What We Learned About Preston:
In utero, Preston had the hiccups all the time, enjoyed being awake at 3:00am, and had a consistent steady heartbeat that barely fluxiated. In fact, for several weeks in a row... like maybe even almost two months, his heart rate was 154 every time it got checked. My mom said maybe this baby would be laid back and calm. So far (knock on wood), she's been pretty spot on. Preston's outside-the-womb behavior has been fairly similar- he gets the hiccups all the time, did, at first, VERY much love being awake at 3:00am, and has been pretty calm and laid back so far.
When we first brought Preston home from the hospital, he seemed to be one of those newborns that had his days and nights confused. He would sleep so so much during the day and sleep in his bassinet regardless of the circus going on around him (aka three older brothers living their life), but at night, when everyone else was sleeping and quiet, he refused to sleep. It brought an exhaustion that I may have never seen in my life. Josh and were maybe sleeping an hour or two. Preston refused to sleep in his bassinet, he would only sleep when held so that left Josh and me awake... a lot. Then of course the rest of our brood would be up and ready to go by 6:30am. I can't even describe how tired I was. I handle lack of sleep well, like very well, but this was on another level. I remember rocking him in the middle of the night one night, laying him in his bassinet, climbing into bed and falling instantly asleep only to be woken up about ten minutes later by him screaming. I cried and cried and cried. We could not live like this- being up all day with three kids and being up all night with one kid.
I begged my pediatrician for solutions only to find there were none. It wasn't as if you could "teach" a newborn day and night like you can someone who's a little older. Preston isn't going to care if the blinds are open or closed or the lights are on or off. Newborns were newborns and they would figure it out- probably in a week or two, she said. Maybe a month. AH!
Thankfully, this sleepless period was short lived. He is now getting up to nurse when he's hungry at night and going back to sleep fairly quickly. HALLELUJAH! Having a few more hours of rest has made an incredible difference.
Preston soothes quickly when upset and as long as he is fed, dry, and warm, he's pretty much set.
Right before being a month old, he began giving us some seriously precious awake smiles. He smiles the most at this brothers. They just have to show their face near him and he is all grins. I, on the other hand, have to work a little harder for it :).
- Going to church as a family of six- Preston slept through the whole thing thank goodness!
- Preston has went to more than one pool party, a preschool graduation, and the Michigan Mile at Lansing Lugnuts
- 5-14-18~ first awake smile- it was at Nolan
- 5-25-18~ first smile at Mommy
-5-31-18~ first cute baby coo
What I've Learned About Being a Mom:
It's funny, when I first started blogging about Nolan and Judah when they were newborns, I put the subheading in of what I was learning about being a mom. It was my first time being a mom so everything was new, everything I was doing was a learning experience. I don't know that I would've guessed that I'd be here, on my fourth child, still using this subheading. I should've known better. When it comes to mothering individual, unique, special humans, there is ALWAYS something to learn. The month we've had with Preston is no exception.
Preston is my last baby. This fact has made any difficult times so far much more bearable. When we weren't sleeping, although I was exhausted, I was trying to remember it was my last time having a newborn. I can handle it. When he is cranky and needs to be held- no big deal! It's the last time a little baby is going to need me like that. Because I am an emotional basketcase anyway, it's going to be rough going with him because in my brain I am always going to be thinking- this is it. Even though it will certainly cause me more tears, I'm glad I know this is it. I'm glad there is a finality here so I can soak it up and sob it up.
Breastfeeding causes me EXTREME anxiety. Even though I have successfully breastfed three babies for fifteen months each (two of them at the same time), it wasn't easy at first... at all. Knowing how tricky it can be to figure out breastfeeding literally kept me up at night while I was pregnant with Preston. I had many, many dreams about forgetting to feed a baby, leaving my pumping stuff while on a trip away from the baby, remembering how painful it can be, how heartbreaking it is to see your child lose weight even though you are working so hard to provide nourishment for them. I was so worried what it would be like if Preston was not a natural breastfeeder. THANKFULLY, this kid was a champ from not only day one, but like minute one. He was rooting and trying to suck when he was put on my chest in the OR during my C-Section. I nursed him right in the operating room. I have never been able to do that before. Again, a HALLELUJAH is in order there. I don't know if I could've done the no sleep thing AND had a bunch of breastfeeding problems at the same time.
Speaking of anxiety, how about the worry associated with having four kids five and under at home all day?! Oh sheesh. I'm so grateful Josh took off a lot of time to stay home when we came home from the hospital. This let naps happen for Mommy and Daddy, which are EVERYTHING and also helped with crowd control and being able to have two adults handle some difficult times of day. Preston loves to eat when everyone else is eating and loves to go to bed (which is really more of a nap) when everyone else is going to bed too. Trying to nurse a baby AND feed three kids lunch is a bit tricky. When Josh went back to work, I was terrified. How could I juggle all of this and not lose my freaking mind?
I am happy to report that we are all surviving and getting used to our new normal. Nolan, Judah, and Carter have been incredible helpers (more on how they've been handling a new baby in an upcoming blog) and Preston, because of his laid-back personality, has helped make challenging times a lot easier.
The hardest part, I think, is trying to find moments of one-on-one time for everyone. Each of my boys deserves my full attention several times throughout our day and that's not easy to do. The biggest thing I've tried to do is listen. So when Nolan wants to put on a concert, my eyes are on him. When Judah wants to tell me about a bug he caught, I am all in. When Carter wants to go on a tangent about a road with balloons, playground equipment, and a church and is trying to get me to know where it is, I am focusing my brain on that. I can't always find minutes to play with each of my children one-on-one right now, but I can be a good listener. I can empathize with feelings, validate emotions, ask questions, make connections, and answer questions.
I am also trying my hardest to play, really well, while Preston is sleeping. Even though I am healing from major abdominal surgery, am exhausted, and have a million things to do always, I am playing baseball, building sandcastles, and facilitating art projects and building constructions. Again, my kids deserve that. Having a new baby at home when you have other children is really hard. Having four kids is really, really hard, but my boys deserve whatever best version of me I can put out at the moment.
Being kind to myself has also been a challenge. Above I mention being the best version of me that I can put out at the moment. I say that because, right now, my best isn't my actual best if that makes sense. I know being tired affects what I can handle, I know I am more impatient than I usually am, and I also know I am spending hours and hours a day feeding a baby. All of those take away from me being my best self for my kids. I do too much and spread myself too thin. I get very down on myself if I feel like I'm dropping the ball.
I'm trying to handle all of that with grace- grace to Preston as he learns how to be a human outside my belly, grace to Nolan, Judah, and Carter who have had their world rocked with the addition of another brother, grace to Josh as he is exhausted and spread thin, too, and grace to myself. All this adjustment takes time and it's going to be messy and tricky, but wonderful and magical too.
We are so glad Preston is here- we all love and adore him and are having a wonderful time getting to know him.