Levi: Week 15 Summary

15 weeks! Levi’s first St. Patrick’s Day!

I can’t believe my baby boy is almost 4 months old! Yesterday we celebrated the beginning of 16 weeks of life for our little man. 16 challenging, frustrating, joy-filled, and wonderful weeks–but who’s counting right! Here is a summary of this past week, week 15:

Nursing continued as usual for Levi. I did notice this week that he was able to hold off a little bit longer between feedings, especially while we were out and about. Only about 15-20 minutes longer, but still, that’s something! He is still only able to stay awake for about 1-1.5 hours at a time (including feeding time), so even though he is starting to go a little bit longer between feedings, I know we aren’t quite ready to move to a 4-hour schedule just yet.

I have started nursing him in public more and more. I was pretty nervous about that at first, but ever since having to nurse him on the airplane to and from Florida in February, I’ve gained a lot of confidence. So far on our list of places are: friend’s homes, coffee shops, church, the seminary and Sam’s club. He wasn’t supposed to wake up at Sam’s club 🙂 With a nursing cover, it’s a fairly discrete process…and frankly, I’ve just gotten over the fear of making people feel uncomfortable. Levi also did great with his several necessary bottles this week as well! His daddy was appreciative of that.

Levi had such fun this week during his awake time! The beginning of the week, he was still enthralled with his floor gym. He is getting very skilled at his toy grabbing! Toward the middle of the week, a friend gave us a Bumbo to use until we move overseas (such a blessing!), and Levi just loves it! He definitely doesn’t care for his floor gym as much anymore, now that he can sit up like a big boy. I like to use that while I’m getting ready every morning–I just sit him in the doorway of the bathroom and he is usually content for a good 10-15 minutes while I do my hair and makeup.

He is definitely starting to stay up longer after eating! We used to be able to pack him up right after a feeding for an outing and he would be asleep within 4-5 minutes of driving. Not anymore! Numerous times this week he was wide awake when we arrived at our destination. It was a bittersweet change.

This boy had a few great naps this week! He had been having some trouble getting through that 45 minute transition time, but several of his naps this week were at least an hour to 1.5 hours. He would often wake at 45 minutes and then soothe himself back to sleep. Most of the time, he would go down with only about 5 minutes of crying, which is progress!

I’m really excited about Levi’s improvement this week with his nighttime sleep! Two nights he slept from 10 PM-6 AM and two nights from 10 PM-4 AM. Yay! Sleep! I woke up so proud of him. I noticed that on all of those nights we were out and his last feeding was between 9 and 10 PM–so I’m not sure what to do about that. Obviously, we can’t and don’t want to be out every night! For some reason, when we were home the other three nights that he didn’t sleep very long stretches and I gave him a dreamfeed around 10 or 10:30 PM, he would automatically wake around 2 or 3 AM. So we’ll just have to keep tweaking it! Sometimes, I feel like this whole parenting thing is like a science experiment–I just keep trying different things to see what works 🙂

Oh, I did start fully swaddling him again this week. So maybe that has something to do with it?

We didn’t have much of a schedule this week, which I purposefully planned. Levi woke everyday between 7 and 8 AM, and we had a 3-hour feeding schedule from that time on. That’s what my philosophy was the first 13 weeks of his life, so we went back to trying that. I was still so exhausted from the time change, that I couldn’t bring myself to wake him at 7 AM every morning, just for the sake of “a schedule” 🙂 But we did follow the feed-wake-sleep cycle, like usual. The nights we were home, we did try to get him to bed by 8 or 8:30 PM.

This week was COLD….again. So we didn’t go on any walks or outside too much! We had to go to the SS office to apply for a new card for him–I accidentally threw his away with the junk mail the day that we got it :-/ Mom of the year award, right here! I also had a pretty bad cold the second half of the week, so I just needed some rest.

Levi did start wearing some 3-6 months clothes this week. He can still fit into some 0-3 months, but the dude is getting LONG, so most everything in that size is starting to get too short for him.

Levi: Week 14 Summary

14 weeks!

This week was so great in the life of sweet Levi! We couldn’t believe how cheerful he was all week long. He stayed awake longer amounts of time and played so well independently. He also had a fun visitor all week–his Auntie Bri (Briana). Goodness, he loved her!

Levi ate well all week at a 2.5-3 hour schedule. I can tell he is started to get a bit more distracted while he is eating because every once in a while, instead of eating, he’ll just look up at me and smile ear to ear. It melts my heart! He also did really well this week with his occasional bottle while we were out and about. This is the first week that he didn’t give his daddy a hard time eating from his bottle while I was at class on Thursday night! Brian was very happy about that!

Levi’s time awake this week was such a joy! He really began enjoying his floor gym and would lay there for an hour or so at a time, playing with the toys hanging in front of him and smiling at himself in the mirror. He was also very content just sitting on the lap of Brian, Briana or I and watching us talk to him. I can tell he is getting more and more inquisitive.

His naps this week were a bit more sporadic then usual, with having a visitor here, but he did take them! He was in his swing more than I usually put him in it for naps, just so I knew he would sleep well and as much as possible. When I put him down in his crib, it was unlikely that he would sleep more than 45 minutes. I’m hoping he’ll soon learn to get through that 45 min sleep transition, but he just can’t seem to soothe himself back to sleep just yet.

Not much has changed this week as far as nighttime sleeping. He is still waking two times per night–usually at 2:30 AM to the minute and another time a few hours later. He did start waking at 6:30 AM instead of 5:30 AM, which is small, but good progress. It seems that no matter what time I feed him for the last time–whether 9:30 or 10:30 PM–he always wakes at 2:30. One thing that has improved this week is his ability to sleep through Brian getting ready for work in the morning. Brian had 3 opening shifts this week, where he was getting ready at 4:30 AM, and I was sure Levi was going to wake during that time, but he didn’t! I’m still just doing “half-feedings” throughout the night as well, to slowly wean him from those.

There were several mornings this week when Levi woke up happy–he would just lay in his crib and “talk”. When I would go in to get him, he would just look up and smile! That was pleasant to wake up to! This week I did start swaddling him with his arms out and he seems to like it. It prevents him from breaking his swaddle in the middle of the night, which makes him cold and wakes him. On very cold nights, I just put mittens on his hands 🙂

Our schedule was actually fairly consistent this week. The time changed on Sunday, so he started waking between 8 and 8:30 AM–which is what I had been planning on! Yay! Here’s a rough estimate:

8:00 AM- feed
9:30 or 9:45 AM- nap
11:00 AM- feed
12:30 PM- nap
2:00 PM- feed
3:15 or 3:30 PM- nap
5:00 PM- feed
6:00 or 7:00 PM- nap (this varies a lot depending on our plans for the evening and how fussy he is; usually it’s just a short nap, regardless)
8:00 PM- feed
8:30 PM- bedtime
10:00 PM- dreamfeed

We had a pretty chill week with Briana here! We stayed in most mornings so that I could work and we usually had short outings in the afternoons (ie. mall, Babies R’ Us, coffee shops, walks). Levi did well through it all, like he usually does! I’m appreciative of how flexible he is!


Levi: Week 13 Summary

13 weeks!

Levi turned 3 months old on March 1st and hit 13 weeks just the day after. We had been in Florida the entire week before, where he was held often, loved on all the time and fed anytime he wanted, so week 13 was rough to say the least! It took all week long to get him back in his normal routine and rhythm. Here’s a bit about Levi from last week:

Nursing was difficult this week because he got used to so many bottles while we were in Florida. Obviously, bottles are easier for him, so he grew to prefer them. I also had to get him back on his 3-hour feeding schedule, which was hard. He seemed to always want to sleep through his feedings, but when I put him down for his naps, he would wake in hunger. It was a vicious cycle! Luckily, by the end of the week, we were back on track.

Sadly, Levi’s time awake this week wasn’t too enjoyable for any of us 🙂 He was cranky through much of it! He did always enjoy laying on the rug in his room, though–whether I was in there with him or not. I think that’s just a good, familiar place to him. This week, he did actually start interacting with his Sophie the Giraffe toy. I would move her around his face and give her a good squeak and he would follow her with his eyes. It was short-lived, but good!

His naps this week were sporadic and short. I figured it was either due to our trip or to a possible growth spurt.

Well, the week before FL, Levi was sleeping 7-8 hours per night. Week 13, when we returned, he was back to his old ways. This might be due to the fact that in FL, I ran to get him at his first cry so that he didn’t wake anyone else in the house (normally I see if he will cry himself back to sleep). I think he got used to that, unfortunately. Now he has developed a pattern of waking at 2:30 AM  and 5:30 AM every night. I started doing “half-feedings” with him this week to start weaning him from those night feedings and show him that he is able to sleep longer than he thinks!

Non-existent this week!

I really made it a priority to stay in with Levi as much as possible this week to help him recuperate! We didn’t really go anywhere–which was making me crazy, but good for him.

Levi in FL. We had a really great time!

The Birth of Levi.

Our son, Levi Hudson, was born 3.5 weeks early on December 1, 2012 at 1:38 pm. I had been having some contractions the entire week leading up to his birth and had called my doctor numerous times, wondering if I should go to the hospital. She told me if they were not regularly 5 minutes apart or less and if my water had not broken, that there was no need to go to the hospital just yet–that it was just my body preparing for labor.

I had a doctor’s appointment the day I was 36 weeks along. My doctor checked my cervix and found that I was already 3 cm dilated, 90% effaced, and Levi was already extremely low. This was crazy, but exciting news! Especially to know that I hadn’t been in pain the past week for nothing! She sent me home to wait out the labor process.

Brian and I (at 36 weeks) “waiting for labor” on Thanksgiving Day!

Three days later, I was at work and I had to walk across the street to our other building to drop something off. On the way back to my building, I suddenly felt as if I was leaking. I wondered if my water had broken, but it wasn’t a large “gush” or anything like I had been expecting, so I had my doubts. I went inside and immediately found one of my older co-workers who I knew would give me some sound advice. She was eating lunch at the time–great lunchtime discussion right? “So when your water broke, what did it feel like? A gush or a trickle?” Hah! She told me she was pretty sure my water broke and that I should head for the hospital; it was about 1 PM at the time. The only problem: Brian wasn’t supposed to get off work until 3:30 PM. He had just started working at Starbucks the month before, so I wasn’t sure if he was even able to leave early like that (Starbucks is very strict about their scheduling).

I texted Brian and told him to call me as soon as he possibly could. About 5 minutes later, I spoke with him and he told me I needed to head to the hospital and that he wouldn’t be too far behind me–maybe an hour. An hour?! Levi could be here in an hour! Haha, little did I know…

I stalled at work a bit longer. My phone was nearly dead, so I was charging it there a bit before I left. I was also making my rounds and saying goodbye to all of my co-workers. It was a surreal feeling as I suddenly realized that it was my last day–November 31st, 2012. I made sure the two girls in the office (one of which would be taking over my job) didn’t have any last minute questions..all the while they reassured me that they were fine and they urged me to go. So finally I did (my contractions were not bad at all at that point, so I was easily able to drive).

I pulled into the valet parking area at Norton Suburban Hospital around 2:30 PM. The valet asked how I was doing that day and I said, “Well, my water just broke.” The look on his face was priceless. I’m sure he doesn’t see women in labor driving themselves to the hospital very often. He was so nice and helped me carry my bag up to the labor and delivery triage, where they did a few preliminary tests to make sure I was actually in labor. It turns out that only one of my “bags” of fluid had actually ruptured…and even that “rupture” was the size of a needlepoint. It took the nurse three tests to even confirm I was leaking amniotic fluid–I’m sure she thought I was crazy. But I knew. I certainly hadn’t peed! Once she was actually able to confirm that, I could be admitted. Luckily, Brian showed up within the hour as well! It was time to have our Levi…or so we thought…

Around 6 PM I was upstairs and settled in a room. A nurse came in to check my cervix and I was about 4 cm dilated at that point. I was told that I could only have popsicles from that point until the baby was born. Popsicles?! Had I known that bit of information, I certainly would’ve stopped at Wendy’s on my way to the hospital! I was already starving for dinner! Our friends, Anna and Ethan, came to visit after they both got off work. Anna had been telling the baby he had to come a couple of weeks early (because they were travelling home for Christmas) and on a weekend (because she worked full-time, like me), so that they could be there for his birth. Looks like he was listening!

The doctor started me on Pitocin a few hours later once they had checked my cervix several times and was still only 4 cm. It wasn’t ideal–I would’ve liked to progress naturally–but it was necessary. Because my water broke earlier that afternoon, it was getting more and more risky the longer I wasn’t progressing. The baby was at risk for infection. The Pitocin was definitely kicking in and I was definitely starting to feel the contractions. I gave the word that I was ready for my epidural. Around midnight, my anesthesiologist was ready to administer that and Ethan and Anna headed home for the night.

From that point, I slept a solid 9 hours comfortably. 9 hours while in labor! It was fantastic. I woke that morning and I was refreshed and excited and ready to meet my Levi! Another nurse came in around that time and checked my cervix again. “4-5 cm.” Seriously?! The doctor advised breaking my water “fully” to hopefully speed things along (at that point, I was still only “leaking”). I agreed. She came in around 10:30 AM to break it and told Brian, Ethan and Anna (who had returned early that morning), that they needed to leave the room for a bit. They decided that they were hungry anyway, so they were going to get some breakfast from Panera (yea, and I’m stuck with popsicles). It was totally fine with me–I was resting and watching the cable TV I didn’t have at home.

My nurse came to check my cervix again around noon, just as Brian and the Crowders were returning from breakfast. “Alright, are you ready to have this baby?” she said. Well, yes, of course, I’ve been ready for 21 hours now. Wait, what does she mean by that?! “How many centimeters am I now?” I asked her. “You’re 10! It’s time!” Looks like breaking my water did help to speed things along, because in a matter of 1.5 hours, I went from 4-10 cm. Holy cow.

Brian, Ethan and Anna came back in the room and I told them they were getting things ready for me to push. I’m pretty sure none of them could believe it either! Ethan said, “wait, so you were 4 cm for the past day and now all of the sudden you’re 10?!” Hah! Brian and I were alone in the room shortly after that and all I could do was cry. All of the sudden, this was really happening and we were about to have a baby! Plus, I didn’t realize until that moment how sad I was that our families weren’t there to celebrate in person. I was an emotional wreck! But, I made all the last minute phone calls and sent all the “it’s time” texts and pulled myself together. Time to get this Levi out of my belly!

So my delivery room was hot. And Brian had only drank Dr. Pepper for the past two days. And we’re pretty sure he has some blood sugar disorder or something, because he nearly past out once I started pushing. He swears it wasn’t the fact that he was about to have a son–he just got really dizzy. To the point where my doctor actually made him sit down with a cold wash cloth on his head, while she fanned him. I have to admit, it was a pretty funny sight. Once “my team” got all of the supplies set up and situated, I started pushing around 12:40 PM. It was hard work! But I was expecting that. At 1:38 PM, Levi Hudson Mathews (5 lb, 15 oz and 20 inches) was here.

I have to admit, I was just so anxious for Levi to get here (and for the painful contractions to cease), that I wasn’t extremely nervous about the fact that he was only 36.5 weeks gestation. I hadn’t even prepared myself for the idea that he might have breathing difficulties or have to stay in the NICU for several days. But after 21 hours of labor and anticipation, when Levi finally arrived, he was having trouble. His breathing was extremely shallow–so much so that he could only make small whimpering noises instead of fully crying. Once they cleaned him up, weighed, and assessed him, they laid him on my chest for 5 minutes to see if that would help him. When they saw that it didn’t, they quickly took him to the NICU to be put on oxygen. To say that that was an emotional experience would be an understatement!

Levi spent 5 days in the NICU while he continued to gain strength, learn to breathe on his own, and combat jaundice. It was an extremely difficult few days as I was discharged from the hospital and Brian went straight back to work. My mom and I would visit him in the mornings and afternoons, and Brian and I were able to spend good time with him in the evenings. On December 6, Levi was discharged from the NICU and joined us at home–and our lives have been forever changed!!

A Baby Changes Everything.

Hard to believe it has been close to 7 months since I last wrote here. The last thing I posted was that we had just found out that Levi was a boy! Crazy that now he is 3.5 months old! That just goes to show how much of a whirlwind these last few months have been.

I think its safe to say that parenthood is one of the most challenging, rewarding and scary things I’ve ever experienced. Sometimes I just look at Levi and think to myself how much I can’t believe that he has been entrusted in my care. I think its also safe to say that each day that goes by, I grow to love him more and more. It is a joy to be his mom!

Each week and month that passes, Levi is learning new things and his little personality continues to develop and shine through in his actions. He is a cheerful boy and super inquisitive. Levi always just looks around, stares at things, and takes in the world. He also has quite the temper and when he wants something, he makes it known! I have never heard a baby go from completely content and peaceful to completely screaming and upset in a matter of seconds. Levi is by no means quiet. Even during his first few days of life in the NICU, the nurses were surprised by how assertive this little preemie was!

I have realized that in the craziness of caring for Levi, loving my husband, working 20 hours per week, and managing my workload for my SBTS class, I haven’t documented as much about Levi’s life as I would have liked to thus far. These 3.5 months have just flown by and have left us wondering how they are gone so quickly! But I figure, better to start now than never. In lieu of that, I would like to start giving a brief overview of Levi and our life week by week. Since becoming a mom, I’ve realized how much my little man can change in just one week! It’s amazing and also saddening. He is literally growing up in front of our eyes…and I don’t want to miss it.

Stay tuned!