Friday, June 27, 2014

First Week "Alone" with Marshall and Summer Plans

Well I guess we're averaging about one blog post per week right now, and that's okay with me. Unfortunately, writing only once a week means I end up with a hodgepodge of topics--and almost all of them are Marshall-related. To be fair, 99% of my life is Marshall-related right now, so I guess that's the way it goes.

My parents were in town the last few days to visit and help out again. Mom made us a ton of food (again), and we have way more than we can possibly eat. Luckily I married a man who is ready to take on that challenge, and my child seems to be following in his daddy's footsteps (to update Monday's post, Marshall is now 11 pounds, 4 ounces at one month old), so I need to eat a lot too. We're set for a few weeks, though, now!

This week has also been my first week at home with Marshall while Terry is back at work. The anticipation of being on my own with the baby was far worse than the actual event. I've said it before, but we have a pretty easy baby. and I'm lucky to have this time with him. Here's what I was nervous about:

  • Logistics of running errands, since I'm still recovering and shouldn't be lifting anything heavier than the baby. How would I get the baby to the car (we live on the third floor)? How would I get the heavy BOB stroller out of the car? How would I juggle anything I needed to buy?
  • Managing my emotions. Thankfully, I've been feeling MUCH better since about the two week mark, and I'm not a total wreck anymore. But still, being alone with a baby is tough when you're new at it--and he's new at it too! We're both figuring each other out, so I was a little apprehensive about how I would handle any bouts of fussiness or major spitting up incidents without losing my cool. 
  • What the heck do I do with him for ten hours? I felt like the days with Terry home flew, but I assumed the hours would drag once Terry was back at work. How would I entertain Marshall that long? Would I be able to go to the bathroom? Where would I put him down to take care of small tasks around the house?
  • Dealing with the nighttime feedings and changes on my own. Terry is more than willing to get up if I need him, but he has to get up at 6 am to go to work, so I have been trying to take over the nighttime stuff. It's hard, but every time I put Marshall back down to sleep I feel a little proud of myself for not waking Terry. Baby steps.
Luckily, I need not have worried. To get to the car, I strapped Marshall into our Ergo carrier and walked down with my diaper bag. We just leave the car seat in the car, and I strap him in when I get down there. Lifting the stroller out of the car (and lifting the car seat into the stroller) are things I shouldn't be doing, but there really isn't a way to avoid it at this point. Thankfully, I feel no pain and have kept it to one or two errands daily.

I'm so surprised at how I've kept my sense of humor about the stress that comes with having a baby. I think when Terry was home, I was more likely to panic or get upset because I had the luxury of doing so. Terry was there, so I could get annoyed at all the spit up and hand him the baby. But now that he's gone, I just laugh and clean up later. I think Marshall's taking it as a challenge, though, because he's becoming more creative in the amount and distance of the spit up.

Turns out ten hours passes almost as quickly with or without Terry. Here's a look at what I think might become our "routine," even though most of it gets disrupted anyway:
  • Sleep/snuggle/nurse until about 8 am
  • Get Marshall dressed
  • Play in Marshall's room--tummy time, reading, lots of time on his activity mat (I tidy up his room a little too)
  • Mom grabs breakfast while Marshall hangs out
  • Mom gets ready, singing and talking to Marshall (sometimes I get to put on makeup and do my hair, some days not so much)
  • Get out of the house--go for a walk or to the park or somewhere with fresh air (note: leaving the house actually takes about an hour and a half, which is generally twice as long as the actual outing)
It took me no less than two hours to get ready to leave the house to go to the park for a walk. 

  • Run an errand or two, maybe stopping back at home first, maybe not
  • Late afternoon is Marshall's cluster feeding time, so he usually wants to eat every hour. I am learning to settle in, relax, play with him or snuggle between feedings, and just roll with it
Terry will usually arrive home around 5:30 or 6, and then he gets to hang out with Marshall while I fix dinner or get to the household stuff I didn't do during the day. So far it's a good system!

We have quite a few summer activities planned now that Marshall is here and we're adjusting. My brother and Ashley will be here this afternoon through the weekend, and we are SO excited for them to meet their nephew! We have a few fun outings planned, like a walk at the beach, a restaurant or two, and lots of bonding time for Marshall with his Aunt and Uncle!

Fourth of July will be pretty mellow, but we're hoping to make it up to my friend's parents' house for a party. I'm just counting down to Terry's three day weekend! (Granted, he gets every other Friday off anyway, but still.)

We have two weddings in the next two months! The first one is at UCLA and will be our first outing "without" Marshall, as long as giving him the bottle goes well this week! The second wedding is in August and up the coast a bit, so my parents will be coming down to babysit Marshall in the hotel while we attend the wedding. I'm also a bridesmaid in that one, so again we really hope bottle feeding is a success!

And toward the end of the summer Terry and I are planning to drive up north for Marshall's first trip to meet a few more people on my side of the family. It'll be a long trip when we stop to feed and give Marshall a break from his car seat, but we're excited to see everyone!

That's it for now. I'll be back next week with some recent meals and (hopefully) Marshall's birth story. Yikes.

Monday, June 23, 2014

One Month

Today, a certain someone turned one month old!

Marshall's one month stats:

  • Approximately 10 pounds (we'll find out at the doctor tomorrow)
  • Roughly 24 inches tall
  • Sleeping about 2-3 hours at a time (at most)--Mommy and Daddy are pretty tired
  • Eating like a champ--and around the clock!
  • Wearing some cloth diapers and some disposables. Our favorite disposables are Honest Company; for cloth we use a mix of Charlie Banana and Bum Genius. After we get some more experience, I'll be sure to share how we feel about the whole cloth diaper thing, but it's been great to blend the two so far.
  • Wearing mostly 0-3 month clothes, and almost all the newborn stuff is too small already! He's also in Size 1 diapers.
  • Sleeping in a co-sleeper next to our bed, which is great for late night feedings, especially since we're waking up three or four times each night to feed him
  • The tough stuff: We've got a spitter! He spits up a LOT, which is rough, but thankfully he's a "happy spitter," so he's still gaining weight and getting his nutrients. 
All the fun stuff:
  • He's not smiling yet, but we're getting closer! He does lots of "comfort smiles" as he falls asleep or when he's finished eating, so that's a sign I think.
  • We love all his faces! He has so many expressions now that show us his little personality. I can't wait to see a real smile, but these faces are so fun.

  • He loves dancing, especially with his daddy. It's been the best tool for calming him and having fun as a family. We like to listen to Pandora ("Golden Oldies" and "Tainted Love" radio stations are awesome!), and we have a "Marshall" playlist on iTunes.
  • He falls asleep almost instantly when we put him in his car seat and car rides are usually pretty easy. If we're at a red light too long, though, and he's awake--we're in trouble!
  • We love reading to him (children's books, but articles and our books, too), taking him for walks and picnics, finding new places to explore together, dancing, singing, and talking.
  • Tummy time is fun! Marshall doesn't seem to mind it most of the time, and we can definitely see some improvements already as he lifts his head.
  • I absolutely love holding him. I think I'm aware of the fact that he will only be this little (and this interested in being held) for a little while, so I'm soaking up the opportunity. I like snuggling with him, smelling his sweet newborn scent.
  • Marshall also loves the bath! We've only done a few, but he seems so calm and happy in there.
  • This month Marshall got to meet a lot of our friends and family and was blessed with tons of presents to welcome him to the world. He's so lucky! 
  • Terry was home ALL month, so we really got to bond as a family. Terry took at least as much responsibility for Marshall's care as I did, and we both feel really familiar with his needs and what works to keep him happy and healthy. I think the fact that he was able to be home made the transition into parenthood so much easier, even though it's still super tough.
Today was Terry's first day back to work and my first full day alone with Marshall. Everything went great! We have no sense of a schedule still, but today included:
  • Snuggling in bed and snoozing a bit more after Daddy left for work.
  • Tummy time and play time in Marshall's nursery

  • Lots of feedings and diaper changes
  • Two naps in his co-sleeper (45 minutes in the morning, about 90 minutes in the afternoon), and Mom even rested during the second nap!
  • A walk in the park (I brought my lunch and ate on the grass while Marshall napped)

  • Some dancing, singing, silly games (note to self: Maybe playing "Hokey Pokey" with a kid who loves to spit up isn't the best idea), reading
Terry made it home by about 5:30 and even brought me some gorgeous flowers. 

Happy One Month Birthday, Marshall!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Three Weeks Postpartum

Yesterday Marshall turned three weeks old! We are halfway through what nearly every parent has told us is the hardest part (the first six weeks), and we're surviving. Actually, "surviving" seems a bit harsh--we're doing far better than I expected. Before Marshall came along, I was most nervous about this time, and I felt overwhelmed just at the thought of becoming a parent. Will we know what to do? Will we sleep at all? Will we be living in chaos, just trying to stay afloat?

Turns out Terry had a lot of similar fears. We both pictured some sort of post-apocalyptic war zone in our apartment--an insurmountable pile of dishes in the sink, baby items haphazardly strewn about every room, two unshowered and malnourished parents walking around like zombies. This, my friends, is what we thought parenting would be like.

Um, what made us decide to get pregnant? Apparently we were crazy.

But it turns out we were completely wrong. Thanks to lots of help from friends and family, tons of meals provided for us, and the fact that Terry has four full weeks off work, we've really found this time far more joyful and far less stressful than we originally imagined.

I thought I'd provide just a short update about how we're doing three weeks in, three weeks away from Marshall's birth.

37 weeks pregnant (our last pregnancy photo)

Marshall at one week old

37 weeks

(You'll notice a significant difference in my general appearance...I'm a little tired.)

 I do plan to write out a whole post about labor and delivery, but I'm not quite ready yet. Spoiler alert: everyone came out healthy, but it didn't go anything like we had hoped or planned. I'm still processing the whole thing, but I do hope that sharing Marshall's birth story will benefit other moms and moms-to-be.

Meanwhile, here's what's happening around here.

Our New Routine
Parenthood is exhausting, just like everyone says. Our friends Heidi and Ed (whose little girl is three weeks older than Marshall) told us that they had been warned about how tired they'd be but that they didn't really understand until Kayla was born. I completely agree. People can warn you, and you might even consider yourself "prepared", but I had no way of wrapping my mind around the fact that there's no real way to recover from this type of exhaustion. And I'm lucky! Terry is amazing. Our nightly routine is: I feed Marshall one on side, Terry burps him, Terry changes his diaper, I feed him on the other side, Terry puts him to sleep. Without Terry's help I would be far more exhausted, but it's still about an hour at a time that we're awake each feeding. At this point, Marshall wakes up to eat three or four times each night (between 9 pm and 8 am).

During the day, we try to get up and moving by 8 am so that we can have some sense of a routine. In the mornings, Marshall is most alert, so we like to play, do tummy time, read, sing, dance, and talk. We tend to get three hours between feedings during the early part of the day. In the evenings Marshall is most unpredictable. Sometimes he'll eat for three hours without much of a break; other times he gives us a little nap between meals. We tend to stay close to home in the evenings. He'll go down "for the night" around 9, and we'll get a little mom and dad time before heading to bed.

I'm thrilled to say that nursing is going really well. We've hit some tough spots since Marshall's arrival--a very difficult labor and delivery, a bout of jaundice that sent us back to the hospital for two nights--but thankfully breastfeeding has been a very natural, positive experience. Marshall is gaining weight like a champ. He was 7 pounds, 12 ounces when he was born, and he's close to ten pounds now!

I'm hungry ALL the time from nursing, and I often scrounge for food in the middle of the night between feedings.

My doctor encouraged me to be up and walking as much as I feel comfortable, so we've been extending our walks a little each day. It's not even power walking yet, but I'm getting there. The fresh air and change of scenery (we've walked somewhere different every day) have also been tremendously helpful in keeping me feeling positive amidst all the changes that parenthood brings. Otherwise, I'm avoiding any exercise (I'm not supposed to pick up anything heavier than the baby, so I'm just focusing on walks).

Other Physical Progress
Since I had a C-section (yeah...I'll give all those details in the birth story soon), my movement has been fairly limited, especially the first two weeks. Luckily everything is healing really nicely, and my scar is virtually invisible (my doctor is a brilliant surgeon, so if surgery had to happen I'm glad he was there). I feel the most pain when I try to sit up in bed, but even that is getting better. Marshall likes to "jump" on my belly sometimes, which obviously hurts a bunch, but I keep telling Terry that the pain is nothing compared to the pain of labor (in fact, I never took any pain meds after surgery because my sense of pain was so warped from labor!). I'm thankful that the pain is finally subsiding, though.

Some strange aftermath of surgery: I never get the urge to go to the bathroom anymore (apparently very normal), so I have to just remember to go. Huge difference from pregnancy when I felt the urge even if I didn't have to go! My belly is super soft, and obviously I won't be strengthening it anytime soon. It's sort of odd to have such a different body from pre-pregnancy, but I'm in no rush to get back where I was. I mostly want to make sure I'm getting enough calories to feed Marshall and continue my walks. Also, I'm shockingly relaxed. All of my energy and attention is on my family. If something doesn't get done, I let it roll off my back. I hope I can keep up that attitude for a very long time!

Emotional Temperature
This one is tough to describe. The first two weeks were really rough. I didn't expect it (and people tried to warn me about this one, too!). I cried constantly. And I hate crying in front of other people! I blame a lot of those tears on the fact that I was so upset about how the delivery went, but some of it was just processing all the overwhelming changes we were experiencing and feeling completely terrified of never feeling normal again.

Three weeks in, I'm still a little fragile, but I definitely don't cry every day. I still feel overwhelmed sometimes, especially when I think about Terry going back to work or when I'm extra tired. But overall I know I'm getting better every day, and mostly I just can't believe how lucky we are to have such a healthy, "easy" baby (so far) who makes us laugh and has brought tons of joy in his young life.

The Highlights
My favorite moments of the last three weeks:

  • Terry announcing to me that it's a boy! I had no preference (really!), but I was thrilled!
  • Terry bringing Marshall over to me for the first time (remember when I said I'm not crying every day anymore? Yeah, I just started crying again)
  • On that note, watching Terry become a dad. He is a complete natural and absolutely adorable with Marshall.

  • Holding our little boy for the first time and feeling an overwhelming sense of calm, like holding this baby was exactly what I'd been waiting for my whole life
  • My brother telling me how proud he was of me after the delivery
  • Leaning on my husband nearly every moment of the first two weeks and knowing he'd be there. He never left my side!
  • Seeing our parents become grandparents--they are all overjoyed!
  • All the support and encouragement from our closest friends. I have desperately needed their texts, calls, cards, and e-mails, and I'm so grateful for the love and support.

Hope you're having a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Photos from Lately

A few very generous friends have brought along some awesome meals and groceries for us. It's been wonderful to be able to choose between cooking our own meals (which has helped us feel more normal in the midst of all the chaos of having a newborn) or just heating up something scrumptious and pre-made. 

Oatmeal with lots of fun toppings


Banana-macadamia nut pancakes

We've been soaking up every moment of Marshall's sweet, young life. We love reading to him, singing for him, listening to his little sounds, watching him discover the world around him.

Scout is even creeping closer and closer.

When we're blessed with a little quiet time, we're also enjoying some quality time as husband and wife before Terry goes back to work. Like the time I threw down the word "thematic" in Scrabble.

And just so many snuggles.

Of course, it's not all easy. We think we have a pretty easy baby on our hands, but there are nights (like the last two...) when we barely get any sleep. Sometimes Marshall just doesn't want to sleep, or wants to eat again and again. We're still learning, and he's still getting used to us, so I know it's all part of the process. But Terry and I are managing to lean on each other to help ease the transition into parenthood, and hopefully we'll figure out some sort of a family routine soon. 

Today we enjoyed our first full, long day away from home with Marshall. I had a follow up appointment with my doctor in Santa Monica, so we took advantage of our proximity to our favorite neighborhood and stopped at Barney's Gourmet Burgers in Brentwood.

Long before I was even pregnant, we used to walk this neighborhood almost daily (in fact, it's very close to where Terry proposed to me...also on a walk!). We would pass by Barney's and almost inevitably see a couple with a stroller. And I remember thinking how excited I was to someday have a stroller of our own to walk through the neighborhood and stop for a leisurely lunch. Today, I got to experience exactly that. I definitely believe that a little faith will bring tremendous joy, and I am so lucky to have this life.

Also, the burgers were phenomenal. I had this Greek burger.

We stopped at UCLA for a little bit, too. We picked up a onesie for Marshall, took a few photos, and grabbed some Diddy Riese.

By the time we got home around 6:30, we were exhausted. It was the most active day I've had since Marshall was born, so I'm sure I'll feel that tomorrow. But mostly I'm just thrilled that I got to spend such a fun day with my boys.

Hope you're having a great week!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Marshall Terence

I never imagined that two days before my due date I'd be writing a post about my 11-day-old son! But he's here; he has taken over our lives in the best possible way. Terry and I are proud, thrilled, and overjoyed to welcome our baby boy...

Marshall Terence Heinrich

Born Friday, May 23, 2014 at 3:36 pm

7 pounds, 12 ounces, 20.5 inches long

I know I've been away for quite a while; obviously we had an early arrival and have been rather busy. I'll need some time to get adjusted to life with a newborn, to gather my thoughts about labor and delivery, to try to find the words to describe this huge change in our lives.

Meanwhile, here are some photos of the last week or so:

Thursday, May 22, in labor (before it got rough)

How cute are these signs?

And then...Marshall was here!

With my parents

Jenn and Justin meeting our little guy

Heidi and her daughter Kayla

New dads Edward and Terry

Proud parents leaving the hospital

Introducing Scout to the new arrival

Don't worry; PopPop was there to take pictures as we arrived home.

The closest Scout has come to Marshall so far.

Our first family walk (Marshall was one week old)

I hope to return to "normal" blogging over the next week or so as we adjust to our odd sleeping schedule and get acquainted with Marshall. For now, we send lots of thanks and appreciation to so many people who have supported us, brought us meals, sent cards or other thoughtful gifts, visited us, waited patiently to visit us (equally appreciated), and assured us we're doing a good job. We are so lucky!