Thursday, February 28, 2013

Lukas: Three Months Old

Our little man is three months old today - growing up so very quickly! It's amazing how much older he looks in pictures compared to even just a couple weeks ago. I'm thankful for digital photography and the ability to take so many pictures of him at each stage of development. The unfolding of new life is an absolutely amazing thing to observe and participate in!

A major highlight of this past month was Lukas' second out-of-state trip: down to visit Joseph, Ami, and cousin Ruby in Arkansas for a few days. At three years old, Ruby was curious about Lukas but not quite sure how to respond to him. When asked if she would like to hold her baby cousin, she said, "I'd better wait until I'm a little bigger." Gave us all a good chuckle. :D It'll be a lot of fun to see how these two interact more and more as time passes.

While down in Arkansas we also attended the wedding of a good friend, Mary, to her Knight, Ben. Mary is a midwife so a large percentage of the 750-some guests were babies and young children. :) We felt in good company hanging out towards the back of the church surrounded by plenty of other youngins. Lukas was awake and squirmy for most of the wedding but thankfully not too noisy. Of course, then he fell sound asleep as soon as we got to the noisy, crowded reception room! :) It was a lot of fun introducing him to the many friends who were also there.

Lukas continues to bring an infinite measure of joy to our lives every day - more and more all the time, really, as he is increasingly interactive. He likes to lay on bed and just "talk" away cheerfully, giving me the biggest grins whenever I give him attention. When I'm making lunch I often set him in his bouncy seat where he can watch me working, and he'll "cheer" me on with an unending serenade of coos and grunts. Many times I catch him holding both hands in fists as if holding a steering wheel, while making noises that could pass for imitating a car engine. Obviously he's not consciously pretending to drive a car, but it cracks me up to see him doing it so often! He's definitely noticing his surroundings a lot more and a few times has begun to consciously hang on to a toy or a blanket. Not too much longer and everything will start going into his mouth, hehe. Just in the last week he's also been showing a lot more motivation to starting holding his head up while laying on his tummy, so I suspect it won't be that many more weeks before he's rolling over, too. My days of being able to leave him on the bed unattended are numbered!

Nursing has been going a little better, as the cranio-sacral adjustments have brought down his palate to a not-quite-so-high position. He has a much stronger suck now, but is still not able to nurse adequately without the SNS (Supplemental Nursing System). We are thankful for even the smallest of improvements, though, and pray he continues to progress to the point where the SNS is no longer needed. We were able to buy a nice double electric pump from my cousin this month, and finally able to return the rental pump to the hospital. Very thankful we can afford items like this which make our daily life so much easier!

After only one day of more than 5 hours sleep in his first 2.5 months of life, Lukas has graciously granted me 6 hours about 5 different nights in the last few weeks. So lovely! Feeding, changing diapers, and pumping generally takes around 90 minutes, but I'm usually able to get back to bed at that point and catch another hour or two of sleep. It's been absolutely wonderful to face most days feeling quite rested after several months of near-constant sleepiness, and I've been able to finally catch up on some projects around the house.

One new thing I've done with this newfound time is to begin cloth diapering. I'd intended to start after only a few weeks, but all the nursing challenges and my own difficult recovery made us decide to postpone the additional time-commitment of cloth diapers (thankful for friends and relatives who generously gave us plenty of diapers to cover the first few months!). So it was exciting to finally be able to pull out the cute cloth diapers and put them to use. I've been delighted at how well they are working for us! We're using a mix of pockets, prefolds, covers, and fitteds right now (a few received as gifts, and the rest I picked up second hand), and all have been working great. At the risk of sounding ultra-cruchy, I've really been having a lot of fun diapering with cloth and am so glad Joe is completely on board with it, too. He's a huge help.

We are so thankful for our happy little buddy, and looking forward to seeing what the next month holds!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Lukas: The First Two Months

We have been terribly lax in updating our blog here...something about the weariness of late pregnancy, and then the craziness of adjusting to life with a newborn. :) Joe has been posting a few times over on his personal blog, though, so if you haven't seen our baby news you'll want to check out these posts:

He's Here, He's Here!
Where Does the Time Go? (one-month update)

Now that I'm sort of getting this whole motherhood thing figured out (ha - I suspect I'll be eating those words!), I'm hoping to write up monthly update on how our little guy is doing, as well as posting a few favorite pictures for the benefit of friends and relatives who aren't on Facebook. Lukas turned 2 months old on January 27 and I wrote this not too long afterwards - I'm just late in getting it posted, but hopefully I can keep up with this better for future months. (Begging and pleading in the comments would be good motivation...just sayin'. ;) ) 

Our little Buddy, January 27, age two months (see the two fingers?).
 At two months of age, Lukas is becoming more and more fun all the time. He's been smiling responsively for a week or two now, occasionally throwing in what almost sounds like a little giggle now and then, and liking to hold "conversations" of coos and grunts and squeals. So adorable! As selfish as it sounds, I've found it very gratifying to feel like he enjoys me as a person (maybe even thinks I'm "fun"?), and I'm not just an on-demand milk machine. ;) He is a very laid-back, calm little fellow, liking to be held but not demanding it constantly. Such a sweetie! Joe and I are typical first-time parents and spend plenty of time just staring at him or trying to catch smiles on camera. :)

At his two-month midwife checkup, Lukas weighed 11 lbs 7 oz, up about 4 pounds from his birthweight. Not bad at all, considering that he was only a little over 8 pounds at one month! He's been wearing 0-3 month clothes for a few weeks, and it's been a lot of fun to have more clothing options after getting by with half a dozen newborn-sized items for the first 5-6 weeks (we hadn't gotten many of the newborn size, thinking he'd only need them for a week or so). He holds his head up really well when we support him in a sitting position, but doesn't have a lot of motivation yet to hold his head up during tummy time. He seems to be so comfy on his tummy that he generally falls asleep instead of wanting to look around. ;) But I'm sure he'll start doing it pretty soon. It's amazing to look back on his newborn pictures and see just how much he has already grown up and changed. I get really sentimental about it all if I let myself think about it long. :sniff:

This month marked a lot of new experiences for Lukas. We took him to church for the first time in mid-January and had fun introducing him to everyone there. He did great through the service, and I didn't even have to take him down to the nursery. Lukas also made his first visit out to Grandpa and Grandma Paul's farm (an hour's drive) in mid-January. It was cold and snowy so he didn't get any real farm exposure, hehe, but we know that someday he will be excited to go there!

Another big "first" was our road trip up to WI, to visit Grandma Kristi, Grandpa Westbrook and Grandma Roni, and to meet Uncle Kyle, Great-Grandpa and Great-Grandma W., and a bunch of friends in the area. It was a very full (and cold!) weekend, but Lukas did great and didn't seem much fazed by all the doting attention. He likes his car seat, and the hardest part of the 4.5 hour drive was getting him to eat enough because he kept falling asleep. ;)

Lukas has been sleeping in his little Co-Sleeper bed ever since he was 6 weeks old. We're all sleeping better than we were when trying to all squeeze into our full-size bed! He's usually still awake after his late-night feeding (around 2:00 a.m., since we're on an evening shift for Joe's work), but I'm able to lay him in bed and he'll happily talk/sing/grunt himself to sleep. Most often he'll sleep for 4-5 hours before waking me up for a meal; that takes about an hour, and then he goes right back to sleep for another 3 hours or so. This leaves me with about 6 hours of sleep most nights, so I'm thankful for the days when I'm able to squeeze in an evening nap. But overall the interrupted sleep has been a lot easier for me to handle than I anticipated, thank God! I feel a lot more rested than I did when we were on night shift, even though I was generally sleep more hours then.

We have been on our own (without any of my sisters here) for most of this month, and have worked out a decent routine to get the basics done. I have been able to fix lunch most days, but when Lukas is extra hungry and really MUST be fed during the time when lunch needs to be made Joe willingly steps in and does a great job getting food on the table. Other necessities, like laundry, dishes, and bathroom cleaning, get squeezed in at odd moments and the rest...doesn't really happen, heh. I want to truly enjoy these quickly-passing baby days, and try not to get too stressed out by the jobs that aren't getting done. They can wait, and my baby will only be this age once. :)