Thursday, September 5, 2013

Gabriel's First Month!

+JMJ+

A few days old
So is it official yet? Have I become a "mom blogger" at this point? In some ways I like this notion - but in others I don't...because when I began this blog it was intended to be about my life since taking vows for my marital vocation. Obviously any children I have are part of that vocation but I certainly don't want my blog to ever get to the point that it's only about them. After all, children are one of the most beautiful fruits of marriage - but there are also so many other wonderful things about marriage, too! Besides, I have an entirely separate (private) blog for family and friends that I'll be launching soon so that people in our lives can ooh and ahh over picture after picture and detail after obnoxious adorable detail of our everyday lives now that we have Gabriel. So hopefully that will be my main baby talk outlet (don't worry, I'll still share pics on here - just nowhere near the amount that will be on the private blog) and I'll be able to find a nice balance of topics on this one. With all that said, today is still all about Gabriel. He is one month old today! My, how time flies! Here are some recaps of what the last month has entailed:

Nursing

11 days old
Gabriel came out of the womb knowing how to EAT. I'm not sure if it's because he's a boy or if all our future children (God-willing we have more, of course) will have such ravenous appetites. If they all take after my husband in this department we are in for some pretty hefty grocery bills....

Of course Gabriel and I had to do a little bit of learning together when it came to him latching on without making me cringe (because he is what the instructor in our breastfeeding class would refer to as a "barracuda"...yikes)...but we really haven't had any problems in this department. I feel so so so blessed because I'm well aware how many women and/or babies have issues with breastfeeding properly in the beginning and/or give up because of how difficult it can be.

Gabriel has eaten with the frequency of any typical newborn and is now in somewhat of a routine; during the day he nurses every hour or hour and a half (occasionally going two hours) and once he's in bed for the night he goes 2-3 hours. Sidenote: They say the "average" baby his age eats 8-12 times a day but I have no idea what those people are smoking. Our baby legitimately eats (without showing any signs of overeating) easily 18-20 times a day right now.


Sleeping

22 days old
What can I say? I am not sure if we were just sent an angel baby from heaven or if lots of people grossly exaggerate the sleep deprivation and exhaustion of new parenthood (perhaps a little of A, a little of B). Either way, this department hasn't been nearly as tiring or difficult as Michael or I anticipated. 

When we first arrived home from the hospital Gabriel probably woke up every 1.5 or 2 hours at night but those stretches quickly lengthened. By the third week he was sleeping one 3-hour stretch and everything else was 1.5-2 hours. Currently he has started a pattern of 3, 3, and 2 or 2.5 which means I really only get up 2 times before getting up for the day...and it's about as marvelous as it gets. I mean I've heard of people saying their baby slept through the night immediately but newsflash - you're not supposed to let a newborn sleep more than 3 hours (except for one 4-hour stretch at night) without eating...so I feel pretty good that Gabriel is sleeping almost the maximum length of time that is healthy for him.

Another great thing about Gabriel's current sleeping habits is the fact that even though he loves to be held almost all day long we are able to put him down at night after he's been changed, fed, and burped. As long as I can get him to fall back asleep after a feeding I can easily put him back in his bassinet...which is something I almost took for granted until my sister mentioned that neither of my nieces were like that. I'm so blessed that I don't have to fall asleep sitting upright in my bed with a baby on my chest all night long!

And oh, what a blessing this 2-bedroom apartment is. We transitioned Gabriel into his room during his third week and it has made all the difference. Since we can lay him back down after feedings Gabriel has had no problems with this...and Michael and (especially) I sleep infinitely better. Infinitely.

Bath time

We followed the guidelines of only giving sponge baths until Gabriel's cord stump fell off (it happened to fall off while I was at the pediatrician's office when he was exactly 2 weeks old!) and have since transitioned to baths in the tub (sidenote: those baby bath tubs are totally unnecessary and, in my opinion, simply clutter up an apartment more for no reason...so we didn't get one). The easiest method we've found is for me to get in and hold him...and he doesn't hate it! He may have cried the first time his lower body got submerged in the tub but since then there have been no tears. Maybe we've got a future swimmer on our hands? Who knows?!

Growth/Development

Back when he was 10 days old
I sincerely don't wanna brag but...this could sound a little boastful when I say that Gabriel's Apgar score was a perfect 10. Praise the Lord that our baby seems to be perfectly healthy and growing normally!

By his two-week doctor appointment Gabriel had gained 9 ounces from his birth weight (putting him in the 14th percentile for weight) and had grown an inch and a half in length (putting him in - I think - the 60th something percentile for height). Since then he has definitely grown and in the past few days his hands, feet, arms, legs, and everything about him just seem to have skyrocketed in size! I'll definitely be curious to see what he weighs at his 2-month appointment....

Everyone says that babies can't smile or laugh at birth...but those people never met Gabriel. This child has been smiling since day one. Day ONE! It started off with little half-smiles but within a few days he had a full smile going on during some of his naps. Within the first week we were noticing that he also smiled when he was awake...and another week later we were positive it was not simply a reflex like they say it is in babies that young. Gabriel has happily been smiling directly at us whenever he is content for at least 2.5 weeks already and he began laughing in his sleep probably a week and a half ago.

Other than that everything is really normal. He has been right on target with how he supposedly should be reacting to certain sounds and images and has definitely become more vocal this past week. I can't wait for him to start cooing and "ahh"ing more and more!

---

I highly doubt I've covered all of the basics and I've probably overlooked some details...but all in all what is important for me to remember is that this first month has been a joyful experience and I thank the Lord that my son's development has been healthy and right on track with other babies his age. I can't get enough of his little faces, noises, mannerisms, and smiles...and I sometimes wish he could stay this little forever! But I know everything from here on out is only going to get more and more exciting...so bring it on, life! Let's see who this little man was designed to be. :)

"Babies are such a nice way to start people."
-Don Herold

5 comments:

  1. Stephanie!!
    Praise God. Our Lord has blessed you abundantly and it is truly a blessing for me to be able to learn from your journey. As I prepare for the Sacrament of Matrimony I am overjoyed to witness the fruitfulness of your and Michael's journey. May God continue to bless and guide you :) ill be popping over an email soon with some questions - hehe

    +JMJ

    ReplyDelete
  2. Gabriel is absolutely adorable! You and Michael definitely make gorgeous babies :). And it sounds like y'all are just eating him up his first month of life - so amazing! God is so good! No issues in any of those departments ... truly a blessing! Keep up the great work, momma!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Gabriel is so beautiful! And I mean that is the most masculine way possible :)So glad he is doing well. What a blessing! Especially when it means you get to sleep...

    ReplyDelete
  4. I just love how positive and joyful you are about this first month with Gabriel! I am so glad everything is going well!

    And that picture of him smiling is beyond adorable! Such a handsome boy! :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Haha, my brother was always described as a "barracuda" as well :-)

    ReplyDelete