Saturday, February 15, 2014

Dear Joel, You're One Month Old!

You're one month old today! This past month has been a wonderful mix of joys and challenges, with the joy of welcoming you into our family most definitely overwhelming the difficulties. Papa, Daniel, and I are enjoying getting to know you a little more each day. 

About a week after you were born, I began to feel very sick. Several days, many doctor and midwife appointments, and a chest x-ray later, we knew that I had a case of pneumonia. That same day, Papa started feeling sick, too. Thankfully, your YaYa flew out here last-minute to help take care of us during the hardest, sickest week (during which, Daniel also came down with a sinus infection) and we were all able to recover from our various ailments. Miraculously, you and YaYa were totally untouched by all the bugs being passed around in this house, and you remained happy and content while the rest of us worked to get better.

Another of the difficulties we've been working through is that you were born with both tongue and upper lip ties. The tongue tie in particular was causing pain and other problems with nursing. Even after craniosacral therapy and several sessions working with lactation consultants, the troubles persisted so Papa and I decided to take you to a wonderful ENT (Dr. Ghaheri) to have the tongue tie released. It's been about a week and a half since the laser surgery procedure and nursing has been improving every day. You still come off the breast frequently, but the pain has been lessening and we're able to nurse in different positions which means we're all sleeping better at night, too!

I'm glad we're weathering the breastfeeding challenges, because nursing you is something I really looked forward to before you arrived. You get sleepy at the breast at nap time and fall asleep on my chest, which are some of the sweetest moments of my day. Papa likes to wear you in the ring sling in the evenings after he gets home from work, and he often helps you get to sleep for your first stretch before he goes to bed (while I get a couple hours of sleep by myself). Even if you're asleep with Papa, when you hear my voice, you'll wake up and start rooting. I've noticed that you and I have also begun to wake and sleep in similar cycles at night, which helps with nursing, too. I'm really enjoying our connection.

Your unassuming personality has been evident from the beginning. You are generally very calm and content, but when you need something you let your needs be known—right away and loudly. Several different people have called you Zen Baby, since you're really chill most of the time and happy to simply go along for the ride... whatever that may be in any given moment.

While you are certainly very calm and content, you are definitely not quiet. You make these adorable grunting and squeaking sounds nearly all day and night long, even while sleeping. I've never heard anything quite like it! I find your noises delightful... and I've even started to get used to sleeping with another noisy little person in our bed at night! (Papa talks in his sleep, but you don't seem to mind.)

You have long stretches of sleep throughout the day and night, and sometimes I still have to wake you to nurse during the day. Papa and I laughed at ourselves for doing this, but we took you to see the pediatrician when you were nine days old because we were worried that you were sleeping too much (and perhaps not eating or gaining enough as a result). After weighing you and finding that you'd more than regained your birth weight already, the pediatrician put our minds at ease. I questioned him as to why you might be sleeping so much and he shot back, "Milk coma?!" Needless to say, your temperament and habits are very different from your big brother, and Papa and I are learning how to be parents all over again.

Speaking of Daniel, your brother is quite enamored with you. Daniel loves to pet your head, saying, "Oh Baby, you're so soft!" He tells you he loves you and gives you hugs and kisses. He also says he likes you because you're so funny—he really enjoys all the funny faces you make. Getting used to having a brother hasn't been all easy for Daniel, but he is really sweet to you (most of the time) and I'm so looking forward to being able to witness your relationship grow and evolve over time.

Though you just arrived earth-side a mere month ago, I already can't imagine my life and our family without you. You are such a precious person, such a wonderful child, such an amazing addition to our lives. I felt like you were missing but now you're here, and I'm so deeply grateful for your presence.

I love you so much already, and I know it will only grow from here.



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