I guess I will stop blogging Gemma’s weeks when I run out of fabulous new photos to show you! I still have plans to show you our home remodels, and her nursery, of course, and some book reports on some of my favorite reads. The truth is my ambitious bored list is looking more like a “someday”-list at this point. I had my doubts about the rumors of being bored, and the truth is, not one time have I been in need of something to keep me occupied. I try to have one productive item on my list for the day, and only about 25% of the time does it actually get done that day. (This blog has been in the works since Monday) Things that have been done mostly well: not letting laundry or a dirty house overtake us, (I can’t think of anything that would make me go insane faster…), and we’ve been doing a relatively good job of getting out of the house (Babies ‘R Us and Target, ftw!) that is, until Monday. But, more on that later.
I am so thankful we had Holly from Magic Moments Photography come to the hospital the morning after she was born. I was not drugged, and fully remember everything about our time together unlike our birth photos, and thankfully had all of my cords unattached before she got there! Even more so, I was thankful for not getting sweaty during my C-section, so I didn’t have to do my hair for the photos!
My grandparents ended up being there during our session, and it could not have worked out better. I love our photos, but the ones of them will surely be treasured forever.
Monday marked three weeks with our little Gem, and its been every bit of the roller coaster that people mention, except for they never mention why, so I’m going to share my two cents about how our life changed a bit in weeks two and three.
On week one, compared to week three
We had a lot of people warn us about exhausting days, nights and the like, but no one ever mentions why except for “sleepless nights”. The truth is our nights have been some of the best! I’m convinced now that God gives you this tiny angelic, sleepy being to bring home so that new parents don’t totally give up from the beginning. But no one ever mentioned that it gets harder because your baby’s crying and awareness really amps up during weeks two and three.
Our little Gem found her “voice” just before our two week doctor’s appointment. However when we got there, the nurse told us, “Oh yea, this is about when they find their personality and attitude, and will start showing you a little bit more”. Ohh, well that would have been nice to know when we left the hospital with our sleepy, angel baby! Had we known this time period was coming, it wouldn’t have felt like such a shock when Gemma starting crying for what appears to be no apparent reason. Expectation is everything for me! So, new moms, expect your baby will start getting “restless” during week two and three. If it doesn’t happen, all the better!
On trying to “play” too soon
I’ve only read two other pregnancy and parenting books, but I’m currently on my third, The Happiest Baby on the Block, and it’s definitely affected my outlook on these first weeks together, as the author describes the missing “fourth trimester”. As the book taught me, we want our babies to come out smiling and cooing, but it’s much more important for their survival for them to have the survival skills of crying, and rooting than laughing and smiling.
As much as I’ve wanted to make sure I’m interacting and playing with Gemma, I’ve quickly realized that this time is very short-lived, and our days are much happier when we eat, sleep, and stay nice and warm! I try to keep in mind that she still will be sleeping 12-17 hours a day, and we will have time to play for years to come!
On white noise and eating crow
This still points back to the “missing fourth trimester”, but if you’ve been around me for any extended period of time, you know I can’t stand repetitive noises. The first time I shared a room with my friend Margaret I shunned her from traveling with a white noise machine. Well, let me me be the first to let you know that a lot of things seem much less annoying when you have a little babe on your hands. I’ve oohed and ahhed at Gemma smacking her bobo, her hands, etc. but if Rudy would have done that, I’d have kicked him out of the house! I am a firm believer that white noise does help Gemma stay asleep, but I’m still not convinced I really want this to be permanent. (It still gets annoying during the day!) In fact, I’m often terrified it will be! Here’s to hoping you really can’t create bad sleep habits this early!
I didn’t even try to swaddle her after the first night because I was too scared that the blanket was going to get wrapped around her and suffocate her. No one bothers to teach you how to properly swaddle while you’re in the hospital. In fact, several nurses and doctors were pretty horrible at it, too. The first night we brought her home we attempted the sleep sack, but she screamed bloody murder, so we quickly bailed.
After a couple of restless nights during week two, I went back to the sleep sack they sent home with us from the hospital, and it really did stop a lot of the grunting and flailing in the night. What they don’t tell you is that after a few seconds, it will actually calm them, and likely help them sleep longer and better. Most importantly for me, it actually helped Gemma be asleep by the time we were done with our middle of the night feeding. This was huge for me, because once I’m done feeding, I’m like a zombie that must go back to sleep right now.
We still have our sleep sack ready, but the Happiest Baby on the Block has a pretty sweet tutorial that has me swaddling almost like a pro! It’s helped calm Gemma in a crying spurt and makes her feel nice and cozy when sleeping.
On Getting Out of the House Alone
I thought I would be easily satisfied sitting at home, because I work from home and cherish the days where there are no errands, or meetings to get ready for. Turns out when you’re not constantly busy from 6am-7pm (or longer) you tend to want to get out a little more.
Getting out with a 2-3 week old has been interesting. I’ve gotten a few judgey comments about “she’s so young” to “oh, she must be only about two days old!” Really, people?
Her feedings happen, and then we leave soon after, and I feel like I have a ticking time bomb for about 3 hours (sometimes longer, sometimes shorter). I tend to get impatient waiting on long lines, and try to keep the stroller moving at all times. To be honest, she’s done incredibly well and has barely even woken up while we were out. We have a normal round of Babies ‘R Us, and maybe a store at Bridgestreet, then Target.
It all was peachy until Monday, when we were on our run and she wasn’t quiet sleepy enough, and woke up in Babies ‘R Us. After a fairly long walk over to Soma, she was seemingly back to sleep. I dared to try on a bra and stopped the stroller movement, and she was awakened again. Then, the sweet girl at the front was having a hard time ordering my new nursing bras, and Gemma started to get impatient again. Luckily, we had a nice warm walk back to the car for her to fall asleep again. We made it to Target and about that time she lost it. I tried to get her out of her carseat, but it was too slow. A new cry I had never heard, and real tears. Real tears. So I had real tears too. I just sat in the back of the car with her crying. (She was already done crying) All I have to say is… thank goodness babies don’t have memories of this time in their life. I know it was much more traumatic to me than it was to her!
On a Love larger than life
On Monday, Facebook showed me this photo from a year ago when Rudy and I escaped to Atlanta after my second D&C, and the loss of our second baby. How far we’ve come in just one year. I hope it gives those of you who are still in waiting that one year can change a lot! For every time that is challenging, I try to remember how thankful I am to be now crying with my child, instead of for my child.
I cry a lot of tears at emotional commercials (thanks Subaru + Father’s Day), and of course because sometimes it’s overwhelming and I’m exhausted, but most of my tears come from an overwhelming thankfulness for this little Gem we’ve been entrusted with. When she gets really upset, it is truly heartbreaking!
You’ve already changed our whole life in just three weeks. Sometimes I feel like we just brought you home, but other times I feel like we’ve been doing this forever. You are seriously precious, and your hair is growing faster than I’d ever imagined baby hair could grow. You currently struggle with day sleep, but are rocking your nights, and for this, I thank you! I’m sorry for all the tears we’ve already cried together, but I’m guessing this will be something we do for a lifetime together.
Here’s a few photos of your three week birthday in your flamingo blanket from your Fresh 48 shoot!