The Newborn Chronicles: 9w2d

The tides are turning my friends. It dawned on me this past Monday that I only have three weeks of maternity leave left. Three weeks! And for the first time, when I thought of returning to work, rather than looking forward to the return to my routines, I felt sad. Just three short weeks left of hanging out with Little Dumpling. Then, Luffy and I decided to arrange some transitional days for the Dumpling at his day care provider. A couple of half days, a couple of whole days – good for both of us as we begin a new routine. However, this means I really just have two full weeks left. Two! TWO.

Luffy is already making fun of me because just a few weeks ago I was going on about how I couldn’t wait to go back to work and to share the responsibility of caring for the dumpling. But now. Now I’m a little saddened by the thought of not seeing him all day. We’re finally to the point where our days have some routine. The Dumpling’s getting big enough for me to actually enjoy. He’s awake for about an hour now, more or less. He’s all smiles when he’s well rested. He loves his play mat (an adorable little activity gym that I opened on a whim). He stares at the toys overhead and smiles at his reflection (he loves that guy in the mirror!). He’s becoming more and more vocal. He coos at us all day long. I’m expecting his first giggle any week now. He finally enjoys his swing and will take some naps in it if needed.

Our biggest progress though has been on the sleep front. When we last chatted, Luffy and I were so frustrated with the two or three hour dance it took to get the dumpling down for the night. On good nights, he would wake every three hours like clockwork. On the bad, it was every hour and a half or less. One particularly low morning, Luffy found me at 6:20am, crying on the couch as I nursed the dumpling again. I had just put him down at 5:30 and he was up again. Luffy suggested we look into sleep training because he couldn’t stand to see me upset like that, frustrated with the Dumpling and with myself.

The turning point came at our two month appointment. Our pediatrician gave us the go ahead to try sleep training. Her opinion was that it certainly couldn’t hurt. If it didn’t work, put a pin in it and try again in a few weeks. She told us we were overthinking the sleep thing. We were trying everything to force naps to ensure that the dumpling got close to the 15 hour recommendation. She told us that the dumpling would take care of his sleep needs; we just needed to provide the opportunity and environment for sleep.

Now, it’s still a work in progress. Definitely not perfect, but the change has been so nice. He’s falling asleep all on his own most of the time. I no longer have to spend twenty extra minutes after each night nursing to rock him; I can just put him back in his Rock ‘n’ Play. He’s sleeping longer stretches on occasion too and I firmly believe it’s because he can fall asleep on his own (and therefore no longer absolutely needs us when he wakes between sleep cycles). He’s doing really well and I am so proud of him.

So yeah, it’s going to be tough leaving him. I feel like we picked a good day care provider. I think he’ll have fun there and be well cared for. I’m excited to return to work. I’m looking forward to more routine. But I’m also sad to know this chapter is quickly ending. I’m not looking forward to the days I’ll be away from him the longest (I return to teaching my exercise class at the end of the month, but I will start attending class as practice sessions). I know we’ll be stretched a little thinner and we’ll probably flounder a bit as we work through establishing a new routine. But we’ll get there. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy my last few weeks of hanging out with Little Dumpling.

Happy Holidays!

It’s our first Christmas with the dumpling. He won’t remember it, of course, but there are a few presents under the tree for him.

(I’m currently enjoying a blissful moment of peace as he’s taking an extended nap in his swing.)

He had his two-month check up at 8 weeks this past Tuesday. He weighed 10 lbs 1 oz and I was astounded to realize that it meant he’s gained four pounds since coming home from the hospital. Four pounds! He’s also now measuring 22.5 inches long which puts him solidly in 3 month footed jammies. His legs are so long he’s actually even stretching those out, although he can still wear a lot of his NB onesies since those don’t have the legs.

Luffy and I have finally crossed the threshold of newborn days. We now look at our son with wonder and love and joy – marveling at his little nommable cheeks and trying to get him to smile for us. That probably sounds pretty harsh – I mean the dumpling is almost two months old! Are we implying that we didn’t love him before this???? you ask. Well no, we loved him. We just didn’t like him very much, as the saying goes. He was a chore, a task, a worry, and sometimes a fear. The newborn days are just so very, very hard. And while he’s still considered a newborn, at two months, we’re at least to the point where there’s a little give from him. He recognizes us and will smile for us. He’s actually started to be soothed by my presence, which I longed for earlier. His happy awake times are starting to outnumber his fussy awake times. We’re becoming more confident in caring for him. Plus, he’s started actually going to sleep on his own sometimes which is a MAJOR milestone for us. Praise the baby sleep gods!!

Oh – he’s awake! Sorry guys, gotta run. My dumpling calls. Have a wonderful holiday season!

The Newborn Chronicles: 7w2d

The Dumpling is seven weeks old! And a couple of days! Holy smokes. He has his two month appointment next week (at 8 weeks on the dot). He’ll get several vaccines and we’ll get a chance to check on his weight gain and growth. Woo!

I’m also looking forward to next week (and dreading at the same time) because my mom is coming into town to watch the dumpling as Luffy and I go to my office’s Christmas party. I’m excited to get out and be around adults again, and I am also already a bunch of nerves over leaving the dumpling and pumping and making sure he has enough milk and what if my mom can’t get him to sleep and what if he misses me and wants to nurse and I’m not there – WHAT IF I ASK YOU???? Good thing we’re leaving him with my mom for our first outing. I can’t even imagine leaving him with a babysitter.

In other news, over the weekend we had some friends over. They had their first child in June and we got to commiserate with them over the challenges of early parenthood that no one tells you about. No one discusses how hard it is and how you might not really like the newborn days and how it doesn’t really get easier by the fabled three-month mark (I mean, it might for some, but tell that to my friend who has spent the last few weeks camped out on her son’s floor because he’s going through a growth spurt/sleep regression that won’t quit). We chatted about waking up at night and nursing and sleep and just doing what you need to do to get by. It was quite refreshing.

In non-dumpling related news – I am proud to say that I’ve got my Christmas shopping done! And here I thought everyone would get gift card this year. Go me! Now if only I could find time or the motivation to get the Christmas tree up, then I’d really give myself a gold star.

Last bit of news – time to document some firsts:
– We got our first social smile a couple of weeks ago. I think he’s really starting to recognize us and will give us more smiles each day.
– We moved up a diaper size! He’s no longer in newborns and is in (comically large) size 1’s. We had to do it though, the newborns were just way too tiny to fit up over his legs. He’s very long.
– I went back to my exercise class this past Saturday! It felt so good to work out and be back at the center.
– The dumpling is staying awake for longer stretches. He can now be awake for almost an hour and a half! He’s also really starting to notice things around him (for better or worse when it’s 2am and he just wants to stare at the shadows on the ceiling)

Now I have to cut this a bit short because the dumpling just woke up!

The Newborn Chronicles – 5w6d

So. I believe you know that Little Dumpling was in the breech presentation… I might have mentioned it once or twice or three hundred times. Not only did that lead to my c-section, it also meant that Little Dumpling could potentially have hip problems. I refused to look into this because I know what happens when you turn to Dr Google. Despair. Doom. Death. No thank you. I just kept my fingers crossed that he wasn’t in frank breech presentation, the one likeliest to cause problems.

As it turns out, he was. This meant that his legs were extended, feet up by his head. Our pediatrician ordered an ultrasound of his hips be performed around 6 weeks of age. We had that ultrasound this morning.

That, in and of itself, was fun. Have you ever tried to keep a newborn still when he doesn’t want to be still? It’s like wrestling a greased pig. To add further challenges, they needed images when he was “relaxed” – meaning not active. Lolz. It took us probably half an hour, along with rejected pacifiers, a touch of sugar water (I didn’t really want to use this so I barely dabbed the pacifier in it), and our trusty white noise app. To my untrained ears, the radiologist kept going back and forth between “no problem” and “problem.” They eventually got all the images they needed and sent us on our way. Unfortunately, they’ll send the report to our pediatrician and we don’t have another appointment for two weeks. I’m not sure if they’ll call us earlier with the results, although I do plan to give them a call tomorrow to find out!

After the ultrasound appointment, Luffy asked me what could be wrong – what were they looking for? Since I don’t know myself, I had to turn to google. Apparently the biggest concern for little breech babies is developmental dysplasia of the hip. Basically it means that his movement was restricted in the womb, thus the hip might not have developed normally. It can cause an unstable hip, which leads to problems walking and, in the worst cases, the hip dislocates. There are varying degrees of course. Most cases remedy themselves as the child grows. In more severe cases, a brace is required to hold the hip in the socket as the child grows. In the most severe cases, surgery is required to repair the hip joint.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that all looks good! I really can’t imagine keeping him in a brace for six to twelve weeks (it would be anchored at his shoulder and basically hold his knee up by his shoulder – can you imagine?!). And I really, really can’t imagine my sweet baby boy undergoing surgery. We’ll just have to wait and see.

In the meantime, we’re slowly coming through the Wonder Week. He’s much more alert now, for longer periods of time. I think his fussiness has decreased a tad. A touch. Maybe? He also gave us his first toothless smile yesterday morning! It was gorgeous and just as wonderful as I imagined. Of course, he was smiling at his daddy and wouldn’t return the smile to me – the one who is sustaining him merely through the power of mah boobs – but that’s ok. I’m not jealous or anything.

We went to Luffy’s parents’ house for lunch yesterday; our first time since the dumpling was born. I had to joke about my major demotion in status. You see, when I was pregnant, Luffy’s parents basically skipped right over greeting him and would immediately come to me, seeing how I was doing, ushering me in, sitting me down. No though. No such reception. Both Luffy and I were passed over completely as his parents swooped in to greet the dumpling. They immediately wanted him out of the car seat and took turns carrying him around their house. As a new mother, it was both adorable and infuriating. I kept telling myself to relax, after all, they raised Luffy and he’s just fine. What can I say, it’s been just me and the dumpling for six weeks! After we ate lunch, they wanted to run by Luffy’s aunt’s house (where his grandparents live as well) to show off the baby boy. We couldn’t turn them down so off we went to show off our precious little one.

And I think that’s about it for now. As I’ve mentioned before – the days are long and boring and exhausting and precious as I care for this little guy.