Last night Shelton leaned down to place Paisley in her swing and before he could move away from her, she ripped a fart that a truck driver would be proud of. And I died from laughing. Shelton had to giggle too, a little shocked but still managed to find it mildly adorable.
Welcome to our new lives.
Today, Paisley is 23 days old. I can tell you with absolute certainty that these have been the best, and fastest, 23 days of my life. There’s been so much going on, so much change and lots of chasing lost sleep that I have neglected to write. I’m disappointed in that for myself, I feel like I’ve already missed the chance to capture so much, and for not sharing more here. That is being alleviated slowly, and of course I’ll get back on the bandwagon soon.
She is spectacular in every way and I genuinely mean that this whole “being a mom thing” has exceeded every expectation I have. I am in love with her, with this role, with our new family, all of it. There’s been a lot of adjusting, and yet it feels as though she’s been here all along. Funny how that works.
So I’m going to do a sort of FAQ thing here to answer some of those burning questions that always seem to come up when talking to people.
(This post, like the birth story post, is epically long. I’ll get caught up one of these days and go back to blog posts that aren’t equal in length to a Harry Potter book.)
Ahhhh that question follows us everywhere we go. The answer? Who knows. She’s either a really good blend of both of us or she doesn’t favor either of us. However, most friends and family have an opinion on the subject and will adamantly assert that she “looks just like Brandi” or “looks exactly like Shelton.” Neither of us see it.
What we do see is that she undeniably has my nose. It looks like a little button. Plus she’s small, so this is how she adopted the nickname “button”, one of many I’ve bestowed upon her.
She has freaking gorgeous blue eyes. The shape of her eyes is delicious, and the blue is stunning. I know it’s stunning because those are my blues! Not necessarily my shape, but my color.
Some people would say she has porcelain skin – Shelton and I say she is pigmentless. This she inherited from her father.
I love her hair. I have no idea where it’s going to go, but what she has now I think is beautiful. It’s very dark and appears straight until it gets wet/dries and then it shows signs of becoming curly like mine; when it dries it’s also fluffy like a baby goose. In the right light, it also lights up with Shelton’s red tones. So hair type and color are TBD.
I think she has big hands and feet, and if that’s true I have no idea where she got those.
At three weeks she is finally back up to her birth weight of 7lb/7oz. She spent two weeks down at 6/14, which was fine by me because she remained teeny tiny a little longer.
PS we think she is SO pretty!
Yes, she eats. Sometimes she’s like a hungry hippo and other times she’s like a hen-peck bird. I am breastfeeding. This was not a decision I came upon lightly. To be perfectly honest I never once had any desire to breastfeed; I thought it sounded horrendous. I know all the benefits and get rather annoyed with the whole “breastfeeding propaganda” group (as I like to call them), especially because I can count more formula-fed kids than I can breast-fed kids and none of them have lost limbs, they’re all capable of speaking the English language and they didn’t develop a rare form of leprosy.
HOWEVER… knowing the benefits, given that she’s staying home with me, and the fact that my husband over the years has turned me from a money-burning spender into a cheap-ass money hoarder… I knew I had to give it a fair shot. I was a Girl Scout after all, try everything at least once.
I was so dead set on not breastfeeding that I didn’t spend a single second learning, researching or asking questions about the process prior to delivering her. I figured if it failed as miserably as I knew it would, then I’d have a solid excuse.
So the night Paisley was born, the nurses told me I had to do her first feeding within two hours. I looked at the clock and knew I had to feed her by 9:05 pm, and began procrastinating and the “we’ll get to it” excuses. Visit with the family. Give her a bath. Let me eat. Oh, she needs a shot now, great. Et Cetera. At 9:00 the nurse was like, you should probably feed her. The moment I’d been DREADING had arrived. I had to feed this baby with my boobs.
I was actually quite comfortable with this particular nurse so I allowed her to help me get started. She introduced the football hold (for the baby, not my breast), showed me how to “sandwich” my nipple (the explanation about a giant hamburger vs. a small one was hilarious) and place it in her mouth and help her latch. And bingo, she was on and she was eating (the baby, not the nurse).
I tell you no lies when I say it’s been that simple ever since. I’ve not had a lick of trouble – none of the usual suspects of cracking, bleeding, etc. Paisley took to it like she’s been doing it all her life (I guess she has been!) and remains a skilled pro.
I’ve done every feeding, every two to four hours, since she was born. During the past week or so we’ve realized this isn’t always entirely convenient. Granted, nothing could be more convenient than carrying around two gallon jugs of milk on your chest with ready-to-serve nipples, but I’m not one of those flop-’em-out kinda girls. You will not find me nursing my baby in the booth at Chili’s. Just saying.
On Mother’s Day Shelton took me out for dinner; Bonefish, a place we really enjoy and the only place in Wichita you can get fresh fish that doesn’t involve the word “fest” in some sort of marketing promotion. I fed her before we left the house and planned to have MY FIRST GLASS OF WINE (oh it was heaven, let me tell you), so I’d pumped enough to take care of her when we got home. Knowing that she might, MIGHT decide she was hungry in between, I packed a freshly pumped bottle to take with us. Thus making me a smart mama! Toward the end of our meal she got hungry, and Shelton fed her for the first time, her first bottle. She took it very well, and proved that we don’t have to be under house arrest.
I finally started pumping, and that’s been a big relief. Now we can go anywhere and not worry about where, how or if I’ll be able to feed her. But, I don’t seem to be able to pump quite enough, so I asked the doctor if we could occasionally use formula and he was all for it.
Now, you want ironic twists? Me, who wanted nothing to do with the feeding a la breast went out to purchase a can of baby formula and when the time came to make a bottle with it, I felt completely guilty and couldn’t bring myself to do it. I avoided making that bottle for two days! Not because I felt like her limbs would never grow and she’d never learn to speak if I gave her formula, but we’ve been doing such a great job with the breastfeeding I didn’t want to let either of us down.
Putting my rational hat back on, I knew it would be fine. And it was. She seemed to take it just fine. Formula bottles aren’t the norm, still hooking her up to the mommy pumps and pumping bottles and the formula is our plan C back-up.
Yes, she sleeps. I’d give her a B+/A- on this habit of hers. Lots of one to three hour naps during the day, which is great because I can get some things done. Those one-hour naps are killer, I don’t get as many things done. And while it would be really cool if I could set her down and go about my business, that’s not a possibility. According to my mother I gave birth to myself… if she’s not being held, she ain’t happy.
At night, we get anywhere from three to five hours of sleep out of her. The three-hour nights are great, the five-hour nights we want to make out with her and buy her ponies. One for each hour of sleep.
We know we’re fortunate in this area, and we keep our fingers crossed that the infamous “other shoe” doesn’t drop. It could. It might. But we’re taking sleep, like everything else, one day at a time. Some days are victories, other days we’re zombies. She doesn’t seem to care either way.
She is currently sleeping in our room. She’s still my tiny bits (one of my many nicknames for her) and I’m not ready to send her to the other side of the house quite yet. The first week or so, she would only give us decent sleep if she were lying on my chest. So that’s how we slept, chest to chest. Oh I savored it. She was warm and soft and delightful. However, I knew this wasn’t a long-term solution and that we couldn’t keep it up for long. Plus, my back was boycotting this habit. On the nights we put her in her pack-n-play crib, she screams. Wails. Wants nothing to do with it. So now she spends most of her sleeping hours in her big, round, popason swing. She loves it. She sleeps. We sleep. Yay for the swing!
During the day her naps take place wherever I can peel her off my body without waking her. The crease in the center of the couch cushions. The middle of our bed. In the Boppy. But more and more I’m trying to make those daytime naps take place in her actual crib. She does well in there, and I’m hoping that will make the transition easier. When we decide to do it. When she’s seven.
Can I tell you that watching her sleep will probably start showing up on my resume for favorite activities. It’s the best!!! She wiggles and squirms and chirps and groans and her little tiny feet just kick and flail about because they have no idea what to do with themselves. Even better than that? Picking her up from sleeping. I could eat her. With a spoon. She is warm and just nuzzles into my neck and coos and, well, I could eat her. But I hear that’s frowned upon.
We’re loving every minute in our new roles – defined as daddy man and mommy lady. She’s made every moment of the past six years well worth every ounce of the wait.