Well, it's been five weeks and all six of us are still alive. Hallelujah! There were times it was iffy.
Breastfeeding got off to a sort of rough start. I hate pretty much everything about it, but soldiered on and Rebekah nursed like a crazy woman for, oh, about 4.5 weeks. She ate like she was starving all. the. time. so we supplemented with some formula in the first week or so but our periodic weight checks showed she was packing on the ounces like nobody's business, so we kept up with what we were doing.
She's currently about 9#7, a good increase from her birth weight of 8# even. She lost a few ounces in the first few days so overall she's gained over a pound and a half since her birth. She spits up a lot and as any mother can attest, that means I get very short time spans when I don't have a spot or dribble or smear or pool of spit up on me somewhere. I sleep on a towel when she's against me in the night to cut down on linen laundry.
She sleeps pretty well, several hours a day. She's starting to figure out that she can be awake and not eating, though she seems confused by the concept. She enjoys being cuddled and sleeping with my bare breast as her pillow and easy access to the nipple in case she needs a little midnight snack.
The older kids all seem a little obsessed with her. She's the first one they want to see when they come home from school or church or when they wake up. Elijah is constantly trying to pick her up, sometimes to her terror and our annoyance. He means well, but he's just not big enough yet to carry her around like he wants to. Eden is always trying to kiss her face and mouth, but will settle for her head and knees and elbows. Asher likes to put his face right up in hers and make faces at her.
She does annoy them at times. Asher doesn't like it when she cries loudly due to a diaper change or delay in eating or other mild baby annoyance. Eden used her head as a foot rest the other day (I put a quick stop to that) and Elijah thinks she takes up too much room when she's on her little pillow on our bed.
Asher's already put in a request that the next time I have a baby it be twins. I have NO idea where he got that idea. When I told him that we were done having babies he asked when we were going to adopt a kid, then. Again, not sure where that concept came from. I told him we had no plans to adopt and asked if he didn't think 4 kids was enough. He shrugged and said he didn't know.
We've generally gotten back into the swing of things. Spring Break was rough and the next week was hard, too, so Austin did a work-from-home thing for a few days last week so he could help out and it was great. He was able to keep the Es out of my hair so I could rest and nurse almost exclusively. This week was better and I'm hoping we're on an upward trend. Her nursing constantly has been the toughest part of our adapting.
When a baby wants to nurse for 45 minutes of every hour, it's hard to get anything done. She seems to be getting a little better at lasting a while between feedings, but every evening she spends a few hours constantly nursing. Occasionally I let her cry for a few minutes just so I can have a break to, you know, go to the bathroom or fix something to eat.
I've been able to pump some so that when she's inconsolable in the middle of the night and I'm just not cutting it, Austin can help out by giving her a bottle. Because of this I've been able to get a few "full" night's sleep this past week. We keep a couple bottles in the fridge and we have some in the freezer, too. It's great. I'm excited to be able to wear real clothes for church and grown up occasions or have the option to go out in the evenings without her if I want. I'm hoarding the milk, though, for when I'm not able to nurse anymore so she can have milk as long as possible. I really think that's a big factor in Eden's health the past two years. She's had a couple of ear infections and croup but hardly ever really acted like she felt bad. I'd like to think that the months of pumping breast milk and doing the measuring and storage and everything we went though for her first year were worth it.
So yeah. It's been an up and down few weeks around here. Everyone is enamored of the baby (except maybe the cats) and she looks a little less horrified with her lot in life every day. She's started to give me big gummy smiles and she laughs in her sleep, sometimes so hard she snorts (the most adorable thing EVER). She's got a tiny bit of congestion so she occasionally snores, surprisingly loud for such a tiny baby.
I'm looking forward to how her personality develops and what our family dynamic will change when she's mobile and active and can fight back against being a foot rest or a pillow.