Bonding With Your Newborn

Before I had Emma Kate, I had family, friends, and strangers alike tell me that the day I have her would be the best day of my life. That the second I saw her my heart would explode into a million pieces, and that I would experience love that I have never known. I was told this so. many. times. That I became rather curious. I couldn’t imagine this particular feeling, so I was excited to experience it. Of course, how could so many people be wrong? And, if I DIDN’T feel like that, it would clearly mean something was wrong with ME, right?

The day came, and it was slightly traumatic and filled with anxiety. Emma Kate came out screaming, meanwhile I was dry heaving into a bucket as I got stitched up. It was all a blur, and when I looked at her and didn’t have that immediate Elmyra from Tiny Toons gushy squishy feeling, I panicked. What was wrong with me? Who was this creature screaming her lungs out that I was now in charge of? I really, really just wanted to take a nap. It was all so surreal. I was relieved that the dreaded labor part was over, but now I was hit with this new reality that I was in no way prepared for.

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Did I love my daughter? Yes. In an “it’s my job, and I am going to take care of you” kind of way. I would never let any harm come to her, and I would take care of her. But did I love her like I love my husband? The rest of my family? No, I did not.

The first month of Emma Kate’s like was so hard. I was sleep deprived, having trouble with breastfeeding, and I was grieving the loss of my old life and freedom. I felt like there was something wrong with me for not having the same love for my daughter as I saw some people have on the internet. Oh the internet. I will save that for a different post, but seeing everyone else with their babies over the past year on Instagram and blog posts and how they were immediately gushing over them furthered my panic.  Were these people being truthful? Maybe they felt just like me, but were scared to talk about it, as was I. To not want to spend every waking second with your child? Taboo! Terrible mother! That’s how I felt.

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People were very passive aggressive about when I started running three weeks postpartum. “Don’t rush, don’t you want to spend every waking second staring at her face?” Um. no. I wanted to run to have some alone time, I needed to think. “But how can you be so selfish, I could never leave my daughter’s side even for an hour for months after I had her!” The fact that people told me I was supposed to just stare at her and be content with that…again, caused panic.

Then, around 7-8 weeks postpartum, something happened. Emma Kate started to smile. I didn’t feel the Elmyra squishy gushing feeling that I felt I was “supposed” to feel, but I smiled back, and my heart melted just a tiny bit. The smiles came more and more often, and the random crying (colic) became less and less. I was getting reciprocation from this tiny creature, and it warmed my heart. Soon after that, she started laughing. All the time. Everything I did or said was apparently VERY funny, and around three months I started to be excited to wake up and get her in the morning and see her smile at me.

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We left her for the weekend with my parents to go to New Orleans for a race in January, and while it was great to get away and have some time without her, I was so excited to see her and hug her when we got back. The affection continued to grow, until at four months, we were sitting together laughing one day, and I realized I loved her so much I just wanted to squeeze her so hard just like Emlyra. I am now constantly pinching her cheeks, kissing her head, and laughing with her. I find myself saying things like “I can’t wait until we can do XYZ together.”

When you think about it, it really makes more sense to me to have it happen this way. When you met your boyfriend or spouse, or best friend, I doubt you felt deep affection for them right away. Bonding takes time, and it occurs at a different pace for everyone. The more you get to know a person and spend time with them, the more you begin to love them. This is how it happened with my baby, and I honestly think this is what happens to a lot of people but they are so afraid to say anything for fear of people thinking they are bad mothers who don’t love their children.

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I know I was afraid to say anything at first, but I realized a lot of people felt this way and wanted to let you know if this is you, that you are not alone! Don’t be fooled by instagram photos or blog posts where moms say everything is going great and they couldn’t be more in love or more happy. Yes it is true for some of them and they do have an instant connection, but I can promise not everyone is being truthful. For me it was more of sidestepping the issue and not talking about it on the blog. If being on social media seeing how other new moms are doing is stressing you out, turn off your phone. Step away, and don’t compare your life to anyone else’s. They may be struggling with someone else that has been a breeze for you. Having the baby blues is ok too, just be sure you know when it’s time to ask for help.

So, ask me now, do I love my daughter, in the squishy love kind of way? Absolutely. But I also know as I get to know her more, I will grow to love her even more. So if you have a newborn, and aren’t “there” yet, don’t fret. It will come. It may take weeks or even months, but don’t ever let someone make you feel guilty or bad because your love came differently or more slowly. We are all just doing the best we can, and should be supporting each other in this crazy thing called parenthood.

QOTD: Did you have an instant connection with your baby or did it take some time?

What I’m Loving: Newborn Addition

 
I have done posts about what I am loving before, but I thought it was time to do a baby edition. I always enjoyed seeing what products other moms used so hopefully someone finds this helpful!

Infanito Go GaGa Gym: This is a great place to do tummy time with your baby, and Emma Kate loves looking at the mirror and the mobile that winds up and plays music. This will usually keep her entertained for 10-20 minutes and is a nice change of scenery. The best thing about it is that it folds up really easily so is very portable!

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Boppy newborn lounger: A friend of mine gave me her lounger when her kids outgrew it. At first I wasn’t even sure I was going to use it, but it has been my number one baby item and used on a daily basis. For the first three weeks of EK’s life, this is where she took every nap. I would move the boppy from the couch to the bedroom to the kitchen and she would just lay in it and look around, and then fall asleep. I will be sad when she outgrows it and gets more mobile!

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HALO Bassinest: I wrote a full review on this the other day, but I am singing it’s praises again. Super convenient for little babies to sleep next to your bed.

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Soothie pacifiers: We started giving Emma Kate a pacifier about a week after she was born, and we have tried many many brands with this being the ONLY one she will take. These are a must in the car or when she is really fussy or overtired.

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Motorola video monitor: We didn’t get this until a couple of weeks ago, and it is amazing. I love being able to hear her make noises then flip on the screen to make sure she is ok without having to run into whatever room she is in immediately. The parent unit has rechargeable batteries in it, so I carry it around with me and don’t need a cord which is awesome.

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Christmas baby clothes: Just because they are super fun and I can’t wait to put Emma Kate in festive outfits! The kind folks at OshKosh B’gosh sent us a care package of the most adorable baby clothes!

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QOTD: What were some essentials for you in the first weeks of your baby’s life?

Emma Kate’s Newborn Photos: By Destiny Tillery

When I was six months pregnant, I started looking around for photographers for Emma Kate’s newborn pictures. I haven’t had professional photos done since our wedding, we had the best wedding photographers in nyc. It’s just not something we typically spend money on. However, I knew I wanted newborn pictures of our baby, all the ones I have seen are so adorable!

I found Destiny Tillery photography through a Google search of my area, and am so glad that I did! The pictures on her website are just beautiful, her prices were reasonable, and I loved that she had her own studio full of props, headbands, and backdrops.

Once we booked our session, Destiny was great with communicating with me about what I wanted for the session. She told me to bring any props I wanted to use, and we discussed any specific poses that I liked that I had seen on her website or anywhere else. I ended up bringing a Minnie Mouse hat and a Saints headband, and other than that told her to have fun and let her creative juices flow!

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Destiny and EK after brushing her hair and getting her posed for her pictures!

Destiny’s studio is at her home, and I loved seeing all the things that went into the session to keep my baby happy. The room was warm and dark, she utilized white noise, a hot water bottle, and swaddling so that Emma Kate would sleep through the session. A lot goes into newborn posing, and Destiny took a ton of time with us making sure everything looked just right.

While the photos were being taken, Bobby and I were able to relax on a comfy couch. Destiny even had a basket of snacks and a refrigerator of drinks and coffee for us to enjoy.

A couple of weeks after the session, we set up a time to go look at the proofs. I went back to her studio where she had a flat screen TV on the wall. She had set the photos to music on a slideshow for me to view, and then we discussed photo packages and pricing. It was very laid back and such a great experience!

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There are so many great pictures, but I wanted to share some of my favorites!

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Destiny also does children’s photo sessions, holiday sessions, 6 month olds, maternity, etc. I highly recommend her services if you are in the Jackson, MS area, you won’t be disappointed! Here is how you can connect with Destiny Tillery:

Facebook

Website

If you do choose to contact her, be sure to let her know I sent you!

QOTD: Did you do newborn photos? Do you plan to?

Disclosure: I received a discount on my photo package in exchange for my honest review. But really, these photos are awesome!

 

A Day in the Life…October 2014

I haven’t written one of these posts in awhile, and I definitely haven’t done one since Emma Kate was born. I thought it would be fun to document what I do in a day so you can see what things look like right now.

5:00- The baby starts fussing in her sleep. Her eyes are closed and she isn’t wake, but is being so noisy I can’t sleep (anyone else have a noisy newborn when they sleep?!?) She was last up right around midnight to eat, so this is a good stretch of time for her since she went back down a little after 1:00.

6:00- After staring at the ceiling for an hour, I finally decide to get up and feed Emma Kate who is now actually waking up. First we have a diaper and outfit change.

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6:15- I let the dogs out to potty, and feed the baby. Then let the dogs back in, and feed them.

6:30- Drink a glass of water then fix some coffee. Put baby in bouncy seat where she looks at the mobile hanging from it for awhile.

6:35- Get on my laptop and check my email and blog, check Facebook and Twitter etc. as long as EK is entertained.

6:50- Well, that didn’t last long. Get baby out of bouncer, try to burp her again, change her diaper, and talk to her and the dogs for a few minutes.

7:15-Put Emma Kate on her activity mat where she looks at her mobile for awhile. I hop back on the computer to do some more work.

7:30- Baby is bored, so we talk and play and sing and look at books until she gets sleepy. After some rocking and a pacifier, she drifts off for a nap, which is good because some days we don’t really nap at all during the day aside from 2-3 fifteen minute cat naps. I put on a load of laundry and jump back on the laptop for some work and emailing clients.

9:00- I realize I am hungry and that I haven’t eaten breakfast yet so I grab some Chobani out of the refrigerator and eat it in front of the computer where I start on a blog post.

10:00- I hear the baby fussing, and she is ready to get up and have her diaper changed. I feed her again, and put her in her swing for a few minutes so I can let the dogs out and grab a glass of water. I sit on the couch and turn on the tv for a few minutes while I hold and snuggle with EK.

10:30- The phone rings, it’s a client who says they will be quick but we end up on the phone for 45 minutes. I tried to keep Emma as entertained as I can while on the phone but she still fusses a bit. Luckily, the client has kids so they are understanding.

11:15- It’s a nice day so we decide to get out of the house and go for a walk, and I hope that it will help Emma Kate drift off to sleep, she loves the motion of the stroller. She does fall asleep, and I am afraid she will wake up so I end up walking for 45 minutes.

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12:00-I bring the baby carrier inside with the baby in it and thankfully she stays asleep for awhile so I can grab some lunch, put the clothes in the dryer, and text Bobby at work.

1:30- EK is awake again and not too happy to be in her carrier. Another diaper and feeding later and she is happy again. She sits in the newborn Boppy lounger and looks around for awhile. I fold clothes on the couch next to the baby and talk to her, then do some dishes in the sink.

2:30- I try to get her to take a nap but she is having none of it. She starts crying and fussing and yawning but refuses to sleep. I swaddle her, put on the white noise app on the iPad, give her a pacifier, and walk her around her rom trying to calm her down. We go back and forth from the rocking chair to walking around and homegirl still won’t give up.

3:30- She finally dozes off and I put her in her crib for a nap. I am excited that I can get a couple hours of uninterrupted work done and finish my blog post, and open up my laptop.

3:37- EK starts screaming. So much for a nap. I try to pat her and shush her and get her to doze back off but she is full blown awake and unhappy. I try putting her in the swing, bouncer, boppy, and just holding her but everything seems to tick her off, especially my singing. I go from sitting to standing to walking, slowly losing my nerve. I feed her again at 4:15 hoping it will calm her down but no such luck.

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5:00- I text Bobby telling him I am having a hard time and he tells me he is on his way home, thankfully.

5:15-I pass EK off to Bobby and go into the other room to decompress. Bobby takes her upstairs and we basically play pass the baby for the next couple of hours. She will get so close to sleep and then wake up again.

6:45- I tell Bobby she likes walks, so he puts her in her carrier and takes her for a stroller walk. She screams the whole way so he gives up and comes back, but I am not giving up so I start running with her in the stroller, looping around the driveway over and over and she stops crying. Bobby takes over because I got a side stitch, and he takes her around the block. He comes in, takes the carrier upstairs, and she stays asleep for exactly five minutes before she wakes up unhappy.

7:30- We feed her again and go upstairs to attempt to watch TV. We put her on the boppy lounger with the white noise app, gave her a baby massage and she finally fell asleep. We are able to watch TV, and I get back on the computer to get work and blog stuff done. I hate working at night since it’s the only time I get to see Bobby, but I don’t have much choice these days.

9:45- I empty the dishwasher, do a little picking up in the living room, and realize how tired I am.

10:00- I take an extra long shower, hang up some clothes in my closet, and check my email one more time before getting in bed where I read for a total of four minutes before falling asleep at 10:45. Bobby has the late shift, so he will take care of the baby’s feeding around midnight, and then we play the rest of the night by ear. Sometimes she’s up at 2 or 3, sometimes not until 5 if we are lucky, then it’s time to do it all over again!

QOTD: Does your baby like your singing? Do they like to ride in the car or stroller?

Emma Kate: Month One

Wow. Just….wow. How is this possible? How is my baby ONE MONTH old?!?! The first two and a half weeks, the days drug on so slowly, but in the past week or so she has changed so much and time is flying.

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I decided to break up my posts into two, so she will have her own post, then I will do one on how I am doing one month out sometime next week. So, let’s take a look at “baby M” and her first month of life.

First off, we are so thankful that she is a healthy baby with no serious medical problems. I realize how truly blessed we are that she arrived healthy and has remained so. I have heard horror stories of babies not sleeping at all, crying non stop and the like, and I can say aside from her first week of life and then a few days of fussiness around 2.5 weeks, she is a very happy non-fussy baby.

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In the beginning, she was nursing for 45-50 minutes every two hours, so I was only getting an hour break. I started pumping and Bobby started giving her a bottle at night around the second week and it was SO nice to get a little extra sleep.

We had a little issue at first with jaundice and weight loss which is now under control and Emma Kate is gaining weight like a champ. Her two week checkup went great, and by just over three weeks she weighed 8 pounds 12 ounces.

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EK has just in the past few days really started to look at the world around her. For the first couple of weeks she was so sleepy and we would put her in the Boppy newborn lounger in whatever room I was in, and she would snooze on and off all day. But, now we alternate between the swing, bouncer, Boppy, and her activity gym when she’s not being held.

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Emma Kate is not impressed.

At three weeks, Emma Kate was doing tummy time on her activity  mat and she rolled over on her back! I about flipped out, and she just looked at me like “what, mom?”

She likes her pacifier, but ONLY the soothie ones. She hasn’t had any trouble taking a bottle, and will take one from anyone. She is VERY vocal, constantly making noises, grunting, groaning, and moaning even in her sleep.

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As far as clothing goes, she can still fit into newborn onesies, but outgrew the footie pajamas after week two because her legs are so long! 0-3 are still huge on her though, and she is still in newborn diapers. I bought ONE newborn outfit for her, so the only clothes in that size she has are from friends/baby shower, so she has been wearing the same things over and over. I can’t wait until she goes up a size and can wear cute new outfits she has never worn!

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Emma Kate sleeps in the Bassinest next to our bed (more on that later in a separate post!) but prefers to nap on her stomach during the day. Don’t worry, I keep a close eye on her, and she can lift her head and turn it side to side, and we don’t put blankets around her. She will sleep in 4 hours stretches at night now which is awesome.

She has such a sweet personality, and loves being held. She likes when I walk around so she can see everything in the house. Homegirl does NOT like having a wet or dirty diaper and will scream, even waking herself up from sleep when she has one. But really, can you blame her? unnamed (17)

Everyone comments on how much hair she has, and asks if she had that much when she was born. I think she looks like me, but has Bobby’s mouth, and certain facial expressions she has look like Bobby, too. Baby started getting some acne on her face at week two, and also has been having some seriously dry skin. Other than that which is super minor, she is healthy and (I hope!) happy. She is changing daily!

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QOTD: When did your baby start sleeping in long stretches? What about smiling?

Emma Kate’s Birth Story: Part II

We left off part one of Emma Kate’s birth story with me getting ready to get my epidural. I apologize for the wordiness and lack of photos until the end. Again, if birth stores aren’t your thing, feel free to skip this one!

As I said before, I was really nervous about this but knew it would make me feel better so I was as ready as I was going to get. The anesthesiologist came in a few minutes later, and the nurse helped position me on the bed and had me hunch over. Honestly, the anticipation was the worst part. It took the doctor about five minutes to prep his stuff (and me), and so I just had to sit there bent over with the nurse holding my shoulders down while I waited. Finally it was time and it was almost comical how much it DIDN’T hurt. It felt the exact same as the IV I had put in my arm that morning. I could feel pressure in my spine after the initial insertion, which was more weird/creepy than anything, but then it was done and within a couple of minutes I felt amazingly better. However, I had started having some slight nausea, and the nurse gave me some zofran in my IV. It never totally went away but the medicine did help take the edge off.

I was all set to take a nap, and my mom and Bobby’s mom and her husband came in for a visit. We chatted for awhile which helped the time pass, and it was so odd to look at the monitor seeing these huge contractions, but not being able to feel anything. (This was around 9:45). At 10:00 I was checked again, and was at 5 cm. Progress! Bobby decided to go grab some lunch while I had other family there, and I really don’t remember what I did between 10:00 and 12:00. My intention was to nap, but it never happened. I am fairly certain I was just playing on my phone and texting back and forth with friends and family.

At noon I was checked again, 7 cm! They wanted me to progress a centimeter every hour to 1.5 hours, and so far I was right on track. They estimated I would have baby M by mid afternoon. About this time, they put the oxygen mask on me for a few minutes as a precaution because baby’s heart rate was jumping around just a bit.

At 1:45, I was checked again and at 8 cm. A little bit slower progress, but progress none the same. About this time, I noticed that I could feel my left leg more than my right leg. It was a very noticeable difference, and since I have heard stories of people feeling everything on one side and not the other because the epidural didn’t work right, I got a little nervous. We tried tilting my body to the side but I actually started to feel more as time went by. Soon, I was starting to feel contractions in me left side, and I got REALLY nervous.

At 3:00, I was checked again as we were trying to decide what was wrong with the epidural, and the nurse said “oh, no wonder you are feeling it on one side, you are complete! 10 cm, time to push!” Basically, the baby was RIGHT THERE and that’s why I was feeling it on one side, she said once we started pushing that the pain should go away and I shouldn’t be able to feel anything. Whew!

I had no idea how the pushing part was going to go, as my only frame of reference was movies and TV, super reliable I know. I was surprised that it was way more relaxed and calm than I was anticipating. The nurse told me since I was a first time mom I potentially could push for 2-3 hours but since I was more in shape, it hopefully wouldn’t take that long.

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Time to push!

She lowered this huge light down from the ceiling, and she sat on one side of the bed while Bobby sat on the other. The nurse explained to me the muscles I needed to use to push, which was pretty funny because I couldn’t feel anything! She would tell me “good, yes!” and I’m thinking “I have NO idea what I am doing because I can’t feel anything!” I tried to imagine using certain muscles, and apparently I did a good job because I only had to push for about 45-50 minutes, and the nurse said “alright let’s call your doctor, it’s time to have a baby!”

Apparently baby M was very very close to coming out, because the nurse and everyone that walked in kept saying “oh my gosh that baby has a head full of hair!” I seriously must have heard it ten times before I ever saw the child!

Soon my doctor arrived and the room got really busy. Nurses coming in and out, prepping the area, putting down tarps, gathering instruments, etc. Looking back it all seems like a huge blur and seemed to go by so fast but at the same time so slow. My old nurse Laura showed up just in time to help and watch as well.

The nursery nurse arrived since I wanted her to stay in the room with me for awhile, and soon my doctor had on her gloves (along with some big rain boots, we later figured out why…the birth process is quite gross and messy!) It was then time to push again, and I remember waiting for a contraction and the doctor saying she has been known to “scare contractions away”.

Every contraction I would push three times, each time with a count to ten. Again, this part is all a blur, I tried to “push” without being able to feel a thing, and on the third contraction and the first push of that contraction, out came baby M! My body felt so weird when she came out, like an instant void in my stomach, it was so strange.

After a few seconds she was crying up a storm and my doctor held her up for us to see and then cut the cord. She was brought over to the nursery nurse to be weighted and measured and her APGAR scores were great, a 9 and a 10. Everyone talks about this instant overwhelming love they experience, and honestly I didn’t have that right away. There was a LOT going on in that room, and I was really, really overwhelmed by it all and had not had time to process things yet. I was physically and mentally exhausted and getting more nauseated. I knew she was my baby and I cared for her, but my feelings at the time were…weird? I’m really not sure how to explain it! I think I was in shock.

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Baby M weighed 8 pounds, 7 ounces, and was 21 and 1/4 inches long. Bobby stood in between me and her taking pictures as I got stitched up. However, it seemed to be taking a really long time…

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Happy Birthday Emma Kate Montgomery!

The rest of the story will be in part III, with a lot more pictures, I promise!

QOTD: How did you feel right when your baby was born? Happy? overwhelmed? Anxious? Do you ever remember? How long did you push?