Wallace | Two Weeks

Two weeks already!! Still riding the new baby high around here, although it's seeming more real and obviously not perfect. Nate went back to work on Tuesday of this week, so my reality check hit this week. Turns out taking care of four kids can be somewhat chaotic, who knew? I mean, it wasn't too awful but there were certainly several times when Porter was crying, Cecelia was pouting, Truman was not listening, and Wallace needed to eat or be held or walk around. Luckily, even on Nate's super long twelve hour day on Wednesday, we all survived just fine.

Hand-me-down clothes from big brothers = the best!
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Muscle man
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Lois helped out by taking just Porter to the park, while the big kids were at daycamp. Porter needed that 1:1 time with his grandma and I thoroughly enjoyed my Wallace time! Then the big kids went to play putt putt golf with Tony during Porter's nap on Wednesday, which was also awesome for them (and everyone, really). On Thursday, Lois picked Truman and Cecelia up from Nate's golf camp and then she took Porter and Cecelia to a playground. Wallace, Truman and I hung out for awhile and then went to get Jimmy Johns for lunch as a treat. Friday was Nate's half day at work so we loved having him home around lunch time (duh) and obviously the weekends are the BEST ever.

Golfers!
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We had several visitors this week and two meals were dropped off for dinners, as some of my friends have set up a meal train website thing for us. We've definitely never had that type of organized meal delivery from our friends but it's oh, so appreciated. In fact, Nate and I were saying the other day that we feel even more supported and surrounded by amazing friends this fourth time around compared to the first time around---without a doubt. Basically, we have a wonderful network of neighbors and friends and family that are a part of our beloved 'village' and we do not take it for granted!

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Wallace is still fairly sleepy overall but I can tell he is staying awake for longer stretches now and might need a *little* more work to get him to fall asleep. He is usually napping for at least one mega nap each day---sometimes in the morning, sometimes afternoon----but that big dog nap will last about 3 hours or more. INSANE. The rest of the time he will be awake for maybe 30-45 minutes at a time, mostly content, and then will snooze for about an hour or so after that. He definitely prefers to fall asleep nursing, or will sleep while being held or on my chest. Actually, he is sleeping on my chest as I type this and I admit it's pretty much my favorite thing EVER. Gah, just the weight of him on me, with his little head under my chin? Yes, please. He also really likes the Ergo and the Moby wrap for being on the go and cuddling with me while sleeping.

Truman took this picture and we are both asleep here! Truman then woke me up by tapping me on the shoulder to say, 'I took your picture, mom. Because you guys looked really cute.'
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I think he might be starting to show some preference to me versus other people, but that's understandable since Wallace and I are basically attached to each other at all times. Tomorrow I am taking the two big kids to the doctor for their very late well child checks and Porter will stay with Wallace and my in-laws. I'm nervous to leave mister Ace man but know he will be mostly fine without me for 1.5 hours. My best tip for my in-laws will be: hold him, walk around with him, keep him moving, and maybe he will just sleep the entire time anyway.

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At night he is in the Mamaroo and will give us about 3-4 hour stretches at a time, usually waking just twice to eat. But of course, last night was different and he ate every two hours, so who knows? I'm liking being back in my own bed instead of the couch, but I am going to move the cosleeper away from the bed and just use the swing tonight---the cosleeper and sleeping flat in general are not Wallace's preferred methods. At all.

He's nursing well overall and has started cluster feeding in the evening hours. He'll normally go about 2 hours between feedings depending on naps but in the evening he mostly likes to switch from side to side non-stop, with only a little cat napping in between there. Not spitting up a ton but he definitely likes to be burped after feeding on one side, sometimes waking up enough to eat on both sides but sometimes just plugging away for 30 minutes on one. I pumped for the first time yesterday morning and got 5 ounces in about 4 minutes, during his morning mega nap. Of course he woke up as SOON as I was finished pumping, but then he was patient enough to nurse and wait for more milk to come in from me. So I think my supply must be a good fit for him, with only some coughing and choking during let down.

Selfies are hard with five people.
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Me and my guy. And yes, my eyes still look like this, two weeks later.
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Ace is still super chill and content and I'm trying my hardest not just roll with it, without bracing myself for it to change. I mean, maybe he will become cranky and fussy and harder to handle but for NOW he is freaking awesome. He seems more alert and loves to look around the house, especially at our windows and the TV. Fourth babies are surely exempt from the 'no TV until age two' rule, right? ;) I don't think he can see that far in front of his face but he does seem to look right at you, or right at the big kids as they hold him, like he's trying to figure out who these loud creatures are and why they are always yelling. For as laid back as he is, Wallace does nap the best when nobody else is around, go figure.

HANDSOME.
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He did cry in his car seat twice this week, was sort of hysterical and the most we've ever heard out of him. But at least it's not EVERY time or immediately upon getting in the seat. Porter and Cecelia both had a severe hatred of their car seats and it was already happening consistently by two weeks. Wallace also seems more grunty lately, like he is working hard to poop or needs to burp while nursing or right after---I remember the other kids getting super loud and grunting a lot, too, and since it's not constant I won't really read too much into this one yet.

The siblings are still in love with Ace and literally fight over who is going to hold him. Truman keeps saying that he's so glad Wallace is here and is my biggest helper by far, Cecelia calls him her best friend and would hold him twenty times a day if he didn't nurse so much, and Porter gives the best big brother kisses ever. We are still working on Porter being gentle and not poking Wallace's eyes, or sticking his fingers in Wallace's mouth, but overall Ports has done great with his baby brother. I'm just really proud of all three big kids and it's crazy how huge they all seem to us now!

This was when Cecelia told me she likes that Wallace doesn't talk yet, because he is so quiet. Then she looked longingly at Porter...
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And I mean...
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Seven year age difference is boggling my mind
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The dynamic between all of our kids is interesting and changing by the day. Even just having them home for the summer is enough change to shift things around a little, forcing me to implement some rules that don't really apply during the school year. Then throw in a new baby to the mix? It's a learning process for everyone! But so far, I've decided that 1. If you hit/push/punch/etc then it's an automatic 24 hours without screen, 2. You must ask to get up from the lunch and dinner table, 3. Kids have to clean up their disastrous toy explosion every evening before we head upstairs for bedtime. These three rules seem to be helping the constant battles but there are still plenty of times when someone is crying or whining. That said: summertime is still the BEST and we are enjoying it so so much!

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These three at 'dozer days' in a giant firetruck. So fun!
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And our lemonade stand, where Wallace and I sweat like crazy and the big kids made $16.22;)
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Other things: Wallace's umbilical cord fell off at day 13 which is slightly earlier than the other kids. He is not a big fan of the two baths we have given him but he really did need them both, because his skin is pretty dry, he has a little clogged tear duct, and greasy toddler hands are all over this guy every day;)  Also, he used to love the pacifier in the first week but now he is not really having it. I wonder if that will change again? I'm going to keep pushing it to help him self soothe, but I'm also okay nursing him a ton for comfort right now, too. We will get into a nice solid routine someday, but two weeks is still 'anything goes' for me right now.

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Highlights:
-a sleeping baby on my chest, all curled up and so cozy
-his smell: literally intoxicating when I sniff his head (which happens often)
-watching the big kids interact with their baby brother, I just cannot.
-Nate holding Wallace, making the baby look impossibly small and Nate look like a seasoned, pro-daddy.
-taking family walks with Wallace in the Ergo, Nate pushing Porter in a stroller, and the two big kids on their scooters.
-maternity leave in the summertime with the kids home, doing fun things as a family, and soaking in this new baby of ours.
-having a beer or a glass of wine in the evenings. I MISSED YOU, ALCOHOL!
-Wallace's laid back personality, his ability to nap well and often, and sleep great at night
-nursing a newborn again, marveling that they just know how to do this! Watching him grow and feeling proud that my body is contributing to his growth
-sleepy baby smiles and scared faces, assuming he's having 'bad dreams' and then very happy dreams. Or I guess it's just his reflexes as he works his way through sleep phases, but it's freaking adorable to watch his face contort as he sleeps.
-newborn grunts, sighs, squeaks, and sounds.

Two weeks down! Time is flying...

Porter at two weeks | Cecelia at two weeks | Truman at two weeks

Boon TRIP | Review

I have a product review for you over on my review site, all about the Boon TRIP. Also: first time pumping this morning went well!

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Ten Days Old

Wallace's first ten days are in the books and I like to share these special times on the blog, since everything is such a blur with a new baby.

Nicknames:
We go between calling him Wallace and Ace pretty equally, we will see which one sticks. Cecelia likes to call him 'Wally' and I know that is the obvious nickname for 'Wallace', but we just like Ace a lot better. Also: Waller Baller, Wall-man, W, and Porter's favorite pick: Wallipop. Which is hilarious, because he can't say his 'Ls' very well, so it's literally the same word as Lollipop for him;)

Other name choices not selected:
A commenter mentioned that I should tell what our other name options were. The second pick was Gilbert Stanley, or 'Gil' after my dad's first name (he goes by his second name, he is a junior). I love Gil so much but Nate just couldn't get behind it when it came to crunch time. And my dad has never liked his first name that much, so we figured Wallace could hate his name less as an Ace versus a Gil?

I also loved Calvin (Cal), Macallister (Mac), Murdoch (Doc), and Howard (Howie). Also Silas, Lorenzo (Enzo), and Amos (Moe). I was very big into nicknames this time around and again, Nate immediately liked Wallace the best. I admit some were pretty 'out there' but it was a lot of fun to make a hug list again. This guy is 100% Wallace, for sure. Did I mention that Stanley is Lois's dad's name? So each of our kids has a grandparent or great-grandparent middle name, for all four of our parents. Kind of love that symmetry stuff.

If he was a girl, I would have pushed hard for Alice Rosemary. Also really like Phoebe, Louise, and Dorothy....but we didn't even discuss girl names that much since we didn't talk names until after our 20 week ultrasound. Truman wanted his mythical sister to be named Rose and I would have liked to use Lois's middle name of 'Mary' in there somehow. I thought Rose Mary would have been a little odd though.

Can't straighten his legs in this NB sleeper of Truman's.
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Another Truman/Porter outfit.
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Sleep:
Wallace is still pretty sleepy overall and seems super chill so far. He's consistently waking up twice at night to eat, which ends up being a 3-4 hour stretch each time. On day eight, I must mention that he slept from 11pm-5:20 am, when I had to WAKE HIM to feed because I was about to explode. That's a six hour stretch and technically sleeping through the night, what the heck?? He then napped for another 3 hours after that so obviously he was in a sleepy phase that day. After that insane night, he went back to waking every 3-4 hours which is just fine by me for now, honestly. So much more comfortable, too!

First night!
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New to the woombie, sort of a fan.
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He loves to move and be held, but also likes his Mamaroo swing quite a bit. That is where he's been sleeping at night, and I've been sleeping next to him on the couch. We tried sleeping upstairs with the co-sleeper but it's really hard to nurse sitting up in bed for me, diaper changes are a lot more cramped, and we are just more comfortable on the lower level. I do want to get back up into my bed soon, so I will probably have Nate bring the swing up and down the stairs for Wallace's best sleep. We also have a rock and play this time, could try that at some point--but the Mamaroo is his favorite for now.

CHEEKS.
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Naps are obviously all over the place but he's sure to pass out in the Moby wrap or car seat. This makes me happy because Porter was already freaking out in the car seat by one week of life. Really hoping Wallace remains pretty chill and a decent sleeper, but of course it's way too early to tell. Enjoying it now while it lasts!

Best days at home with Nate off work for a week.
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Nursing:
This guy is a champ and loves to eat! He does get pretty sleepy at the breast, but will continue to suck even when asleep so I don't usually rush to pull him off. Sometimes he will take only one side and then takes a long nap, sometimes he will wake up after 5 minutes and want the other side. The new thing I've learned about Wallace this week is that he needs to burp after eating. He was getting very grunt-y and uncomfortable during some cluster feeding, and so one day I tried burping him. It was like a man burp, it was so loud. No wonder he was uncomfortable! My other kids would puke up a ton of milk when I burped them, so I sort of just stopped. But Wallace doesn't really spit up that much or that often, so I need to keep burping him to feel comfortable.

Covering his face. Sometimes he will cover both ears when it gets too loud in our house, too.
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Milk drunk smiles.
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I still feel pretty full in the mornings and in the middle of the night with this guy, but I'd say on average he does eat every 3 hours during the day.

Hi, buddy!
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Cutest face.
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Doc appointments: 
Nate and I took Wallace to the pediatrician the day after discharge, and my mom stayed back with the big kids. It was fun to have both parents with just the baby and Wallace did great! It was a weight check and bilirubin draw, and his weight was basically the same as it was when we discharged: 8lbs 5.5oz. The bilirubin did go up from 10.3 at the hospital to 13.0 when home, but the doc said as long as it's under 15 they wouldn't worry. His coloring looks good and so no more blood draws! The doc did have me bring him in for one more weight check on Friday, 7/14 and it was up to 8lbs 7.5oz so he gained about an ounce a day. That was great and the doc was pleased, so we won't go back until his month appointment for a check up.

Daddy at the doctor with us.
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Gotta rock some Gogo bowties!
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Sibling Love:
Oh, if I could bottle up the sweetest of our three big kids when they interact with their baby brother!
Favorite moments include Truman coming downstairs first in the mornings, walking right over to Ace and I, and giving the baby a huge kiss on the forehead. He'll talk quietly and ask how he slept at night, and then will tell me, 'I'm so glad he's here, mom.' Truman is the greatest big brother ever, seriously. He will fill up my water bottle for me, will grab a diaper and wipes, will hold the baby, put his pacifier in his mouth, and even attempts to help manage Cecelia and Porter (much harder than helping with the baby).

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Cecelia has had some incredibly sweet moments with her newest baby brother, too. Yesterday she started singing to him in the highest pitched angel-voice, saying things like, 'You are so little, I love you so much, you are my best friend, go to sleep little baby.' Um, BEST FRIEND, guys. She asked me last night, when Nate took Wallace downstairs so I could do my part of bedtime with the bigs: "Where did my best friend go?" I cannot even.

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Porter has had the biggest adjustment to Wallace, of course, but he's making us very proud overall. I mean, P just turned three last week and gained a new brother, so all in all he's handling it pretty well. There have been more tantrums and testing the limits, but that might just be part of turning three. He's refused to nap several days and seems to enjoy pushing our buttons but he's also the sweetest dude ever. He loves 'Baby Wallace' and wants to hold him, kisses him, and accidentally pokes his eyes many times a day. There was one frightening moment when I had Ace on the floor on a blanket, was sitting right next to him, and Porter was leaning next to us staring at the baby. Then I saw him bend over and start to JUMP over the baby----I grabbed him and whipped him back to the ground before he could take off, and it scared him but it scared me more!

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My July Guys;)
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We had a big talk about not trying to jump over the baby and he seemed to get it, but yeah---definitely won't be leaving Wallace on the ground unattended! Porter will also tell strangers who stop to look at the baby, 'That's baby Wallace, I'm a big brother!' Seriously, so sweet. I've been trying to give Porter plenty of focused attention, hugs, and time with just mama. He eats up the time without his bigger siblings so much (both T and C have a few day camps this summer so Porter and Ace should have some solid quality time at home with me going forward). Porter only wants mama to tuck him in for naps and bed and only wants me to change his diaper....which is another story entirely. He was showing signs of being ready for potty training right before Wallace was born but right now we are not pushing it. I suppose we will go for it during maternity leave, but for now....two in diapers, again!

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THREE BOYS!
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Our crew.
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Some big firsts of the week:
First trip to Target on 7/14! Mama needed some new postpartum clothes, pads, and stool softener. Sorry for such a boring trip, buddy!
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Yo Mama on 7/17: he took the double bob with Porter for the first time and slept the entire time it was moving, got a little fussy as we ate our ice cream because he was jealous, obvi. ;)
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Farmers Market on 7/15: in the Moby, even though it was kind of hot. Lots of comments about how tiny he was, and we even got a free block of cheese from a vendor because I had a baby. YES.
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First bonfire and s'more observance 7/14
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First trip to the pool 7/15 (he slept through the night after this, so it must have been exhausting!)
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First playground picnic 7/16
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All in all, the first ten sleepy days have been wonderful. And now we begin our new sense of normal, with Nate back to work. Let's do this, gang!

Porter's first week | Cecelia's first week | Truman's first week

Wallace's Birth Story | part three

Part one
Part two

Post-partum
So after they weighed Wallace, they brought him back to me and he nursed for about 45 minutes, like a champ. Nate was texting our parents first, and my mom was about 15 minutes away from boarding her plane in Denver. Perfect timing! We texted a few more friends and then I wanted Nate to hold Wallace before the kids came. He got to snuggle his newest boy and Ace's face was classic---totally focused on Nate and very calm, a true daddy's boy! I ordered some food around 4:30 although I didn't feel that hungry and had no desire to get out of bed before our visitors arrived. I told the nurse to just make sure I had a gown to wear but I mostly wanted to rest. For me, natural childbirth did not mean I hopped out of bed immediately and felt like a million bucks. In fact, I was more wiped out and sore this time compared to Porter's birth for sure. And I mean, look at how TIRED I look now compared to last time!
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At 5:00 the three big kids (!) arrived with Tony and Lois. On the drive over Truman was telling his grandparents that 'Wallace is only an hour old, I am so happy he's here!' And then watching the kids meet their baby brother? One of the sweetest moments in life, seriously. I got a video and several pictures to savor this first meeting.

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Truman was just over the moon to meet Wallace, his excitement is the most genuine, adorable emotion I could describe. Cecelia was quite honest when she said, 'You look kind of ugly, mommy. I thought Wallace would be cuter. And are you still pregnant,' as she poked my two-hour post-partum belly? And then Porter! He kept forgetting the baby was out and would ask, 'Where is that baby? Baby Wallace! Hi, baby!' and he did want to hold him right away, too. He asked me why I was wearing 'that' (my hospital gown) but otherwise was pretty unfazed by the entire hospital room.

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At some point, Tony left to get my mom from the airport. Nate took Cecelia and Porter to get Jimmy Johns, while Lois stayed with Truman, me and Wallace. At 7pm my nurse came in to say I needed to get up and go to the bathroom, and it was every bit the murder scene as it has been in the past. Except maybe a little worse, similar to the first time around with Truman for the amount of bleeding. In fact, Kelly the nurse was pretty worried about my bleeding and thought I might need a shot to get it to stop. The OB came back in to check me in bed, pushed super hard on my stomach, and did some sort of horrible internal exam to be sure my stitch didn't come loose. She apologized and luckily I didn't need the shot, or to have her manually go in there to get retained placenta or something.

Also: some major issues in the back side region, related to pushing my hardest for two hours. Sad trombone. The opposite of fun. This has gotten better in the last week but it's been a challenge during my recovery, for sure. It was really hard in the first four days to stand up for longer than a few minutes at a time, sitting is just as bad, and laying down is best but obviously not feasible for very long stretches.

Nate and the kids came back with Jimmy Johns, then Tony arrived with my mom around 7:15. It was so great to have the grandparents (minus my dad, he is coming in a few weeks) at the hospital to meet mister Ace! The big kids were literally bouncing off the walls when GoGo showed up. She barely got to hold Wallace because they were so pumped to have her visit.

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Then someone noticed my eyes. I didn't know what they were talking about but looked into my phone camera and saw that I had some serious broken blood vessels going on. The nurse noticed during her next check and said she felt bad but wasn't surprised, given how hard I was pushing and for so long. She said broken blood vessels in the eyes sometimes happen and I could try using a cold washcloth tonight, but there wasn't much else I could do. I asked if they would get any worse and she said, 'Probably not.' But boy, did they get worse!! Official name: conjunctival hemorrhage. Officially 'severe' according to my eye doctor. Will resolve with time. Hoping it clears soon, waiting on a family photoshoot until then!

Saturday evening:
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Sunday morning:
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Monday morning:
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I'm typing this on day eight and they are still really bad, actually. I went to our eye doctor friend the day we were discharged from the hospital, because every doc and nurse that saw me throughout our stay was pretty worried about my eyes. The pediatrician kept saying, 'Man, those are DECENT....this happens, but that is the worst I've seen.' I earned that badge of honor title from several nurses and doctors, actually. They don't hurt really, but my vision was a little blurry at first and they just burned. I did notice right after birth I was having a hard time focusing but figured it was just because I had thrown off my glasses mid-labor and was high on adrenaline. Turns out I literally pushed my face off audit's fun to scare children when I remove my sunglasses. The kids called me 'mean monster mommy,' but now they are pretty much used to my vampire look. I forget that they look so wretched until I take off my sunglasses in public and people will just make eye contact with me for several seconds longer than necessary. I'm sure it's perplexing if you don't know the story!

Other notables from Wallace's birthday: the kids and Tony and Lois went home around 8pm, but my mom and Nate stayed to hang out and watch Wallace's first bath. The hospital now delays the bath until after 6 hours, so the tech came around 9:45 and really got our boy squeaky clean. He LOVED the faucet over his head, didn't love being naked as much, and then the tech asked if I brought any 'real' clothes for him to wear. This is when they take the baby's picture for the website and picture on our door, and so it's especially hilarious to see Wallace in a dapper bowtie and cardigan when most of the other babies just have on a white onesie and a hat. He's a very classy guy, that Ace.

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My mom and Nate left the hospital around 10:30--I would much rather have Nate at home with the big kids, getting decent rest and helping at home instead of him staying with me at the hospital. I had Wallace go to the nursery around 11, they brought him in at 1:20 to nurse, I sent him back around 2:30, and then he returned around 5am. The nurses said he was great for them! Except that he peed and pooped all over his dapper outfit, silly guy.

I guess I don't need to recap everything from the next two days at the hospital. But my breakfast the next morning, the shower that followed, and then having Nate come around 9am with coffee and treats from home were the BEST parts. Well, that and waking up not pregnant with a new baby bundle to snuggle. The kids and grandparents visited for a bit in the morning, then Nate, Truman, Cecelia and I got some quality time together during lunchtime. Nate and CC brought food after their top secret trip out together---food, smoothies, sun chips, and a new Apple watch for me as my push present. The big kids gave it to me and said, 'Good job getting Ace out, mommy.' Nate said I deserved it;) Related: after we were at home for a few days, Nate sent Cecelia downstairs to give me a message. She said, 'You're a superhero, mommy. You are so strong. Daddy said it was really hard to get Ace out but you did it.' Talk about a heart warming moment right there.

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When Nate and the bigs left for home, I napped with Wallace for about an hour which was glorious. The pediatrician and OB on call came by (freaked about my eyes), and then around 6pm our whole crew came back for pizza. Dizzy and Kerry also came to visit later that night, and then my night nurse was one that I had for both Truman and Cecelia's hospital stays. I love our small-town hospital so much. Wallace went to the nursery again, coming in to feed about every 3 hours (so twice). I felt my milk coming in this night and saw Wallace spitting up the yellow colostrum more often, too.

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On Monday, day 3, it was discharge day! Nate came around 7:45 with coffee again and we had hospital breakfast food together. The lactation consultant came in, which made me happy---I wanted her to check Ace's latch, since Porter ended up having such issues nursing around 8 weeks. She said he was doing great and gave me a few tips for the future if we notice anything changing. She's big into massaging and compressing the breast during feedings to help it empty, which is great for me to avoid clogged ducts and mastitis. My new day nurse Joani was another one I had with past births, she was excellent. Ace got his state blood screen done, then his circumcision by my actual OB, who then came in to chat with us for a good while. She was worried about my eyes and wanted details about how it all went down, saying she was proud of me for doing it and called me a great mom. Cue the tears. We had to get a picture together even though this one is OBVIOUSLY not my best comparison shot. What the heck was my problem after Porter---why do I look so rested and glowing? Ugh.

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Wallace's bilirubin was originally great, then 'intermediate high' on a scan, then better, then the nurse wanted to scan again because of the bruising on his head, and found it right on the border again. So they ended up doing a vile of blood from his heel to check the numbers, and we waited around for that a lot of the morning. It turned out to be 10.3 which is 'fine' but warrants a recheck the following day along with a weight check at the pediatrician office. Ace was down to 8lbs 6oz from his birth weight which was only losing 4.5%, and apparently very good---so I really wasn't too worried about him, especially since he was nursing so well. He did nap this morning from 9-1pm in the hospital while we were waiting to be discharged, but what a rough morning it was for him with all of the tests and procedures!

Going home outfit!
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We were finally discharged home around 1:35 and wheeling out of the hospital for the very last time was incredibly bittersweet. I just love the days spent in a bubble, no concept of time or weather or anything in the outside world except for the addition of this newest baby to our family. I always love the drive home from the hospital with Nate, when we have a teeny tiny baby in the backseat ready to start his life with us. It's just crazy, and it never gets old.

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Hospital time = the best!
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All four kids: verdict is in, and they basically all look alike;)
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But coming home is equally amazing! The kids were so happy to have us home, and eager to show Ace our house. Let the fights over who gets to hold the baby first commence.
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So glad mom was here, the visit was perfect timing. Can't wait for her and dad to return next week!
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Postpartum recovery (icky stuff that must be mentioned)

So this time around I gained 34 pounds during pregnancy, exactly the same as with Cecelia (less than Truman, more than Porter). I weighed myself the other day and was down fifteen pounds after the hospital stay. I also felt like my feet were pretty swollen until two days ago, which happened at the end of the pregnancy. I didn't have to stop wearing my wedding rings but my feet did swell. So who knows, I still have a ways to go with the weight but I'm going to take it easy so I can keep my milk supply up. I've been fairly active since having Ace but only because it's summer and we have three kids that are constantly on the move. With Nate going back to work tomorrow (nooooo!) I will have to figure out a routine of how much physical activity I can tolerate. I plan to attempt a nap most days of the week if at all possible, although Porter appears to be dropping his. (nooooooo, too soon!).

My milk came in the morning we were discharged home from the hospital, so two days postpartum. Then the engorgement was pretty awful on day three and four, but somehow I avoided pumping for relief and let Ace take the lead with frequent nursing. I forgot how awful it feels to be so FULL and uncomfortable and leaking everywhere. It seems like things are settling down a little bit now, thankfully. He takes both sides about half of the time and one side half of the time, which tends to make me pretty full but it should regulate soon. Oh, also! It stands to mention that the uterine contractions when nursing a fourth baby are even worse than the third time around. So it really does get more intense with each child. I noticed these contractions right away and they continued through day four, some of which were so strong they sort of took my breath away. I mean, that's great that my uterus was shrinking back down to a normal size but still---I assumed the intensity would tap out after a certain number of times. I guess not!

Like I said above, the worst part about physical recovery this time has been the 'backside issues.' This is SO not glamorous to talk about you guys. But it's been the real deal. Not being able to walk very long, stand very long, or sit very long has been TOUGH. I think I've turned the corner now that I'm taking stool softeners every day and pounding the water more than ever, but it's still not quite right down there. My bleeding from the appropriate location is much, much better now though! I definitely had to use the full bathroom get up for much longer this time compared to the last---the spray, the peri bottle, the cream, the tucks pads.....love how it took about 10 minutes to pee and get put back together. It reminds me of my first rodeo with Truman, I don't remember having to do all of this the second and third times.

My super ugly varicose veins in my legs and groin seem to be diminishing but aren't yet gone. No stretch marks again this time, which can only be attributed to good genetics since my mom never got them either. My linea negra is now more noticeable than when I was pregnant and my belly button is still sort of out, sort of in. For the first few days after having Ace, I could barely get my stomach muscles to twitch when sitting up but now they seem to be waking up a little. Yay.

I forgot the emotional mood swings that come postpartum, going from the highest of highs and wanting to cry out of sheer happiness....to the lows of feeling anxious and like something is wrong with my baby. It seems like as the sun goes down each evening, I feel nervous about SOMETHING...whether that's having enough milk for Ace, feeling like a failure of a mom, or being so exhausted that I assume things are just going to get worse and worse. Luckily it hasn't been anything too bad and by the morning I feel ready to tackle the day and overall very content.

So the belly?

Two days postpartum: going down a lot, but the kids still said I looked pregnant.
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Three days postpartum:
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A nice comparison!
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Six days postpartum
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Again, still a ways to go, but isn't it mind blowing that our bodies change SO MUCH during pregnancy and postpartum? Wallace was inside of my belly a little over a week ago. I don't think I'll ever get over it.

Now I should do a first week recap but dang, blogging takes time, huh? ;) Oh, and Porter turned three the day after we came home from the hospital. Should really blog about that wild card of a boy soon!
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