Monday, April 30, 2012

The First 3+ Weeks with #3

All photos by Hope Warfel Photography.  

I'm exhausted today (and every day), and my brain is a jumbled mess, but I know that I need to make an effort to record the things I'm thinking about and living with as we transition to life as a family of five.  Don't be super impressed that I am finding time to blog... It is a sacrifice and does not in any way indicate that I "have it all together."  I've been calling my kids by the wrong name, have only cooked one real meal in the last four weeks, and haven't kept a very good list of gifts for my thank you notes.  I'm just like anyone else.

I thought I would answer some of the questions I seem to get asked most often.

Does he sleep well for you?
Seth is a seriously good baby.  He eats a lot in one feeding (he is not a grazer), he sleeps well between feedings, and he is very easygoing.  Each time we have taken him on an outing, he has slept the entire time we've been gone without making so much as a peep.  Yesterday I pumped milk and Jim gave Seth a bottle for the first time.  I remember Cora and Brennan balking at the bottle the first time, but not Seth.  He took it as though he has had a hundred others.  Nothing fazes him!

I'm getting sleep in about 1.5 - 2 hour intervals at night.  Seth eats every 2 - 3 hours, but a feeding with a diaper change lasts about 40ish minutes, so I have very interrupted sleep.  The good news is that as soon as we get everything done, I lay him down and he goes right back to sleep.  So, I'm very tired, but I'm not so sleep deprived that I'm nearly hallucinating like I did when Cora was an infant.

How is it going?
I'm enjoying life with a newborn so much more than I ever have before.  I guess it is because I know it is the last time I will experience this.  Breastfeeding is pretty painful (it's just how I am... the lactation consultants can't really find an explanation), but I just deal with it and look into Seth's sweet, innocent little face, and I am so in love.  I find as many opportunities as I can to snuggle with his warm little head next to my cheek.  I feel less resentful of the diaper changes and nighttime feedings because I know they won't last forever.  I don't panic when he cries, and I forgive myself when I can't immediately race to his side to make everything okay.  I am more confident, relaxed, and content this time around.

I'm crazy about my little boy and even more in love with him than I thought I could be.  That said, I am having a hard time, emotionally.  After spending so many months getting fat and feeling miserable, I was really eager to start losing baby weight and reclaiming my body.  In the first few weeks, that began to happen, and I was doing great.  However, about a week and a half ago, I stalled out.  And not just that... I gained two pounds back.  This has never happened to me before, and it is so discouraging!!  I completely understand that I'm only three and a half weeks postpartum.  I do not expect to fit in my regular jeans or look good.  All I want is to see progress.  I just want to get out of maternity clothes and start wearing super large regular clothes... But gaining weight?  What is that all about?  I'm not pigging out, I am nursing exclusively (which is supposed to burn 500 calories a a day!), and I'm actively taking care of two other kids. You'd think I'd have burned enough calories to lose at least a single pound over a week and a half, but no such luck.  Every day that I get on the scale and see that same miserable number, I am crushed.  I don't look like me when I look in the mirror...  I don't look like me, I don't feel like me, and I wonder: How in the world am I going to get this weight off?  What if I don't? You don't want to know the kinds of spiritual and mental battles I go through every morning when I get dressed.  It isn't pretty.  

My emotions aren't just all about weight loss, either.  I'm worried about huge hospital bills, I'm afraid of spending a summer at home - alone - with three kids, I'm frustrated at my inability to put together coherent thoughts, and I just feel a little lost.  I wouldn't say I'm depressed (I'm actually really happy with my life!), but I am struggling with my hormones, my emotions, and lots of irrational thoughts and fears.

How are Brennan and Cora adjusting?
Brennan and Cora adore Seth.  They are absolutely crazy for him.  They love to check and see if his eyes are open and whether he might be looking at them.  They love to hold him, and they love to try to get him to grip their fingers.  Cora also loves to help get him diapers and cover him in blankets and get his pacifier when he is crying.  (We've had to work on keeping blankets off his head, particularly when I am out of the room.)  

Of course, everything isn't perfect.  Cora has become more argumentative (probably just an age thing as much as an adjustment to the baby), and Brennan has started with some annoying baby talk.  But all things considered, the adjustment has been amazingly smooth.  I really couldn't ask for more.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Kelly's Baby Shower

Four days before Seth arrived, I helped to throw a baby shower for my sweet friend, Kelly.  She and her husband, JP, are expecting their first child in the middle of May, and since Kelly is not a big nursery theme person and does love girly things, we decided to go with a girly-girl, pretty-in-pink shower.  

I found a beautiful invitation online, and my friend Kylie used it as a guide for creating the perfect tone-setting invitation for friends and family.

We did everything in pink and brown, mostly because baby Reagan's bedding will be pink and brown (and maybe partly because I craved Neopolitan ice cream during my pregnancy??).  ;-)

I ordered different sized paper lanterns online for a really great price, and we hung them over the counter to add texture and visual interest.

Kylie and a few other friends made some delicious food, and I made food tents and little flags to tie in our colors.

My friend Emily was charged with making the cake, and it was divine to look at AND eat!!  I found a pastel layer cake on Martha Stewart that I thought would be perfect in shades of pink, and Emily absolutely outdid herself.  I think hers is one of the prettiest and yummiest "white" cakes I have ever eaten.

Emily used the leftover cake batter to make a belly cake just for Kelly.  It was almost too cute to eat (look at the tiny footprint on the belly!!), so Kelly decided to freeze it and eat it on Reagan's birth day.  Perfect.

We made "Princess Punch" to go with the cake, and it was really good.  It looks so foamy in the picture compared to the recipe online, but it tasted wonderful.

In lieu of a shower game, we had guests each make a hair bow for baby Reagan.  Emily and I covered alligator clips with grosgrain ribbon and left bows, rhinestones, buttons, hot glue, and simple instructions for guests.

My favorite part of the decor was a giant tutu table skirt.  It took tons of tulle and several hours to make, but I think it was worth it.  It looked almost ethereal with the sunlight streaming through it.


Plus, it made a lovely skirt for a glowing mom-to-be.  :-)

For favors we gave everyone a chocolate chip cookie mix.  We used baggies to save money (two dozen mason jars were too much for the budget), and I tied simple instructions on with a pink ribbon.  Hopefully everyone appreciated a useful and delicious favor!

This shower was a great way to stay busy right up until Seth's arrival.  Now it's time for Seth to meet his little playmate!  :-)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Labor and Delivery

Welcome to the world, Seth Bryant Riggs!!

If things had gone according to plan, today I would have been settling into daily life after coming home from the hospital just two days ago.  But things never quite go according to plan, do they?  (And in this case, that is really, really good!)

Seth Bryant was born on Wednesday, April 4th, one week before my scheduled c-section.  I started having contractions on Tuesday afternoon, and they were really no different than the Braxton Hicks I had been having in the preceding weeks - except that this time, they didn't go away.  That evening I went to dinner with my friend Rachel, and we kept a rough estimate of the time between the contractions.  They were pretty far apart, but I did notice that they weren't going away, and they were getting longer and stronger. When I got home from dinner I told Jim, "It's no major rush, but I'm going to go take a shower and finish packing, because I think tonight is probably the night."  By 11 PM or so, we had packed, I had showered, and Jim decided we should lay down and try to rest.  Well, I laid down, but I never slept.  The contractions became so strong they took my breath away, and at one point one of the contractions came 3 or 4 minutes after the last.  I panicked, woke Jim up and told him it was time to go.  We called his mom and had her come to the house, I left the kids a note, and we drove in the dead of night to the hospital.

I noticed on the way to the hospital that it was nearly a full moon, and that should have been indicative of things to come.  When we got there it was between 3:30 and 4:00 am, and another laboring girl had just arrived before me.  In the time during which they processed my information and waited for a room to open up, four other pregnant women arrived, all in labor!  Six women may not sound like a lot for a large hospital, but I was at a small county hospital, and they did not have enough rooms for all of us!

My contractions were all over the board.  Some were twelve minutes apart and some were three minutes apart.  When the nurse checked me, she found that I was barely dilated to 1 cm.  I panicked that they would send me home to writhe in pain so one of the other pregnant women could have my room, but the nurse told me that contracting so hard over my two previous c-section scars wasn't safe and they were going to go ahead and operate.  I was so relieved.

My c-section went extremely well, and Seth was born a perfect 8 pounds, 1/2 ounce and 20 inches long.  
The hospital did an awesome job of giving us bonding time, and overall I found this to be our best birth experience ever.

Brennan and Cora came to meet Seth later in the day, and they couldn't have loved him more. That hasn't changed yet.  The novelty has worn off a little, but both kids adore him and have welcomed him into their lives without restraint.

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