Thursday, June 5, 2014

Dear Ryder... One Month

Dear Ryder,

I can't believe it's already been an entire month since you were born. Bringing you home from the hospital, getting to know you, and adjusting to life as a family of three has been an extremely intense experience for all of us. But through it all our hearts just burst with love for you, and we are so lucky to be living every single moment.

We spent about two days with you in the hospital before heading home. I was completely unprepared for how difficult my c-section recovery would be. In the beginning I couldn't get out of bed and was taking a lot of pain medication, which meant that Daddy took on the bulk of your care and became an expert at swaddling and diaper changing. Breast feeding was difficult for us at first. You sometimes had trouble latching, which was frustrating for you and painful for me, and you seemed frustrated by the amount of colostrum you were receiving as we both waited expectantly for my milk to come in.

You and I were so exhausted that we slept pretty well that first night in the hospital, but Daddy only dozed and woke with a start periodically to check and make sure that we were both still breathing. The first days of parenthood are very anxious times... 

Throughout the next day I made progress including sitting up, standing, and finally walking to the restroom on my own. I also got to start eating real food again! We had a few visitors who were all absolutely enamoured by what an adorably perfect newborn you were.

Charlie and Cailin visiting you in the hospital.

Of course Daddy and I thought you were the perfect infant, until the second evening when you began to cry without stopping for almost the entire night. Daddy and I took turns feeding and rocking you, staring at each other in startled disbelief. No matter what we did, you would not lie down in your hospital bassinet. But even though the nurses offered to take you for a while so we could get some rest, we insisted that we could take care of you on our own. I simply loved you so much I couldn't bear to be apart from you, even in the midst of your wailing.

Finally, on Wednesday afternoon, I had my staples removed, Daddy took a trip to the pharmacy for a plethora of drugs, we tentatively dressed you, buckled you into your brand new car seat, and our little family headed home.

Your very first car ride!

Those first couple weeks at home were the most difficult. In the beginning I was still in so much pain that I couldn't even make it up and down the stairs on my own. Our bed was also too high for me to get in and out of, so we all spent several days on the couch in the TV room. During the day we would go through an endless cycle of eating, burping, changing, crying, and dozing. Daddy would bring me beverages and microwaved casserole dishes that your many visitors dropped by.

That's your first pet, Jasmine. I've had her since I was in college.

You refused to sleep unless one of us was holding you. But we were terrified of suffocating you, which meant either Daddy or I was always awake, watching while the other one held you and slept. Even though we hadn't paid much attention to it, around day three Daddy thought it might be a good idea to turn off the TV, which had been on 24/7 that entire time. Nana came to visit on Saturday and insisted that we try sleeping in our bedroom... It was good that she pushed us, or else we might still be sitting in that TV room.

Watching your first NFL draft with Daddy.

You had two doctor appointments during the first ten days and did absolutely fantastic at both! By the second visit you were already back up to your birth weight, thanks I'm sure due to the fact that my milk finally came in around day six. You did manage to pee all over the floor of the exam room while you were being weighed, though (the nurse seemed less than thrilled, but I just laughed).

We missed Uncle AJ's college graduation the weekend after you were born, but we're so incredibly proud of him! And he absolutely adored you when he came up to visit and meet you for the first time. Nana and Grandpa also came to hang out with us while Daddy attended Brett and Haley's wedding shower, and it was good for him to get out for a while. Grandpa also had a birthday, and a few weeks after you were born you attended your first party: Jillian and Robert's backyard BBQ to celebrate their upcoming marriage. Aunt Erin visits you all the time, and Aunt Nichole came up from Oregon to stay with us for a few days and help out. Great Grandpa and Grandma also came for a visit.

All dressed up for your first party with Jill and Rob.

Being a new parent is extremely overwhelming, more so, I think, than we ever could have imagined. Sleeping has been a struggle for you ever since that second night in the hospital. For weeks you simply would not sleep anywhere but in our arms. Finally, out of desperation, we did the unthinkable and cleared off the center of our king sized bed and let you sleep there with us (no blankets or pillows nearby!) I think that was the first time all three of us slept at once. Then we borrowed a Snuggle Nest portable infant sleeper for you, which is a safe way for you to sleep in between us, which you seemed to like and put our minds at ease. Now we've even been able to put the Snuggle Nest inside your bassinet, which we pull over to the edge of our bed so you can see and hear us. So we're making progress!

The Snuggle Nest. It keeps us from rolling on you and plays soothing sounds like lullabyes and a heartbeat.

In the beginning you loved being swaddled, but after a few weeks passed we discovered that you prefer to sleep with your arms up above your head.

Sometimes you'll sleep in your bassinet during the day (blankets are only allowed when we're watching you).

You also like sleeping in this vibrating chair.

You still don't sleep through the night. You eat every two to three hours throughout the day, and we all go to bed between 11:00 and midnight. You usually sleep until about 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. and then it's a gamble as to how the rest of the night will go. Most often you eat, cry and fuss for the next few hours, falling back to sleep around dawn, which means we all often sleep until noon each day. Every once in a while you'll have a great night and fall right back to sleep after quickly and quietly nursing, but those occasions are still few and far between.

Nursing has gotten exponentially better since those first few days. Once my milk came in it took a few weeks for my body to toughen up so I wasn't in constant pain, but it has been smooth sailing since then. I've even started using a breast pump thanks to Aunt Nichole's helpful instructions, and now Daddy gives you a bottle about twice a day, and it's amazingly freeing for me to get a break sometimes.

I love you so much, but sometimes feel incredibly overwhelmed by how attached I have to be to you. Each day it's a struggle to find time to take a shower, the only "alone" time I get. Everything we do with you is new and scary, but we're all getting the hang of it. In the beginning Daddy and I would always change your diaper together, helping to soothe you, hold your legs, hand over wipes and diapers, secure buttons and snaps. Now we fight over whose "turn" it is. Your first bath was very scary and you screamed the whole time, but now you've started to like them. I'm still terrified to cut your tiny, translucent, paper-thin fingernails, so I make Daddy do it.

Every day you stay awake for longer and longer periods, and your eyes have become much more focused. Today you even smiled at Daddy when he made silly faces at you! Your hair has started to fall out which makes us sad, but you're still just cute as a button. You like your swing and your vibrating chair, and you love curling up with someone for a nap. You go from deep slumber to screaming fits in the blink of an eye, but are calmed quickly with some milk. You seem to have your Daddy's stomach and always eat a lot during a feeding. Every day we go for a walk around the neighborhood as a family, and you seem to love being outside. You have already changed so much in such a short time, and things are getting a little easier for us every single day. We can't wait to see what's in store for you next!

Here is a little photo dump of your first month... 

You are so incredibly loved, my darling!

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  1. Oh my goodness, he is just the cutest thing! You make good babies. ;-)

  2. Omg I love these pics! The one month ones totally reminds me of when I took Abe's! I love that you guys take walks as a family! He is so cute!

  3. Sarah....he's adorable. He looks so big but yet so small if that makes sense. And you look great as well girl. So hows it going being a mom? And how does hubby love it?

  4. He's just so dang cute! P.S. he's a month old already?! I feel like you just got home from hospital with him!

  5. Adorable of course! Sorry the sleep thing has not gone so well. It will get better.

  6. As I'm sure you know he is adorable! I love the format of your monthdate! Those socks that look like shoes from the BBQ are to die for! Ellie also slept in our bed between us for quite sometime (actually we still cosleep some nights) and those are the nights we all sleep the best!! You're doing great mama. Can't wait to get our littles together this summer!!!

  7. HE IS SO PRECIOUS!! I'm so glad to hear things are getting easier/smoother as you transition into this new life!! You guys are amazing parents already I can just tell! :)

  8. you and stew are doing great! exhausting and overwhelming, it will get easier. i so can't wait to meet him and give you a squeeze. so proud and excited!

  9. Holy cuteness! I can't even take his precious face!! I think you guys are doing a GREAT job just by your post! I'm so happy to hear things are getting easier, and although I don't my own babes I'm sure this is pretty normal for first timers! Keep posting pics of that face!! :)

  10. Oh my goodness! It's crazy how quickly a month has gone by! Ryder is just too precious! What a great way to document (for you) and share with US how things are going in Ryder's new little life! :)

  11. I know this sounds gross but you'd be surprised at how many Moms do this-- if you are afraid of the nail clippers, just bite his nails. They are so thin that they tear easily and then you can file them. Or just cut them while he's sleeping. I'm such a pro at cutting them that my friends are always getting me to cut their babies nails. It gets easier though.
    He's such a doll!! I want to cuddle him so badly.

  12. hey love!! getting caught up on your posts! so glad he is finally here!! he's so gorgeous!!!!

  13. There are so many adorable photos but I just love how you ended the post with little guy passed out for his 1-month photo! Thanks you to, my ovaries hurt :). TOO MUCH CUTENESS. Stop it or I might want another baby!

  14. Happy one month Ryder!!! I seriously felt as if I wrote this post myself... Everything you wrote, is exactly what I went through/felt after Colt's birth... From how incredibly difficult it was recovering from my c section (and the fact that our bed was way too high... I still remember clenching my teeth trying to get in and out of it! and let's not even mention how I spent the whole first week living upstairs since I could barely walk down my stairs!) to the point of Colt not sleeping and one of us always being awake (nothing would calm that boy, no matter what we tried!) Sleep was a distant memory. But, even now, 7 months later, I miss those sleepless nights and how small my baby was. It goes by sooo sooo fast, cherish all the memories, even the exhausting, challenging and difficult ones. You will appreciate them later! Colt had SEVERE colic until 5 months (along with horrendous reflux) but it DOES get better, I promise!!!!!!

  15. What a sweet little guy he is and of course love his Seahawk! Thanks for sharing all about the first month, you guys seem like you are natural parents! My good friend just had a C-section on Monday so I'm hopefully going to go see her soon - and of course bring some food!

  16. he is such a cute little guy! I hope you all can get some more sleep in!


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