Thursday, March 31, 2016

Levi: One Month

Look at those scrawny legs!

Well, my little leap baby is one month old! Time for an update!

Breastfeeding is going well. The latch issues got better by week 3 and he usually gets it on the first try now. The right side is a piece of cake. The left side hurts me still - usually just for about those first 20 seconds until he gets a good latch. He eats on both sides every 3 hours around the clock.

We got thrush at 2 weeks and are just finishing up our meds for it. That was an unpleasant experience I don't wish to repeat.

And last night, he took a bottle for the first time with no problem! Lena never took a bottle, so I was nervous about Levi. I wasn't home, but Justin said he chugged it right down without hesitation. Whew!

He's been sleeping a lot better over the last two weeks. I think he finally has his days and nights figured out. He wakes up every three hours to eat, but usually goes right back to sleep. For a while, I didn't swaddle him because I felt like he was resisting it too much. But when he stopped sleeping at night, I went back to the swaddle and I feel like it's made a huge difference. He knows it's sleep time when he's pinned into his straight-jacket! He still sleeps much of the day. I sometimes think I should start getting him into a routine, but that just seems like a lot of work. Haha. He usually has one period of awake time for three hours between feedings and then is just awake in small spurts the rest of the day. For now, he sleeps whenever and wherever - the swing, the bouncy seat, the rock n' play, my arms. I do have some trouble getting him to stay asleep elsewhere if he falls asleep in my arms. We're working on that. (Although I enjoy the snuggles and am torn between "spoiling" him and cherishing these moments.)

He rolled over from belly to back at 17 days. Lena did it super early too, but stopped after her head became more proportionate in size to her body. Lol. I think Levi will do the same thing. Right now, when I lay him on his stomach, he leans his big head over and it pulls the rest of his body over.

His umbilical stump didn't fall off until 24 days! But he's finally taking real baths now. He tolerates them, but hates being naked and cold when he's not submerged in the warm water.

Easter was his first holiday. I bought him a button-down shirt, navy pants, and sweater vest before he was even born. But since he's such a shrimp, only the vest fit. I found a smaller button-down in the closet that semi-matched the vest. And I went to Meijer Saturday afternoon and bought the only pair of newborn pants I could find. They were brown sweatpants. Lol. Oh well. He looked like an adorable little old man.

He hasn't smiled yet (other than in his sleep) and he does very little cooing. I can't wait for him to start interacting with us more.

Levi has always been a pukey baby. But Lucy was too, and that didn't stop her from being a major porker, so I wasn't too worried. At least until this week. I started to notice that he was never happy unless he was sleeping or nursing. Anytime he was awake, he was crying. And he usually screamed for an hour or two after nursing. He puked over and over and then once his belly seemed to be empty, the screaming stopped and he settled down. Saturday was the worst. My parents, Justin, and I passed him back and forth, pacing and jiggling and getting puked on. I tried gas drops and gripe water, but nothing helped. He hated being on his back, and was happiest when held upright. And after weighing him on our scale, I was worried that he wasn't gaining sufficient weight. So after some Internet research, I called the doctor on Monday.

Levi weighed in at 7 lbs, 1 oz. Only 2 ounces bigger than his birth weight. :-( The doctor wasn't overly concerned because he's having consistent wet and dirty diapers, and he is gaining something, albeit slowly. But she agreed with me that something is not right. The first step was to rule out pyloric stenosis, so on Tuesday we went down to the Children's Hospital for an ultrasound of his belly. He got to lay on a heated blanket and drink glucose water so he was happy. He did great laying still and letting them poke and prod him. Of course the ultrasound tech wasn't allowed to give me any results, so we had to wait to hear from the doctor. Fortunately, she called later that day with the results: no pyloric stenosis! Whew! So for now, he's taking Zantac twice a day to control the reflux. I've read that it can take a week to really kick in, but I'm praying that it's effective! I can handle the puking, even though it's gross and results in a lot of laundry. I just really want him to be happier and start gaining weight!

My Recovery
Well a month later my back is still killing me. :-( If I'm on my feet for any length of time, I get this burning/searing pain from my mid back all the way up to my shoulders. And it's worse if I'm carrying anything - even a tiny 7 lb. baby. Even in the Moby. So I really start to hurt when I have to pace with him. I need to go see the chiropractor, but I'm afraid he's going to yell at me for waiting so long. Haha.

My weight loss has stalled at 16 lbs. I still have 12 to go to get to my starting weight. I might actually have to cut back on Dr Pepper and chocolate cake if I have any hope of losing it. And I still have quite a belly. I know it's only been a month, but I'm starting to feel self-conscious about it.

I didn't wear my belly binder as much as I should have. It probably would've helped with the back pain and the belly flab. It's just so annoying. I do still wear it if I know I'm going to be on my feet for a while or if I'm desperate to suck in the flab. Haha.

The good news is I squeezed myself into my largest pair of pre-pregnancy jeans this week! I could get them buttoned, but I did the rubber band trick to avoid some major muffin-top action. I was just excited I could get them up over my hips!

I've also been doing really well on the anxiety/depression front. I get emotional at times. I cried a little bit on Sunday when Levi was so fussy and I was terrified of handling his screaming fits alone all day when my parents and Justin went back to work. But for the most part, I'm doing well. Enjoying the snuggles, handling the sleep deprivation, and learning to juggle three kids. The girls still adore their little brother and we're loving being a family of 5!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Saturday 7

1. Good news, everyone! Levi slept so much better at night this week! I'm wising up and have learned just to scoop him out of bed, feed him, attempt a couple quick burps, then toss him back in bed. No unswaddling. No diaper changing. No giving him time to wake up. It seems to be working.

2. More good news: we got free newborn pictures taken! I have a photographer friend who messaged me this week offering to take free pictures in exchange for more "boy newborns" for her portfolio. I wasn't about to pass that up! I think newborn photos are so adorable, but have never been able to justify the price. Levi is actually a little old for newborn photos. He was awake a little too often, but Amy did an amazing job of calming him down and getting him to sleep. And she got some awesome shots!

He loved this nest thing. I need to get one for at home!

Old man forehead wrinkles!
She captured the dimples!

The grin!!
Thank you so much, Amy! Check out her website here.

3. Lucy is my major attitude/drama queen child, but she has such a sweet heart. Last week she insisted on making me breakfast in bed. And then one day this week, she buttered my bagel for me (quite excessively - lol) then said, "I'll hold the baby so you can eat." She held him for a good 15 minutes while I ate, then said, "Are you having a good morning? I helped make your breakfast and held the baby!" She's really good with Levi, but she also makes me a little nervous. She's so [over] confident about sitting him up and laying him down and standing him up and bouncing him. She doesn't support his head very well. And you know how newborns jerk around. #nervous

4. We had some exciting firsts in our house this week. Levi finally lost his umbilical stump (at 24 stinkin' days old!) and had his first real bath. And Lucy finally lost her first tooth. It's been loose for at least a month, and just hanging by a thread for the past couple of days, but she was so paranoid about it hurting that she refused to pull it. This morning, though, she realized it was almost out, so she just yanked it out. It didn't even bleed. It was seriously just sitting there. Haha.
I think it makes her look so old!!
5. Every Easter, I listen to the Michael Card songs God Will Provide a Lamb and This Must Be The Lamb. I know Michael Card is a little dated. Haha. But his songs are the music of my childhood. And I love the rich theological lyrics. This year, I was thinking about Abraham and Isaac and somehow my brain made this connection . . . Every Good Friday, I think about how grateful I am that Jesus died for me, but this year, I suddenly started to think about how grateful I am that he died for my kids. I want to save them myself but I obviously can't. I'm so thankful that Jesus made a way for them, and I pray daily that they'll accept that amazing gift. We've been talking about it a lot lately. They both know the answers (What is Easter about? Jesus died and rose again! Why did Jesus die? For our sins!), but I pray as they grow that they'll understand it at a heart level as well.  

6. So bad news: I'm starting to think Levi might have reflux. He is such a puker. At first, it didn't seem to bother him very much and I figured he was just going to be a "happy spitter," but this week he has gotten more and more irritable. Unless he falls asleep after nursing, he generally screams, cries and pukes for 1-2 hours after eating. He is inconsolable no matter what I do - especially if he's on his back. He settles down for short moments if he's being held upright or I put him on his belly, but then he'll start screaming again. He usually pukes 6 or 7 times before he starts to calm down. It's rarely projectile puke anymore, but it's enough to soak his clothes/hair/me.

Lucy was a puker, but never cranky about it. And Lena was colicky, but not much of a puker. Poor Levi has the worst of both. Gas drops and gripe water always helped Lena, but it doesn't seem to do anything for Levi. It's getting to the point that he's rarely happy anymore. If he's awake, he's usually crying. :-( And I'm worried that it's affecting his weight gain. He was 6 lbs. 15 oz. at our WIC appt. two weeks ago. Yesterday, I weighed myself on the scale, then weighed myself holding him. The difference was 7.6 lbs. So he's still not even 8 lbs. He nurses every 3 hours around the clock, so I feel like he should be gaining more than that. He has his one month dr. appt. on April 4, but I think I might see if he can get in before that. This is miserable for all of us.

7. My friend Lisa shared this with me on facebook. How very true it is! The resemblance between this monkey and me upon my first sip is uncanny! (I'm so afraid the doctor is going to tell me to cut out caffeine and see if that helps Levi!)

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The "Saturday" 7

I really did start this entry on Saturday, but I got distracted . . . Levi's having his awake time now, so I'm going to quick finish it up. So sorry for the delay.

1. Levi turned 2 weeks on Monday and suddenly woke up. Especially at night. Haha. On Tuesday, he woke up at 1:30 to eat, and didn't go back to sleep until after another feeding at 4:30. On Wednesday, he was up from 2:00-6:00 am. On Thursday, it was midnight to 4. It is ridiculous. It'd be one thing if he was just awake and happy. I'd stick him in the swing and go to sleep. But he wants to be held/walked/jiggled. I told Justin that I can do magic tricks. Levi will be sound asleep in my arms. I'll lay him down in his bed and he magically jerks awake and starts screaming. When I pick him up, he magically silences again. I don't know what his deal is. I've tried gas drops and bicycle legs, but I don't really think that's the problem. I think he just wants to be awake - and he wants me to be awake with him. I am exhausted. The girls never had their nights and days mixed up. When I was pregnant, I told everyone that the girls were amazing sleepers and I was nervous this baby would be my bad sleeper. Self-fulfilling prophecy, I'm afraid. I've tried feeding him in the dark and putting him right back to bed, I've tried keeping him awake more during the day, I've tried letting him sleep on my chest. Nothing is helping so far.
This was at 2:00 in the morning. I was excited I finally captured a picture of his dimples!
2. I'm hoping part of his problem is that we both have thrush. Maybe his mouth just hurts or something and once the antibiotic kicks in, he'll go back to sleeping between feedings in the middle of the night. One can hope! I've never had thrush before. Not a fan. And of course everything I've read online says it's notoriously difficult to get rid of and can keep coming back. Everything also says to avoid a diet high in sugar and carbs . . . that's pretty much all I eat. Ugh. We just started our meds yesterday. Hopefully we'll be good as new soon!

3. A couple Lena-isms from this week: I realized that she calls burps "scuse me's." After I feed Levi, she says, "You need to make him scuse me now?" Or if she burps, she says, "I had a scuse me!" Haha.

Also, one day this week, while I was changing Levi's diaper, she was checking things out and declared, "That looks like an onion." Lol. So according to Lena, boys have squirty things and onions. There's your anatomy lesson for the day.

4. Levi's umbilical cord still hasn't fallen off. He'll be 3 weeks old tomorrow and he still has that nasty stump! I'd really like to give him a real bath. I've been tugging on the cord a little bit (I know - big no no) to see if it's getting close, but it's still pretty secure on there. Gross. The girls' cords didn't last nearly this long.

5. I am feeling incredibly overwhelmed by the responsibility of parenting lately. Both of the girls have such attitude problems. Neither of them eats anything but cheese. They watch way too much TV. The school decisions are too hard. The choices we're going to have to start making soon about sleepovers are too hard.  I'm terrified to raise a boy in this world full of porn and sexual temptation. I'm overwhelmed by the fine line between grace and discipline. I keep telling myself that I just have to rely on the Holy Spirit to help me. But I feel like I've already failed so much with my kids and they're so young still. Am I not tapping into the Holy Spirit's resources correctly?

6. Well I'm really struggling to come up with 7 this week. All I do is wrangle children and think about when I can sleep again. Haha. Here's some Ron Swanson humor to start your week:

Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Saturday 7

1. One of the best parts of having a baby is all the meals people bring you in the week following. Haha. We had so much good food this week thanks to Niki's delegating and my friends' generosity. Major thanks to Missy, Niki, Kris, Amy, Kelly, another Missy, and Tammi! I'm not looking forward to doing my own cooking again. (Although I won't have to for a while thanks to the mounds of delicious leftovers!) Oh, and good news! Despite all that amazing food, I'm down 15 pounds! Since I gained less than 30 pounds for the first time in the history of my pregnancies, that's over halfway! Woohoo! Not even going to attempt regular jeans, though. I know my hips are still too wide and I just don't need that kind of disappointment. Haha.

2. My due date is tomorrow and I am so glad I'm not still pregnant! Although I do kind of miss my built-in table. I had a bowl of cereal the other day and didn't know what to do without my belly to prop the bowl on! Haha. It's so weird to think that Levi wasn't technically supposed to be here yet. It already seems like he's always been a part of our lives!

3. Mini Levi Update: He's 12 days old today.  He still sleeps most of the day. He's eating every 3 hours around the clock. Still struggling with the latch. He did really well with it on Thursday and Friday, but was bad again last night and this morning. He sucks twice and pulls off before he gets anything. Over and over and over until he's screaming in frustration. He's still puking a ton. Not as much projectile in the past few days, but still spitting up good portions after every feeding. We had a WIC appointment yesterday and he weighed in at 6 lbs. 15 oz - his exact birth weight. Whew! And he's having plenty of wet and dirty diapers. He actually pees out of his diaper fairly often. I think I'm not used to diapering a boy . . . or the newborn diapers are still too big. I just can't get them tight enough around his scrawny little legs! And I'm still working around the gross umbilical stump. Once that falls off, I can hike the diaper up a little more. I'm hoping that will help.

4. I'm starting to feel the exhaustion. He's actually a great sleeper. He lets me get 3 hour chunks throughout the night and usually goes right back to sleep after eating. But he's a painfully slow eater, takes forever to latch, and keeps falling asleep so I'm up for at least an hour at a time every 3 hours. *yawn* It's making me a little cranky during the day. I've been short-tempered with the girls. I hate myself for it which just makes me more cranky/depressed. I had a little meltdown last night. I know logically that it's hormones and sleep deprivation, but I still feel a little out of control and I hate that feeling. Overall, I'm doing great emotionally. It just hits me every once in a while - usually in the evenings.

5. I'm also fighting a cold, which doesn't help with the exhaustion. Lucy came down with a cough the day before we came home from the hospital. So it's been almost 2 weeks. She does.not.stop coughing. It is driving me absolutely insane! I finally counted tonight. The longest she makes between coughs is 13 seconds. She usually coughs about every 5 seconds. All day, people! I bought her some stronger cough medicine tonight that I'm hoping will help. But I'm tempted to call the doctor if it doesn't go away in the next few days. I doubt there's anything they can do for her, though. The cough is her only symptom. It's probably more habit than anything at this point. Oy.

6. A random Lena phrase: At night when I rock her, she says "Scratch and soft me" meaning she wants me to rub/scratch her back. Haha. I don't know why she says "soft me" but it's adorable.

7. Since I've been home from the hospital, I've finished Bones, Fixer Upper, and Property Brothers on Netflix. I was almost done with the first two before giving birth, but I powered through Property Brothers. I have to do something to pass the time while nursing a baby 12 hours a day. But now I'm stumped for what to start next. I like home improvement shows because I don't mind the girls watching with me, and it's not something I really need to pay close attention to.  Today, I turned on America's Funniest Home videos just for something to have on in the background. The girls ended up watching with me, and at one point, there was a time-stamp on the bottom of a video that said 2001. Lucy said "Wow. 2001. I bet that guy [Tom Bergeron] wasn't even born yet!" When I told her that I was born before 2001, her eyes nearly bugged out of her head and she declared incredulously, "You were born before the 2000s?" Lol. #old

8. Bonus point for pictures:
His favorite position (and mine)
We introduced the girls to Culver's tonight and let them pick out their own ice cream mix-ins. They were pretty geeked.

Look at what a tiny little bundle he is!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

One Week Update

Mr. Levi is one week old! He's already experiencing third child syndrome and I'm a day late on the update. Haha. Sorry, dude.

He has been a great baby so far! He's an amazing sleeper, is getting the hang of eating, and is such a sweet snuggler. He's going to be totally spoiled because everyone wants to hold him all the time - from the girls to my parents, to Justin and me. I just want to snuggle him non-stop. I still can't get over how tiny he is and how he curls into the perfect little ball on my chest.

I've been telling people that Levi is kind of a combination of the girls in the breastfeeding respect. Lucy was terrible and couldn't figure out the latch for two solid weeks. Lena practically came out sucking and had the latch down within days, but really hurt me. Levi struggles to latch, but always gets there eventually and gets good feedings. And he's barely hurting me at all (although maybe I've just gotten smarter and am more liberal with the lanolin this time around). My milk came in on day 3 and I've been uncomfortable - especially because he's going so long between feedings - but nothing unbearable. I've only had to break out the pump a couple of times so far.

He's kind of slow. It usually takes a few minutes to get the latch, then he inevitably falls asleep after one side. It takes me forever to get him awake enough to eat again on the other side, but if I don't force it, he'll be hungry again in half an hour. From start to end, feedings take almost an hour - especially in the middle of the night. For some reason, he has a much harder time latching in the middle of the night than during the day. He does a lot of frustrated screaming at 2 in the morning. Everyone here appreciates that. Haha.

Right now, he's eating every 3-4 hours. Once in a while he cluster feeds, although I'm learning that he just likes to root and doesn't necessarily need to eat. He can usually be pacified with the Binky after a good feeding. I'm interested to see if he'll get down to eating every 2 hours like most newborns. I'm not convinced that he's totally woken up since birth. He's technically not even full-term yet and is really sleepy.

Levi spends most of the day sleeping. He usually has some "awake time" after his morning feeding, between like 7 and 9 and again in the late evening. But other than that, he pretty much just wakes up to eat, then falls asleep again. I swaddle him at night and he sleeps in the rock n' play next to my bed. During the day, he sleeps wherever is convenient for me - the bouncy seat, swing, rock n' play, or my arms. He sleeps great at night - usually a couple 4 hour stretches. I'm definitely enjoying that!!

First Doctor Appointment
He was born at 6 lbs. 15 oz. When we left the hospital, he was 6 lbs. 8 oz. At his appointment on Friday (at 4 days old), he was up to 6 lbs.10 oz. Going the right direction slowly but surely! The doctor was concerned that he looked pretty jaundiced. His numbers were fine in the hospital, but he's definitely yellow - even the whites of his eyes - so we had his bilirubin levels checked again. Anything over 15 needs treatment, but his numbers came in at 11. So the doctor said just to keep feeding feeding feeding him to get the jaundice flushed out. I think he's already looking less yellow, so it's working!
He's definitely a puker. At first, it seemed like the normal amount of puking, but in the past couple of days, it's gotten ridiculous. I did not anticipate having such a small baby, so I only had like 5 newborn outfits. My mom and Niki have gotten me a few more from Once Upon, but at the rate he pukes, I change him upwards of 3 times a day and have to wash pretty much his whole wardrobe every day. The intense projectile puking of the past few days is making me a little nervous after a couple of my friends had babies with plyoric stenosis. But there's not much I can do about it right now other than keep an eye on it. We have a WIC appointment on Friday, so we'll make sure he's still gaining weight.

Big Sisters
The girls still totally adore him. Lucy is obsessed and wants to hold him every minute of every day.

I can't even explain how much she loves him and wants to be around him. She's constantly telling him that she loves him and saying he's so cute. She rarely leaves his side. When he's in the swing, she pulls a chair up and sits next to him.
When I'm feeding him, she sits on the bed next to me and asks, "Is he done yet? Does he still have to do the other side? Did you burp him yet?" Anytime anyone else is holding him, she gets antsy after a few minute and starts begging to have a turn.

Lena loves him too. I haven't noticed any jealousy on her part. She's not quite as obsessed as Lucy, but she loves to hold him too.

She's hilariously paranoid about him puking or pooping on her. She jumps a mile if he ever makes tooting noises while she's holding him, and anytime he pukes, she turns away and says, "I don't wanna see it!" Lol. She loves to help with him. She loves putting his binky in his mouth, pushing the buttons on the swing/bouncer, bringing me diapers, picking out clothes for him, and helping give sponge baths.

My Recovery
I am feeling so much better than I ever did at this point with the girls. The first few days were really rough with the back/sciatic/sacrum pain and I was dreading months of it like I had with Lena. I wrote in my previous update that the Belly Bandit helped, but was impossible to get on by myself.  I read in the instructions, though, that you're supposed to lay down on your back to put it on. That really helps. And my stomach has gone down enough that it's getting easier to put on. Anyway, the pain is a lot more manageable when I'm wearing the band. I try to wear it a good portion of the day, but it's not the most comfortable. It pinches my back fat and rides up and gets this weird crease in it.

I do think it's helping my belly go down faster though. 
2 days postpartum on the left, 7 days on the right
I'm actually feeling pretty normal. Yesterday, I successfully got all 3 kids up, ready, and to Lucy's school on time. Then the little Ls and I ran a bunch of errands because I was feeling totally fine. My back and pelvic girdle really hurt by that evening, though. Lesson learned that I still can't push myself too much. And I tried to wear Levi in the Moby for a while, but it killed my back. I wore it without the Belly Bandit, though. I need to try them together and see if that helps. The only other weird "symptom" I'm having is "cold flashes." I was so hot all the time while I was pregnant, but now I'm suddenly freezing all the time. I guess my body misses the heat of that extra body inside of me. Haha.

I had postpartum anxiety with Lucy and depression with Lena, so I'm on high alert this time around. So far, I feel amazingly stable and happy. Don't get me wrong - I've had my moments. It's a little hard for me that the girls always want to be touching me/on top of me. They want to be by the baby and the baby is usually by me, but then I end up with all 3 of them touching me/needing me at once. It makes me a little crazy. But for the most part, I'm feeling very good emotionally and am exceedingly grateful for it!!

Well I've been writing this forever and I need to go do some more laundry since Levi's on his last clean outfit! Ha. I'll leave you with a couple more precious pictures of our precious boy:

Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Saturday 7

1. It's amazing how much life can change in a week. Haha. We're adjusting to life as a family of 5 and soaking up the newborn phase. I'm going to write an official "One Week Update" on Monday, but this entry is definitely going to be pretty baby-centric. Prepare yourselves.

2. After my day of leisure on Thursday when Niki took the girls all morning and we spent the rest of the day snuggling in bed, Friday was a bit more stressful. Fortunately, my mom was able to bring Lucy to school. But I had to bring the little Ls to the pediatrician by myself. I told myself it wasn't going to be that hard. I just had to get them in and out of the car a few times. Levi still sleeps pretty much all the time. Lena is easily entertained by YouTube on my phone. But the whole morning was a fiasco. His appointment was at 10:30, which ended up being really bad timing for the feeding schedule. He was getting hungry just as we were getting to the doctor, and I was starting to feel the pain. We had to do all the "first time patient" paperwork, which is ridiculous since he was 4 days old and doesn't have a health history. We saw the nurse right away but waited forever for the doctor. She was worried about his jaundice, so told me to head to the lab across the street and have his heel pricked. Ok. Easy enough. I fed him in the waiting room (which was not particularly easy with the nursing cover, since we're not pros at this nursing thing yet) while Lena climbed all over me and rummaged through my purse for snacks. By this time, it was 11:30. I hadn't planned on going out to lunch, since Niki had taken the girls to McDonald's the day before, but I knew we'd need something soon. McDonald's is right next door to the doctor's office, but I talked Lena into getting a cheese roll-up from Taco Bell on our way home.

Finally, we went over to the lab - where 10 other people were waiting in the waiting room. Oy. We got checked in and the lady suggested that we could go get some lunch because the wait was at least half an hour. Of course, Lena refused to get McDonald's since she had her heart set on Taco Bell. But I was starving. So I got McD's, scarfed it down in the car, then headed back to the lab. By this time, my back was starting to hurt from getting Levi and the carseat in and out. So I got the bright idea to put him in the stroller. But when Lena saw me get the stroller out of the trunk she freaked out that she wanted to ride in it and I had to drag her into the lab screaming while trying to push Levi in the stroller. We finally left the lab at 1:15, drove through Taco Bell, and made it home by 1:50. But I had to pick Lucy up at 3, which meant it was too late for Lena to get a nap, which meant I didn't get a nap either. I was exhausted the rest of the day and starting to feel a little hormonal. More about that in the One Week Update. (His bilirubin came back in the safe range, by the way.)

3. I realized I forgot to explain Levi's middle name in the last entry. We went with William because that's Justin's grandpa's name and his dad's middle name. I love using family names as middle names. But I'm going to have to have a few more kids to honor everyone important to us. Haha.

4. And on the name topic . . . Lena has the hardest time remembering the name "Levi." She actually calls him "Eli" more often than not. Haha. It's not a pronunciation thing. She just gets confused. When she does remember his real name, it comes out like "Wee-vi." Adorable.

5. When we first came home from the hospital, I didn't have that immediate feeling that Lena looked so huge all of a sudden. But it's starting to hit me more and more. Changing her diaper is ridiculous. I can't believe how long her legs are and how huge her diapers are! She feels ginormous now when I rock her on my lap in the rocking chair. And hauling her in and out of the crib is crazy. We should really get to work on potty training and transitioning to the big girl bed.

6. Lucy went back to school on Friday for the first time in over a week. (She only has school on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.) Last Friday she had the flu, and on Monday she had a meltdown when she woke up to discover that I was at the hospital having a baby. She was so mad that we didn't tell her that was the plan the night before. Haha. And she was apparently still recovering from her sickness because she couldn't stop crying that her legs hurt and said she couldn't walk. So my mom let her skip school that day. Then Wednesday, she had her first snow day! I was a little worried about all the work she'd have to make up at home as a result. But when I picked her up on Friday her teacher said that Lucy voluntarily skipped recess, P.E., and library so she could catch up on her work - and she got it all done!

7. I can't think of a seventh. You all know what we've been up to this week. I don't even have any dumb Pinterest pictures to share. After weeks (months?) of sitting around glued to my computer, I've hardly even picked it up this week. Too busy nursing and sleeping and snuggling. It's the life. :-)

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Extremely Long Update

This is ridiculously long, but I love to record all the little details, so feel free to skim. :-)

First Night
The first night in the hospital was a little rough. I was feeling pretty good- better than I did so soon after delivering the girls. The epidural wore off faster - probably because it wasn't in as long as it was with the girls. I could actually walk that first night. I know it took like 12 hours after the girls. I was amazed by how little pain I was in. Small baby+lack of tearing+quick delivery=happy mommy!

Levi was very sleepy and hadn't successfully nursed since that first try in the delivery room at like 11 am. So I was constantly trying to wake him up to eat. We finally decided to try and sleep around 9:00, but I was being as paranoid as a first timer. Because he came out so fast, he didn't get "compressed" in the birth canal as much as he should have to expel the amniotic fluid he swallowed. So he spent a lot of that first day/night choking on/spitting up fluid. He actually made this funny "purring" noise for the first 24 hours of his life - almost non-stop. The nurses/doctor checked and double checked and assured me that there wasn't fluid in his lungs, and it wasn't a problem. He just had to get it out on his own. The problem is, anytime he was flat on his back, he would gag on it, so I felt like I couldn't sleep in case he choked and I wasn't awake to lift him up and help him get it out. I laid in bed dozing off for ten minutes at a time, then waking up to check on him. #rookie

Finally, around 2:30, he woke up ready to eat. And eat. And eat. He nursed every hour on the hour. I was relieved that he had a good latch and was definitely getting some colostrum, but I was exhausted. At 6:00, I woke Justin up to take him and slept for an hour and a half until the doctor came in to check on us.

Day Two
Wanna know a dirty little secret? I love being in the hospital. Haha. I know so many women who are itching to get home after giving birth. We were warned that we'd have to stay the full 48 hours since I never got that second dose of antibiotics and they had to watch Levi for infection. I didn't mind. I love calling and ordering room service. I love having pain meds delivered to my bed side. And the anxious side of me loves that the nurses are there to address all my little worries and concerns - to assure me that I'm not bleeding too much, that he's not sleeping too much, that I'm not dying or about to be paralyzed because my epidural site hurts. Haha.

While we were at the hospital that second day, the world around us was getting covered in 8 inches of snow! Remember how worried I was about going into labor during a blizzard?? Whew! I barely missed it! The snow ended up keeping a lot of visitors away, so we spent most of the day just resting, watching TV, and trying to nurse a sleepy baby. Levi got circumcised early that morning and spent most of the rest of the day sleeping.

Circumcision and Projectile Pee
Oh circumcision. We knew we wanted to have it done, but I still hated it. And I hate taking care of it. I am so worried about hurting him. Again, I feel like a rookie mom every time I change his diaper - trying to clean him up and change the dressing without hurting him . . . or letting him pee on me. I forgot how hard it is to maneuver his tiny little legs when he just wants to keep them bunched up against his body.

Everyone has warned me about little boys peeing all over the place. I was pretty good at the quick change while I was nannying for Chase. But I have yet to master it with a newborn. Yesterday for the first time, I was changing Levi on my bed when all of the sudden he started peeing all over the place - my bed, the Boppy, and himself. But the best part is that Lola was laying within range on my bed and got totally saturated! Lol.

Life at Home
We finally got discharged around noon yesterday and came home to a couple of very eager sisters. They are adoring Levi. They both want to hold him non-stop. Lena was very excited to have him try out every piece of baby equipment we own: the Rock n' Play, swing, bouncy seat, even the bathtub. The girls helped me give him his first sponge bath last night. (They don't give baths at the hospital anymore - isn't that weird? Something about new research shows leaving the vernix on is good for babies.)

Lucy is adorable with him. She strokes his head while she holds him and says, "I love you, Levi! You're so cute! I love you so much!" She keeps exclaiming to me, "I can't believe he was in your belly! It seems like you were just pregnant yesterday!" Lol. It seriously melts my heart.

Lena is learning all kinds of new things. Haha. She watched Justin change Levi's diaper for the first time in the hospital, and immediately remarked, "What is that squirty thing?" Lol. It wasn't squirting when she asked. I guess she just figured that was what it was for. Haha. And both girls were surprised that I don't feed him with a bottle. Lena asks lots of questions, like "Where's the milk? I don't see it." and "How does he get it out of there?" One time I kind of grimaced when he latched on and she said, "Does it hurt?" Lucy plays it cool and tries not to act too interested. Haha.

At first, I was worried that Levi was going to take after Lucy with the breastfeeding. She could not figure out the latch and we had major difficulty the first couple of weeks. Lena latched on from the get-go, so when Levi struggled at first I started to get nervous. And then with all the sleepiness and lack of successful sessions, I was worried we were on the same road as with Lucy: losing too much weight, supplementing with formula, a lot of crying from both us all night. Haha. But he's already catching on and getting much more adept. When he's good and hungry and awake, he usually latches on after a couple tries and goes to town no problem. He's sleeping too much and stretching his feedings out too much right now, but I'm a big proponent of not waking a sleeping baby and letting him eat when he gets hungry. It's impossible to feed him when he's sleepy anyway. My milk came in last night, so I'm in pain from the lack of feedings, but we'll get in our groove soon!

As for my recovery, I'm feeling amazing recovering from the actual childbirth part, if you know what I mean. But my back, hips, SI joints, sacrum bones, and sciatic nerve are screaming in pain. It's pretty bad and I'm pretty discouraged that my weekly visits to the chiropractor over the past 6 weeks didn't help prevent it. I know this is exactly how I felt after having Lena, and it lasted for months. Although I think it's worse this time. With Lena it was just my back.

I broke out my belly bandit yesterday. I'm really hoping wearing it will help me recover faster. But I underestimated how difficult it would be to get it on. Haha. It is extremely tight and I can not fasten it by myself. Justin helped wrestle me into it yesterday. It's awkward and rigid - I can't really bed over while wearing it. But the pressure did feel really good on my back, and it feels good to let it hold in my stomach instead of making my abs do all the work.

I still haven't gotten the spinal headache they warned me about. The nurse insisted the odds are good that I won't get it if I haven't yet, but I had a couple friends who said they got it after they got home from the hospital, so I'm still a little worried it could show up.

Last night he slept all evening again without eating. I finally got him awake enough to nurse 11 and we went to bed around 11:30. He woke up at 2:15 to eat, back in bed by 3. And then we both slept 'til Lena woke up at 6:50! I'm still being my Nervous Nelly self, and waking up every once in a while to make sure he's still breathing, but for the most part, I feel pretty well-rested! It also helps that my fabulous sister came over this morning to take the girls for a few hours. Levi nursed at 7:30, was awake and happy for a good hour and a half, then fell asleep around 9 as the girls were leaving with Niki. He and I both slept until 12:40!

We are so fortunate to be surrounded by amazing people who love us and are taking care of us. My mom and Niki each took a day off this week to stay home with the girls so Justin could stay with me in the hospital the whole time. My mom did all our laundry, cleaned the girls' disastrous rooms, and gave up being at the hospital when Levi was born in order to be home with the girls. Niki has spoiled my kids, taken them so I could sleep, bought us groceries, and brought Justin meals in the hospital. My friend Missy has already brought us a meal (including mac n' cheese for my picky eaters), pop, diapers, and adorable homemade burp cloths. And more of my friends are lined up to bring meals the rest of the week!

I'm already sad about the newborn phase slipping away. This is my absolute favorite and it goes so fast. I'm giving myself permission to ignore the world and just soak him up for a while. I've barely left my bed today. We're just sleeping and nursing and snuggling and watching Netflix. Not sure how long I'm going to be able to pull this off - tomorrow I have to get Lucy to school and Levi to his pediatrician appointment - but we're going to enjoy it as long as we can.

A Word About the Name
And to close with, a word about his name. We did not want another L name. Haha. We actually really wanted to branch out this time, but Levi has been our boy name since the first time I was pregnant and we just couldn't find anything else we liked as much. I'm sorry in advance for all the confusion the 4 letter L names will cause. Haha.

Thanks again for all the love on facebook. We're so happy to share these moments with all of you!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Levi's Birth Story!

He's here! Two glorious weeks early, little Levi William surprised us by showing up on Leap Day!

Saturday night, I started to have timeable contractions that were more painful than my usual Braxton Hicks. They lasted from 9:30pm-2 am, coming between 8 and 15 minutes, but then they totally stopped and I slept all night. I had the same sporadic, barely painful contractions allll day long on Sunday. Sometimes as close together as 8 minutes, sometimes as far apart as 40. I never had early, unproductive contractions like that with the girls and I was worried I would have them for the next two weeks. Again, Sunday night, the contractions stopped when I went to bed.

Monday was Leap Day and the day Justin travels to Alpena (4 hours away) for work. So I just wanted the baby to stay in until Tuesday. Haha. I woke up at 5 am and rolled over to steal Justin's pillow (he left for work at 4:30), when I felt a gush. I immediately thought, "No way was that pee." By the time I got out of bed, my shorts were soaked, and by the time I hobbled to the bathroom there wasn't much doubt in my mind that my water had broken. I quickly called Justin and told him not to go to Alpena! He was still at work, about 15 minutes from leaving. Whew! He headed home while I took a shower, packed our last minute things, and texted my sisters:

The contractions picked up immediately after my water broke and were definitely more painful and close together - coming anywhere from 2-5 minutes apart. I have been extremely paranoid this whole pregnancy about making it to the hospital in time to give birth . . . and get my epidural. I've heard too many stories about third babies coming super fast. (I also tested positive for Group B Strep so I knew I needed a couple rounds of antibiotics.) I didn't wait for the contractions to get to that 5-1-1 pattern. My parents were just waking up for the day, so once Justin got home, we took one last belly picture, left the girls sleeping and sped off to the hospital.
This is how I look at 6 am. Lol.
I called my doctor on the way in and got to the hospital at 6:45 am. The contractions were 4 minutes apart and hurting. I was also having some major anxiety. I was unreasonably paranoid that they'd check me and say it was too late for an epidural. And I was just anxious in general about giving birth. Even though it's what I've been begging for for weeks, I couldn't help but think of all the scary worst case scenarios. The nurse came in and checked me. I was relieved to hear I had progressed past fingertip, but wasn't too far for the epidural - a nice 3.5 cm, 80% effaced. I sent my sisters this picture from triage with the caption, "C'mon epidural! These things hurt!"

We got to a delivery room by 7:45, started my first round of antibiotics, and the anesthesiologist showed up at 8:00.

Again, I was having some major anxiety about the epidural. I got into position with the assistant and the doctor gave me the numbing shot. A second later, he poked me with another needle and I jumped because it startled me. He was surprised I wasn't numb yet and kind of scolded me about holding still. He gave me more local anesthetic and I started to get really hot and anxious. I was so worried the local wasn't working and I'd feel that huge needle go into my back. Eventually, I started to feel really faint. I told the assistant that I have a history of passing out and wasn't feeling very good. She had the nurse put a cold washcloth on my neck and I clung to the poor lady like my life depended on it. I was so worried about passing out with a needle in my spine! Finally, the anesthesiologist finished and I got to lay down. He told me they were going to do a test dose and to let him know if my feet went numb or I got a metallic taste in my mouth or any other number of scary possibilities. But I just started to feel warm and tingly like I was supposed to. Just as I was starting to feel relieved, he said that he did something called a "wet tap" when I jumped - essentially putting a hole where he shouldn't have in my spine and warned me that I'd likely get a spinal headache. Glorious. (So far, I haven't gotten one, but he said it could take a day or two to show up . . .)

I was numb by 8:30 and Niki showed up to hang out with us. I got checked at 9:00 and was up to 6 cm, almost completely effaced. The nurse said she'd check me again at 11 when she started the second dose of antibiotics and I secretly wondered if I'd make it that long since I seemed to be progressing so quickly. Levi's heart rate was dipping just a little bit after each contraction, so they turned me from side to side and kept a close eye on it.

At 10:00, I told the nurse I could feel my contractions on the underside of my belly and asked if she could up my epi. She pushed the button for me, but when I was still feeling them ten minutes later, she decided to check me . . . and declared me complete and ready to go! So much for the antibiotics! Niki left as they broke down the bed and got my feet up in stirrups.

We waited a minute for a contraction to start, and at 10:35 I started pushing. I did one ten-second push, took a breath for the next push and only made it to about 5 seconds before the doctor told me to stop. He told me to do three half-pushes. I was confused at first, wondering about cord compression or something. The doctor was being encouraging, but he never said anything like "There's the head" or "Here he comes." All of a sudden, I felt that huge relief and the doctor was pulling the baby out! I seriously pushed twice through one contraction and he was out! It was the most surreal thing ever!! He did have the cord around his neck once - which is why they had me stop mid-push. They unlooped it and he came out without a problem at 10:37 am.

My first reaction was that he looked disgusting all covered in goo, was very blue, and wasn't crying. But he started crying almost immediately and they laid him right on my chest. Things have changed since I had Lena and they don't whisk the baby away to get weighed/worked on anymore. We did skin to skin for an hour (goo and all). Justin and I agreed that he looked way smaller than the girls and couldn't wait to hear his weight. Levi was very alert, looking all around with huge eyes, and extremely content to just lay on my chest.

The doctor delivered my placenta, said I didn't tear or need any stitches (praise the Lord!), and left about 15 minutes after he arrived. Haha. I was still very numb and didn't feel anything (praise the Lord again!). The nurse helped us with breastfeeding a little bit. He struggled to latch, but eventually caught on and nursed well for 15 minutes or so.

Finally they weighed him. I figured he was somewhere between 7 and 8 pounds and was shocked when she said 6 lbs, 15 oz! My smallest baby by almost 2 pounds! (Lucy was 8 lbs, 8 oz. Lena was 8 lbs. 13 oz.) He's an inch shorter than the girls were at 19".

Justin's parents arrived just as he was going out to get Niki, so they all came in to see Levi and marvel at how quickly everything had gone. We got upstairs to our recovery room just as my sister Libby got here. And then my mom showed up with the girls.

They were adorable and thrilled to see their baby brother. Lucy stroked his head over and over, Lena wanted to hold him and asked if she could kiss him. They both held him and loved on him and are fascinated by him.

I'll update more about breastfeeding, circumcision, and my recovery later. But right now, he's sleeping, it's blizzarding outside so we don't have any visitors, and I'm off to take a nap! I brought the wrong cord to the hospital for my camera, so most of the good pictures will have to wait. Here are a few from my phone. Thanks so much for all the love, everyone!!

Less hair, and a lot lighter, than the girls.
Bright eyed while getting cleaned up.
Justin finally got to hold him after my hour of skin to skin.
Sisterly adoration
Lena desperately trying to get him to look at the stuffed animal she picked out for him.
Levi Burrito
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