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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The Rest of Spear's First Week

I do weekly newborn posts for the first several weeks when my babies are born. SO much changes each week that it's the easiest way to keep things organized ;) 

This post covers the remainder of Spear's first week of life (Fri Dec 1 - Thur Dec 6). With this being ICPC stay...he had a VERY busy first week of life which means this post is kinda all over the place because, well we were kinda all over the place ;) 

Feeding: Bottle feeding is SUCH a new experience for me! I really felt clueless about how much to feed and I feel SO much guilt about not doing my own research regarding it. I went off what a nurse told me at the hospital which just simply wasn't enough for Spear to be eating (she said 1 oz of formula every 3 - 4 hours!).

I brought Enfamil Gentlease with me for the ICPC stay but loaded up on all the premade bottles I could at the hospital which were Similac. I used them all up first before starting on the Gentlease and it was a smooth, easy transition.


You know I had my copy of Babywise on hand to refresh my memory ;) 


I have TONS of Medela bottles from all my pumping and breastfeeding over the years so I really wanted to start off using those. I asked a TON of people about bottles and everyone has an opinion on which brand is best. I think coming from the breastfeeding perspective, I figured baby's don't have preferences. He's gonna know whatever I introduce to him. He's not going to say "well I sure do wish this was Dr Brown's." My goal was to keep things as simple and easy as I could for myself and our entire family. 

My goal was to use the Medela bottles we already had to save money AND to keep the bottles at room temperature to make things easy!

He had no trouble switching from the premade formula to the powder, switching brands, or switching nipple types on the bottle. 


Another goal I have had for Spear is to be able to give him at least one bottle a day of breastmilk. I'm SO thankful to everyone who has reached out and offered milk to him!!! If you have breastmilk you're not going to be using for your little one and would like to donate please email me at journeyofphood@gmail.com. 

When Zach and the kids came dow for Britt's birthday they brought some of the breastmilk to us and Spear was able to start having breastmilk during his very first week of life :) My friend, Sara, had some colostrum in her freezer which is SO awesome that he was able to have that!!! First breastmilk bottle!



I had heard of Moms on Call a few times. Typically it's mentioned when people say they don't do Babywise. I hadn't read the book at this point but my friend, Danielle, sent me a copy of one of the pages regarding formula feeding. It was SO helpful to me because I felt so confused over how much he should be eating!


Holding that bottle ;) 


Most newborns struggle with staying awake to eat. Spear was no different! He seemed so content and just SO sleepy that I had to put a lot of effort in to get him to stay awake to drink his bottles! I think the hard thing about trying to keep a newborn awake is that Mama is also exhausted so it's hard to keep BOTH of us awake! Luckily I wrote this post to help remind myself of some "keep the sleepy baby awake" strategies :) 




Sleep: I'm a big believer in starting as you mean to go on so I start implementing Babywise techniques with my babies from birth (here's how!)

Basically the first couple weeks of life you feed on demand, but Spear really fell into a 3 hour eating pattern right away and I never had a time where he cluster fed or ate constantly like I did with the other three. I assume that's because he was on formula and the others probably cluster fed when my milk first came in until it regulated to their needs?

His schedule was roughly: 7, 10, 1, 4, 7, 10, 1, 4

I also try to put the babies down in their crib to sleep and keep awake times to a minimum. Spear really had ZERO awake time. He's a slower eater and took awhile to finish his bottle (mostly because he was so dang sleepy while eating) and he's just a super sleepy baby so he was rarely ever awake at all this entire week haha!

I was surprised at the amount of crying Spear did. At the hospital he was very chill and I was hopeful that he'd be just an easy going baby. I mean he's Mama E's 5th kid and our 4th so you figure he's gotta be pretty laid back ;) But he was VERY fussy the first few nights out of the hospital. I learned more about that at his dr visit so I'll discuss more below. But I did have to work a little harder than I thought I'd have to at helping him sleep. 

Mrs. Norma (the sweet lady Spear and I were staying with) was so sweet and kind and told me I just needed to hold him a lot. So I did. I would start all sleep times with him in his sleep bed but then if he was fussy I'd hold him until he was back to sleep etc. It def helped and he's VERY content when being held.

This is my first "oily baby" and I'm pretty pumped about it! Zach and I have really become believers in oils as we've seen them work! I order from Young Living each month and can share my discount so if anyone wants anything shoot me an email at: journeyofphood@gmail.com

I loaded up on this awesome baby oil and rubbed him down with it at each diaper change!


Sweet sleepy boy


His big cousin Colt got him these adorable sleepers!




I'm SO thankful Mrs Charlotte bought us this Fisher Price Stow-N-Go Bassinet. It was SO easy to take apart and put together and lays almost completely flat which was perfect for the car!



Exhausted yet content :) 



I love photos like these. THIS is what newborn life looks like. Sweet baby, pjs that are a tad too big, a sloppy swaddle and diaper rash cream ;) 


Zach and the older three came to visit us for Britt's Birthday so we moved Spear into a little playroom type area that really worked out SO well! We just kept him in there the remainder of our stay with Mrs Norma and Mr Roy!


By my fourth experience with a newborn I know to appreciate the little moments. Like what I look like with such little sleep...and yes, mouth guard for life over here haha!




Spear and I left Jax on Thursday Dec 7th to head to Orlando (more details below). He had his third bedroom at my cousins' home! 


My favorite moments were the ones after his diaper changes where I'd just get down beside him and soak him in. 




I have had people ask about how I lay a blanket down in the crib it's to minimize mess! Especially with this type of basinet where it doesn't have a sheet. My other babies were all BIG on spitting up so I am in the habit of laying a blanket down under them to help minimize having to change sheets. 

Also I want to highly recommend the miracle blanket for swaddling. I've used them for a few kids now and they are awesome! The key is it's all in the wrists, keep those wrists down and swaddle tight and you are good to go! 

By the end of the week we were in a good grove. Spear had very minimal awake time after he would eat and he was sleeping pretty solid between feedings!


Dr Visits: The main reason Spear and I stayed in Jacksonville for a few days following our discharge from the hospital was because he had to have a two day well check at a local doctor. I also just thought it was wise to be local in case the lawyer's needed anything or if a worse case type scenario happened and for some reason I felt like Spear needed to go back to the hospital (it was still SUCH a shock to me that we weren't in the hospital longer!). 

His well visit was on Dec 5th. Our lawyer recommended a pediatrician near their office so I just set up an appointment with them first thing Monday morning (I couldn't do it while we were in the hospital because, hello weekend.). 

I was SUPER proud of myself for getting up and getting both of us ready and being there only 15 min late. I don't care how many times you have had a baby...getting out the door solo with a newborn is NO JOKE. 


It was SUCH an awesome "this is real" moment filling out that paper work!


Getting weighed!


While we waited I met another family in the waiting room who had just adopted twins from the same hospital where Spear was born. Such a small world and the mama actually said she'd heard about us while she was at Shands haha guess we left an impression ;) One of her babies was still in NICU and the other was at her well check. It was yet another reminder to me to count my blessings for this sweet healthy boy and Mama E for taking such great care of him!



The doctor we saw actually used to live in Valdosta. How c-razy is that?!?! And like literally she lived 3 min away from my house. Such a small world!!!

His weight at birth was 7 lbs 7 oz. at 24 hours after birth it was 7 lbs 4 oz which was AWESOME. He'd only lost 2%. My heart sank when I saw that his weight at 4 days old was down to 6 lbs 14 oz. I'm just not used to that as with my breastfed babies they gained weight by the two day check up. How was my formula fed baby losing?

They also measured him wrong either at this visit or at birth because no way did he grow an inch in 4 days (although that would explain weight loss haha!) 


The doctor was very reassuring to me that it was FINE to be down that much. She talked to me about how much to make sure I was feeding him (this was my light bulb moment of that I hadn't been feeding him enough. OOPS.). 

We talked about his experience in the womb and Mama E etc. She said he was perfectly healthy and beautiful! 

She did say he seemed a little fussy and I talked to her about how he'd been fussing a good bit those days prior and that when my friends came the night prior to the visit that he seemed to do better when held. She explained that babies who go through the adoption experience suffer a loss. He's heard Mama E's voice his entire life. He's felt her heart. And now he's not in her arms. And that's something he has to adjust to and can take some time. She said the more we held him, the better off he'd be. It'd help him feel safe and bonded and secure and content. 

Literally the doctor prescribed for me to simply hold my baby :) 

Which yall know is NOT the norm for me! I mean DUH I love some baby snuggles but my babies ALWAYS start off their bedtimes in the crib. I could really see a difference in him when he was held though so it didn't totally surprise me that it's what she recommended doing. 

She smelled the oils on him that I'd been using and recommend using vaseline or coconut oil with peppermint and to try lavender too to help him. 

I told her we were heading out of Jax on Thur morning and asked if I could bring him back then for a weight check. We wouldn't have his visit at our local pediatrician until we were home and cleared from ICPC so I was nervous to wait that long not knowing if his weight was improving!

I went back in first thing Thur the 7th and they checked his weight again...


Ugh. It dropped MORE. I totally regretted coming in because I left feeling worse rather than better. She said it was still in the normal range of dropping weight and not to worry. To just keep doing everything I was doing and that he'd for sure be fine and put on more weight. She saw NO other concerns and he was having plenty of poop and pee diapers and sleeping well which meant he was okay! 

I think a big thing about adoption is the worrying. I worry more about him and his health than I do the other kids because he doesn't share my history. I didn't carry him in my womb. I don't know his medical genetic makeup or what his life was like prior to birth. It's hard feeling a little helpless with that stuff and just like wondering if any little issue could be something larger ya know? 


I tossed up an IG story about his weight loss and man I LOVE my online community friends ;) Yall are seriously so awesome. I had TONS of great responses and felt SO much better after connecting to others who had similar experiences. One friend said that she did some research about how a lot of the weight babies have at birth is actually from fluid and that some hospitals actually wait to do the first official weight for a day or two in order for that fluid to dissipate. That made a LOT of sense to me. Since Mama E's labor was stalled for so long and then BAM she went from 5 cm to 10 cm and pushed him out super fast...it made sense that maybe he had a lot of fluid. Plus he was a lot bigger than any of us had anticipated at birth! I think we all had assumed he'd be 5-6 lbs! I felt a lot better thinking that maybe it was all just a fluid issue. I did my best to focus on those full feedings but also tried not to overly stress it. There wasn't anything I could do anyway so why worry? 


Tummy Issues:

Those first couple of nights Spear seemed so unsettled. I learned at the dr that a lot of that was probably due to the adoption and him having to go through that transition from Mama E to me but I also am a seasoned enough mother to know gas when I see it. I could tell he had gas issues due to the way he cried. He scrunches up his legs which signals gas (while arching back is reflux). 

I didn't have my Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems book with me so I text Casey and asked her to send me copies of the pages about gas and burping techniques. I thought I had written a post about relieving a gassy baby but I couldn't find it so I guess I need to get on writing one haha!



One tip I read was to wrap a receiving blanket around his belly under his pjs and swaddle in order to put some pressure on his tummy and help relieve the gas. Why not try it right?


Mrs Norma uses DoTerra oils. I am a Young Living girl myself and the two companies call all their oils different stuff. She made up a roller ball mix for me and gave me another bottle of some stuff to put on his belly and left foot. Again, I was down to try whatever and totally trusted Mrs Norma's advice and input (and the dr confirmed it was all fine to use too!)


I also decided to call a chiropractor. I am a big believer in the benefits for infant chiropractic care (you can read my post here!). I asked Elaine if she recommended anyone and just called the chiro she used for her kids and they were able to get us in on Tuesday afternoon (the same day as his 2 day well check). They didn't open until 3:30 and since Spear ate at 3 I had to get creative. I was DYING of exhaustion by that point in the day as I'd been out and about all day after his appointment. I found an adorable coffee shop close to the chiro and got a HUGE coffee and a cookie. 

I also chit chatted with everyone in the place. By no means do I plan to always tell people Spear was adopted. It's not something that will define him or who he is. It's the beginning of his story, not the definition of it. BUT I do think his story is such a God-written story that it's a blessing to others to share. You just never know what light it may bring! 

It turns out it was an awesome experience at that coffee shop. So much so that one of the ladies who worked there found me online later that week to let me know what a blessing it was for her to meet us and hear his story. I love that Spear's life is already spreading God's love!


Coffee for mama, milk for baby!

Sidenote but that coffee choice bit me in the BUTT that night. Zach let me sleep on the couch that night so he could do night duty with Spear and I could get a solid night sleep and omg that caffeine kept me UP. I couldn't sleep to save my life! Ugh!


First adjustment went great!


I went back to the chiro to have him adjusted the next day because I was heading out of Jax on Thur and just wanted to make sure he was the best he could be before spending time in a condo with me for the rest of our ICPC stay. 

This time I just sat on the ground outside of the chiro to feed him his bottle!





Other Details About This Week:

I think Spear had THE busiest first week of life EVER. I think back and it was pretty insane. He was born Friday evening. Sunday we left the hospital. Monday my friends came to visit. Tuesday we had his dr appointment, lunch with a friend, chiro visit, and a huge dinner get together. Wednesday he went to the movies, chiro and DQ, Thur he went to the dr again AND we drove to Orlando, Friday we left Orlando and went to Target and our condo. I mean that's one FULL first week of life!!!

ICPC is a very crazy time. I typically look back on packing situations and feel like I over packed but in this case I for SURE did NOT overpack. If you're prepping for ICPC my advice is PACK WAY MORE THAN YOU THINK YOU NEED. I'm lucky Zach came down several times and could bring stuff with him. When packing I forgot how messy babies are. I had so much laundry to do! 




So thankful for sweet gifts! Mrs. Charlotte bought Spear this book called "You're Here For a Reason" and y'all it WILL make you cry!

Casey brought down some super yummy muffins, an adorable Mickey sleeper and some mittens!
The muffins were a life saver for me. I felt kinda awkward eating any of Mrs. Norma's and Mr. Roy's food. I had Zach stock up on bagels when he got Panera the first night and between those and the muffins I was good to go! 

My long time friend Stephanie also sent me an Amazon gift card which was so perfect and came in so handy for all those late night feeding orders ;)

And we kept Spear's special bear from his older siblings to him to snuggle too :) 


I LOVE all the sweet notes the kids made for him but Kye's was epic! 


Elaine's daughter made this for us! 


Spear tended to only open one eye for awhile which totally made him look like a pirate ;)


I love his prominent chin! He just looks so masculine to me, like no doubt he's a BOY!


Our first full 24 hours completely solo together. While ICPC was NOT easy, it was SO great for bonding!!!


Robyn, Katie, and Lindsay did a group text with me as soon as I discharged from the hospital. They wanted to make something work to come down to VISIT ME. I seriously couldn't believe that! I never expected anyone to make that drive just to see me and meet Spear like that. It literally blew me away and is one of the most kind and most meaningful gestures anyone has made for me. 

Lindsay ended up not being able to make it work but Katie and Robyn still came on Monday night (so Spear's 2nd night out of the hospital). They picked up dinner (Moe's yum!) and came over to Mrs. Norma's house. They were just SO genuine in their excitement over meeting Spear. Like I know people were happy and all, but Robyn and Katie were just PURELY excited in a way that filled my heart so, so full. 

When they asked about coming I was like "sure if you wanna make that drive c'mon!" but I didn't really realize how much I NEEDED their visit. Usually when I have a new baby people come see me at the hospital. I get friend time. Visitors. But this time around that was so different. It was a highly emotional experience all around and seeing the kids and Zach's fam was all super rushed. Then I was at a stranger's home trying to adjust to life with a new baby. While it was SO kind of Mrs. Norma to host us and they were SO generous and giving and welcoming and I truly enjoyed my visit and time with them so, so much...it still wasn't home and I felt awkward as anyone would being a guest like that and feeling so intrusive ya know?

Having my two ride-or-die friends there was just exactly what I needed. Like at my deepest core I needed that visit. Mrs. Norma said she couldn't get over how much lighter I seemed and how purely happy. I'm pretty sure I non-stop talked to them the entire time they were there. We laughed so hard. I shared all the itty bitty details of every moment of the weekend. They got to cuddle Spear and love on him. He actually slept his first full nap since being out of the hospital because he was in their arms the whole time! It was what made me really realize he needed to be held more! 

They stayed for a few hours and headed back and I shocked myself because I just got overcome with such emotion that I straight up cried over my thankfulness of them coming. They have both been with me through each step of this journey. They are my people. My forever friends. And this moment cemented that for me in an even deeper way. I'm just truly SO appreciative and thankful that they came down that night!!! It was EXACTLY what I needed!




We had such a nice time just sitting around Mrs. Norma's beautiful Christmas tree and all pointed out all the special details in her living room that reminded us of our childhood! My mom had this exact nativity AND I learned to play piano with this exact lesson book!



AHHHH Auntie Katie made Spear an AWESOME Mickey blanket to match his nursery!!!



I got ready for bed while they were there and they fed him his bottle then hit the road once we got him ready to sleep! 


I love that Katie captured a few videos! Spear has THE sweetest cry and we all debated which animal it sounded like :) 


Found those fingers!


Love having these too...total new mom life photos :) 



Matt (Robyn's husband) was so sweet to send some snacks to me!!!


YUM


It made me feel so good to have them both there and to hear that they both were equally glad they came too :) 



Text from Katie :) 


My boy :)


Soon after Spear was born I just kept seeing my friend Rachael's sons. Spear reminds me SO MUCH of both Tripp and Brady! I couldn't get over it and other friends we share commented the same thing. I talked to Rachael about it and she put together this photo collage.

I joked that her hubby better not have been working down in Jacksonville 10 months prior ;) 


Robyn and Katie came to visit us Monday evening and Tuesday morning we had Spear's well visit!


Following his check up I had to run by the lawyer's office to sign a couple forms. So glad we had decided to stay in Jax for this very reason. The first photo we ever saw of Mama E is standing in front of this same wall so I wanted to get a pic of Spear there too and this is Tara who was SO helpful for us through every step of the process!


So thankful that Mama E decided to work with Shorstein and Kelly. I cannot recommend them enough. Phenomenal people and practice!


He finds those fingers ;)


After the lawyer's we met up with my lonnnnng time online friend Danielle. FINALLY we met in real life!!! We had a GREAT lunch and it was SO wonderful getting to see her face to face and connect in person. People always think I'm crazy for meeting up with "strangers" but my online friends aren't strangers at all. Many of the connections I make through this incredible online community are deeper bonds than with people I do know in "real life." We had SUCH a great time together and I'm so thankful for her friendship...and for teaching me how to baby wear ;)

This was Spear's first official outing and it was at Mojo BBQ...I love that we met at a BBQ place as it was the favorite food for Mama E and I to eat too when I'd come for appointments. 


I struggled a LOT with what type of baby wearing device to buy. EVERYONE had varying opinions.  Wraps. Carriers. Brands. Types. I ended up getting the Lillebaby Complete All Seasons because honestly I was OVER IT and it was on sale at Target when I used my 15% registry completion AND I liked that I didn't have to buy any sort of insert or anything for it and that it's a breathable material good for warmer weather. All the reviews looked great so I went for it. I hadn't even taken it out of the box and asked Danielle to show me how to wear it. 

I instantly LOVED it! So comfortable and easy and I love feeling him breathing against me! I wore it throughout our lunch to let Spear get a nap in and it worked great. I'm SO glad I got the all seasons breathable one though b/c WHEW he radiates HEAT and it did get warm!



Succcesssss


I mean how ironic is it that I didn't give birth to Spear but I started my monthly visitor literally the day after his birth? I felt very "post partum" in that respect ha! I didn't pack ANYTHING and didn't want to go into a store with him so I might have kinda sorta grabbed a massive handful of tampons in a restaurant bathroom haha


Zach and the kids came down Tuesday night for Britt's birthday and we moved Spear to his second bedroom! This little area was also upstairs at Mrs. Norma's and Mr. Roy's and it worked PERFECT for him! I just kept him there the rest of our stay!


Our first outing as a family of 6! Seeing Coco!


Pro Mom.


I think it's SO neat that Spear and Britt are 5 days apart in their birthdays AND only 7 minutes apart!!!


I LOVE itty bitty burrito baby pics! 


His sleeping faces are SO cute!



Fav haha


I had to write out this moment. Because it was SO SPECIAL and I totally cried. 


On Wednesday we celebrated Britt's birthday and on Thursday Spear and I went back for his weight check and then hit the ROAD.

Yall.

I've never traveled at ALL with a newborn so going from Jax to Orlando solo with him FREAKED. ME. OUT. Plus on top of that the dr told me that I needed to make sure to stop every hour and get him out of the car seat because I guess little babies can die in car seats super easily? THAT freaked me out even more!

I'm SO thankful I left super early because I was running on such little sleep which stressed me out too! I was so scared I'd fall asleep and was so nervous about my driving and his safety. Ugh it was a lot haha. The 2 hour and 30 min drive ended up taking me over 5 hours total!


Pit stop for the car seat stretch, potty and snacks!


Confession: that cookie didn't get eaten for like 5 weeks haha


I drove through a CFA for a coffee and literally asked this question. I'm so dumb haha!


Stopped at another CFA for him to eat! I love this pic of us together. I felt very safe stopping at Chick-Fil-A and it was SO fun taking him places. I've never done ANY going and doing with my babies AT ALL and while it wasn't the ideal (GERMS AHHH) the attention was SO FUN. Everyone wanted to see him and talk about him and I just ate it all UP!



Made it to Orlando! 

My cousin Ben and his wife Liz invited us to stay with them and it was SUCH a great visit. Truly I'm SO thankful for the opportunity to reconnect with them and it was just such perfect timing and all worked out so well. Liz is such a great hostess. It's totally her gift! She cooked a delicious meal and had even contacted Zach and asked him for ideas of a special treat to make for me. How sweet is that?!?! Their home is beautiful and I loved getting to see all the work they've put into making it theirs. We had an awesome time bonding and catching up and I'm just so, so thankful for this special time together!


Ben ate Spear UP AND he offered to do his 7 AM feeding for me so I could SLEEP. 
Yup, I def took him up on that offer ;) 



Cocoa-No-Bakes are my FAV! So, so thoughtful!


Spear's 3rd room!


Spear started opening his eyes a lot more that night and I really noticed how one of his eyes had a lot of redness in it (which Tess also had so it didn't super worry me) and that it was kinda bruised on the eyelid and seemed more swollen looking. I did lots of googling of course and it helped me feel like it was something that would heal up on its own :)



Those deeeeep blue eyes!!!


Whew. SUCH a HUGE busy first week of life!!! We woke up Friday morning and I just got to snuggle him and enjoy him and take my time packing up to head out to the next stop on our ICPC adventure. 

So thankful for this amazing, incredible, precious, perfect boy and the amazing first week we had together. I loved the quilt in the guest room I was in and the pretty lighting was just so perfect for some cute pics of this sweet boy!!!
























A couple more videos of our week:


Spear for sure had the most interesting first week of life when compared to the others ;) 

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