Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Two Weeks and Connor Returns

Kaitlynn turned two weeks old on Sunday! Today we had her 2-week visit with the pediatrician and she is doing great. I was super surprised to learn how much weight she has gained -- she is now up to 7 pounds, 12 ounces! That is almost an entire pound she has gained over her birth weight, no doubt because she is entirely bottle-fed with breastmilk. She's also longer than her birth size -- from 18 3/4 inches up to 20 1/4 inches today. Her weight is in the 50th percentile, her length in the 75th percentile, and her head size in the 75th percentile. The doctor was very pleased with her growth.

In other news, MeMe came back to Houston this week to bring Connor back to us after keeping him for an entire week. We sure missed the little guy (it was so quiet without him!) and are so glad to have him back. Most moms will understand when I say how much bigger Connor looked to me after having just the newborn all week! He seems to be adjusting to having a little sister and always wants to give her hugs and kisses. He is very proud to be a big brother!
Yesterday one of Connor's school friends, Kate, came over to visit and to meet Kaitlynn. Connor was overjoyed to play with Kate! Kate's mom, Cameron, is expecting another little girl very soon. As Kate leaned in to take a look at baby Kaitlynn, I asked her if she was excited to be getting a little sister like Connor's. Overhearing this, Connor protectively leaned over Kaitlynn and said, "But this one is MINE." He wanted to make it clear that Kate couldn't have HIS little sister!

This is one of my favorite pics yet -- showing us her beautiful smile!
Thanks Grandma Cheryl for this precious monkey set with the softest yellow blankie!
I am always taking pictures of Kaitlynn sleeping. I just can't resist!
Serious face.
Snoozing on Collin's shoulder.
Jeff and Kevin enjoying Kaitlynn's awake time.
Here she is!
Dad and Kaitlynn have a little chat.
Washing her hair.
Kevin enjoys a cuddle.
Here is a photo of Kaitlynn covering her face, as if she's saying "Woe is me!"
And here's another one of the same position. We actually have a sonogram photo of her doing the same thing with her hand over her face.
Another bath time pic.
Dad admires his clean girl.
This was Connor's favorite position as a baby...we'll see how Kaitlynn likes it.
Passed out with Kevin.
The boys thought she looked cute here, as if she was thinking very hard about something.
Here's the first bath with big brother Connor.
Resting peacefully with MeMe.

Kaitlynn was trying really hard to find some milk from Daddy's cheek!

Connor loved having a visit from his good friend Kate.

As Kate's mom and I were visiting, we noticed it was suddenly VERY quiet. I peeked around the corner and found Connor and Kate engrossed in their coloring!
Kate's mom Cameron meets Kaitlynn. Cameron is expecting another little girl any day now!
Connor loves his baby sister!
They are so sweet to watch!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Newborn Adventures

Kaitlynn is over a week old now! It's hard to believe how quick the time is passing, despite the little sleep these days. I can't complain much though because my parents have kept Connor with them in East Texas this week, so I've had this entire week to focus exclusively on Kaitlynn and her needs. I have to say (as I knock on some wood) that she is so far a great baby. She rarely cries (more on that in a moment) and just sleeps so much. In the past couple of days, I think she's had maybe 2-4 hours of awake time in each 24-hour day. I expect a newborn to sleep a lot, but we just rarely get the opportunity to see those blue eyes. I'm sure she'll snap out of it soon and then I may regret wishing for more awake time!

Today her umbilical cord stump fell off so we'll probably be giving her a real bath soon. She also seems to have developed a blocked tear duct in one of her eyes. It causes that eye to become matted with yellowish goop, kind of like conjunctivitis (pink eye), and we're supposed to massage her inner eye to encourage the tear duct to open up. Hopefully it'll clear up soon.

Thanks to several of you for your encouraging words about my challenges with breastfeeding. I'm disappointed to say that it hasn't improved. I actually hired yet another lactation consultant who spent a couple hours with us this week. I was going to try to give up the bottles completely, but I've since given up on that idea (for now). For a baby that rarely cries, it is SO hard to see how frustrated Kaitlynn gets when I try to nurse her. She screams like I've never heard before which of course makes me feel awful. So rather than stress both of us out, I'm just going to keep pumping and bottle-feeding for now so I can keep the peace in the house! I'll keep trying to nurse occasionally but I'm going to try not to feel too disappointed if we can't make it work. At least she's getting breast milk!

A quick pic with the self-timer.
A rare photo of Kaitlynn wide awake.
Here is where Kaitlynn sleeps at night, in a Moses basket right next to our bed. And the flashlight is for when I need to sneak a peek to make sure she's doing ok.A close-up shot of Kaitlynn's basket. Thanks to cousins Makenna and Madison for letting us borrow it!
Snuggled up with Dad.She curls up like a kitten!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all the wonderful Daddies out there, including my own Dad and of course my husband Jeff! With all the chaos in our house these days, I wanted to make sure that the meaning of today didn't get overlooked. So here are a few words to express my appreciation for the father of my children.

One of the very first things I remember learning about my husband was that he already knew what he wanted written on his epitaph. That may sound strange to some, but there was something so intriguing to me about this. Imagine, knowing exactly what you want the outcome of your life to be in words. For Jeff, it was simple: "Great husband, great father, and great friend." That's it. That's all he's ever wanted out of life. In those few words, it may seem like such an easy goal to reach. But those of us that participate in the daily juggling act of marriage, children, work, finances, etc. know all too well how difficult it is to be great at one thing, much less many things.

On this Father's Day, I want my husband to know he is not just GREAT. He is AWESOME! Jeff is my constant companion, my emotional support, my personal handyman and Mr. Fix-It. He is one of the most selfless people I know, always wanting to make others happy, sometimes even foregoing his own desires in the process. As a father, he is one of the most hands-on and active Dads I've ever known. He takes such an interest in his kids and their unique traits and gifts, and he never shies away from any fatherly responsibility. No matter how busy, overworked, or exhausted he is, he makes a strong effort to attend every swim meet, bike ride, or other event that his kids are participating in. He is an incredible provider for our family and sacrifices tirelessly in so many ways in order for our needs and wants to be met.

Jeff, you are and always will be our great husband, great father, and great friend. Happy Father's Day! We love you!

Jeff and his 4 kiddos on Father's Day.

Celebrating at home with a yummy ice cream cake!

I love this Father's Day picture of Jeff and his baby girl.

Now it's my turn.

Collin feeds Kaitlynn a bottle. It's so neat that Collin and Kevin have taken such an interest in Kaitlynn - they always want to hold her and see what she's up to!

I can't resist taking pictures of her when she's sleeping - she looks so sweet and peaceful. I love this picture because she reminds me so much of Connor at that age, and her cheeks look so plump!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday Updates and Pics

Here are some recent updates with Kaitlynn. Today we visited her pediatrician for the first time. He was very pleased with her coloring (no jaundice!) and also that she has gained back much of the weight that she lost at the hospital. She is up to 6 pounds 10 ounces, so at least we know she is growing well. The doctor also didn't seem too worried about Kaitlynn's sleepiness. He thinks we should feed her every 2-3 hours during daytime and then let her sleep as long as she wants at night. I told him that if I let her sleep at night, she just would never wake up on her own (at least she hasn't so far) but he didn't seem worried by that. I've been waking her every 4 hours at night for feedings, so tonight at his suggestion I may extend it to 5 hours and see what happens.

And now please allow me to vent a little about breastfeeding. I'm convinced it's the best thing for Kaitlynn, but she is still not latching on well. I've been pumping since we came home from the hospital so that I could ensure she was eating enough but also to establish my milk supply. For the first few days Kaitlynn nursed better than she is doing now, and I'm sure it's because we introduced bottles which are SO much easier for her. When I try to nurse her now, she gets so mad and just WAILS out of frustration. I want so much to get to exclusive nursing (instead of pumping) but for now it's just so much easier to pump and bottle-feed. Everyone I talk to about this assumes I just need to work with a lactation consultant, but I have visited with 3 different consultants and they all said I was doing just fine. Fine?? Well I disagree because if I weren't supplementing with bottles then Kaitlynn would certainly have lost more weight by now. Anyway, I think my next step is to find a day to forego pumping completely and just try to nurse as often as we can until Kaitlynn just figures it out. The pediatrician thinks this approach will eventually work but of course may be very frustrating for both of us in the meantime.

OK, enough about that! Although it's been a hectic week, we are really enjoying Kaitlynn's presence in our family. She is so sweet, and our favorite times are when she's wide awake and looking intently at us with those blue eyes. Sometimes she's so quiet that we forget she's around though! Next week Jeff is returning to work, so Connor will be going to stay with my parents for the week while I try to get adjusted with the baby at home. It is so nice to have the wonderful help! We've also received some sweet gifts from family and friends this week and I've included some pics below to share.

Here she is wide awake! Love to see those eyes.

Kevin feeds his little sis a bottle.
So cuddly and cozy.
Here is a precious baby girl vase and beautiful flowers from Jeff's co-workers. I was impressed since he works with all guys and they sent this gift on their own accord!
Here is a beautiful homemade quilt we received from Jeff's Aunt Katie. She is tremendously talented and also made a quilt for Connor when he was newborn. I think it will look perfect hung on the wall in Kaitlynn's nursery. Thank you so much Aunt Katie!
Here are two handmade personalized bibs from Benjamin's (Connor's best friend) Noni and Poppy. They are so soft and beautiful!
And here are personalized burp cloths from Benjamin and his family - so precious! Benjamin's mom Julie and I have gotten close since our boys are such great friends, and I have been so blessed by her friendship.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Update from Home

Today is Kaitlynn's 3rd day at home. We are really enjoying having her around, but unlike most newborns I've encountered she's so quiet it's easy to forget she's here! It has become a real challenge to wake her up. She sleeps ALL the time and hasn't once woken up on her own. So this morning I'm hoping to get her in to see the pediatrician. She may have some symptoms of jaundice, but mostly I want to make sure her extreme sleepiness isn't a sign of something else. She hasn't made much progress on nursing (mostly because she's so sleepy) so I've been pumping and also supplementing some with formula. She does a little better with the bottle. It'll be interesting to see how much she weighs today. She's so small that most of her newborn clothes still completely swallow her!

UPDATE from 12:00 pm: We just got back from the ER. I tried getting in to the pediatrician this morning and they just weren't responsive enough, and by that time Jeff and I had worked ourselves into a panic about her. So we went to the local ER (right around the corner from our house). They got us right in but it still was a several hour process. It took them forever to get a vein for blood and IV fluids. Then they ran bloodwork and urine analysis. Finally everything came back -- perfectly normal! The bilirubin was a little high - 10.2, and if it gets to 12 or 13 she'll need to get treatment. Anyway, we feel very relieved and so we'll just keep doing what we've been doing. It was so funny because as soon as we got home from the ER, Kaitlynn was wide awake and crying for milk. We were like, if we had just waited 3 hours.... Ha! Probably a sign of things to come with her! ;-)

Yesterday Jeff and Connor gave Kaitlynn her first bath at home. She slept through most of it and then woke up at the end. We also asked Uncle Justin to take some quick family pics ... enjoy!

Kaitlynn's first bath at home.
Not too happy in this shot!All clean!
Jeff, Connor, and Kevin make sure she's clean.
I love this picture - she's finally wide awake and her blond hair is so fluffy!
Getting a bottle.
Nice and cozy.
Courtright kiddos.
Our newest family photo.