A couple of our friends here in China joked about how we would replace our weekly bumpdates with ones of Elijah. At the time I had not decided what I would do for the weekly “Elijah posts”, but now that we see how he changes almost on a daily basis, we would like to write all of it down. This blog is kind of an open journal where we can record everything, all while sharing our life with the loved ones that we are so far away from. We have therefore decided to write weekly posts about Elijah until he is one month old, and then switch to monthly updates.
Stats: Elijah was born at 7lbs 4oz, and measured exactly 50 cm long. At home he would have been due to go for a one week check up, but when we left the hospital they told us to only come back in 42 days for the mommy and baby check up. Isn’t that crazy? No check-ups for this tiny little baby until he is 6 weeks old. I have not weighed or measured him at all since coming home. I will do that for his 2 week update.
Health: Elijah was born perfectly healthy, and did not develop any jaundice or have any complications. He did however develop a cold while we were in the hospital. Since then he has had bouts of nasal congestion. When we got home from the hospital mommy developed a cold too, but luckily by then Eli was did not have the runny nose anymore. On his second night in the hospital, Elijah coughed up some horribly nasty looking black stringy stuff. We called the nurses and they took him away to suck out whatever was left in his lungs and stomach. Justin went with him and I stated in our room. In the distance I could hear him screaming and it broke my heart. Apparently there was still some amniotic fluid inside his lungs, and they needed to get that out. I’m relieved this happened while we were still at the hospital!
Sleep: As all of you know, I slept wonderfully during my pregnancy. I don’t know if it was the preggi-pillow, my easy pregnancy, or a combination of both, but I slept like a baby right until the very last day. When Elijah arrived I was fully aware that I would start to live like a sleep-deprived zombie and that my days of glorious sleep were behind me. Evidently, that did not prove true! I know, I know… It’s not fair that I get all this sleep, but relax people, it won’t always be this way. I’m sure! Elijah would not sleep in the bassinet that the hospital provided for him. He has, from about the second day, had discomfort in his stomach, and this wakes him (and us) at random intervals. It was too crazy trying to get up and take him out of the bassinet every time he cried, so I caved and put him in the double bed with us. This is definitely something I thought I would never do! I always thought that babies belong in their crib and that sleeping with them was setting yourself up for disaster, but the truth is that as soon as we moved him closer to us, he slept better, we slept better, and it was easier to tend to him when he was not feeling good. We obviously haven’t started a schedule but Elijah has been pretty good at giving us about 2-3 hours of sleep between midnight and 4am, and then a longer stretch after that (sometimes 4+hours). Some nights I lie awake staring at him when I should be going back to sleep. They say “sleep when the baby sleeps”, but the truth is that there is nothing more amazing than watching your child’s little face as he dreams. His little chest moves up and down as he breathes, and with every breath I am so thankful for the blessing we have received. Justin and I couldn’t be happier. The crazy thing is that in this first week of Elijah’s life, I feel really rested and good. Even from day 1, I have had tons of energy and I don’t need nearly as much sleep as I have been getting for the past 9 months. Justin says that this is all adrenaline and it might wear off…. eeekkk! During the day Elijah naps in-between feeds, but there is no consistency. I am feeding him on demand and following whatever times he sets. It turns out that Elijah doesn’t like to be swaddled (what a pity – I love to swaddle babies) and he will only settle for a swaddle with his arms out. When we left the hospital Eli continued to sleep in our bed. For the first few nights he slept between us, but around day 6 we moved him to my side of the bed (with a safety barrier on the edge of the bed, of course) so that Justin and I could cuddle. It’s been so long since we could do that because I have been sleeping with the preggi-pillow. Man, we sure have missed cuddling! Sometimes Justin holds me, and I hold Eli… It’s very cute. When his tummy is bothering him, Eli’s favourite place to sleep is on our chests.
Diapering: Our little guy is just that… little! We have him in newborn size Pampers, but the sticky tabs have to completely cross over each other to close. I was told that he might outgrow newborn size fast so we didn’t buy too many diapers in this size. We has not yet managed to aim a wee in our faces, like little boys do so well, but he did wee in his own face when he was two days old. While we were changing him together, I noticed that his face looked shiny. Then I noticed that there was a stream of pee shooting into his face. It was quite amusing. He didn’t cry (or stop peeing), he just lay there looking at us. The nurses kept coming to ask how many times baby had pooped in the first three days. He pooped PLENTY of the black stuff (meconium), in fact on day 2 he had such a huge blow out that Justin and I had to put him under the tap and then wash his whole body off in a bucket of water. The meconium is sticky and doesn’t come off easily. Since then he goes through about 10 diapers a day.
Clothes: As with the newborn diapers, we did not buy many newborn-size clothes. We were told repeatedly that he might grow out of them in a week so this size might be a waste of money. Our poor little guy therefore only has a small selection of clothes small enough to fit him right now. We probably won’t go out and buy more since he doesn’t wear more than two onesies a day, so we have enough to not have to do laundry for a few days at a time. I know that this will change later when there’s more poop, but right now he doesn’t even sit up so he’s always clean. Eli had to wear those cute newborn gloves for a couple of days, but when he stopped scratching his face I was able to let him start sleeping without them.
Milestones: Elijah has been lifting his head since day one. He is quite strong! His umbilical cord fell off on day 4 which is quite early. This was a bit of a shocker for me, because it looked raw inside still but by the following morning it looked like a normal belly button. So cute!
Social: Elijah is very alert – he has been this way since the moment he was born. He came out all wide-eyed with his lips pursed and ready to suck. He has beautiful large grey blue eyes and he loves to look around. Whenever people come to visit him, they are always so overjoyed when he opens his eyes and looks up at them. I think that we are going to have a charmer on our hands! We were pretty social this week – we visited daddy at school, went downtown to get a Chinese birth certificate, and had many guests over to our apartment.
At Home this Week: Lots of visitors! Our landlord wanted to show our apartment (can you believe that – even though we just brought home our newborn baby) so we had people coming over for that too. Our electricity went out on the first night we got back from the hospital. We almost thought that we would have to change diapers by candlelight. We got it fixed, but it went out again the next night. The repair man finally managed to repair the electricity box properly and we haven’t had any more issues. As you can image, all of this was rather frustrating since we had a three day old baby to take care of.
Mommy: What an incredible week it has been! With all things physically related, I am very surprised. I recovered extremely quickly from the labor and delivery. I am so thankfully that I was able to give birth naturally and without any complications. I tore a little bit during the delivery and had to received two internal stitches. Those did not hurt much at all until about day 6 when it felt like one of them had been pulled out or irritated. Sitting in a bucket of warm water and epsom salts really helped to ease that pain. In China the nurses massage your stomach directly after the birth, and for the next 2-3 days. They do this to push out as much of the remaining blood in the uterus as possible. It’s amazing how much they were able to push out, and it actually felt quite good (although I have heard others complain about hating this). The stomach massage has left me barely any postpartum bleeding at the end of week one, and some women have told me that they bled for 6 weeks after having a a baby! At one week postpartum I have lost about 20 of the 55 pounds that I gained during pregnancy, and there is no saggy skin on my belly so I am very happy. I’m sure that it will take some work to get the rest of that weight off, but I’m looking forward to the “post-baby transformation”. Emotions have been up and down this week, as you can imagine, but thankfully they are mostly up. I have cried a few times because of anxiety, but I this never lasts long and I am usually through it within a few minutes. Justin helps to talk me out of it. I was limping around towards the end of this week because of the pain around my stitches, but I know that those will heal within the next week. Spiritually, I am just blown away by this blessing that God has given us! I find myself talking to God all the time – praying for comfort, peace and safety for Elijah and Justin. The anxiety I occasionally feel (most in the evenings) has left me with thoughts of losing Elijah and/ or Justin. I just love these two men of mine so much, so it’s understandable that the mixture of that deep love and postpartum hormones result in tears sometimes. All of this is natural and I know that in a week or two it should be gone.
Daddy: Wow, I am so fortunately to not only have a man that is an incredible husband, but one that fits the role of father so well too. Justin had never changed a diaper until he changed Elijah’s in the hospital, and I have to say that he is a natural. He sometimes feels that Eli is “too small” in that that he doesn’t quite fit into his arms, but that is mainly because Elijah is tiny and delicate and Justin is being extra cautious. Justin helps me with everything. EVERYTHING! I often find myself thinking, “How do women do this without supportive husbands?” I assume that the whole experience must be pretty stressful and overwhelming without the love of a good man to help you. I thank God everyday for Justin! I absolutely melt at the sight of Eli and Justin together. My world is complete!
Things We Want to Remember:
* Elijah does the cutest things with his tongue. He sticks it out a little, then a lot, and sometimes he curls it or makes it really pointy. Justin says this is a Morris thing, and now I’m realising that I do all those things too!
* Since his very first day with us, he has been doing a really funny thing where he only opens one eye to look at someone if he is too sleepy. It’s almost as if he is checking to see if there is anything going on that is worth waking up for. If there is, he opens his other eye, if not, he closes the one and goes back to sleep. It is hilarious. Love it!
There it is… The tongue AND the one-eyed look!
* He has really big eyes – just like his mommy – and he likes to look around at whatever he can.
* Justin reads a bedtime story, called “Good Night Texas” to Eli every night. Some evenings Eli is so alert that he stares at Justin while we reads. It is truly precious!
* The time that we spent the hospital – with friends, and also just the three of us – was very special to us. We don’t want to forget those first few days when we just lay in a one bed together and loved on our little one, admiring the miracle that he is.
* We don’t want to forget all the love an kindness people have shown us. Our friends were incredible on the night that Elijah was born. I keep thinking of all the little things that they did to support me through, and after, the labor. My contractions were ridiculously painful, and they all played a part in trying to make me more comfortable.
* When Eli is looking at something that is especially fascinating to him, he makes the cutest little face. His eyes get really round and he pulls his lips into the tiniest little “o”. We haven’t yet captured it’s full effect on camera.
* When he is hungry Eli makes the sweetest sound, we call it the “pterodactyl cry” because he sounds like a little baby dinosaur who wants food. Of course, if I don’t get my boob out soon after that sweet cry, then we hear the crazy high pitched “FEED ME NOW” cry and that we are yet to name. For now it’s the “oh damn, he’s-hungry-cry”!
We haven’t had to prepare a single meal during week one. Friends brought meals, snacks, and tons of fruit to the hospital. Our hospital package also included three meals a day for mommy, but it was so much food that we often shared it between us and munched on snacks. Some of our friends brought breakfast when they delivered dinners to us. We felt infinitely blessed, and even now that we are home, we still can’t get over how kind people have been. They have been texting, calling, and stopping by to check on us. We don’t even know how to express how grateful we are! Here are some pictures of from Elijah’s first week…