Thursday, June 2, 2011

December 2010 - continued

I love the way he loves her.
Most of December 2010 is a blur.  A blur of sleep deprivation and adjustment for all four of us.  Harper slept unbelievably well the first two nights of her life... a four hour stretch, a five hour stretch... we were amazed and thought she was going to be our "easy baby". 

On our first night home from the hospital we slept about 15 minutes out of every hour.  We put Harper down in the bassinet asleep and minutes later she was awake and crying.  We kept trying.  We tried elevating the bassinet.  We thought maybe she was cold and swaddled her with warmer blankets.  We tried the swing.  NOTHING worked BUT holding her.  She seemed so uncomfortable.  So, in order to get some sleep we slept propped up with her on our chests (Back then I never thought that this would continue for months).  We took shifts holding Harper while we slept.

Curled up on my chest, where she liked to sleep.

My milk arrived (sounds like I had it delivered) the day we were checking out of the hospital.  I suffered severe engorgement the first week of nursing Ethan and thought this time would be different, but it wasn't.  I had forgotten how painful engorgement was.  I tried to manage it as best as I could and contacted the lactation consultant for additional suggestions.  The first week home was spent managing pain, nursing around the clock, and trying to sleep while holding Harper and sitting up -- which translates into not really sleeping at all.  Matt calls it "airplane sleep".  You're asleep/dozed off but uncomfortable and aware of what is going on around you.  While we were awake we were keeping up with a busy almost-2-year old boy, planning for Christmas, and admiring our sweet little girl.
One of the photos we used for our Christmas card.
 Legs still curled up.  I love that!
 My dreamy baby girl
Her birth announcement from here.
Harper was 3 days old for her first doctor appointment.  It was the first time we drove with two kids in the backseat of our car.  It felt so surreal.  The check up went well.  Our pediatrician talked to us about Ethan's adjustment.  Ethan was a doting, loving big brother already.  It concerned Ethan when Harper cried.  The doctor suggested that we continue tending to Ethan's needs first since having a sibling is one of the most difficult life adjustments.
 3 days old.  You should see how small those socks really are.
Recovery, adjusting, trying to make life as normal as possible for this little guy.

There will be so much to remember about December.  I keep thinking about how much Ethan grew and how it seemed like overnight.  He seemed much older when we came home from the hospital with Harper.  In fact, that time was one of the last times we heard him call me "Boppy"... his way of saying mommy for the past few months.  I wish we had a recording of it.  It was cute.

Just as it was with Ethan's first week, as soon as my milk came in so did my tears.  I cried very easily for a few days and was overly emotional.  Fortunately it didn't last long and I had been down that road before so I wasn't as concerned. 

Less than two weeks into this new adventure and things became more difficult.  It seemed like as soon as I wasn't in pain anymore, Harper was.  She cried often and seemed uncomfortable.  Harper hated her carseat so she cried for the first 15-20 minutes of any car trip.  I climbed into the backseat and hovered over her carseat to nurse her.  I'm sure it was quite a site!  I never had to do that with Ethan.  We would just pull over for me to nurse him but now we didn't want to make trips in the car any longer for Ethan who was anxious to get where we were going.  It just seemed easier for me to nurse her instead of stopping, getting her out of her seat, entertaining Ethan, etc. 
Harper started crying for hours every night.  The crying turned to screaming.  Everyone who I talked to reassured me that this was "normal".  A "witching hour".  In my heart, I knew it wasn't normal.  I was in denial though.
 One of the first, of many, Daddy+Daughter photos that I love.

We decided that we wouldn't travel for Christmas Eve.  I was sad to miss out on time with my extended family but I knew it was best for our family to be close to home.  I was worried about exposing Harper to any possible illness and she wasn't traveling well.  It would have been too much.  Listening to Harper scream for the 15 minute trip across town from my in-laws to home on Christmas Eve was enough for us to know that we made the right decision.  She was a sweaty mess, gasping for breath between cries.
 Poor, sweet baby so upset.
I hope to do another post on cloth diapers but here Harper is in a Kissaluv size0/KL0.

 Proud big brother on Christmas Eve.
Squishy hugs

 Outfit was a gift from her grandmother.  

Ethan woke on Christmas morning at 4am, not because he was so excited about Christmas but because he was sick.  Runny nose.  Exhausted.  Tantruming.  The presents sat under the tree, unopened for hours.  I don't think he even noticed them.  Harper had a tough day too.  This was one of the first times we learned that the bathroom fan helped soothe her.  There we were, on Christmas, huddled into our small hall bathroom with the fan running, holding our sweet newborn daughter so she wouldn't cry.  Matt and I laughed and said "Next Christmas will be better/easier".  In the spirit of being honest and documenting this for reality sake and not sugar coating it, I'll post these pics.  These are not the photos I expected to take on Christmas morning but it is what it is... Don't worry, the day improved and there are happier ones too...
 Poor Ethan tantruming.
There, that's better.
 Working hard playing.  I love him.
 Look at that sweet baby curled up into her momma.
 Baby toes on Christmas morning
Harper's First Christmas ornament from here.  She was fantastic to work with!

 Ethan didn't want any more pics taken by the time it was my turn to sit with them.
Our neighbor knit Harper those adorable booties!  A very sweet gift.

I wrote this post over a month ago but am just now getting to publish it... 6 months behind on updating still.  I'll get caught up eventually.

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