Throughout this entire journey, the theme has been "It's hard to believe __________." Hard to believe we're trying to have a baby; hard to believe we are pregnant; hard to believe we're 12 weeks or 20 weeks along; hard to believe we're having a boy; and my personal favorite--it's hard to believe he was five weeks early. This is nothing you haven't heard from me before.
But it's still holding true even after Austin's arrival. I see him, feel him, hear him and even smell him but can't quite believe that he's my baby and that he was in my belly until just five weeks ago. And five weeks? Where did those 35 days go? The two weeks we spent in the NICU seem so long ago, yet they felt like forever when we were there. I think I'll be in this state of disbelief until the little guy graduates from high school. And then I'll be in disbelief about how old I am by then.
In the three weeks we've been home, here are a few things we've learned:
1. AJ isn't a fan of his bassinette, but will usually sleep in the pack & play portable bassinette (i.e. Jen was sleeping more on the couch than in her bed). We quickly moved to the crib, and he's doing better there.
2. For a kid who couldn't eat in the NICU, he's eating like a champ now! He's nearly doubled his intake per feeding from two to four ounces.
3. Because he eats like a champ, man does he burp like one too!
4. Day and night--we still don't know the difference.
5. The kid loves his hands, and as early as a week or two ago, he started occasionally putting them on the bottle when I'd feed him. I didn't think newborns were this coordinated this early.
6. Daytime TV needs some help. Who's idea was it to give Jerry Springer's bodyguard his own trashy talk show?!
Speaking of daytime TV, one thing I'm embarrassed to admit I've been watching is "A Baby Story" on TLC. I hate to admit it, but sometimes these stories make me feel better about my delivery experience. These women are crying, screaming and sometimes unmedicated. Many of them are in labor for hours upon hours. Their husbands or families are off the wall (and not having to do any of the work!). When I compare it to my experience, often I am thankful that I was drugged and didn't have to hear or feel much. The idea of my insides being exposed on the other side of a curtain and the doctors telling me what they are doing is just odd. So I'm glad I didn't have to deal with that. On the other hand, I tear up every time the babies come out and the moms are immediately embracing them. That was not something I was able to enjoy until nearly six hours after Austin was born. Before I got to even see him, I spent two hours in a recovery room, then was wheeled to my hospital room to get settled, and later had to painfully get out of bed and into a wheelchair to be carted over to the NICU for the visit. The other difference in my experience was that Jim and I were separated for most of the ordeal instead of being able to enjoy it together. We didn't get to have that emotional moment together as a family when the baby was delivered.
Most other daytime TV is hideous, so I'm learning to multitask while holding to baby in order to get away from the TV. I like to hold him when he's awake, but I also want to feel like I accomplished something other than watching "A Baby Story" between bottles and diapers each day! A great example is that I'll cradle Austin in my left hand while using my right hand to paint a giraffe canvas decoration I plan to hang in the nursery. The final product is pictured below. I am by no means a painter, but have enjoyed this creative outlet. Other than this, the only time I get to be creative is when picking out Austin's outfits :)
And speaking of nursery decor, we received some pretty neat gifts in the mail this week. My dad made and painted this giraffe and the AJD initials shown below. The giraffe was designed around the one his girlfriend, Candel, stitched into an animal quilt she sent a week earlier. She also sent a ton of burp cloths, receiving blankets and other gifts with Austin's initials or name embroidered into them. I've never been so excited about burp cloths! We seem to be going through these the fastest, so it's great to have them on hand. Not to mention personalized for my little guy!
I don't have anything hung up on the walls yet, but I'll definitely take a picture of the room when it's complete. I can't wait to see it all come together, and I can't believe my dad made these things. They are perfect!
|My new creative outlet... until I mess it up! Still need to add the spots, but you get the idea.|
|Dad's project - can't believe he made these!|
|Quilt by Candel Russell - adorable!|
Last Friday we were able to get out of the house again for our second trip to the pediatrician--this was Austin's one month appointment. I'm thrilled to report that there were no peeing on the wall (or nurse) incidents this time! AND, my guy has gained two pounds since we were there two weeks ago--he's up to 8 lb, 10 oz! I couldn't believe that, but based on everything he's eating, it shouldn't be a surprise. The best news of the trip was that the doc said we can expect him to start cooing and socially smiling in the next few weeks. Right now he really only smiles after he poops or farts, so this is very exciting, HAHA!
As if I didn't have enough reasons to celebrate, next week is my six-week follow-up appointment with the doctor, where I expect to be cleared to start "living" again. I am itching to get back out there and try to build up my running mileage again. It's obviously been quite some time since I ran, so I'm considering using the Couch-to-5K training plan. If you have used this, let me know what you think. And does anyone know if there is a similar training plan for those wishing to enjoy a glass of wine for the first time in about a year?! Our friend Megan stopped by to visit last week, and to my surprise brought a bottle of my favorite wine, reisling! I'm eager to uncork that bottle, but wondering how much of a "light-weight" I've become!
Thank you again to all of the friends and family that are still stopping by to meet our new addition. Especially those who traveled far distances, including Aunt Mary and Uncle David from Columbus; Megan and Cory from Orrville; Melissa from Elyria, and my work friends, Kathleen, Kathy, Jennifer and Katie from AU (pictured below).
I also want to send a HUGE thank you to my sister and brother-in-law, Steph and Scott, for all of the hand-me-downs they've sent us, including tons of clothes, and most recently, a swing, bouncy seat, Bumbo seat and more. I found out I was pregnant the day before their youngest son (my Godson!) Justin was born, and it's crazy to think that he's eight months old, and that his cousin is already here. As you can see, Austin is already in love with the seat. I cannot thank you enough Steph and Scott--you have done so much for us, not to mention setting a terrific example of what model parents are. I have so much respect for you guys.
I'll leave you with another baby commercial, this one much more emotionally captivating than the first one I shared weeks ago (I believe the catch phrase was "Poop there it is" for Luvs diapers, LOL). This is also a diapers brand, but Pampers delivers a touching message that often brings me to tears each time it airs during "A Baby Story" commercials. I know, I need to get away from the TV and get a hobby. Perhaps after my painting bug ends, I'll start brainstorming new diaper designs.
And for any soon-to-be moms out there, take my advice and do not buy Babies-R-Us brand diapers. Even if you have a coupon! Trust me :)