Monday, May 17, 2010

Leaving normal

After writing such a vulnerable and telling post, coming back here is hard. But I do feel safe here and I can't thank you enough for that.

Thank you for the support and love and prayers. Thank you for getting me. I was really very seriously surprised by all the emotions of the past three weeks. I didn't expect to feel most of what I've struggling with, but thanks to you and some very close friends IRL I'm beginning to see that it is only natural to struggle with these things. I think Tonya said it best when she said that I'm dealing with normal postpartum emotions but not a normal postpartum situation.

Truthfully, I just don't know what normal is anymore. Normal went out the window when we buried our first child, our Owen.

I've been seeing my real need to rest at Jesus' feet and trust in God's sovereignty and not just that but his goodness too. It's weird... I thought I recognized this need before, but having Hannah Mae, our first child at home, has made me realize even more how deep this need goes.

Thankfully, from an emotional standpoint, I've been feeling more even-keeled and less 'I could explode or dissolve into a puddle at any moment', but I know those feelings aren't gone forever- it's just something that I will have to continually take to the Lord. Praise God- he always sticks close to us.

Hannah Mae went back to the doctor last Wednesday for a weight check and she was 4 lbs 11 oz!!! That means she gained 9 oz in 9 days! We were so happy to see the number on the scale... praise God! We've really been struggling with breast-feeding, but maybe just maybe we've come to a turning point this week. I had been pumping and giving her a bottle mostly since coming home from the hospital, but I still didn't feel like she was getting enough. I'm so encouraged to see that she is gaining and is now 5 oz over her birth weight.

Breast-feeding a preemie (even though she wasn't all that premature) and a very small baby at that is hard. Whoever said that breast-feeding is the most natural thing in the world hasn't struggled to breast-feed. It's hard, not to mention painful! But really, I don't have that much to complain about.
Because she was (and still is) so small, I can't let her go without eating in order to make her latch and at first, I couldn't let her try longer than 10 minutes. We've been trying to make her work for her bottle though. We made her open her mouth wide before she could have it so she would see that she has to do this while breast-feeding. Dr. Brown's preemie bottles have been great in transitioning over from mostly bottle to solely breast-feeding. It seems to be working because since last Monday we've been almost exclusively breast-feeding (we've had some setbacks- it seems at times that she would just rather have the bottle). I still worry that she's not getting enough. I wish I had a mL/oz gauge for breast-feeding... wouldn't that be nice?

As I look back into the fog of the past two weeks, I can very clearly see how gracious the Lord has been to us. We have so so very much to be thankful for.

Oh, and as a BIG side note, we found out on Monday that Chris was awarded the full tuition scholarship and we will be attending seminary tuition free! Isn't that amazing?! We are thrilled and so thankful to God for his provision.
Now we only have to cover our living expenses for the next three years...

Just a couple of pictures... one from Mother's day after we took our first walk with Hannah Mae (outside the womb)... isn't she a doll?

After spending nearly a week with us, my mom told me that we don't know how spoiled we are with Hannah. I don't have any experience with newborns outside of Hannah, so I couldn't say, but she is a pretty content little girl. She rarely cries outside of diaper/clothing changes. She sleeps well in the night and doesn't mind sleeping in her crib, even though everyone told me I was spoiling her in the hospital because I hardly put her down. I'm seeing more and more of her personality as she squeals this high pitched girly squeal when she's unhappy. Getting ready for the doctor last Wednesday, she let me know that she was not in the mood to be put down, so instead of taking a shower I held her while I strategically used some of her baby wipes...

and I've always heard about projectile poop, but wasn't quite sure if I believed people when they told me. Last week on my first day without Chris or my mom at home with me, during her first diaper change after Chris left- she got me. I just had to laugh at the timing of it all. I'm not so fond of the yellow poop stain on my comforter, but overall it was pretty hilarious. 

Hannah and I spend a lot of time skin to skin. When friends drop by unexpectedly, I almost always have to apologize for Hannah's lack of clothes. We love to cuddle! In the hospital, she would scream and cry if you tried to take her off my chest for anything... and unless she's asleep when I put her down she still does that now. It's a good thing it's spring and not the middle of winter or I would probably be accused of neglect. Honestly, most of her clothes don't fit her yet anyway, so it's a win-win.

This is our new favorite picture of Hannah...

Leaving normal, and by God's grace- embracing the life we've been given.


Freya said...

Yay--congratulations on the scholarship! That's a great blessing. Also, Hannah looks so much like you, it's so sweet. It seems like God is teaching you that your family is His, and He is sovereign over it. I pray that His peace be with you and that Hannah continues to grow big and strong and full of joy.

Take Care, Ebe & family =).

Anna said...
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Anna said...

Hannah is so beautiful!

I'm happy to hear you are feeling more even keeled.

I agree with you 110% about breastfeeding being difficult. I had problems with Hunter and he wasn't nearly as small as Hannah. As my husband says there were A LOT of tears. It was at around 2 months that it started feeling more "easy/natural" for me. Up until then almost every day I thought I was going to have to give it up. And even now I worry about my supply and if Hunter is getting enough to eat, so I too wish there was an accurate way to measure intake!

Congrats to you and Chris on the scholarship! So incredibly happy for your family!

Lots of love, hugs & prayers,

Tonya said...

I don't know where to start...

I'm SO glad you're feeling a bit more even-keeled...continue to be patient with yourself. I'm thrilled that Hannah is gaining weight! I'm excited that breastfeeding is getting better...hang in there! (I didn't feel completely comfortable with Jessica until she was 6 weeks old...then we both started enjoying it) I'm overjoyed that Chris got a full scholarship - what a HUGE BLESSING!!! LOVE the new pics of that sweet baby girl! And as a side note, I'm not sure the word "normal" should even exist in the lives of parents after a baby/child dies...

I'll call very soon so we can try to chat! Love you SO much! AND, I still want to bring you a meal...


Sara said...

Ebe, I was so glad to hear so much of what you said... Praise God for that scholarship... that is awesomely amazing! What great provision for you all.

I was worried about you and have been praying. I am so happy to hear the breastfeeding is going better... that really can be a struggle. I love how you ended it with leaving normal behind and embracing the life you've been given. That is so true... normal is a thing of the past I think.

Love you Ebe! Still will be praying!

Rachel said...

She is sooo sweet and I'm just so thankful she's here. And Chris' scholarship....that's just totally God!

I will continue to pray for breastfeeding to get even better. As a LLL leader, I always tell new moms that it takes a good six weeks of exclusively breastfeeding to really start feeling comfortable. And that doesn't take into account Hannah's early arrival and the healing after a c-section.

Check out a LLL group near you:
It's a great way to get support and encouragement from other breastfeeding moms!

Keisha Valentina said...

Oh Ebe,

As always, I am in tears.

YOU my dear are simply beautiful.

heather ryan morse said...

is there really any such thing as normal anyway??!! :) i am convinced that "normal" is a mirage :)

The Blue Sparrow said...

Congrats on the scholorship! That is great news! Hannah is such a doll! Congrats on her as well! *HUGS*

Denise said...

Hannah Mae will prefer the bottle because the hole in the nipple allows the milk to come without much work on her part. Breastfeeding requires baby to work for their meal...

So that's why they say you shouldn't go back and forth from one to the other, when possible. My kids ended up being bottle fed because of issues with the medical staff giving them bottles right after birth (I had both by C-Section, too) and large babies (etc.).

So that's why you might notice Hannah preferring the bottle over Mama. But glad you are working the kinks out!

Denise in Canada

Mandi @ Organizing Your Way said...

Oh my goodness -- I have four daughters, and I still say Hannah Mae is one of the cutest baby girls I've ever seen!

Good for you for holding her as much as you and she'll never regret it, despite what people tell you!

I hope you spoil us with this many pictures every week!!

Beth said...

Oh I love this, and probably really needed to read it (thank you, God!). My doctor thinks we are weeks away from our rainbow's (Jacob) arrival, and if that's true he will arrive when I'm 35 weeks, just like Hannah Mae did with you. So...getting a little peek into life with a slightly premature baby? No doubt it will be helpful if Jacob comes a bit early, too. Now I'm off to read your other posts from Hannah Mae's earliest days... Thanks for sharing so much, so openly. <3