Lily's First Month

Firsts: Everything has been a first for you! Here are some of the BIG firsts. First snow, first Auburn game (on TV), first dog kiss, first photography session, first bottle, first trip to get ice cream, first stuffy nose, first bath

News Headlines: Earthquake in Haiti leaving hundreds of thousands of Haitians either dead or without any water/food/shelter/clothing. Republican Scott Brown wins senate seat in Massachusetts, beating Democrat Martha Coakley.

Favorite Toy: Baby Einstein music and color toy. Your Uncle Ben gave this to you for Christmas. It teaches you the primary colors in English, Spanish, and French! You also LOVE to watch the fan (even though you haven't seen it spin yet).

Mommy and Daddy's Favorite: The facial expressions you make when you are falling asleep...smiles, frowns, lips in the shape of an "O" like you are surprised, and sticking out your tongue. You LOVE your tongue and have since the second you were born. We also love your beautiful big blue eyes. We could stare at you all day long. You are a beautiful creation of your Heavenly Father!

Milestones: You are holding your head up for longer periods of time each day, you can follow sounds, you are doing a much better job of burping while eating.

Weight/Length: around 8 pounds, 21 inches

Like Mommy: The way you sleep with your hands by your face and your tongue curled to your upper lip.

Like Daddy: Your dark straight hair and those trademark VK chubby baby cheeks!

Best Memory: The moment I heard the doctor say, "We have a baby girl!" There you were, my beautiful sweet bundle of joy. And all these late night feedings will one day be wonderful memories and, surprisingly, I will miss being up at all odd hours of the night with you.

Biggest Challenge: Bedtime and taking your paci...you can spit that thing out so hard that I hear it hit the side of the cradle.

How we spend the day: You eat around 6 or 7 in the morning, then you and Mommy go back to sleep until the next feeding, 3 or 4 hours later. After the other daytime feedings, Mommy dances with you, sings to you, plays with you, attempts tummy time even though you don't enjoy it, and reads to you. Then you take a nap while Mommy gets things done around the house. Daddy gets home around 6 and he takes care of the next two feedings while Mommy gets dinner ready. This past Monday, I took you to see Daddy at work.

Funniest Moment: You projectile pooped on Daddy. It got all over his shirt, pants, and the rug in your room.

How we celebrated your first month: Daddy surprised both of us with flowers and a cookie cake!

Lily, you have brought so much joy in our lives in just one month. I can't imagine how much joy we will have as the months and years go on. Your Mommy and Daddy love you more than you will ever know and more than we can comprehend. And what's even better is that your Heavenly Father loves you even more than that. That's a lot of love for one little girl! I thank God everyday that you are a healthy, beautiful baby girl. We are blessed beyond measure to have the privilege of raising you. You are a precious gift! We love you!

Here are some highlights from your first month.

Mommy and Daddy in the OR waiting for you to greet the world!

Mommy's first time to see you!

Wearing the bonnet that Rebecca gave you. Unfortunately, your head was too tiny and you didn't wear it home. Mommy is saving it for your wedding day!

Dressed for your first Auburn game!

First family picture--Sanibel didn't cooperate, imagine that!

Wearing the "VK" onesie that Ashley made for you!

After bath time, wearing your frog towel.

Wearing your first big bow, given to you by Aunt Katie.


Part 2: Blue Sparkly Poop

Make sure you read Part 1 below!

I should actually call this one "Breastfeeding Woes" but, gosh, what a boring title. How would I ever attract any readers? So, forget I even said that.

When we discharged from the hospital, Lily weighed 5 lbs 14 oz. While it's completely normal for babies to lose some of their birth weight, the pediatrician said she had lost too much. We went to the pediatrician at a week old for her first weigh in and so the story goes...

Weigh-in #1: 5 lbs 6 oz! I was told to start supplementing with formula and feed Lily every two hours, even at night. I talked to 3 lactation consultants and my OB, trying to figure out what I needed to do to get Lily to only be a breastfed baby. Between the nurse at the peditrician's office, the pediatrician, the 3 lactation consultants, and my OB, I got a different answer from everyone. I thought I was going to scream!!! Oh wait, I did! And cried, the sobbing kind, more than I have in my entire life. I just wanted a truthful answer on what to do for my child. Add some extreme "baby blues" to all this breastfeeding chaos and you had one UNHAPPY, UPSET mother for a week. The best breastfeeding advice--and by "best" I mean absolute worst--was given by two ladies at a store that I won't name, but I will say they were involved with the La Leche League. Breastfeeding Hippies is what I like to call them. One lady told me that the reason Lily wasn't gaining enough weight was because I didn't have enough fat in my milk. Solution? Eat more fat, which I did for 24 hours...whole milk, eggs, cheese, nuts, and a nasty Wendy's burger and fries. The other piece of HILARIOUS advice that I was given by another lady at the same store was to not use Similac formula. The lady said it messed up her kids GI tract. Instead, she told me to use Nestle Good Start, then gave me full warning to not be alarmed if Lily's poop is blue and sparkly. The lady assured me that it wasn't a problem...she asked her pediatrician herself after she saved the diaper and took it to him weeks later to ask about the blue sparkly poop. Poop isn't supposed to be blue and it's definitely not supposed to be sparkly, so I'm sticking with Similac! Lily has had no problems digesting that stuff and her poop is regular and the right color.

Weigh-in #2, next day: 6 lbs 5 oz. What!? How did she gain nearly a pound in 24 hours? If only I could lose weight that fast! Thankfully, we had a different nurse than the previous day. She quadruple checked the weight and we agreed that the first weight was very wrong! I was told to take Lily off formula, feed every 3 hours, and let her wake us up at night. I also asked about the information I was given to eat more fatty food. WRONG again La Leche League! My diet affects the quantity of my milk, not the quality. Thanks you for clogging all of my arteries!

Weigh-in #3, next day: 6 lbs 3 oz. Although, she lost 2 ounces, the pediatrician agreed it was because she had not eaten in 2 hours. No worries, but he put her back on formula just in case and told us to feed every two hours.

Weigh-in #4, following Tuesday: 6 lbs 12 oz. Past her birth weight, woo hoo!!! I really wanted to make breastfeeding work, so I requested to talk to my new best friend...Nurse Laura, the breast consultant at the pediatrician's office. My fear was that Lily was so used to the bottle that she was now a lazy eater and as a result, my milk production had decreased. She suggested I only nurse her and just forget the formula. If Lily is hungry enough, she'll learn to breastfeed. We scheduled a weigh in for the next day to see if she was getting enough. Turns out she wasn't. I had to supplement with formula for the next 24 hours because she remained hungry after she nursed and ate what I pumped.

Weigh-in #5, next day: We didn't weigh her this time since Nurse Laura's plan failed. But she did give me some more tips on breastfeeding. She suggested I nurse and pump at every feeding, and if Lily is still hungry, give her what I pumped. Sounds like a plan! Except that she needs more than I can produce. For the next week I nursed her, gave her formula, and pumped. The process lasted 1 1/2 hours and we were doing it all over again in another 1 1/2 hours. No rest for the weary.

Newborn check up, the next week: Lily weighed 7 lbs 6 oz! And I was ready to quit breastfeeding. She wasn't an aggressive eater and my milk production was very low at this point. I knew it would eventually come to this and I was really tired of trying new things. I just wanted my baby to be fed and satisfied. Her pediatrician, who is absolutely wonderful, was very supportive and encouraging. He assured me that she would be a healthy baby on formula, and may even become president one day on formula! I still felt that I hadn't given it my all, but he told me that in all of his 21 years of being a pediatrician, he can only count 3 mothers that have had breastfeeding issues and tried for longer than I did. He said he would have given up a long time ago and appreciated my tenacity and effort to make it work.

So, my baby is bottle-fed. Never thought I would say that and never thought I would be at peace with the decision. But I am. My advice is to not let anyone make you feel that you are an inadequate mother because you can't provide for your baby. Try breastfeeding long enough to get through the horrid pain, then if it doesn't work out, pray about it. If it still doesn't work out, trust that God will provide the things your baby needs in the formula you give her. Lily is a happy, content baby and will be smart and healthy. But she will not have blue sparkly poop!


Part 1: The Electric Slide and Hungry Monkeys

This is a two-part blog. Don't miss out on part 2,"Blue Sparkly Poop"!

The Electric Slide
On Monday, December 28, 2009 at 8:36 AM, we welcomed our sweet little girl into the world, Lillian Reese. The morning started at 4:45 when we got up to shower and load up the car with all of our things for a 4 day stay at the hospital. We arrived at 6:30 sharp and sat in the waiting room with the two other preggo couples until 7:10. I was taken into a triage room, began preparation for surgery, and met my anesthesiologist whose lively personality kept me from hyperventilating. Was I nervous about the surgery? Absolutely not. I was ridiculously nervous about the IV, catheter, and spinal block. Thankfully, the Lord kept me calm with "do not be anxious about anything" which I repeated in my head over and over and over again all morning long. At 8:15, the L&D nurse wheeled me into the OR and Brent stayed in the hallway to get scrubbed in. I met what seemed like a thousand nurses who would be operating on me and tried but lost count of all the sterile knives, scissors and whatnot that they would be using. I grabbed the nurse directly in front of me and said, "I'm a baby, will you please hold my hand while I get the spinal?" She gladly did so. The spinal felt like a lot of bees stinging me for 5 seconds...just as the anesthesiologist explained. Then, aaahhh...I was so relaxed. Thankfully, my wise mother told me to request the catheter after the spinal so I wouldn't feel it. My OB came in and the surgery began, but I didn't know it! When Brent was allowed in the room, I thought that the surgery would begin then. Little did I know, I was already cut open and they were tugging on Lily by the time he walked in. I had been in the OR roughly 16 minutes and out came our little Lily; 6 lbs, 11 oz, 19 inches long. I said hello to my little girl for the first time, gave her a kiss, and out she went with Daddy to take her first bath. I got some sleep meds and off to Lala Land I went for the next 2 hours while they sowed me up and I hung out in a recovery room next to a girl that kept vomiting and couldn't be convinced that she had already had surgery (she was upset because she couldn't find her baby, who was already born and in the nursery with little Lily). Around 10:30 I was greeted in my room by about 20 family members, Lily being the one I was most excited to see. And the day continued with many more coming to see that precious bundle of joy...

Previous to this day, I had been told by numerous people that a c-section is not ideal, recovery is rough, and that I needed to get up and move as soon as the nurses would let me. Only one of those things is true...getting up to move ASAP. I LOVED the surgery because I was so relaxed and never felt any labor pains (the surgery was planned). Recovery was not rough. I was moving around on my own in less than 48 hours. I think my surgery/recovery is not typical, however. Here's why, at least why I think so, the Electric Slide. The night of the surgery, I was still hooked up to an IV, catheter, and pain pump. The nurse told me that the next morning I would be unhooked from everything and then I could try to stand up and walk. No ma'am, this girl was not waiting that long! So, the nurse suggested I start by dangling my feet over the bed. Nearly 8 minutes later, once I finally got the bed positioned just right and figured out how to best use the help of Brent and the nurse, my feet were dangling. I did feel some extreme pain, but only if I sat a certain way...I learned REAL quick how to sit comfortably! I dangled for about 5 minutes, then laid back down. A few hours later I decided I wanted to take it a step further. I dangled my feet again, then stood up with LOTS of help from Brent and the nurse. Yea! I stood for probably 5 minutes and sat back down. The nurse left the room and a few minutes later I decided I wanted to take a few steps. Brent helped me get back on my feet and we did the Electric Slide alongside my bed. I couldn't go far since I was still hooked up to the IVs. I think the Electric Slide was the dance move that changed the course of my recovery, at least I like to think it was! By Tuesday night, I was getting myself in and out of the bed and walking up and down the hallways. My advice on a c-section: if you are given the option and insurance will cover it, GO FOR IT! But make sure you do the Electric Slide within 24 hours of surgery, it makes all the difference in the world!

Hungry Monkeys
On Tuesday night, the nurse gave me half a dose of Ambien to ensure that I was well rested through the night. She told me to go right to sleep as soon as I took it to avoid any hallucinations. I followed orders and gladly shut my eyes. A few hours later, I think my internal alarm clock woke me up because it was close to feeding time. Here's a snapshot of me on half a dose of Ambien (I don't want to know what a whole dose would do!):

- I told Brent to go to Publix, the blue jackets were on sale for $10 and I was cold.
- I asked Brent if we were going swimming after I fed Lily. I guess I forgot that I was cold.
- I assured Brent that Phil (my best friend's dad, in real life) was going to fix the fireplace in our hallway, across from my brother's bedroom. Apparently Phil messed up and put a natural log fireplace in instead of a gas fireplace. But no worries, he was fixing it.
- I looked down and literally saw a little monkey with a red hat in my arms. Yes, I was nursing a monkey.
- I heard Lily's cry coming down the hall (which was really happening, it really was feeding time) and I told all the little monkeys to go home, it was time to feed Lily.

The next night, I had the same nurse. She asked me if I wanted Ambien again. I happily declined in fear of what hallucinations I might have.


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