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Grandma time

Chris unfortunately had to go to England for another 3-week work trip when Lily was about a month old, so my mom stayed with Lily and me while he was gone. I loved having that time together with my mom! She taught me a lot about raising babies and encouraged me when I was frustrated (which was a lot. Why won’t babies do what the books say they are supposed to do??). She also ensured I was getting enough water to drink and food to eat so I didn’t starve or dehydrate while breastfeeding Lily. It was remarkably difficult to make myself lunch every day! I’m so grateful for her and the time she sacrificed away from my dad to be there with us and to help me through this new transition. This time will always hold a special place in my heart as a time when I really got to bond with my mother and we got to spend so much time together as 3 generations of girls.

 

The 4 weeks she was here were pretty chill. We went on one adventure to Oslo, but other than that we mostly napped and played with Lily at home, went on walks when it was sunny, shopped for baby things and watched a LOT of movies (especially during Lily’s growth spurts). Almost every night we played a fun game where the next movie we watched had to have an actor from the previous movie we watched in it.
Thank you again for all of your help, Mom! I couldn’t have done it without you!

 

Lily’s Blessing Day

In the LDS church babies are given a special priesthood blessing in the months after they are born. Chris gave Lily a beautiful blessing and my dad was able to be a part of the circle of priesthood brethren along with many of our good friends. I am so grateful to have the power of the priesthood in our home and family!

My mom and I stayed up late the night before to sew Lily a blessing gown (based on this tutorial) and while in the end it was hard to find Lily in all the ruffles, we think it turned out pretty cute!

After church that day I tried to get some cute mommy-daughter photos while she was still in her dress.
Some turned out precious…
Others not so much…
She cracks me up on a daily basis!

 

Grandma and Grandpa Osborn come to visit

When Lily was 3 weeks old we received some special visitors:

Grandma and Grandpa Osborn!

Lily is their very first grandchild so this first meeting was really special. Grandpa stayed for a week and then had to get back to the U.S. for work and Grandma stayed for the next 4 weeks to help out with the baby. It was a huge help to have them there since Chris’ paternity leave was over and it was so special to have them spend time with Lily. We didn’t do very much as Lily and I were still in the eat-sleep-eat-sleep groove, but we enjoyed having them there to share this new experience with us.
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Welcome Home Lily!

Before we knew it, it was time to bring Lily home. It was surreal putting her in real clothes (not the little hospital gowns they gave us for her during our stay) and taking her outside for the very first time. It was also bittersweet to leave the hospital. While we were looking forward to getting back to our own house and our own life, the hospital had grown to be such a special place and it was a little scary going back into the real world to raise a baby. I mean, they just let you walk out of there with a tiny human to care for like it’s no big deal! That’s nuts!

This was the very same outfit I went home in as a newborn.
I totally dropped the ball when it came to packing warm clothes for Lily to come home in. She was smaller than we expected so none of the winter things we brought for her were even close to fitting so we ended up bundling her up in little blankets and Chris’ hat and scarf. We were off to a great start with this whole parenting thing…
Welcome home little one!
First night at home.
The first few days at home were a strange adjustment and whirlwind of emotions. Lily was still quite jaundiced so she slept A LOT. She would basically wake up, eat (if we were lucky), and go right back to sleep. Our first day back we were able to clean our whole house and make ourselves dinner. I think Chris said it best when he said, “I expected there would be a lot more parenting to do as a parent.” Things quickly picked up, but that first day or two was still so strange.

 
 
As I said before, because of her jaundice Lily slept all the time which meant that she often wasn’t eating as much as she needed to. We frequently had to put ice on her feet and cheeks to keep her awake long enough for a full nursing session. As a result, my milk was delayed in coming in, which meant even when she was awake to eat she wasn’t getting much. Since breastmilk is the best way to cure jaundice it was an unfortunate and seemingly never-ending cycle.
 
We had to take her back to the doctor every morning for almost a week to get her blood tested. We did everything we could to try to bring her jaundice levels down so she could stop getting her little hands and feet pricked so many times. I had to pump after every breastfeeding session and then we gave the few precious mililiters I produced to Lily in a tiny cup since she was more likely to stay awake drinking out of the cup than at the breast. We even had to give her a little bit of formula at the beginning just to get things moving in her system to get her bilirubin levels down, but I was determined to make breastfeeding work. I scrimped and saved every little drop I could and finally after a few days my milk came in. The breastmilk combined with sleeping in the sun and priesthood blessings thankfully managed to decrease her bilirubin levels and about a week after we came home from the hospital she was finally a normal healthy newborn.
The pose which won her the monicker “Bug”

 

And what a newborn she was! Chris and I both realized neither of us have really truly been around newborns much (at least not when we are actively paying close attention). They are pretty awesome. Yeah, they don’t sleep when you want them to, they make noises so confusing you want to pull your hair out, and they make you question everything you know and everything you’ve read, but they are SO STINKIN’ CUTE! I couldn’t get enough of her! Every little thing she did was the equivalent of winning a gold medal at the Olympics. Plus her cute little movements and cute little fingers and cute little froggy legs and cute little smiles! And oh my goodness, the new baby smell. I had always heard people say how good newborn babies smell, but I was completely unprepared for it. That smell would pretty much knock me flat whenever I got a whiff of it (at one point Chris looks over at me and I’m bawling my eyes out and when he gets really concerned the only explanation I could provide was, “She just smells soooo good!”) It was the best thing ever to just snuggle with her as much as possible (except, you know, when I desperately needed breaks because even though they don’t appear to DO anything, babies are exhausting!).
The photo below is a pretty accurate summary of those first few weeks for me:



 

 

Probably the BEST thing about giving birth in Norway was the 2 full weeks of paid paternity leave Chris was entitled to. I don’t know what I would have done without him there with me during those 2 weeks! Having him home really helped all three of us transition into this new life we have together. This is a pretty accurate summary of those first few weeks for Chris:

Feeding Lily out of her cup was primarily Chris’ job since she wouldn’t be tempted by mommy. He also became a baby-wearing champ to give me much needed breaks!

 

Her little faces!

Her funny sleeping positions.
Tummy time.
Desi and YJ came to visit and we were brought dinners by many loving friends from church!
During our hospital stay and the first week at home, Skittles had been staying at the home of some dear friends of ours. We finally brought her home to meet Lily. I can’t say she’s been very pleased with the new addition to our household. We’ve got some territorial/pecking order issues to work on, but we’re making progress.
Play time with tired daddy.
First time at church.
Seriously, every little thing a baby does is cute. It’s absurd!
The most surprising and amazing part of those early weeks to me is how naturally I fell into the roll of mother. I have no idea what I’m doing as far as actually raising a child, but one day I wasn’t a mother, and the next day I just WAS. I’m not normally the type to go gaga over babies, but something awakened inside me the moment Lily was born. I can’t say I was one of those moms who instantly fell head-over-heels in love with their baby on sight, but I definitely felt a crazy bond and instinct take over. Everything about her just feels RIGHT. I already mentioned her smell, but it’s more than that. The sound of her breathing, her little cries, even her temperature of her skin. It all feels so natural and so familiar. I feel like I suddenly understand every mother, human and animal, on the planet. Before she was born I was not a mother and didn’t know how to be a mother, but now that she’s here I am a mother and she is MY baby. Even though I have no idea what I’m doing on the surface, deep inside everything just feels right. Mother nature is ridiculously cool :)

 

Lily in the hospital

After Lily was born, they left us alone in the birth room for two hours so we could spend some time together as a new family. We called our families, practiced breastfeeding, marvelled over and over about what had just happened and basically spent the whole time staring at our new baby daughter. I finally understand all the hullaballoo over newborn babies. There is NOTHING more beautiful than your own precious little baby just hours old. Then it was time to shower before heading off to our hospital hotel room for the night.

The cool thing about giving birth in Stavanger is that there is a hotel connected to the hospital. It’s technically a normal hotel that anyone can stay at, but they have one whole floor dedicated specifically as a post-partum ward. Everyone who gave birth gets their own little hotel room for 3 days! (Mother and baby free of charge, father at a reduced rate) During those three days, the babies have doctor appointments, the midwives check on you and the baby to make sure everything is ok and to help with things like the first bath and any questions or concerns you might have, they help make sure you are healing correctly after labor and lactation consultants come in to help you and the baby get off to a good start with breastfeeding. All completely free of charge except for what we paid for Chris to be there too. The social health care system in Norway isn’t always stellar, but it was sure excellent when it came to giving birth! Those three days were a very special time for us as a family.

The breastfeeding help was particularly indispensible. Due to a family history of breastfeeding problems, I was really concerned I wasn’t going to be able to produce enough milk for Lily. During the three days at the hospital the midwives helped immensely in making sure Lily was latching well and we were nursing correctly. I will be forever grateful for that blessing!

During her first bath the day after she was born, the midwife helping us thought Lily looked a little jaundiced. They did a blood test and sure enough we had a yellow little baby on our hands. Her bilirubin levels weren’t quite high enough to warrant putting her under the bili-lights so we tried to breastfeed her as much as possible and let her sleep in the few hours of sunlight we got in January in Norway. They had to poke her again twice a day during the rest of our stay at the hospital to make sure her levels weren’t rising too high. Poor little girl!
Sweet, sleepy jaundiced baby.
Her poor little hand that they had to keep sticking for blood.

It was so nice to be able to relax in the hospital and enjoy our time as new parents before real life truly set in. We didn’t have to worry about food, diapers, cleaning or anything and just got to rest and focus on Lily. Some good friends of ours stopped by to visit, we video chatted with family and friends back home, and the rest of the time we slept while we could and recovered after an insane weekend.

 

Category: Family, Norway, Spawn  Tags: , ,  One Comment