Happy One Month, Grant!
Before I get into recapping Grant’s first month (though it’s taken me over a week to write this post), let’s review 2015…
FYI: click on the photos to view them larger.
2015 Recap: Abide
Every year, I choose a word (or words) to set my intention for the next twelve months. Last year, John and I meditated on the word “abide,” and this theme continued to pop up in our daily conversations, decisions, and prayers throughout 2015. I am most amazed that though we set 2015 aside to abide, intentionally saying no to commitments and spending more time resting, we saw God bear fruit more than ever. From a re-energized church community group, renewed passions for work, me gaining more clients, and feeling embedded in our community, we saw God’s faithfulness and blessing over and over — not as a result of anything we did but as a complete assurance of God’s grace. By tangibly learning that God does not need our striving to produce fruit, we will continue to integrate abiding into our family rhythms and language as we learn to abide in His plan.
2016 Intention: Perfect Love
As December approached, a new phrase began to resonate with our hearts, as has been the case the past four years. Towards the end of my pregnancy with the concern about Grant’s growth – not to mention the fears of actually giving birth – a new friend of mine suggested that I meditate on specific Scriptures as I prepare for labor and to repeat them when actually in labor. One verse that offered her peace during labor was 1 John 4:18 that “perfect love casts out fear.” John and I repeated this meditation to one another as we prayed together the week before Grant was induced, during the labor when things were not going as planned, and in the first month of Grant’s life as a reassurance of God’s faithfulness.
In the fears towards the end of pregnancy, during the pains of labor, and in the anxiety as new parents, the promise that the Father’s perfect love surpasses anything we could imagine has continually ushered in peace. So for 2016, our theme is perfect love. Although we love Grant more than we can articulate, knowing that God loves him perfectly eases the pressure of parenting. Furthermore, it is a reminder that in all we do, it is God’s perfect love that works in and through us – whether it be loving each other as spouses, parenting Grant, serving our community, developing relationships, or giving myself grace as a new mom.
Motherhood: Month One
With that theme in mind, every emotion marks this first month of parenthood: overwhelming joy from the moment he was placed on my chest after birth, anxiety over his well-being and checking if he’s breathing in the middle of the night during his first week, giddiness when he first learned to roll over from his tummy to his back, frustration over his excessive spit-up, fearing whether he’s sleeping in a position to correct his flat head and avoid him having to wear a helmet (our latest concern), adoring his little coos, exhaustion and no time to shower some days – wondering how I’ll ever have time to myself again, excitement thinking about all to come in the future… And through it all, a wonder at the miracle that we have a son and an immense sense of God’s blessing and purpose for our family.
Even though the first month has been a whirlwind, it is amazing to experience John’s love for me in a new way. Our word to mark this transition is that we are team. Though not necessary for him to be awake, he will sit by me at the 3am feeding. He’s come home early from work multiple times when it’s been a hard day or I need 20 minutes to myself to do a yoga DVD. We’ve loved showing Grant around our neighborhood on family walks and have continued to spend quality time together as a couple – i.e. letting Grant sleep in his stroller while we play KanJam or shoot hoops in the park.
Additionally, the support and love from our community has been astounding. For his first month, we had family in town almost the entire time, loving on Grant, cooking us meals, doing laundry and dishes, and holding him while I napped. It has been so much fun to watch Grant meet his grandparents and aunts. Then during John’s first business trip, a best friend of mine flew in from Orlando to help me out. Though most of these memories take place on our living room couch, they are ones we won’t forget. Having several friends with newborns and babies has also been an immense blessing. Texting each other for encouragement after a rough night or asking one another “Is this normal?” has kept me sane!
Grant’s First Month
So much has happened in this first month, it is difficult to remember back and capture it all. Grant already has changed and grown so much from when we held him in the hospital. Here are some key events from the month:
The typical day has changed from the first two weeks when he was sleeping all of the time unless he was hungry and I nursed him. Now we are on a bit of schedule with the first feeding at 7am. I will feed him then put him back down until 9am for his next feeding and official start to the day. Then we “play” by doing tummy time, reading a story, looking at different objects on his play mat etc. until nap time from 10-12pm. Then it’s the same process with feedings at 12pm, 3pm, and 5:30pm with playtime/naps in between. Some of the play and/or nap times include visiting friends, taking a walk with the stroller, or running an errand. And most often the naps do not last the entire 2 hours, so if it’s not time to eat yet, I’ll try to get him to go back to sleep with the pacifier or will wear him in a wrap or my soothe shirt. He has recently been waking up 45 minutes into his nap, so we’ll see how nap time progresses. Then bath is at 8pm followed by a feeding at 8:30pm and bedtime at 9pm. As of now, he is only waking up once in the night sometime between 2-4am. There was a stint when he woke up at 12:30am and then 4:30am, so I know as soon as I write this his sleeping could change!
The eating schedule is highlighted above, and him learning how to nurse was a huge answer to prayer. In the hospital, he wasn’t latching properly so for the first week we would practice breastfeeding, then I would pump and John would feed him what I pumped through a syringe… it was a long, exhausting process. We did this at least every three hours, including through the night to keep up my milk supply. We then had a lactation consultant come to the house and ever since he’s been able to nurse. However, I’m not yet comfortable nursing in public with a cover or nursing scarf over me, but hopefully will get there soon. We’re also giving him a couple bottles of pumped milk for some of his feedings so he learns to use a bottle. Plus, he seems to spit up less when he drinks from a bottle, I think because I sit him upright.
Playing with him is so fun! He used to get very frustrated during tummy time but now doesn’t seem to mind it. He’ll oftentimes make little cooing sounds or grunts while trying to move his feet. He is lifting his head and turning it quite a lot, and the biggest surprise was that he rolls over from his tummy to his back – something usually learned at 4 months! He is now learning how to track us and will follow us with his eyes. He likes looking at his mobile as well as the animals hanging down from his play mat. We love reading him stories though whether he looks at the pictures or not is hit or miss. He also enjoys his car seat, stroller, and carriers – usually falling sound asleep. When he’s sleepy but not ready for a nap yet, the bouncer is also great. Though if he’s wide awake, he gets very frustrated from being strapped into it.
He’s ambivalent about baths right now – sometimes tolerating them and other times screaming through them. It’s the same way with diaper changes too. He usually really dislikes having clothes put on him or taken off, which is unfortunate since he spits up a lot and needs a lot of wardrobes changes. The hardest days are when his stomach is hurting him and he is fussy from the pain. He likes when we sing to him and bouncing him will always calm him down.
In general, he is a very content baby and so so sweet. We are so in love with our little Grantman and can’t wait to see what’s to come in Month 2!
Weight: 8 lbs 6 oz (10%)
Length: 21 inches (31%)
Head Circumference: 14 inches (35%)