Thursday, March 30, 2017

Noah: One Month

Poor Noah - I wrote out this whole post reflecting on his first month and it's nowhere to be found. Even though he's almost at 6 weeks, he still remains the same wonderful baby. Hopefully I can still do him justice :). 

Weight - He was 11 lb 14 oz at 2.5 weeks, a whole 3 ounces more than Evan at 1 month! He is growing quickly, getting longer and chubbier every day
Height - 21 inches at birth, but he's grown a lot since then
Head circumference - 14.5 inches at birth

We'll have the next set of measurements at 2 months. We moved him to 0-3 month clothes when he was a little less than 2 weeks old, and some of those are already starting to seem tighter.


Noah is such a lovely baby and has plenty of likes. He loves being held, which makes me happy since I love to hold him. He's taken to all of the baby carriers we have, which has been very helpful when juggling two kids. We use the ring sling a lot, especially if I need to hold him around the house during dinner or when helping Evan with something. Carriers have also allowed us to do lots of hikes and walks. Noah seems to enjoy being outside and the few times he's been awake on hikes, he's seemed enamored with his surroundings. 

He also loves his baths, which is just the cutest thing. He'll be fussy as we get him undressed, but as soon as I lower him into the water, he just calms down and relaxes. After being resistant the first week, Noah also has become a fan of the swing. The key has been to swaddle him before we lay him down. Like his brother, he also likes being on his changing pad upstairs. 


There isn't too much that Noah really dislikes, thank goodness. He rarely cries, except when he is having his diaper changed/is getting dressed and when he's in the car (though this is starting to get better). While he does give us some good stretches of 3-4 hours of sleep at night, which is amazing, he sometimes has trouble settling back down to sleep after he eats. Thankfully, after plenty of practice with Evan, I'm much more comfortable with bedsharing and will sometimes pull Noah into bed with us if he refuses to settle. That will usually give us a good hour or two extra and helps us all get some extra rest. 

Important Events:
Since this was his first month of life, everything was pretty important. Some big highlights, though, were definitely family visits. 

My parents came the for his birth and the first week, Sabine (Ed's mom) came right after that, and Aunt Kortney visited in the hospital. But of course, one of the most important was when Evan met Noah. Evan gave Noah a very soft grey bunny, and Noah "gave" Evan a set of Duplo vehicles. Evan is so sweet with Noah and loves to help. 

So far, it hasn't been nearly as challenging and I feared adjusting to life as a family of 4. Thanks to Evan, we're already used to not getting much sleeping, so we haven't been in such a daze, like we were the first time around. The worst was just recovering from surgery and being limited physically. I've been able to start doing some hikes/walks, and I've been feeling better every day, though. 

Also, while Evan has been great, the novelty of being a big brother has worn off a little bit. When I'm holding or nursing Noah, Evan will of course also want cuddles and will get a little jealous. Still, all around, it hasn't been bad. I give so much thanks that with family visiting and Ed working a limited schedule, so I've almost always had an extra set of hands. 

Mommy Successes:

Overall, I've been feeling very successful *knock on wood*. I've been spending an increasing amount of time alone with both kids, and am starting to figure out how to juggle nap and bedtime. Of course, it's not too hard when Noah will let me just put him in the rock n play while I take care of Evan, without a peep. I've also started eating healthier again, now that I'm not so limited by pregnancy, and that's felt great too. I'm also thankful that I'm so much less anxious about everything the second time around. I'm much more trusting of Noah and don't need to check on him every two minutes to make sure he's breathing like I did with Evan. Everything feels a bit easier. Nursing is amazingly better than with Evan; after only a week it got to that easy place that it took over a year to get to with Evan. 

Daddy Successes:

Ed has been much more confident this time around, and has been doing a great job taking care of Noah and even both kids sometimes. It feel like we're much better about sharing the parenting responsibilities. Ed has also been taking Evan on lots of adventures to give me more solo time with Noah, much to Evan's delight. The highlight so far has been running across the Golden Gate to Crissy Field and back.

Best Moments:

Is it corny to say everything? We have been loving life as a family of four. It's been especially wonderful when we've done the things I dreamt about while I was pregnant, like hiking together or going to Spring Lake. It's even better than I'd imagined. Besides that, though, just soaking in all the newborn loveliness has been so wonderful. 

My favorite is just holding Noah while he sleeps on my chest. 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Noah's Birth Story

It doesn't seem that long ago that I typed up Evan's long, dramatic birth story. It was as much about processing as about documenting, and is an account I treasure. So, while Noah's birth was by all accounts relatively uneventful, it's still something I want to preserve. 

This birth story starts closer to when I was 36 weeks pregnant. I was at my physical therapy appointment where I was still in a good amount of pain. It was hard to walk and excruciating to turn from one side to another. While I was laying there, facing away from my PT, I asked the question to which I didn't want the answer. Did she think it was a good idea for me to try for a VBAC. And, she answered exactly how I'd feared - given my inability to walk or move positions, plus the likelihood I'd have a large baby, plus the fact that I wouldn't be able to push my knees very far apart during labor, and she thought the risk of injury for me was too high to risk it. She knew my ultimate goal was to be able to be active again as soon as possible, after almost 5 months of no physical activity, and she said that c-section recovery would be far shorter than recovering from a pelvic injury. With that knowledge, I changed my midwife appointment to an OB/GYN and scheduled our c-section for January 16th (which was later changed to the 18th). 

(looking every inch of 39 weeks)

The few days leading up to our hospital date were busy with checking final things off of our to do list, plus having a handyman finish a last minute bathroom renovation. We soaked in the last days with Evan as our only child, made sure the house was very clean, and tried to get in as many naps as possible. We also welcomed my parents' arrival and had a lovely family meal with them and my sister. I was excitedly nervous going to bed the night before, and we didn't get to sleep until about midnight. 

Since I was cut off from eating at 4am, I woke up a little after 3 and made myself one last filling meal - an egg quesadilla - and then got back to sleep until Evan got us up around 7. We got him ready for school and Ed took him while I called the hospital to find out if we were still on. We were, so it was go time!

We arrived at the hospital at 10, checked in, and got settled in our waiting room. 

It was a little anti-climactic to have so much energy going into this, and then to be sitting and watching tv while we waited. They prepped me with my IV, monitors, etc. and then we waited some more as we got bumped for an emergency c-section. Finally, at 12:45, it was time for us to get on our surgical gear and head to the operating room. 

They had Ed wait in a side room while they got me set up. The hardest part of the surgery was surprisingly putting in the spinal - there were a lot of failed attempts, but finally it was set and then it was go time. The nurses joked that with the heavy rain outside, Noah was the perfect name for this little boy as they finished the prep, put up that blue screen, and brought in Ed. 

And, in less than 10 minutes, this happened.

This was both the best and hardest part of the delivery. I could hear our sweet boy's primal cry, but I couldn't see him. And, since the baby warming area was towards my feet, I had to stay in the dark about our little boy while they checked him out. Thank goodness he kept crying and I could hear his sweet voice. 

Thankfully, Ed got to be there to cut the cord, watch the exam, and bring him to me after an excruciatingly long 10 minutes. 

But then, I got to see our sweet 9lb 9oz boy, all 21 inches of him, and we had the most beautiful skin to skin while they finished the surgery. I even got to nurse him while they were finishing the surgery. It was so surreal to have our new little boy in my arms and enjoy this special family time. 

Once they were done, it was time to head to recovery. I couldn't get over how much better I felt than after Evan's delivery and I was so eager for our recovery room stay to end. 

Thankfully, by 4pm we were settled in our room and ready to begin our life with our new little boy. 

While it wasn't exciting, we definitely preferred this low stress birth. Our boy was all 9s, with scores of 9 and 9 on his Apgar and weighing 9lbs 9oz. Noah and I had zero health issues in the hospital and got to come home almost exactly 48 hours after we arrived. We feel so thankful that this was the birth story we both chose and received - it was definitely the right choice and brought us our sweet Noah. 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Happy One Week, Noah!

We have had this little guy home for just under a week, and we couldn't be more happy with life as a family of four. It certainly helps that my parents are still here helping and that Ed isn't working, but we have been so pleasantly surprised and how great this transition has gone.

(Celebrating Noah's "birth day" with cupcakes made by Evan and Grandma)

The biggest reason for that, of course, is the fact that Noah is, so far, a dream baby. He is so easygoing - he only ever cries when his diaper is being changed. Even when he is hungry, he will just start making funny faces and opening his mouth, or maybe even a silent crying face. But, it's easy to start nursing before he ever makes a real cry. He mostly just sleeps, and is fine going up to 4 hours between a feed if he's really tired.

(our sleepy boy)

Plus, if he's hungry but I'm not ready/able to nurse him, he's pretty content just sucking on a finger for a while. The first week of nursing was very painful, but now he seems to have the hang of it and it's so much better. I think he's much better at eating than Evan, which is partly why he doesn't get crazy hungry like his brother. Ed and I are starting to realize what a big affect the torticollis likely had on Evan - it just wasn't comfortable for him to nurse, especially on the right side, so he just ate slowly and much less, meaning he had to nurse at least every 2 hours that first year and a half.

(sleeping on daddy)

Sleep has been equally miraculous! In the hospital, Noah actually was pretty content to hang out and sleep in the bassinet, which was so odd to us. We felt sort of guilty not holding him all the time, but he was happy and it allowed us to get some rest. We even let him go to the nursery for 1.5 hours since they needed to redo the hearing test and we needed some sleep. When we brought him home, he would only sleep on us the first two nights. But, the third night I tried him in the bassinet part of the pack in play on whim and he slept 2 hours! So we put that next to the bed and he's been consistently sleeping wonderfully there in 2-3 hour stretches. Then, last night we added a blanket under his velcro swaddler, and he slept for 6 hours straight! And then another 3! I haven't gotten that much sleep with only one interruption in many years! We'll see if it lasts, but for now it's amazing and I am enjoying it. As an added bonus, Evan has been sleeping better too, either one wake up or sleeping through the night.

Like his brother, Noah isn't wild about devices so far. The only one we've been able to use a little is the swing, but without turning it on, funnily enough. He slept great laying in it, but didn't like when we turned on the swing or the vibrations. He spends all his time sleeping or laying on some adult, which is lovely for everyone. He even likes tummy time and isn't fussy at all laying on his stomach on the ground. He has amazing neck strength and even in the hospital was lifting and turning his head in both directions.

(fun with grandma)

Yesterday, he was the most awake of his life, for over an hour! Of course, this was when we were trying to take newborn pictures and needed him sleepy :). Thankfully, he crashed hard eventually and I'm hoping the photographer got some great shots - Noah certainly looked cute in all those poses. When he's awake, he has such a curious inquisitive expression with a little knitted brow. He has deep blue eyes and loves looking towards the light.

(One of his rare awake moments right before we headed home from the hospital)

Evan has handled this transition amazingly. He loves "Baby Noah" and is a great helper with diaper changes and patting him to help burp him after eating. He's continued his good sleeping and great success with potty training, which has been fantastic. He went back to daycare this week, which was great. Last night at dinner he told us, "I loved seeing my friends!" I am so glad we kept him in part time - he is continuing to thrive there and definitely starts going a bit stir crazy after 4 days at home. I'm trying to build in Mommy/Evan solo time at least every few days (and hopefully more like every day now that I'm feeling better) so that he still feels like an important part of this family.

(our very proud almost 3 year old)

Like everyone said, he seems so much bigger and older now that we have a little baby at home. The biggest difference is how huge he feels when I give him hugs or sit with him. I can't believe how much he as grown (and am tearing up a little bit as I write this). He is going to be 3 in less than 3 months and is an amazing little person to have in our family. I am so proud of him and can't wait to be 100% recovered to get back to going out on family adventures.

(soaking in my favorite type of cuddles)

I am finally starting to feel more like myself, which is amazing after such a limiting pregnancy, and am looking forward to starting to get out more. It is amazing how much more quickly you recover with the second baby and I am so thankful to not dealing with additional health issues like after my first pregnancy. Still, I'm trying not to rush it and enjoy taking it easy.

For now, I'm really soaking in all the newborn cuddles and counting my many blessings.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Letter to Evan

(written 1-17-2017)

Today is a day of lasts. It's the last full day that Evan will be an only child, the last full day I'll feel Noah kicking and rolling inside of me, the last full day of this season of life. It's funny - totally true what they say about 2nd time parents. There is so much less stress with the logistics of bringing a newborn home. Ed and I both remember pretty well what it was like with Evan and (perhaps unwisely) don't feel too worried about that. The bigger concern is just how this transition will go, especially for Evan.

But, we feel ready. This pregnancy has been so hard, between being in pain so much of the time and the fact that I haven't been able to be active for almost 5 months, I actually feel like I'll be able to be more available with Evan once I heal from the delivery than I've been able to be lately. We can do family hikes again, I can take him places by myself for adventures, we can just be a family again, the way we used to, just with another very special person.

Still, I'm anxious. Mostly about having this c-section, and whether I'm making the right choice. My biggest worry is just making Noah come out before he's ready. I keep reassuring myself that Evan was born at 38.5, and Noah will be born at 39.2, so I should feel okay, but I just want to make sure he has enough time to finish growing. That said, if he's anything like his brother, size won't be an issue :). Somehow, I don't think he'll quite hit the 9lb13oz of Evan, but I think he'll still be plenty big. And the primary reason I'm having the c-section is because it seems like the healthiest/safest way for both Noah and me. So I'll just keep reminding myself of that!

I've been pretty spotty with the blog this time around, but I still want to have these kinds of records for the future to look back on, so here is a letter to Evan on the eve of our big day.

First, to my "Big Brother" Evan,

My sweet, amazing first born son. From the very beginning, you have been the perfect fit in our lives. Your dad and I always knew that you would be amazing, and you have continued to make us smile with joy and surprise us since your very first day. Each month, we would turn and say to each other, "wow....this is the best age yet!" and that feeling just keeps happening.

Right now, you are so much fun and growing up so fast. You love to sing - you sing or hum while you play, either made up songs or nursery rhymes from school, and you love to have us sing with you. During the holidays, "Jingle Bells" was your favorite, and you would put a ring of bells on your wrist and run around singing it. You love to have us sing parts too, and say "yay" and clap for yourself when you finish a particularly good song.

Trains are the love of your life. You started liking them about a year ago, but they have turned into a passion/obsession the last 6 months. We started letting you watch some screen time, and you have been in love with videos of live action steam trains and model trains. You are learning so much - all the different names of the cars, your favorite "double headers," The different jobs on the train, etc. One of your favorite books is a 70+ page one called Locomotive that is about the transcontinental railroad. For Christmas, Santa brought you a huge train table, and you love having that, plus multiple train tracks that you build on the floor, and even a train set made of duplo lego blocks.

It has been amazing to see your development with play. You have started being able to pretend now, and are so great at playing independently. My favorite new development is your love of building with blocks. The duplos were my favorite toy as a child, and making new creations with you makes me so happy. I hope you continue to feel the same love of building and creating that I had. You also love putting together puzzles, especially your Thomas the Train one. You are so methodical about it - "I will do the cowcatcher first, then the cab, etc." You use logic to help you and are so proud of yourself when you get a piece in the right place.

Your room has officially transformed into a big boy room. You started sleeping in a twin bed back in the spring, in a hope to help you sleep better, and it has been a great choice. We finally got rid of the rocking chair in your room, now that we can do stories together in your bed, and you have shelves next to your bed that let you control your light and your sound machine. You finally have a good bedtime routine that your dad and I really enjoy. We say "love you to the moon and back" and "see you when the sun comes up" as we say goodnight. You are such a better sleeper - you only need a quick morning snack around 5 maybe 1-2 nights a week and otherwise more or less sleep through the night. Sometimes you do come in to our room early and like to cuddle with your daddy, but having you finally wake up happy is something we've been waiting for for years and has been such a blessing.

We have also been so fortunate with your eating. From the beginning, you have loved your fruits and vegetables and have been such a happy, healthy eater. The biggest change (and what I think has really helped with your sleeping) is that you are finally so much more willing to eat proteins/meats. It happened right after you finished getting all your molars in, so I think it may have just been too hard for you to chew them before. But now you eat so much more, and such more filling foods, especially at dinner. People are always impressed by how you eat the same foods as us. You love sauces, especially balsamic vinegar and soy sauce, just like me.

The other big accomplishment lately is that you are (mostly) potty trained! Given our troubles with sleep, it has been such a gift that this was an almost seamless transition. I expected it to be so challenging, given everything I read, but you were more than ready, with all the practice you had been doing as school. We had one weekend without pants, and you had maybe 4 or 5 accidents those first 3 days, and have been fantastic after that. Now, a month later, our biggest struggle is that you are wanting to be night trained, too, and wake up to use the potty, but still want our help. But, I am so proud of you for being such a big boy and I know we'll get there!

You are so excited about becoming a big brother. You love talking about Baby Noah and how you will share with him and help take care of him. Your dad and I have talked to you so much about how much we love you and how that will never change. We know you will be a wonderful big brother and you and Noah will have such a special relationship. You have been able to soak in so much great Daddy time since I haven't been able to be as active, and I am looking forward to being home from work and getting to spend more time with you, too.

No matter what, I hope you always feel that you and your brother are equally loved and valued in our family. And that you both bring a specialness to this family that is uniquely your own. I love every part of you, the happy fun parts and the parts that can feel hard sometimes. They are all you, which means they are something to celebrate. I am so looking forward to seeing you enter into your new role as brother - I know it is one in which you will thrive.

You are my sweet, amazing, wonderful Evan and I love you to the moon and back.

Love, Mommy