When choosing a name, Josh and I wanted a name that would speak and form an identity throughout our child's life. We chose the name Shepherd because we want him to be reminded that Jesus is the good shepherd tending, walking, and leading him throughout his life. But also, we named him Shepherd to encourage him to be a leader who shepherds and cares for others. As we thought about this meaning, we didn't want Shep to forget what it takes to be a good leader. That is where his middle name comes in, James. James actually means "follower." We truly believe to be a strong leader you have to be a good follower. I've always thought the meanings of names were so interesting!
Shep got back up to his birth weight of 6 lbs 13 oz by 2 weeks and has roughly gained an ounce a day since his 2 week check up. He now weighs 7 lbs 12 oz.
Since day one, Shep has been alert, making eye contact, and pushing up with his arms! After a week and a half, he was able to roll from his tummy to his side (not quite to his back).
He has the very sweetest smile I have ever seen in my entire life!!! I am biased, but at least I admit it!
I had an incredible recovery after giving birth. This was not what I was expecting at all, even though I knew I was going to be in good hands with the care providers I chose. But seriously y'all, they made ALL THE DIFFERENCE. I was expecting a good waddle-walk to happen for at least 4 weeks and severe cramping from the uterus shrinking. I didn't have to get any stitches and I didn't have much swelling at all. So, my gait was pretty normal, and the cramping was basically non existent. I felt like going for a jog or going on a bicycle ride the same day after having Shep! Okay, maybe not a bicycle ride… but you get the gist that I felt pretty great afterwards.
I gained 38 pounds total in my pregnancy and lost 23 pounds almost immediately after having Shep. Most of it must have been water weight (and the actual baby). As great as that sounds, I realized I gained most of my weight in my legs and behind. I have a solid 15 pounds now to lose to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I say that I am not still in maternity clothes, but that is only because I refuse to wear them on a daily basis. I have resorted to wearing sweat pants, yoga pants, and the one pair of jeans that I can squeeze these child bearing hips and thighs in to. I still wear the preggy pants every once in a while, but I just can't justify wearing them a month out every day.
Breastfeeding (BF) has gone well. To all those questions that I get asked on a daily basis:
- yes, my boobs have tripled in size
- no, it wasn't easy to get started
- yes, I am sore
- no, I don't get engorged (although I did once and it sucked)
- yes, I feel the "let down"
- no, the "let down" doesn't feel like "toe-curling pain"
- yes, he has a good latch
We've only given Shep two bottles at this point, which he took like a champ, but it only takes 5-7 minutes for him to down all of the milk. Josh has given him both bottles, so it was a special bonding time for them. Most of my bonding time with Shep is spent BF. BF takes around 30 minutes every 2.5 to 3 hours. I would probably get more sleep if I pumped and gave him a bottle for night feedings, but honestly, I am cherishing the moments I have with him. Starting in January, I will have to go back to school spending an average 40-45 hours in Lexington. So I am taking in all the time I can get while he is this little. I'll talk more about this later, but Josh will be the primary care giver, aka "stay at home dad" in the Spring (He'll also be enrolled full time at seminary - he's just that awesome that he can do both (: )
This is where I get in to some things I've learned in the past month. Some pertain to Shep and his personality specifically, but most are about newborns in general:
- The less amount of time spent between getting the dirty diaper off and the new one on = less chance of getting peed on.
- I don't even know what "punctuality" means anymore now that I have a baby.
- Sleep deprivations makes motherhood twice as hard as it should be.
- I might as well sell my blow dryer, straightener, and makeup, because who has time to use those things?
- Extra virgin coconut oil gets rid of the redness and most of the bumps from baby acne. It's magical.
- Baby mittens are my best friend when BF. Otherwise, sharp fingernails and a firm grasp are my worst enemy.
- You are automatically initiated into baby play-date clubs once you give birth regardless of your baby's ability to actually play.
- Every baby is completely different, especially in the first 2 months. So, it is pointless to compare their weight, size, etc…
- Do not ever tell a mom she has a small baby because she is petite or, way worse, she has a chunky baby because she big or tall. Mainly because it is rude, and also because it's not true. Babies can be uber chunky and grow up to be string-beans and tiny babies can grow to be large and in charge. We just don't know.
- Babies can get away with wearing onesies (the ones that are footed and long sleeved) and not be considered pajamas.
- If you want to build your milk supply in the freezer, start pumping immediately once your milk comes in after every feeding (or just a couple). I didn't do that… and now I'm trying to figure out how to produce more milk.
- Coffee has had no effect on my baby whatsoever, but drink a sip of carbonation and he is gassy for days with an upset stomach.
- Just when you figure out what calms your baby, he decides he likes something else. You bounce him and then discover he likes to be rocked. Next, he just likes to lay on his back…. and so on.
- People will ask you if you are getting sleep even when they know you aren't.
- When people come over and comment on my clean house, they don't realize I didn't have time to clean so I threw everything in the next room.
- It is okay to put makeup over the makeup from the previous day, because sleep sounded better than washing my face and showering the next day seems impossible. Eyeliner on eyeliner. mascara on mascara. Classy… I know.
- I realized half my wardrobe pre-pregnancy is fitted for a flat belly; therefore, I don't wear half my clothes (for now!).
- Sometimes it is worth it to put the wubby (pacifier) back into his mouth every 5 minutes until he falls asleep. He wakes himself up when it falls out… high maintenance. sheesh.
- When people give you advice you don't necessarily agree with, nod your head and be friendly. There is no reason to start a war over the best time to transition your baby to his own room. Because when the plan you think you have all set out doesn't work, you might actually find that your friend's technique, method, or advice works for your baby.
- Lastly, "taking shifts" or letting my husband watch my baby after I feed him while I take a nap is the best gift he can give me for my sanity. Motherhood is hard and it is okay to share the joys and responsibility that come with it!