The First Months…
…Have been great! I had Dylan on April 23rd, I can’t believe it has already been nearly 2 months! There are so many clichés you hear about parenting and particularly the first month – you’ll be exhausted, you’ll be so in love, so many diapers to change, it goes by so fast – but what I’ve learned is that there is no way to be prepared for what you are going to experience no matter how much advice you get or research you do. We are exhausted, we are very much in love, there are a ton of diapers to change, and it is flying by – but all of these things feel very different than I ever could have imagined before having Dylan.
Because Dylan came 3 weeks early she was super sleepy the first few weeks of her life – she was expecting to sleep for 3 more weeks! We would have to wake her up to feed her because she didn’t wake up on her own. She cried a bit but mostly just slept and ate. The last couple of weeks she has definitely awoken and found her voice! She now cries a lot more, often after feedings and for no particularly reason. Zeke continues to remind me that compared to your average baby she really doesn’t cry all that much, which is true, but it still feels like a lot sometimes compared to those first sleepy, blissful weeks! When people say “they’ll just cry for no reason” or “oh yeah, he/she cried for hours”, you picture a baby continually crying. This hasn’t been our experience: we’re able to console her and get her to stop, but in some stretches it only lasts a few minutes before she’s at it again, usually at night after you’ve put her down and are tip-toeing (well, Zeke is tip-toing…) back to bed. We tell ourselves this cycle is more frustrating!
Our biggest struggle has been getting weight on Dylan. Because she was early, small, and extra sleepy she didn’t feed very well and lost a fair amount of weight after she was born (which is normal) and then took a long time to get back up to her birth weight (a little longer than normal). I’ve always heard that breastfeeding is hard and now I really understand that! It is so much harder than I ever imagined! We have seen the lactation consultant several times and they have been very helpful. Getting a routine down that works for both me and Dylan has been an ongoing process. Good news is that I’m confident that in the last week we’ve really turned a corner!
I have not found many challenges with taking care of Dylan from a wheelchair. I can change and dress her with a changing table we have set up that I can roll under. The bassinet she sleeps in next to our bed swivels so it can be pulled right next to the bed for easy access. I can carry her on my lap for short distances – she actually loves to lie on her belly on my lap as I wheel around the house. I also use the boppy (a fancy pillow that is a U shape and wraps around your body to help hold/support the baby) on my lap and can carry her with that. Lifting her out of low things like her swing and off of the couch was always a concern for me but has not been an issue. Although I’d like to see her gaining more weight, the fact that she is light has been helpful! As she continues to grow I have no doubt I’ll continue to find new lifting techniques.
My sister had her first baby almost 2 years ago and one piece of wisdom that I took from her was to enjoy each stage of life for what it is rather then just looking forward to the next phase. So I’m enjoying things like having Dylan take naps on my chest while I sit on the couch, having her lay on her tummy on my lap, and cute half-hearted cries that really are too cute to listen to (and I’m sure all parents think this of their children). I’m looking forward to when she responsively smiles at us but I know that will come soon, and in the meantime we enjoy her smiles as she sleeps.
It has been great having Zeke work from home so he can be helpful in these early weeks. He is now getting back into his normal work routine, which is great for the KBF. It’s also good for Dylan and me to try to get into a routine like all spouses with the longer parental leave and their babies do during the first few months. We continue to hope Dylan will give us longer stretches of sleep at night and then go down easily after each feeding – it will be nice to feel a little less sleep deprived!
While this blog is a great place to talk about Dylan (and I have definitely taken advantage of that), there are a lot of other exciting things going on in our lives and with the KBF. I could talk about Dylan forever, but we’re also going to focus on exciting developments with the KBF in the coming months. Stayed tuned!