Monday, February 22, 2010

Back to reality

There's some new pics and video here.

In the six weeks since Theo's birth, Greg and I have been on vacation, hanging around at home, figuring out the needs of a newborn, and the needs of parents of a newborn. Greg went back to work a week ago and it's definitely weird without him. So THIS is how it's going to be, moving forward.

It's interesting trying to get chores and errands done within Theo's requirements. Now, I can't just hand him off to someone when I need my hands, or leave him at home when it's time to go out. I take showers with the monitor in the bathroom. I keep hearing phantom crying in the drone of the bathroom fan and drumming of the shower but the monitor shows me he's asleep the entire time.

I did a full market run with Theo in tow and I have to say, I was pretty proud of it. One of my bigger fears is him melting down in public and me not able to handle it without bailing. I tried to have him asleep by the time we got there but he was cranky when we arrived. It took a few laps in the shopping cart outside the market to get him to sleep, and from then on, I just had to keep the cart moving to keep him napping. At one point he roused a little and a few laps in the bread aisle got him to settle again. Go, mom, go!

I cooked dinner nearly every night last week and plan to do the same going forward. This may not sound like much but for me it's a triumph. Greg used to be the chef around here. I mean "plan" literally, as meal planning and shopping for a full week at a time is the only way I can stay on track.

I didn't realize how little I would get done in one day. Between his feedings and doing the basics of cooking, cleaning, and caring for myself (oh yeah, I have to eat too) there isn't much time for anything else. This blog post took a week to write. A big time eater is my afternoon nap, which is beyond necessary after my long nights.

In the last few days Theo has developed a routine (!) of being wakeful at around 9am for well over an hour. During this time we got the newest video you can see above, of him actually playing with purpose. He's beginning to react to the mirror, too. After his happy morning time he usually has a sleepy day and a cranky evening. His night feedings are shorter and more sleepy as well. (All trends subject to change without notice.)

His cranky periods require diligence. Feed, burp, feed, burp, diaper, feed, can go on for 2 hours or more. These marathon sessions can be exhausting. It helps if I have a bottle ready to assist, as he conks out quicker from the steady, easy flow of the bottle. It's also less wear and tear on me. When he's finally too ramped up to eat any more, we wrap him up and get him to nap. He responds very well to white noise which we try to keep as a last resort tactic.

In any case I feel I have completely given myself over to my new way of life. Waking up at odd hours and sleeping at others has stopped feeling wrong. Wrestling with him for 2 hours a day has also become routine. I continue to be amazed at human adaptation.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Already growing up

We celebrated Theo's 1 month birthday on Tuesday. By "celebrated", I mean that it was noticed and mentioned.

When he was born, Theo was very small in any of the newborn clothes we had ready for him.

Now, his feet are actually fitting into the footie PJs when he stretches out, and the onesies clasp snugly. He's at about 7.5 pounds now.

His size isn't the only difference a month makes. Theo's grip is improving and he's pulling my hair when he can get it. His hands seem to make it to their goals more often. Sometimes he seems to enjoy being lifted high in the air and swooped around. He is working on lifting his head and getting better at it every day.

The biggest leap just happened in the last day, as both Greg and I noticed he is beginning to smile in response to our smiles. Before now, he's had smiles that were part of facial expression montages, twitches of muscles figuring themselves out. These new ones lasted longer and don't immediately become frowns and smirks.

Ok, it's only been a couple of times, so don't expect him to smile next time you see him. I don't expect to get it on camera for a while either. One month is early for true smiling. Still, very exciting!


BTW, I removed the links on this website to our gift registries and have replaced them with links to our photos of Theo. These links will be updated with new photos every now and then.

Here are the links for those of you who get this blog via email.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

All you can eat

Theo is doing fine. He showed up 3 weeks early but was in no way a preemie. Thirty-seven weeks is considered full term, and he was very nearly there. The only thing we had to keep an eye on was a mild case of jaundice, which is common among any birth, full term or not. We had a pediatrician appointment when Theo was only 3 days old to make sure this was handled. The doc (whom we immediately took a liking to) recommended small amounts of sunshine and a ramped up feeding schedule. His body gets rid of the bilirubin through diaper changes, and the more food, the more messy diapers.

Even though the jaundice is gone and he's past his birth weight, he's still a little guy and still needs his regular meals. Every two hours, we have to wake him up and get him to eat. Feedings last about an hour. During that time, the baby will feed for approximate 10 minute bursts and need burp breaks. He almost always falls back to sleep within those breaks. He's a good sleeper, and it always seems a shame to wake him. Nursing tends to put babies to sleep anyway and there are long lists of ways to keep them awake during a feeding, most of which involve annoying the baby into wakefulness. Over the last couple weeks I've figured out a rhythm to the methods. During a regular feeding, I usually have to take his clothes off, rub his stomach and back, dance him around, change his diaper (easily, the thing he hates most in the world right now), and put his clothes back on, all of which bother him just enough so he will eat. It can be frustrating, but it's necessary.

The stay-awake game can be wearying on its own, but when you got yourself up at 4 am to do so, it's a whole other world of weary. The pediatrician has cleared him to sleep up to 4 hours at time at night but Theo's internal clock is set at 2.5 hours maximum. Doesn't matter if it's a noisy room or a quiet room, morning or night, he's never asleep for much longer.

As soon as a feeding is done, it's as if someone shoots a starter pistol and the clock counts down to my next feeding. If I want to go out, or do some chores, write online, or take a nap - I need to get to it. It's quite often that a simple time waster such as watching a random daytime TV rerun eats up a huge chunk of my time, preventing anything else I meant to do.

I just began using a pump and Greg is now on bottle duty for one of the nighttime feedings. Theo is having no problem switching between breast and bottle. Getting the pumping timing right is complex as well, since I need to be ready to feed him again after the 2 hours are up and it takes time to make that milk. The pumping itself is easy, though admittedly a bit strange, hooking oneself up to a milking machine.

Breastfeeding was a bit of a challenge (and still has its pitfalls) but my milk came in fine and Theo gets his nutrition, and that's what's important.