This past month, this first month of Grace’s life, I have continually thought about the fact that our savior came into the world as a baby. Not just in the fact that newborns are so completely and utterly helpless, but in that he subjected himself to new parents, and not just any new parents but very young teenage parents. Then there is the other side of things-God as father. Now that I am a parent I am not sure how God was able to send his son into this world that way. How great must his love be for us that he would send his son in such a way! I am truly overwhelmed this Advent season as I think about the depths that God went to become Immanuel-God WITH us.
This past month has been the hardest of my life. Emotionally. Physically. Spiritually. Mentally. Last week I went to a Christmas party at work (my first time out with Grace all. by. myself.) and was asked in reference to being home with a newborn, “Isn’t it just wonderful?” To which I responded, “No. Not really.” I think that part of the reason postpartum depression is so prevalent is because new moms are not honest with others about the reality of having a newborn. I have been blessed to have friends that have been real and have shown me how much of a struggle it is to be a new mom. So, I will choose to be honest and say that it is not wonderful and it is in fact really hard. That doesn’t mean that I love my little Gracie any less or that I don’t think she is wonderful, because I don’t and she is.
At Grace’s 2 day appointment (which was actually when she was a week old) she weighed 7 lbs 14.5 oz–within a half ounce of her birth weight! At her actual 2 day weight check on Black Friday she weighed 7 lbs 8 oz. I have noticed that her face is really filling out and she has quite the chubby cheeks. Her legs are also filling out and are not so thin as they were.
From pretty early on Grace has been giving us four hour stretches at night. She would probably go longer, but we wake her. Once she is 5 weeks old we will go ahead and let her stretch out to 5 hours and see how she does. For the first couple weeks I was pretty terrible at noticing her sleep cues and as a result she would get overtired and not go to sleep. She generally wasn’t fussy, but she wasn’t sleeping either. At 2 weeks old I started wising up and picked up other subtle sleep cues–the main one for me was the wrinkling of the forehead. Since then she has been napping very well during the day and for the most part has continued doing well at night. Since 2 weeks we have put her down to sleep while she is drowsy and let her fall asleep the rest of the way on her own. Sometimes this works really well and sometimes it takes awhile. She has been sleeping in the pack n play on our bedroom since day one save a night or two that she has spent in the swing. The pack and play has an attachment that is perfectly sized for her and cradles her. I can’t imagine laying her in the giant crib to sleep since she is so cozy in her “bassinet.”
The only time that Grace struggles with sleeping eel is when she is gassy. Unfortunately for Seth and I this usually happens at night. So far I think the things that upset her tummy are pepperoni, red sauce (maybe?), milk, onion, and eggs. Gas drops take the edge off but don’t really help. We briefly tried using gripe water with her at night but it seemed to both her too as she did not sleep as well those nights. It could have been coincidence, but we have discontinued the use of gripe water.
Grace hated HATED being swaddled when we first got home but after forcing it on her she seems to really enjoy it. Seth is by far the better swaddler, but I am most improved. Grace is very strong and really really good at breaking out of a swaddle. In fact, we swaddle her twice and she could still break out. This first time I swaddled her tight enough that she could not break out I felt more accomplished than when I earned my master’s degree. Seriously. Our doula gave us a swaddle me wrap and we have been using the heck out of it. It is so much easier to use it, especially in the middle of the night. We ordered 3 more we enjoy them so much.
Prior to the introduction of the swaddleme, our routine was that I would feed Grace and then Seth would swaddle her and put her back to bed. One night I brought Grace back and told Seth she was ready to be swaddled. He got out of bed and was fidgeting with his pillow. I was really annoyed and didn’t understand why it was so important for him to fluff his pillow at that moment. He then laid the pillow down on top of the blankets that were laid out, just waiting on a baby to swaddle. I asked Seth was he was doing with his pillow. He looked at his pillow and then threw it down. I told him this story the next day and he had no recollection of it happening.
Thankfully, with each passing day we are all getting to know each other better and we are settling into this new season of life. I truly am looking forward to everything this girl is going to teach me.
Grace, you are perfectly and wonderfully made. Your dad and I are so lucky we get to be your parents. We don’t deserve the joy you bring to us.