Friday, April 24, 2015

Memories with Charli: First Month

Here are some of the things I remember from Charli's first month. :)

1. I remember the day we left the hospital; it was super warm outside. I felt like that nicer weather was meant for me because I have always hated snow. How perfect was it that I had a winter baby and it felt like spring leaving? Charli was really good in the car even though we had to stop at walgreens to pick up medication for mom. Dad cleaned the house and slept while mom spent a lot of time trying to breastfeed. My parents brought over homemade spaghetti that night.

2. We had  a lot of visitors initially with a lot of food. It was super helpful in the beginning since we had a lot of adjusting to get used to a newborn.

3. The lack of sleep was probably the most difficult: baby needed to eat every two hours and would sometimes nurse up to 45 minutes at a time. We would put Charli in her co sleeper and she would just stare at us instead of sleeping. We experimented a lot with sleep. First, Charli started in a co sleeper.. then she actually slept with us. Eventually she moved to a rock and play since she liked sleeping propped up. She was really good at sleeping in the car or while Dad held her while doing chores around the house. Charli loved taking naps with mom and dad and loved her pacifier.

4. Breastfeeding was really a struggle. I didn't know that Charli wasn't getting enough milk from me initially. She was super fussy and had trouble latching so Kyle would have to walk around with her and soothe her before I could try again. I remember staying up late dancing with her to try and calm her down. Charli had a lot of doctor's appointments to track her weight in the beginning. Finally, I went to a lactation specialist when I found out you were not transferring enough milk. At this point, I was so exhausted that we switched Charli to half formula and half breast milk. I no longer trusted my body though so any breast milk she got was from pumping so I could track how much she was eating. I really hated losing that connection with her that I had with breastfeeding but I really wanted to make sure that she was fed and it had been a long 3 weeks watching her not gain weight. Charli stayed on half and half until about 6 weeks. At this time she was having tummy troubles so we switched you to hypoallergenic formula. Mom was worried about her milk affecting Charli when the new formula worked so well.

5. Mom and Dad initially watched a ton of episodes of Lost. We did get stir crazy and take Charli to the zoo where she slept the entire time. She was pretty scowly and only smiled in her sleep or when she had gas. We tried really hard to catch her smiles on camera and kept missing it. Charli started to like baths but didn't really like her swing at first. She had constant hiccups just like in the womb. We had some pretty intense diaper changes in the beginning that made us laugh in our sleep deprived states.
Dad went back to work at two weeks.

6. Mom was super emotional over everything. She cried watching Charli's newborn slideshow from the hospital because she thought her baby was so beautiful. Mom actually really missed being pregnant.

7. Mickey initially growled at Charli but become very attached and Laila liked Charli but was mostly not even interested.

Charli's going home outfit.

Wide awake while mom and dad are trying to sleep ha ha.

Charli's epic scowl.

Mom and Charli snuggling.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Memories with Charli: Recovery in the Hospital

So, I thought it would be a good idea to have some memory posts here and there because I realized I am already forgetting little details about Charli's first months. I want to be able to share a least some of what I remember with her and I want to document this journey for myself.

This first one is what Kyle and I remember from our recovery time in the hospital with her.

1. Charli came out screaming initially (super strong lungs!) but immediately calmed down when she was skin to skin with mommy. Dad and Grandma both cried when Charli was born. Mom was too excited and happy that baby was finally here to cry. The nurses had to rub her back to make her cry and clear her lungs out more. Dad cut the cord and Mom asked to see the placenta. Charli never once left our side in the recovery room because her apgar score was so good. Mommy held Charli skin to skin while she was getting stitched up and eventually asked for a diaper for her since she started to pass gas ha ha. Daddy was next to hold Charli, but Mom held her while she was being moved from delivery to recovery room.

2. Dad was too excited to sleep in the hospital and probably only slept a total of 45 minutes in the first couple of days. Charli liked to be held and rocked to sleep. Loved laying skin to skin with Mom and falling asleep while nursing. Dad was so excited that he woke Mom up when the baby got hiccups because he thought it was so cute. Mom didn't sleep very well due to nursing baby on demand and being checked on so frequently. Mom was super excited to finally be able to sleep on her stomach again.

3. Dad helped the nurse with the first bath in the hospital and did the first diaper change. Mom was more timid but jumped in with diaper changes. Her first time changing Charli's diaper was exciting because baby was not done pooping yet. Baby was rarely in her crib in the hospital and never left the room without Dad except for one time when she was taken to get weighed and only because he was asleep and Dad didn't know she had left.

4. Nurses came in every 20-30 minutes to check on Mom or Charli. Charli kept losing her identification bands off her legs. Luckily, she had an adhesive strip on her leg that stayed in place. Mom and Dad liked taking walks around the hospital with the baby. Mom lived off of pretty good food; Dad had to eat mom's left overs or snack on chex mix.

5. Grandma and Grandpa brought Mom and Dad movies to watch together since it was valentine's day. Mom and Dad were too tired to watch the movies. Charli had pictures taken in the hospital and wanted to have her cute hands near her face the entire time.

6. Baby's blood was drawn and she barely even fussed. Charli also had a hearing test that she passed with flying colors. Mom and Dad recorded goofy sleep deprived videos while in the hospital.

7. Mom thought Charli had the most perfectly shaped head ever. She also discovered that Charli had back dimples and was super excited. Every doctor that looked at Charli said she looked perfect.

8. Charli had a lot of visitors in the hospital and Mom was a little overwhelmed since she was pretty sore and tired from giving birth and was trying to learn to breastfeed Charli.

9. Mom struggled to get Charli to latch while breastfeeding but was super calm and patient in the hospital. Nurses would come in looking worried because the baby was crying and Mom was calm. Usually by that point baby was breastfeeding and had calmed down. Mom spent some time talking to one of her nurses late at night because of this. Dad tried to make friends with each nurse when shifts would change.

10. When mom left the hospital, she thought it was crazy that just 9 months earlier she had been in the hospital getting her gall bladder removed and feeling like she would never have a baby due to finding cysts on her ovaries. She remembered seeing the tiny footprints on the floor and feeling like it would never be her time. She shared this story with the nurse who brought her to her car. The day we left the hospital it was super warm for February.

The picture I used to announce Charli's arrival. I didn't announce her birth until 10 pm on the day she was born.

Dad holding Charli.

We spent Valentine's Day in the hospital with our baby girl. One of our first family photos.

I seriously thought she had the most perfectly shaped head ever. I love her hairline.

Her chubby little legs and the bands that kept falling off of them.

Charli's name tag in the hospital. :)

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Becoming a Mom.

Becoming a mom is nothing like I imagined it would be. I guess when I pictured having a child, I pictured them older and spending time with them, teaching them, etc. I pictured them at a more interactive stage where I could better communicate with them. I also knew that it would be exhausting and difficult to raise a baby, but I think it was purely a vague sense of what was to come.

The fact is that if you have never raised a baby or child, it is an absolute shock to your system when you finally meet your baby. The hospital allows for a gradual transition (mostly because I had nurses taking care of me so I could take care of my baby) but it is short lived. Plus, those first few days you are on an insane high like nothing you have ever experienced. That high is what made very little sleep in two days not really matter and why I couldn't take my eyes off of my baby the entire time. Before you know it you are checking out and you are kind of wondering why the people there trust you to take care of something so amazing and fragile.

Then you go home and are immediately you are placed into sleep deprivation and hormone hell. Everything hurts, you are exhausted, and although you love your baby you are kind of wondering when their real mom is going to show up because you just don't see how you could be a mom. You get a ton of visitors who are super helpful and you try to pretend you are confident and holding it together when it's just not the reality at all. At least for me, that is how it was. I feel like in a sense I had to grieve my freedom especially when it came to sleep. I had to grieve my previous mental state and let go and try to take it one day at a time. I had to give myself a break on days when I didn't feel perfect and even now, hard days still will happen.. but I know they are just a day and that they aren't a permanent state.

At 7 weeks post partum (tomorrow), I am just starting to feel like a mom. I am just starting to feel like I understand my baby and her quirks, her cries, what she likes, what she doesn't, etc. I am just starting to clear myself out from hormone hell and starting to get sleep. Compared to when she was first born, I feel like a completely different person. And I finally feel truly bonded to my baby.. I have always loved her, but I actually am growing quite fond of this little person who sucks up all my time and energy. It's funny because I look forward to getting a break, but when I finally do get one all I think about is my baby and how she is doing and how amazing she is. I hear my baby crying all the time even when she isn't. I think it is nature's way of keeping me focused on her ha ha. And then, at 4 am when I can't get her to go back to bed and I think I am at the end of my rope… she gives me the biggest grin and none of the stress matters. Every little thing she does is amazing to me and I am loving watching her grow and change.

Becoming a parent is by far the hardest challenge I have ever taken on, but so far it has been the most rewarding and I know that it is only going to get better and better. I know that me and her are going to be close because even now she will find my voice, search for me, and give me the biggest smiles. I finally understand why my parents seemed crazy at times, because being a parent truly makes you that way. Every day I will strive to do my best for her and one day I will look back on this time and truly miss it. I already miss the initial newborn stage even though it felt insanely hard as I experienced it.

Charli at 3 days vs. 7 weeks

The strength I feel now compared to before she was born is amazing. Things that used to stress me out are no more because I know what I am capable of now and I know what I can do. I know that she was meant for me and I can't wait to show her how amazing life really is.