2 week update

I cannot believe that it’s been 2 weeks since Claire was born!! Time is flying and this sweet girl gets cuter every day. Her sweet little personality is such a perfect addition to our family and we are all falling in love with her more and more every day. Here’s a little update on what’s been going on here these past 2 weeks….
Claire-Is doing awesome. She is such a chill baby. She honestly barely cries. She seems to be the quintessential second child, you know…all “I’m here, but I don’t want to be too much of a bother..” She just hangs outs, loves being cuddled and held and will quietly let out a few little grunts when she wants to eat. She LOVES to nurse and has already gained almost a full pound since birth!! We had her 2 week appointment on Monday and her pediatrician was so surprised at her weight. Most babies just make it back to their birth weight by 2 weeks, but our little chunky monkey likes to excel and go beyond the norm. Talking about nursing….
Is going AMAZING. I was prepared for it to be difficult at first, as it was with Leah. I loved nursing Leah (we went 16 months and would have gone longer if it was up to me…) but it was hard and painful and awkward at first and it made for a very anxious and unpleasant first few weeks. So I was mentally prepared for that again. I was prepared for the stress and the soreness and the “let’s try and get the hang of this” period, and yet instead…it’s been a complete breeze. Claire nursed for the first time about 10 minutes after she was born and she has been moving along smoothly ever since. There was NO pain this time around at all. She latched on like a champ and is already nursing on both sides at every eating and is not showing any one side favoritism (unlike her sister). Which is probably why she is gaining weight like a little champ. I don’t know if nursing is so much easier this time around because I’m so much more relaxed or because Claire seems to have the perfect latch, but whatever it is, I’ll take it!
Sleeping-Oh the funnest part of having a newborn, right?? Claire totally tricked us the first few nights home from the hospital by making us think she was a stellar sleeper (the first few nights she slept glorious 5-6 hour stretches).  Then, just when Brett and I were high fiving each other for getting so lucky she was all “Fooled you!!” and started sleeping the (let’s be honest) normal 2-3 hour night stretches that aren’t as fun. Every once in awhile, just when I think I’m going to pass out from exhaustion, she will throw in a good 4 hour stretch that will help mommy regain her sanity. What can I say, the girl likes to eat. It’s not the waking up to nurse that is the hard part (the girl is efficient and can be done with both sides in 15 minutes) it’s the settling down part that is the hardest. The kid is like an old man with the sleep noises she makes; grunts, snores, snorts and the likes that makes falling asleep again hard. Once she is in her deep sleep she is silent again, but that usually takes about an hour after nursing to set in. An hour in which I am up, rocking and patting, and trying to get her to settle in again as fast as possible. However, again, I am so much more relaxed this time around. With Leah, I remember some nights, looking at the clock glow at 3 am and panicking thinking, “I will never sleep again…” This time, however, I remember how short this phase is, and, exhausted or not, I plan on soaking up every snuggle I can get with this little peanut, even the ones at 3 am..
Leah-Is doing well! Don’t get me wrong, there have been fits and crying and a weird new stutter that coincidentally started the day we brought Claire home from the hospital, but everything she is displaying is like Child Development 101 for how a 2 year old should act when a large change is made in their life. We have been showering her with love and patience and special treats and she is slowly adjusting to this new little person in our lives. The good news is, she never once took her aggression and adjusting out on Claire. From day one she has LOVED this little girl. She is always asking to hold her and feed her and she rubs and kisses her head every chance she can get. My mom and Brett’s mom have both been here and have spent a lot of special attention on Leah (she even spent a few days alone with her nana up at the island condo) and we are making sure that both Brett and I spend 1 on 1 time with her as well. She is SUCH a good girl though and I have been so proud of how she has handled this new change!
Healing-Has been a little rough, but I’m getting there! I had some pretty bad tearing with Claire’s birth (maybe the result of pushing her out in less than 10 minutes?) which has made the healing process longer than it was after I had Leah. Add in the fact that I now also have a 2 year old who is dying for attention (and wants mommy to pick her up and hold her) and the fact that I might not be the best at letting myself just sit still and heal, and it’s been a tough 2 weeks to say the least. But having Leah up at the island this week has really helped with making myself rest more and I think we are finally rounding the corner over here. Body wise, I’ve been shocked at how fast my uterus seems to be shrinking back down to normal size!!! Everyone warned me that your body bounces back much slower with number 2 (and then slower still with each baby after..) but I have had the opposite. Body wise, I am bouncing back MUCH quicker than I did with Leah. Maybe the result of working out consistently my entire pregnancy? Who knows, but I’m not complaining!! I gained a total of 35 lbs with this pregnancy and I am down a little more than 20 lbs so far. Obviously, I am doing nothing at the moment besides nursing and sitting on the couch (while inhaling bags of Trader Joe’s cowboy bark-anyone ever have that stuff?? I’m seriously addicted) but I am excited to be cleared to start working out again at my 6 week appointment and then hopefully the last 15 or so lbs will come off quickly!

So, overall, everyone is doing great here in the Becker house! I even surprised myself by getting Christmas cards of the girls out on time. Look at me go. 😉 Now we are getting ready for my parents and sister to come next week to celebrate Claire’s first Christmas!! It’s a good, good life over here… 🙂

The birth of Claire Diana

It’s been 5 days since Claire came into the world. 5 days of snuggles, just breathing in that fresh newborn smell. I have a hard time putting the birth of Claire into words. It was so different than her big sister Leah’s story, much calmer and peaceful and present. I started labor on the night of November 30th and I spent the night laboring quietly with Brett, breathing through contractions that hit hard every 3 minutes. At the beginning of labor Claire was sunny side up, meaning that most of my contractions hit HARD in my lower back. Brett was always there, massaging away and pushing back against the contraction with all the force he could muster. As morning came my contractions got closer and closer together and we called my mom to come and meet us at the hospital. I wanted my mom to be in the room with this birth and we were lucky to have a close friend who ran over to  watch Leah so my mom could be there with us. She arrived a little after 10 am and by 11:30 I felt ready to push. As we waited (quite impatiently on my end) for my doctor to arrive I asked my mom to take some pictures of our sweet girl entering the world. That is one thing we did not have with Leah (since Brett was obviously focused on me and the birth of his daughter) and I really wished we had pictures that captured those first amazing moments of life. A little after noon, the doctor was there, the room was set up, and I was more than ready to deliver this baby. I pushed like crazy through 3 contractions and, in less than 10 minutes, at 12:17 pm, Claire Diana made her way into the world. At one point during the delivery my doctor tried to convince me to take a break, but through the heat and the pain I slipped into a zone and continued to push. She just laughed and said “Okay, it seems like you have a plan of your own, so I’ll just let you keep doing what you’re doing.” This delivery was so different than Leah’s. I felt every push, every rip and tear, every move of my girl making her way out, and I wouldn’t change it for anything. Although this was (by far) the most painful experience of my life, it was also the most exhilarating. As corny as it sounds, I felt like a warrior as I pushed with all my strength. I felt strong, I felt powerful, I felt amazing. Claire’s delivery was the epitome of the miracle of birth and, as soon as she arrived, I was ready to give birth again and again. The endorphins were rushing and all I could do was laugh, as tears streamed down my face, and repeat over and over again, “She is so beautiful! Isn’t she so beautiful? Have you guys ever seen a baby more beautiful?” I’m sure my doctor and our nurse started thinking I was insane. I just lied there, holding this gorgeous little creature, repeating over and over again how beautiful and perfect she was while my doctor quietly stitched me up.

Later, as I looked at the pictures my mom was able to capture, I started to cry all over again. They are probably some of the most unattractive pictures of me ever, and yet they are still the most amazing and gorgeous pictures I have ever seen. They completely capture the moment, the exhilaration, the happiness, the exhaustion, the LOVE that was felt at that very moment. And because of that, I know I will cherish these photos forever and share them (and her story) with Claire once she is older.

The rest of our hospital stay was peaceful and relaxing. I’ll share some pictures of Leah meeting her new sister in a different post, but I’ll just say it was just as sweet and emotional as I expected it to be. As it is with second children, Brett and I felt more calm and relaxed during this stay and it helped make the hospital stay feel like a little get-a-way (as much as we missed Leah at home!) We snuggled our new babe, ordered pizza, ate a million snack we brought with us from Trader Joes (seriously we were MUCH more prepared food wise this time around!) and watched movies. Friends came to visit and we passed Claire around the room, where she even met her first friend, 6 week old Colby, for the first time. And now we are home, a family of four, relaxing and enjoying constant baby snuggles. Life is pretty much perfect.