Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Weighty Wednesday: Round 4

Well it's that time again. Time to lose the baby weight. Ugh. I mean, woohoo! This will be fun!

I gained a total of 43 pounds during this pregnancy. Since giving birth I have lost 21. The majority of that was in the first week, and then the rest in the second week. I haven't lost any more weight these last two weeks. That means I have 22 pounds of baby weight left to lose, but I'm going to add 5 more on to that to bring me to my ideal weight.

I know it's only been a month since birth, but I'm anxious to start fitting in to some regular clothes. I am so sick of my maternity clothes! Plus most of them are for the Winter, and I'm ready to wear some cute warmer-weather clothes. I'm also excited to have more energy. It can get tiring walking around with an extra 20-30 pounds on my body!

So how do I plan on losing the weight? I'm not really sure. What have you done to lose baby weight? In the past I have set a new goal each week and that seemed to work. For example, one week I'd give up sugar. Then the next week I'd make a goal of eating 3 vegetables per day, or walking 30 minutes every day, etc. Basically I slowly started incorporating healthier habits in to my daily lifestyle. This week I'm just going to start paying more attention to what I'm eating and how much I'm moving. Fewer white carbs and sugar, more fruits and veggies, and hopefully more walks with the kids. I'm starting out slow because this whole life-with-4-kids thing is still pretty crazy.

To kick off my 27-pound weight loss I'm going to try to take a picture of everything I eat today to share on here next week. That always helps keep me accountable.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Andrew: 1 Month

My sweet little baby Andrew, you are already 1 month old!

So far I would say you are not quite as fussy and your older brothers, but definitely not as content as Jenna at this age. You prefer to be held a lot, and you aren't happy just laying by yourself. The evenings are the worst, when you have your "witching hours" while we're trying to eat dinner and get ready for bed.

Speaking of bedtime, you are doing okay at night. After the big kids are in bed I typically nurse you to sleep around 8:30 or 9. I can usually place you in your bassinet next to our bed, and you will give me a good 4-hour stretch of sleep. But then from 1 or 2am until the morning, things are a big of a blur. You usually end up sleeping next to me in bed and nursing off and on. It's not ideal but I'm in survival mode right now, so any sleep is welcome.
Your appearance is changing so much every day! Once the initial swelling went down your face started to look a lot smaller, and your nose looked bigger! Ha. You seem to have what we call a "piggy" nose. You can really see it in this picture.

The other day I heard Lucas having a little conversation with you. He said "Now Baby Andrew, Mommy can't hold you all day! She has to get snacks down for me from the top cabinet. So you need to stop crying, ok?"

You are such a strong little boy!! When you were just a week old I put you on your tummy and you rolled over. Since then you continue to roll over pretty much whenever you are on your tummy. Your body feels very hard and muscular to me. I remember when Jenna was a baby she felt so soft and squishy. (And she still does!). But you are solid!
 I was trying to take your 1-month pictures but you were just intent on looking out the window!

You gave me a couple little smiles this week. I love when my babies start to interact more and smile. I can't wait to hear your little giggles!

I mentioned before that you often seem uncomfortable. You are constantly grunting and straining like you have to poop. You are also a master burper. I burp you multiple times during your feedings and you almost always let out a loud burp. You are also my first baby that I felt hiccupping in utero, and now you often get the hiccups. You're just full of air!
I love you so much Andrew! You were such a surprise addition to our family but now I can't imagine our family without you!

Friday, March 24, 2017

4 Babies

When Andrew was first born my first impression of him was familiar. He looked like a baby I had seen before. The more I examined him the more I decided he looked like Ryan. I think it was his blond hair and perfectly round head. (The doctors commented that they don't often see such perfectly shaped heads from vaginal births!) But then other people started saying Andrew looks like Lucas. And they keep saying it! Then just yesterday Andrew did something that reminded me of Jenna as a baby. So I'd say he's a good mix of his 3 siblings, with a big dose of Andrew mixed in!




Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Andrew's 2-Week Checkup

Andrew had his 2- week checkup with his doctor yesterday, although it was actually 2 weeks since he got home from the hospital. So he was 3 weeks old during this checkup!
At birth Andrew weighed 8 lbs 6 oz. When he was released from the hospital I believe he was 8 lbs 4 oz. Yesterday at 3 weeks old he was 9 lbs 5 oz. I was relieved to see that he is growing really well!

I talked to the doctor about Andrew's fussiness. So far he is a fairly fussy baby, and I've noticed he often seems uncomfortable. He is always grunting and straining like his tummy hurts, and he often cries after nursing. The doctor said it is nearly impossible to know if I'm eating something that is passing through my breastmilk and bothering him. Of course dairy is a common allergy, and I did eliminate this from my diet when my first 2 boys were young. They were both very fussy infants, and cutting out dairy did seem to help. If Andrew becomes fussier or shows signs of colic during the next few weeks I may try this and see if it helps. Of course this could just be his temperament and he could just be a more sensitive baby!

The doctor was very happy with Andrew's growth and he said I could allow him to go up to 5 hours at night without eating. Hear that baby Andrew??

I'll post another Andrew update next week when he turns 1 month old. Time is flying!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Big Kids

We interrupt the abundance of baby Andrew photos to share a few updates on "The Big Kids".

Jenna is officially lumped in with her older brothers and labeled a big kid. Because let's be real, she's almost on the same maturity level as them!
 Lately she's been acting like a sassy little teenager but it's impossible to be mad at her!
Poor Ryan. His school called me Friday morning and asked me to come get him because his eyes were basically swollen shut. This was him at home after the Benadryl. Apparently it was even worse at school. The doctor confirmed he was dealing with really bad allergies, but he also diagnosed him with Allergic Conjunctivitis, which is a non-contagious form of pinkeye caused by allergies.

Lucas has been surprising me with how gentle he is with Andrew. And of course he adores his little sister and never leaves her alone.

The weather has been so beautiful that we've finally been spending more time outside. (Hello allergies!)

The big kids have been practicing their flips.

And my biggest "kid" has been keeping busy with odd jobs around the house. Today he made a carpenter bee trap for our backyard. I had never heard of these before we moved up here. They are huge bees that burrow holes in wood, so they like to hang out in our yard right near our wooden overhang.

I told him he needs to build us a mosquito trap next.

I'm sure I'll be sharing more baby pictures in my next post!

Monday, March 13, 2017

First Week At Home

Warning: Lots of baby photos ahead!
 Andrew has been home for a week now.
 So far his siblings are completely smitten with him!
When Andrew was 6 days old I started putting him on his tummy to help him strengthen his neck muscles. I turned around for a second and he rolled over!
Yesterday he was having tummy time again and he rolled over 3 times! I think we've got a strong little guy on our hands.
Jenna calls Andrew her "brother baby".
I tested out the Baby Bjorn this week to start getting Andrew used to being worn. I'm going to have to wear him when I take and pick up Ryan from school, since my hands will be pushing the other two in the stroller.
 I feel like Andrew looks so different already! In the hospital his face was really pudgy but now he sees to have thinned out. Or maybe he was just swollen during his first week of life.
 I took these pictures the other night and when I looked at my phone I thought "who is this baby?"
So far Andrew is sleeping pretty well at night. He goes to sleep around 9pm and gets up at 1am and then 4 or 5 to nurse.
We've been calling him "Angry Andrew" because he always has a grumpy look on his face. He has a wrinkle right between his eyes that makes him look like he's frowning. He also has a really loud cry and he gets quite upset when he's hungry or tired!
During the day he is much more awake and alert. I'm glad he already has his days and nights figured out!
Now we'll see what life will be like with Adam back at work. I'm curious to see how the other kids react to getting less attention. Life is about to get crazy!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Andrew's NICU Visit

Shortly after Andrew was born we noticed he was very jittery and shaky. The nurse checked his blood sugar and found that it was 33. They like it to be at least 40, but preferably higher. I nursed him and the number increased. But then once I was in my recovery room they checked it again and his sugar had dropped to just 25.

Around this time the nurse also started to notice that Andrew's breathing was quite rapid. It would slow down but then it would soon speed up again. This irregular breathing can be normal for newborns, but when Andrew's breathing was rapid they noticed his skin sucking in under his ribs, which is called retractions. This rapid labored breathing was concerning enough that they called in a pediatrician, who asked that I start supplementing with formula, in case Andrew was dehydrated. Over the next day Andrew's blood sugar and shakiness improved but his rapid breathing did not.

On Wednesday morning, 1 day after Andrew was born, the decision was made to admit him to the NICU. The doctor's concern was that his symptoms could indicate the beginning of an infection. After she left the room I was stunned. This was my 4th baby. We should have been going home by now. I hadn't been able to shower since birth so I got in the shower while Adam watched the baby. But then the nurse came in and told Adam to tell me to hurry up because we needed to get down to the NICU right away.

As I quickly got myself dressed I couldn't help but cry. Everything was just so overwhelming. During the long walk down to the NICU I couldn't stop crying. My baby was sick, I was in pain, I missed my kids at home, and I was exhausted.

This was my first experience in a NICU. It was immediately obvious that Andrew was not a very sick baby. I looked around and saw babies whose heads were half the size of his. Babies who were hooked up to feeding tubes, catheters, and all sorts of other life-saving equipment. The nurses told me they have taken care of 1-pound babies.
Andrew was immediately started on a 48-hour course of antibiotics, as a precautionary measure. His blood was taken to check for infection, and an x-ray was ordered to check his lungs. Andrew's breathing rate was supposed to remain between 40 and 70 but it kept rising into the 80's and 90's. The nurse suggested Adam and I take a break and get some food while they got everything situated. It was a very strange feeling going back to my room without my baby.

I sent Adam home that night to help take care of the big kids. My new routine was to go down to the NICU every 3 hours. The nurses and I would check his vitals and then I would nurse him for around 30 minutes. Then if he still seemed hungry I would supplement with formula or breastmilk. He would then go back in his little bed to sleep. I would walk back to my room and pump so that I could supplement with breastmilk on my next NICU visit. After I pumped I would wash all the parts, maybe eat a snack or fill out hospital paperwork, and then I'd have about 45 minutes to rest until it was time to head back to the NICU and snuggle my baby.
My silly boy kept trying to eat the IV on his hand, even though it was covered in tape.
I was discharged from my room Thursday morning. Thankfully I was provided a "boarder room" where I could stay for free at Kaiser. But since I was no longer a patient I was not given access to any food or nurse care. It was about this time that the post-birth hormones kicked in and I began to experience awful episodes of shivering. This happened after all my other babies so I was prepared for it. I would shake so hard I would have a hard time holding on to things. I would sleep in my clothes, wrapped in my warm bathrobe, under 3 blankets. Then I would wake up 45 minutes later absolutely drenched in sweat.

Thursday night I walked down to the cafeteria at 6:30 to find it was already closed. I think this was my lowest point during the week. My body was in so much pain from giving birth and then from all the tensing up during my shivering. I was so cold and tired walking back to my room, and I had no way to get food, other than from the vending machines. I wouldn't say I was feeling sorry for myself, but it was just a lot to handle by myself. That evening in the NICU one of the nurses asked me if I had eaten dinner. When she found out I hadn't, she went and collected a bag of snacks and treats for me. She encouraged me to take care of myself so that I could produce milk and take care of Andrew. She was an amazingly kind nurse.

While all this was going on, Andrew was still just being monitored in the NICU. His breathing was still rapid, and the constant alarms alerting me to a low heartrate or a lack of oxygen were so stressful to listen to. Eventually the nurses said not to look at the numbers on the screen, but rather to look at Andrew. He obviously looked healthy.
Andrew's x-ray results showed "hazy wet" lungs. His blood culture showed no signs of infection, which was excellent news. The doctor decided that he most likely had residual water in his lungs from birth. When a baby is being born, the pressure from each contraction helps to squeeze amniotic fluid out of the baby's lungs. Because Andrew was born so quickly, he wasn't able to get all the fluid out. This is most likely what caused his rapid breathing.
I feel so grateful to God that Andrew's diagnosis was nothing serious. I'm trying not to view him as extra fragile or sick just because he was in the NICU. My heart goes out to the Moms who have really sick babies in the hospital.

Andrew was discharged on Saturday morning and he finally got to go home and meet his family!
Baby Andrew is such a blessing and I thank God that he is at home with us. Two days after he was discharged he was already just 1 oz away from his birth weight at the doctor's office. We are in love with our healthy baby boy!