Tuesday marked one month of life outside the womb for this sweet baby girl! She weighs 9 lb 11 oz and was in the 72nd percentile for weight at her 2 week appointment (she was closer to 3 weeks old at the time though – not sure if they take that into account)! Our older girls were always incredibly low, so it was fun to have a nice solid weight for once. haha We’ll see if she maintains that at her 2 month appointment. This, “Whoa, Mama! Put my clothes back on before snapping a picture!” face cracks me up. Elly is still fitting some of her newborn clothes and some 0-3 month things (mostly because her limbs are so long!).
Elly has seriously been my easiest newborn. She started right off sleeping well through the night. She usually nurses around 10 or 11 p.m., again at 2 or 3 a.m., and then 5:30 or 6:30 a.m. In between, she goes right to sleep and doesn’t wake up until she wants to eat again! For the first week or so, I had her sleep on me in bed. I attempted a co-sleeper, but it was a major fail. My kids just hate the flat on their back thing. I knew I didn’t want her in our bed forever and we already knew we weren’t getting a third crib (our house is not big enough for that! ha!), so I did some research and decided we should try an infant rock ‘n’ play. It’s been absolutely amazing! I have it right next to the bed and I buckle her in, snug her in a blanket, let her suck my finger for a few minutes, and she’s out! I love it! Although it is probably not deemed “safe” for all night sleeping, the Amazon reviewers were all about it.
It’s pretty great snuggling with Daddy or Mama in the evening. We call Elly our ‘Little Squeaker’ because she often will start showing she’s upset by doing this super tiny, cute squeak! haha! This is totally different from my older two girls when they were babies. They would start right off with crazy loud screaming. I’ll take the squeaks any day!!
Eliana nurses about every 2 hours during the day. She’ll often do one 3 or 3 1/2 hour stretch which includes a longer nap.
This was Elly attempting to wake up from a really solid nap last week. She ended up sleeping another half hour or so, but it was a good try! I love all the squishy faces!
I will always love the way babies shoot their hands up when they’re trying to nap and something slightly startles them. It’s like, “Don’t touch me! I’m going back to sleep!”
So that’s what you named me!
I’ve been able to use my K ‘tan sling a lot more now and she loves that.
Sweet Cheeks has been more wakeful as she’s aging and enjoys short spurts of play time on the floor.
That frowny face though….. haha!
Elly is just full of great expressions!
Sweet little girl has been “talking” a little to me, which is super cute.
Big Sister, Evie, is Eliana’s constant companion and semi-hazardous friend. haha Evie does enjoy loving on her babies, although these moments are never unsupervised. Evie hasn’t yet realized the real babies are not quite as forgiving as her baby dolls.
Big Sister, Abby, loves to be by Elly, taking care of her, holding her, and loving on her. Her approach is a much gentler one, which Elly appreciates.
Little Elle is starting to lose some hair on top, but is still just as cute as ever! She loves sucking on my finger and being held while I walk.
Elly started smiling a couple days before she was 4 weeks old. It’s SO absolutely sweet, but incredibly fast and hard to catch on camera. This was almost a catch, but you’ll just have to trust me that it’s adorable. 🙂
Getting comfy while Mama’s on the computer.
Sweets has such long finger and toes! It’s so funny. People always ask me who she looks more like, but I think it’s a little too early to really tell. Her hospital newborn pictures looked a little more like Abby’s, but they change so much every day when they’re this young! She definitely has her own, sweet little look.
Eliana Hope is such a sweet baby and we love her incredibly much! We’re so blessed to have a third little darling girl to love on. I can never hold her long enough!
Yes, we made it to one month! We have officially survived one entire month of complete chaos and I have done over three of those weeks with Caleb back at work. #beastmode When people ask me how it’s going, I usually default to, “Oh, you know… haha It’s busy around here!” Because, I can’t assume they really want to hear how it’s actually going. It’s hard. Some days are worse than others, but they are all pretty well defined by the word, ‘hard.’ I imagined it would be pretty difficult having four kids ages 3 years, 1 1/2 years, 3 months, and a newborn, but now I know just how crazy it is! Although Abby can do a LOT for a three year old, she is still only three and I really don’t have a big kid helper to do things like put shoes on a sibling, refill a milk cup, or buckle the backseat kids up. Virtually all needs have to be met by yours truly and it’s almost unbelievable how many constant needs there are from these 4 little darlings. 🙂
The first week was a blur. We came home from the hospital, our kids and I all caught colds, I was trying to heal and got really wiped out with the cold, and our kids all went through new baby transition stage. Let me just say, after having a baby, a bad cough is downright painful. I tried to sit down every time I started hacking and that helped a little, but ouch! My healing felt slower than the last two times, probably because I was sick. We had to drag all 4 kids to the doctor to get Elly’s bilirubin levels checked the day after we were released. It was higher than they wanted, so they made me take her in to the doctor that afternoon to see what they thought. Each place was about a 25 minute drive for us – for the second trip I just hauled Elly to avoid taking all the kiddies again. After looking her over, they said I needed to get her levels tested again the next day. Thankfully that time around, they were normal and we were done with the doctors for a while!!
I was definitely not ready for Caleb to head back to work the second week, but it had to happen at some point! The first couple days went okay (we all survived) and theeeeeeeeen, I got mastitis! Yay! I’ve had it before with my other kids and it was just as miserable this time around. The only difference was I had all four kids at home and had to watch them while I could barely get off the couch. It was so, so hard to nurse and bottle feed and get food for kids and change diapers and wipe butts and provide consequences when the older girls made bad choices, but somehow I got through that day. We pretty much sat in the living room the entire day which was decidedly tough for the big girls to handle. They are constantly full of so much energy and needed outside desperately. The mastitis has since moved on (hopefully for good!!!) and life became doable again.
Week three started out okay and ended pretty rough. We had doctor appointments on Friday and confirmed both older girls had ear infections. We also found out Elly had a yeast infection in her mouth and on her bottom area and I was sharing it with her. I was itchy at first, but then became quite sore which once again made nursing sessions a bit of a trial. Elly wasn’t eating as well with it either. I felt like I needed to apologize to the pharmacist when we picked up five medications that night! Then I had to somehow remember to give Elly 4 daily doses of oral meds, 3 daily butt cream applications, and 2 oral doses for each of the big girls. Phew!! I had some pill that didn’t seem to help too much. I decided to start applying some of Elly’s oral medicine on myself each time and that actually seemed to help!
Week four was a continuation of week three. Everyone was still on their medicines. Elly and I seemed to be better by the end of the week and we thought the older girls were showing some improvements. Yesterday (Monday), we had everyone’s rechecks and Elly and Evie were considered good to go, while poor Abby still had puss and ear infection in her right ear (always her problem ear). She’s starting yet another medicine as soon as I can get everyone to the pharmacy to pick it up. Hopefully she can get on the mend very soon too!!
This is literally how it’s going though. In the morning, I get up and nurse Elly, then I get Evie up and diaper/dress her, then I get Abby up and take her to the bathroom/dress her/fix her hair, then I get the girls’ settled with breakfast, then I get Baby Boy up and diaper/give him a bottle, then I wash the girls up from breakfast, then it’s time to nurse/diaper Elly again. Sometimes I find time to eat something myself. ha! At least one child is usually crying/whining all day long. There are a few quiet moments, but more often than not, someone needs something or is unhappy because they’re not being held.
I try really hard to get the kids outside for a walk after the babies have their 2nd feedings of the day and can make it for a little walk. How do we manage walking? I put Baby Boy in the umbrella stroller, I put Elly in the K ‘tan sling, and the “big” girls each hang on to one side of the stroller. We make it back in time for the lunch rush. The lunch rush is pretty similar to breakfast, but let me break it down for you. I diaper/nurse Elly if she can’t wait, (during this time, Evelyn for sure is having a fit because she’s starving and meal times are her thing!) then I usually have to change Evie’s diaper again, then I get the girls’ food out of the fridge as fast as possible (I always plan leftovers for lunch, but it still takes too long) and get it microwaved and set in front of them, then I diaper/bottle feed Baby Boy who is usually crying and mad at this point as well. Elly will be crying because she wanted held up longer after eating, but I have to set her down to do everything else!! While I’m feeding Baby Boy, chances are the girls will be finishing their lunch and announcing they are done and ready to get washed! If I don’t get to them pretty quickly, much more mess than usual will result, so I try to hurry. I’ve been having Abby wash herself up in the bathroom (depending on how messy the meal was) which is somewhat successful, but she always slops the sink up. Oh well, chances are it’s probably due for another cleaning anyway….
Right after lunch is the easiest part of the day. Quiet Time!! The girls both love this time, so it is always pleasant. I check Evie’s diaper to make sure we’re good, Abby goes potty, I get her set up in her room, lay Evie down in her crib, and head back out to the babies because at least one of them probably needs to eat again. When the babies decide to nap simultaneously during Quiet Time things feel amazing!! It’s so nice to just have a little peace and quiet and take a few deep breaths.
Caleb knows how hectic it is around here and started going in to work an hour earlier so he can be home earlier to help me out. It makes SUCH a huge difference to have him here! If I can make it to Quiet Time, then I know we can survive another day. After Quiet Time, babies are usually hungry, the girls think they’re dying until they get snacks plunked down in front of them, everyone needs to go to the bathroom and then we attempt getting back outside to play until Daddy gets home. Getting back outside is lot more painful then it sounds. Everyone often needs to get on a jacket, hat, and shoes and everyone needs help with most of that. The babies are usually crying while I get the older two ready. Then I have to get the babies bundled up and hauled downstairs and out the garage door. It’s always worth the effort since it instantly lifts moods and there’s so much to explore and enjoy in the great outdoors!! But it really is amazing how long it can take us to move from in the house to out of the house. Sometimes I honestly can’t believe how slow it is.
I’ll spare you on the repetitive sounding supper rush, but at least Caleb is home to help me with it! He usually holds a baby while I cook, then he handles the older two while I feed and diaper babies. Bath time happens after that and then Caleb takes the big girls downstairs to play for a few minutes before putting them to bed while I’m feeding and diapering babies again.
In spite of everything though, in spite of how crazy our lives are right now, and in spite of the fact that it took me a really long time to actually finish writing this….. I am so thankful for and blessed by these precious little ones all around me. I listened to part of a sermon by my old pastor, Pastor Jack, and at one point he said, “You will either become more godly or more godless by the choices that you make.” Every single day, my patience is tested considerably. Every single day, I have multiple opportunities to respond rightly (or wrongly) to my children. I want to become more godly and maybe this is the Lord’s way of providing for that. Here, let’s try four tiny kids screaming at you and see if you can keep from losing your marbles! (I’ve definitely lost more marbles than I’ve kept lately – *sigh*) One of my favorite kid truths: The more calm, pleasant, and relaxed I am, the more calm, pleasant, and relaxed my kids and household will be. One of my most hated kid truths: The more stressed, loud, and angry I am, the more stressed, loud, and naughty my kids will be. Lord, give me a peaceful spirit in the midst of chaos and help me remember to pray for strength from you while I cling to this assurance, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13. Sometimes all I can do is focus on making it through one moment at a time, and that’s okay. 🙂
Soooo…. on that one Friday, after hauling all the kids to the doctor in the a.m. and finding out virtually everyone had something wrong, I tried calling my midwife to have her get me a prescription for my own yeast infection. Of course, she was out until late the following week and the midwife available would not prescribe me anything unless I came in. Caleb had already taken a half day to help me get the kids all in to their doctor, so I had to get to my own doctor by myself with all the kids. Talk about terrifying. I can manage the store now by myself (Baby Boy in his car seat in the cart, Elly in my sling, Abby hanging on to the cart and Evie either hanging on or in the back of the cart – I make sure to only shop on nice days and park next to a cart holder thing outside because dragging everyone across the parking lot is REAaaaaaaaally hard), but a trip to the doctor is so much more difficult. Baby Boy had a family visit until 2, but the doctor office said I had to be in by 3:00 p.m. or they wouldn’t see me today. I set up an appointment for 3 and hoped Baby Boy wouldn’t be late getting back because it takes 30 minutes to get to the doctor and up to the fourth floor with all the kids, so I knew I had to leave at 2:30 p.m.
I tried to get everything ready that I could during Quiet Time. I loaded up the girls’ snack bowls and waters for the trip there. I packed a bag with a spare outfit for Elly, a diaper each for the 3 in diapers, and a pack of wipes – it was pretty low, but it was going to be a fast trip, so I probably wouldn’t really need it, right? I got everyone up and diapered, nursed Elly, and Baby Boy made his return about 2:15 p.m. He was hungry, so I whipped a bottle up. Usually he eats pretty quickly, but for some reason he was being SUCH a poke this time! Needless to say, by the time I got everyone loaded up and settled in the van it was not 2:30. It was about 2:40.
We headed to the hospital and I made a beeline for the valet parking. That valet guy is like my BFF after all the pregnancy appointments I went to. I drove up and started pulling kids out. People always stop to watch because it’s like, WOW! They just keep coming! I slipped Elly in the sling, carted Baby Boy’s car seat (my arm is going to break one of these times… he is SO heavy!!), and had the girls hold hands and follow me. I had to carry my purse with my insurance card and almost decided to leave the diaper bag I’d thrown together, but at the last second changed my mind and grabbed that too. We all trekked in and headed for the elevator. I was walking with my head over my shoulder the whole time going, “Come on, girls! You can do it! Keep moving! Follow me! Come on! This way! This way!” We finally made it to the elevator and all piled in. I hit the number 4 and up we went. The doors opened and I was in such a hurry I had shoved half of the kids out before I realized it had stopped on the 2nd floor to let some more people in. Argh. Back in we go. I think the people wished they had waited for a different elevator. We finally made it to the 4th floor and out we went again. Of course, my OB is at the other end, so down the hallway we traipsed with me calling the girls to keep them moving forward. I couldn’t help thinking of Relient K’s, “Forward Motion.” It is pretty much my theme song right now:
I struggle with forward motion
We all struggle with forward motion
Cause forward motion is harder than it sounds
Well every time I gain some ground
I gotta turn myself around again
Regardless, we eventually made it to the room – a few minutes late, but we made it. The waiting room is full of chairs, but on one end is a bench. I directed the kids to it and had Abby and Evie sit on it with Baby Boy’s car seat next to it. I panted over to the desk and checked in. Then, I collapsed on the bench, grateful we had made it in one piece. Elly started stirring around and I patted her bum to soothe her. It was at that moment that I got my first whiff. Awww, man! Did she really choose now to need a diaper change?! Elly only poops about once every 4 or 5 days (normal with breastfed babies – no worries!), but when she does… it’s often a doozy! She was getting angrier and I knew it couldn’t wait. I took her out of my sling and laid her on the bench. Sorry to the other folks in the waiting area, but there was ABSOLUTELY no way I was going to hike back down the hallway to find a changing station in a bathroom and miss my appointment. Not happening.
Usually Elly is in a one piece outfit, but today (of course) I had chosen to put her in a onesie and pants. It was after I slid the pants off, and poop smeared down her legs, that I realized it had gone through everything. I mean, this was one for the books. I didn’t have anything like a plastic bag to put the dirty clothes in, because that would have been too perfect. I thought about throwing the clothes away (they were absolutely coated), but the garbage was across the room, my hands were covered in poo, Elly was screaming at the top of her lungs, and they’d be calling me back soon. I opened my diaper bag and shoved the poop covered stuff in it. Clean up would just have to continue later. I stripped her down and I mean, the poop was just everywhere. EVERYWHERE. It was all over her, it was all over the bench, she was livid and kicking her feet all over, which meant poop was smearing all over. I was flying through my wipe pack like crazy and nothing was getting accomplished. I had nowhere to set my poop covered wipes because her diaper was so full it was literally overflowing. I finally grabbed her spare diaper and stuck it under her and then threw all the poop stuff in the garbage. I came back and realized I had missed a bunch because the new diaper was already covered. I grabbed Baby Boy’s spare diaper and figured it would just have to work. A little big, but it was better than nothing!!
As I was trying to finish the job (remember, Elly is screaming bloody murder and this is taking ten years, so it’s really “fun” – I was almost in tears, but managed to pull myself together), the nurse opens the door and calls my name. I say, “I’m really sorry, but I’m going to need a minute here!” She sympathetically replies, “Oh, no problem!” I was kind of hoping she would actually give me a minute to regroup and finish up, but she continued holding the door open and waiting…. it was awkward and I felt even more stressed. I could feel the other patients’ eyes boring into me and one person kept clearing their throat really loudly. They might have been hoping I would look up so they could glare at me disapprovingly, but I didn’t give them that joy. I chose to focus on the task at hand and not look up and around. I’m thinking that was a really good idea. Thankfully I had enough wipes to eventually get Elly, the bench, and my hands wiped off. The nurse grabbed the car seat for me and we all followed her back.
Once in the room, I asked the nurse if she would hold Elly so I could wash my hands. She was really nice and said, “Sure!” I found some poop spots on Elly’s clothes later (it was such a bad one, guys!!) and felt really bad that I made the nurse hold her, but there were just no more options left. It was great to get clean, because then Elly wanted to nurse and she wasn’t going to quit crying until I did just that. While I was nursing her, she…… started filling her pants again!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHH!!! I mean, are you even kidding me?? Thankfully it did not leak through, because I was out of diapers that would fit her! I think it was good she had on a little bigger size because it barely held it and she had to wait until I got home to change it! We eventually got out of there and boy did that feel good.