Tag Archives: sleep

Learning to Handle Sleep Deprivation Graciously

23 Feb

As my due date approaches, I feel like I’m staring down the barrel of a gun. Whenever Emma has a few bad nights of sleep or takes a few short naps, I’m quickly reminded of how horrible sleep deprivation is – and how horribly I deal with it.

I’m panicking just a little thinking about taking care of both a newborn and a toddler, especially when Travis is traveling for work. WHEN WILL I EVER SLEEP?!?!

I want to learn how to deal with sleep deprivation in a gracious, accepting way. But that would require me to be gracious and accept it. And that’s exactly what I can’t get myself to do.

Instead, I slide quickly down into the pit of self-pity and anger. I find myself countering the misery of a too-short nap with sweets and impulse eating. I let Emma get away with stuff I normally wouldn’t because I don’t care enough to fight her on it (hello fruit snacks for breakfast). Or I snap at her for little things because I don’t have “the patience to deal with this.” I don’t spend time in the Word because I’m either too tired to concentrate or I’m attempting to not be a complete and utter zombie by using the time to sleep – and that lack of time shows in my attitude.

From there, the self-pity deepens into: I don’t have time or energy to exercise. I don’t have energy to clean my house. I resent having to make dinner (almost) every night. I feel guilty for not planning fun and creative activities with Emma. I silently mock Travis for mentioning anything about being tired – like he even has a CLUE.

Some parents seem to handle being sleep deprived rather well. They continue functioning and enjoying life. I go into self-destruct, wallow mode. I go into THE WORLD COULD BE ENDING BUT I’M SO EXHAUSTED I WOULDN’T EVEN CARE mode.

I know that to handle sleep deprivation well, I have to stop demanding to NOT be sleep deprived. I have to accept it as a fact of life with a toddler and soon, a newborn. I have to stop digging in my heels and throwing a mental tantrum over the fact that I was up every 3 hours during the night, and my toddler did not take a nap like I expected her to, and she got up after ‘resting’ with 0-to-60 energy while I can barely hold an eye open as I stumble to the pantry for some chocolate.

It is times like these that I am forced to think out the full implications of my faith in God. If I truly believe that He provides ALL the grace I need in EVERY circumstance, He’s providing sufficient grace right now. Even though it REALLY doesn’t feel like it. Because I’d prefer His grace come in the form of some shuteye.

And you know, sometimes it does. But if it doesn’t (and it often doesn’t), what am I going to do about it? What happens when God’s grace comes to us in a form OTHER than what we’re yearning for? Thinking bigger than sleep, what happens when God DOESN’T heal us of cancer? What happens when God DOESN’T provide the answer we prayed for? What happens when God doesn’t take away the dirty mess of life, the pain, the sorrow, the frustration, the challenge? Do we go looking elsewhere for the answer that we do want? Do we act like Jonah, and sit sulking under the blazing sun, convinced that we do well to be angry, angry enough to die because God has given us something OTHER than what we wanted?

I am often like Jonah. I often reject God’s grace and make myself miserable because I want what I want, period. I wish that knowing joy comes from accepting the circumstances God allows would make It easier to accept those circumstances. I wish my desire for joy in the LORD was bigger than my fleshly insistence on having my own way. I wish that I could relinquish my need for sleep as easily as I relinquish my need for a shower, or that simply drinking a cup of coffee could make it feel like I got a solid 8 hours. I wish that I truly trusted God to provide sufficient grace in whatever form in the midst of sleep deprivation.

I don’t yet. And I can’t get myself to the place of graciously accepting sleep deprivation on my own. I am asking God to do it in me. Like A.W. Tozer says, I must insist upon the work being done, but I’m not actually the one to do it. My part is to focus on God and on what Christ purchased through His death and resurrection. As I behold Him, at 2 a.m. or 5 a.m. or while bouncing a swaddled baby on an exercise ball with a toddler tornado running rampant around my house, I will be changed.

A Day in the Life {At Home}

10 Nov

This day turned out to be rather atypical for Emma in terms of naps/sleep, and Travis was gone on a work trip, but otherwise, it was a pretty typical Friday for us.

4:30 am – I hear Emma on the monitor. I give her a chance to fall back asleep on her own.

4:45 – Emma’s still awake, so I get up and nurse her.

5:10 – I put Emma back down after a little bouncing, crossing my fingers she stays asleep (at that hour, it’s always a crapshoot.)

5:15 – Emma’s awake. Darn. She’s still tired though, so I hold her until she really wakes up.

6:10 – She’s awake for the day. I change her diaper and put her on her playmat, while I let the dogs out, feed them and brew myself a cup of coffee. I drink my coffee and watch the news while Emma plays. I also put a stack of cloth diapers away.

20131108_0629286:50 – Attempt to nurse Emma but she’s not really interested. So I feed her some peach yogurt instead, while I eat oatmeal with peanut butter and brown sugar (my favorite way to eat oatmeal right now). After breakfast, Emma bounces in her jumperoo while I do dishes.

7:35 – Tummy time on Mommy! And Super Baby time – where I hold her like Superman. It’s a way to strength her core muscles that she actually likes, for a few minutes. Then we just play sitting up until it’s time for her next nap.

8:20 – Emma’s starting to fuss, so I put her in her sleepsack and down in her crib for a nap. She whimpers a little bit, but goes to sleep on her own. I brew my second cup of coffee and drink it while I spend some time praying. I spend 15 minutes on downloading pictures to add to Emma’s 12-month picture frame  (similar to this one).

9:45 – Emma’s awake. I change her diaper and nurse her.

10:00 – I change into running clothes, load Emma, the dogs and the stroller into the car, and drive to a park for a 2-mile run.

20131108_10421710:45 – We’re done! 2 miles in 22:50. When we get home, I change Emma’s clothes and take her 7-month pictures. Then I change her into a practical outfit and make a turkey sandwich before calling my friend, Amy, who lives in Hawaii to chat.

11:45 – Emma’s down for a nap, but not happy about it.

12:00 pm – I end my call with Amy because Emma’s still screaming. I go in to bounce/rock her but she keeps crying, so I decide to try nursing her. Her last nursing session was pretty quick. I change out of my sports bras and nurse her. It helps calm her down.

12:15 – Emma’s asleep. I take a shower and dry my hair most of the way. I also spend about 30 seconds doing my makeup. I work on Emma’s 7-month blog update a bit.

12:45 – Emma’s awake. I try to get her back to sleep but she’s wide awake so I change her diaper and feed her lunch. I try to give her avocado thinned with formula but she makes a face and refuses to eat it (she really does not like things combined with formula!), so I break out some food I got from a co-worker. I guessed it was sweet potato puree but after a few bites, I notice printing on the side that says “Mac cheese”. Interesting… Emma eats about half. I take a little bite and it’s not too bad, but not great either.

1:10 – Emma plays with toys while I eat a yogurt and banana, and make a grocery list.

1:30 – We head to Target.

20131108_135417I am in love with this wreath, and plan to try making it myself for cheaper.

2:15 – Emma bounces in her jumperoo while I put groceries away. She’s so happy that I sit next to her and look at photo albums. Then we play on the floor some more.

2:45 – Put Emma down for a nap. Again, she cries so I go in and nurse her. Something definitely seems to be off with her. Usually I can calm her down by just holding her, but today, she seems out of sorts. I give her some Tylenol just in case she’s in pain.

3:15 – Emma’s asleep.

3:30 – Emma’s awake. I try to get her back to sleep again so I could just hold her for her nap, but she’s awake. So I make an egg sandwich, grab an apple and we go for a drive up Clear Creek Canyon (beautiful!) to get Emma to sleep. It works! I also listen to Tim Keller’s sermon ‘Blessed Self-Forgetfulness‘, which gets better every time I listen to it.

5:15 – After sitting in the driveway for 15 minutes finishing Emma’s 7-month update, I take Emma inside. She stays sleeping and I put her in the nursery while I make dinner. I knew letting her sleep could either be a good idea or could backfire but I decided to risk it.

5:45 – Emma’s awake. I feed her pureed blueberries for dinner. They are messy!

6:15 – Bathtime! Followed by Emma’s nighttime routine.

7:15 – Emma is still wide awake. I think we can say the long nap before bed backfired. I sit next to Emma playing in her crib while I read blogs on my phone in the dark.

7:45 – Emma has a poopy diaper, so I change it and then try to bounce her a bit. She still seems uncomfortable/in pain, so I give her some more Tylenol.

8:00 – Emma’s finally asleep, albeit lightly, so I rock her while watching How I Met Your Mother on my phone.

8:30 – Emma wakes up crying and wriggling while I’m holding her, and I’m at a loss for what’s wrong, so I put some Orajel on her top and bottom gums. Maybe she’s getting more teeth? It seems to calm her down at any rate. I hold her for another episode.

8:50 – I finally put Emma down. Travis should be home in the next 30 minutes, but I’m exhausted so I eat a bowl of cereal, wash my face, brush my teeth and go to bed. I watch another episode of HIMYM (I’m obsessed!) before turning the lights out. Travis gets home right as I’m done watching, so I talk to him for a few minutes before going to sleep.

9:30 – Sleep!

Emma woke up 3 times that night, at around 12:30, 2:45 and 4:45, and didn’t go back to sleep after that last wakening (at least, according to how my sleep-deprived brain remembers it!). I fed her each time, because when she’s so uncomfortable, it’s the only thing that settles her down enough to fall back asleep. During the second nursing, I spaced out and when I opened my eyes again, I panicked because I thought Emma was upside down (with her butt above her head). It took me a good 20 seconds to realize that I was looking at the wrong end. Oy. I really hope this passes quickly!

Emma: 7 Weeks

26 May

Emma is 7 weeks today!

Back on May 16, I was at my wit’s end to get Emma to sleep on her own at night. So I asked my Facebook friends what their tips were. My sister-in-law and cousin-in-law suggested the Fisher Price Rock ‘n’ Play Sleeper. I figured the $60 would be well-spent if it worked. So I found one in stock at Target and off Emma and I went to buy it. She ended up having a meltdown halfway through our trip but she’s still young enough for people to look at me with ‘Poor thing’ expressions instead of ‘Control your kid’ judgement. Still, I hoped that I looked especially sleep-deprived and first-time-mom-ish that morning… you know, for sympathy.
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We didn’t use the bassinet that first night because we were still hopeful that she’d sleep in her (free, borrowed) cradle. And she did… but not without waking up every hour or so.

The next night, Travis and I set up the Rock ‘n’ Play Sleeper and crossed our fingers. We got Emma to sleep and put her in it. And she didn’t wake up for 4.5 hours! Since then, she has slept 4.5 – 6 hours each night on her own, without waking up. Hallelujah!
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So Travis and I are finally sleeping in the same bed again, for roughly the same hours. We have Emma set up in the nursery and keep the monitor on. Our house isn’t really big enough to merit the use of monitors but they allow us to close her door and still hear what’s going on in there.
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It’s never fun to have a crying baby in public but Travis and I have decided that we just need to go for it more often. So we finally went to care group for the first time since Emma was born. Yes, she ended up crying quite loudly after I fed her and our friend Sue graciously took her upstairs to calm her down. But it wasn’t the end of the world. I have also discovered that the secret to having her in public without a meltdown is to put her in the Baby Bjorn. Works like a charm every time!
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At 7 weeks, Emma:

* Weighs a little over 10 lbs
* Has outgrown all her newborn clothes and now wears size 0-3 months
* Will start wearing size 1 and cloth diapers when we get back from Minnesota in 2 weeks
* Smiles at us when she’s awake and happy
* Can almost hold her head up
* Sleeps 5-6 hours on a regular basis at night
* Takes her reflux medicine like a champ
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Emma loves:

* Grabbing things, even if it’s accidental
* Being in the Baby Bjorn
* Sucking on her pacifier
* Hanging out in her swing after eating for 10-15 minutes
* Being swaddled, shushed and bounced (all at the same time!)
* Getting her diaper changed
* Tummy time
* Being read to
* Cuddling

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First thumb sucking!


Emma doesn’t like:

* Being in her carseat
* Having clothes put on over her head or her arms pulled through the sleeves
* Being burped
* Waiting to be fed (who does?)
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Everyday, we see little bits of Emma’s personality shine through the pain and discomfort she’s in. It gets us very excited for the day when she’s finally happy more than she’s upset! Even now, we are very in love with this little girl.
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Emma: 5 – 6 Weeks

16 May

This coming Sunday, Emma will be 6 weeks old. It’s amazing how fast the time is going, even though the days (and especially the nights) sometimes seem to last forever.

After talking to the triage nurse last week and making the changes to my diet and breastfeeding style that she recommended, Emma still hadn’t seen much improvement. She was sleeping a little bit longer, but not really crying any less. So I called again this past Monday and they had us come in that same afternoon. While we were there, Emma gave the pediatrician and nurses a good dose of her crying – red face and all. After examining her, the doctor decided that Emma most likely has acid reflux. So she prescribed Prevacid for Emma to take once a day and said that we should see some improvement in the next 7-10 days.

We’ve already seen some improvement. It’s not night and day difference but Emma is now frequently alert and happy for 10-15 minutes after she eats, and has tolerated sitting in her swing, cradle or car seat several times without crying immediately, like she was doing before. She’s also developed a less severe level of crying – it’s not always just ear piercing wails. And we’ve also been trying to put her in her cradle or swing at night instead of just holding her, and she has stayed sleeping several times for up to a couple of hours – also an improvement. But she still has her inconsolable moments.

It’s hard to not be discouraged and frustrated at this whole situation. We love our daughter so much and want her to be happy and comfortable, but we’re also struggling with severe sleep deprivation, and trying to not crack when she’s fussy or crying uncontrollably for what seems like hours on end (in reality, it’s only 30-60 minutes at a time) is hard.

This has been our typical routine lately with a baby who only wants to sleep being held:

Approx 1 am: I get up for the middle-of-the-night feeding; Travis goes to bed after his ‘shift’

1 am – 7 am: I stay up with Emma, feeding her every 2-3 hours, then rocking her to sleep and attempting to put her down – usually she starts making noise after 20-30 minutes. I go pick her up because I don’t want her to wake up completely, causing me to have to get her to sleep all over again. My main desire has been to avoid a crying baby, but I realize this isn’t a good strategy for getting her to sleep apart from me, so I’m going to work on changing this.

7:15 am: Travis gets up, makes his coffee and puts Emma in the Baby Bjorn while he works at his desk; I go back to bed for a couple of hours

9:30 am: I get up and take Emma from Travis, feed her and entertain her for however long she’s happy, maybe doing tummy time while I take a few sips of my decaf coffee. Usually she starts crying (with no warning!) and I get her back to sleep by putting her in the Baby Bjorn with her pacifier and bouncing on the exercise ball.

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Sacked out in the Baby Bjorn

10:30 – 5:30 pm: Travis works while Emma and I go through the continual cycle of eat, awake and sleep. She typically goes 2-3 hours between feedings, with naps that are usually 45 minutes – 2 hours long, but it’s still far from predictable. During Emma’s naps, I either do chores like dishes and laundry (if she’s in the Bjorn), sit with her in the glider or watch TV while she sleeps, or (rarely) take a walk. Since she’s started crying so much and often, we’ve been hesitant to take her very many places because it’s so hard to soothe her without all our props and she’s really not a fan of being buckled into her car seat. Though I discovered today that driving on the highway with the windows down makes a wonderful white noise that puts her to sleep! (hopefully not just a fluke)

5:45 pm: Travis gets done with work and takes Emma while I ‘make’ dinner – usually reheating leftovers of a meal from our church friends. I eat and then take Emma so Travis can eat.

6:30 pm: We bathe Emma if it’s a bath night. If not, I feed Emma and either Travis or I put her pajamas on and swaddle her.

7 – 7:30 pm: I go to bed while Travis stays up with Emma. This strategy evolved at first because Emma’s such a loud sleeper that I was awake anytime she grunted or sighed (which is a lot). Lately we’ve done this because Emma sleeps the longest if she’s held. She’s actually gone 5 hours between feedings a couple of times (which is sleeping through the night at this age) but only while being held. The longest she’s gone in her cradle or swing is about 2.5 hours I think.

10 pm: I get up and feed Emma. When she’s done eating, I give her back to Travis and go back to bed.

{and the cycle begins all over again…}

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In short, we have no time to do anything but sleep, take care of Emma and work (in Travis’ case). Most days I don’t shower, brush my teeth or change clothes. Even though we’re technically surviving this way, we’re both frequently close to losing it. Something’s got to change. So we’re going to start being more intentional about putting her down to sleep in her cradle or swing instead of just letting her sleep in our arms. It may be more painful at first and involve more work with getting her back to sleep if she wakes up, but at least we’ll be headed the right direction instead of just throwing in the towel.

All that said, the Lord has faithfully given enough grace for us to get through each day – whether it’s a little bit more sleep, Emma not fussing for a few hours, delicious meals from friends, warm sunny weather, lots of babysitting offers, or the fact that Travis works from home (so amazingly helpful!). I’ve been tempted more than once to drown in self-pity because of all the things I haven’t been able to do, like get out on more runs, maintain personal hygiene or sleep longer than 3 hours at a stretch, but God has helped me to be aware of that sinful, joyless tendency and to instead be thankful for the mercies He does provide. Just like He provided the Israelites enough manna for a single day, so He provides me with enough faith and hope in His promises to stay the course for one more day. I know we will look back on this time and see His faithfulness stretching to the skies. I don’t know what I would do without Him, or Travis!

Dealing with a Colicky Baby

10 May

So we’re pretty sure that Emma has colic, whatever that is. A colicky baby cries or fusses for 3 hours a day, for 3 days a week, for 3 weeks. It hasn’t been 3 weeks yet but Emma fusses every day, so I think we qualify. I’ve been reading Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child and the author says that fussiness is more characteristic of colic and defines fussiness as “an unsettled, agitated, wakeful state that would lead to crying if ignored by parents” and that colicky babies have “long and frequents bouts of fussing” which would lead to crying if it weren’t for “intensive parental intervention.”

Story of my life.

This week has been a blur of feeding and getting Emma to go to sleep and stay asleep. Who needs to work out when you spend hours a day bouncing a fussy baby on an exercise ball? Seriously, my legs and back are TIRED.

After a little research, it appears that Emma is getting enough sleep, but most of it is in 1-2 hour chunks, with a few 2-4 hour chunks thrown in from about 6 pm to 1 am. The time of day she sleeps the worst is from about 1 am to 8 am. Last night, I just threw in the towel and stayed up watching Modern Family on my iPad instead of trying to sleep through her grunting. It was definitely our worst night by far. She was grunting within 15 minutes of when I put her in her swing.

I finally called our pediatrician’s office the other day and talked to the triage nurse. I told her about all of Emma’s symptoms:

  • Cries after feedings, sometimes during, like she’s frustrated
  • Swallows a lot of air from gulping milk
  • Gets hiccups often, spits up quite a bit, has a lot of gas
  • Wants to eat every 1-3 hours
  • Often wants pacifier after eating but has plenty of dirty and wet diapers
  • Grunts almost all night long, seems to be uncomfortable from gas
  • Yawns all the time, even when she has just woken up, but it still takes a lot of effort to make her go to sleep
  • Generally only sleeps for an hour at a time except for evening – then she’ll go 2-3 hours and every once in a while, 4-5
  • When she seems happy and alert, it lasts for maybe 10-15 minutes before she melts down
  • Goes from happy to screaming in a matter of seconds
  • Often cries for 10-20 minutes no matter what you do, calms down after that but only as long as you’re doing something very specific

The triage nurse was very helpful and gave me these tips to try:

  • Express milk before feeding Emma to minimize gulping and swallowed air.
  • Interrupt her feedings often to burp her. Burp her for several minutes before resuming.
  • Keep her upright for 30-45 minutes after eating.
  • If it’s been less than 2 hours since a good feeding (lasting 20-30 minutes), comfort her in a way other than nursing (since it takes about 2 hours for a full belly to be metabolized). If her last feeding was short, I can feed her when she seems hungry.
  • Eliminate dairy, chocolate and caffeine from my diet for a week.

Pumping milk before feeding Emma will take a little getting used to, especially since it’s pretty tough to predict right now when Emma will want to eat. And when I know she wants to eat, she wants to eat NOW. I can hold her off with the pacifier, but she can’t keep it in her mouth herself, so pumping is kind of a circus act while I juggle the breast pump bottles and her pacifier.

I do think pumping, combined with me reclining during breastfeeding, is making a difference – at the very least, Emma is drinking slower than before. She’s not usually a huge fan of being burped mid-feeding (or at all), unless she’s really uncomfortable. But she settles back down pretty quickly once I put her back to the breast.

Sometimes she likes being upright on my or Travis’ chest and she sleeps pretty well in the Baby Bjorn. But other times, she thinks being upright is horrible. That was the case this morning. Surprisingly, though, she was content laying on her back on the changing table. So I let her lay there for about 10 minutes while I talked to her. (This has inspired yet another idea we’re going to try – putting her on her changing pad mattress in the cradle. She seems to be able to pass gas a lot better laying flat on her back than sitting reclined like she does in her swing.)

As far as the dietary changes go, I’m going to eliminate dairy, chocolate and caffeine like the nurse suggested (which is so sad because those are almost all of my favorite food groups!). I have been avoiding cheese, milk, yogurt and ice cream for the past week, but I was still eating chocolate and processed foods like granola bars that contain milk. So I’m finally going to cut those out too. 😦 Then last night, I ate a Boca burger for dinner and on the off chance that the night went so poorly because I ate soy, I’m also going to cut out soy products. And since peanuts are a well-known allergen as well, I’m thinking that I might switch to eating almond butter instead of peanut butter. I’m also going to avoid eating tomatoes and any tomato-based sauces and condiments, since those have triggered acid reflux for me in the past, and while I’m at it, I might as well cut down on the gluten I eat (since a lot of products that are dairy and soy free are also gluten free). Can you tell I’m desperate to find a solution to Emma’s crying?!?!

In a way, this change will be good for me and Travis because we’ll be forced to eat a lot more whole foods and less processed crap. The only drawback is that whole foods generally require more work than processed foods, and well, time in the kitchen is not something I have a lot of right now. But we’re going to try. 😉 So what will I be eating?

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Rice and rice pasta
  • Meat, poultry and fish
  • Olive oil
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Udi’s gluten-free products
  • Larabars
  • So Delicious ice cream and yogurt
  • Amy’s Organic Foods
  • Earth Balance spreads and nut butters
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Almond milk (which is SO not the same as cow’s milk!! I miss it dearly)

The nurse said that if these changes haven’t made a difference in Emma’s fussy behavior by Monday, then they’ll have us come in to have Emma checked out and make sure there isn’t something else going on besides colic.

On a positive note, I haven’t felt as frustrated with Emma the past couple of days. My emotions have switched to just being frustrated with the situation, with an understanding that Emma isn’t being fussy on purpose – she’s just uncomfortable. Poor baby. I keep assuring her that Mommy wants to make her happy and is trying everything she can think of to do so.

But I did just about lose it on our walk this morning with the dogs. Emma had fallen asleep so I thought I’d take advantage of it and go on a longer walk. Well, just 20 minutes into it, she woke up. I turned right around, even though it was earlier than I had planned, because I just had an inkling that she wouldn’t be content very long if she was awake. Sure enough, about a minute later, she started pouting and then crying. She was content if the pacifier was in her mouth, but again, I have to hold it in there. So I ended up tying the dogs’ leash around my waist, taking Emma out of the carseat and holding her while I pushed the stroller all the way back to the house, and keeping the pacifier in her mouth. That juggling act made me feel like a real mom. And it made me vow to not take both the dogs and Emma on a walk again until she outgrows this stage, or Travis comes with.

Do you have any tasty, easy snack ideas that are dairy and soy free?

Emma’s First Week

15 Apr

I had good intentions of posting this update yesterday but all the days and nights of minimal sleep caught up with me. And Emma decided that she wanted to eat every hour between 5 and 9 pm – but then she slept for 5 hours straight, and then another 4 after I fed her. (I was ok with letting her sleep longer because I had fed her 11 times throughout the day.)

Emma spent her first week sleeping, going to the doctor, nursing and getting out and about. 🙂

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Sleep

Emma sleeps best in late afternoon. I almost always have to wake her up to feed during that time. Otherwise, she starts moving around, grunting and smacking her lips about 3 hours from the start of her last feeding. If I wait too long to feed her after she does that, she has a meltdown (the only time she really cries) so I try to not let it go that far. And if we try to change her diaper before feeding her, she is not happy.

The first couple of nights we were home, Emma slept a few hours in her cradle in our room, which made me hopeful that it wouldn’t be a battle for her to sleep there. But the past couple of nights, Emma has wanted nothing to do with the cradle, so Travis and I have had to hold her or put her in her swing and sleep in the living room. I love holding her, but it makes for a long night. Luckily, our glider is awesome and it’s fairly easy to hold her and sleep at the same time.

Emma loves being swaddled, so we’ve been using our Halo sleep sack and SwaddleMe wraps a lot, even when she’s awake but mostly when we put her down to sleep. She also loves her 2-in-1 swing/vibrating chair.

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Going to the Doctor

We came home from the hospital on Tuesday. Wednesday and Thursday, we made the 5-minute trek over to the pediatrician for checks on weight and jaundice levels. Her bilirubin came back around the same intermediate level on both days, so they felt that as long as she was eating and peeing/pooping ok, she would be fine. She had lost 8.5% of her birth weight on Wednesday, but by her appointment on Thursday, she was up 3 oz! So she’s doing well with feeding and gaining weight too.

Nursing

My milk came in by Wednesday morning and Emma started being really fussy about nursing. She’d latch on, suck a few times, and then pull off. I could tell she was hungry because she’d get upset and open her mouth again, only to latch on and pull off after just a few seconds. This would go on for 10-15 minutes before I could get her latched on for a good feeding.

On Friday, we went back to the hospital to meet with the lactation consultant. She weighed her before I fed her, after one breast, and then again after both. Based on Emma’s weight, she needs about 19 oz of milk a day, which breaks down to about 2 oz a feeding. Emma ate almost exactly 2 oz during our feeding. Apparently, her fussy behavior was due to my breasts being overfull and her having a difficult time latching on. I don’t have my breast pump yet, since I had to wait until Emma was born to order through insurance (but it should arrive tomorrow) so there wasn’t a ton I could do about expressing milk, but I did learn that pinching my areola into a ‘sandwich’ helped her get latched better, sooner.

I’ll do a separate post about breastfeeding, but for now I’ll just say that it’s going well and I feel very blessed to be able to bond with Emma that way, even if it does mean little sleep and sore nipples.

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Getting Out and About

Emma’s first shopping trip was to Target and she slept through the whole thing. It’s so fun taking her places!

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On Saturday, we also took her on a trip to Best Buy, a Craigslist meetup, and Babies R Us. We didn’t time that one very well, though, because we got stuck in traffic and she ended up being hungry even before our first stop. I stayed in the car at Best Buy to feed her, then we all sat in the car after meeting the Craigslist person (we found a nightstand for the nursery!) so I could finish feeding her enough to tide her over. She was content until we got into Babies R Us, then she started to crack. So we bought our stuff and left.

By the time we got out to the car, she was losing it. I let her suck on my finger on the way home, and that made her happy. I know they say that pacifiers shouldn’t be introduced until breastfeeding is well-established (and it’s only been a week) but I think a pacifier in emergency situations would be fine if it helps her avoid a meltdown. Not sure she’ll like pacifiers though – we tried two different kinds yesterday in church and she wasn’t interested in either. So we’ll see.

Speaking of church yesterday… I fed her right before we left the house, hoping she’d sleep through the whole church service. Not so. She made it through worship and the break before the sermon, but about 5 minutes into the sermon, she started waking up. I took her out of her carseat and gave her to Travis, we tried the pacifiers, but I ended up just taking her to the nursing moms’ room and nursing her the rest of the service. A few of my friends were in there too, so it was fun to catch up with them. It’s probably something I’ll have to get used to, unless I start bringing a bottle for her, but they post the sermons online so I can listen to them later. Although, even if I did bring a bottle for her, I’d still probably leave the sanctuary because Emma is an incredibly loud eater! She likes to moan and coo the whole time. It’s very cute, but it’d also be very distracting to everyone else.

We also took Emma on several walks in her BabyTrend jogging stroller. We just snap her Graco carseat in and go. The stroller is awesome so far – it pushes really easily, rides smoothly and I think we’ll be very satisfied with it. Since this post is getting pretty long, I’ll save the specifics of walking and the possibilities of jogging for another post. 🙂

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Dogs

Just a quick note that the dogs have adapted really well to having Emma home. They like to sniff her a lot. And Katy is very protective of her – Charlie acts pretty much the same as before. More details to come…

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At one week, Emma LOVES:

  • Being swaddled
  • Being held
  • Nursing and sucking
  • The vibrating chair and swing
  • Hearing our voices (reading her a book knocks her out)

Emma DOESN’T LIKE:

  • Baths
  • Having her diaper or clothes changed
  • Not being able to latch on to nurse
  • Being on her back when not being held
  • When the dogs shake with their collars on

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All in all, Emma is amazing and we are so in love with her. Whenever I have a hard time getting up at night to feed her (which is often), one look at her face reminds me that it’s so worth it. I’m trying to consciously soak up this time with a heart of thanksgiving because I know it will go too fast.

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New Job for Him, and Hills for Me

17 Feb

Thanks for the encouraging comments on my post yesterday. I was having a rough day all around – mostly because I was absolutely exhausted. I may or may not have slept through an hour-long conference call… and then slept for 10.5 hours last night.

After work, I went to a going-away happy hour for Travis and one of his co-workers because… Travis got a new job! Next week is his last week at his current company and he’ll start his new job the following Monday (2/27). He’s pretty excited. He’ll be doing the same type of engineering (hydraulics and hydrology – what they call H&H) but he’ll be with a smaller company (1 of 2 full-time employees) and will be working from home. He’s also getting a fairly significant pay raise, which will definitely help us be more aggressive in paying off our mountain of student loans.

The thing I’m actually most excited about with this new job, though, is that the dogs will no longer have to live 80% of their lives in our laundry room. I’m really hoping Katy will mellow out – she kind of went berserk when I started back to work after being unemployed and hasn’t gone back to being her regular self.

After sleeping in until 7:00 this morning, I feel more human but I’m still planning on not doing a workout tonight, and on going to bed at a grandma time. Last night, Travis and I both went to bed at 8:30, no joke. He had stayed up really late the night before playing a hockey double-header and I had gone to bed too late all week long. No shame. I’m taking full advantage of blowing off workouts while I can because for the next 18 weeks, there will be none (or very little) of that ::knock on wood::.

Speaking of the next 18 weeks, I got inspired today and updated my training plan with intentional hill days:

After looking more closely at the elevation profile of Mayor’s Marathon, I realized that its hills are similar in length and climb to the ones I ran during the Ralston Creek Half. So… I have to start training on hills, and real hills, not the wimpy little things I was calling hills. Lucky for me, Colorado is full of them.

I thought this article was really helpful about defining the different types of hill work and several articles (including that one) say that because hill workouts are so intense, they should only be done once or twice a week. I went for once a week during the first half of my training, and then once every 2 weeks for the last half. I didn’t want to be too ambitious because this is still only my first marathon.

As with everything, I’m going to continue to play things by ear. If I’m feeling strong, I’ll incorporate some more hills. And if I’m feeling tired or injured, I’ll back off. Adding the hill designation to my schedule was just to get the hill workouts on my radar and give me something of a strategy with timing.

And the most exciting part of my day… it’s Friday and I get a 3-day weekend! Glorious.

Do you get a 3-day weekend?