Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Week Five

Last night was rough. At about 1 am, Declan decided it was daytime. He wasn't especially fussy, just awake. We paced the house, we rocked, we sang... and we still didn't get back to sleep 'til 4 am or so.

Week five was good. His head control has improved drastically, it's like having a different baby. He has chubbier cheeks, more fat rolls, even a new cry. Here are some pictures of my five-week old!

And some pretty baby parts, just for you:

Monday, November 23, 2009

Things to Remember

It's sinking in that Declan is one month old.

From here on out, we just tick off months, one by one, and before you know it, he won't be a baby. I can't count his age in days anymore. Soon, I won't count it in weeks, either. He'll be 6 months, a year, two and a half, sixteen. And when he's sixteen, snuggling his little eleven pound body will be a distant memory. Maybe I'm just feeling extra hormonal tonight, or maybe it's the sappy episodes of Grey's Anatomy that I've been watching today, but I want to record a few moments so that when my baby is not a baby, I'll remember how it felt.

The day that we found out he's a boy, I went to Wal*Mart. I had saved a little money just for that day, so that I could buy the cutest, tiniest, gender-specific clothes that I could find. I spent a good thirty minutes in the baby section, running my hands over all of the little blue onesies, tiny socks, itsy bitsy hats. I bought three onesies - a red one with sailboats and anchors, a navy and white striped one, and a light blue one with an oxford collar. I also bought a little white sleeper with blue and orange cars, that had the word "beep" embroidered on the bottom of each foot. When I was checking out, the girl asked if I wanted a gift receipt. I said no, that I was keeping them, and explained that we just found out that we're having a boy. She smiled and said, "I thought I saw a baby bump! Congratulations!" She went on to tell me about her daughter, and her own post-sonogram shopping spree. It was the first time that anyone had noticed my belly, and I was grinning from ear to ear. At that point in time, the baby was a big secret. A source of anxiety and something that I had to hide. Even with the doctors, because they knew my age and that I was unmarried, the pregnancy unplanned, I felt like I had to act ashamed. But with this stranger at the Grinnell Wal*Mart, I could get excited. I could smile, and talk about baby clothes, and rub my belly. She didn't know if I was unmarried, or a teenager, or scared. She saw in me a fellow mother, and that was all. From that point on, I wasn't ashamed, I didn't suck in my stomach in public places. And I have a random cashier to thank for that.

In the hospital, after Declan was born, they kept a pitcher of cold water beside my bed. To keep the condensation from running onto everything, they put a diaper on the pitcher. I know that's not profound or sentimental or anything, it's just something I want to remember. I thought it was funny.

Also, that first night with my baby, I ate two dinners. He was born at 4:38, and by the time I was all stitched up, the baby had nursed, and we were ready to move to the mother/baby room, it was almost 7 pm, which was when dinner hours end. The nurse said she'd order a meal anyway, and hope that they still had some. After about 15 minutes, she came back in and saw that they hadn't brought anything yet, so she ordered me a "special dinner" from the cafeteria, one that they can serve after hours. Lo and behold, about ten minutes later, both dinners arrived! Lucky me. I had been eating tiny meals for the last few months due to lack of room in my body, and now I was ready to fill 'er up. I finished every last bite of both dinners. Then I held Declan in my arms and watched TV. We both drifted in and out of sleep all night. The nurses, when they came in to check us, always asked if they should put him in the bassinet or if I wanted to hold him some more. I always held him.

These days, my one month old reaches up and pats me on the chest when he's nursing. He likes to look out the window while I'm changing his diaper and coo at the leaves on the trees. He smiles during bathtime if I make the rubber ducky sing to him. He takes nature very seriously - today we studies some red berries, yellow flowers, and some leaves. He just stares and stares, with the occasional grunt. I also used the booger sucker for the first time today. Man, that was a big booger for a little baby.

Sorry for the epic saga. I'll post his five week update tomorrow, but first I have to take some pictures!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I have a what?

A one-month-old!

Today is Declan's one month birthday. This month has flown by faster than any month ever, in my life. Including summers, which usually go by pretty fast. But this is like, unprecedented turbo-speed time. I remember giving birth very clearly (too clearly, if ya ask me) and it seems like just yesterday I was holding my little baby burrito in the hospital bed, watching the A Baby Story on tv and yelling at the screen, "Haha, I did better than you!" (Because some of those women have to push, like, forever. And some have really weird looking babies.)

Anyway, we celebrated one month of parenthood by going to Target and spending a gift certificate we had received. The card read, "For Baby Declan." Um, right. We bought me a shirt, Aaron a beard trimmer, and fixings for tacos. Declan got zilch. But you know what? I clean his butt like seventy times a day, so I think I deserve a little present once in a while.

Besides, Declan has everything he needs and more. Seriously, there are some things that Babies R Us declared were "NECESSITIES!!1!" that I haven't touched. Like tiny bibs. Declan is breastfed. He does not need a bib until he's eating solid food, and by that time the 90,000 itsy bitsy terrycloth bibs we've received will be too small to wrap around his chunky thigh, much less his neck. The only bib I'm excited about is the one Julie bought, because it's normal sized instead of miniature, and it's waterproof. :)

Also, breast pads. I acknowledge that many women need these. But my child eats so often (and I guess my boobs also have some sense of self-control) that I've never leaked. And yet, I have boxes and boxes of breast pads. And ya know what, even if they did leak, it would just drip onto my arm or something, because the only time my chest is clothed is when I leave the house, which is like, once a week. Otherwise, the girls enjoy the fresh air. Sorry if that's TMI, but I find it very convenient.

I blogged on Monday about trying to get Declan on a schedule. I was going to record his every move for one week, then try and stretch him out to longer between feedings and longer naps. Well, I recorded our schedule on Monday, and it scared me so much that I haven't done it again since. Scared me because once I wrote it down, there was no deluding myself - my kid eats every FORTY-FIVE minutes. I think the average time between feedings for one-month-olds is 2-3 hours during the day, 4-5 at night. But Declan is on the boob every 45 minutes, day or night, rain or shine. So now you understand why I'm deliriously rambling.

The funny thing is, I thought we were getting long stretches at night. But I was only looking at the clock when I got up to change his diaper. In reality, we woke up many, many more times than just diaper changes. I just blocked them out, I guess. But recording them on Monday night was a wake-up call (no pun intended). So now I'm just bewildered, and have no idea how I'm going to get him to go two hours without eating. I guess we'll just transition slowly. My goal for tonight is ONE solid hour of sleep.

Wish me luck?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Week Four

Four weeks! One month! (Kind of... I'm confused as to whether he's one month old today or on the 19th.)

Laying in bed last night, curled up with my baby, I was trying to think of all of the nicknames that Declan has accrued over the last four weeks. So here goes the list, for posterity:

Declan, Dec, D, Baby, Buddy, Bubba, Bubba Bear, Bubbie, Bubs, Pumpkin, Pumpkin Pie, Honey, Little Man, Little Guy, Sweetie, Fussy, Mr. Fuss, Fussbucket, Monster, Rascal, Sir Farts-a-lot, Pooper, Puppy, Pup, Little One

So, future Declan, if you didn't learn your name until Kindergarten, I'm sorry. You're just so cute and funny that your Daddy and I like to call you lots of random things.

He's officially smiling now, which is amazing. It makes late night diaper changes so much better when I get to see a big, gummy grin once he has a dry diaper on.

This week, my mission is to track Declan's "natural" schedule. I'm recording every time he nurses, takes a cat nap, wakes up, needs a diaper change, etc. Then, at the end of the week, I'll look for patterns in the schedule, and make a "master schedule." Hopefully this will facilitate longer naps and fewer feedings, because right now I feel like a milk-cow who is owned by a very thirsty little farmer.

I can't wait for the holidays! Finances may be tight (or rather, nonexistant - expect some homemade gifts this year, family and friends!) but we can still enjoy turkey, pumpkin pie, family togetherness, baking cookies, listening to Christmas music, and taking loads of pictures of Declan's first Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Pictures from week four:

Monday, November 9, 2009

Week Three

I promise, someday, I'll get back to writing more than once a week! It's very rare that I have two free hands right now, and typing a whole blog post one-handed is just too frustrating. Right now the baby is sleeping in my lap, although I don't expect this to last long, since he 1) is not in motion, 2) cannot hear my heartbeat, and 3) does not have a boob in his mouth. Usually it takes at least one if not two of those things to get Declan to fall asleep and stay asleep.

The newborn stage is fading away... he's getting more awake and alert every day. And he's officially smiling at us! No more eye gunk, no more cord stump - my boy is growing up!

The most exciting development is that he's learned to roll from his tummy to his back! He's done it a couple of times now; I even caught it on camera once (see the two week video off to the right). On one hand, I'm thrilled, because that's a milestone that's not expected until 3 months or so. But on the other hand, I though that the era of "being able to put the baby down, look away for a second, and have them stay in the same place" would be significantly longer.

More later, the baby just startled and smacked himself in the face. That makes for a very unhappy (and apparently hungry?) baby.

Pics from week three:

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Week Two

Declan has started to reveal his personality, little by little. Just tiny signs here and there that he is going to be silly, curious, impatient, cuddly, not a morning person, an early talker. All of this, interpreted from the fleeting grins and insistent grunts of a two-week-old.

Aaron finally found a job - cooking again. This time he's working in a corporate cafeteria, 6 am to 2 pm, Monday through Friday. It's a good job. Let's just hope he can keep it.

Declan and I are adjusting to "real life." Life without mothers or mother in laws around to clean the kitchen or make us soup. It's tough! And by "it's tough," I mean, I haven't cleaned the kitchen or made real food. We're working up to that. First, Declan has to stop nursing every twenty minutes.

Today, in honor of his bellybutton healing, I gave Declan his first real, non-sponge bath. He liked it a little bit better, but still was not a fan. And I discovered a painful-looking ring of blistery rash around his right thigh - that's what happens when you diaper-change in dim lighting, you miss things like angry red rashes. So now I feel terrible, and I'm letting him nurse as much as he wants while I slather his little leg with expensive organic creams that we got as samples from Wheatsville. Luckily, he doesn't seem too bothered by it.

Pictures from week two: