Friday, May 4, 2018

Timothy's Fourth Month

Timothy has been settling into a pretty consistent nap routine this month, 2 hours in the morning, 1.5-2 hours in the early afternoon, and a later afternoon 30-45 min nap. It's made it a little harder for me to want to get out and do things, because we so often disrupt his nap times being out, and he sleeps so well in his crib! Church is usually right during nap time, but he is still doing pretty well sleeping in the carrier. I'm not sure how long that will last!

He likes his crib so much that we've completely switched him to sleeping in the crib all night. The transition to our room was starting to disturb him and he'd waking up instead of sleeping through the move. So we started leaving him in the crib until he woke up for his first feeding around midnight-1am. But then we found that he seemed to sleep less soundly in the cosleeper, so I started putting him back in his crib after his second night feeding around 4-5am. Finally after a few nights of him only sleeping in our room for those few wee hours, I decided I should just let him sleep in the nursery all night, and now instead of nursing him in our bed, I get up and go to the nursery to feed him. 

It was a nice, gradual transition, and he's been sleeping quite well in the nursery. Matt sleeps better because after the few initial squawks from the monitor, I turn it off and he gets peace and quiet instead of listening to Timothy's noisy eating, Timothy sleeps better because his crib is more comfy and my tossing around doesn't disturb him, and I sleep better because I'm not worried about waking him up in my attempts to get comfortable and go back to sleep after feeding. He's even given us several nights this month where he only woke once! 

We still think he's teething, there is just SO much drool! And he wants to chew on everything! But no visible sign of teeth yet that I can tell. He likes chewing on knuckles (Daddy's is his favorite) and his carriers when we're wearing him, but he'll chew on anything he can get in his mouth.

He's also more fussy lately, but we figure that's just because he's been in Leap 4 this month. This is the "world of events" and is supposedly the worst leap yet. So far it really hasn't been so bad, and only a few more days until he's supposed to be finished leaping! I can't wait to see what new skills will be emerging as he finishes the leap!

He likes grabbing faces, pulling hair, playing with toys that make noise and facing out in the carrier with Daddy! He can scoot around a bit during tummy time, and is very wiggly. He'll sometimes try to squirm off of a lap when he's being held. He finally discovered his toes! He's also getting even more vocal, and makes louder squeals than ever before! He usually wakes up in the morning talking, which is so cute, but sometimes he's woken up very excited, and we've been startled awake by his happy shrieks!

His rattle has been one of his favorite toys this month, he will examine it closely, wave it around, shake it, and of course, try to put it in his mouth! He's been trying to roll from his back onto his front, and can do it with only a little help from me! He also loves his Lambie and a vintage stuffed dog/teether that my folks brought from their collection of our old baby toys!

This month Timothy got to meet his great-aunt Deborah, and great-uncle Mark, on Daddy's side of the family, which was very exciting for all of us, I had never met them before either! We had a very fun weekend with lots of laughter and stories of memories. 

He also got to meet his great-aunt Melody, great-aunt Kathy and cousin Barbara (twice removed) on my mom's side when they came down for a Seagrove trip with my mom. Aunt Mel gave him this beautiful cross stitch that she had actually started working on for me, when I was a baby! 

And to finish out the month (actually a couple days after he officially turned 4 months, but I'm including it now anyway) we took him on his first overnight trip! We spent two nights in Williamsburg, and he did so well! We switched him to a convertible car seat because he had began to seem uncomfortable in his infant seat, and I'm so glad we did. We timed our departure to coincide with his usual 2-hour morning nap, and after an initial scare when he woke up after only 30 minutes, he went back to sleep and did end up sleeping for 2 hours of the trip. The rest of the drive he happily played with his toys.

Our other concern was how well he would sleep in his co-sleeper, since he's been in his comfy crib for most of this month. Our trials didn't go well, so we ended up purchasing a new, softer mattress to go in the co-sleeper, and with that adjustment he seemed to sleep just as well as at home! He had fun hanging out in the condo that we shared with his Uncle Dave, Aunt Lizzie and cousin Edison.

He also pretty much behaved while we walked around Williamsburg, sleeping in the carrier with Daddy most of the time. But we went in the Capitol building, and while the tour guide/reenactor was talking, he woke up and decided he wanted to talk too! Matt tried to entertain him by letting him chew on his knuckle, but he just continued talking around it! It was very amusing, and a little embarrassing. Overall it was a wonderful trip, and I'm putting it down as an amazingly successful experiment of traveling with Timothy!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Timothy's Third Month

Last month was ending just as Timothy was wrapping up his 8th week Wonder Week leap! We enjoyed all the exciting new things he was learning, but the sleep disruption was frustrating, and inspired me to read "Precious Little Sleep" at the recommendation of a friend who has two kids. It was amazing how well it worked!

I wasn't wanting to do a "cry-it-out" method, but I liked her suggestion of "fuss-it-out," where we'd just let him fuss a bit for 5 minutes, and then go comfort him. Well, after snuggling and bouncing a bit to help him get sleepy, I put him down "drowsy but awake" and he only fussed for 3 minutes. We have still never had him fuss longer than 5 minutes going down for a nap, and at bedtime he usually doesn't fuss at all. This helped so much with the 20-30 min nap problem! He now takes at least 45 minute naps, and sometimes a whole hour and a half or two hours! 

He even gave us 4 nights in a row of only waking up once! (March 9-12) But now at 3 months, he's definitely going through a growth spurt, and has been getting up much more frequently. I'm really hoping he goes back to sleeping soon! Probably just in time for the famous 4-month sleep regression to hit and mess it all up all over again! Haha! Nothing ever stays the same for long with a baby.

"The Monkey Butt" outfit is one of our favorite footies!
We've had fun introducing sign language to him this month. Baby sign language is a really exciting tool for babies, because before they can verbally communicate what they want or need, they can sign it! My mom did baby sign language with my younger brothers when I was a kid, and we also taught a baby that we provided in-home daycare for when I was a teenager. It's so much fun to see a baby happily communicating what they want! He's not ready to sign back yet, but he looks very intently at my hands when I sign to him, and he's definitely starting to understand what they mean. I can't wait until he signs back! Probably will take him another couple of months, but once he starts signing back I'm going to start adding to his repertoire! Currently, I only sign to him "milk," "more," "all done," and "change diaper." (Check out the TalkBoxMom YouTube channel if you want to see the signs!)

His hand control is continuing to improve, he has a monkey that hangs from his car seat handle that he loves to play with in the car, and he's grasping his fruity teething toys and successfully stuffing them in his own mouth! The strawberry seems to be his favorite. He also blows a lot of bubbles now. And he's finally started giggling! He's had three different episodes where he just thought something was hilarious and laughed for a good 2-3 minutes straight! It's so cute and funny, but we haven't figured out how to trigger it yet, he seems to just randomly become amused enough! 

Sitting up is still his favorite, and just recently he started wanting to stand more, and even turned the sit-up game we'd been doing into the next level, pulling himself up to standing while holding my hands! I can't believe how fast he's growing. 

He still loves being worn, I like wearing him around the house while I'm doing chores if he's fussy in the late afternoon/evening, and Matt usually wears him when we walk (which has been mostly cold lately, so he's bundled up in a hat, and gets zipped into Daddy's jacket too!

We finally made it back to church this past Sunday, and he did really well. We also finally got his birth certificate stuff done! As a home birth, that can be a little difficult, but they actually didn't look at any of the proof they required us to bring! Typical bureaucracy. At his 3-month check up he was 23 inches long and weighed 13 pounds, 14 ounces! 

I'm going to switch to just doing monthly photos now, because 13 weeks was the day after 3 months, and the photo shoot attempt is getting to be too much work every week. We get plenty of cute shots at other times!

Timothy is such a treasure! It's been a whirlwind 3 months, I can't believe we're already out of the "fourth trimester" and our little newborn has turned into an active, happy, adorable and incredibly sweet and precious baby! He seems so alert and loves interaction. He's changing so quickly! It's exciting to watch.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Timothy's Second Month

At the beginning of this month, Timothy started smiling at us! He gives us such huge, cheesy grins and his eyes smile too, it's so adorable! He really is a sweet, happy baby most of the time! He's getting more demanding lately though. It used to be when he'd first wake up hungry from a nap, he'd give short little cries at first, and didn't start screaming unless I took too long getting to him, which I tried not to do. Matt commented once, "He's so polite at first." Now he tends to just wake up in full meltdown mode.

His naps have become much shorter in general, and harder to get him to take, although he did a couple of super-long 3 hour naps! Bedtime is still quite a bit of a chore sometimes, but he tends to sleep well once he goes to bed.. He's started to get so upset that he'll refuse to eat, even with the source of food in his mouth, he will scream instead of eating, and can be very difficult to calm down. But once he is fed and asleep for the night, he's done a few great stretches of sleep! He did 7 hours, just a couple nights before he turned 7 weeks old! And has occasionally only woken me up once during the night! Nighttime feeds are still really easy too, he goes right back to sleep, unless I accidentally leave him with a burp that needs to get out. 

We've started doing cloth diapers more, and just added to our stash a bit. I'm still experimenting with exactly what kind I like the best, but I'm definitely liking cloth. I might do a whole post reviewing the ones I've tried so far, and what I'm liking and disliking about each... if I can find the time between all the laundry! So much laundry. The laundry is never ending. Good thing I've always rather liked laundry. I often think how nice it is just to throw everything in a machine, not having to use the old-fashioned scrub board! I usually do multiple loads per day now, and it's very satisfying for me to walk away while the machine does all the work. After the ease of washing and drying, I don't mind having to stuff the cloth diapers and fold clothes.

Which is good, since Timothy has started spitting up more. Lots of soaked burp cloths and outfits. Matt and I have gotten some lovely spit-up showers on ourselves as well. There's really nothing like being the parent of a newborn to help you get over aversions to gross bodily fluids. "Oh, look, he peed on me again." "Spit up in my hair? Good thing it's been 5 days since I was able to snag a shower anyway." Don't even get me started on the liquid baby poop, and how it gets all over the changing pad. The nice thing about cloth diapers is that the poop seems to stick to the diaper more than to his bum, so it's easier to clean up. 

We took Timothy to his first chiropractic appointment to help with his latch, which is still a little shallow. She said she will also be able to help fix his spitting up, nasal congestion and goopy eyes! It was a really good appointment, and I did notice immediate improvement in his latch. He also likes to only turn his head to the right, so the chiropractic will help with that also. She specializes in infants, and was very gentle. I'm excited to see how this can help him!

At his 2-month appointment with our pediatrician, his official weight was 12 pounds 11 ounces. He's gained about 2 and a half pounds since his 1-month appointment, which is on track with his growth curve. He's definitely getting heavy to wear in the carrier, and to rock/bounce to sleep.

Besides smiling, Timothy has been growing even more conversational, with a wide array of sounds he likes to "talk" to us with, and he will sit and make great eye contact, taking turns "talking" for quite a few minutes with me! It's so cute. He can roll from front to back pretty consistently during tummy time. And his latest new favorite game is to sit reclined against our propped up legs, and pull from his reclined position to a full sitting up position. He holds onto our hands, and actively participates in trying to pull himself up. He has discovered his hands, and really likes looking at patterned things. 

I found The Wonder Weeks book just as he was completing this leap, which they call Leap 2. It explained why his sleeping habits changed with this leap, as well as why he's more fussy, and also listed in great detail all the things he might be learning at this point, along with ways to encourage him. The sit-up game was included in their list! They also suggested some toys, which reminded me to pull out the ones that he'd already been given.

We tried giving him a bottle, and he took it really well. With my recurrent mastitis, I've been doing a lot of preventative pumping and have a large freezer stash of frozen milk now, and we need to use it up. Some longer date nights may be in our future! We've still been managing to get out one night a week, except this current week. This past week though, we tried going out after we'd put him to bed for the night, instead of between his late afternoon feeding and bedtime, because he's been so fussy, and unpredictable about when he'll be hungry in the evening. If he'll start taking a bottle, we could let the babysitters put him to bed for the night... I'm not sure I want to do that, though! As hard as the bedtime process can be sometimes, I feel like I would miss it terribly if I passed it off to someone else!

I can't believe our little guy has already been here 2 months! He's such a sweet, happy baby most of the time, he smiles a lot, and even when he's a little fussy or grumpy, he often still has a smile right under the surface that can pop out if we talk to him. It's so fun seeing how much personality he has, and watching him grow so quickly.

So, funny enough, he turned 2 months on February 26th, and the very next day he turned 9 weeks. I kinda wish the months actually worked out mathematically with 4 weeks in a month. Oh well!

I can't wait to see how much he'll have changed in another month! Hopefully this next month holds some improved sleep. And maybe he'll start laughing!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Timothy's First Month

It has flown by! There were a lot of difficulties, but it has been so sweet and rewarding too. 

We discovered he had tongue and lip ties, so we had those revised at 7 days. That made it so we could finally nurse without a nipple shield, but it was still difficult, and I struggled with cracks, plugged ducts, a milk blister, and mastitis. Mastitis is AWFUL. I woke up at 1am with chills, a headache and a fever and pain on the left side. We did lots of nursing, but the pain spread to my right side, and I spent about 24 hours fighting it with herbs and natural remedies. I am very thankful to have avoided antibiotics! It tried to flare up again a few days later, but after a visit to my naturopath to get even more remedies, I think it's knocked out, and now I know to be more diligent about clearing blocked ducts!

Thankfully, in spite of all those problems with nursing, Timothy has never had any difficulty gaining weight! He was already getting into 3 month size clothes at 3 weeks old! At his one month visit, he weighed 10 lbs, 5 oz, which was just 5 days after the LC had weighed him and estimated that he should weigh between 10-2 and 10-4. He gained a whole ounce per day!

He's very strong lifting his head, it's really neat to watch during tummy time how he seems to get stronger every day! He's also become very interested in using his hands, grabbing things, and even tried to push my hand away when I was washing his face! He is tall enough that when I lay him on me to try to burp, he can "jump" off my legs and bang his head on my chin, and he likes to do that a lot. He was active in utero, and he is still very active! He's going to be fun to keep up with once he's mobile!

He makes some pretty funny expressions, especially when working on poops, but I'm not sure we've caught a real smile yet. There are definitely some that look like smiles, but when accompanied with grunts, concentration and a red face, I'm pretty sure they're not social smiles. He is very vocal, with some cute "aaah"'s and one adorable little sound that made me realize why people say babies "coo." That's exactly the way to describe it, even though it's an unmistakable and inimitable baby sound. He also grunts and snorts like a little pig, makes a "phfff" sound through his lips, and blows bubbles. When he's starting to wake up for feeding he makes whiny little "eh" sounds. Matt jokes that girls are supposed to be talkative, not boys!

Timothy loves looking at things, he is fascinated by the ceiling fans (very dark brown against our light ceilings) and sunny windows. He makes great eye contact, and will hang out looking at me and "talking" which is so fun! He also enjoys a crocheted black-and-white bullseye that my great-grandmother crocheted for me when I was a baby. We hung it from his swing mobile, so he gets to look at it as he rocks. The mobile doesn't move quite as far as the swing, so he has to track it, turning his head a little (our swing goes side to side) back and forth to keep it in focus. 

Car rides and walks are great, as long as the motion doesn't stop! We'd been doing a lot of walks in the stroller, but Matt wore him in the Lillebaby carrier just the other day, and that was great, he liked snuggling with Daddy and napping while we walked. Much better than being buckled into the car seat and stuck in the stroller! I've also been wearing him in the Boba wrap, and he took a great nap yesterday while I took a short walk, and then did some chores around the house. 

Matt is the best at swaddling in blankets, and Timothy always calms down when Daddy wraps him up and bounces him, sometimes with shushing. We have a yoga ball that is great for sitting and bouncing. Timothy is having more fussy evenings, and fights sleep for his pre-dinner nap, and fights going to sleep at bedtime too. 

We just recently started attempting to establish a bedtime routine, and that is still a bit rough. Sometime around 8pm (last night he decided it should be 7:30) he gets his bedtime feeding in the nursery. We have an amber nightlight that isn't supposed to suppress melatonin production, a diffuser with lavender (approved by his pediatrician), a humidifier and a white noise machine. I change him, swaddle him tightly in a velcro swaddle sack and feed him until he's practically asleep, rock him a few more minutes until he is asleep, and then try to put him in the crib. That's when he somehow goes from conked out, to awake, and we have to start over, with another couple minutes of nursing to calm him down, more rocking, more careful attempts to put him down in the crib without waking... it gets very trying. Last night "bedtime" took an hour and 45 minutes. But then he slept until midnight, and that's when I transfer him to his co-sleeper next to our bed. Lately he's been waking at midnight and 4am, then getting me up around 7-8am. Which really isn't bad! Especially since he tends to go right back to sleep after each nighttime feeding. 

Overall, it's been a bit of a bumpy month for Mommy and Daddy, but Timothy has been thriving, and we've definitely been enjoying the cuteness! The trying times have really been growing our patience, but he is quite a joy, and a sweet little man. I'm so blessed with my two wonderful guys!


Monday, January 8, 2018

Countdown to Baby Finale: Timothy's Birth Story!

Well, my 39 week post got delayed and is now unnecessary! Timothy Arden is here, born December 26th at 7:14pm. He weighed 8 lb, 2 oz, 21 inches long and had almost an inch and a half of fine red hair! Now he's 13 days old already, I can't believe it! It's been a lot of work (breastfeeding isn't quite as easy as it seems it should be) and sleep deprivation (although I'm sleeping better than I expected!) but overall it's been even more amazing than I anticipated it would be to have my own baby! I'm sure I'm not at all biased in my belief that he is the cutest thing in the whole world.

(This is my fairly detailed recount of the birth, so if you're not into that sort of thing, the rest of this post will be uninteresting to you... I did try to keep it fairly ungraphic, though)

On Christmas day, 39 weeks, 3 days, I started having contractions. Looking back on it, I probably felt so lousy on Christmas Eve because it was already getting started. I was happy that I got to spend Christmas Eve with my family, but annoyed at how lousy I was feeling, and wondering how much longer I could stand to be pregnant. I had a little bout of contractions between 3-5am, but they tapered off right when I was starting to wonder if I should maybe wake Matt up, so I went back to sleep.

Christmas morning, Matt and I had fun making breakfast together, taking some pictures in front of our tree, and opening our gifts to each other. All the while I was having very random, sporadic contractions, which weren't really bothering me and felt a lot like what had been happening during the past week anyway. But then after lunch, when we were getting ready to go over for the Bass family Christmas celebration, they really started getting to me. I went to use the bathroom, and then ended up just sitting on the bathroom floor, not wanting to move. The contractions were fairly spaced apart, but were really long, 4-6 minutes, and I was pretty miserable during them, so we decided we needed to stay home.

I started letting myself think that maybe this really was labor, but I was also in denial, because I didn't want him to come on Christmas day! My plan was to enjoy the Bass Christmas, come home and get some sleep, maybe wake up in the early morning in labor, and deliver by dinner time on the 26th. Of course it was silly of me to have a plan for what I wanted to happen. It's pretty funny that he did actually arrive on the 26th, though!

So Matt and I spent Christmas afternoon in bed, watching one of my Christmas gifts, Sense and Sensibility! He brought me things to eat and drink, and I tried to relax and breathe through the contractions all afternoon and into the evening. We timed the contractions, and kept in contact with my midwives. The contractions had never really settled into the typical pattern that you're told to look for, the spacing continued to be erratic, but they were consistently 2-3 minutes long, and took all my concentration to relax and breathe. 

Around 8:45pm my doula/midwife's assistant came to see how I was doing, and after observing me through a few contractions, said that she thought the midwife should probably head on over. I had vomited twice (which was extremely unpleasant) and even though I still hadn't settled into the active labor contraction pattern, I really wanted them to be there. Somehow it felt like their presence would legitimize the contractions and help me progress. By this point, I knew he probably wouldn't arrive on Christmas day, so I was definitely ready to get things moving! 

Around 1am they checked and I was 7-8cm dilated, so we asked my mom, sister and mother-in-law to come over and be ready. I wanted them to be there immediately after he was born, and was feeling hopeful it might be soon. Unfortunately, my labor stalled there, and that's where things start to become a bit of a blur. At 5am I was 7cm, having made no progress for 4 hours. They had me try a pretty uncomfortable position that I had to stay in for 30 minutes to help baby reposition more favorably. Matt patiently answered my repeated question, "how much longer?" every time I asked. 

I finally reached full dilation and got the urge to start pushing about 8:30am, but after pushing for a while and not seeming to make any progress, my midwife checked me and found a lip of cervix still in the way. She tried pushing it back, having me push while she held it back, and had me try a bunch of different positions, but nothing was working. Then they did some research, and found a series of positions to try. The series started with Rebozo belly sifting, with me on hands and knees my doula/midwife's assistant holding my belly up with a sheet and "sifting" back and forth. This was around 1:45pm. That felt great! Then I had to push through 3 contractions in a series of positions, and that finally did the trick. Baby's head was past the cervix!

That made me hopeful again that he'd arrive soon, but there was lots more pushing to do, so I got back in the tub. He moved down very, very slowly, probably because I was so tired. I was pushing with everything I had, but it was hard for me to be sure if it was effective, because he was moving so slowly I couldn't tell he was moving at all. Finally, a bit of his head started to emerge with each push, but it would slide back in. Eventually, enough was out that my midwife could see his hair swirling in the water, it was so long! She had me reach down to feel, and that gave me renewed energy. 

I tried extending each push by exhaling with a forceful moan instead of just releasing, and that was the most effective. It still took nearly 30 minutes of crowning, with the burning "ring of fire" sensation for me to get his head out. I was reclined in the tub, but felt like I'd get better results if I let gravity help bring him down, so Matt sat on the edge of the tub and supported me with my arms over his knees. Every muscle in my body was constantly shaking from the exertion. As we got to the end, my midwife decided I should move to the bed, which sounded good to me, although I wasn't sure I could stand. My legs crumpled under me when I tried to step out, so the three of them basically carried me to the bed.

Not too long after moving to the bed, he finally popped out at 7:14pm! It was such a relief. He had the cord wrapped tightly around his neck, and they couldn't loop it over, so they had me quickly push him out and somersaulted his body away, keeping his head close to me. The cord was so short that he had to lay on my belly, it didn't reach all the way up to my chest. He struggled a little with some mucus and trying to breathe, but he was doing great 2-3 minutes later. Two minutes feels more like twenty when you're watching your newborn struggle and can't do anything to help besides talking to him and holding him! I was completely exhausted, but never happier in my life than when he was clear of the mucus, calm and safely here. 

It was the longest 31 hours of my life, but worth every minute for our precious little peanut! My midwife had anticipated I would tear, but thanks to crowning for so long, I escaped. I also didn't have excessive bleeding, which they were also concerned about due to my long labor. In line with the rest of my extremely slow labor the placenta took a whole hour and a half to deliver, partly because of Timothy's disinterest in trying to latch. They coaxed it along with some herbs and I got to eat a couple brownies! 

The cord around his neck probably contributed to the length of time I spent pushing. I thought it was funny that I had been worried the whole pregnancy that he'd have the cord wrapped around his neck, because I had my cord wrapped around my neck twice when I was born. His heart rate did drop a little during the pushing, but they didn't tell me (thank goodness, I probably would have panicked) and it was never dangerously low, so really, it was a great birth. 

Matt was an awesome labor coach, he made me feel safe just by being there, and kept me calm and focused. It seemed like whenever I was starting to lose it, or wanting to just take a break, he knew exactly what to say to help me keep pushing forward with everything I had. While I was dilating I kept fluctuating between hot and cold, and he diligently switched from box fan to space heater whenever I complained of being too hot or too cold... often seemed like only a minute or two between. He was my rock, and I definitely couldn't have done it without him. I only found out afterward how worried he was about the long labor and how tired I was, during the labor he strengthened my confidence that I could do it, no matter what obstacle I had to overcome. 

I'm so thankful that we were able to have the home birth I wanted, and didn't have to even consider transferring to the hospital. It really was a wonderful experience, and as my midwife said to me, one of the things about being a woman that truly is "empowering." It was so very hard, but I did it, and it was beyond worth it! I'm so in love with our adorable baby, and excited to start on our journey to parenthood with my amazing husband.