One Month

Our sweet Claire,

How are you one month old already?! Between all our family visitors and the holidays, these last few weeks have flown by and, before we knew it, a whole month had passed since you came into our world. You are such a sweet, even tempered little girl. You have seamlessly fit into our little family and it feels like you have always been here with us. Your big sister Leah is so in love with you. She smothers your head and cheeks with endless kisses and will tell anyone in the room, “That’s MY baby sister!” and “I love Claire!” You love cuddles and sleeping on mommy more than anything in the world. You will be in the deepest sleep on my chest, but as soon as I attempt to set you in your swing or cradle, you will pop awake with a grunt and a disgruntled look, as though you are saying “Hey, I didn’t say you could put me down…” I’ll admit, you aren’t the worlds greatest sleeper. Because you love to snuggle so much (and because you pretty much refuse to use a pacifier) it can be tough to settle you down for the night. Daddy and I joke that you have some sort of internal alarm clock that makes you bolt awake as soon as we are ready to go to bed for the night. You are sleeping 3-5 hour stretches at night (although, every once and awhile you will throw in a 6 hour stretch, but those are very rare) but you are a quick night nurser before settling back down to sleep again. One thing that makes it hard for mommy and daddy to sleep at night is the fact that you are one LOUD sleeper! You make the funniest grunts and snorts all night long, which, although adorable, are awfully hard to sleep through. Daddy and I took your first movie the other day (Hunger Games!) and although you slept through the movie like a perfect angel, you did emit a few grunts and snorts that seemed to be perfectly timed to when the movie was in it’s most serious and quiet scenes. At one point, you emitted your token “goat noise” as daddy and I lovingly call it, which made the lady in front of us laugh and say to her friend, “It sounds like there’s a lamb in the theater!” You are a fabulous eater, and mommy still marvels at the fact that she has nursed you without any pain or difficulty from day one. You are starting to chub up quite nicely and you still have the furriest little shoulders (don’t worry, it won’t last forever!) You are definitely our little Italian baby and daddy and I laugh when we compare your olive complexion to your sister’s creamy one. You girls are the cutest of sisters, but you sure will look different growing up. Our two beautiful girls; one grey/green eyed with fluffy blonde hair, and the other dark eyed with the silkiest chestnut hair. We cannot WAIT to see what this next month brings, our little Claire Diana.

Love,
Mommy and Daddy

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….
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).Β  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. πŸ˜‰ 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… πŸ™‚

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 toΒ  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.

Baby Bump

I am very lucky to be married to such a talented photographer who manages to catch some beautiful shots of our family. I love all the amazing pictures he takes of Leah, but I’ve never been all that into having pictures of myself taken, especially while pregnant. I just feel so awkward and I never know how to pose and smile and hold the belly gracefully without looking slightly deranged. But, being pregnant is a beautiful (if not awkward at times) thing, and I did want to capture some photos of my last weeks pregnant, especially with Leah. The very first pictures of me and my two girls. So, with that idea in mind, we set off to a park this past weekend to capture a few shots of this large belly. And, I have to say, I was pretty pleased with how they turned out!

And just because she is so darn adorable…..

Can’t wait for this little girl to join our family in just a few short weeks!!

36 weeks

So…I haven’t been all that great with these “weekly” updates!! Life is much more busy with a toddler at home than it was the first time around! πŸ™‚ But here is FINALLY an update for the past month (whoops)…

Total weight gain: 28 lbs
Biggest craving this week: Apple cider!! It’s so crisp and delicious and I just want to drink it all the time. πŸ™‚ I’m also loving Trader Joes honey wheat pretzels and anything else salty. I have the opposite problem of many pregnant women, where my blood pressure plummets wayyyy too low while I’m pregnant. It has gotten to the point where at my last appointment, at 34 weeks, the nurse who took my blood pressure thought it was wrong and did it twice, only to ask in amazement, “girl, how have you not passed out by now?!” I have no idea. I have to constantly eat salt or else I get super dizzy and light headed. My doctor told me to basically dump salt on anything and everything, otherwise she will have to put me on salt tablets for the rest of my pregnancy. Brett is hilarious and will grind salt on basically everything I eat (even salting my pizza) but, lucky for me, my parents work for an all natural food company that sells salt so I am eating lots and lots of healthy sea salts!!
Baby is now the size of: A honeydew. She most likely weighs around 6 lbs and is 18 or so inches long.
How I’m Feeling: Ready to be done!! Baby has definitely dropped and I am officially full on waddle walking at work. I can feel her head basically in my birth canal (so pleasant!) so it makes walking all around the hospital extremely unpleasant by the end of my day. I’m taking a lot more naps lately and have been lying on the couch reading for most of the afternoon while I’m home, trying my best to take the pressure off of my pelvis. Luckily, although walking is getting harder spin is still going strong!! It’s getting a little more uncomfortable to sit on those skinny little bike seats, but besides that, my body still feels awesome while spinning!! Me and my friend Shannon just laugh every week as we get slower and more out of breath during the workout, but hey, at least we are there!!
Movement: The movements are officially in the “ouch!!” phase. When she gets in a good kick to the ribs or a punch to my hip bones it takes my breath away! She also makes me and Brett laugh when we notice her odd positions that make my stomach stretch in (painful) odd configurations. She seems to love to tuck her little feet in and stick her booty way up on one side, which makes my stomach rise in a high peak, just along one side. I smack her little booty until she puts it down because it does NOT feel nice!!
Random: I finally got around to going through all of Leah’s old boxed up baby clothes and I washed all the 0-3 month outfits and got them all put away in baby’s dresser. It’s funny because, with Leah, I had the whole nursery set up, diapers bought, and clothes washed and folded by 30 weeks. But with kid number 2 it was like last weekend when I suddenly thought, “Hmmm, I should probably start to get some things ready for this kid…” So funny with the difference a second baby makes! Plus, it’s been so easy for us, knowing that baby #2 is another girl, because I haven’t had to worry about getting new clothes. We still have not bought 1 single pack of diapers, but at least her clothes are washed and ready and her car seat is out! (But not yet installed…..)
Looking forward to: My ultra sound next Wednesday!! I feel like we haven’t seen her in forever!! Due to my pregnancy with Leah being high risk, I was spoiled and got an ultra sound every 2 weeks and I just LOVED getting to see her so often! With this baby, we have only had the normal 12 and 20 week scan so I am so excited to get one more sneak peek at her before she is born. Hopefully this ultra sound will also give us a good estimate on how big she will be at birth!!

32 weeks

Total weight gain: 22 lbs
Biggest craving this week: Last week was the WORST when I got hit with a stomach bug that left me immobile on the couch for 2 days, unable to eat anything. So this week, I’m just happy to be enjoying food once again!!
Baby is now the size of:Β A squash. She’s close to 4 lbs and is around 16 inches long.
How I’m Feeling: Better now that the stomach nastiness is over! I am still dealing with HORRIBLE ligament pain along my right lower side, but I’ve just sort of accepted my fate for the next 8 weeks or so of just being in pain all. the. time. Such is pregnancy. Besides that, I’ve started to feel more tired by the end of the day, but I am trying to keep my energy level up by hitting the gym 3 times a week! My friend Shannon and I have officially become pregnant spin fanatics and have now decided to add a second weekly spin class to our work out schedule, so that’s exciting. My plan is to spin this baby right out of me by 39 weeks. πŸ˜›
Movement: Baby girl never stops (I’m starting to wonder when the heck she naps? Ever?) and her new favorite trick of the week is to stretch out sideways, so my stomach is forced into a gruesome football shape, while her little hands push one way, and her feet push out the other. It’s such a wonderful feeling. Ha!
Random: The child life girls at work threw the three pregnant specialists the cutest “three peas in a pod” shower this week!! It was so sweet of them and baby girl got some adorable little outfits, socks, headbands and blankets. I will be posting a few pictures from the shower soon because they really did do such an amazing job!
Looking forward to: My baby celebration in 2 weeks. I didn’t really feel the need to have a shower, since there really is not a whole lot we need for this little one (oh the joy of sibling hand me downs!) but my friends still wanted to do something special so we are going out for a fun girls night at the Cheesecake Factory in 2 weeks to celebrate the soon-to-be arrival of Baby Becker!