July 30, 2023

Without a Map

In general, Jude's newborn stage has been easier than it was with Soren; crying happens a little less frequently, Jude is easier to soothe, and Chris and I as parents are more relaxed and not as shocked about what to expect.  However, having a newborn in the house again can be stressful, especially when it comes to sleeping.
We all know the adage "sleeping like a baby" is the biggest joke--come on, what childless person invented that term?  Jude is a decent sleeper, once you can lull him to sleep with the breast or in the sling, however I'm still on the fence about which practices are best for our family in terms of everyone getting a good night's rest.  I'm muddling through the days with about 4-5 hours of sleep.  Ugh.

There's the whole attachment parenting thing, which sounds ideal to me in a utopic sort of way.  Mind you, I do a lot of attachment parenting already--nursing on demand, babywearing, co-sleeping (somewhat)--however I'm not entirely comfortable with all of it, all the time.  Call me selfish, but I do miss having time to myself without having an infant attached to me.  I'm not a really touchy-feely person, and am quite sensitive and introverted, which means I need time alone to recharge. 

Nightime is hardest, with Jude next to me, wanting to nurse constantly.  His brother was the same way, and after about 6 weeks, I threw in the metaphorical attachment-parenting towel.  Soren began sleeping in his crib, which worked out swimmingly in the long run.
One book I've returned to is Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, by Tracey Hogg.  Out of desperation with Soren, I checked it out of the library years ago and found that it had some really helpful advice.  Without going into details, it is a midway point between attachment parenting and its opposite, Ferberizing.  Though I don't agree with everything the author writes, there have been some helpful tidbits in it.

What I've taken from the book is to pause and listen to a baby's cries, rather than just picking him up and feeding him. Often with Jude (as with Soren as an infant), he's crying because he's tired, not because he's hungry. And recognizing this has made a difference in getting him the rest that he needs.  In fact, as I type, he's upstairs napping in his crib (for the last hour!), away from the chaos downstairs with his brother running around like a maniac.

So here I am again, without a map, navigating these infant waters.  Have you found any sleep advice or books that have been particularly helpful to you when figuring out your baby?

July 27, 2023

Wordless Wednesday: Contented

July 22, 2023

Jude's Birth Story

While I have a few moments to myself, I thought I'd write about Jude's birth.  It certainly wasn't as harrowing a tale as Soren's, but I was pretty nervous about the delivery. Having had a prior C-section, my options were another one or a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarian).  Being the uncommitted decision-maker that I am, I still wavered over what I'd do, even during my last weeks of pregnancy.

In the end, I scheduled the C after my due date with the intention of doing a VBAC if I went into labor before hand.  Well, the due date came and went with nary a contraction, so when the day for the scheduled C came along, I prepared to be cut open.
Here I am the morning of the surgery, reluctantly awaiting my fate (aka scared shitless).  This is my last pregnancy photo too.

Though it's not like the alternative--pushing a baby out of my nether regions--was a less painful option.  In the end, I'm glad I went with the C, since my biggest fear was my labor not progressing again and having to spend hours laboring in pain with the end result being a c-section anyway.

So the morning of my surgery, my mom picked up Soren to take him to her house, and Chris and I headed to the hospital, where we waited and waited and waited.  I had a feeling my C would get bumped due to emergency Cs, so our 10:30am turned into a 2:00pm birth.
The surgery wasn't so bad, other than how cold it was in the room and enduring the spinal by a med student who didn't seem to be able to find where the needle should go. That was the hardest part, hunching forward over my huge belly, trying to hold completely still while they jabbed my back.  But once that was done, things were ok.  The OR staff was all very upbeat and casual, talking about music and not about the surgery, thank heavens.  And I felt quite drowsy the entire time, so I just rested my eyes and focused on my breathing.  Before I knew it, Jude was born.
He was covered in an incredible amount of vernix, which was really weird to see.  Other things I remember from his birth: Chris announced that it was a boy (since we weren't sure during the pregnancy) and when he came out, Jude peed all over the doctors, lol.

Chris went with Jude to the nursery while they stitched me up.  Before I knew it, they were done. Once I made it into the recovery room, they monitored me for a little while, then brought Jude up.  Immediately he started nursing, which was so relieving for me. I just wasn't sure what to expect, hearing stories of other mothers' difficulties with nursing.  However he was quite adept at it from the start.

The hospital stay was fine, with nicer nurses than my last birth, though I was ready to leave sooner, mostly because those beds are so hard to sleep in/nurse in/get out of.  Plus all those check-ups throughout the night, like every hour.  It's a wonder anyone can rest.

My recovery has been absolutely wonderful. I was up and about within a week, and off of pain pills (Motrin) in about a week too.  I'm not sure why, but I felt mostly back to normal within 10 days, though I'm still careful to not overdo it.  My recovery was the same with Soren's birth, but I was anticipating more pain and a slower healing this time.  Thankfully, the recovery has been great, which is helpful with keeping up with 2 children now.

Despite my efforts of trying to mindfully be present in every moment, good and bad, of the birth experience, I am relieved that it's now a memory of the past.  It was tough, those days leading up to the c-section, worrying about what might happen.  But in the end, I'm so grateful that I have a healthy baby to show for the efforts.  That moment when you see your baby for the first time is really love at first sight, and just the beginning of getting to know your new child.

July 21, 2023

Second Borns

To all those people who told me that second born children are entirely different from the first--you haven't met Jude.
This boy is so much like his brother as an infant that it's frightening. There are milliseconds where I actually confuse him for Soren, though of course I'm running on about 3 hours of sleep each night, so that may be some of it.
Lovin' these little toes right now
Not only do they look similar, but they have similar baby needs, like the need for constant nursing (or just soothing via sucking) and the inability to sleep when put down in the bassinet.  Though Jude is more laid-back than Soren was, I still see similar temperaments, including their incredible neck strength and alertness.   Jude is easier to sooth, not just by breast, and he isn't as hysterical with his cries as Soren was.
When I can get him to sleep, he's a pretty good sleeper, though that window of opportunity between REM sleep cycles is hard to judge.  If he's still sort of alert, he quickly starts crying in the bassinet.

All in all, we're managing ok. I will admit I'm a bit lonely, and often overwhelmed by two kids.  Mornings are tough, and it doesn't help that it's nearly 100 degrees outside, so we're stuck in the house most of the day.  I've been dreaming of the beach and pool, though due to my c-section, I can't swim for quite a while, maybe not all summer.

Any tips for occupying a 3 year old while holding/nursing a baby?

July 15, 2023

A Whimsical and Modern Space: Our Nursery Reveal

During the past few weeks, I’ve felt like I’ve been growing two things—the baby, of course, as well the nursery.  It’s been so much fun decorating the space and daydreaming about the experiences my family and I will have in this room.
In case you’ve missed my last few posts about The Blueprint Baby Challenge, I’ll fill you in: I was given $2000 from Chase to makeover my nursery, as well as participating in a competition with 2 other expecting bloggers to win additional prizes of at least $500. Hopefully you’ll love what I’ve done with the room, and vote for mine as your favorite.
Now that the room is complete, I find myself frequently reflecting on what I’ve accomplished, and enjoying how visually pleasing the space is.  I know I’ll relish much of my time in here, nursing, changing diapers, and tending to an infant again, at least during those rare moments when I’m not running on lack of sleep and stuck in the fog of new motherhood.
While it’s been great reveling in the finished room, I also really enjoyed the process of transforming it. From choosing and paying for the furnishings using my Slate card with Blueprint, to painting the room with my brother and sister-in-law, to the fun times hanging wallpaper with my husband, the journey of creating a space for the newest member of my family has been memorable.  Rather than continue to wax poetic, I’ll give you a run-down of the transformation.

Here are the goals I focused on while creating the nursery:
  • Eco-friendly, with both green and repurposed items (like the crib)
  • Funky, handmade touches
  • Furniture that would grow with my child
  • Gender neutral
  • Not matchy-matchy
  • Modern and not too cluttered
  • Plenty of storage for our closet-less room
Overall, I think I did quite well with meeting my objectives.  The furniture, area rug, wall paper and paint are all eco-friendly, and I added many handmade accents throughout the room, starting with artwork from independent artists and sprinkling in items of my own making.
My sewing machine definitely got a workout these past few weeks with the creation of a quilted wall hanging, a coordinating pillow, and a liner for the room’s toy basket.
I also enjoyed covering a roller shade with fabric as well as making a felted mobile, which I think is the cherry on top of this whimsical room.  I hope my baby enjoys watching its gentle swaying as he is falling asleep.
And did you notice the monogrammed artwork above the crib? Can you guess what the letter is made from? If you said “broken crayons” you’re right. I arranged and glued them into a "J" for Jude onto colored paper and tucked the artwork into a shadow box frame.
The focal point of the space is the fanciful swallow and cloud wallpaper, which I fell in love with when first scouring the internet for nursery ideas. Despite never having hung wallpaper before, it was actually a memorable afternoon with my husband, trying to hang it evenly and smooth out bubbles.
I love how it looks behind the crib, with the birds sprinkling sweet dreams over a sleeping babe.  Cheesy,yes, but I can’t help but like that image.
The amount of storage that the furniture provides in the room will be very helpful with all the baby clothes, gear, diapers and other things.
Since our 100+ year old home lacks closet space, the dresser and armoire will keep us organized while still being pieces that will transcend our baby’s childhood.
Rather than decking out the crib with fussy bedding, something I never found to be practical with my eldest child, I just bought a few funky crib sheets.  I think they add just enough interest to the crib area without being too confining.
Throughout this entire project, my Slate card with Blueprint has made the shopping process simple. I bought all the items for the nursery, both those online and in brick-and-mortar stores, using my Slate card and was able to easily view and manage purchases with the free Blueprint features.

One of my largest purchases was my $700 dresser. The great thing about the Split Plan is you can set a goal date -like three months from now -to pay off your purchases. In my case I wanted to pay off my large furniture by the time my baby arrived.  It’s great that we can track our payment progress at any time by logging onto Chase.com/Blueprint and make changes to our plan without penalty or charge, like increasing the amount we’d like to pay on the furniture for each month.

I can see the Split option being extremely helpful in the future, say when a major appliance breaks on us and we aren’t able to pay for it up front with cash.  Blueprint helps us to pay off purchases faster and save money on interest, and we can log on to Blueprint to check our progress at any time and change our plan, whether to reduce the number of payments or change the monthly payment amount.   And Blueprint does all the calculating for us, which is really helpful for the months when our minds are occupied with the daily chaos of family life with two small children.
I’ve had such a wonderful time participating in the Blueprint Baby Challenge and using the Blueprint features to help me through the often overwhelming experience of transforming a nursery.  I’m anticipating many wonderful memories in this room, and will reflect fondly on this time in my life, preparing and dreaming about our newest arrival.
As a reminder, the Blueprint Baby Challenge is also a contest, running from 7/15 through 8/15, so head on over to the website and please vote for my room as your favorite!  You can vote once per day, and you can also win weekly prizes just for voting.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Chase. All opinions are my own.

July 14, 2023

Baby Update

I'm indulging in a rare moment of downtime while Jude naps and Soren watches a program to update y'all on things around here.  Today is Chris' first day back to work, a day which I've been dreading but has so far, one hour into it, been ok.  We'll see how the day progresses, especially considering that Jude, like his brother, would like to be attached to the breast at every moment, waking or sleeping.

That's made it tough for me, though unlike his brother, once he's deeply asleep, he'll actually sleep in the Moses basket for some time.
Jude is quite a good sleeper, like he was in the womb.  He nurses great, but in order to drift off to sleep, he absolutely needs to be sucking on something (mostly me).  The pacifier works a bit, which gives me a break, but I can't believe how strong this boy's sucking instinct is.  Latching on is a little painful at times.  I think he's going to be elated when he finally finds his thumb to suck; his hands are always around his face, as you can see in the photo above.

Soren is doing well in his role as big brother.  He has been helping to bring things to me when I need them, and even helped Jude get his first bath a few days ago.
 Though he mostly played in the water.
What's been so amazing about having a second baby is how much more at ease I am with him compared to Soren, especially that both boys seem to have the same sleeping/sucking issues.  It's also been incredible to relive the memories of my older son's infancy.  So many times, I feel like I'm holding Soren again, or Chris and I are remarking about how much something Jude does reminds us of Soren.  Pretty incredible...

So that's our week so far; we'll see what the next few days bring, especially that I'm on my own with the boys.  Wish me luck!

July 10, 2023


The newest addition to our family,
born Wednesday July 6
7lbs 4oz.
We're doing well, just settling into a new routine with the two boys.  More to come!
For one human being to love another; that is perhaps the most difficult of our tasks; the ultimate, the last test and proof; the work for which all other work is but preparation.--Rainer Maria Rilke, German poet.

July 1, 2023

Weekend Musings and Beautiful Things

After an uncomfortable night of light sleeping, I'm convinced that this baby is on its way! Yay and oh no! are my simultaneous reactions.  Am I prepared enough? Will I wimp out on labor? Will it still end in a c-section, despite the hard work and pain?  So many questions that we'll just leave up to the universe to answer.
(random photo of the gorgeous hydrangeas, yarrow, and false indigo picked from my parents' garden.  It makes me happy looking at them)
Assuming that I don't go into labor in the next few hours, we're hoping to spend the weekend close to home and hospital, maybe cooking out with my in-laws tomorrow.  Tonight we're going to a member's dinner at a local cooperative gallery/independent space, which we're so glad has moved into town.  They have all kinds of cool stuff that's right up our alley, like story time for kids, yoga classes, local foods for sale, and other activities. It will be fun watching it blossom and being a part of a community center with other folks who are like-minded.

In other news, I received the most loveliest of lovely baby blankets from my friend Shana.
The colors are beautiful (I believe it's Lion Brand cotton) and it's stitched so tightly.  It will definitely come in handy when we're indoors this summer due to chilly air conditioning.  She's got a leg up on me via her awesome crochet skills (one day I'll learn), and I'm hoping she'll leave a link to the pattern in the comments.
It's pretty pathetic that I haven't really knitted anything for this baby.  I'm hoping to make a pair of booties tonight, at least.

Onto other beautiful things: pulling out more baby stuff, particularly the old books from S's babyhoood. I forgot about these Eric Carle ones!
Naturally, we had to sit down in the nursery and read them again, Soren and I.  Ah, the memories.

I'm not sure when I'll be back in this space again, definitely not during the weekend, as I'm taking a break from the laptop.  I do hope you have a great weekend, and that my American readers enjoy the 4th!
PS. Here's the link to the coffee filter bunting tutorial if you want to make one like in the photo above.
Related Posts with Thumbnails