Likewise, instead of taking weekly photos and posting weekly updates, she'll be getting monthly updates, but hopefully these (attempts at) weekly updates as our family adjusts to life as four with documented milestones do the trick - until Ashlynn turns two, that is. Another 52weeks of updates just seems really daunting.
I still haven't decided on a format, but I guess I will figure it out over time with what is actually relevant. Hope you enjoy these snippets into our life.
Kenley was born at 7lb 9oz - a whole 2.5 more pounds than her sister and 21" long (insane!) - Ashlynn was 17 1/4". Amazing what an extra 4 weeks can do! She still seems little of course, but at the same time, I'm at a total loss for putting together how she was actually inside me. I mean, I wasn't small by any means, but when holding her I can't figure out how she was squeezed in there with the rest of my organs.
She was discharged at 7lbs on December 2nd, and back up to 7lb 2oz on December 3rd. We go back today for another check up. Hoping her gain is good as she's been eating well and seems satisfied. Diaper count is also right on target so we aren't anticipating any hiccups.
Other notes, belly button fell off on Sunday, but we are still sticking with a sponge bath until it fully heals.
On Ashlynn's front, her left side lateral incisor (top) finally broke through. She's up to 12 teeth total and has finally caught up to the majority of kids her age.
Let's face it, Ashlynn has never been an amazing sleeper. She'll hit strides and sleep through the night with early wake ups, or have a middle of a night wake and sleep in, but considering she didn't sleep through the night until almost 11 months old, she's not winning any medals in the sport. (However, that was partly my fault as I breastfed and felt if she was waking and wanted to nurse it was because she was hungry, even if it was habit and for comfort).
Since returning home with Kenley, Ashlynn has been sleeping through the night. She's been waking up any time between 5am and 6:30am. The last few days, earlier and earlier. I'm amazed she's been sleeping through Kenley's cries. Kenley is in our room and while I try to attend to her quickly, she does have a set of lungs on her. She also does not like her diaper changed or cold wipes and I don't have a third hand to try to keep a pacifier in while using my other two to change her.
Since my milk has come in, Kenley has been eating and sleeping like a champ. I nurse on demand and she'll go anywhere from having short cluster feeds where she nurses for bit, snoozes for 30minutes and wakes for more, to sleeping for 2-3hour stretches and the occassional 4 hour stretch. It seems like each night she'll have one period where she just can't get enough and is up for a bit nursing on and off and needing to be burped or held. The rest she just goes back to sleep and I seem to be waking naturally before her most of the time when she's due again to eat. Overall I'd say she eats around 10-11 (when I go up), then again 1-2am, and 4-5am, and 7-8am. It's actually pretty bearable and I don't feel too much like a zombie, though I have been napping during Ashlynn's nap to try get energy to get through the second half of the day.
This section is long, really long, I apologize in advance. I was going to do a separate post, but it's all related so makes sense to include it here. Feel free to skim or skip if not interested in the adjustment details.
Going back before Kenley's birth, we had the holidays (which I never got to recap). My mom, Mimi, came down on Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Ashlynn was so excited and played with Mimi until Nanny and Pop Pop arrived to celebrate Hanukkah. We have a mixed religion family. Nanny, my step mother in law, is Jewish and my own mother was raised Jewish, but no longer actively practices. Growing up, we always celebrated Hanukkah by lighting the menorah, playing dreidel (ie. eating gelt), and getting to open one present a night from the "display" under the tree (all the gifts from friends, family, and little things my parents would wrap in advance). We've decided to celebrate the same with Ashlynn and Kenley, as well as adding in Nanny's traditional Passover dinner and opening our girls to other traditions our family has.
We lit the menorah, opened presents, ate pizza and kugel, and enjoyed getting together. Ashlynn was so excited to have so many grandparents around. And even more to play with her dreidel window stickies Nanny brought her.
Thanksgiving was low key with a turkey that took forever to cook and just us with Mimi. Friday morning, Mimi left and my brother and sister in law came over with their four girls and Mom Mom too. Ashlynn LOVED helping her uncle and Mom-Mom feed her twin cousins.
That was the night we left at 1:30am and she woke up having Nanny here to take care of her. She loves the family, yet we never have this much commotion and visitors in and out. She had lots of fun with Nanny and Pop Pop while we got to meet Kenley. The Husband went home that evening to shower and put her to bed, which she fought - understandably. He then returned to the hospital.
The next morning he headed back home to pick up Ashlynn and bring her to meet her sister. We had read that it was recommended for the mom to not be holding the baby when the sibling enters the room, but to go to the bassinet together for the introduction. Instead, I had a hungry inconsolable newborn when they arrived and I didn't feel right putting her down crying. Instead, the husband took her from me immediately so Ashlynn could crawl in the bed and get hugs and kisses before showing her Kenley.
Ashlynn was definitely excited to see me. I have never been away from her overnight. However, she definitely seemed a bit reserved and not completely herself. She was interested in the baby and when Nanny and Pop Pop entered shortly after she was distracted by them too. I really wanted to get some time with her, but instead she was bouncing from sitting with me, to wanting to go to them.
When everybody left, I cried.
Ashlynn just wasn't herself. I don't think she was jealous of the baby, I think she was confused about why her Mama was gone, in this strange room, in this strange place, in this odd looking bed. It broke my heart I couldn't go home with her. It was probably a lot of hormones too, but the whole thing made me so sad.
Pete decided to go home that evening and try to get her back on track and send the grandparents home. He wasn't much help at the hospital and sleeping on the chair just seemed like less support than being with our daughter who clearly missed her parents.
Mom-mom came over Monday morning to watch her while he came to pick us up and bring us home. I came in the house by myself first and she immediately ran to me for a hug. I picked her up and she wouldn't let me put her down (thank goodness I didn't have a c-section!). She hugged me like never before, it was the sweetest and most heartbreaking thing at the same time. We brought Sissy in and she was in love. So smitten with her sister. We also brought in her "big sister" present. A Little Mommy newborn doll with her own carseat carrier. We each now had our own baby's to mommy. She LOVES her baby, Cami, and has been great about tending to her when I am to Kenley.
.... now to talk about the adjustment in the week we've been home.
Again, she LOVES her sister. If she hears her cry, sneeze, or burp she asks to go see her, she loves rocking her in the Rock N Play and pushing the buttons on the bouncer. She hands me the burp cloth and helps "pat pat" her back for burps. She really loves pointing out her eyes. Always going over to her and saying "eyes, eyes!" (I think because she's actually real and open and closes them, unlike her dolls). She helps me during diaper changes by handing me diapers and wipes when asked and throwing the diapers in the trash, her favorite task. The past few days she's been wanting to hold her so I let her by holding her over her lap and letting her place her hands underneath. Overall, she really loves her sister and having a baby in the house.
Now, the reality. Ashlynn is 19 months old and clearly can't fully understand the change we thrust upon her pretty routine life. I'm thankful she hasn't taken it out on Kenley (yet) via hitting or shunning her. However, there is definitely a behavior change, which is understandable and something we expected with her being so young. Things include, not eating as well, naps have been inconsistent, and of course the tantrums. My lord, the tantrums! I'm actually hoping this is our bout with the Terrible Twos and we don't have to suffer later. It's definitely the same cause - she can't vocalize or figure out how to express her emotions, so it's just coming out in total MELTDOWNS. Last Friday, she woke up screaming from her nap. She wouldn't stop, so I brought her downstairs for lunch and she continued to cry/scream for a solid ten minutes. This continued later that day and again on Saturday. (They've been the roughest days so far).
She completely clingy. She cried for daddy when he left us last Thursday for his first day back at the office (even though he's been going in late). And she wants to be picked up ALL the time. Which after you pick up a newborn, you realize your toddler has instantly gained an additional 10lbs overnight. She also has been fighting diaper changes a bit, which I think is directly her acting like "the baby" since Kenley cries during changes, as most newborns do. The jealously of us carrying Kenley around definitely is coming out. So yeah, that's what we are up against at the moment. We are trying our hardest to give her as much attention as possible, which isn't that difficult considering Kenley sleeps the majority of the day. I also think she's getting a little stir crazy, but I'm not up to venturing out with a 10 day old baby in a snow storm either. She's run errands with daddy, but he's back at work this week wrapping up his busiest time of year and will thankfully be home next week through the new year to lend a hand.
Not much to report other than she's a pretty easy baby. It's also easy to say that the second time around when you are confident in what you are doing and not second guessing every little thing. Also having a toddler to distract you changes your priorities of who needs more attention now.
Post partum recovery is pretty standard. Luckily back into my clothes, but still living in leggings and sweats since I haven't left the house and I'm a magnet for spit up and whatever mess I'm trying to entertain Ashlynn with (so far we baked chocolate chip cookies together and made homemade playdoh).
In terms of nursing, I was basically a human pacifier at the hospital. That wasn't very pleasant, but I'm already recovered from that with the help of lanolin and some "triple nipple" given by the lactation consultant. My milk came in the day we came home, and similar to last time, I dealt with some crazy (painful) engorgement. I can tell my supply is attempting to regulate itself and I added my first pumping session last night. My goal is to pump only once a day to not set my supply in a crazy direction, like it did with Ashlynn, and slowly build a freezer stash. I'd like to try to introduce a daddy bottle feeding when she is about 3 weeks old so he can have the experience of feeding her too. He only fed Ashlynn the first few weeks before we dropped bottles all together in the effort to regulate my insane supply and get her nursing properly.
.... and that's that. I hoping each day gets easier and Ashlynn adjusts to life with Sissy. Any tips or tricks from "been there, done that" mommas are greatly appreciated, especially from the 2 under 2 crowd!