My baby Jack is 7 days old today!
Here’s how things have been going…
We’ve had 2 home visits from the midwife. The first was the 48 hour post-discharge check, the second was Jack’s 1 week check-up. She’ll continue to visit once per week till he is 6 weeks old, at which point he’ll be referred on to Plunket. Plunket nurses do 2 (or is it 3…?) home visits before having you come into the clinic.
At 1 week, Jack had lost 70 grams since his birth weight check, bringing him down from 3.61 kgs (7 lbs, 15 oz) to 3.54 kgs (just under 7 lbs, 13 oz). This is fine. They only get worried if babies lose more than 10% of their birth weight, and that’s clearly not the case with Jack. He is a tiny bit jaundiced. Nothing to run to the doctor about but enough that my midwife requested a bilirubin level. So, our second errand of Jack’s life was a trip to the lab (the first was a visit to the library). It used to be the case that phlebotomists would come to the home of a new baby during that first week of their life if any tests were required, but that has changed to only in cases where the mother is bed bound or disabled or recovering from a c-section. As my midwife put it, “It’s as though they’re punishing women for having had a healthy birth!” I felt like saying, “Welcome to America!” I’m still bowled over by the fact that midwives do home visits for the first 6 weeks.
Anyhoo, the jaundice is receding. Jack has spent a fair chunk of each day parked in front of the window, like this:
My little tan baby!
Ah, sleep. Jack sleeps a good chunk during the day but wakes up often enough to eat, and eat, and eat. The first few nights were up and down, up and down, up and down ad nauseaum. This has leveled off somewhat, partially because of the jaundice, I’m guessing. The last 2 nights saw Jack going for a 4+ hour stretch without nursing. I was awakened by him making little mouse noises and guppy lips. I looked at the clock, saw it had been 4 hours, and decided he needed to eat. He nursed a little bit, then went to sleep, then was up again 45 minutes later for a more robust nursing, then back to sleep, then up again an hour later for more nursing. So you see, even if he does go a 4 hour stretch, he makes up for it in the end.
He cluster nurses during the day. He does a lot in the morning and then a lot in the afternoon stretching into evening. He’s not to the level Joe was at, though. Once Joe hit six weeks, he would nurse for what seemed like 5 or 6 hours straight. I’m guessing Jack will hit the 6 week growth spurt as well and take off with nursing.
So, how is nursing going? It’s going alright. I decided to stay longer at Birthcare for two reasons (1) because I knew that once I got home it would be full-on with a newborn and toddler and I wanted a little extra time with just me and Jack, and (2) I wanted to make sure that I had a good start with breastfeeding. I’m glad to say that things got off on the right foot. Every time Jack wanted to nurse, I buzzed the staff midwife to observe and help get things sorted. I really appreciated their insight and help. When it was time for me to leave, I kind of felt like saying, “Wait – I want to stay longer!” I think that I could have stayed for up to 3 nights at no charge (I stayed 2 nights). Chris was more than supportive and told me to stay if I needed it, but I missed him and Joe. It was time to go home.
Back to nursing – I’m still a little sore, but we’re getting there. It’s nothing near the level of what it was like with Joe, which is a big answer to prayer. I’ve been using lanolin cream like there’s no tomorrow, and that seems to have made a difference, too. Thankfully, no signs of gastric reflux or colic… yet!
Jack’s main activities are nursing and SLEEPING. The boy loves to sleep. He loves to be cuddled and carted around in the mei-tai carrier, but he’s also happy to sit in his bouncinette seat.
Jack is opening his eyes more and more with each passing day. He’s taking in the world around him and observing. He turns his head at noises and makes the cutest squeaks. The remainder of his umblical cord fell off on Tuesday (5 days old). He had his first bath on Monday evening and a second bath tonight (Friday evening). He wasn’t too keen on that first bath (in the kitchen sink!) but really loved his second bath (in the tub on a mesh bath lounger).
Another big “first”? Jack has already had his passport photo taken! We did it today and the photographer said that it was a new record. The earliest he’d ever done was a 3 week old, but I think that Joe did pretty well, all things considered.
Here’s his US passport photo . The actual photo is much crisper than this – this is just a photo of the photo that I took using my phone. He also has a photo for his NZ passport. We just happened to be walking by the photo studio and Jack was in his quiet-alert phase, so I thought we’d give it a try. It did require Chris making elephant noises and bouncing Jack a few times. That plus a quick photographer did the trick. It was a nice little answer to prayer that we were able to get it sorted so soon and so easily. Hopefully the rest of the paperwork processing will go as well.
Jack and Joe
Joe has definitely connected with Jack. When I was pregnant, Joe would give “baby kisses” to my tummy. Once Jack was born, Joe seemed to understand our explanation about the baby in mommy’s tummy now being here, and his name was Jack.
The first time Joe saw Jack was in Birthcare. Chris wheeled Joe into the room in the stroller and Joe got down, went to the foot of the bed, and just stared at Jack, who was lying in the bedside bassinet, for about 45 seconds. He was so focused! Then, he wanted to go play with the toys in the lounge :-)Since then, Joe will routinely ask, “Jack? Jack?” whenever he’s out. When he wakes up in the morning, he’ll say, “Jack!” He gives Jack cuddles and kisses on a regular basis and will come running to me, saying “crying!” if Jack starts to fuss. I was getting Joe up from his nap this afternoon and had Jack with me. I placed Jack in the cot, lying on his side, facing Joe while I got myself sorted (I’d just finished nursing). Joe reached over and Jack curled his little fingers around Joe’s hand. Joe said, “Jack!” and then leaned over to give him a hug. Melt my heart!
Postpartum Fitness and Health
I’ve been doing OK. I’ve had a few hormonal moments. One such was when Chris was putting Joe to sleep and it dawned on me how BIG Joe seemed to have gotten overnight. I suddenly realized that it was no longer going to be just me and Joe during the day, and I missed that. I’m thrilled that Jack is here and our lives are enriched by him already, but it’s still a change. I’ve gotten frustrated and short with Chris and Joe more often than I would care to admit, but am learning to take a step back, pray for patience when I need it (which seems to be constantly!) and to let Chris take over rather than trying to do everything myself.
I will say that all of the working out while pregnant has paid off. I worked out right up till Jack was born. The day before he arrived, I planned to go the gym but had to make other plans because of ANZAC Day. So, Joe and I walked the loop at Victoria Park and walked to Chris’ office, then took the long, hilly way home. I was also doing the stairs in our apartment (10 flights) twice a day about every other day for those last 2 weeks. Joe got so used to seeing me do squats in the apartment that he started to do them with me and will now say, “Skawts?” and want me to do them with him again. He’s been my little personal trainer and thinks it’s hilarious to sit on my back when I’m in the middle of a plank 😉
Anyway, yes, the exercise seems to have paid off. I’ve felt less aches and pains, have had more energy, seemed to have a more rapid, easier delivery, and have felt up to exercising again already (though I haven’t done anything aside from “skawts” with Joe, a few planks, and some walks with Jack in the carrier and Joe in the stroller). Again, part of this is likely due to the fact that it’s a second pregnancy. Part of it is also likely due to the fact that my iron levels were so much higher this time around (and all it took was me taking 3 different supplements every day!). I stepped on the scale for the first time today and I’ve got 7 1/2 pounds to lose to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I’m OK with that number, though I expect it to fluctuate. There are way too many baked goods in this house!
So, overall we’re doing well. We’re adjusting. I’m sure that there will be more bumps in the road and learning periods. I’m sure that I’ll have more hormonal moments, more losses of patience, more sharper-than-I-intended replies. But there will also be more hugs, more kisses, more cuddles, and more joy, all of which comes from gaining a new member of our family. We are so blessed and thankful, and I for one haven’t a clue why, but I’m grateful all the same. God is gracious, God is good 🙂