Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sunday Afternoon Revival

Our Sunday afternoon ritual has been revived: wine, cheese, and porch sitting.

But before the revival we took Lydia on her first stroller ride. At Monday's weigh in, once I found out that Lydia had hit 5 pounds, I asked nurse Lauren if we could take Lydia on stroller trips around the neighborhood. The nurse didn't seem too optimistic but said she would ask Dr. Singletary. I was beside myself when Lauren called back to say the stroller trips were approved as long as it was in the 70s and sunny out.

After Lydia's 3pm bottle she was awake and happy. We loaded her up and took off down the road. I guess the motion was soothing to her because she was asleep before we even left the driveway. We walked for about thirty minutes. She slept the whole time.

I plan to take her out every day this week because the weather is supposed to be beautiful. I need the exercise, too. The thirty minute walk wore me out, so I really need to work on my stamina.

When we got back from our stroll Chip got out a bottle of Clicquot, and I made a cheese plate. We took Lydia out on the deck with us, and we sat, relaxed, chatted, and watched the wildlife in the backyard. Good times. I'm so glad our Sunday afternoon sessions are back. This time: as a family!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Lydia at Two Months

Oh how time flies! Lydia was two months old on Tuesday! Her adjusted age is just two weeks.

At her weight check-up on Monday she was 5 lbs 3 oz.

Things she likes:

  • Staring at, smiling at, and cooing at her monkey toy, usually while she is in the swing.
  • Playing by her floor mirror. She kicks and kicks and watches her legs while she kicks, looks at her black and white images or her mobile, and coos. 
  • Napping on momma in the Moby wrap. 
  • Napping on daddy's chest.
  • Grabbing daddy's nose or chin. 
Just in the past few days she has started tracking toys from left to right with her head and eyes and reaching out for toys or the mobile. 

We are using Pampers Swaddlers Sensitive diapers, and she is still wearing the newborn size. She is in preemie size clothes. Most newborn clothes are still big on her. She's outgrown two preemie footie pajamas, and is close to outgrowing a few others. 

I give her a sponge bath every day to wash the really dirty parts - face, neck, hands, and bum. Twice a week she gets a real bath. As long as she is in a good mood to begin with, she really likes her baths! She likes putting her hands in the water, then her hands in her mouth to taste the water. She coos and kicks like a little frog in the bathtub.

She is eating 2.5 ounces of breast milk by bottle every three hours. We don't feed her on a set schedule. We wait until she acts hungry, and she gets hungry every three hours give or take 20 minutes either way. Chip calls her hunger cue "sandwich hands" because she does her hands around her mouth like she is eating a big hamburger. Or, she just touches her mouth while making short cries - pretty basic.

Our schedule for a typical day looks something like this:
8 - 10 am - Lydia usually wakes up between 7:45 and 8:15 am but doesn't act hungry until about 9 am. I get up, get my coffee, and feed her. She generally takes a bottle in 20 - 30 minutes, including the time it takes me to burp her. I pump after she eats and wash pump parts.
10 am - noon - Lydia has some awake time in her bouncer/swing/nap nanny while I eat breakfast and get dressed. Yes, this takes two hours because she usually interrupts me multiple times by whining or crying or screaming. Maybe her stuffed monkey pissed her off, or the swing stopped swinging, or her paci fell out, or she's just bored with laying around and wants momma to hold her. 
Noon - 1:30 pm - I feed Lydia. I pump.
1:30 - 3 pm - Lydia naps. I eat lunch and get some household chores done. 
3 - 4:30 pm - I feed Lydia. I pump.
4 - 5 pm - Sometimes Lydia naps during this time. Sometimes she is awake and is a little fussy. If she naps, then I sometimes catch a nap, too.
5 - 6 pm - Chip comes home. I start dinner or go pick something up for dinner.
6 - 7 pm - Chip feeds Lydia. I pump.
7 - 9 pm - We eat dinner then play with Lydia if she's awake, and more and more she is awake during this time. I get a shower - yay!
9 -10 pm - Chip feeds Lydia. I pump.
10 pm - Bed time for everyone!
10 pm - 12 am - I sleep if I am lucky. Lydia has a tendency to be very fussy during this time. If she's fussy, I don't generally sleep much if at all. 
12 - 1:30 am - I feed Lydia. I pump.
1:30 - 3 am - I sleep. Again, if I'm lucky she goes back down easily, and I am back in bed an hour and a half after she wakes up to eat and get to sleep another hour and a half. 
3 - 4:30 am - I feed Lydia. I pump. 
4:30 - 8 am - I sleep a "long" stretch, three and a half hours!
5:30 - 6:30 am - Chip gets up and feeds Lydia. I am still sleeping.

And people ask me what I am doing with all this free time on maternity leave. Ha!

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Good News!

I took Lydia to weigh in at the doctor yesterday, and I couldn't be happier or more surprised by her weight gain. Lydia is 4 pounds 13 ounces! She gained 10 ounces in five days and has gained a pound since she came home from the NICU. Truly wonderful news and progress. The pumping and bottle feeding regimen is obviously working. We'll take her for another weigh in on Monday, October 15. She might be over five pounds!

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Lydia's Awake Time

A few days ago I noticed that Lydia was really looking at me. Funny thing to say, I know, but up until that point her eyes just seemed to wander randomly or in reaction to a noise. This time she was focusing on my face and really looking. I started researching ways to stimulate and encourage her developing vision. I found that newborns are visually attracted to areas of high contrast - like my eyes when she is staring at my face or black-and-white images.

After reading a couple of blog posts from some Montessori moms, I thought I'd make a movement/awake area for Lydia. I got my inspiration from how we montessori and Feeding the Soil. I'm not really a gung-ho Montessori follower or anything, but I do like some of the ideas presented on those blogs. 

I already had a mirror I wasn't using. I printed some black-and-white images, and voila! Instant movement/awake spot for baby Lydia.

Yesterday during Lydia's awake time I snapped some photos of her.

Wow - she is really loving this spot! After her afternoon bottle she is usually awake for about an hour. I've put her down here for the past few days, and she's been entertained for about half an hour. She stares at the photos and watches herself move in the mirror.

I made a mobile from some of the black-and-white images to hang over Lydia's changing table. I'm trying to hang it today. I'll post some photos of it once I get it hung. I hope it helps her calm down during diaper changes. Right now she get fired up and really upset throughout the whole ordeal.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Not a Libra Baby

Today, October 5th, is Lydia's original due date. But instead she came as a Leo -- not a Libra.

I've been thinking back about my pregnancy, back before I  had complications, when I was preparing myself mentally for a natural childbirth. I remember a Saturday when I sat on the patio reading birth stories and imagined what my birth experience might be like. I imagined laboring at home in the initial phases and thought about what a wonderful memory that would create in our home. Instead, I had a birth experience that was unexpected and pretty frightening. Instead, the memories that I have created in our home are of me patiently nurturing my tiny child as she grows.

We had a slight disappointment this week. We took Lydia to the doctor's office on Wednesday to be weighed, and she'd only gained 3 ounces in 9 days, up to 4 pounds 3 ounces. Her doctor was hoping she'd gain 6 ounces a week. I've decided (on my own, not at the doctor's recommendation) to pump breast milk and feed Lydia bottles only until we go back to the doctor on Monday to weigh her again. As much as I want to nurse her, it takes three times as long for her to eat from the breast as it does for her to take a bottle. Right now those are precious calories that she needs to keep growing and get bigger. I am hoping this feeding change pays off, and that we see some good weight gain.

That being said, her health is still great - we just need her to add more weight before we get into winter and cold and flu season. As the days go by here at home and we get into a routine, I don't need to forget that she is a growth restricted baby. Fragile and delicate. I need to be extra sensitive to her needs, especially when it comes to gaining weight. Since she is the only baby I see day in and day out, it is easy to forget that.

Here are some of my favorite Lydia photos so far. Chip took these when his mom "Nana" came to visit.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

At Home With Lydia

The first few weeks home with Lydia have been both wonderful and challenging. Today Lydia is 6 weeks and 6 days old.

Feeding Lydia
The first week we were still on the NICU feeding schedule - every 3 hours at 5:30, 8:30, 11:30, and 2:30 (am and pm). Chip would take the 5:30 am, sometimes 5:30 pm, and 8:30 pm feedings. She was eating 50 mL by bottle, or she would nurse and I would supplement with a 20 mL bottle because she still was not a strong nurser. She would get tired before she got full. That started to become old very quickly because each time I fed her I would nurse her, warm a bottle, and pump breast milk. Yuck.

Recently she started finishing her 50 mL bottles really quickly, so we increased her to 60+ mL (about 2 ounces). She also started nursing longer and better, so I stopped offering her a bottle after she nurses. That means I don't have to heat and feed her a bottle after nursing, but now when I nurse she's hungry again after 2 or 2.5 hours instead of 3. I've thought about adding back the supplemental bottle at night so I can get a little more sleep, but I am worried that she will continue not to nurse well if she knows she's going to get a bottle at the end. Since milk flows from the bottle easier, it is less work for her to eat from the bottle.

In a way it is a relief to not be on such a strict feeding schedule. When I say she was on the schedule, I mean that fairly loosely. There were times when she was hungry before the three hour mark, and I would get so frustrated because she was not sticking to the "schedule". What I came to realize is that Lydia was not the source of my frustration! The schedule was!

Now that we are off the schedule things are going more smoothly. I'm learning to go with the flow and not try to structure my day so strictly. That's a good parenting lesson for me to learn since I tend to want to plan out everything.


Lydia is a great little sleeper... all day long. I've got to work on this! She loves sleeping in her swing during the day, and I have been letting her because I can get stuff done while she sleeps. But, this means that she doesn't sleep well and is fussy at night. Sometimes all night which is awful. Another thing that I've come to realize... with a new baby, there is really no such thing as getting stuff done. Between feeding, pumping, changing diapers, and doing dirty baby laundry (and sleeping, eating, showering, and making myself look halfway decent each day) I've got maybe an hour of free time. Two hours if Chip takes the evening feedings. For some reason I thought I would have a ton of free time during maternity leave. Ha! How naive I was!
Other than eating and sleeping, Lydia still doesn't do much. She still isn't even supposed to be born yet! Her due date is Friday, October 5.

We have noticed that her gaze at our faces has been more sustained over the past few days. I think she is finally actually seeing and recognizing us and not just looking at our shapes. Give that, in those hours of immense free time that I have I am working on a Munari-like black and white mobile for Lydia's changing table. I've also printed out some black and white images for her to look at during her tummy time and awake time. High contrast images are easier for newborn babies to focus on, so they stay more interested in them.

I have some awesome photos on my camera but I am on the iPad now... When is someone going to make a digital camera that is iCloud compatible? I feel like my camera holds my photos hostage. More photos to come, I swear!