7 Weeks: schedule, routine, life, etc.

Owen is 7 weeks old! I have been wanting to document some details about our first weeks together, and I haven't. I'm doing it now before more time passes and I forget everything! Most of this post is about how we've gotten along up until this point, and what works for us for now. Also, if you're expecting me to act like it's been rainbows and butterflies, you might want to stop reading now. I absolutely love Owen and I love being a mom. I'm also honest to a fault and not a fan of sugar-coating. What ya see is what ya get, and you're not getting an apology. :-)

Love and Stuff
Owen completely has my heart. Every time I look at him I think and often say aloud, He's so darn cute. Sometimes I even think the other D word in my head because he is seriously just that cute. Ha. I love him. I love him with every ounce of me. However, I've never once thought the whole "I never knew I could love this much" deal. I expected to love him this much. I knew I could and would. What I didn't expect is how protective I am over him. I shouldn't at all be surprised by that. I knew I would be protective. I knew I would be fiercely protective. But life took that and raised it one, because I'm some sort of protective that I never knew I could be. 
This isn't the type of protective that should lead to my child being "sheltered." It's different. I can't even explain. 

The First Two Weeks
Thank God everyone remembered to warn me about the first two weeks. Several of my friends have always told me that the first two weeks are the hardest. I probably said that out loud to myself 10 times a day during the first two weeks: Ok, the first two weeks are the hardest. The first two weeks are the hardest. I have always had a hard time seeing past my current situation, whatever it may be. I feel like all things are permanent, even though they clearly aren't, so repeating that to myself over and over really did help me remember and embrace the brevity of that season. More than anything I was bothered by our lack of routine. The lactation consultant who taught my breastfeeding class told us to not worry about anything at all the first two weeks except taking care of the baby. I'll admit I was also trying to clean the house, etc. We had people in and out, which completely exhausted me. Add to that the fact that I um, I don't know, HAVE A NEWBORN BABY AT HOME AND AM TRYING TO RECOVER FROM THE PHYSICALLY AND EMOTIONALLY TRAUMATIZING EVENT THAT IS CHILDBIRTH, yeah. Fun times. Not. I do feel a tinge of sappiness when I look at all of the pictures I have from his first few days, but that's it. I honestly didn't even get to be with him very much at the hospital or our first two weeks home because um, visitors.

After the First Two Weeks
Weeks three to four were dramatically different than the first two weeks. Owen's routine started shaping up, we had a little time to get to know each other better and get used to each other, and it was the first time I had a chance to really spend time with him on my own. I cannot overstate how important that was/is. These two weeks were important for my sanity because I could see glimmers of hope that one day we would have a good routine down.

Owen was extremely fussy from weeks 3-now, although it's drastically improving. He's not a good napper and will stay awake far too long. He gets overtired and very fussy, and it's difficult to calm him down... especially if your name isn't momma. We wondered if it was gas, reflux, colic, or if he was just a high-needs baby. At some point around week 5 (I think) I realized that the problem is that he gets overtired. There isn't too much I can do about it, but we have seen major improvements since figuring that out. I'm able to pour my energy into getting him to sleep after a sufficient wake time!

I read Babywise during my last couple of weeks of pregnancy, and again before Owen was two weeks old. I didn't concern myself with any type of schedule, pattern, or routine during the first two weeks. I focused on learning Owen's cues for his needs and fulfilling them as he demanded them. I still do this, but it's a little different. After the two week mark, I did what I could to get him to follow the basic feed-wake-sleep cycle that Babywise is all about. I wasn't concerned with how often he ate, how long he was awake, or how long he slept--just that those things happened in that order. He honestly followed it quite naturally. None of those things happened at specific times, and every day was different. At four weeks we moved him to his crib. The first night was really rough (just trying to get him to sleep in it), the second night was less rough, the third night was ok, and from then on he's been doing really well! It was also probably around that time that he started going three hours between feedings on his own. I began documenting every single minute of the day, noting when he ate, slept, etc. so that I could work on building a schedule around his natural patterns.

Once that was established, I began tweaking his eating times and taking more control over his "schedule." At first I would base it off of what time he woke up. For example, if he woke up at 6 a.m. and I fed him, then that day he would eat at 6a, 9a, 12p, 3, 6p, 9p, and whatever time he woke up in the middle of the night. Obviously if he was hungry when it "wasn't time," I would feed him, but I don't remember ever really needing to after the 4 week mark. At around 5.5 weeks I took control over what time of the day he ate by feeding him at 7 a.m. no matter what time he woke up or what time he last ate. If he needed fed at 5 or 6, I'd still feed him at 7 so that every single day would be consistent and predictable. He eats at 7, 10, 1, 4, 7, 10, and usually 3a.m. or so... just whenever he wakes up hungry in the middle of the night. He usually eats for around 30 minutes, and if he isn't actively eating, I cut him off at that point. However, if he is actively eating, I would never make him stop. His first feed of the morning and his last feed of the day, I try to get him to eat as long as he can. I don't know if that's necessary, but I feel better about it. ha. If he wakes up at 6:00 or 6:30, which he loves to do, I'll give him his paci and rock him until 7 so that we can stay on schedule. It has immensely helped me stay sane. He stays awake for a while after I feed him, and usually stays awake far too long. He gets overtired and can't relax enough to fall asleep. I've poured most of my energy the past two weeks into reducing his wake time and increasing his sleep time. Some people have said "maybe he just doesn't require as much sleep as most babies!" If that were true, he wouldn't be screaming because of how tired he is! We're still working on the sleep routine, but so far those eating times and the basic Babywise pattern are really working for us. This week Ryan has started giving Owen a bottle at 10 or 10:30 so that I can get a little extra sleep before getting woken up in the night. I'm usually exhausted by time I put Owen to bed, and Ryan likes to stay up later. It's working really well for us to do it like that. I've always gotten up with Owen during the night since Ryan usually has to go to work the next day, but he is definitely willing to help me if I were to ask for help. Other than the few "help! Owen pooped all over me!" moments in the middle of the night the first two weeks, I've only asked for his help one time. :-)

Because Ryan works 12 hour days and is usually actually gone for 13 hours, he doesn't really get to see Owen on the days he works. The first few weeks I wasn't putting Owen to bed until 10 or later so that they could see each other. However, he was waking up around 6 no matter what time I put him down, so I decided it would be best for him to go to bed earlier. It has really helped! He goes down much easier now because I'm putting him in his crib at a time when he is naturally most tired, from what I can tell. He's also getting more sleep that way. Basically everything is trial and error, but we're slowly figuring things out. :) Owen has slept really well at night ever since day 1. We have had a handful of what I would consider to be rough nights, but truly only a handful. I expect him to wake up once or twice between the time I lay him down and the time he wakes up in the morning. Sometimes it's more, sometimes it's less, but most of his sleep problems seem to occur during the day rather than at night. We give him a bath every other night, so on a bath night our bedtime routine is to do a warm bath, turn on his sound machine (he loves it), lotion him up (I'll usually massage him a little as I lotion him), swaddle him, feed him, rock him if he's still awake, and lay him down in his crib once he's asleep. Sometimes it works to lay him down while he's sleepy but still awake, and sometimes it doesn't. When it isn't a bath night, our routine is the same but without the bath and lotion. When I rock him I sing him a song that I sang to him all the time when I was pregnant. If I anticipate that he is going to take a good nap, or that he needs to but is having a hard time, I will swaddle him and go through our night time routine before a daytime nap. It really does seem to help... sometimes. Ha.

We leave the house every single day. We don't have to do anything super exciting, but we'll usually run through Sonic for a drink and then go for a walk. Sometimes we go to Target. I enjoy running little errands with him. I started leaving the house because he gets really fussy during the day, and he usually goes to sleep in the car and stays asleep the whole time we are out. When we're leaving the house without somewhere to be at a certain time, we leave right after I feed, burp, and change him, and we come back just in time for him to eat again. I've found if I come home before it's time for him to eat again, he will wake up and fuss the rest of that cycle. If I stay out and about, he stays asleep. Neither one of us very much enjoys having to be certain places at certain times. We have a good routine going, and there really isn't anything worth messing it up for.

Since I started writing this post, we've hit a major milestone: Owen has now slept through the night two nights in a row. The first night (Sunday) he slept from 9-6:15. He woke up at 3:30 and fussed a little, but he put himself back to sleep before I could even get up. Last night (Monday) he slept from 8:30-6. He woke up fussing a couple of times, but always went right back to sleep on his own. Saturday night, after multiple rough nights in a row, I made a couple of changes. For one, instead of feeding him at 4pm, 7pm, bedtime, and feed at 10pm, I added an extra feed. Now it goes like this: 4pm, 6pm, 8pm, bedtime, feed at 10:30. He doesn't wake up for the 10:30 feed. He stays asleep ("dreamfeed," ala Secrets of the Baby Whisperer). The second change is that I've been putting a worn (or "dirty" if we're being technical :)) tshirt in his crib with him because I read that it might comfort him to have my scent near him. I'm not sure if either of these changes has made the difference, but something has! Even if he stops sleeping through the night, I at least know he can.

Baby Crap
I'm not talking about poo. I think we own every type of swaddle, every baby contraption (swing, bouncer, etc.), every book (The Happiest Baby on the Block is another one I've read but haven't yet mentioned). I have a theory: in a desperate attempt to find something that will work, the parents of fussy babies own more baby junk than the parents of calm babies. That's us! The funny thing is that none of it has really helped up until the past couple of days because he doesn't like to be put down. However, I think it is important for him.

I kiss Owen about a million times a day. I love rocking him to sleep before I put him down. He's 7 weeks old and I've only been away from him for three hours total, leaving him home with Ryan each time. I left him for one hour to go to Target when he was 9 days old. I left him for another hour when he was three weeks old because we needed groceries, and I left him for one hour yesterday so that I could get out of the house and so Ryan could spend some much needed time with him since he hadn't gotten to the previous few days for various reasons. Overall I've enjoyed the past week or so much more than the earlier weeks. Those were not my favorite! We like to say that Owen is doing everything he can to make sure he gets to be an only child. haha. We love our little firecracker! So much. He is such a gift. Here's a picture from when he was only 12 days old. He was so cute and sweet.

P.S. He totally peed and pooped straight through my hand while taking this picture. ;)


One Month

See how long those legs are?? I snicker (yep) each time I see them! 

My sweet, sweet Owen is one month old today. I've never known time to pass so quickly. It is truly bittersweet. We have had some difficult days where I have found myself looking forward to him getting a little older, in hopes of him growing out of his fussiness. Looking forward to his routine becoming more scheduled. Looking forward to his first smile, his first "I love you momma." There are also days where I feel my heart breaking a little, knowing that with the end of each day comes the stark reality that I'll never get these moments back. I feel an intensely deep desire for time to slow down so I can taste the sweetness of these days just a little longer. Should I really complain about spending hours on end putting my baby's pacifier back in his mouth when it falls out? I'm certain there will be a time when I am shattered over his lack of need for me. So right now? Right now I will treasure each moment. Each cry. Each adorable shriek. Every second he stares at me with those drop-dead-gorgeous eyes. Every time he wants to eat "before it's time to eat again." Every little whimper in the middle of the night. I know I will long for those again one day. Each time I feel a tinge of frustration, I remember how numbered these days are. I might not get anything done these days except loving my son, and doggonit, I'm going to do it well. Isn't it funny how looking ahead can sometimes root us deeper in the here and now?

At one month old, Owen has some definite likes and dislikes. It's so fun to analyze what we think is his personality. We have no idea, but it's still entertaining to point out his nuances and peg it onto one of our own personalities. He loves to be swaddled and snuggled. He loves being carried in the Moby carrier. He really loves to eat! He also seems to enjoy getting out of the house with me, riding in the car,  going for walks in his stroller, and sucking on that darn pacifier. He enjoys looking at lights, and he seems to enjoy music. He likes to bounce around a lot, and really enjoys any type of movement like that. He also enjoys laying on his playmat for short periods of time. He does not seem to like large groups of people, loud people or noises, his swing, or being without a pacifier. He did hate diaper changes and bath time, but he is slowly coming around on those!

He is the most adorable person in the universe. Everyone thinks he looks just like Ryan, and he does upon first glance. However, Owen seems to have my individual features. He definitely has my mouth, and we think he also has my nose and my eyes. But somehow his face still looks like Ryan! I think they're both incredibly handsome. :-) Owen is super long (or "tall," if you prefer). He has the biggest hands and feet. My favorite thing in the world is to see him in just a diaper. He has the cutest little body, and I will never, ever get enough of him. We weighed him last night by me stepping on the scale and then Ryan handing him to me. According to that super accurate method, he weighs exactly 10 pounds!

Last night he slept in his crib for the first time. He woke up to eat every 2.5-3 hours, but he slept in his crib from 9:30-5:30. This morning we had to try on a couple of outfits before we found one that still fit him. I quietly folded the one he suddenly outgrew, in disbelief that this was already happening. We've also been paci-free (with the exception of 5 cumulative minutes) for about 26 hours now. Can somebody please go ahead and invent a time machine? Or some way to at least make time stand still? I'd give an organ.

Right now he is snoring on my chest in the Moby, and the top of his head is slightly dampened from a few tears of mine. I can think of no greater joy than being his momma, even on the hard days. Owen Beckett, you are loved. You are big and strong and handsome and valuable and important and loved. You, my love, are a blessing from the Lord. I will slow down. I will study each of your features over and over again, day after day, and will never tire of doing so.