Wednesday, May 27, 2015

One Month of Ellia

I cannot believe Ellie is already a month old!  It's so crazy how time flies - I seriously feel like we brought her home from the hospital yesterday (or maybe last week, but still...).  Here's a little update on our baby girl:

Maybe she'll cooperate more with her two month pictures. ;)

Age: One month
Height: Approximately 20 inches (she was a little squirmy at the doctor's) - 30th percentile
Weight: 8 lbs 5.5 oz - 30th percentile
Clothing size: 0-3 months.  She outgrew her first newborn jammies at 3 weeks, 2 days - she got too long and couldn't stretch her legs out all the way.  Surprisingly, I didn't cry.
Diaper size: 1. We switched her from newborn to 1 around the same time as the clothes.  We ended up with some extra newborn diapers, but I felt bad trying to squish those little thighs in them any longer.  I told Tyler this means we need to have another baby soon so we can use those diapers up. He didn't even flinch.  ;)
Eating: Constantly?  Kidding, kind of.  Typically every 2-3 hours.   "Cluster feeding" at night around 9:00-midnight.  Doctor says she's "gaining weight like a weed" and she's starting to get some chub on her, so I guess we're doing something right!
Sleeping:  Not enough. :)  Lots of cat naps during the day still, but mostly if she's being held.  Lately I've been able to sleep a little with her in our bed during the day.   On a good night, she'll typically sleep from around midnight to 2:30-3ish, wake up to eat and then fall back to sleep for another 2ish hours.  I think I've maxed out at 5 hours of sleep/night, probably getting closer to 4 hours/night - I guess it could be worse (some nights definitely are!).   She sleeps in her Slumber & Soothe next to our bed.  Or she's supposed to at least... she is not pleased at being put in bed awake and unless she's near comatose will wake up as soon as I put her in (or really even think of putting her in).  She'll typically fall asleep while nursing and how long she sleeps in our bed with me depends on whether or not I fall asleep, too.  Not the best habit but at least I've gotten a little bit of extra sleep.  If she's not already there, I'll bring her in bed around the time Tyler leaves for work to eat and cuddle, and maybe take a quick nap.  I don't know if there's a typical time babies start sleeping in their own room, but I have no immediate plans to move her.  It's just so easy to reach over to get her when she cries at night. Plus, I might be a little too attached to let her go just yet. ;)
Favorite toys:  She hasn't shown much interest in anything until recently - her activity mat and these links are all she has really cared about so far.  And by cared about, I mean she'll quietly stare at them for 5 minutes.
Loves:  Being held. Eating.  Naps (with someone - she's an excellent cuddler!). Getting her hair washed (she seems pretty indifferent about taking a bath, but really likes getting her hair washed).  Sleeping on her belly or side.  Cuddles, cuddles, more cuddles...  

Ellie is a really good baby - typically very chill, unless she's hungry.  She doesn't mind diaper changes and usually falls asleep in the car or just stares out the window.  She rolls over from her back to her belly no problem, and tries really hard to roll back the other way.  She's also working on holding her head up and not slamming it down so violently. ;) She's been smiling since day one, but I think we're still waiting for a "real" smile.  She also giggles a lot in her sleep, which cracks me up.  Who knows what she's thinking about. She also just started pulling her own hair and screaming - not sure what that's about.  Also, everyone comments about her hair.  It is pretty cute, isn't it? :)

Happy one month, baby girl!  Can't wait to keep watching you grow!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Life with a Newborn

I guess when I was pregnant, I didn't think too much about what our lives would be like on a daily basis with a newborn (other than the fact that we wouldn't get much sleep).  Turns out having a newborn can be a bit time consuming. ;)  Of course she has her moments, but I would say that Ellie is a really good baby.  Yes, she cries and fusses and keeps us (mostly me) up at all hours of the night, but nothing out of the ordinary!

The biggest challenges so far are that she really likes to be held, and feeding.  The fact that she really likes (okay, LOVES) to be held is great until you want to put her down to do something productive or even try to sleep.  I have spent 6 hours straight one night this week just trying to get her calm enough to sleep (or not lay there screaming) when I put her in her bed.  I know these days will go by quickly and I will miss holding her tiny little body for hours on end, so I'll try not to complain much about that one.  I am definitely guilty of complaining about having to hold her all the time, and then once she's asleep in her swing saying I miss her and want to have her cuddled up on my chest!  Perhaps that's just some postpartum emotions kicking in (and maybe a little sleep deprivation). :)

 As for eating, she is a good eater but being that I'm the only one who can take on that responsibility right now, there are days when I feel like feeding her is literally all that I do (I swear she just likes to graze all day long sometimes).  Again, this is something I really didn't think much about before Ellie was born - I didn't even have a clue about how often she would need to eat.  Right now she's eating anywhere between every hour and every 4 hours.  There have been many times already that I've wanted to drive to the store to pick up some formula, mostly in the middle of the night, and wake up Tyler to feed her (haha).  Probably the biggest concern in the first week or so was whether she was getting enough, since it's measured in minutes, not ounces in a bottle.  Now that I know she's gaining weight and I'm a little more familiar with everything (and I know I can trust her to scream her head off if she's hungry), I don't really worry about this so much, but it definitely drove me a little crazy at first!  I also dreaded feeding her while we were in the hospital.  I felt like every nurse, lactation specialist, etc. had their own opinion about feeding and would tell us different things.  Once we got home, I felt like we could take the time to find what worked best for us.  Like I said before, it requires a lot of patience but I know it will be worth it. Plus, we get lots of quality time together! ;)

A few things I've learned in the past few weeks...

- Accepting the fact that I'm not going to get everything on my to-do list done.  Prioritizing it and picking one or two things I really want to try to do that day has worked best, especially when I'm trying to get those couple of things done while she's napping (and not in my arms) - time is limited! 

 - Having any meals or snacks prepped and easily ready to eat has been pretty helpful.  One thing that worked out really well was throwing something in the crockpot early in the morning while she's still sleeping for dinner that night.  I've also taken an entire nap time one day/week to wash and cut up all the fruits and veggies in the fridge so I can just throw some in a bowl for a snack.  It's much easier to eat one-handed than it is to prepare food one-handed!

- It never even crossed my mind that Ellie might refuse a pacifier.  We had bought a few different kinds before she was born and finally found one she likes!  I think everyone has their own opinions on pacifiers, and I know it'll be another thing to wean her off of eventually, but when she was using me as a pacifier at 3 a.m., anything sounded better.  Overall, she has been much less fussy, especially at night.  Definitely experiment with different ones before giving up hope. :)

- There is no such thing as having too much baby clothes when your child spits up like it's no ones business.  Add in a few blowouts here and there, and baby laundry starts to add up pretty quickly! ;)

- There is also no such thing as having too many diapers!  I don't even want to know how many of these we've gone through so far.  Also, if you think your baby is done going to the bathroom, do yourself a favor and wait another five minutes before changing her because there is likely more coming... things have gotten a little messy around here a few times!

- I pretty much live in sweatpants these days, mostly because they're comfortable and I'm not leaving the house, but also because I'm still working on fitting into some of my non-maternity clothes.  Needless to say, it's not too glamorous but sometimes attempting to get dressed in "real clothes" and putting on a little makeup goes a long way!  Of course, never underestimate the power of a daily, uninterrupted, shower either.

- Lastly, I thought with staying home all day, I wouldn't look forward to the weekends as much as I did while I was at work.  Turns out, that's so not the case.  We (I) can't wait for Tyler to get home from work during the week, and having him home on the weekends makes a big difference - even if it's just the extra company (and maybe a hand with the diaper changes, too).  Don't worry, we're sure to send him a million pictures every day while he's at work so he feels included. ;)

We've gotten a lot of help from family the past few weeks, but we're pretty open to any tips (especially time-saving ones!) anyone has, so feel free to send them my way! :)

P.S.  The etsy shop I bought Ellia's headband from asked if they could use her photo in their etsy listing.  Of course I said yes - you can see it here!  

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother's Day

Happy belated Mother's Day to all the mamas out there!  I was pretty excited that our little lady arrived in time for me to celebrate my first Mother's Day this year.  We spent the afternoon at my parents house, where Ellie was in her glory getting held all day long (girlfriend does not like to get put down).  She slept all day, and surprisingly probably had one of her best nights sleeps to-date Sunday night - must have been her Mother's Day gift to me. :)
Someone told me that once Ellia came and I got to experience being a mom myself, I would gain a true, overwhelming appreciation for my parents and all they have done for me. Even though it's only been two weeks, I'd say that is a 100% accurate statement.  So thank you to both of my parents, but since we're talking Mother's Day, especially my mom.  I couldn't have asked for a better role model & I hope to be half the mom you are. I love you! xo

And a special thanks to our baby girl for making me a mama.  We feel blessed beyond belief to have you as our daughter. Yes, it's still a little weird saying that. :)  

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Ellia's Birth Story

Our sweet baby Ellia Summer Noel was born on April 26th at 8:24 am.  She weighed 6 lbs 11.8 oz and was 18.5 inches tall.  We are over the moon in love with this little lady already.  We are so excited that she decided to come almost 3 weeks early!   She must know that her mama always says "being early is being on time". ;)  What's even better about her birthday is that it's also my dad's birthday.  Needless to say, I don't think we'll ever be able to top this year's birthday gift. :)

Giving birth to Ellie is easily the most painful thing I have ever experienced.  I've heard so many people say that you'll forget about the pain once your baby arrives, but I'm pretty sure those memories are etched in my mind forever.  And I'm pretty sure the images are burned into Tyler's brain forever. ;) That's not to say it wasn't worth it; I would do it all over again for Ellie and her future sibling(s) in a heartbeat!  There's a page in her baby book for her birth story, so I thought I'd share it here, as well.  She came extremely fast, so it's short and sweet and goes a little something like this...

The day before she was born, I started having some very mild contractions.  They never quite fell into a regular pattern, so I waited all morning before they ended up stopping completely in the afternoon.   I ended up feeling more and more just sick, kind of like the flu, and called my doctor's office to see what they thought.  The doctor I talked to said she thought I might have a stomach bug that was going around, told me to get some rest and call back if my contractions came back regularly.  Note that my mom told me she thought I was in labor that afternoon (mom's are always right ;) ).  I went all night with no contractions, and woke up around 6:20 am on Sunday to a really sharp pain and got up out of bed.  Just as I was about to wake Tyler up to tell him, my water broke.  My doctor had told me that when (and if) my water broke, it could be anywhere from a trickle to a gush... let's just say there was no mistaking this and by the time we got to the hospital, it was still going and looked like I had completely peed my pants (again).  Any who... I spoke to the same doctor on call that I talked to the night before and she said to take my time getting to the hospital and plan to get there in about 2-3 hours.  Tyler & I got up, took quick showers, threw our bags in the car, kissed the kitties goodbye and were off.  I started having regular contractions and I thought we might as well just go to the hospital now even if it was going to be a little while (plus, I just like to be early).  We hit the road and I was still feeling pretty good.  I even took a few pictures on our ride in - had to capture the memories!

Daddy-to-be looking a little nervous on our way to the hospital. :)

When we got to the hospital, that's when things started to really pick up. I didn't feel like anyone was really taking me seriously when I told them how much pain I was in.  They did however keep commenting on the fact that I was sweating and "how hard I must be working".  Even when they asked on a scale of 1-10 how much pain I was in, and I responded "10" without hesitation, they just kept on asking questions and telling me I was "doing great".  Finally, one of the doctors came in and did a quick check - I was at 9 cm already. After basically getting an "oh shit" reaction from the nurses, they wheeled me off to the delivery room.  I had already made it very clear that I wanted an epidural, but by the time we got to the room, they said it was too late.  Between almost being ready to push, and Ellie's heart rate dropping, there wasn't enough time to get the anesthesiologist in there.  Because her heart rate kept dropping, they had me rolling from side to side, up on my hands and knees, any position to "loosen the cord if it's around her neck".  No, that wasn't nerve-wrecking at all...  Within just a few minutes of the doctor getting to the room, they said I was ready to push.  I pushed for about 10 minutes, maybe 4 contractions.   Tyler was awesome and super encouraging.  I kind of wanted to punch the nurses in the face who kept telling me to push harder (I mean hello, I don't really want to be doing this any longer than I have to, of course I'm pushing as hard as I can), but when Tyler told me she was almost there and could see her head, it seemed to be 100 times more effective in motivating me.   I'll never forget when they told me to look down as the doctor helped pull her out.  She immediately started crying, Tyler cut the cord and they put her on my chest for maybe a minute or two.  They took her to the other side of the room to take measurements and get her cleaned up while the doctor stitched me up.  It took about 45 minutes - the longest 45 minutes of my life - and I was just a little jealous that Tyler got to be with our baby girl (even though he did get peed on within about 5 minutes of holding her for the first time).  After I was all stitched up, they brought her over to me and I obviously cried like a baby.  It's so overwhelming to finally get to hold the little human that you've been growing in your belly for so long.  

So, with about 2 hours of "active labor", our sweet little girl had arrived.  I for sure never thought I'd have a natural birth, but I guess I can check that off my bucket list.  We were surprised to see how quickly she came, especially for a first time pregnancy, and so glad we decided to leave for the hospital when we did.  The nurses joked about me camping out at the hospital starting at 8 months with our next baby, just in case. ;)

A few things I've learned from this experience that I want to remember for next time:
-Approximately 100 people (okay, maybe 20) will see you naked in some way, shape or form during your time at the hospital, and you will probably care less.
-Try not to laugh too hard or sneeze; you'll feel like you're going to rip a stitch.
-Don't count on looking like Kate Middleton the day you deliver your baby.  I mean, how is that even real?
-Don't feel bad at all about taking any and all supplies from the hospital home with you (diapers, wipes, those nice disposable undies...).  Our nurse told us they have to throw everything away that doesn't get used (except linens, but we might have stolen a few of those as keepsakes anyway), which makes complete sense.
-Don't count on getting any sleep during your time at the hospital.  The time awake feeding the baby is the least annoying.  There will be people in and out of the room at all hours of the day and night, checking on you and the baby, so get used to the interruptions.
-Speaking of feeding, breastfeeding requires a lot of patience.  It's been an interesting experience but I think we are starting to get the hang of it around here!
-You will instantly love that little human from the first time you meet.
-You'll also probably fall in love with your husband all over again, seeing him with your newborn baby for the first time.
-No matter how much you complained about being pregnant, especially when you felt so big you couldn't sleep at night, or get out of bed, or breathe... you'll miss that baby bump from the second your baby is born. ;)

I'm so glad I took the weekly bump pictures.  It's pretty cool to look back and see the progress, and I know Ellie will love them one day, too.  These will definitely be going in her baby book.

 Welcome to our crazy family, sweet girl!  Mommy & daddy love you so much.

© Life as a Noel. Design by FCD.