I'm six weeks late with this, but I'm getting caught up! Cory and I were so excited to escape with Sheppard from the hospital. Our Little Man had several visitors in his early days: Haley, Carson, Camilla, Grandma Judy, Granddad, Mia, Mimi, Tricia and Maili, Jay and Jody Hinton and their kids Jake, Izzie, Libby, and Camdyn, and Connie Rios and Paula Pratt. After staying at the hospital for 48 hours, we were ready to fly the coop. We were annoyed that we had to stand and wait 30 minutes for the wheelchair that I was required to sit in to leave the hospital. It was a surreal moment as we drove away from Harris Downtown to our different, wonderful life with our new baby boy.
My mom was with us for the first week and we were very grateful for the meals and company she provided. In addition to going grocery shopping for us, she finished the beautiful crib bedding and floor quilt she made for Sheppard. I was gutsy enough to go on several errands in the first week, including Costco, Target, and Jo-Ann's. Angie, Maisy, and Poppy came up to visit for a day and braved sleeping on our couch and an air mattress since Sheppard's nursery replaced our guest room. While my mom was in town, I was able to barely squeeze into some of my pre-pregnancy jeans. I wasn't as svelte as I wanted, but I felt skinny despite not actually being skinny. I was so thrilled to not be pregnant and loved seeing my shrinking belly and weight.
I really wanted him to inherit his dad's gorgeous eyelashes and I was thrilled when they started growing in longer every day. He became our little celebrity whenever we went out because of his hair, hair, hair. Everyone said, "You don't see little blonde babies with that much hair!" or "Look at that hair!" We frequently said that we didn't know where it came from because both of us were fuzzy babies. People joked that he would be the youngest person to get a haircut. Cory tried to get me to trim it up but I resolutely refused. It was one of Sheppard's best features. After a couple weeks, I realized that he had a large red birthmark on the back of his neck. It was hidden by his shaggy mane.
Sheppard was a very mellow baby. He didn't cry often and was very chill. Sometimes he cried when he was getting changed, especially if we took too long. Although he didn't pee on Mom, Dad was able to witness a good urine stream onto the wall and also got some on himself. We were glad everything was working!
Everyone thought he was so handsome. We were biased of course, but we couldn't help but agree. Most people thought he was a miniature Cory because he had similar facial features and hair. Cory loved how people would say, "Oh he looks just like his dad! He is so handsome!" Cory translated that to mean, "Hey, you are a good looking guy, Cory!" However, while he had Dad's nose, he had Mom's long torso and her feet. I hate my feet, but everything is cuter in miniature. His hair was so long and he even had sideburns. My mom compared his hair to Mr. Collins from Pride and Prejudice (but not his disposition of course). She noticed his nose was slightly crooked when he was born but it quickly straightened out. He loved to be swaddled tight, tight like a burrito but was a stealthy Houdini and was sometimes able to wiggle his way out. Sometimes he reminded me of the bronze bust my Papa sculpted of Angie as a baby because he would put his arm right up by his face just like the sculpture.
Sheppard looked like a different baby with his eyes open. They brightened his whole face as they transformed into baby blues. However, I did not like seeing him wide eyed at night. After spoiling us for the first two weeks (he even went a six hour stretch one night), he started having bipolar nights between two and four weeks. Some nights, he would go right to sleep after he ate. We loved that. Other nights, he would decide he wanted to party between midnight and 4 am. On those nights, he was not colicky but he was a bit fussy and wanted to be snuggled, have his back patted, and be rocked and held. He did not want to sleep. This resulted in several sleepless nights for Mom (mostly) and Dad (on the rough nights) and very late mornings for Sheppard and Mom.
I learned that "sleeping through the night" is a bit of a competition for mothers. First off, moms label "sleeping through the night" differently. For me, it was going 7-9 hours between feedings so I could actually sleep. Mothers love to brag about their newborn baby who can sleep through the night. Well, for me, 5-6 hours is not sleeping through the night. Plus, to not nutritionally need a nighttime feeding, Sheppard needed to reach that magic 10-11 pound mark. He wasn't a party animal every night, but every so often was often enough. While we weren't set on him sleeping through the night, we needed some sleep between midnight and 4 am.
We wondered if he was having some tummy aches, so we tried gas drops and gripe water. The gas drops soon became a staple but the gripe water was tossed when Mom realized it needed to be refrigerated weeks later. We were and still are big fans of The Happiest Baby on the Block so we continued with swaddling, white noise, swings, and bouncing. Those really helped. Mom considered changing her diet, but not very seriously because Blue Bell is hard to give up. We even tried non-medicated BabyRub (it's a soothing lavender rub) and the homeopathic Hyland's teething tablets (so diluted they aren't really even medicine). After all of it, he just grew out of it.
Seriously though, Sheppard made the cutest baby noises. In fact, he snored like a grown man. People could hear him from across the room. When he was two weeks old, Dad took a day off of work and we went out to breakfast. The whole time, he snoozed away in the sling on Dad's chest, snoring like a bear. To his Dad's dismay, he inherited Mom's tendency to make lots of groans, moans, and coos in the night. I thought it was cute, but we will see if his future wife agrees. Also, he inherited his Aunt Tara's creepy sleeping eyes. Sometimes, although he was sleeping, his eyes were not all the way closed. However, you really knew he was out when his mouth drooped open as he slept.
Per advice from Angie and Nate, we started having Sheppard shower with us very early on. I tried washing him in the bathroom sink once and he didn't particularly like it. Besides one bath in his baby bath, he only took showers with Mom and Dad. He absolutely loved them. He would get so relaxed with the warm water on him and sometimes he fell asleep. The only thing he didn't like quite as much was getting soaped up.
One of my favorite things he did when he relaxed was this vibrating kick. He used to do it while I was pregnant. Basically, his leg would get this vibrating tremor as it kicked. It reminded me of Thumper from Bambi.
From the beginning, Sheppard had lots of pesky hiccups. They usually didn't seem to bother him but we always felt so bad for him because they rocked his entire body. Feeding wise, he nursed like a champ. In fact, he sometimes became Mr. Lazy as he ate. It was the highlight of his life. Sometimes, he relaxed there like he was at a spa. Other times, he would almost try to stand while he nursed, pushing his legs against the bed. His head control got better and better. He loved to purse his lips. Some of his facial expressions mirrored Cory so much.
He would only spit up a little but he did projectile vomit all over Mom twice (two days in a row). And by projectile I don't mean it dribbled, it more rocketed out of his mouth all over my clothes. Of course, after some quick Googling, newbie Mom worried for a moment he had pyloric stenosis but that worry faded because it was an isolated incident. However, he was a gassy little guy. One time, Mom had to get up and leave during Relief Society because it was a little embarrassing and he obviously needed some time away.
He was a cuddle bug. He loved to cuddle, cuddle, cuddle. He could stretch like nobody's business, arching his back like an 'C', reaching his arms up to his face, and sticking his bum out really far. It was terribly adorable. We loved his sleepy grins. We knew they weren't considered "real" smiles, which we looked forward to, but we soaked them in. Other times, he had a major serious face. He looked so stoic and handsome.
Mom was determined to not let herself become a chubby recluse who never left her home so she used the baby sling all the time. He loved sleeping in the K'Tan when Mom ran her errands. He was great in his car seat and often passed out completely. However, every so often he decided he wanted out, out, out and would cry like a wailing goat. It was so pitiful.
He preferred the Nuk pacifier but couldn't always keep it in his mouth. He would often spit it out when he was finished with it, but he wasn't actually finished with it. Poor guy needed to work on his coordination!
Near the end of the month, we went down for our first trip to Austin. Cory wanted to come with us, so we waited to leave until after a tennis tournament. This meant we did not leave until midnight. After a minor crying spell, which was quickly alleviated by a short nursing jaunt, he slept the rest of the trip and two utterly exhausted parents dragged themselves into my parent's house around 3 am. Luckily, Sheppard slept great that night. Unluckily, Mom woke up feeling like she got hit by a Mack truck. I think it was a mild nursing infection. Considering you get the milk for free, I guess it's a form of "nursing tax." The flu like symptoms faded in a couple days and the night sweats were mostly gone within a week. Sheppard got to meet Tara, Tyson, Carson, Nate, and Christine.
At the end of the month, Little Man got all dressed up to go to his Uncle Christopher's marriage to MaryAnn. He wore a button up that Mom dyed blue and a tie she made out of Dad's mission homecoming tie. After it took an hour and a half to get there in the rain, we arrived with a hungry baby in a dirty diaper. Amidst feeding him a bottle, we took some family pictures before the wedding. He looked very handsome.
Throughout the first month, Mom and Dad were absolutely smitten. We felt like we could stare at him for hours. Dad loved kissing him, but his scruffy face would scratch Sheppard's face and he wasn't too keen on it. It really is amazing how much you can love such a tiny little person.