Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Luke Is Three Weeks Old!

Is this the face of a miracle or what?

Daddy sure does think so!!

Three weeks...very hard to believe! It seems like such a long time he's already been here...almost a month! Holy cow.

It also seems like we were just in the hospital. Just counting the weeks until 38. Just baking goodies for the doctors. Just waiting and praying for a healthy delivery.

Again, time confounds me.

He's still just so sweet. I know every parent says that about his or her baby, but honestly, Luke is just so sweet. Mellow...gentle. Laid back. Just precious.

I think the jaundice is finally working its way completely out because he is staying awake more often. Still not as much as I'd like when he's eating, but better. He's finding his voice, too...sadly we found this out when his tummy hurts. Last night his tummy was really bothering him and he actually cried! Like, really cried...we saw tears! Even that was hardly anything, though--we call him everything from Baby Kitty (exactly what he sounds like) to Little Alien (because when he actually DOES cry, as he calms down, especially with his paci, he starts getting all gurgly with his noises and it sounds like he's talking alien!) to Baby Bird (since we feed him like one and his little arms and legs are like bird arms and legs). Last night, we gave him some of the tummy drops and that seemed to help his fussiness. He slept for his 4 hour stretch (abbreviated only because I woke him!) and after that, and eating, he went on for another 4 hours and 20 minutes (which is about 20 minutes longer than I wanted, but tried to coordinate with John's getting up so he could have his last bit of sleep too!) Those drops are great!

He loves baths!!! He doesn't fuss (which is not unusual!) but seems to really like the warm water, just like Mommy! I have been pregnant for almost 20 of the last 23 months and nearly EVERY day, I thanked God for hot showers and warm water! Luke loves having his hair washed and rinsed the best, again much like his mommy!

We are still working on eating. He is getting better with latching on, thankfully, but only with a lot of try, try and try again! He's a little tongue curler (thanks, Daddy!) so we are now working on tongue exercises to help there too. He is eating a bit more, and we are supplementing with the little periodontal dropper--about 4 ounces extra a day. We'll weigh him again tomorrow and at this point, if he's not gaining with the round the clock feedings and the extra food (breast milk), I don't know what I'd do differently. Pump to bottles, I guess. Everyone says it gets easier between 4-6 weeks, so that's what I am hoping.

I am jealous, if not completely skeptical, about those who say breastfeeding is the easiest and most natural thing in the world. It may be the most natural FOOD, but I'm surely not finding it the easiest process. I've told John that if I wasn't so worried about his feeding, I think I'd be a great bit more relaxed and not as stressed as I sometimes find myself. Easier said than done to not obsess over it so much--I just want to make sure he's doing as well as he can possibly do. I seriously, seriously wonder how mothers of multiples do this, or young mothers. I'm almost 38, lots of life experience, educated, supported beyond measure...and STILL am befuddled by this 6 pound sweetheart who SWEARS he's hungry but then decides to wave off when abundantly showered with food.

His cheeks are getting more full, and he is definitely growing in length at least, if not in girth! The preemie outfits he was wearing still are good for his weight, but his loooooooong little legs are just too long! We've moved into newborn sizes, and they are still blousy, but even those are getting a little short for him! His feet are filling the footie part and he's pushing his toes right to the end! Long and lean, we grow them...long and lean! His legs are SOOOO long (over half his body!) and his fingers are very, very long as well. Just skin and bones, though!

He's sleeping so well in the evenings. Even when he is awake after a feeding or something, he is quiet...bundled up in his swaddler and little hat, paci in mouth--all you can really see are his eyes and they just roam around, very alert and very inquisitively, until he starts 'talking to his angels' and falls asleep. I'm praying that we get his weight gain and food issues under control because he would surely sleep for great stretches through the night if I let him. That will be nice!

I just love him. Every day, at least 50 times, I just find myself having a hard time believing he is really here and really real. I'm so overwhelmed with gratitude for his life and his existence, but honestly, still in disbelief that he's home with us. There are some days the shoe dangles less than others, so I guess that's a good sign, but it's always there...dangling and taunting, almost daring me to believe fully that we will raise him and even maybe see his children one day.

I'm working on letting my heart fully go there. It's still hard when I can barely look at pictures of Matthew without crying. Or even tearing up as I type about looking at pictures of him. God forbid I start talking about him without it being quick and in context like, "We bought that for Matthew, and Luke ......" or "When I was pregnant with Matthew, it was like....but with Luke, it was...." To talk about how much my heart still (and even more, if possible) aches for Matthew just envelopes me sometimes.

I know many might think this should be a time of sunshine and roses...and it is.

But it's also a time of heartache and longing...everything I experience with Luke is like an imprint with a hot rod on my heart of everything I will NOT experience with Matthew.

Little Bit is stirring....and swearing (ha ha) he is hungry. We'll see. Off to get his baby bird food ready...I'm posting some pictures from his third week. He gets at least 100 taken a day, seriously!

Sweet Little Luke, Mommy just loves you so much. You are more precious to me than I think you can ever know....

This picture brings such tears to my eyes...this is one of my sweet, sweet students from several years ago. A precious and amazing little boy. He and his mommy came to visit and I just love how he's holding Luke, yet Matthew is still in the background. The night we had Matthew's funeral, John told me that he would have wanted Matthew to grow up just like this little boy. Me too.

Cousin Ellie bought him this outfit...one of the few that fit the first week and a half. Still fits in pounds, but WAY too short for those long legs!

Daddy loves this boy, let me tell you!

From his first bath a bit ago....

He got some pictures taken with our sweet friend Krissy. He was SOOO good, even though he did all the peeing and pooping all over Mommy (what does one expect when the baby is not wearing clothes?!) and let Daddy hold him naked for a long time! Kris did our amazing maternity pictures--seriously, what talent in that fabulously adorable woman!

"I don't know why Daddy has to micromanage Mommy's cooking. I think her food's great! I'm out! Of course, Mommy only had to beg, borrow and steal to get me to eat enough!"

So intent on his Daddy!

"Nothing on tv. Guess I'll nap!"


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  2. Breastfeeding does get easier. I think it's very difficult and painful for most people at first (including me) but I assure you, if you can get past the first couple of months, it will become second nature and you will barely feel it.

  3. BF is hard, it didn't come naturally to me either but stick with it. You are doing an awesome job. Luke is just too precious.

  4. Wow - that remote really shows how small he is! It sounds like you lucked out on the lack of fussiness!! Liam definitely has his fussy moments each day. He is easily soothed, but he still fusses.
    And BFing is definitely a challenge sometimes! It has gotten a lot better for us, but those first 2 weeks were really rough for us, and even now it can be hard sometimes! Especially when he is fussy - he'll arch his back and throw back his head, and it's impossible to get him to latch on like that. And then he gets mad because he's hungry. So anyway, different issues, but still challenging! And great job for sticking with it!
    I just love your sweet pictures! Luke is precious!! I wish we lived closer so I could come hold him and so he and Liam could meet!

  5. I love these pictures...

    I breastfeed all my babies past a year (yes, I was one of those moms...ha) and I thought I was prepared with the first one, but, boy, there was so much to learn. It does get easier...but I remember with every.single.baby I ended up with cracked and bleeding_______ (fill in the blanks) even though I knew the proper way. I even thought parenting/feeding classes! My babies were tongue 'clickers' and that usually meant clicking on me.

    Hang in there, Lori. But know...if you need to move to another method (formula), it will be okay. You are a WONDERFUL mommy!!!

  6. Oh Lori, those pictures are so amazing, he is such a beautiful baby! Sorry to hear bf'ing had been difficult, I've heard that echoed by many, many women on their blogs so you are definitely not the only one. Hope things smooth out for you guys soon with it!

  7. Love the pictures! Remind me sometime to tell you about BFing my two chili-beans. Or not...

    Whatever you do, you do it with love. That's what counts.

  8. You are closing in on a growth spurt, I bet once you hit that point and he is literally nursing around the clock for a few days, he'll not only "thicken up" but you're supply will really increase :)

  9. Those photos are so precious. One of my favorite things is how those tiny babies stretch their arms WAY up...and still they don't reach past their heads. :)

    I hope you have a good weight report tomorrow to take just a bit of your worries away.

  10. I just love seeing new pictures of Luke!! Makes me so happy :) I know you guys are just drinking him in every second.

    I agree with you...for BFing to be so "natural" it sure doesn't come naturally. I didn't nurse Ayden; I went straight to formula. With Collen, I knew the motherly instincts would kick in since I had already had them with Ayden, and I assumed BFing would be just as easy. No...no...nooooo. 2 weeks in, I was sure I was going to give up, but for some reason, I just kept going. I was more afraid of "drying up" process (done that before...not fun) than anything, so I just kept going. By 4 weeks, it so much better. And now, 5 months in, it's 2nd nature. I love it so much, and now with my supply fighting back, I'm fighting as hard as I can to keep it going b/c I just don't want to give it up, yet.

    Hang in there. You're doing so great!!! Can't wait to see new pictures as Luke continues to grow!

  11. I never really thought about breastfeeding and how the ease I had with it "bothered" some friends. I'm not sure why it was so easy for me (and my girls) but it was. No pain, TONS of milk and easy latch. I didn't realize how different it was for everyone until someone said, "yeah, well ... I wish I had your issues." Meaning, I had enough milk to feed 3 babies and loved doing it. Then I became more aware of it and tried not to be so open about it ... I felt so terrible that I had never considered the fact that it was hard and frustrating to other people. It seems to me like you are so on top of everything and he has no worries about going hungry or forgetting his babyhood for lack of pictures! :) Your boys are certainly the picture of perfection! Not sure I've ever seen more handsome babes, for sure. Love you much!

  12. Dear Lori,
    Don't worry too much about supply/eating unless your doc suggests it. Look at you! A skinny mini. He may be the same biologically, meaning he's just not going to plump up like his football buddy in the next crib. He is growing so fast, I doubt your Dr. will find anything wrong in your feeding, and it is tough to find the rhythm at first, and get over the ouchies. However, you are just getting into the crying age, and if fussiness does strike, you'll be glad you're nursing...you can doze through a feeding! Also, just to motivate you a bit, I was told that the protective antibodies given by a nursing mom can't fully be absorbed until he is 9 mo old, so if you can keep it up that long you will give a lifetime benefit to his immune system. Plus, while nursing, he is protected by the antibodies in you, so that he is less likely to catch a disease while still young. Breastfed babies do tend to be a bit leaner, and to me Luke looks quite healthy and plenty filled out for just being 41 weeks old! Remember, if he was born at 38 weeks, he's going to be newborn size at 1 week. I think he looks great, so don't be too hard on you both. He needs to figure it out a bit as do you. But if he's growing, allow yourself to ease back on the worrying. Hope this eases your mind some.

  13. I thought that BF was a "natural" thing too, but for me it was a tough, uphill road. But I did it! And it's one of the things I'm most proud of myself for accomplishing. I nursed the first one for 17 months and the second for 10....second one wasn't as attached to the boob.
    I had a VERY hard time for the first two months. But after that, everything got much better. It's even easier after 5 or 6 months. As they get older, the feedings get further and further apart so you aren't as tied to it.
    I sometimes think it was harder for me because I'm such a type A personality....and a big worry wart!
    Keep it up! Sounds to me like he's growing!

  14. Luke is just beautiful. I'm glad he's decided to be a good sleeper for you! BFing is hard, baby doesn't always know what to do. Tyler *thought* he knew what to do as an infant and he turned mommy into hamburger. I'd have never made it without a very wise and kind lactation consultant/PA at the pedi's office. Tyler had to be taught how to do things correctly and boy was he stubborn! Hang in there, it DOES get easier.

  15. LOVE LOVE the pic of him passed out on your shoulder. You have a look if absolute joy :)

    It certainly can be hard to fully give your heart into it, when all you've known is heartache. We got a heart defect diagnosis with Riley @ about a month old & I thought "there it is...he's going to die too" that was just A's much a test of my faith as losing the twins. we've been blessed that he's never had trouble with it ( probably will have to have it replaced eventually). But anyway, again, I know how you are feeling. Now that we have a boy & a girl , that 'perfectness' scares me to death sometimes.

    What a beautiful baby you have been given. again.

  16. I love the word blousy!! It's a perfect description. I remember how tiny Ellie was and that the premie clothes were even big on her. She's still a petite chickie and won't eat a lot (unless it's junk food!!) but she's healthy. So, prayers going up that Luke will eat enough, gain some weight and sleep VERY WELL!! (from a mommy who has NEVER had good sleepers). You look so content holding him -- it's serene. I understand now (unfotunately), how you can be so sad about the loss of one and yet still try to co-exist with happiness and good things in life. It's such a hard balance and I know it must be so hard for you. Love you friend!
    Sec word: karsum as in "Luke might like to sleep in the karsum." :-)

  17. unbelievably sweet.... so sweet... thank you for sharing... our LM came home at 17 months -- while we wouldn't want it any other way (because it wouldn't be him if it wasn't the timing it was!) we never got the hours, days, months of infancy that you have -- and i so appreciate your sharing each and every tender moment... it's a way to live it vicariously through your love!

  18. That first pic looks SO much like the one of Matthew in your header! And breastfeeding is quite miserable at first, but once you and Luke get it going well it will become SO easy and convenient for both of you.

  19. Hi! Do you remember me? I was in your class in 2nd grade.♥ I love you!♥

  20. He's such a doll! :)

    BFing is natural but certainly not easy all the time! It's the hardest in the beginning IMO. It does get easier thank goodness! My poor nipples were sore for weeks this go around! I'm glad I don't have to wince in pain anymore at latch on. But all the discomfort is worth it b/c I just love nursing!!

  21. Your family is so cute !!!!! ♥

    (come on my fashion blog if you want, :) ♥ )

  22. I found your blog from someone else just before Luke was born - congratulations!:)
    I just wanted to encourage you that breastfeeding does get easier;) I had such a hard time with my daughter at first; my anatomy combined with her protruding tongue made latching incredibly difficult for her. I pumped and we fed her with a tiny little syringe the first couple of days, then switched to pumping into bottles as needed, and then I finally got her to latch with a nipple shield which kept her eating great but was SO painful for me.
    Finally, I went to see a lactation consultant...best thing I ever did! She was so kind and understanding and got my daughter latched without the nipple shield on the first try.
    We had to be very deliberate with our positioning for a while, including using a nursing stool but eventually it just became second nature to both of us, and I could nurse sitting wherever, lying down, standing up, etc.:)
    She's 2.5 now, and she still nurses before sleeping and upon waking up -- such a wonderful thing.
    It definitely is not always easy though! My mom encouraged me in the beginning with "If this was really as easy as some people claim, there would not be an entire profession of lactation consultants.":)