Our first month with Vivienne
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve began writing this post within the last few weeks. Although I am writing today with a clear mind and heavy heart, there were days where you may have received a different perspective of how these last couple of weeks have been. If it were two days ago, you would have seen a woman having a breakdown. Sobbing uncontrollably as her husband comes home and not feeling like she can do this anymore. If it were yesterday, you would have heard from a woman who got a great nights sleep, had a burst of energy, talking about the amazing outing her and V were able to have. I bought a jumpsuit from Zara. I was happy. Today, we are in-between those two days. With a decent nights rest, some plans to venture out, yet V had no desire to leave the house and she made sure that was clear with her unwillingness to nap, consistent crying, and not wanting to leave my arms. There was no way I could take her in public. So, we stayed home and eventually both had a much needed nap.
The day we came home from the hospital is kind of a blur. I remember walking in, introducing Vivienne to the puppies, and feeding her for the first time in her nursery. Lucy, our first rescue, is a mama’s girl. As you would have imaged, she didn’t understand what was going on and why she couldn’t immediately jump in my arms. As I was nursing Vivienne, Lucy jumped on us in the rocking chair. JJ quickly grabbed her but it completely shocked me (although didn’t shock me at the same time). I knew Lucy was going to have difficulty adjusting to our new family member. So, how are we now? Lucy is still some what of a stalker, but she’s getting better every day, giving off motherly vibes vs. showing any type of aggressive or jealous behavior. She lays on the nursery rug while I nurse V, and goes to her immediately when she cries. I know in the end she’ll be very protective of her. King on the other hand, has been amazing since day one. He keeps his distance, and greets her with kisses when he finally breaks away from his chew toys. Overall, they are about as tired, if not more tired than I am. I imagine they used to sleep all day while I was at work, so they too are adjusting to the change.
The first week was all about being in survival mode. Eating on demand, sleepless nights, and trying to get an idea of what exactly I was doing. Why is she crying? What does she need? Getting to know this sweet girl and all her different cues. It wasn’t easy, but now I feel like I’m finally getting the hang of it. The sleepless nights were really hard on me. The following days I was grumpy, exhausted, and pretty much in full zombie mode. “Sleep when she sleeps”, everyone says. I wish I could have been that person. I am too much of an OCD maniac to leave dishes in the sink or laundry in the hamper. What I didn’t do and was so grateful for was not having to cook any meals. My mom came out a couple days before Vivienne was born, is still here, and leaving the week after Thanksgiving. Having an extra set of hands around the house, making lunch, and holding V has been really helpful these past couple weeks. Thanks mom!
After a couple nights of falling asleep in the rocking chair or snuggling her on the couch because she wouldn’t fall asleep any other way, I reached out to my friend Adrianne who has just become a mom of three. She said to implement day vs. night… aka keeping the lights on, shades up, naked while feeding … keep her awake and then let her sleep for a couple of hours. During the night, have the lights extremely dim, keep her snuggled and warm, and swaddle her back up before putting her on the other boob for feeding. This will get her knowing the difference between day verses night time. I started this instantly and immediately got a better nights sleep. In the meantime, I also signed JJ and I up for Cara’s sleep class at Modern Milk. I won’t go into full detail about this class right now, as we are still implementing the information and will give a full update on what to expect and how its been going when we are a couple weeks over the “practice phase.” All I can say is it’s lookin good!
One of the more popular questions that people often ask me is if I am breastfeeding and how that is going. Yes, I am breastfeeding and I’d have to say it is going good, for the most part. Let me explain. For those of you who have never breastfed before, you may be shocked to know that there is a little bit more to it than just the baby sucking milk from your nipple. The nurses at Honor Health are great with giving instructions, but perfecting the latch isn’t as easy as you may think. After a couple days of breastfeeding on my own, it was starting to become painful and my nipples were blistered and cracked. I signed up for a lactation consultation with Stephanie at Modern Milk. This was beyond helpful. First of all, as I mentioned in my post about Newborn Essentials, the latch pillow by Boppy is a game changer. I also have the regular Boppy pillow that is pretty and all, but I have to secure it with pillows on each side for her not to slip through or move around. The latch pillow straps onto you with a flat service for her to lay on. Much easier. Stephanie weighed V, helped with the latch, and then after feeding her for about 8 minutes, weighed her again to see how much she was getting. We repeated that on the other side. Although I am still not the best at relaxing during breastfeeding (I hunch forward) it was a good way to see how you are supposed to be positioned while feeding (legs up, back relaxed, latch pillow in place). She also prescribed me with a strong nipple ointment to help the blisters heel. This worked almost instantly. If you are in the Phoenix area, I would highly recommend you checking out Stephanie at Modern Milk if you are having any issues breastfeeding. There are so many little tips that will help you so much in the long run. Use code WHATBABYLIKES when you sign up for a class or lactation consultation to get 15% off your service.
These last couple of weeks, I have been trying to maintain her feeding and sleep schedule without being too crazy, have taken her out on a couple of light excursions (that she may or may not have accepted) and really have just been enjoying this new mom life. I’m crying less (hormones and pure love for this little girl) and feeling fully healed from delivery. It’s pretty insane how I’ve already forgotten what the pain and recovery feels like. I could do this again! …. in a couple of years.
I took to Instagram to ask my followers what they wanted to know about these first couple of weeks with Vivienne that I haven’t already answered above. As someone who has no problem being an open book, below are my answers.
Where does she sleep? In the 4moms play yard bassinet/dockAtot next to our bed. I do not feed her in our bed at night, I take her to her nursery.
Most challenging thing you have come across as a new mom and what is the easiest? The most challenging would be lack of sleep and not having the time I used to for social media/blogging. I don’t know how some of these women still do it as much as they used to. I have a hard time justifying staging her every single day as I’d rather just be real and cuddle her or let her be. The easiest has been becoming a mom. I was nervous at first for the change and will I know what to do? You just know… or you google.
Was this how you pictured it when you were pregnant? I truthfully didn’t think too much of it while I was pregnant. I had an amazing pregnancy followed by an even better delivery and I was just going through the motions and not trying to stress out about the future. I figured there would be lack of sleep but you never know what that actually means until you go through it.
How has your beauty routine changed? It hasn’t. After the first trimester, I was back having my hair and eyelashes done. I also was using organic/natural/pregnancy safe skin care and beauty products that I haven’t had to change. Luckily I haven’t experienced any post hormonal skin issues like I did during the first couple months of pregnancy. Knock on wood!
What have you learned about yourself since having Vivienne? How strong the women’s body and mind are. Its truly amazing.
Do you plan on having more kids in the future? JJ and I would like to have one more child in the future. Girl, Boy… doesn’t matter… one and done.
What was your birth experience? See birth post here.
How long is she sleeping at night? She is currently sleeping 3-4, sometimes 5 hours straight during the night. She wakes usually once between 10pm-6am.
What is JJ like as a dad? Watching JJ become a dad has been one of the greatest gifts. He is so in love with her and its amazing to watch the person he has become when he cares for her. Although its harder for guys to get as involved since I am primarily breastfeeding right now, he is a diaper changing machine!
Do you have a lot of help from friends and family? My mom has been with us for a little over a month now, and she is here for another week and a half. So that has been helpful these first couple of weeks. My sister lives in Phoenix as well as JJ’s mom and sister. So we do have the support if needed!
How did you decide between a fresh 48 session and a birth photographer? I didn’t personally want a studio shoot for Vivienne as a newborn. It’s not my style. I thought a shoot at the hospital when she was born would be unique and beautiful as well as a home shoot with JJ, Vivienne, the puppies, and I. So, that is what we did 🙂
How did you decide on who was in the delivery room with you? JJ and I are private people, so you won’t see that moment filmed or shared with anyone else but us. We just wanted to keep it JJ, I, our doctor and the nurses.
Anything you wish you prepared for? Not sure you can prepare for these first couple of weeks. I wish I went to the breastfeeding 101 class at Modern Milk but other than that… not reading books and taking it day by day has truthfully been less stressful then if I had multiple opinions to constantly be thinking about.
How are you adjusting to her schedule? Let’s just stay nap time is a blessing! It’s allowing me to write this post and get things done around the house and for myself throughout the day.
Have you experienced postpartum symptoms? Having little to no sleep can be a really scary thing. Its so important to get the support from a parent or significant other at the beginning so you do not fall into these symptoms. Ask for help and don’t think you can do everything yourself. If you feel like crying, cry. If you need help, ask. If you are in desperate need of some sleep, sleep when your baby sleeps. Take care of yourself and don’t forget to ask for help. I did not experience any postpartum symptoms but there definitely were some tough days that I thought I wouldn’t be able to get through.
Do you do anything for yourself? In the morning, either by nap time or right before she wakes up I make sure to at least body shower, brush my teeth, wash my face, etc. before anything else. This week, I have a couple of appointments that I am doing for myself and hope to get out to a dinner with JJ or girls dinner sooner than later. Even running small errands alone is a breath of fresh air.
Miss anything? Feel free to ask below and I’ll be happy to answer as soon as possible.