Thursday, March 29, 2012

For the Record

Lewis is one month old today (now yesterday, 3/28).  What I write here is for you who love our family, yes--but it is very much for my own record-keeping, since I haven't gotten the "baby's first year" milestone calendar I recorded Lincoln's first year in.

Lewis is 11.2 pounds, 21 1/2 inches long.  He still sleeps the vast majority of the day away, though there are a few periods of alertness in which he likes to watch the world around him.  He is much better at nursing than when we began, but he still needs to be burped multiple times per side during his meals; he gets overwhelmed pretty easily.  And he has a really hard time getting some of his burps to go ahead and come out, so we go through periods of fussiness each day (or night) while he tells us just how uncomfy his tummy is.  Fortunately, once he's asleep for the night, he has not had trouble going back to sleep between meals. 
In this month, I've only cried uncontrollably in the middle of the night once--though I'm sure there have been more times that I wanted to cry and decided not to feel so sorry for myself, because all this is normal!  The night before last, I had the distinct thought, "I wonder if I'll ever be able to sleep through a whole night again, even after Lewis is sleeping all night."  And then I smiled to myself, because I remembered having the exact same thought in Lincoln's early days.  And the answer is YES! my body will definitely be able to sleep for a full eight or nine hours in a row again, and will return to a full night gladly (whether a "full night" will still last 8 or 9 hours is another story). 
Lewis is a cuddly baby.  This is a fact I love, because Lincoln was never much for cuddling, even at his tiniest.  It is a wonderful, wonderful thing to nuzzle a soft, fuzzy baby head again my cheek, to fold his little body in my arms against my heartbeat.  But it also means I have long days in which nothing much seems to have gotten accomplished.  I'm very aware of this sensation in the moment, but when I look back over the past month, I know it has been a wonderful month. 
He's beginning to look chubby, and the plumper his cheeks get the more he looks like his big brother did.  I could see from the beginning that the bone structure of his face looked a lot like Lincoln at birth, but his facial features were different.  Every little feature on Lincoln's face was the spitting image of his daddy, and though I could see Lincoln in Lewis's face, I couldn't see Andy.  We're not really sure that he looks like me, necessarily--but Andy is sure (and rejoicing) that he has my nose, at least.  I like the Huntress nose, but Andy apparently never has.  And this is random...but when holding up his ankles to change a Lewis diaper, his little joints do lots of cracking.  I am reminded of midnight trips to the bathroom when I was a little kid, and being comforted to hear the sound of my daddy's ankles popping as he turned them in his sleep in the next bedroom over.  So maybe he has Johnson Joints :0)  I've never had this experience with Lincoln, but it's an exhilarating thing to have a baby that looks like you, that people can visually connect to you.  It makes the feeling even more real that, from my own body, this brand-new little person was born, and some of who he will be is rooted in who I am. 
And his little grin?  The one that smirks across his face as tummy bubbles dissipate?  It's beautiful.  And I am so looking forward to when he will smile at us all for real. 
Welcome, again, to our family, Lewis Jeremiah.  We love you so much, and are honored to be entrusted with your care, your keeping, your raising and teaching. 

"My son, if your heart is wise, my heart will rejoice--indeed, I myself; yes, my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak right things...My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways."  Proverbs 23: 15-16, 26

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Bigger Than Before

Lewis is two weeks old today, and he is not a newborn anymore.  This is already making me a little sad, but I will blame my daily bouts of nostalgia regarding my boys' lost stages to my still-confused hormones.  Of course, there is truth is my nostalgia.  But I do thoroughly enjoy watching them grow up, too! 
Lewis just weighed in at a whopping 8.8 pounds.  According to my cross-multiplying for a tenths-to-ounces conversion, he has moved up from 7 pounds 4 ounces, to 8 pounds 12.8 ounces in these two weeks.  He still looks tiny to me, so I'm not quite sure where he's putting it...but I do see fullness starting in his face :0)
He's still sporting an umbilical cord stump, but his little circumcision "plastibell" came off a few days ago.  That's when I first announced to Andy that we couldn't officially call him "newborn" anymore. 
He's getting steadily better at handling his meals.
And he's currently been awake for 1 1/2 hours--a record length! 
Lincoln keeps trying to get Lewis to play, so he must see some progress too, haha.  Fortunately, tiny babies come soft and pliable, so the occasional whack on the head (all in good fun!) leaves him in tears but (so thankfully!) unscarred.
Yesterday evening I commented to Andy, "At his rate of sleep, Lewis is going to be a genius."  At my rate of sleep, I'm enjoying a very rare cup of coffee as I type.  Tea was not cutting it today. 
And Lewis seems about ready for a meal and a return to sleep, so I will tend to that.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

State of the Mama Address

Lewis is almost two weeks old.  And I'm surprised (as I always am with big changes) to realize how quickly "new" becomes "normal."  We are not a fully-adjusted, efficiently running family of four.  But we are taking steps in that direction.  

In the hospital, I was already marveling at how much better my body felt than it did immediately following Lincoln's birth.  With him, the labor popped every tiny capillary from my chest up, left me cross-eyed for multiple hours, required some stitching up, and very thoroughly wiped out my strength for a few days--not to mention the multiple weeks of bodily recovery needed before I felt pretty normal again.  Lewis, on the other hand, left me very, very sleepy, but much more comfortable.  And, fortunately, I was comfortable enough that I was able to sleep, with only occasional doses of pain killer (Lincoln left my mind buzzing and my body hurting enough that I finally asked for a sedative after about 40 hours of being awake).  In the hospital after Lewis was born, I could hold up the hair dryer myself; I took specific note of that little difference!  I also enjoyed my stay more this time, perhaps because I knew it would be my only chance to enjoy whenever-napping and cuddling with just my one new son before going home to cuddle my family. 

At home, I have yet to really experience mothering my two boys while my hubby goes to work; he was able to take a few days off, then a friend came to help me out with a morning, and my mom spent the rest of this past week with us.  Today, I get to write this for you because my wonderful husband has cleaned up our house and made me tea to start the boys' naptime off on a fruitful foot.  It won't be until Monday that I begin my first "real" week as a mother of two...and I have some trepidation about that.  I've been coaching myself in what (not) to expect--but I'm sure it will be just as hard in the moment of emotional overwhelm to cope with what isn't getting done in my life. 

Here are some snapshots from the past week and a half:
  • Lewis is a little peanut, tinier than Lincoln ever was.  And he loves to snuggle!  It is such a peaceful joy to cuddle him against me, any hour of the day or night.  
  • Last Friday I got Lincoln ready for bed for the first time all week.  That included the first diaper change, the first toothbrushing, the first goodnight prayer.  And I prayed it through my tears, overwhelmed by how very much had changed forever in the course of the week.  As I write, that same thought is making me well up again.  
  • I feel most confident in the routine of our evenings.  Of course, tonight we'll spring forward and lose an hour of sleep...unless I'm able to adjust timeframes to shut things down early...
  • When Lincoln arrived, I was disappointed in my own reaction.  Those first weeks that I thought were supposed to be full of wonder and joy?  "BORING!  When will this kid ever spend some (day)time awake?"  These days, I am VERY thankful for my sleeping son.  This must be a feature that God programmed just-rightly to accommodate multiple children! 
  • Lincoln loves having a baby around, on whom he can lavish kisses and ensure that all facial parts are present.
  • But he's beginning to show signs of distress over it, too: three days in a row of refusing to eat normally, suppers marked by wild tantrums, one slap to the top of Lewis's head, overjoyed (not just excited) when daddy gets home from work to chase him through the house and wrestle.
  • Lewis is slowly getting better at nursing.  For the first days at home, he ate like a bird, repeatedly falling asleep after 3-minute snacks.  But I'm beginning to see some filling out in his little face.
  • Last Sunday, I tried to put my wedding ring back on, and settled for it on my pinky finger. Last night, I got it back in its proper place!
  • On Thursday, two landmarks: I got into my real jeans again; and I ran through the rain out to my car and back without thinking about it--but when I realized what I'd just done, I was so excited!
  • Lincoln made good friends with Granny B this week.  When she left, he went all over the house looking for "B."
  • I am not able to nurse modestly yet.  Not sure how long it will take to get the hang of that skill again.  
  • Andy and I have switched sides of the bed so I can get in and out to nurse Lewis more easily.  For some reason, this makes Andy sleep in the middle of the bed more than ever.  Which used to annoy me, but now it feels good to have him cuddled up against me during those chilly night nursings.  
  • I've begun to think about the office again and wonder how things are going there, though I haven't had a chance to actually check in with anyone there.  
And this has taken all afternoon to write, because 20 minutes into it Lincoln woke up and needed some stories read.  And then I needed to feed Lewis.  And since then, because he's a cuddler, I've been typing with one hand.  But it's dinnertime.  And there are several things on the list on the whiteboard.   And this is the most important night to go to bed early, right?