Kellen: One Month

Height/Weight: 10 lbs 12 oz, and around 22 inches (maybe taller? He’s obviously grown since birth…)

Sizes: 0-3 month clothes, and already too tall for some of the footie PJs. Size 1 diapers still – we’ll probably move up to 2s when we run out of 1s…

Eating: Kellen is eating well and obviously gaining weight. Sometimes nursing is still painful but we’re fixing the problems as they come and powering through it. I know it’ll be easy eventually!

Sleeping: Still very varied. Sometimes he’ll only sleep if I’m holding him, then the next night he’ll do a nice long stretch in his own bed. Babies are mysterious creatures and I’m not even worried about figuring it out or ‘training’ him… As long as I can function, and he’s getting enough sleep, I’m good.

New This Week:

Kellen finally had his first real bath. He didn’t cry but I’m not sure he actually enjoyed it either – he just seemed vaguely surprised by the whole experience, lol.

We took Kellen to Sabbath School the past two Saturdays – once to Cradle Roll with Rowen and once to Preschool with Damien. Of course, he was sleeping or eating the entire time, but it was fun to get him dressed up. 🙂

We did a bit of semi-local tourism (minus Dan) and met Kaeli at Apple Hill on a Thursday. It was beautiful weather and I would gladly trade the lack of crowds for the attractions that weren’t open during the week (it is a madhouse on weekends!) It was a little scary taking all three kids out without Dan but Kaeli made it easy – now, one of these days I’ll actually have to accomplish something solo and that will most likely be horrible… Haha.

Kellen also had his one month doctor’s appointment on Thursday, in which we learned he’s completely healthy and doing great! It was nice to have a drama-free appointment – let’s hope they’re all like that from now on.

He’s awake a lot more now and just stares at everything, especially when we’re outside on a walk. He’s even done some limited interactions with toys, grabbing them and checking them out for a bit before getting bored/overwhelmed (with two big brothers, there’s a whole lot of the latter!) Oh, and Kellen has started to make adorable baby noises (everyone loves his “gah”) and happy faces that aren’t QUITE smiles.

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Kellen: Three Weeks

Sizes: NB in onesies and some outfits, 0-3 month footie pajamas, size 1 diapers (because we ran out of newborn ones. The size ones are a little big still but he doesn’t leak through them, so it’s a good trade-off.)

Eating: I’m still struggling with that same latch issue which makes breastfeeding really painful. During the day we usually manage a pretty good latch but at night, when I can’t see and the options are between Kellen crying because I’m taking too long and me crying because I’m in pain, I usually go with option two (because I cry quieter) and regret it later (or even immediately, but when you’re trying to keep two other kiddos asleep in the same room… It’s hard.)

But, at least Kellen is getting plenty to eat and seems happy and healthy. I’m glad we’re not having supply issues or allergy issues or any of the other myriad of problems we could be having. We’re going to keep trying together and we’ll figure it out! (And I might be meeting with a lactation consultant soon, if I can get into town.)

ETA: all of a sudden his latch got much better – like, seriously overnight. I don’t know why but I’m not going to question the miracle! 🙂

Sleeping: Three week olds don’t sleep. The end!
Correction: they do sleep, at entirely the wrong times… Like during the day, when a visiting family member is holding them, when normally at that time any other day they’re cranky and won’t let you accomplish a thing, so OF COURSE when you have help they’re blissfully snoozing away. 

Also, Kellen is still battling a cold (so are Dan and I) so when you lay him down he’s so stuffy/congested he can’t breathe. The humidifier helps a little bit. Propping his mattress up doesn’t help much. Letting him sleep on my chest works…for one of us. (So basically, I’ve had lots of three-hour nights of sleep, and in other news coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee.) 

New This Week: This was our second normal-ish week, with using the cabin, Dan working, and no one in the hospital (actually I did have to go to the ER for something stupid but that’s another post). I wouldn’t say we’ve settled into a routine, but we’re working on it.

I tried carrying Kellen in the Baby K’Tan, which I haven’t used since Damien was a baby. It’s a little tight (I shrunk it washing it back in 2012, which is why I stopped using it then) but according to the manual it’ll stretch with use. What I really love about it is once Kellen is in, I don’t have to readjust at all. My other go-to newborn carrier, the Maya Wrap, is awesome but does need adjusting pretty frequently, especially with such a tiny baby (I’m kinda paranoid.) Just being able to put him in and have us both be comfortable was amazing! It’s nice to have a couple carriers to use until he’s big enough for my beloved mei tai.

Oh, this week Rowen started really noticing Kellen and giving him’Kellen Kisses’ – now if I could convince the older boys not to kiss him when he’s trying to sleep… 

Kellen: Two Weeks

Weight: 9lbs 12 oz, so well above his birth weight. He’s getting chub rolls on his arms & legs & I love it 🙂
Sizes: NB short sleeve onesies/pants/most PJs; his LS onesies are too short in the arms. (Why do clothing sizes vary so widely?) He’s still in NB diapers and they fit fine, but we’ll be moving up to ones as soon as we run out.

Eating: nurses forever and always. Wakes me up 3x/night to eat, which wouldn’t be terrible if he wasn’t awake for an hour each time… 
Breastfeeding is getting challenging again because he still has a bad latch (which I’m 99.9% sure is due to his upper lip tie*) but the way the hospital LC showed me to get him latched isn’t working, either because he’s too big now, or too impatient (he gets angry and fights me and if it’s the middle of the night, when I need him to be quiet, I’ll just let him latch badly and be the one to cry instead, because at least I’ll cry quietly…and no, I’m not joking at all!) I had a few challenges nursing Damien and virtually none nursing Rowen, but I have to say – if this was my first time breastfeeding, I’d probably quit by now. Knowing how good, easy, and fulfilling a breastfeeding relationship can be keeps me going (the newborn stage can’t – and doesn’t – last forever!)

* Neither the hospital nurses nor the hospital LC were concerned about an upper lip tie. It’s possible the LC referred by Kellen’s doctor could help or would have a different opinion, but I haven’t managed to connect with her yet. Maybe next week…

Sleeping: Sleeps better swaddled but is always mad when he wakes up
Wants to sleep with me holding him all the time – especially when he has a stuffy nose at night (we have yet another cold going around our family…ugh)

Still sleeps more soundly during the day than at night, but he’s getting (slightly) better.

New This Week: we moved when he was nine days old. Our new place is really tiny (it’s a studio apartment/cabin but actually has a big kitchen and bathroom so the living space is the challenge.) The tricky thing is unpacking without making the place unlivable; the good thing is how easy it is to keep track of everyone in a small space. I actually really like the family all together – especially because I know we won’t be living like this forever! 😉 

In specifically Kellen news, he’s awake more and more and shows a little bit of interest in people… before going back to sleep. He’s definitely getting more comfortable with Dan, which is great both for Dan and me, so I can get a break once in awhile.

Damien is still very interested in him, always wanting to give him hugs, tickles, and ‘Kellen Kisses’ (which, while adorable, aren’t best received while the poor baby is trying to sleep.) He talks about all the things Kellen hasn’t seen (giraffes! Helicopters! Other family members!) and how he can’t wait to show him, which I love because I feel the same way.
Rowen is more laid back in his interactions with the baby, but is always positive and gentle – he talks to Kellen in ‘baby talk’ (which, coming out of the mouth of a two-year-old, is already super cute) and strokes his head when he cries. 

Kellen’s Birth Story

​I went into my OB office for my 38 week appointment on Thursday morning at 9am. My doctor talked about having a plan in place for when Kellen decided to arrive, because we knew he’d come fast – with Damien, I labored for three hours after my water broke, and with Rowen it was less than two hours. We arranged for an induction Monday morning (when I’d be 39 weeks 2 days,) discovered I was 4cm dilated (“you’re two good contractions away from going into labor on your own!”), and she stripped my membranes. The rest of the day I felt uncomfortable and even felt one or two of my always-present Braxton-Hicks contractions. In my way home I stopped to pick up a few last-minute baby necessities – I guess that now that there was an official date in place I should be ready. Never having gone into labor on my own, I assumed we’d be doing the induction Monday despite what my doctor said.

At 38 weeks, you no longer have toes… Also note the ginormous belly in the mirror

My husband got home early from work and I had him help me do all the things we’ve been putting off to get ready for baby, like moving some furniture, setting up the cosleeper, and putting our hospital bags in the car. We ate dinner and got the kids ready for bed like normal – Dan got Damien to sleep, but as I was laying down with Rowen I noticed I was having painful, semi-regular contractions. I pulled up a counter app on my phone and found they were 2-6 minutes apart and 40 seconds each. I wasn’t sure I actually was in labor but I had Kassi call my mom to come home just in case. I called the hospital and they said to come in, so my mom cuddled up with a still-awake Rowen while Dan and I headed to the hospital, which is thankfully only nine minutes away. (Sad/cute story: while I was saying goodbye to Rowen, he could tell I was in pain and kept trying to give me the various medicines – cough drops, Tums – from the bedside table, so I would feel better. It definitely made me cry.)

On the drive over my contractions got more painful and every bump the car went over was awful. (Random: “Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” was playing the radio, which is sweet and all but at that point I very much did want to close my eyes and fall asleep.) We got to the parking lot and found the night  entrance, since it was now after ten. An orderly put me in a wheelchair and whisked me to the Labor & Delivery wing. After checking in I had to be assessed in a room, where my contractions got worse and worse. I was now five cm dilated and allowed to stay. I kept telling everyone I would go really fast, and that I was ready for the epidural five minutes ago!

Once Dan and I were in a delivery room the next trial began – starting an IV. I had to get fluid before my epidural, plus I needed penicillin for being group B strep positive, so the IV was important – the problem was, the veins in my hands kept slipping away. It took four jabs in each hand by two nurses plus the nurse anesthetist (in the midst of contractions I was moaning/screaming through) before they gave up and put the IV in my inner elbow vein, aka my one good vein. Then I could finally get my epidural, which was super hard to sit still for in between contractions but oh so beautiful when it started to work.

Delivery room selfie – Dan was sick so he had to wear a mask

Now that I could breathe again, I met the doctor who would be delivering Kellen and really liked her. She advised that I get some rest (and get at least one dose of penicillin) before I had to push. I was able to rest for about an hour, but then I noticed the epidural was pooling in my left leg (which was completely numb) and I could now feel contractions in my right hip and running down my thighs (why?? The nurse theorized it was ligament pain.) I also felt a ton of pressure from my intact bag of water every time I had a contraction. A nurse checked me and I was 9cm dilated. A few minutes later, I was screaming from pain again, I needed to push, and my epidural was still only numbing my darn leg. I did NOT want to give birth and feel it – I’ve done that before and once was enough! – but I had no choice.

Happier times, with a working epidural…

The birth team assembled quickly – to their immense credit, they totally believed me when I said I’d go fast – and the doctor broke my water, which proceeded to burst like a water balloon all over everything and everyone (and would have probably been funny if I hadn’t been, you know, in mostly-unmedicated labor.) Right away I needed to push, but the doctor tried to slow me down to keep me from tearing (which didn’t work, but at that point I didn’t care at all – I wanted him OUT.) The first push brought his head down, the second push got his head out, and the third push brought out his shoulders – Kellen was out at 1:35am! 

They put a very vernix-covered Kellen straight on me for skin to skin, and he cried right away, demonstrating an impressive set of lungs. I was still feeling contractions and couldn’t focus until the placenta was out. Then I felt okay again…until my doctor started stitching my tear, without the epidural’s benefit. Luckily Kellen was a great distraction – we discovered his umbilical cord was twisted around his ankle somehow, which was weird but interesting, and Dan cut his cord.

Cord around the ankle

After I was finally done with stitches, I was able to breastfeed Kellen for over an hour while the nurse gave him all necessary meds. Then she weighed, measured, and bathed him – we learned he was 9 lbs 0.3 oz and 21.5″, securing his record as Biggest Baby Brother. 🙂 We also noticed Kellen has lots of dark brown hair, looks like Dan as a baby but also like his brothers, and has this same teeny birth defect as me – a dimple/hole in the top of each ear. (For some reason I love this! It’s purely cosmetic and just unique.)

Nursing baby

Dada snuggles

Mama snuggles (once we were in our regular room)

Looking so tiny!

Lots of other stuff happened in the next few days (which will be another post), but the most exciting thing was definitely introducing Kellen to his big brothers.

They were both SO EXCITED and for Damien in particular, we were surprised at how long he stayed mesmerized just by holding and staring at Kellen. It just about made my heart explode.

And now we’re a happy, crazy, COMPLETE family of five. 🙂

Kellen: One Week

Height & Weight: Not sure on height but it probably hasn’t changed. As of Thursday, he went over his birth weight, weighing in at 9 lbs 3 oz! Good job baby. 🙂 His weight is 85th percentile and his height is above 95th. (At birth he was 90th per. weight/off the charts height.)

Sizes: Newborn diapers fit great. Most of Kellen’s newborn clothes either fit or are too big, with a few exceptions of footie PJs that are already too short. (He is my tallest baby!)

Eating: Kellen and I struggled more with breastfeeding than any of my other kiddos, which is kind of ridiculous as you’d think with four years’ experience I’d be an expert. (Repeat after me: every baby is different!) He started out with a shallow latch in the hospital, resulting in damage (aka open wounds…ew) that made it difficult to nurse later. Then his blood sugar was low but he wouldn’t latch, so I had to express colostrum into a spoon and feed him for a day (after that he thankfully started latching again.) Finally when my milk came in he was too sleepy from jaundice to adequately deal with it, leaving me engorged (and in All the Pain Ever, plus the pain from before mentioned damage), making it hard for him to latch… It was a bad cycle. 

Thankfully when we had to go back to the hospital (more on that later) we met with a lactation consultant who helped a TON, plus Kellen woke up enough to eat. Thus, he is now above his birth weight, and our breastfeeding relationship continues on. Phew! 🙂

Sleeping: So far Kellen is my sleepiest night sleeper – I actually have to wake him up to eat. (Thankfully he’s pretty easy to get up.) So far, he likes sleeping swaddled, and he makes the loudest noises as he sleeps! The check-in person at the lab thought my cell phone was vibrating, but it was really Kellen sleeping in his baby carrier. 🙂 He still has his days and nights mixed up, so I’m not sleeping all THAT much, but I’m dreaming of more in the future..

New This Week:

  • Regained birth weight at six days old
  • Receives many hugs, kisses, and cuddles from both his big brothers. They may be struggling with the transition (Rowen especially) but are still so in love with Baby Kellen.

Kellen came home from the hospital Sunday afternoon after staying an extra day due to his not getting full GBS+ treatment. His bilirubin levels were a little elevated but no one was concerned. By his first doctor’s appointment on Tuesday I noticed his eyes looked yellow, and his doctor ordered more bloodwork. (His doctor is awesome by the way – she’s a family practice doctor new to the area, she’s young and has a toddler at home, and she’s very positive and accessible – she’s called me on her cell more than once.) 

Kellen and I came back from the lab, and settled in for an evening of just the boys and me – Dan and both my parents were working,vwith Dan and my mom working out of town. Of course, this is when we got the phone call from the doctor – Kellen’s bilirubin levels were very high and he needed to be readmitted to the hospital. I commenced a minor freakout (how do I take care of all three kids??) then got us all ready to go while trying to get ahold of someone. I finally got my dad on the phone and thankfully he could come home, so I said goodbye to the big boys and headed back to the hospital. (And after all that, both my mom and Dan were able to meet me there!)

I wasn’t familiar with the bili light treatment – I knew it looked like a mini tanning booth but had no idea Kellen would be inside the entire 24 hours we were there, except when eating. When the nurse explained that to me I cried! I couldn’t believe I couldn’t hold him for so long (and it made me feel bad because I know parents in the NICU deal with that every day for months on end.) I was also really, really lucky that the hospital let me stay with Kellen the whole time – we even had the same room as before – and Kellen did all his treatment in our room. They even fed me, and I got to see several of my favorite nurses from our very recent stay. 

Even though a lot of things about the experience were tough (like leaving my big kids, AGAIN) it actually went smoothly and most importantly worked – Kellen’s bilirubin levels went from 18 at check-in to 14 at checkout, and were 13 the next day. He’s still a bit jaundiced, which will take another week to clear out completely, but he’s doing great!

So now that we’ve got Kellen home and healthy, we get to embark on another adventure – moving! Dan is currently working 45 minutes away and has the opportunity to live where he works, and for a very affordable price. The one catch? It’s a literal one-room cabin in the woods. As we’re currently staying in my parents’ guest room (with all our stuff filling their storage unit and garage) this will actually give us more room, but will still be a really big challenge. I’m trying to think of it as an adventure (and reading up on tiny house living!) We won’t be there forever (months, not years) but it will certainly be an experience in the meantime. (Also: moving with a nine-day-old baby. Plus a two-year-old and four-year-old. Yes, we are probably certifiably insane. Stay tuned!)

Kellen Reid

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Introducing the fifth, final, and current-most-tiny-adorable member of our family, Kellen Reid!

He decided to enter the world one week and one day before his due date, on September 9, at 1:35am. He weighed 9 lbs 0.3 oz and measured 21.5″.
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We are all in love!

(Yes, ‘in love’ means poking/climbing/tickling to a few of us… There’s definitely going to be an adjustment period! I’ll be posting the birth story and more pictures in a bit.)

Summer ’16 Recap

It’s September and even though the weather is still hot (but not QUITE so unbearable) our summer is pretty much over. I didn’t write about most of it but I did take pictures, so here’s what we did during the summer of 2016, in photos:

I already wrote about the ocean-themed tot school we did at the beginning of the summer. (Since then we’ve done a bit if bug-themed school, but it’s been more difficult because so much of our stuff is in storage and I am SO PREGNANT.)

We also stayed at a beach house with Dan’s mom, which was lots of fun (and I wrote about it here.)

Here are some leftover pictures from our old apartment:

(mouse over to see captions; click to make it bigger)

We celebrated the fourth of July in the most American of places, American Canyon (which also happened to have lots of food trucks/free fireworks/activities for kids, and be close to our house, which is why we went there. Turns out it was right next to one of the middle schools I subbed at all the time, so that was kind of weird… I didn’t see any former students though.)

After trying to keep the kids entertained during that horrible space between when the activities closed and the fireworks started (there was live music, but they of course didn’t care), Damien watched about three minutes of fireworks and wanted to leave. (We didn’t let him. Rowen was entertained at least.)

And then, of course, we moved…

While we’ve been staying with my parents, we’ve done a lot of playing in the backyard:

Sometimes it was too hot to play outside and we had to stay inside, or go to the library.

We also went beach camping! We went back to Doran Beach and the boys had a great time. (I, however, got the worst sunburn in memory and literally couldn’t walk for a few days.. but it’s all worth it for the memories, right?)

My parents and all three dogs came with us (you can see Ripley and Molly in the above pics, but for some reason I missed Jethro – he was probably always moving!) Damien learned how to climb trees and was super excited about jumping waves; even though it was chilly, he ended up wet every day. We saw lots of birds, pelicans, and sea lions, and Damien was very excited to hold sea stars!

Dan and I celebrated our eighth wedding anniversary (and our eleventh year together). We spent the day in town going out to dinner, going to a used bookstore (and yes, coming home with books) and exploring a really pretty outdoor outlet mall.

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I noticed later we’re in front of a phone booth, which is pretty much an endangered species…

For Rowen’s second birthday, we took him to a nearby zoo in Folsom:

We also met Marcia at the Sacramento Zoo


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And that brings us up to now! The next two (very big) things on our plate are: have a baby, and move into our Cabin in the Woods (hopefully not the horror movie; maybe more Little House in the Big Woods, except we won’t use a pig bladder for a child’s toy ball… That part has always stuck with me for some reason, lol!) Because of their timing being so close together, I don’t know which will happen first, but I’m sure I will post about them…eventually.