHT THEN and it was that quick. They raced to get the doc and I was suddenly fully dialated and effaced and it was go time. I'd love to say I was calm and cool and collected, but I was soooooo not. I cried and felt like I couldn't do it. I asked them to pull Elias out of me (to which the very matter of a fact doctor replied "Meagan, there is no medical reason to do that at this time. You need to push."). I said a million times I couldn't do it. I honestly felt like I wouldn't be able to do it. It hurt more than I could ever imagine or explain. It took a few contractions of small pushing, then 1 contraction with a big push got his head out a bit (where I LITERALLY could feel myself tear--- OOOOUUCCCCHHHH!!) and then one more contraction and a reallllllly big push and he basically came out in his entirety. After only a few minutes of pushing, Elias was born at 10:43pm weighing (what we would only later learn for sure) 6 lb, 15 oz.

They put Elias on my chest for a few short minutes before taking him away to check him and then wisking him off to the special nursery (not technically a NICU, but essentially a NICU). They assured us he wasn't in any significant danger, but they wanted to keep him at least overnight (spoiler: it was more than 1 night). The Hubs stayed with Eli the entire time, never letting him out of his sight. I finished birthing the placenta and getting stitched up and eventually (after what felt like hours but was actually only 45 minutes or so) got to go to the nursery to see my beautiful baby boy again.

And just like that- Elias was born, our world was forever changed, and we were officially a family of 4.

(More on the non-NICU-but-NICU stay and experience later)