Monday, September 30, 2013

Calm down.

Last night we went up to Colorado Springs to have dinner with a friend of ours who is moving back to Texas. We went during a time when Abigail is normally asleep hoping that she would stay asleep while we ate.

Yeah. Not so much.

The ride to CO Springs in an hour long, during which the child that normally conks out approximately 2 minutes into a car ride slept maybe 15 minutes, off and on. She was wide awake when we got to the restaurant, but she was happy and content, so I wasn't too worried (she's been so relaxed this last week!). For the first 40 minutes or so she continued to be happy and content - first in her carseat and then sitting on my lap while I ate. She was cooing and smiling and interested in everything around her. But then... THEN...

The crying started. I knew the cry. It wasn't the cry that was going to be satisfied by popping a paci in her mouth, or by bouncing her on my lap. No. This was the, "I'm so tired but I'm going to refuse to go to sleep or be comforted in anyway" cry.

This was the first time Abigail has had a meltdown in public so I was pretty frazzled. As soon as I knew I wasn't going to be able to console her in the restaurant I took her outside but I forgot all of the things I'd normally use to help calm her down - her swaddle blanket and her paci. I'd also pumped a bottle for her and I forgot that inside, too. Also I realized she had a dirty diaper and I didn't have my diaper bag with me. Oh, and I'd forgotten my phone so I couldn't call Brandon to bring anything out to me.

So the only option was to run back inside with a somewhat calmed down baby (it was still touch and go) and grab some stuff (I still forgot her paci and her blanket) and then run back outside to try and feed her. Let's just say the night quickly went downhill.

But then I as I was walking around outside the restaurant, with a calmed Abigail in my arms, I looked up and saw this beautiful sunset over the mountains.

Do you ever have those moments that you think are just for you, almost as if God is whispering down at you, ever so quietly, "It's okay?"

I'm not going to claim that *I* immediately relaxed after that - I was still a little on edge and, quite honestly, starving by that point, but it's always so good for me to be reminded in the moments where I feel like I lose control of everything that I'm not actually the one in control - that the God who formed those mighty mountains and made such a beautiful sunset for me to look at wants me to look towards Him for peace.

Abigail cried most of the way home and I ate sushi with my hands, but you know what... it's okay.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Is this normal?

Let me just start this post by saying that I reached a level of exhaustion yesterday that I don't think I've ever reached before - and then my car broke down 3 hours into what would end up being an eleven hour trip.

And I was by myself with Abigail.

Yes, I cried.

(Thankfully it was just the battery. Thanks to two nice guys who called me "ma'am" I was back on the road before the tow truck made it.)

Abigail, thankfully, was an angel and barely made a peep the whole trip. Seriously, she was awesome. I think I might have actually had a break down if she'd been having a bad day, too. She continued being awesome last night and let me sleep for a stretch of four and a half hours, and then another three and a half hours.

Today has been pretty touch and go with her - she cried almost the whole way to the grocery store even though she normally is perfectly content on short trips and then she continued being fussy in the store. No all out screaming, thank goodness, but just particular and irritable.

Particular? An almost seven week old? Yes. She didn't want the cloth of the wrap (which she's been doing so much better in lately) around her head, so I had to support the back of her head with one hand and push the cart with the other, which pretty much made the convenience and purpose of the Moby moot. Oh well, we survived and she's currently approaching hour three of her afternoon nap, so I'll take a fussy grocery store trip.

I've been struggling so much with her fussiness and I think I'm blowing most of it way out of proportion in my head. I read stories online about babies crying for hours on end and all through the night and being inconsolable and thankfully that's not Abigail, but it does seem like she's just never content. We were visiting my parents this weekend and after Abigail screamed throughout a diaper change and then acted like I was trying to feed her poison when I tried to nurse her, I cried to my mom that it felt like I just couldn't do anything to make her happy. I know that's not true, but still - it's hard not to take the crying personally at times.

It doesn't help that my nephew is perhaps the happiest baby ever. He is so, so cute and so happy. As much as I loved it, I admit that I thought to myself, when is my baby going to be like that? It's so hard to not compare yourself to others. Noah (my nephew) is almost six months old. He's outgrown a lot of the "fussiness" and I know it will get better.

It might sound strange because, duh, but I have to remind myself that Abigail doesn't know better. She doesn't cry because she's being "bad" and she doesn't know that she should be quiet in church - she just cries sometimes. It's her only way of communicating that something is wrong, even if it's just that she wants to be held or wants to be bounced. I also think we're dealing with a touch of colic (which seems to be getting better, fingers crossed!) and the reflux that I mentioned in the last post.

There's not really a point to this - I just hope that one day I use this to remind myself that these little challenges will pass.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Abigail - One Month!

I just can't believe this sweet little girl is one month old already!

I think all new parents probably say this but even though it seems like the time has flown by, it's so hard for me to remember what life was like before her. We have just been so blessed! 

Sleeping - Abigail is a great sleeper, especially at night! I think we've only had one night where she just really did not want to go back to sleep after getting up around 2:00 to eat. Other than that, she wakes up, eats, and falls back asleep pretty quickly. I hesitate to say we have a routine, because it seems like as soon as I do it changes, but lately she's been falling asleep around 8:00, I give her a bottle before I go to sleep between 9:30 and 10:00 and then she sleeps until 2:00 or so. I've been able to get a solid stretch of four hours for a couple of weeks now and it's been so nice! After she eats at 2:00 she'll fall asleep again for about three hours and then eat again, and then usually she falls asleep until 8:00 or 8:30. 

Nursing - Sometimes super easy, sometimes not so much. I think Abigail is dealing with some silent reflux (she has spit up, but she swallows it before spitting it out), so after she nurses on one side she does NOT like to be turned to her other side to eat. She will scream and arch her back and put up a big fuss about it sometimes, so I just sit her up for a little while and then try again. Sometimes a good burp will help, but other times she just isn't having it. Thankfully she doesn't do this at night, so night feedings are usually the easiest and most peaceful. Even though I'm sometimes struggling to keep my eyes open, these are just the sweetest times with her. 

I've started pumping some to build a supply for when I go back to work, and her last feeding of the day is usually a bottle. She's done really well about switching between bottle and breast so I hope that we won't have any issues there. 

Growing - Abigail seems to be growing like a little weed. She only lost one ounce of her birth weight and was already an ounce over her birth weight five days after she was born. At her two week check up she'd gained 13 ounces! I'm not sure what she weighs now, but she's already grown out of some of her newborn clothes (sniff) and I'm starting to eye some of her 0-3 month sleepers. I think they're still a little big for her, but probably by next week she'll be in them. It's bittersweet, I'm so glad she's gaining well but I can't believe how quickly she's growing! She'll be out of her basinet soon too, I noticed this morning that her feet are starting to reach the end. Crazy.

Visitors - Abigail has so many people that want to meet her and love on her! Our church family and people from Brandon's work have been so sweet about bringing us dinner - I think we have a couple of meals scheduled each week through the end of September! My family was here when she was born and my mom was able to stay until she was about two weeks old - I really don't know what I would have done without with my mother! It was such a sweet time with her and I just cried like a baby when she left. Brandon's mom and aunt came the last week in August and we had a great visit with them! 

She already has quite the little personality and is very opinionated. The "Happiest Baby on the Block" described her type as "fiery" and my mother-in-law described her as "headstrong, like her mother". I take both as compliments. Abigail isn't always an "easy" baby - she's not usually content to just sit for very long when she's awake, she likes to be up and moving around or bouncing on the exercise ball and she DOES NOT like to be in her wrap, so finding time while she's awake to do... anything... is somewhat challenging. I'm okay with this and thankfully she is really good about having a good morning and a good afternoon nap. But really, what else do I have to do right now but cater to her every whim? 

Things she DOES NOT like - 

- bath time
- diaper changes
- being naked
- being "worn" in her wrap
- being swaddled with her arms at her sides
- her pediatrician 
- being on her stomach

Things she DOES like - 

- her bouncy chair, when you're bouncing it for her
- white noise (seriously, she calms down almost the instant you start it, it's incredible. it's very tempting to just play it all day long)
- chloe
- the ceiling fan (she is transfixed by it!) 
- the exercise ball
- her boppy lounger
- being warm and wrapped up 
- car rides 
- her lamby, aka her wubbanub pacifier
- walks in her stroller
- her daddy

As for me well... I'm struggling not to be "that mother", the one that always thinks there's something wrong and is crazy about fixing it. I'm doing my best to just go with the flow but there have been many things that have sent me straight to the internet to figure out what may be going on (I know, I know... I can't help it.) Like I said, I think she's dealing with some silent reflux and she also has a bit of colic/gas pains at times. Thankfully we have only had a few of nights where she has been "inconsolable" for a couple of hours, but as soon as she finally goes to bed at night it's over, no screaming into the wee hours of the morning. I know many babies have colic but I just don't think there's nothing that can be done about it - Abigail calms down pretty well when she's swaddled, bounced and when the white noise is on. I'm also learning her cues and am trying to not miss anything obvious like, oh hey, maybe she's hungry or maybe her diaper's dirty. I feel like parenting is just going to be one big learning curve. 

My prayer has been that God would make me the best mommy I can be for little Abigail and will show me how to best care for HER - not to worry what others might think or to get bogged down in suggestions by "experts"- I've found so much that's helpful but I've also found some stuff that is just absurd, quite frankly. I also just need to cut myself and Abigail some slack. She's only a month old and is completely new to this thing called life and we're both trying to figure things out as we go. 

In the Bible, Abigail is one of King David's wives and is described as a woman of great discernment and beauty (I Sam 25:3). I hope this is true for our little girl - I pray that a discerning spirit is cultivated within her and she is just as beautiful on the inside as she is on the out. Even in the most difficult moments with her, I am just overwhelmed by how incredibly blessed we have been and how honored and humbled I am that we were chosen to be her parents. She has the sweetest little smile and some of the faces she makes just crack me up. 

Her new favorite thing is to snuggle with me in the mornings in my bed. I'm not on the co-sleeping bandwagon but I just love when her little body is so warm and curled up next to me, when she goes from being fussy to being relaxed when we cuddle. What sweet, sweet moments! 

Oh Abigail, I just love you so much!