Reflections on The First Week As A Mother

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It has been one week since Bo and I became parents. In some ways it feels like just a few hours has passed while other moments it feels like an eternity. It has truly taken a village this week to help us through the process of adjusting to life with a newborn and navigating challenges, including keeping her healthy and growing.

While I have shared a great deal on Instagram and Instastories, I wanted to share a few highlights and reflections on our adventures during the first week of parenthood. I do not expect that I will maintain this as a series, sharing weekly reflections, but for now, as I sit here hooked up to a pump, I thought it would be a great way to share some honest, raw thoughts on what we’ve experienced as well as some laughs along the way.

Week One of Parenthood

I have so many thoughts regarding this first week of childhood. While it definitely doesn’t come with an instruction manual, I am thankful that Bo and I spent time in advance reading about soothing techniques, habits and what to expect during the first few weeks. However, no book could prepare us for the emotions that come with the week’s events.  I have cried more this week than I ever imagined, due in part to the raging hormones as well as some of our challenges.

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What are some of the challenges you all faced this week? While Katie’s delivery was smooth and quick, unfortunately she lost a significant amount of weight between the 24 and 72 hour mark, surpassing the 11% guidelines. Her weight decreased from birth by 13% while she also dealt with jaundice. This combination resulted in multiple pediatrician visits, a chance of being readmitted to the NICU and an overall feeling of failure and helplessness on my part.

Weight During the Week:

  • Birth: 7 lbs 7 oz
  • 6/21: 7 lbs
  • 6/22: 6 lbs 10 oz
  • 6/23: 6 lbs 7 oz
  • 6/24: 6 lbs 9 oz
  • 6/26: 6 lbs 15 oz

There are so many discussions that we’ve had this week that we never expected to have during week 1. Her weight loss was caused in part to the fact that my milk has not come in at a normal rate. As of now, I am only producing a very small amount, not nearly enough to satiate her hunger during any of the eight feedings. We had to discuss the pros and cons of formula, stock up on bottles, and discuss alternatives to breast milk. As soon as we began supplementing with formula, our daughter became a different person. She was more alert, slept better and begin filling out again as her color also improved. However, adding these steps means that I dedicate more time to feeding than I ever realized possible. A typical feeding session right now is as follows:

    • Massage breasts
    • Have Katie feed/enjoy skin to skin for an average of 10 minutes per breast
    • Have Bo or one of my parents give Katie 2 ounces of formula via bottle   
    • Warm compress and pump

The above process happens 3-4 times per day while the other 4-5 times per day I skip the pumping for my current sanity.

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How is mom’s recovery thus far from labor & delivery? I am lucky that my labor and delivery was shorter than most, with only 12 hours of labor from induction to delivery. My final stage of labor was 10 minutes, including about 20 bursts of pushes which were very efficient and only resulted in a one degree tear. I attribute the quick labor in part to the prenatal pilates classes I took during pregnancy, which focused on proper breathing, as well as my lack of epidural, which meant I could feel every contraction as it came and push exactly as it arrived. While this form of delivery was not what I expected and will be explained further in her birth story, it turns out that it also allowed for faster reduction in fluid retention and faster recovery. As of now I am still taking things easy, limiting my walks to 1-2 miles a day in total but spread across a few separate walks. I have no plans to return to more intense exercise than walking until I see my doctor for my six week appointment.

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Number of Diaper Changes: 55

Number of Pediatrician Visits: 4

Average number of hours Ashley has slept per day: 4.25

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Number of days Bo was on paternity leave: One week

Number of diaper changing stations now set up throughout the house: We quickly realized that having multiple changing stations made our life FAR easier. Our  dresser in our master bedroom is the evening and nighttime changing table while during the day we are using this great, portable changing pad that I received in last month’s BumpBox for changing diapers downstairs during the day.

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What were a few of the memorable firsts?

    • Holding her in my arms after the delivery.
    • Calling our parents and siblings from the delivery room to let them know they’d officially become grandparents.
    • Waking up as a family of three for the first time, while enjoying the incredible sunrise over the East River from our hospital room.
    • Katie peeing all over Bo during her first day of life.
    • My mom giving Katie her first bath while still in the hospital.
    • My mom drawing Katie’s blood for the billirubin test when the office’s phlebotomist was having a tough time.
    • Watching my dad tickle her tiny feet.
    • The first night of cluster feeding, when I felt so helpless and clueless but was quickly supported by so many Instagram followers.
    • Seeing my ankles for the first time in months, thanks to decreased swelling.

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Six Quick, Healthy Filling Snacks

 

Hello HHL Readers!  My name is Melissa and I am a NYC-based blogger, fitness enthusiast and lover of the delicious food NYC has to offer.  After some time away from blogging, I’m back and excited to share my fresh perspective on fitness, health and nutrition.  Follow me over at FitnessNYC, if you like reading about fitness studios, workout plans and food — both healthy and indulgent! I’m honored to be guest posting on Ashley’s blog, and today I’d like to share with you some of my favorite quick, healthy and filling snacks.

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First up are my mini-meal snacks, which are great when I get home from work famished and I know dinner isn’t until 8pm or later.  The three options below are easy to assemble and very satisfying, and they all have fewer calories than your average nutrition bar to boot.

Steamed Vegetables with a Sprinkle of Parmesan

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I always have steamed vegetable mixes in my freezer.  When I’m cooking a meal, I almost always use fresh produce, but I find that frozen vegetables are great in a pinch and perfect for a quick, hearty snack.  I just fill a small or medium bowl with whatever frozen vegetables on hand, sprinkle on whatever grated cheese I have on hand, and toss in a few red pepper flakes. Three minutes in the microwave and I have a snack that will keep me full until dinner every time.

Tortilla Melt

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Another quick snack that always takes the edge off my hunger is a tortilla melt. I just put a corn tortilla in a skillet and top it with some cheese and salsa (and some TJs cowboy caviar in this case) and warm it up on the stove until the cheese melts.  I find this far more satisfying than a handful of chips and salsa.

Apple and Celery Stuffed Dates

FullSizeRender (1)FullSizeRenderWhen I have a sweet tooth, nothing satisfies like a fresh date.  To make it even more of a treat, I like to stuff the dates with apple, celery and nut butter to add volume and texture.  It’s sort of a grown-up version of ants on a log.

When I’m at work, I reach for grab and go snacks that require no preparation.  Here are my top three go to options:

Pistachios

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I love pistachios. They’ve always been one of my favorite nuts, so I keep a big back at the ready in my office desk.  I find these are the perfect option when I’m kind of hungry, but also kind of bored.  It takes a while to remove the shell, so unlike most nut snacks, they aren’t gone in a matter of seconds. An ounce of pistachios is 49 nuts, which is twice the amount of many other nuts, so they are a great volume option.  Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever taken the time to unshell 49 pistachios in one sitting.

Nu-Gu Fiber D’lish Bars

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Lately, I’ve been loving these bars when I need something to satisfy my sweet tooth. They are chewy, sweet and packed with fiber.

String Cheese

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String cheese is one of my favorite on the go options because it’s available almost everywhere, drug stores, bodegas, convenience stores, it’s my go to when there aren’t a lot of healthy options and I need a small snack.

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Katherine Elizabeth Diamond

On Tuesday, June 20th at 10:56 AM our lives changed forever in the most wonderful way. Our family of two grew to a family of three when Bo and I welcomed Katherine “Katie” Elizabeth Diamond into the world. Born 7 lbs 7 oz with a head of dark brown hair and beautiful blue eyes, she immediately filled our hearts and has already brought us so much joy and happiness in just five days of life.

Since her birth, my world has personally been a roller coaster of emotions, as many of you warned it would. The first month is supposed to be one of the most wonderful but also the most difficult as every day I am learning something new and at this point, she seems so fragile. We’ve had daily pediatrician appointments due to her rapid 13% weight loss following birth, breast milk production challenges and her higher than normal bilirubin levels. These health challenges, as well as my raging hormones, have kept everyone on their feet, including Bo and my poor parents. I am so thankful for their incredible support, doing everything from reminding me to shower or making me a cup of coffee.

There will be a full birth story recap coming, including the wonderful notes and pictures that Bo captured during the process, which was far faster and intense than expected surging from zero to baby in just 12 hours which caught everyone off guard, including this mom who never had a chance to receive her epidural.

Thank you for the notes, warm wishes, thoughts, and prayers during this time and hope you continue to enjoy the guest posts.

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