Holy one month, Batman!
Hard for me to even wrap my brain around that one. Every day with Caroline feels like a lifetime. And then it feels like it is flying by at the same time. I suppose that’s how parenthood works.
Caroline is doing pretty good. We think she weighs right around 7 pounds or so now (we don’t have another checkup till 2 months) and she is finally fitting better into some of her clothing! Newborn clothing still fits, but she tends to swim in the 0-3 month clothes. It’s working out nicely though because most times babies get one or two wears out of the small clothes and then they are outgrown, but she is still rocking the majority of her small wardrobe. She usually eats well, though we had a few days of supply/letdown issues and she wouldn’t eat much more than a few sips at a time, then she would get upset and scream and give herself gas and then get more upset because she was hungry and had an upset tummy. So we had to bottle feed her for a day or two just so that she would eat enough to sleep. Luckily she takes the bottle like a champ, which is something I was worried about after reading so many horror stories of babies who refuse bottles. Those issues seem to be mostly resolved now, though sometimes the letdown is still so strong I have to lie back so that she has a little more control.
We still haven’t managed to work out much of a nightly sleeping schedule, and she still won’t go much more than 2 or 3 hours at the most in between feedings. I was hoping it would be a little more than that by now, but then I have to remember that she is still only the size of an average newborn and just doesn’t have the weight to support longer sleeping hours. After about a week of complete insanity at night trying to get her to sleep in the cradle next to our bed that usually led to her sleeping on my chest all night we decided to just put her back in her big crib and suck it up and sleep in her room with her. That seems to be working in the sense that she does seem to like the big crib, and she is even napping in it now instead of in her chair. Another thing I’m glad for and happy we resolved early because I had so wanted to avoid crib transition issues, which seems to be a very common problem. So, most nights we swaddle her up in her baby straight jacket and take it in shifts, since that seems to be the best way for us both to get at least a small chunk of sleep instead of both of us waking up every 2 hours and being miserable all day. Last night we moved our tv into her room so that I could sit up and watch tv during my shift if she was fussy, which makes the time sooo much easier for me if I’m unable to sleep. I have been developing some anxiety about the nighttime hours and I got to a point where I hated to be alone which led to a pretty bad breakdown, but having the television and a distraction (as opposed to just sitting in the dark with the baby while she cries) seems to make a big difference. I’m learning now that everything comes down to finding what works and rolling with it even if it wasn’t part of “the plan.”
Unfortunately Caroline does seem to have some colic issues and becomes extremely uncomfortable and gassy at times. This is not terribly unexpected because I also had extreme colic when I was an infant, to the point that I had to be driven around at all hours of the night and set on top of the washing machine on the spin cycle just to give me (and my parents) some relief. Caroline’s fussiness is not unbearable, and we’re learning techniques to deal with it, but some days the poor girl will become extremely bloated and her belly will get really distended and she will fight and struggle and scream while she tries to pass gas or poop, which makes me feel awful because there’s not much I can do to help her. I don’t think she is having intolerance issues with something I’m eating, because her poop is still a normal color and I have no reason to think she has an allergy or anything like that, nor is there ever any sort of pattern, it’s just that sometimes she seems to get off schedule and she will go an entire day without pooping, then have 4 or 5 huge poops within a few hours like something finally just let loose. We’re pretty sure soon we’re going to take out stock options with gripe water, which is pure freaking magic and does help give her relief nine times out of ten, if for a few hours at least. (And it makes me feel better that it’s all natural and I’m not just medicating her to the gills.) Now that she can hold her head up on her own and turn it both ways we can let her do tummy time or even nap on her belly and that really seems to help the discomfort. All about finding what works.
This weekend Caroline had her first sleepover with her MeMe and Papi without us. We went to my parent’s house for Thanksgiving, and on Friday my parents got us a hotel room down the street so that we could go and have a date night and actually get some sleep. It was great, we went to see The Hunger Games, got takeout and sat in the hotel hot tub and then slept a whole 10 hours in a giant comfy bed. Pretty sure we’re going to attempt this at least once a month because it really helped refresh us and let us get some time together, something that I’d been missing a lot. Somehow, even though we’re basically attached at the hip and spend our entire days together, I have never felt so far away from my husband. And that’s hard, so it was definitely nice to get some baby-free time.
As for me, there are still some challenging days when I struggle to stay positive and not let myself become overwhelmed, but they are starting to become fewer and fewer. I still hate the nights and I worry every time the sun goes down that I won’t be able to handle the crying or the lack of sleep. I also still have some pretty bad anxiety about taking Caroline out of the house and out to the store or a restaurant. Luckily, she LOVES her car seat and loves being in the car, which is a huge blessing because anytime we need to go anywhere, it’s a minimum 45 minute drive. So the car rides are fine, it’s just the being in the store or wherever we are that I tend to get really anxious. Last week we had lunch at Panera and then spent some time in Target grabbing a few Christmas decorations and the only thing I could think about the whole time was what if the baby wakes up and starts crying. I guess I just know that if I’m at home, I know how to take care of her and what to do and where everything is, but being outside of that little bubble still makes me nervous. I know it’ll get better, just like everything else. Soon the nights will be easier and she will sleep longer and we’ll be able to have more of a schedule, which is still something we are lacking.
Despite the challenging days, I’m still amazed every single day at how incredible this little bean is. No matter how much she cries or how frustrated I get, at some point the clouds lift and she gets calm and looks up at me with complete adoration and it’s impossible for me not to just be a million percent in love with her. Sometimes in the mornings I’ll bring her into the bed with me to cuddle for an hour or so and it’s just the most perfect feeling in the world. I love our little family and I love this amazing little person who is becoming more alert each and every day and now will finally get into the time when she recognizes us and maybe will even smile at us soon. I’m so excited for her to start knowing us and interacting with us. I’m so excited to see what kind of little person she becomes!