Thursday, October 16, 2008

Four Weeks

Evie is four weeks old tomorrow! I decided to post now instead of doing a "one month" post on the 19th because she had a doctor's appointment today. See these pudgy cheeks? Evie weighed in at a whopping 9 lbs. 12 oz. today (up from 8 lbs. 2 oz. 2 weeks ago)! I am in disbelief. Yes, she eats 4 oz. at a time and sometimes seems as though she'd like a little more. Yes, sometimes she wants to eat more frequently than every 3 hours. Yes, she's been waking up at pretty regular 3 hour intervals during the night, wanting to eat. We have been feeding on demand and rationalizing that 4 oz. is the amount recommended by out pediatrician at her one week appointment and that because of the donated breast milk (which babies digest more quickly than formula) she'll want to eat more frequently. Turns out we've been overfeeding?

Our pediatrician is concerned because she was right at the 50th percentile for height and weight at her 2 week appointment, but is now still at the 50th percentile for height and has jumped to the 75th percentile for weight. The pediatrician was quick to assure me that she's not accusing me of trying to raise an obese child but concerned because sometimes overeating indicates acid reflux in the baby. Supposedly, some infants want to eat more because it makes their upset tummies feel better. I have two problems with this theory. One, we have not noticed Evie indicating that she is in pain from reflux. She does sometimes scream with gas pain, but we just haven't seen symptoms of pain from reflux. She doesn't seem uncomfortable during feeding (except when she chokes a little by drinking too fast) and she doesn't seem upset or uncomfortable when she spits up. Also, the spitting up has gotten much better in the past couple of days (we suddenly realized that she'd been wearing the same outfit all day and that there weren't as many bibs in the hamper!). The fact that it improved spontaneously (not the result of a formula change) indicates that the spitting up was physiological and that now her esophagus and stomach have grown into an arrangement that keeps more food in her stomach.

I'm confused. So, now we are going to try a little more scheduling and a little less feeding on demand, since we might not be able to fully trust her hunger cues actually indicate hunger. I'm conflicted about this, because I believe in on-demand feeding, but I also don't want to overfeed her because I've read some things that say overfed formula babies can become obese adults. I'm wondering if the scale was wrong. After all, the height measurement at birth was obviously wrong. Maybe I'll try the "weigh myself and then myself + baby" method tomorrow and see what I get. I've had her in 3 month clothes mostly, so perhaps I should try to put some newborn clothes on her and see if she's busting out of the seams?

The other thing I discussed with the pediatrician was a red spot on Evie's back. You can see it in this picture if you look closely or enlarge it. It's on the left side of her lower back:

It appeared "out of nowhere" and we noticed it first while Becca was doing her portraits. The doctor says its a birth mark called a hemangioma and will continue to grow in size during her first year of life, then probably disappear gradually as she gets older. No biggie, I'm just glad it's not on her face. The doc says it's normal for them to be so small they are invisible at birth and then grow to visibility during the first weeks of life. Strange. Speaking of spots, Evie has some baby acne going on right now. My poor little pizza face. Actually, she doesn't seem to care about it at all (unlike her Mommy; I had perfect skin in high school but have been struggling with adult acne since my college years...when will it end?!?! Yes, I've tried Pro@ctive...).

This morning was stressful; we had a rough night and then I had to get Evie and myself out of the door for her doctor's appointment in the morning. This was my first time doing that alone. After all of the drama of trying to eat breakfast and brush my teeth, etc., while Evie was screaming (turned out she was "hungry" only 2 hours after eating 4 oz. of formula), we had to wait for 40 minutes to see the doctor. Grrrrr. Next time I'm getting an 8 AM appointment so that I'm not the victim of a backlog. Thank goodness my mother-in-law arrived this afternoon and so we have some help for the weekend. Unfortunately, both J and his mom are leaving next week. His mom is going home and J is going on his first post-Evie business trip. I am in complete denial and shock about this. I have no idea how I am going to survive for four full days and nights alone. To my friends who live nearby: help!!! To those of you who are still waiting for your little bundles of joy: for my sake, don't take for granted your ability to take a shower and change your shirt whenever you want to.

About Evie this week:

She has frequently been fussy about being put down in her moses basket or crib unless she's completely asleep, but we could always count on the boppy to lull her into a deep nap for a few hours in the morning, afternoon and evening. Now she is less willing to nap in the boppy. Here's how she insists on napping recently: That was complaining, yes, because it is impossible to get anything done during the day when I'm home alone with her and constantly holding her. However, I have to temper the whining and admit that we are extremely lucky that she is still in an appropriate day/night pattern and sleeps well in her crib at night, especially now that she's not spitting up as much when laid flat. We're putting her in the crib more than in the moses basket because J has a hard time sleeping through her baby clucks, sighs and dream fussing (what everyone says is true; babies are loud sleepers). She wakes up every three hours at night, but *usually* goes right back to sleep after a diaper change and bottle.

Evie continues to increase her awake/alert time and seems to have better and better vision, staring at things across the room and tracking things like her mobiles with her eyes:

She's also more and more willing to spend some time in her bouncy seat looking at toys and around the room while we eat dinner. I'm learning that I need to eat really fast, though, to finish before her patience runs out. We've tried the swing during meals, but so far she doesn't like to swing when she's alert, only when she's sleepy. And she's usually alert around dinner time.

Evie continues to enjoy her baths (as far as we can tell) and likes to stare at the kitchen window, where we think she sees us and the kitchen lights reflected, since it's nighttime when she gets a bath. Here she is this week, in a hooded towel made by a church friend. It is the most adorable towel in the world, with her name embroidered on the hood and 3D fabric butterflies. You can see one on her head in this picture: She loves to stick out her tongue and has begun sucking her hands and fingers more and more this week.

I know there is more to say, but it's late and I'm too tired to remember. And, this post is long enough. I'll close with a few observations about the reality of motherhood:

  • Before motherhood, I would never expect to glance down at my hand on the steering wheel of the car and realize that my cuticle is stained with baby poop. Luckily a wipe from the diaper bag remedied my problem quickly.
  • No matter how much I love Evie, patience is hard to come by at 3 AM. I told myself and others before Evie was born that I would be grateful for every single moment with my daughter, after all of the pain and heartbreak of our story leading up to parenthood. Ummm...nope. Not grateful for 3 AM crying Evie. That makes me feel SO guilty.
  • Mother love is extremely tactile. My favorite things are smothering her little face with kisses, rubbing my cheek across the top of her head to feel her soft hair tickle me, breathing in the scent of her hair, neck and breath, playing with her little fingers and toes and sharing body heat with her. It is similar to the impulse I've had for years as a dog owner to pet, pat or scritch my dogs whenever we cross paths, but about a million times stronger.


  1. Evie is such a cutie pie! :) I have some recommended reading for you (b/c I know you have tons of extra time). Kidding. I was struggling b/c I didn't have any time during the day and also wasn't sure how much my little guy was eating b/c he'd have 3 oz and then 2 hours later want 4 oz then an hour later 1 oz. My sister-in-law MADE me read "BabyWise". It's been revolutionary for us. Case in point- yesterday my little guy had a perfect scheduled day. He ate every 3 hours. First he eats, then we "play", then he naps. Then we repeat. You can make this schedule as strict or loose as you want. We're somewhere in the middle. It was hard for me to give up demand feeding but I've noticed my son really thrives on a schedule. He was only taking 20 minute cat naps throughout the day and now he gets 1.5 hours every 3 hours. So, anywho. I'll quit the rant. It's just definitely worth reading the book. I read it in a couple hours one evening just to get my SIL off my back but it ended up bringing us so much sanity. Good luck with whatever you do. She is precious.

  2. I just spent quite a while reading your entire blog from begining to end. I smiled, I wept, I laughed, then I cried again. Congratulations on your beautiful little girl. God bless you all.

  3. What a great udpdate! I'm SO nervous about the sleep patterns when it becomes our turn...also about business trips except it would be me taking thet rip and my husband fending for himself with the baby!

    Evie is just adorable!

  4. It is just such a joy to read your blog. It takes me back to last year when my little guy was born and all the new feelings (both good and rough) that you go through. There is no doubt that you are adapting like most new moms...and yep, we all feel guilty about frustration in the middle of the night. At one point I told my husband that getting a few solid, uninterrupted hours of sleep each night helped me continue to like my son. That sounds awful...but losing the equivalent of MONTHS of sleep in the first year is rough on anyone. I read at one point that the first year of life for parents of a baby who adapts to a decent schedule is still equivalent to being awake for over 3 straight months.
    I have to say too...napping on daddy with a "life is good" onsie is just priceless.

  5. Don't feel guilty hon. It's perfectly normal to want/need sleep at 3am. It doesn't make you ungrateful or a bad mom. :-)

    And do you guys have a baby bjorn? Put Evie in that and have her sleep on your chest- that way you can get things done while she naps. Good luck!!

  6. Hi! I'm really surprised that your doctor was concerned about the weight gain. Our baby was born on 9/21 and had some feeding issues & lost weight. Anyway we went to the doctor when he was 3 weeks 1 day -- he weighed 9lbs 14 oz. Our pediatrician was not concerned, told us we might have a linebacker on our hands, and pronounced him healthy. I don't think you should worry so much, however my stepmom just visited & I think we have been misreading some hand chewing as hunger cues when the baby was just tired. It's so new to us this baby stuff!! Good luck!

  7. Such cute pictures! All of us want our sleep at 3am...but it doesn't mean that we shouldn't grumble through some sleeplessness. I know, I do it twice! ;)

    I was going to suggest a sling or a baby carrier too...they nap great in it the first time and you can do things like vacuum or take a walk outside. It's very liberating.

    Oh, and as for daddy work trips, know you will be tired. Get to bed EARLY and then get out of the house without baby when he comes home. I always eat out when my hubby is on a work trip so I don't have to worry about cooking at all. One less thing to think about! I feel for you as my hubby's first work trip is coming up here and I am TERRIFIED of being alone with 3 kids. But we'll get through it. Us women are stronger than we think. :)


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