Here are a few notes on what we packed or were missing in terms of our hospital bag, while I can still remember.
I’m not completely settled on a kind of cloth diaper. Every brand seemed to have its pros and cons and people who liked it based on one feature or another. I didn’t want to make the investment in 20 diapers of one kind and then not like them. I think we’re going to go primarily with prefolds with snappis & thirsties covers, but we haven’t started yet and I’m already wondering if I’ll be annoyed by how long it takes to change each one, now that we’ve had several accidents in the process of diaper changes. We also have a couple bumgenius & a 5-pack of kushies. The kushies are a lot cheaper, but there must be a reason that bumgenius have such a loyal following, too. I’m trying to remind myself that the investment will pay off over time, but they’re just so expensive to start with!
We had our first experience this week with plans changing due to the baby. We went to the doctor Monday morning for a weight check because Will had lost 8% of his body weight before we left the hospital (babies can lose 10% in the first week, but they were worried when it was that high in just 2 days…we blame the fact that he was away from us in the nursery so often that it was hard to get in feedings, and we didn’t end up supplementing because the timing didn’t work out. His weight is fine once we’ve gotten home and do round the clock demand nursing). Somehow it took us an hour and fifteen minutes to get into the doctor – I think the receptionist forgot to check the sign-in sheet, and then was doing other stuff and forgot about us. Will looked a little yellow when we left the hospital Thursday & at the doctor on Friday, but his bilirubin number was fine when they checked at the hospital, so we weren’t too worried. We noticed how orange he looked when he was next to the other babies at Anna’s shower on Sunday afternoon, and the doctor thought he looked like he had gotten worse so she prescribed a jaundice test for Monday morning. We got the test and the number was a little high so we spent some time in the sun on Monday afternoon, got tested again on Tuesday and the number was on its way back down so there doesn’t seem to be a reason for concern. We spent some time outside again Tuesday, though, and we’ll be making more of an effort to get sunlight, which can be tough if we stay inside our house too much.
Of course Sunday and Monday nights I got almost no sleep because Will has to sit up to burp for long periods of time in between nursing, and that’s when the emotions started to hit. Middle of the night nursing isn’t easy, especially when you’re feeling pressure that jaundice will clear better with good feeding, and there have been signs in his diaper that he’s not getting enough of the good fatty hindmilk during the day. It makes all of the difference in the world if I can start the night with a 2 hour stretch of sleep, instead of not getting that until 3-4 am. I’m going to try to limit my multi-tasking when nursing during the day if I can, too, to hopefully help him stay awake for longer stretches and get more milk during the day. There are some benefits of those late night hours, though, which I try to keep in perspective when I’m having trouble making it through. Those are the times when Will is the most alert, and I’m pretty lucky to get that time just to myself. I never understood when people said all they wanted to do was stare at their new babies, but last night I felt myself staring at him lying in his bed (even though he was drifting off and I knew I should be getting some sleep, too!).
I have learned that there’s less to worry about in terms of timing than I thought there would be. I don’t have to wake Will up every couple of hours to eat like I worried about the first few nights – he wakes up and lets me know he’s hungry right on schedule. It’s also pretty clear which side I should nurse on because of how they feel, although I’m not sure if he’s getting a side empty often enough so there’s still some improvement to be made there. At first I watched to see if I was going 30 minutes on each side, but Will stops around 20-30 minutes to be burped and then we switch sides. All of the books are great and I’m glad for sites like babycenter.com to be able to look things up when I have questions, but there’s something to be said for trusting your instincts, too. I don’t write down each diaper I change in a log or anything, but it’s funny how much I could tell you about the number and consistency of each one. And I still haven’t learned my lesson about changing before we get a leak…
I’m going to try to keep track of how things are going here, but with a few notes. I’m a little bit afraid of anyone chiming in saying “Parenting, UR Doin it wrong”. This is just what we’ve done so far, what’s worked and what hasn’t, and our experiences as they’ve happened. Feel free to offer advice, but we may or may not decide to do things that way. Having a baby in the family has totally re-arranged our daily routine (just ask Trigger how he feels about his new restrictions), but neither of us would say we have a difficult baby … at least just yet! He’s 5 days old today, so obviously we have a long ways to go 🙂 This is my journal / baby book for Will, and I’m hoping I won’t regret choosing to make it public for anyone to read! I’ve benefitted from reading the experiences of other new mommies, though, both good and bad. If I liked talking on the phone we could all have this chat in person, but instead it’ll be a little bit more of a one-sided conversation. I love getting comments and facebook messages that let me know you’ve been reading, though!
– Receiving blankets: I had heard that we’d get a lot of blankets for gifts, and of course I couldn’t help but make a quilt and a few blankets myself, so I didn’t wash them all right at once. I realized at the hospital, though, that it’s possible to go through quite a few of the thin flannel receiving blankets by the time they get peed on, spit up on, and occasionally used two at a time for a good swaddle. So one of the first things I did when we got home was to wash the six pack of Carter’s blankets we had but I wasn’t sure we’d need, and pull out all of the lightweight blankets I’d already washed. Thicker blankets I drape loosely over the bassinet if our bedroom is feeling a little cool.
– We have a flailer! Will isn’t very happy being swaddled with his arms in, although he does seem to fall asleep best at night in a loose swaddle. When I hear him wake up in the morning, though, it’s not unusual to find him having kicked all of his blankets free, and this morning he had even managed to pull his arm out of his shirt. Sometimes his activity makes him “roll” his body from his back to his side, and a lot of times when we’re holding him he’ll push off to “climb” further up our bodies. It’s fun seeing how much he’s already developing his muscles.
– Confused days and nights: Will’s biggest stretch of awake time seems to be in the middle of the night, and he’s not thrilled about being on his own when he’s wide awake. He also “cluster feeds” during this time period, so I just have to be prepared to be awake for a long stretch in the middle of the night, and nurse up to five times with short naps and/or diaper changes in between. Once we make it to 3 or 4 am, he sleeps for about 4 hours. After the first daylight feeding, I can pass him off to Carl and get a nap in before we start the day. Each night seems easier, so either we’re sleeping a little more each night or I’m adjusting to the schedule. During the day I can get things done while Will naps if I set him in his bassinet, but a lot of times one of us holds him just because it’s more likely to guarantee that he’ll stay asleep. We encourage him to be awake as long as he can during the day, but we’re not going to worry about a sleep schedule until we’re out of the super-frequent feeding schedule of a newborn. So far we’re not feeling the effects of sleep deprivation too badly either, but we’re also taking it pretty easy ourselves. The first night in the hospital we hardly slept at all because he’d been spitting up and we were so nervous that he’d choke on his spit up if it started happening while he was lying on his back in the crib. We still listen carefully for sounds in the night and sleep lightly, but we’re not as nervous as we were that night! We were wondering then if we’d have to trade off sleeping so that one of us could be sitting up holding him, but the reflux seems to have settled down a little and he’s not as fussy.
– Nursing: Will latched on right away and seems to be doing well, although we’re going back to the doctor tomorrow morning to check on his weight. My milk came in on Thursday night, but today I can tell the volume has increased – one book I read called it the “abundant supply”. So today’s the first day I’ve felt any tenderness if we’ve gone too long in between feedings. The biggest thing we’re dealing with is keeping him awake the whole time he’s eating, and usually by the time he’s finished with one side he’s asleep again. So he doesn’t really eat from both sides every time, but will do 30 minutes on one side and then after a short nap will wake up for 30 minutes on the other side. He’ll sleep then for a couple hours unless it’s the middle of the night when we repeat the cycle a couple more times.
– Diapers: I’m still learning to change boy diapers without making a big mess. We’ve had a couple wet leaks, but I don’t know if that’s because of the fit of the diapers we’re using right now or if they were just on wrong. I’m not planning on starting the cloth diapers until his wound is healed sometime next week, since he kicks quite a bit when he feels the air and it’s all I can do to get the discomfort over quickly.
We’re blessed to announce the arrival of William Royal Buch on Tuesday, November 16, 2010 at 11:14 am. He was 7 lb, 7 oz, and 21 inches long. He came into the world kicking and screaming and with a head full of red hair. We’re not sure yet what color his eyes will be.
Yup, there’s a teacup on my belly. It took longer than I thought, and even here I was slouching a little, but it held itself up (and was empty, because I spill plenty of glasses of water without needing to tempt fate on that one).
Yep, ready to pop. It still surprises me a little to see the side profile in all its girth. I’m bigger than I feel – until I try to stand up from the couch, that is. Then I feel exactly this big. I’m having a few more Braxton Hicks, but nothing to signal that anything is getting going. At the doctor yesterday I was still 1 cm and he’s not dropped into position yet. They also told me they’ll induce before Thanksgiving if things aren’t moving by then. It’s easy to be critical of that philosophy when you’re not pregnant, and complain about overusing drugs to fit the doctor’s schedule, blah blah blah, but sitting here getting bigger it’s hard not to be impatient. I still don’t want Pitocin, though, so hopefully we won’t go too late.
I’m working from home full time now, which is nice, although it means Trigger and I have some extra time together. We’ve had to go back to using his training collar since he doesn’t always listen and I can’t exactly pick him up and make him go where he needs to, but I think there’s a chance that he acts out mostly because he’s hungry and I need to recognize the cues better. Today was long because it was raining outside and he couldn’t get all of his energy out, but I used the old babysitter trick of introducing a new toy. Monday he got out when the UPS guy came and I ended up running down the street chasing him – quite a scare (and not just because I don’t run under the best of circumstances, not to mention in my stocking feet 9 months pregnant) because he’s never gotten out before and showed no signs of stopping or listening to my calls, except for the things he needed to stop and sniff. There were a couple cars that stopped and helped me catch him, and gave us a ride back to the house, too. My ~5 year old ipod shuffle fell out of my pocket in the process, but thankfully I’ve been able to get back to sleep most nights this week without it (I liked that it was so old so I didn’t have to worry about rolling over and crushing something nice in bed). Hopefully we’ll find a good replacement on craigslist soon. Trigger wouldn’t have been as easy to replace.
We’re getting most other things on the to-do-before-baby list checked off now, too. Hospital bag & diaper bag are packed, laundry done and sorted into drawers, and Carl installed a new pantry cupboard in the kitchen yesterday so that’s getting organized, too. The car seats are in the cars, but the bases aren’t completely installed and there are still some things to be hung on the walls of the baby’s room, but those are on the list for this weekend. Will won’t exactly be able to tell the difference in his room decorations, and he’ll be sleeping in our room at first, anyway :).