Hello world! Introducing the Newest Family Member


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Please put your hands together and join my family and I as we welcome the newest member, James Francis Grassel. You already got a brief story last week on his arrival into the world, but here’s a little about our first week (and a few days) as a family.

Isaac and I are thrilled to start our journey as parents. Let’s start with that. Despite all the ups and downs, every day is mostly made of ups. Our little family has grown by one beating heart, and we are overwhelmed with love and emotion.

We returned home from the hospital 24 hours after the birth of our son, and every minute since has a sense of bliss behind it. It’s surreal. For months, we prepared our home and our hearts for a new being, but no amount of preparation really gets you ready for when they are finally home. The sleepless nights and new routines are constantly changing. When we think we have a good schedule, cluster feeds kick in.

A Few Fun Family Stories…

The first bath at home didn’t go quite as planned. The nurse at the hospital helped us bathe him on his first night, so we knew he didn’t love it. The biggest problem is that we couldn’t submerge him (due to the umbilical cord) and he quickly got cold. What we didn’t plan for was projectile bodily fluids…

First Bath, Monument Health Rapid City Hospital

First, he pooped at Isaac. Yes, at. Like I said, it was projectile. Shortly after, he peed and it went all over. Then, he pooped some more. Poop was everywhere. At first, I was laughing, but then I was crying. My baby was miserable, the kitchen was a mess, and nothing was going right. Isaac was laughing the whole time. It had only been a couple of days out of the hospital, so I was still very hormonal and emotional… let’s face it, I feel like that’s just how I am now. James was crying, and he started to become hysterical. I was bawling. I was a mess. Trying to clean up the poop, I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t help with the bath, so I tried to do the one thing I knew, clean. It was the only thing I had even a little control over.

After what seemed like a lot of torture, the bath was finally over. I scooped up my baby and immediately began enjoying baby snuggles while calming him down. Honestly, I don’t know if the bath was more torture for James or for me.

Never try to keep a schedule with an infant. At least, not in the first two weeks. As I mentioned, our “routine” is constantly changing. I came from a family that liked schedules and routine. Usually, I am finding ways to make my schedule consistent to help with my migraines, too. However, with a baby, schedules get thrown out of the window left and right.

Instead of the five minutes it used to take me to get ready, it now takes about two hours. Which really cuts our time between feedings. We are feeding about every two to three hours, and cluster feeds are even closer together. Sometimes James wants food only 10-15 minutes after a 30 minute feeding session.

I don’t know about everyone else, but not keeping plans or being late to previous plans really stresses me out. That’s one of the things I am learning to deal with as a new parent. I need to be more go with the flow. Isaac and I have joked that the days of arriving early or on-time are long over. We are going to continue to be late. Especially in these early weeks.

Family photos were an absolute must within the first week. I mean, I am a photographer after all. That being said, I can’t take photos of myself and work with a newborn, so Isaac and I asked my good friend, Sydny of Kreative Memories Photography to come up and take photos for us. She drove all the way from Gillette, Wyo to do so. When she got here, James was already very fussy. We had been trying to console him, but nothing was working.

We were just about to start up when James burped up all over his outfit and Isaac’s… you could say I was definitely stressed. I felt so bad for how we were starting off the photo session! With newborns, it’s hard to know what to expect, but I certainly wasn’t expecting all of this chaos. Right after changing, James continued to fuss and it was turning bad quickly. He started to sign that he was hungry. Which means, not only was Sydny waiting on a change of outfit, but we had to wait until I finished feeding James before photos could start up again.

Finally, we got started. Sydny captured some amazing photos of the three of us. Check a few of them out below:

Lessons Learned in Week One

  • Patience. With each other and with the baby.
  • Take time for you. Shower, eat, sleep. Don’t be afraid to take a 15 minute break and let your partner take the reigns. Self-care is important, especially in preventing PPD. With my history of depression and anxiety, this lesson is extremely valued for Isaac and I.
  • It’s okay to cry. Both mom and dad. Everyone is going through a lot, be vulnerable together.
  • Don’t make too many plans. It can be overwhelming. And exhausting.
  • Padsicles work, but ditch the aloe. There are so many Pinterest recipes for padsicles, but the best results I found came from just using witch hazel!
  • Take shifts. You’re in this together. You’re up every few hours feeding, so let him get the diapers.
  • Softshell cups are your friends… but don’t bend over.
  • You don’t have to let them cry, but don’t feel bad if you do.
  • Did you know you can start tummy time the day you get home from the hospital?

Fun Facts + Milestones Achieved

24 HRS, 27 MINS, 64 SECS of Breastfeeding

2 Baths

18 Poopy Diapers | 24 Pee Diapers

• James has already begun smiling and has slowly increased the amount of time he is awake during the day.

• James lifts his head a little bit when he is laying on mom or dad’s chest.

• James knows how to communicate when he’s hungry. And no, it’s not just crying. He has signs we have come to understand.

• James lost a few ounces, when he was weighed a week ago, he was down to seven pounds, 14 ounces. But at his second appointment he already gained an ounce back.

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