Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The first week down

(I started this post when he really was just a week old.  But, as with everything, I am behind.  So now he's 11 days old... practically an old man in newborn terms.)

First off, welcome back folks.  Nothing like having a baby to make you reassess your blog priorities.  (What?!  Really? I don't know).  I moved my blog to Tumblr in August, because I found that Blogger didn't allow me to do a few of the things I wanted to do.  While it did many things well, ultimately I was very frustrated with the platform, so I'm back!  Good old blogger.  I think I'm just not young and hip enough to really get Tumblr.  All the cool kids are doing it, I know, but I'm no longer cool and no longer a kid.  If you have any questions about that transition feel free to ask, but I'll leave it at that.

I apologize for cluttering your feed, that will stop now, too.

And if you haven't already heard through some other social media outlet, I had a boy!  Theodore.  We're still thinking about nicknames... Teddy?  Theo?  TJ?  They're all in rotation.

I'll get to the birth story... sometime.  It was far and away my easiest birth, which is lucky because adding a third kid... is no joke.  I already feel Mama guilt because he's already not getting the attention the others had.  The first few days home I kept forgetting about him, that he was part of our family.  One day I almost walked out of the house without him.  Maybe part of this is having an easy birth, because I often forget I just gave birth.  With the others it was ever-present in my mind.

There are many moments that I feel like "what did we do..."   But there are also many moments when I'm so glad that he's here.  So glad that he's ours.  I look at his sisters, swarming around him, and am so glad he's part of our chaos.

He is, by and large, a very easy baby.  When he was first born, he took about 80 seconds before he breathed.  It was terrifying.  And he finally cried after a couple minutes, but apart from that nothing much could make him cry.  His first couple days he made barely a peep.

But then he got home.  And he got loud.  He's usually happy, but if he gets hungry he screams so loud.  It wakes up every other child in the house.  So we aim to not let him get hungry.

He nursed well the first day, then not well at all.  Nothing would wake him up.  In the hospital they weren't too concerned, but it continued and when we had our first doctor's visit he was down 11% for weight.  So we tried a couple other things.  I tried a nipple shield one time and he has never latched well since.  I had needed a nipple shield with my girls due to trouble latching, and it was never so addictive.  But then he continued to drop, down 14% for weight, so we had to start the complicated pump-and-supplement routine.  Given our experience with the nipple shield, I knew it was dangerous, but felt it was unavoidable.  Since having a bottle, he has only latched and nursed well twice. Ugh.

So now, I am basically exclusively pumping.  Which is terrible.  I continue to try to get him to latch, and he sort of does but then just stops nursing.  Greta was the same, and then one day she just figured it out, though my supply tanked after a couple months and the lactation consultant thinks she was just never very good at nursing.  So maybe I'll be able to provide milk longer this way?  I just don't understand how it is that three children have had such nursing issues. Is it my anatomy?  Am I doing something wrong early on?  Is our lactation consultant offering bad advice?  All of them have lost a ton of weight, all of them have had to be supplemented from early on (with pumped milk) and none of them have ever been great in the long term.  Why?  These boobs have served me well enough in life, but they seem to struggle when it comes to the little ones.  But this is the first time I've been exclusively  pumping.  I just don't have the time for breastfeeding drama.  I can't sit and work on it for 2 hours or feed every 40 minutes when there are two other kids to tend to.  So maybe this will be better in the long run?  My supply is already way up from what it was, maybe this is sustainable... maybe....  though relying on a pump seems like a terrible way to function.

But apart from that, super easy baby.  Sleeps well.  Falls asleep easily.  We haven't had to use any device, such as a swing or bouncy seat, to keep him happy.  I just set him down, and he stares around and if he's tired he's goes to sleep.  No drama, no fuss.  Our pediatrician today commented "So... this isn't your first baby... so I assume you guys know that's not predictive of anything?"  Yes, I suppose we do, but it does give us hope... we keep saying we need a calm one....

The girls have adjusted well.  MJ is happy about having him here but otherwise unfazed.  He basically impacts her not at all, especially because she is such a Daddy's girl these days.  Greta is doing better.  The first day was a little confusing, I think.  But she is generally not jealous, unless she is tired and wants to sit in my lap while I am holding him.  She doesn't have a general jealousy, wherein she is upset whenever I hold him.  She has very specific jealousy, when I would have been holding her and am instead holding him and she wants her place back.  Even that, though, is getting better and she is often satisfied to sit next to me.  She brings him toys and pacifiers (if she can get her mitts on one) and is always concerned when he cries.  In fact, it is just about the only thing that wakes her up at night these days, and if she hears him crying she is wide awake.  Her concern for him is endearing, and I am hopeful they will become good pals over the next year.  Their closeness in age is overwhelming at times, and she can't be left with him for even an instant because she just doesn't understand all the ways she can hurt him.  But she seems to really like him, and likes having him here.

My Mom has been here for the past 3 weeks.  She will be here for about another week and a half (if she can stand us that long), and I am terrified for her departure.  The hubs will be back at work and real life will be... real.  As easy a baby boy as he has been, the reality of tending to three kids needs is daunting.  I have narrowed it down to this: it will mean no break at all during the day and an 8 or 8:30 bedtime.  Which means there will just be no time in the day for anything other than the children.  I know that's sort of what I asked for, but it is still hard to adjust to.  Especially with no family around and therefore no real breaks.  Come February I think I will be looking for a babysitter for help one day a week.

This post is getting long... I feel that Blogger better enables the rambling that I am so very fond of.  So look forward to more of that.

Here's a photo of the 5 of us:
It's unflattering to pretty much everyone other than the menfolk.  But that's okay, because it's real.  My friend Erin took it last week, 4 days post-partum, and looking at it brings the reality of it all back to me, again and again.  There are 5 of us now.  And this is it, this will be our family forever.  It's so very exciting to me.  It's like that moment you finally meet all your teammates and you start to feel each other out.  Start to envision your future together.  Try to picture what obstacles you'll overcome and whether you'll win the championship.  This is my team, and I couldn't be happier about it.


  1. Congrats on your family of five! You don't know me, but I found your blog ages ago via Tor Tales. I'm actually Elissa's sister-in-law and have been reading your blog long enough that I often forget I don't actually know you. I really enjoy your writing and am super excited for your new little boy! I married a boy who has two older sisters and am convinced that it's one of the best combinations of kids :)

  2. Um that photo is clearly flattering of everyone ;) IS that the one from my phone?? Did the DSLR ones not turn out or did you just not take them off the camera yet? Not like I care, just curious because I was hoping the DSLR ones would have turned out better than that!! We will take those big girls for a weekend day after your mom leaves for sure!

  3. Caitlin, thanks! Some of my closest friends have come through blogging, and I totally know the feeling of knowing someone you've never even met. Both the oddity and beauty of blogging. I've been told he'll be good marriage material someday, supposing he survives these first few years of being poked by a toddler.

  4. Erin, I am clearly a bit spaced out, because I totally forgot you took one with my camera, that is the one from your phone. The photography is superb, I just look cracked out, Greta has lasagna in her hair and MJ is being... well, MJ. But you captured our essence.