Ellie is 17 days old already!
The time has gone fast, though at the same time, her birth seems really long ago, and life before her already feels like a different lifetime. Either way, she’s growing and growing, and I’m doing all I can to savor this precious time with my last newborn!
Thankfully, I have been able to enjoy these first weeks the most out of all my babies. I joked while pregnant about getting an ‘easy’ baby, but I never thought it would happen. I fully expected to be pretty miserable these first few weeks with the recovery, and to be really sleep-deprived for a good six months or a year, as I was when my boys were babies. And who knows, that part may still happen! But right now? I’m tired, but I’m sleeping more with a two-week-old than I was when either of my boys were several months old. It’s amazing.
Ellie is a dream. I look at her and I can’t really believe she’s mine, that I have a daughter. She’s just so beautiful and SWEET and easygoing. Again, of course she’s just a newborn still. But I can hope this bodes well for her overall personality and demeanor as she grows!
I have a list next to me here of things I want to remember about this stage, and one of the them is “doesn’t cry much.” Yesterday, of course, she had a few crying jags that lasted several minutes – by far the longest she’s ever cried before. So maybe she is waking up to the world and will start crying and voicing her opinion more – only time will tell. But so far, she’s truly barely cried. She’ll cry for a few seconds but can be easily consoled, and even when she does cry, it’s more like adorable little yells than all-out crying. One noticeable instance of the not crying is when I wake up with her in the middle of the night. She squawks and grunts a bit, and I go in there and I have to change her diaper before I feed her. I remember my boys crying through that pre-feeding diaper change every single time – they were hungry! But little miss E just shows her impatience by grunting a little and once in awhile letting out a little whine. (Though last night she did cry while I changed her diaper – this honeymoon phase may be nearing its end!)
I think her biggest “issue” is her little digestive system not working so well just yet. She gets really uncomfortable after feedings, and she spits up SO MUCH. Oh my gosh, the spit-up. I think she pukes about five times after each feeding. She goes through sleepers and outfits like nobody’s business. I am continuously covered in spit-up. And sometimes it’s A LOT of spit-up. I’m like, dude, that’s half of what you just ate, what a waste! So during the day she will sometimes eat every hour or two, since she can’t keep that little belly full!
She also sneezes quite often (so cute) and gets the hiccups several times each day, like violent hiccups. Both boys were on baby Zantac for reflux from a pretty early age – we’ll see at her one-month check-up if I’ll be 3 for 3 with medicating my babies for reflux.
The actual nursing though is going so, so well. She’s a champ, latching right on and just eating away. (Though she does fall asleep on the boob so fast most times, so she’ll often only nurse for 5-10 minutes at a time – another reason, probably, that she wants to eat so often.)
I remember recently seeing Halle Berry on Ellen and her talking about the difference between her daughter when she was a baby and now her new son when it came to nursing. She said her daughter would just be sweet and gentle and suckle away, and now her son was like a monster, just attacking her boob and wanting to wolf down his milk. Obviously I had nothing to compare my boys to up til now, but what she explained holds true over here, too! I can’t get over just how dainty and gentle she is when she nurses. It’s the sweetest thing. Being able to nurse a baby again is just amazing, and I can’t get enough of watching her and touching her amazingly long hair and chubby little cheeks as she nurses.
And still so far, so good in the sleep department. The girl SLEEPS. She sleeps much of the day, giving us a few periods of awake, alert time, which we all love. The boys will say “Mom! Ellie’s awake!!” and run over to her. She has most of her awake time in the late evening, of course, when we’re both tired and just want to relax a bit. But once she falls asleep again around 9 or 10 or 11 p.m., she sleeps.
Every night has been slightly different, but she gave us 4.5-hour stretches almost immediately, and that’s only improved. The past week she’s awakened just once in the night most nights. One night was twice – 12:45 and 4:45 – but I also hadn’t fed her before going to bed myself that night since she was sleeping. Most other nights it’s just once, but the time varies. 2 a.m., 3 a.m., 4 a.m. One night she made it til nearly 5 a.m. The sleeping is insane and I will TAKE it, even though my poor boobs are on the verge of exploding every night. And I’ve never had supply issues, but it worries me to think that it may affect my supply if she doesn’t eat all night most nights. The one trade-off to the once-per-night wakings right now is that two recent nights she had me up for more than an hour each time, which just seems excessive. Though I do remember plenty of those nights with the boys, too. When she wakes up for a second feeding in the early morning hours, like around 5 or 6, I’ve been bringing her into our bed so I can nurse her lying down and then snuggle til it’s time to get up.
Of course, I’ve had this post started in my drafts for three days now, and had I posted it sooner, all would have still been magical. But I had my first real ‘low’ point just last night, and I imagine more will come as this girl grows! She slept aaaaaaall day and evening yesterday, and then woke up around 8 p.m. – and would not go back to sleep. By 10 p.m. I was exhausted and so ready for bed, and she’d spit up on me so much and I was just frozen to the bone sitting on the couch with her. Dave was out grocery shopping and the boys were in bed, obviously. She was fussy and super uncomfortable, so I walked and bounced with her, nursed her a lot, changed a few diapers … still she just stayed awake. I finally took her upstairs around 10:30 and took a hot bath to warm up, her in the bouncy seat next to me in the bathroom. She sucked on her nuk and stayed pretty content – though Henry’s getting sick and whined for me once, and Dave wasn’t home yet, so I had to get out dripping wet and go comfort him, which was annoying. After my bath, we got into her room around 11 p.m. and I nursed her again, and STILL she wouldn’t sleep. By 11:45 p.m. I was feeling just deliriously tired, having been up since 6 a.m. for the day and being home with all the kids all day. I put her down just before midnight and prayed she’d sleep, and I got all pissy at Dave, not that any of it was his fault, just saying how DONE I was for the night. I crawled into my bed and cried for a minute at how tired I felt!
Obviously this wasn’t *that* bad and I’ve had much worse moments with the boys and being super exhausted. But I’ve been spoiled these past two weeks, and I was just so tired! She was up to eat at 2 and 5, but went back to sleep both times pretty easily. And since today’s Saturday, I could lay in bed til 7:30 with Ellie while Dave got up with the boys at 6 a.m. (They always wake up earlier on weekends, it’s ridiculous.)
Everyone in our family continues to be nuts about her. Dave is adorable with her – it’s pretty fun to see him with a little girl! Of course, it helps that she’s such a good baby, too. Henry and Ben are so engaged with her, wanting to help out, wanting to see her and talk to her and hold her and help feed her if I’ve pumped a bottle. It’s very sweet. That’s another thing to note – we introduced a bottle probably over a week ago and she took it with no problem, and she’s had probably 4 or 5 bottles total now. I even pumped before we went to the farmer’s market Saturday morning last weekend and gave her a bottle myself when we were there. I love nursing, but I sure do also appreciate how convenient pumping can be.
Before she was born, I wasn’t sure what we’d call her. We were all leaning toward Ellie and the boys were already calling her that, but I wasn’t sure it would feel “right.” But it does. I’ve always loved the name Ella, but it doesn’t fit her at all, I’ve found. Henry calls her that once in awhile but I don’t think it’ll ever stick. We call her Eleanor sometimes, and I still do love her full name, but she just seems like an Ellie. It fits her perfectly. I call her “Ellie Belly” a lot, or even Ellie Belly Jelly Belly. The boys call our nanny, Shelly “Shel-Bell” since she’d mentioned that that’s what her last family’s kids called her, so now I’ve been calling Ellie “Elle-Bell.” Those are pretty much her only nicknames so far. She gets a lot of “sweetie” and boy do I tell her a lot how beautiful and perfect she is to me – I just can’t help it. And I never tire of calling her “my girl.” My GIRL! It’s surreal still that I have a daughter. I adore it.
I’m taking tons of pictures of her, since she’s beautiful, duh, and since she’s just changing so fast! She looks so different in every picture I take, it seems.
And finally, that new baby smell? Come on, now. I cannot smell her head enough, kiss her face enough, breathe in her sweet milky breath enough. And the noises they make? Babies sure are something special.
A few things I also don’t want to forget … she had her first doc appointment at one week old and got her Hep B shot that we delayed at the hospital. Always brutal, she cried hard!! She weighed 7 lbs, 14 oz. at her one-week appointment, so she was almost back up to her birth weight. At her two-week check-up, she’d grown an inch since birth (21.5 inches) and was up to 8 lbs, 5 oz. I know my boys gained quite a bit more than that in their first couple weeks – maybe a boy thing, or maybe Ellie just spits up too much to be gaining as much! But it’s wild to look at her and know Henry weighed more than that when he came out, and she’s already more than two weeks old. I do feel like I’m getting more little, teeny baby time than I got with my boys, which is really nice, since they grow SO fast as it is!
Anyway, life is good around here 2 1/2 weeks in with our baby girl. Henry is loving school, Benny is adorable (and a total handful), and I’m thankful as heck to be feeling so good and to have Shelly taking the boys 2 1/2 days each week. Those days at home with just my girl are completely blissful. I’ve had lots of visitors and the social schedule continues to fill up, which is fun – though I’m trying to not over-schedule so that I can just have days to relax, too!
We have our newborn pictures with Andrea here at the house tomorrow morning, which I’m very excited about. The weather is getting chillier, which is both exciting and a bummer … I love fall but oh, I’m not ready for this beautiful summer to be over already! And I gotta say, it’s an amazing feeling to know I don’t go back to work til mid-November, and it’s only mid-September right now.
Pretty special and irreplaceable time going on right now. I’m soaking it up as much as I possibly can.
Henry is one month away from five years old (!)
Benny is 2 years, 7 months old
Ellie is 17 days old
Three kids. I love it so much. :)