Seraphina Update: One Month (and Change)

by Jennifer on December 26, 2013

in Seraphina

Seraphina

It’s hard to believe that almost 7 weeks ago, this little girl was in my belly. It feels like she has been here forever. Maybe it’s the sleep deprivation!

This post will contain lots of personal stuff (including boob talk). If that’s not your cup of tea, skip the text and look at the cute baby pictures at the end :)

Birth Story? I feel like you guys probably don’t want to hear the gory birth details. I actually write for a pregnancy/baby blog for WhatsInMyBelly.com and wrote an incredibly detailed birth story over there, if you want to check it out! Here’s the basics: I was induced at 38 weeks, 5 days (because of gestational diabetes and my blood clotting disorder). I got the epidural, which was AMAZING – it is SO weird to feel pressure, but no pain. Induction was about 24 hours, including the overnight stay for a medicine called Cervidil. It really was not bad at all – I just napped and ate lots of sugar free popsicles! Pushed for an hour (holy work out) and then she was here! I was so grateful that the induction went well, no scary moments for me or Seraphina, and no c-section.

Name? The two reactions we get to the name Seraphina are:

1. Oh my God, I love it, it’s beautiful!

2. Oh…ok.

We weren’t afraid to choose an unusual name, especially since my husband and I both have super common names. We wanted an old fashioned name, feminine, beautiful. We both loved the name Seraphina from the moment we heard it, so it was a no-brainer. Plus, it means “ardent/fiery one,” and she is living up to that!

We also get a lot of questions about what we call her. We just call her by her full name most of the time (or Seraphina-beana), or a random nickname (snowflake, chompy, etc.). But, just Seraphina most of the time!

Size? As of last week, Seraphina is 10 lbs, 3 ounces! She is growing fantastically. She still fits into some newborn things, since she is all legs, but we’re moving into more 3 month stuff at this point.

Milestones? Babies don’t do a whole lot for the first month or two. The one beautiful and wonderful thing she’s doing? Smiling. Not just smiling when she is having a ball kicking her feet around when she is on her back. But, those glorious reciprocal smiles when I’m holding her close to my face, smiling and talking, and I see her staring intently at my mouth. A few seconds later, her face lights up with her own smile, mimicking mine. I cried the first time she did it. Like a big, ‘ol baby. She started that just before she turned 6 weeks old and has been gracing us with beautiful smiles here and there since then!

Personality? We’re definitely starting to see her personality coming through! She LOVES kicking her feet. She recognizes music that we play for her (we have a wake-up song and a bedtime song). She’s incredibly impatient and doesn’t give mom or dad much time to attend to her needs (she gets that from me, I’m afraid). She does the “double sneeze,” just like her dad. She does huge, dramatic stretches when she wakes up. She goes from smiling and laughing in her sleep to a sad, poked-out bottom lip within seconds. She makes tons of noise while sleeping. She is not a fan of tummy time.

Cloth Diapers? No idea – she’s still too small to fit into them! We’re just now moving into size 1 diapers and out of newborn, so I’m hoping we get to break into the cloth diapers soon.

Sleeping? This is what everyone asks us – does she sleep? Well, she sleeps a lot, just not as much at night :) She’s doing better now and she has slept up to 4 hours at night, but usually it is 3 to 3 1/2 hours at a time. On a bad night, she’ll be up at 1-2 hour intervals…or worse!

Breastfeeding? (there’s a lot of rough truth in this section, including a curse word. You have been warned)

I was determined to breastfeed. I had all of the accessories, had done the research, had an extremely supportive partner…I knew it would be hard, but my body was designed to do it, right?

In the hospital, a lactation consultant came by while Seraphina was nursing. She said my positioning was fantastic and Seraphina was latched on wonderfully. She said we were naturals. I was so proud of both of us.

During our second night in the hospital after she was born, she was inconsolable. I knew she wanted to eat, and I tried so hard to feed her. She would latch on, suck, and then wail. It was heartbreaking. A nurse came in and asked if we wanted a pacifier. I guess they didn’t want to hear her cry anymore.

At home, she continued to cry – so much and so often. Did we just have a very unhappy baby?

At our first pediatrician’s appointment, we learned that Seraphina had lost over 11% of her body weight in just 3 days (for reference, babies are expected to lose some weight after birth, but no more than 7-10% in the first week). She wasn’t just unhappy – she was starving. Our amazing, awesome pediatrician explained that we had to supplement at this point, for Seraphina’s sake. She discussed her own difficulties breastfeeding and offered fantastic advice – nurse often, pump often, supplements to try. She told me that every little bit I could give her was important and that maybe I just needed more time for my milk to come in.

And, it did come in…kind of. Except it wasn’t even close to enough to actually feed her. Despite all of my efforts (and still nursing), I was never able to pump more than 1/2 ounce TOTAL (both breasts). My body just couldn’t produce enough. Based on the evidence (that my mother couldn’t breastfeed and that I didn’t have any breast changes at all during pregnancy/postpartum), it is suspected to be a glandular tissue issue, which can be hereditary. It basically means that the tissue that produces milk never fully developed during puberty.

So much for the “it works as long as you try hard enough” propaganda.

To this day, I still pump, even though I get less than 1/2 ounce now. It’s difficult to try so hard for so little.

It’s not a topic I like to talk about, mostly for fear of judgement. I couldn’t stand to hear someone say that it was just because I didn’t try hard enough (a typical response, albeit an unfair one), because that is just not true. I’m scared to feed Seraphina in public. I wonder if the cashier is judging me when I’m buying formula. It makes me feel like less of a mother.

And, you know what? That’s bullshit. I did my best and I’m feeding, nurturing, and loving my baby. And, maybe one day, I’ll feel like that’s enough. I don’t yet.

Whew – sorry, things got heavy for a moment.

So, how about we end with some pictures?

seraphina christmas3

Beautiful girl.

Seraphina yawn

Mom, the camera is so boring.

seraphina christmas13edit

Working on her stink eye. 

Seraphina Bathtime

Somebody loves bathtime!

I can’t wait to see what the next month brings!

Leave a Comment

{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Faith @ Pixie Dust Kitchen December 26, 2013 at 8:55 am

I LOVE this! Your baby girl is so beautiful! And yay for all the milestones! (esp. smiling, that’s a really important one).
I’m sorry to hear about the breastmilk thing. That must be hard. A lot of women supplement, and you have been trying, so there’s no reason to judge. It doesn’t make you less of a mother at all- you can’t help your genetics.

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2 Jennifer December 26, 2013 at 10:22 am

Thank you, Faith! I debated even bringing it up, but I try to be pretty open and honest with you guys, and it has been a huge part of the past month, for sure!

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3 Amy December 26, 2013 at 11:11 am

So happy delivery went well and she’s just so stinkin’ cute! I know it will take some time, but don’t be hard on yourself for the breastfeeding stuff. You did (and are doing) what is best for your little girl and that’s what makes you an amazing mother, not how much milk comes out of your nipples!

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4 Jennifer December 26, 2013 at 6:17 pm

Thank you, Amy…I really appreciate that! I’m lucky to have a fabulous pediatrician (who wasn’t able to breastfeed her children very long, despite her efforts) who is not only amazingly understanding, but also uses the word “gangbusters” in regular conversation ;)

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5 Zainab @ Blahnik Baker December 26, 2013 at 11:34 am

Oooooo I love this post! I was wondering if you will be doing monthly updates after Seraphina like during the pregnancy. So glad you are!! She is beautiful!!! Her name is gorgeous and reminds me of a fiery girl who stood up for freedom in South Africa in the late 80s/ early 90s. I’m so glad to see you guys are doing wonderful! And her personality is so stinking cute :)

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6 Jennifer December 29, 2013 at 5:16 pm

I had never realized the reference – I love the name even more now! Even if the spelling is a little different :)

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7 Carrie's Creations December 26, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Jennifer she is seriously so beautiful. And I love the name!

I’m so sorry to hear about your bf struggles. We struggled with latching and I now exclusively pump, so I know how difficult , time consuming, and life altering that can be. I am fortunate enough to be able to produce more than what my little guy needs, but there are many mamas who can’t and have to supplement. The fact that you’re still getting and giving her all you got is such a selfless deed and you have to just remember that. Your baby is being nurtured and fed and that’s what matters! I’m part of an amazingly supportive non-judgmental group on fb for eping mamas. I can add you if you’re interested. Also- there’s a fb page called human milk for human babies, and they have local pages for the whole country where you can hook up with milk donors. You never know- there might be someone close to you trying to find a baby in need!

P.S. The pictures are amazing. She makes the cutest little faces!

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8 Jennifer December 29, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Oh, mama. I admire you so much for exclusively pumping – I know it is no picnic :( I’m so glad that you’re producing enough for your little guy! That is amazing :)

I’ve absolutely looked into milk sharing, but I have been a bit nervous to go that route (contamination, unsafe handling, etc.). I sincerely wish there were more options to safely receive screened milk, but I’ve only found resources for preemies or babies with allergies to formula. I totally understand why though, since they are the most vulnerable. Plus, to make matters a bit more complicated, Seraphina was just diagnosed with a milk protein allergy – she had blood in a diaper a couple days ago – so scary! So, she’s on a very expensive hypoallergenic formula. So much work to feed such a little person ;) She’s worth it!

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9 susie December 26, 2013 at 12:50 pm

My first baby was the nursing pro….not an issue. The next, well lets just say scabs. It was awful. It really is not a reflection of you….I know that now, but those league women and really put the pressure on! Seraphina is a gorgeous name, and she is so beautiful! Happy New Year!

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10 Jennifer December 26, 2013 at 6:13 pm

I met with a couple wonderful, understanding consultants…and one not so understanding one :( I just wish there was more information out there about women who physically can’y breastfeed. It seems more common than new moms are led to believe.

Seraphina was a fabulous latcher…I wish that I could have been better for her :( But, she was much happier once she was actually getting food…imagine that? :)

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11 Sherri December 26, 2013 at 12:59 pm

I’ll never understand all the judging by today’s mothers. I was never breast fed as a child of the 70′s and neither were any of my siblings. My mom also had 5 c-sections and all the drugs they’d give her. We all turned out great, no developmental problems, all did well in school and are all successful all in our own right. I wish people would stop thinking that others are ruining their children by bottle feeding or having c-sections. I understand the science, but quit clinging to it. Not everyone is made the same and it’s just not possible for everyone to give birth or feed their children the same. Start worrying more about what YOU do, not what others do.

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12 Jennifer December 26, 2013 at 6:20 pm

I think breastfeeding is wonderful and that the ladies who do it are rockstars. I just wish that formula wasn’t so vilified :( I think it would be great for moms to be more supportive of one another too. Motherhood is hard enough as it is!

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13 Lora December 26, 2013 at 5:19 pm

What a gorgeous name for a gorgeous baby. Breastfeeding, schmestfeeding, you sound like you are doing an amazing job.

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14 Jennifer December 26, 2013 at 6:11 pm

Thanks, Lora :) I appreciate it.

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15 The Partiologist December 26, 2013 at 9:09 pm

Oh Jennifer, she is just so precious – I want to hold her so badly! I feel bad that you were not able to breastfeed, I kow how badly you wanted to. You are truly a wonderful mom and it shows in those sweet little photos!

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16 Jennifer December 27, 2013 at 6:55 am

Thanks, Kim! She is a sweet, snuggly baby :)

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17 Monet December 26, 2013 at 9:43 pm

You are an amazing mama, and I am so happy that you shared some of your story with us. It is evident that you are doing the very best for your daughter. Sometimes, we have to adapt and adjust our “vision” with what reality hands us. You are doing this with such grace. She is beautiful, and I know that many women, myself included, found much to admire in this post. You are a brave and strong mama! Congratulations on doing such a good job raising your little girl. PS. I answered your question on my blog…feel free to email me if you want to chat more :)

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18 Jennifer December 29, 2013 at 5:24 pm

Thanks so much, Monet. I have loved reading about your breastfeeding experience and that it has been such a rewarding experience for both you and Lucy! I so admire that.

Thanks for answering my question too!

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19 Patricia @ ButterYum December 26, 2013 at 10:12 pm

Awwwwwwwwww… they’re all so cute. The bathtime photo is adorable. What a precious angel.

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20 Patricia @ ButterYum December 26, 2013 at 10:21 pm

Okay, just went back and read the post. Re breastfeeding – I had 4 babies and was able to breastfeed the first 3 with no problems, but for some reason it didn’t go so well for #4 so I had to suppliment. Things don’t always work out the way we hope they will, so we mammas do what we have to do for our babies. ;)

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21 Jennifer December 27, 2013 at 6:54 am

It’s true – I definitely had to “grieve” the fact that I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed. But, we’re doing our best!

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22 Jennifer December 27, 2013 at 6:53 am

Thanks, Patricia! :)

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23 Elizabeth December 27, 2013 at 3:37 am

I’m so sorry you had to struggle with breastfeeding! My mom had to supplement for all of her kids, and I had low supply for a long time. You are doing a great job- just look at your beautiful, happy baby! You are giving her exactly what she needs and she is clearly loved.

Congratulations!!

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24 Jennifer December 27, 2013 at 6:52 am

Thanks, Elizabeth! :)

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25 Kayle (The Cooking Actress) December 27, 2013 at 8:07 am

OMG thank you SO much for this post! It’s obvious you’re an amazing mom, and Seraphina is just the cutest little thing! love her lil stink eye heheeee

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26 Jennifer December 27, 2013 at 9:26 am

Thanks, Kayle! :)

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27 craftytammie December 27, 2013 at 10:48 am

Good for you for doing what is best for you both. I have 4 kids, and my first, a girl, well she and I never got the hang of it. I tried to nurse her for 6 weeks – all the while pumping as well. I was able to produce enough to feed her but we just couldn’t do it the “natural” way. I think back to what I put myself through – basically, try to nurse, switch to a bottle, then pump, then start the whole cycle over again, with no sleep and lots of angst – sheesh! Then with my 2nd, who was super colicky for but a champ eater, I had my MIL telling me my milk was making him cry and I should just do soy formula. (FYI he had reflux and once he could sit up at 6 mo. he was a happy baby!) There will always be someone who tells you you’re doing it wrong! She’s beautiful and I love her name!

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28 Jennifer December 27, 2013 at 5:27 pm

Oh geez – everyone has an opinion about how we feed our kids, don’t they? :) Our pediatrician suspected that Seraphina had reflux because of difficulty bottle-feeding/general fussiness, but she just got officially diagnosed with a milk protein allergy yesterday! Oy.

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29 Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl December 29, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Seraphina is such a beautiful name, she’s going to be quite the stunner. She already is! Love hearing about those dramatic stretches and smiles. Thanks for sharing, off to read the birth story now! Here’s to New Year cheer and hours of sleep for you guys! :)

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30 Jennifer December 29, 2013 at 5:14 pm

Thanks, Pamela! Sleep sounds wonderful ;)

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31 Reeni December 29, 2013 at 9:29 pm

I’m glad you’re delivery went so well! She’s so beautiful and I LOVE her name! Haha the stink eye. She’s going to love that shot when she gets older! :-)

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32 Jennifer December 30, 2013 at 4:47 am

It is probably my favorite picture of her :) I’m partial to the funny faces!

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33 Stephanie (Ellie's Bites) December 29, 2013 at 11:28 pm

First off- Seraphina is a beautiful little girl with a beautiful name :)
I’m sure you had a bunch of comments about this already. And I almost never give my two cents. But I have to. I had the same problem breastfeeding. At the most I got 2 ounces and that was after about 3 cups of mother’s milk tea! I totally beat myself up about it, but in the end, we supplemented then went entirely to formula. My daughter is healthy, she’s smart (seven years old and on the sixth Harry Potter book already!), she’s not obese, and if she needs braces, it’s hereditary not due to the bottle. So when my son was born, I went right to the bottle. And guess what. He’s healthy, smart, not obese, and will probably need braces too. My point is just to enjoy the whole experience of motherhood. Just holding her is bonding (if nursing were required, babies would never bond with their fathers, right?) And don’t worry about anyone who may be judging you for doing the right thing for your child!
(OMG I said a lot. Please delete this comment if I said too much. I just feel very passionate about this!)
And rest up so you can get back to bringing us some of your amazing treats!

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34 Jennifer December 30, 2013 at 4:53 am

Stephanie – thank you so much for your comment! Logically, even though I’m not the only one who had this issue, it can get pretty lonely in the “can’t breastfeed” club :( Most people I know could do it, so it is frustrating. I could never drink mother’s milk tea (I hate licorice), but I took Frenugreek and alfalfa supplements like crazy! Didn’t make any difference for me, unfortunately. It’s something that I just have to accept.

Also, just a couple days ago (after I wrote her monthly update post), she was diagnosed with a milk protein allergy, so breastfeeding would have become super challenging then! I have to look at the bright side :)

Your children sound amazing and they have a wonderful mother to thank for that! :) Thanks again for sharing your story!

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35 Chocolate Shavings December 30, 2013 at 5:01 am

She’s absolutely gorgeous — and it seems that her birth was very peaceful. Love all the photos!

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36 Jennifer December 30, 2013 at 5:02 am

Thank you! Peaceful? Maybe just in pictures ;) She’s a fiery one!

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37 Paula December 30, 2013 at 5:24 pm

Seraphina is looking wonderful, such a pretty little girl. This was such a lovely update. In reading the comments I see that you have recently discovered that she has a milk protein allergy. These first few months can be so challenging, so utterly adorable and so worrisome too.

I’m sorry that you feel you may be embarrassed to bottle feed Seraphina in public because of other (totally insensitive) women judging you because you aren’t breastfeeding her. My thoughts on that are *To Heck With All of Them!*. You don’t need to justify to anyone why you are bottle feeding your child.
For those that have the audacity to even question you about it need to be responded to with *That is totally none of your business and I find it very rude that you asked.*

You and your husband are the perfect parents for Seraphina. Don’t ever forget that.

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38 Jennifer January 3, 2014 at 3:56 am

Oh yes, the milk protein allergy was diagnosed last week. It was a frightful morning for mom, finding blood in her diaper :( Hopefully, with this new diagnosis, we’re on the right track to a more comfortable baby! The silver lining to my inability to breastfeed is that the allergy would have made breastfeeding SO difficult – no dairy or soy? Soy is in everything nowadays! You have to look at the bright side :)

Thank you so much for the kind words, Paula! They truly mean a lot to me.

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39 Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen January 1, 2014 at 6:00 pm

What a beautiful post, my friend. I read every word. And, what a beautiful baby girl! I love that little nose of hers and the bump on her upper lip. I have one of those as does everyone in my family. My Mom called it a ‘love bump’. ;) I’m so sorry you sometimes face rude comments and opinions of uneducated people. But, your head is in the right place! I absolutely melted when you shared the story of your smile exchanges. You are connecting! Meanwhile, I look forward to more updates as your sweet pea grows. And, personally, I think ‘Sera’ is a gorgeous nickname…if you and hubby so choose. Happy New Year to you and your family, Jennifer! xo

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40 Jennifer January 3, 2014 at 3:51 am

Thanks so much, Stacy! It has been a trying time, for sure, but we’re finally getting some of those sweet, little rewards. Just a couple minutes ago, she was having a rough feeding (probably related to her reflux, poor thing). She was crying at the bottle, so I gave her a break and just held her. She started smiling and her version of “cooing,” which is a “guh” sound. It is so darn cute, but we try not to engage her too much in the middle of the night – she gets excited and won’t sleep! I just want to say “save it for the morning, sweet girl”! :)

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41 Carrie January 2, 2014 at 9:59 pm

I love the name Seraphina! I think it is absolutely perfect for your beautiful little girl! And her stink eye photo is pure awesomesauce!

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42 Jennifer January 3, 2014 at 3:44 am

Thanks, Carrie! It seems that I treasure the pictures of her grumpy faces the most :)

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43 Asmita January 3, 2014 at 12:04 pm

Hi Jennifer,
Your little one is precious! Really enjoyed reading this post and could totally relate to the breastfeeding thing.

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44 Jennifer January 3, 2014 at 2:04 pm

Thanks, Asmita!

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45 Sue {munchkin munchies} January 5, 2014 at 8:28 pm

Oh my gosh, Jennifer, Seraphina is absolutely darling! You (and your husband) are obviously doing a fabulous job; she looks so content and healthy. Oh, how I remember those first smiles…nothing better, such an intimate, love connection.

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46 Jennifer January 6, 2014 at 2:52 am

She’s smiling on a regular basis now…and we are also getting the poked-out bottom lip when she is cranky, which is hilarious :)

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47 Melissa @ Simply Sweets by Honeybee January 5, 2014 at 9:43 pm

Thank you so much for your candidness. As someone wanting to have a child soon I appreciate knowing all the good and bad that can happen with motherhood. I’m sorry that you had such troubles with breast feeding. I look forward to the next update. I can’t get enough of Seraphina’s cuteness. Oh and I’m one that loves the name.

I also just discovered that some of your posts got thrown into my junk folder. I have no idea why but it upsets me because I don’t ever want to miss any of your posts. I’ll have to make it a habit to check in on your site regularly and not depend on the emails.

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48 Jennifer January 6, 2014 at 2:52 am

Thanks, Melissa. One of my greatest fears with broadcasting my newborn woes to the world is giving the impression that I’m ungrateful, which is so far from the truth. I know that getting pregnant and giving birth to a healthy little person isn’t a given. But, man oh man, it is tough in the beginning! And, I just wanted to be honest and open with everyone – it felt wrong to be otherwise. She was quite an unhappy baby and we just found out that she has a milk protein allergy. Now, she is on the right formula, and her moods are definitely improving! Though, she still likes to be a fuss pot sometimes ;)

And, how lame about my posts going into your junk folder! I wonder if that is happening to any blogs I follow – I need to check.

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49 hani/haniela's January 8, 2014 at 6:49 am

I love that you call her by her full name and love the name, really beautiful.
You have a beautiful healthy baby girl, family and that is all that matters.
I can’t wait to see her outfits for 1st Valentine’s Day. Yay.

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50 Jennifer January 8, 2014 at 8:10 am

Yes, so happy that she is healthy, especially after all the worrying I did during pregnancy :)

You know, I don’t think we have any “special” Valentine’s Day outfits. Better get on that!

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51 NikkiK January 8, 2014 at 5:36 pm

You can’t make 100% of the people happy 100% of the time. Let’s say you WERE a breastfeeder…you can BET someone would complain about it if you were feeding her in a public place. You just concentrate on making your little bo0-boo-kins happy and forget about everyone else! Well, except us. We need to see beautiful treats come out of your kitchen. Just make sure you don’t get the ignoramuses get you down.

LOVE your baby’s name!! So pretty.

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52 Jennifer January 11, 2014 at 1:40 am

Very true, Nikki! It seems that everyone has an opinion about everyone else’s parenting decisions ;) Let’s just all be supportive, I say!

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