Grab a snack because this post is a doozy of a long one!
This past week was really amazing and also really challenging. Without question, the first week is much harder than birth and labor itself, for me. (also said by someone who had an epidural for each baby) This is mainly driven by my milk coming in and EXTREME engorgement, but you throw all the other stuff going on into the bag it isn’t a good combination.
Following your birth story, the nurses continued to monitor your blood sugar. On your 3rd prick, you passed and had a 62 (goal is 45). I forgot how often they continued to check you (maybe ever 2 hours???) but you needed to pass 3 consecutive tests before they felt good about your blood sugar. So following the 62, you then got a 57 and a 52! Wahoo!! No more foot pokes for you, until discharged. That first night in the hospital was pretty uneventful. You were still very sleepy and we continued to do some skin-to-skin throughout the night. Around 5:30, I woke Daddy up and you guys cuddled and did some more skin-to-skin while I got some much needed sleep. The next day was fairly low key and full of visitors. We just relaxed in the room in the morning, I took a bath, the nurse gave you your bath and we napped.
Around 2:30, Grandma Sampson came by to visit. Then around 3:30, Grandma B brought your big siblings back as they were going to go home with Daddy that night.
Around 4:00, you did you big 24 hour hearing tests (passed!) and the various other tests and immunizations they do at that point.
By the time all these visitors had come, it was time for Daddy to bring the biggies home. I knew I would see everyone the next day and should enjoy the quietness, but I missed having your Daddy there with us. You and I kind of watched LaLa Land to kill some time and then around 1:00am, you headed down to the NICU to do your carseat check. For little babes born early, you need to be able to sit in your carseat for two straight hours while maintaining a certain oxygen level (I think it is 90%, but don’t remember for sure). This also gave me some guaranteed sleep. You passed with flying colors (show off 🙂 and only got up once or twice after you returned.
On Thursday, I was super anxious to get out of the hospital and get home to start our new life as a family of five! I’ve decided that I really really dislike hospital beds. I don’t know what it is about them, but I think they are super uncomfortable–so much so, that I slept on the couch for part of the night because I was so uncomfortable. The day was fairly dreary and cold, so the outfit I had planned to wear and to take you home in were not the best picks (and I forgot to take a picture of us–to excited to get home!) Before we were discharged, they wanted to do another blood sugar test for you. Because you were a little older, they want this one to be at a 60, but you were at a 53. I was a little worried about this as there were several times over the last day or so where you would quiver and this is a sign of low sugars. However, the pediatrician felt good sending you home but wanted you to visit the office the next day.
Home Sweet Home
The rest of Thursday was very low-key. All 5 of us took naps (glorious!) and cuddled you like crazy. I was able to sleep on my stomach for the first time in forever and it was divine!! During my nap, I was OUT and slept so good, so much so that we almost overslept Lexi’s soccer that evening. So far, you have proven yourself to be the best baby in the world and by far my easiest little baby and transition. You are an amazing sleeper and almost never cry! Occasionally, you’ll cry a little when you have to poop, but it is pretty short lived. Overall, you love to sleep and cuddle up into a little ball on our chest and snooze.
Kate, I just can’t get over what an amazing sleeper you are!! What newborn regularly sleeps for 4-6 hour stretches in their first week?!?! For the first 4-5 days, I needed to wake you up for nearly every feeding which was every 2-4 hours and it would often take you 45 min to an hour to wake up! Those first several nights at home, I attempted to put you in your crib to sleep at night, but we ended up doing skin-to-skin in the rocking chair or on the couch as you’re kind of a noisy sleeper and I kept thinking all the noises you were making were you waking up and ready to eat.
Once my engorgement tapered off, I started to let you wake on your own to eat and you would go 6 or 7 hours and then I would wake you because I needed some relief and because I was paranoid. Your dear old mom was a bit of a spaz this week. I was always worried about something. Were you gaining enough and getting enough to eat? You were sleeping for such long stretches, did you body know when it was hungry? Was I being a bad mom by letting you sleep for such long stretches? Did your poop look right, was it a little dark, were you doing it often enough, were you dehydrated? Daddy had to tell me several times, relax and quit worrying and waiting for ‘something bad’ to happen and to quit worrying about what everyone else was saying. Just enjoy this time and if her (your) temperament changes, deal with it then. Good advice Daddy!
You do a great job nursing. It takes you a couple tries to latch on (especially on the left boob) but once you do latch, you do great. You usually burp one time and then spit up a little after each feeding. To help you wake up, I take you out of your swaddle, change your diaper and then nurse. Occasionally, you would nurse from both sides (especially if it had been 6+ hours since you ate last) but for the most part, you nurse off one side for each feeding. Side note: for sleeping, although it is the middle of the summer, I still put you in a fleece swaddle with just a onesie underneath as you wiggle your arms out of any other swaddle and then wake yourself up and similar to Lexi and William, we only swaddle you at night. In the day you either nap in our arms, your car seat if we’ve gone somewhere or in the rock n’ play) Back to nursing, because you are so sleepy, you will often fall asleep while eating, unless you are in the ‘perfect’ position and the only way to ensure you’re in that position is to hold your head with one hand and my boob with the other. Rarely do I use the boppy pillow, which is a little strange as I almost never nursed without it for Lexi and Will, but hey I’m building some strong wrist muscles holding your head.
Oh Katelyn, you are such a lucky little girl. You have a big brother and a big sister who absolutely adore you. Lexi has totally surprised me on this one. I knew she would love you as she was so excited for you, but she has never shown a whole lot of interest in other babies we have been around, but holy smokes, does she love you. She wants to be near you at all times and is constantly asking us if your eyes are opened and to let us know when they are because she wants to see you. She gives you hugs and kisses multiple times each hour and loves to pick out your clothes. Her favorite is the Strawberry outfit and told everyone she saw that you had little strawberries on your feet and on your butt and begged me to get her the same outfit so you could match. We also had a little giraffe outfit for you and when she picked it out for you to wear, she went and put on her giraffe outfit so you could match. She is also a great helper. She’s always proactively making sure I have a spit rag or a blanket for you. And my favorites is that she has given you her own nickname: The Little One and only calls you that. ‘Mom, where is the little one? Is the Little One’s eye’s open? Mom, the little one is hungry and she wants some of your milk. Ahhh… be still my heart, I just love you two to pieces and am so excited to watch your relationship/friendship grow in the coming years.
William is not quite as interested as Lexi but regularly asks ‘Where is the new baby?’ Is that the new baby’s? Mom, what a doing? Feeding new Baby from your belly? He has asked to hold you several times. Fortunately, he hasn’t shown any signs of jealousy and I feel that your transition for him has been much easier than Lexi’s transition to him. They have each other to keep one another entertained and play so well together, they seem to hardly notice that I have less time for them.
Everything about you this first week has been absolute bliss and am still riding the high of your arrival. The challenges of the week have been around my recovery and specifically the engorgement I experience from my milk coming in. On Thursday my milk started to come in and by Friday and Saturday I was fully engorged. This is really the worst for me and I just dread it. Unfortunately, it has gotten worse with each kiddo. I have so much milk that my boobs triple from their already large size and just throb. They are hot to touch, super vainy and I can’t hug the kids or have the jugs touch anything if I’m trying to reach for something. They are rock rock hard. Ugh, it is dreadful just writing about it.
To help relieve some of the pain, I was constantly icing them and taking warm baths to express it without initiating the production of more through your sucking or pumping. Although I was expressing a lot of milk out during the baths,(maybe TMI, but the water was so cloudy from all the milk, I could barely see the bottom of the tub) emotionally it was really challenging because I didn’t get a whole lot of relief from all the expression. They still really hurt a lot after these baths that I was doing twice a day. Overall, I was trying to pump as little as I could so I wouldn’t produce more milk (the more you pump or suck, the more your body produces–challenging cycle to break when you need to pump/express in order for you to even latch on), but I needed to at least once a day to allow you to latch on. When I did pump, I would only pump for 3 minutes and would get 3 oz. With this engorgement, I was also forcing you to eat every 2 to 3 hours. I don’t think you were ever ready to eat as I had to wake you up every single time. Thankfully, I did write some notes about this in William’s 1 week update and it was reassuring to know that by Monday I would start to feel some relief. Sure enough on Sunday I could tell my body was starting to adjust to the amount of milk you actually needed as my boobs didn’t throb when I would bend over or when I would put a shirt on. They were still hard and enormous, but I could tell I was starting to turn the corner. Finally, by Thursday, I feel like they had regulated to what you needed.
Embarrassing to admit, but I also peed my pants several times this week. And not just like a little leaked out, but like I would drench one of those huge hospital pads. After this happened several times, I started going to the bathroom all the time, like every half hour to an hour to make sure I didn’t have a lot of pee in my bladder and help prevent the embarrassment the ensues (often from Lexi and William when they’re asking why mommy peed her pants!)
Otherwise, because I only had 1/2 stitch recovery was pretty easy. I never felt pain sitting or standing like I did with the other two and was pretty mobile around the house quickly. While in the hospital, I had very little bleeding, but as I became more active at home, I noticed I did start to bleed more.
Post-partum contractions were a intense for the first 2-3 days where I would almost have to breath through them while nursing, but by the 2nd or 3rd day at home, I could barely feel them. I also learned from both Lexi and William, to continue to take the stool softener even if I was pooping well as I didn’t want hemorrhoids and getting constipated after you have a baby is pretty terrible.
On Friday we went to the pediatrician for a follow up visit. You weighed 7 lbs 3 oz (7% weight loss) and they were very happy with that and weren’t concerned about your previous blood sugar level and didn’t even feel like we needed to test it again. Surprisingly, your over-anxious mom agreed as you hadn’t shown any of the quiver signs since we had gotten home that you were having in the hospital.
Daddy went into work for the last time on Friday and I had all three of you by myself for the first time and it went awesome! Lexi and Will just played together and you mostly napped. Auntie Sheila then came over to watch the big kids while we went to the doctor.
I am NOT a back sleeper, but the way you curl up into a little ball in what I imagine was the same position you were inside of me and absorb the heat from my body is the BEST! Your short little breaths trickling across my chest and the way you wiggle or nuzzle your tiny little head is such a peaceful and relaxing experience. It totally makes up for the lack of sleep I’m getting. I also gave Daddy and I a virtual high-five for selecting a recliner for the rocking chair verses a typical one. It is so much more comfortable to sleep and snuggle in as it reclines almost flat!
Visitors: Sheila came to watch the big kids on Friday, Sunday you went on an adventure and met Great Grandma S, on Monday you met your Auntie Teresa cousins Ashley and Courtney and then on Tuesday your Uncle Joe and Auntie Angie came over!
Well, that wraps up your first week my little one. You are one very loved little girl and we can’t wait to see what the future brings us.