Friday, April 27, 2018

Life, Lately

Greetings faithful blog readers,

Two days ago, as I started this post (blogging is slower these days!), Willa and I were hanging out at a cafe while the cleaning service was at the house, and getting us both ready and out the door by myself felt like a major accomplishment...the kind of thing I couldn’t imagine doing two weeks ago when we went there for the same reason with Brendan.

We’ve received lots of messages from sweet friends checking in on us, so I figured I’d do an update here on how we’re all holding up. 

Anyone who has weathered life with a newborn will tell you that it’s some mental health gymnastics. Luckily, Brendan and I are not battling the baby blues. I am slightly stir crazy since I almost never leave the house, and Brendan is exhausted from managing work and life with a baby, but we both realize how fleeting this stage is and keep our perspective. That’s not to say we don’t worry about her constantly or that we don’t feel clueless a lot—we do, but we feel grateful to have her here and happy. 

Willa is a decent sleeper for a newborn! She usually sleeps 12am-3am and 4am-7am. We’ve had some lucky 12am-5am stretches (like last night!), but those are rare. Sometimes, like two nights ago, she wants to party from 4-5am before going back to sleep. In those cases, I stay up with her and let Brendan sleep since the two of us can “sleep in.”

I’m feeling really good and haven’t needed painkillers in a couple of weeks. My back hurts by the end of the day from feeding her and pumping constantly. Brendan and I try to take turns and make sure we both get a nap in, but it doesn’t always happen. Overall, we’re holding up pretty well. 

Brendan went back to work last Monday, but his schedule is pretty flexible, so he’s still around a lot. The big poetry contest was yesterday, so he did a ton of prep work for that this week. Last night, I brought Willa to the dinner with the judge, and we weren't all home until well after 9PM. I go back at the end of next week, just in time to grade my final papers and final exams. My sister in law gets here May 2nd to help cover a few key times we both have to be gone for a few hours (we're talking 3.5 hours--not full work days). We can’t wait for her to meet Willa, and we’re thankful for the help! The semester ends May 11th. We will both teach online spring interim courses as usual. That may or may not be crazy—we’ll let you know after the fact.  

Willa’s personality: 
Willa is an overall easy baby. She loves to be swaddled and is generally happy unless she’s hungry. She sleeps a lot but is starting to have longer periods of awareness. She loves to be held, and we love to hold her. Though it makes getting anything else done tough! 

Best parts of parenting: 
Baby cuddles! We love to snuggle in bed on mornings when Brendan doesn’t have to be at work early, and we love holding her while we watch TV. She makes the funniest expressions, and we like to imagine what miss baby is thinking of us. It’s special to watch each other transition into our new roles. It feels like she’s always been with us. I like watching her reactions to different music and new people. I like how everything she experiences is a first for her, and I like how we’ve never been apart just yet (soon to change, but sweet while it lasts). Basically, life with Willa is cuteness overload. She's so tiny and makes us laugh constantly. 

Hardest parts of parenting: 
Not being able to know for sure if she’s still hungry and not knowing how much she’s getting when breastfeeding! Also, only having a few nursing friendly outfits (though I recently used my le tote subscription to remedy that) that I wear again and again. Washing pump parts and bottles (recently started boiling water in my instant kettle and pouring it into a pot to sanitize a bunch quickly). Also, the pediatrician told me I don’t have to wash them after every single use. In general, breastfeeding has been much harder than I anticipated. A lot of the pros like convenience and how it’s “free” are oversold. It’s not convenient when you’re out and about (solution: never leave house, haha. Just kidding, that's where pumped milked comes in handy) and it’s only free if you value your time at zero. Personally, I’ve invested a lot of time and money into making it work. I do think it is good for her though, and the pregnancy weight is dropping off fast, so it’s not all bad! About 20% of her diet is formula while I’m working on increasing supply (power pumping, oatmeal, and mother’s milk tea). Willa is now gaining quickly, which is a big relief.

Lola and Zoe
Lola and Zoe are definitely curious about Willa. They are somewhat annoyed that we don’t have the same lap space/time as usual, but they haven't shown any aggression towards Willa (or anyone, ever, for that matter!) They still sleep with us, and they haven’t touched any of her sleep spaces, but they like to peer in to see if she's in there. I sleep right next to her bassinet. Sometimes Lola will “rock” her rock and play (it’s hard to explain but very cute).  

Stuff we Love: 
SwaddleMe by the bed sleeper (adjustable height, plays music, vibrates--it's amazing)
Ergo baby original swaddle (she sleeps in it every night)--we're about to bust out Merlin's Magic Sleep Suit--will report back! 
Love to dream swaddle up (great for napping) 
Lanolin for pumping lubricant 
Medela nipple shields—saved me pain and helps her latch without getting super frustrated. 
My breast friend (nursing pillow) 
Soothie pacifiers 
Mother’s milk tea
What to expect, the first year (book)
The Lawn and the twig (for drying the never ending bottles/parts that must be washed)


From the first time we left our house for a social engagement (Jenni's going away party)...Jenni made the purple blanket below for Willa. 

Reading Guess How Much I Love You to Willa. 

Sweet co-workers sent a handmade blanket and a monogramed one. We cherish these beautiful gifts and know Willa will too. 

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