Friday, December 12, 2008

4 Months, 1 Week - My Beautiful Boy

We are now entering the Falling In Love With the Baby phase.

OHMYGOSH y'all this baby is the CUTEST THING THAT EVER DID LIVE. He's so smiley and flirty and funny and earnest. And his little voice is so boyish and croony. I'm officially smitten. SMITTEN.

GARSH.

Okay I'm done. I just thought that was worth a post.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Doctor Visit and Teething

So after his cold appeared on Saturday, Mr. Peabody seemed to be feeling worse and worse until last night he started grabbing at his left ear off and on and crying. I gave him Tylenol in half-doses all day yesterday to keep him comfortable and he wanted to nurse a lot, but mostly for comfort and not because he was extra-hungry. He had several good long naps yesterday and wonderful night's sleep last night, only fully waking for a feed once at 3 AM. BLESS HIS SWEET LITTLE HEART!

I got up and called the pediatrician's office first thing this morning and they were able to see us at 10:15. He seemed better this morning - his nose wasn't running nearly as much and he wasn't sneezing as often, although he did still have some dry crusties in his nose. He also wasn't grabbing his ear. And he was smiling. Not completely his usual chipper self, but definitely better than yesterday.

So I took him in, with Bean in tow. We were seen quickly and he had no fever. MY BOY WEIGHS 14 LBS. 2 OZ. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! I can't believe it! Go Mama-milk! Even the doctor commented on how HUGE he's getting and she sat and talked and played with him for a good bit (much to his delight, after his initial shy/coy responses) and commented that he acts much older than a four month old. She said he SEEMS like a six month old. And I guess when I reflect on Bean's four month vs. six month old behaviors, I'd say I agree.

She looked in his ears and said they both look 100% good - no redness or swelling, no nothing. He definitely doesn't have an infection or fluid in there. When she looked into his mouth to see his throat, she brought me over to see that his two bottom front teeth are juuuuuuuuuuuuust below the surface of his gum, and the tell-tale indentions are there. She said, "He is definitely teething hard right now!" (Which I already knew, but was nice to have confirmed of course.) It's possible the ear grabbing has to do with that, or perhaps the cold is causing some small amount of pressure in that ear canal or something.

So, no ear infection! I am SO relieved as I really didn't want him taking antibiotics. He's still so little!

The doctor mentioned as well that she'd have been surprised to find he DID have an ear infection, as exclusively breastfed babies rarely get them.

EXCLUSIVELY BREASTFED BABIES. LIKE MINE. WHOOOOOOOOO!

Yes, but on the teething, he is literally drenching the front of his shirt every hour - I've already changed him THREE times today, with the teething and stupid leaky poopy diapers. (I cannot find a diaper that can hold his poo! It's a mess every single time!) And he is constantly stuffing his whole fist into his mouth and biting down hard and SCREECHING with the pain. The Tylenol and teething tablets help that but OH, how I can't wait for those teeth to come through those gums, or at least to stop pressing upward for a day or two so my boy can get a break! I feel so sad for him. ALICE, DARLING, I GET IT NOW!

Bean NEVER showed any signs of teething. She just woke up one morning with teeth poking out. Now I am seeing the other side of that coin!

Anyway both kids are napping now and I've dragged a large stack of Amazon.com boxes in from the front porch and secreted them away to the basement, so now it's time for me to grab a little nap of my own before I'm back on Mommy duty again.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Sleep Training's Good, and Other Happy Things

So yesterday didn't go swimmingly, although I did finally get the little guy down for both naps. It just took some doing! Turns out he must not have been feeling 100% because he woke up this morning with a runny nose and a little bit of sneezing and I have a little cold as well. No one else seems bothered by it yet.

Last night went well in terms of his going to sleep without crying. He slept 3.5 hour (or less) stretches, though, probably again because of the cold. But he slept until 7:40 AM this morning and then was ready for a nap again by 9:40 AM and is still asleep nearly 2 hours later. Poor little man!

This boy, though, is so sweet and yummy. I feel like I don't/can't say enough about what a smiley, lovey, cheerful guy he is and how much we all adore him. His smile about cracks his little face in half, it's so big and wide. He smiles it at all three of us now, too. He is madly in love with Bean - whenever she's around he LEANS in her direction with his eyes all lit up and his smile from ear to ear and he just stares at her, enraptured. Precious!

He also has this thing he does when he's all well-rested and has a contentedly full tummy. He forms his little mouth into a smiling little O and sort of whispers happily, "Oh, oh, oh!" over and over again. He has this beautiful husky boyish tone to his voice, too, almost like he's hoarse, and when he OH OH OHs in that tone I just get all squishy inside. I can't believe I have a little husky-voiced boy to call my own.

Let's see. Peanut's eyes are still beautifully blue, and his eyelashes have thickened and are long like Bean's, so the blue is framed nicely. My heart aches for the women in his life when I look at his sweet little innocent but handsome face. I fear the worst for them! Hee hee! (Bad mama.)

He's sitting up with support more and more. On a few occasions we've had him with us at the dinner table in the little portable highchairish seat we've put into a regular table chair. He can sit there and enjoy it for about 10 minutes and then he gets tired out from having to support and balance himself. But it won't be long until he can sit there longer and I LOVE the look he wears when he's there with the other three of us at the table instead of on the floor in his exersaucer. You can see by his face that he feels so happy there! It's nice to have him getting a bit older so he'll be able to be one of US more and more. This is the right season for that "all of us together" feeling, for sure. And more and more the stress of having a newborn is unwinding in me and I'm getting to enjoy my family more. Though I will say I have a long way to go in that department - there are days when I just think this intense phase of motherhood is going to do me in for sure.

I don't know why I can't just relax. I thought I would be able to this time around but no, I must torture myself and the people around me by being a basket case of stress and neurosis. It's all just so hard for me. No part of the baby stuff (except the love part) comes naturally to me. Why is that?

But it's coming. I think by 6 months with Bean I was chillin' a little more. (Crosses her fingers.)

So the sleep training is going well. I need to let him be a bit MORE awake as I put him to bed, over time. Right now he's awake but nodding, and sometimes I even have to WAKE him before I put him down, and I'm not sure that counts as putting him down awake. But I'm happy with where we are now. I hear him wake occasionally between ACTUAL wakings at night and go back to sleep, so we ARE getting somewhere in terms of his being able to settle himself. That's the ultimate goal.

I'm hoping to wrangle both kiddos into their Christmas pajamas today and get some nice pictures of them. I'd love to make that a Christmas card photo but I'm not even sure I'll get around to sending cards this year. I haven't even done a birth announcement for Peanut yet. I suppose I could combine the two somehow, if I were clever enough.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Friday, December 5, 2008

Sleep Training, Day 4

From last night:

Put to bed at 7:00 PM
Cried less than 1 minute.
Slept until 10:20 PM.

Put to bed at 10:40 PM.
Didn't cry.
Slept until 2:50 AM.

Put to bed at 3:15 AM.
Didn't cry.
Slept until 5:45 AM.

(Put self back to sleep at 3:30 AM after 15 seconds or so of crying.)

Put to bed at 6:00 AM.
Didn't cry.
Slept until 8:00 AM.

Put to bed at 10:20 AM.
Cried 20 minutes.
Slept until 11:30 AM.

Put to bed at 2:10 PM.
Still stupid CRYING at 2:30 PM! GEEZ! I thought we were gettin' somewhere!
Oh wait. He stopped.
No he didn't.
Darn.
Okay, cried 30 minutes.
(Mmmmmmmmmmmmman, I hate this.)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

17 Weeks Old & Sleep Training, Day 3

From last night:
Put to bed at 6:20 PM
Cried 20 minutes.
Slept until 11:00 PM

Put to bed at 11:36 PM
Cried 12 minutes.
Slept until 3 AM.

Put to bed at 3:28 PM
Cried 2 minutes.
Slept until 5:30 AM
(I also heard him wake up at 4:40 AM but he put himself back to sleep quickly! Go Peanut!)

Put to bed at 8:20 AM. (Waited too long.)
Slept 15 minutes.
Cried for 40 minutes.
Slept for another 30 minutes.

Slept 30 minutes or less on errand to Target. Woke up at 12:30 PM

Put to bed at 2 PM.
Cried less than 2 minutes.
Slept until 4:30 PM (I woke him up!)

Put to bed at 7:00 PM
Cried less than 1 minute.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

4 Monthsish + 1 - Sleep Training Day 2

From the night before:

Cried 1 hour.
Slept until 1 AM.

Put to bed at 1:25 AM
Cried 40 minutes.
Slept 20 minutes.
Cried 15 minutes.
Got him up and changed/fed him.

Back to bed at 2:45 AM.
Didn't cry.
Slept until 6:45 AM.

Worried I've ruined our hard work by getting him up again after the 1:00 feeding but didn't know what else to do. He was fine though. When I did get him up, he was smiling and laughing on the changing table within 30 seconds. Little goober.

Put to bed at 9:30 AM
Didn't cry. (Poor thing is exhausted!)
Slept until 11:00 AM

Put to bed at 1:45 PM (So tired!)
Cried maybe 15 seconds?
Slept until 3:45 PM

Put to bed at 6:20 PM
Still crying at 6:25 PM.

I wonder why he cries at night, but not during the day?

I left a little bit of light in the room tonight thinking that was making the difference.

I don't know if I can keep doing this if we have another night like last night.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

16 weeks and 5 days - Four Months-ish. Sleep Training Notes.

December 1, 2008

Put to bed at 6:30 PM.
Cried 45 minutes. (Mama's heart broken into a thousand tiny frowning pieces.)
Slept until 1:00 AM.

December 2, 2008

Put to bed at 1:30 AM.
Didn't cry.
Slept until 4:00 AM

Put to bed at 4:30 AM
Cried 19 minutes.
Slept until 7:00 AM

Put to bed at 9:30 AM
Cried 4 minutes.
Slept until 12:15 PM.

Put to bed at 2:50 PM.
Cried for 3 minutes. Was quiet for 3 minutes. Cried for 2 minutes.
How long will he sleep this time?
(Crosses fingers.)
Slept until 4:20 PM. PERFECT!

Put to bed at 6:30 PM
Cried for less than a minute.
Silent for 1 minute.
Cried for 45 minutes.
And still crying.
UGH! Shoot me now.
?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

14 Weeks, 2 Days

Al has been on vacation this week and we've all been together, the four of us, as a family, for 8 days, which means I've had lots of help with both kids and Al has had so much time with Peanut, which has been good for both of them, I'm sure.

Peanut appears to be teething. Actually he's appeared to be teething for a month or more now. He drools constantly, all bubbly and stringy and shiny, and frequently stuffs his whole fist in his mouth and gnaws on it. Sometimes, though, when he does that fist thing, it looks like it's related to pooping, because often he poops or makes a little poo-poo sound, as we call it around here, at the same time. Anyway his gums show no sign of pending teeth, but he's very drooly and gnawy right now.

He's also at that stage of development where his desire for stimulation and his physical ability to entertain himself are out of balance, and he's dependent on us to cart him around upright so he can look at things, to help him stand, then sit, then stand, then sit, ad nauseum and to generally find ways to keep him happy and occupied so he doesn't constantly rail against his boring life. Either that or his teeth hurt (or something hurts!) and when we distract him, he forgets about it for awhile and seems happy.

Regardless, these are sortof grisly, snarky, unhappy days for him and we find ourselves running out of ideas as to how to cheer him up. He also doesn't seem to be eating all that well (hard to tell for sure though, you know), so maybe he's got a little cold (no mucus though) or maybe it is all down to his teeth. I've given him a tiny little bit of Tylenol two nights running at bedtime to help him with whatever ails him and it does seem to help, although maybe it just makes him sleep better. Lately he's been nearly impossible to get down at bedtime! It has taken me up to TWO HOURS a couple of nights, but then at the same time, his napping has improved dramatically. (Maybe the two are related?) (But he MUST nap! It's crucial for all of us.)

Ah yes, life with a baby this age is a constant guessing game.

But he's mighty cute and when he's happy and occupied doing something he loves, like looking at a smiling, loving face, or taking a bath, or both at the same time, he is ALL SMILES and all kickity-kick-kick and he easily melts my heart and makes me want to chew on him. Goodness that boy is CUTE.

We bought Peanut an exersaucer thingy last weekend and he seems to really enjoy standing in it for short periods of time. I keep it mainly in the kitchen so he can be right there at my feet while I cook or clean up or fold laundry and he also generally uses it while the family eats meals together, right there with us at the table. I'm shopping eBay right now for a Bumbo seat, as well, as I think that will be a major source of fun for him - he is just so into the upright position.

The nursing distraction continues although right now it's hard to tell if he's squirming and popping off and on because his teeth are hurting, or because he doesn't really feel hungry, or if it is TRULY that he's distracted. He rarely eats both sides at a feeding and thus the feedings have to be much more frequent. I'm okay with it for now because it seems related to something that's going on with him physically, but it's not been great for my milk supply as he never really gets going with wild abandon - he's more snacking off and on right now so The Girls are serving up snack-sized portions. Not so gratifying for Mama. I sortof like that feeling of being able to fill him all up until he's nearly overflowing vs. giving him an ounce here and there. It makes me feel like I'm DOING something for him.

Al continues to feel I should just stop breastfeeding and give him formula, because he can be so hard to feed, but I don't see that solving any issues, really, only potentially causing more.

I WILL nurse him until he's 4 months old. I am willing to listen to and consider adding formula and/or solids at that point if it seems necessary or helpful to Peanut to do so. For now, I don't see a reason to stop nursing, and I see plenty of reasons to continue nursing, so that's what I'm going to do. I don't like being at odds with Al over it. I know Al only wants to help me and I appreciate it, but his getting up once a night to feed Peanut wouldn't REALLY be that helpful to me and it's disruptive to Peanut and causes Al to miss out on sleep, so why do it? I'd rather have help in other areas, anyway.

Peanut's still big, regardless of what he's eating. He's closing in on 14 pounds now and will probably be there in DAYS. We will have to do another total wardrobe overturn in a week or two, I think, and move on to 6-9 mos. stuff. He's just so LONG.

He's also beginning to grab for objects (and for me, and for Bean!) and to make noises and facial expressions to get our attention when we're not looking. He does this especially to Bean. He'll look at her and make little "Ah! AH!" sounds and smile or laugh, and kick his little legs. He gets really irritated when it doesn't work, too. He pouts and cries angrily when she ignores him. Oh dear!

No longer content to sit in his bouncy chair, he prefers to be lying free on the floor where he can kick wildly or to be in my arms, upright, or standing in the exersaucer. I can already tell that when he gets mobile, my life is going to be total chaos, as he's going to be WAY more active and into EVERYTHING much moreso than Bean ever was. But I expected that.

And so ends another disjointed chapter about the life of Peabody.

Monday, November 3, 2008

12 Weeks 4 days - A Day in the Life

First day after we've "fallen back."

I've been having some issues with waking up in the night and feeling like the previous day was wasted - that I was out of control and disorganized, that the kids' day didn't have enough structure, that I didn't get anything done. It all translates to a brutal 2 AM realization that I'm a horrible mother and wife.

And that's not fun to contemplate at any time of the day.

So I decided to write down a day's activity with the kids so I can look at it objectively and SEE for myself what needs fixing, or if maybe I'm just not able to see the forest for the trees and things are really fine.

I do know that the END of each day, right as Al gets home, is the hardest, most chaotic, most exhausting time, and I do need to work on that time period to see if I can take some of the angst out of it.

5:45 AM - Peanut cries. Up to feed him. He eats one side and falls back to sleep. I put him back into his bed a little after 6. Meanwhile, I hear Bean come out of her own room and begin to cry.

6:10 AM - I hug Bean and walk her to my room, settle her among the pillows and blankets.

6:15 AM - After running to the bathroom, I go get Peanut out of his bed, change his diaper and settle him in my bed with Bean. I go to the kitchen for Bean's hot cocoa and my coffee.

6:30ish - We all hang out on my bed together. Bean and I play with Peanut, I check my email on my laptop.

7:00 - Bean watches Arthur while I nurse Peanut (the other side).

7:15 - We play with Peanut a little more before he starts to act sleepy.

7:30 - I take Peanut back to his room for a diaper change, little rocking and nursing to sleep.

7:45 - Peanut falls asleep

8:00 - I transfer him to his bed.

8:00 - 9:00 - I make the beds, get Bean's clothes out for her, take a shower, do my hair and make-up and get dressed. Bean gets dressed, then plays computer games with the TV on, in my room. I do Bean's hair.

9:00 - Peanut awake. We all go downstairs together. Peanut sits in his bouncy chair while I make breakfast and eat it. Bean stays at the table with Peanut at her feet in the bouncy chair while I clean up breakfast, assemble the crockpot lasagna for dinner, load and turn-on the dishwasher and wipe down all the countertops and the table.

9:35 - I nurse Peanut, both sides, while Bean watches TV.


10:00 - Everybody back upstairs. Bean and I change Peanut into his clothes for the day. All three of us have impromptu jam session to a Carribean Steeldrum CD in Peanut's "white noise" machine.

10:15 - Bean and I brush our teeth while Peanut plays on the floor of my room.

10:25 - We all load up in the car and head out for KidRock.

11:15 - Peanut falls asleep in my arms while Bean's in her class.

11:45 - Home from KidRock, Peanut awake in his carseat. We stay outside, Bean playing, Peanut looking around, me talking to both of them.

12:15ish - Nicki and Bubba walk over and join us. I nurse Peanut, both sides.

12:30 - Nicki holds Peanut, kids play, I eat a snack and drink some water.

1:20 - Nicki and Bubba leave, we clean up driveway and come inside.

1:30 - I take Peanut up and nurse him briefly on both sides (he didn't nurse well outside).

1:45 - Peanut is asleep. I accidentally nod off too.

2:00 - I wake up and put Peanut in his bed. I go down and give Bean a snack and get her into bed.

2:15 - Bean up to go potty, and back down. I work on the computer (writing this).

2:50 - Large, loud truck goes by back of house. Peanut startles awake and cries for several minutes. I go in, pick him up, pat/rock/bounce him back to sleep, and put him down.

3:00 - Peanut back in his bed asleep. Me back on computer. Bean napping.

More to come later ...

3:30 - Peanut awake. I get him up and feed him. Both sides. Good feed.

3:45 - Peanut in his bouncy chair on counter (bad Mama) while I empty dishwasher, set table, and get coffee pot set up for tomorrow morning.

4:00 - Bean awake and downstairs.

4:10 - We put on shoes and jackets and go out to play with neighbors. Bean plays with kids, I talk to the Mamas. The Mamas hold Peanut.

5:10 - Peanut getting cranky. Take both kids inside, give Bean a light snack. Kill time playing with Peanut.

5:30 - Bean watching Arthur. Take P upstairs, change him into his pajamas, feed him (both sides).

5:45 - Peanut asleep.

6:00 - Put Peanut into his bed. Go downstairs and play games with Bean.

6:30 - Bean and I finish getting dinner ready.

6:45 - Get Bean into her pajamas. Start to read a few books.

6:47 - Daddy home!

7:00 - Dinner for Bean, Daddy, Mama.

7:30 - Clean up dinner dishes together.

7:45 - Daddy helps Bean brush her teeth.

7:49 - Peanut wakes up. Cries for several minutes. I go in, try to soothe him - no luck. Pick him up. He sucks his fist and roots around. Hungry!

8:00 - Feed Peanut bottle of expressed milk. He sucks it down like he hasn't eaten in a week.

8:15 - Peanut full and back asleep. I put him in his bed and head for the bathtub for a soak while Al sits on the floor chatting with me.

8:30 - Al and I climb into bed to watch mind-numbing TV.

Friday, October 31, 2008

12 Weeks - Just When You Thought it Was Safe to Put Your Bra Back On

Twelve week growth spurt - BOOM - smack on target! Been feeding the boy every hour and a half in the day hours and about every three hours at night. Man, he's like clockwork. Next time I'm toying with the idea of giving up breastfeeding I'm going to KNOW we're headed into a growth spurt.

Also, he's entered the "Mama no can turn her back on me!" thing too, which I remember from Bean. I'm not allowed to leave his sight when he's awake except in his immediate post-feed moments, and must remain facing him, preferably smiling, unless I am prepared to listen to broken-hearted weeping. It's kinda funny, actually, but also frustrating for him and me.

But whoooooooo dawgies when I do look at him and smile! He just RADIATES. It's adorable and so heartwarming. He loves his Mama. And she loves him back, too.

Been trying today to get him off to sleep without being attached to me. He's doing pretty well, actually. A lot better than I thought it'd go this first day of trying. A minute ago I unlatched him just as he was nodding off and rocked him briefly until he was sleeping. Then I put him in his crib. He woke up and cried for a minute or two and then went back to sleep. SCORE! I hope we'll see that happen more and more often.

That's all for now. I have a million things to do today and maybe an hour to get them all done!

Monday, October 27, 2008

11 weeks 4 days - First Coldish Thing

Our little man has his first cold. It started yesterday - I knew he wasn't quite right just by the way he was acting. He was easily upset and extra tired, and not as smiley as usual - really just not as into interacting with anyone, even me, as he normally is, just like most people are when they don't feel 100%.

He slept quite a bit off and on all day (in fact except for a few short wakeful and upset times he slept pretty much all day long, when I think about it) but in broken little amounts. He sneezed a LOT when he was awake and by nightfall he had a runny nose and a rectal temp of 99.6° F. (Which isn't bad at all, considering that a rectal temp can be as much as 1° higher than an oral temp - it really doesn't even qualify as a fever.)

He had a decent night's sleep last night, only getting up at 1 AM and almost 4 AM and then only briefly at 6 AM (just now). He's asleep again now. He's eating, but not quite as much or as hungrily as he normally does, as far as I can tell. The times I've held him to feed him since bedtime last night he's felt cool to the touch and seems content enough so I think he'll be fine. I'll just try to keep him restful and well-fed today and we'll see how it goes.

(He's still the cutest boy EVER.)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

11 weeks today!

Oh this boy of mine!

He's still giving me fits over naptime and bedtime. Absolute fits. I've tried everything and still he fights me. So, I guess it's time to just accept that who he is right now and try to work around it. He need help getting to sleep. Period.

Well, okay then.

When he's awake though, wow! What a happy little guy he is, and what huge smiles he gives me (he gives Bean and Daddy smiles too, but the smiles he saves for Mama are always the biggest and longest. I'm just stating the facts here!) He will stop at virtually nothing within his power to catch my eye and grin the HUGEST, SWEETEST grins at me, and hold me there in his sweet little cheeky spell. He reminds me of Arthur, Alice. Arthurs smiles were always SO infectious when he was a tiny baby - I remember reading your diary and being sortof jealous that he smiled so big for you. And now I get to see similar smiles on Matthew! He just lights up the room with them and kicks those little legs and chuckles and guffaws. Sweetest. Thing. Ever.

He is also SO SO SOOOOOOOOOO strong. Several times since this past weekend I've gone in to get him out of his crib after a nap and he's turned himself over from front to back. And tummy time is like a one-man wrestling match now, as he immediately curls up on one side and flails with the upper leg to get himself over. He picks his head WAY up off the ground, too, and turns it side to side and up to search for our faces if we're above him. He, like Bean, displays no interest in toys or objects yet - he is alllll about the faces of the people who love him.

I weighed Matthew yesterday on my bathroom scales (I weighed me with him and then without him and subtracted ME) and he is darn near 13 lbs. now. Yes! Seriously. He may even BE 13 pounds, but I can't tell for sure because the scales only measure up to the half-pound, so I'm having to extrapolate a bit. But 13 pounds! And quickly getting longer, too. His 3-6 mos clothes are already fitting him and the sleeves are starting to get short.

He's still doing well on just MY MILK, too. I feel so proud of us for getting this far with no formula! And he is a huge challenge to nurse most of the time, too, because he's so active and alert and ROUGH with me. I am glad he's getting the milk and glad I'm able to provide plenty for him, but I'm not fully ENJOYING the nursing because it often feels like a battle rather than a very snuggly time lately. I wonder if he will ever settle down and enjoy the closeness? I mean, he DOES enjoy the sucking - he demands it for sleep right now... he refuses a pacifier or bottle from me - but will it ever just be a nice, cozy thing again vs. this pulling, tugging, looking around, popping on and off thing? I don't think Bean started that until she was 5 months old and then we were pretty much done nursing anyway.

Sometimes I think maybe I just don't LIKE nursing as much as other mothers seem to. I mean, I DO enjoy giving him the best. I do. I just don't always LOVE the actual physical parts of the process - I get tired of being sucked on sometimes. It just gets to be annoying, that feeling of sucksucksucksucksuck and then with the wrestling added in, ugh. I hope this is just a phase.

Oops, my little smiley face is up again. Off to see what position he's worked himself into this time!

Monday, October 13, 2008

9 Weeks, 4 Days - Not Working, Actually

So, the wheels came off the controlled crying thing over the weekend. I am thinking maybe P is too young for this, mostly because he shows no signs of readiness for self-soothing. He can't keep his pacifier in his mouth, nor can he retrieve it when it (inevitably) falls out and messes up his little snooze. He also, try as hard as he may, hasn't mastered getting those fingers in his mouth yet. Maybe when he can do that, things will get easier in terms of his naps.

I won't even go into the weekend except to say that Al and I feel differently about "sleep training" for infants and that results in a lot of discord and stress for both of us, and of course confusion for Matthew. I felt like I was going absolutely BONKERS all weekend long. Now I will admit that probably for another month or so I'm going to feel like I'm going BONKERS no matter what we do, because this age is just a BONKERS age, but this weekend was really seriously madness-inducing.

Today I'm just going back to trying to get through the day finding a calm, peaceful way to get Matthew enough sleep to compliment and aid his nights' rest. The nights, thankfully, are going fine. I read at a parenting site that babies P's age need about 15.5 hours of sleep per day, and with his nice LONG nighttime sleeps, he's managing about 12 to 13 hours there. So daytime sleep, I assume, can add up to 3.5 hours plus or minus and he's not suffering a major deficit. I can easily, well, pretty easily, get him to take a 45 minute nap every 2 hours or so right now, and with 4 of those throughout the day there shouldn't be cause to worry. It's not ideal, probably, because perhaps four 45 minute naps aren't as restful or restorative as 2 or 3 longer naps, but the only way to get a longer nap right now is to allow a LOT of crying before hand and LANDOMERCY I just don't think that's healthy for him and I KNOW it would eventually land me in the looney bin. So (Melissa!) for now, I suppose I'll accept the naps I get out of him even if they aren't optimal length. Time is definitely on my side here as he'll become more and more skilled with his pacifier and/or fingers shortly, and his sleep cycles will continue to lengthen. By 5 months or so, Bean was a champion napper. There was a day or two of controlled crying with her, but it was later than this attempt with Matthew and worked VERY quickly. (I still twitched and hated Al while it was going on, though. But I got over both pretty quickly.)

All of this could, of course, change. I'm just not in a very "courage of my convictions" place right now. I think the only will being "broken" here lately is mine, quite frankly. (Not that I think anyone's will needs breaking now or ever, mind you.)

Matthew is holding his head up very well now when he's on his belly or sitting upright or close to upright on my lap or being held against my shoulder. I actually saw him attempting and almost getting his arms in on the action today as he lay on his belly on the floor. He was trying to get a GOOOD LOOONG look at Bean, who was in front of and above him on the sofa, flopping around. More and more he will go to great lengths to watch her and just today even worked hard to get her attention by cooing and smiling in her direction for several long minutes. I do believe he's figured out that she's another little person and someone with whom he needs to engage and be in league. I see many more laughs and fun in their very near future and I'm excited to watch how this little realization of his will unfold in their relationship.

I had Matthew in the tub taking a bath yesterday and Bean was "helping." She has mentioned that she wanted to get in the tub before when we've been bathing him and this time she asked me, point blank, might she get in. It was later in the day and close to the time she normally puts on her pajamas anyway, so I let her. The water was only about an inch deep in most of the tub, but she didn't care. She climbed in and sat down next to P. He immediately started kicking away and then he just looked up at her for the longest time and across his face spread the biggest, happiest smile. She wasn't looking, unfortunately, or I know she'd have been absolutely tickled to see how happy he was to have her there next to him. It was so sweet and a little moving, even.

He's a strong little kicker, too, and very much more physical and wiggly than Bean was at this age. He's trying pretty hard already to roll from his back to either side, although I haven't seen him attempt to go from front to side or back yet.

With all of the work he's doing during his waking hours trying to get his fingers into his mouth, I don't see him batting at or reaching for objects. He MAY be reaching out for my face occasionally when I'm holding him in my lap after nursing, but then again it could just be more attempts to get his hand to his mouth. He DOES make very lengthy and intentional eye contact now and he'll smile, coo, frown, attempt a laugh (it sounds like a little choking chortle right now) or say one of his "words" like AAAoooo, Aaah, Gooo, or Oooo. He is most likely to have these exchanges with me right now, probably because he's with me more than anyone else, but he initiated a chat or two with Al over the weekend, too.

Still growing! He's mostly wearing 3-6 months clothes and pajamas now. The 0-3 mos size of everything JUUUUUUUUUUUUUUuuuust fit him, rather snugly and sometimes they're a little short in the legs or arms. The 3-6 mos size is very roomie on him but he's quickly filling those up well. I've just realized today I need to call to reschedule his 2 mos check-up because the office called weeks ago to tell me the appointment I'd originally gotten fell at a time his doctor wouldn't be in the office. I promptly forgot all about that phonecall and never rescheduled the appointment, so now I may have to wait awhile before he gets weighed officially again, but I plan to do my non-scientific weight check (me on my scales with him and then without him) today or tomorrow. I'm guessing he's well over 12 pounds by now, maybe even 13. We shall see.

Bean is whimpering away about how I never do ANYTHING with her (eyeroll) so I suppose I should go address her issues in a mature, responsible fashion instead of just saying, "Yeah, right, I don't do anything with you!" She is really trying to hone her manipulation skills lately, which isn't surprising, but that doesn't make her crocodile tears and "You don't love mes" any easier to handle inside myself.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Nine Weeks and Working Together

My little Peabody-boy is already nine weeks old, though to be honest there are MANY MANY times that I would leave that "already" out and say, perhaps, "finally" as this stage of babyhood is just HARD on me (as those around me have certainly gathered by now) and definitely not my favorite time. There, I said it.

I am so so sooooooo lamenting that I didn't document these early months with Bean as there are so many things I only remember vaguely about how it went with her and I wonder often, "How long until Matthew can...?" If I'd written about Bean at this stage, I'd at least have her progress as a point of reference. But alas, I was so overwhelmed then that I just wanted to hide myself away and definitely wanted no record of what I was going through. Silly me. Now I'm blasting my troubles and weaknesses all over the internet. Weird.

So one of the things I wonder about Bean is this. When? When EXACTLY did that child find her precious fingers to suck and put us all, including herself, out of our misery? Because I sit and I watch this little boy work and work and WORK to get his hand up to his mouth for 15 minutes at a time and I can SEE how badly, how desperately, he wants to suck on that fist or those fingers but so far he's just not there. He whacks himself in the forehead or the eye or the cheekbone (which I suppose isn't too bad -- at least he's getting close!) over and over again. It's cute, if a little sad/frustrating to witness. I try to help guide his arm sometimes but mostly that just makes him mad and he takes that little armie away and grimaces, "I want to do it all by myself!"

Life has been pretty tense around here lately, to be honest. With a baby who has needed to be in my arms at all times, I've not been able to do anything for the rest of the family, and as tired as I am I've also been angry and defensive and emotional. It hasn't been a healthy household for Bean (mostly, because she doesn't "get it") or P or the rest of us, and I really started to realize that SOME of the hard and fast rules I'd established before P was born were really causing some serious problems for the people who didn't have any part of establishing them. And we're a family, you know, all for one and one for all. So I've chosen to adjust my own thinking and go against some of the things I really WANT to believe in and mostly DO believe in, in order to get this family's life back to at least a state of semi-peace and semi-happiness.

I also needed to find a way to help Al see that P is getting enough to eat from me, so that he would be able to look past that and see what else might be going on.

Thus P and I have been working together to try to get some pattern established in his days (his nights are patterned enough for now) so that he would be less tired and I would have more time to spend caring for Bean and giving her some much-needed attention and structure.

Starting on Wednesday, I've been allowing P to cry in a very very controlled way before his naps. I HATE IT. But it IS working and he IS getting better naps and my family IS starting to look and feel a little bit less like a war zone. In the three days we've been working on this, he's gone from crying for 50 minutes (at only 5 - 10 minute intervals with me picking him up to soothe him in between) to crying for 30 seconds, yes I said seconds, before he falls asleep for his naps. (That 30 second one was this morning, just now, and he's sleeping peacefully now.) I've also gone back to letting him sleep on his tummy (I tried that once a couple weeks ago and he liked it, but when I tried it again, he didn't.) Even with only that small amount of crying done in those tiny increments and even though it's had the desired effect for all of us, I still feel terrible for doing it, in my heart of hearts. I mean, if it were JUST P and me, and no one else at all needed anything from me, I would have done anything in my power to avoid letting him cry one tiny little sob.

But, as my husband and sister gently reminded me, it's NOT just me, or Peanut. It's all of us.

And that's that.

And Al sorta, I think, proved the "plenty of milk for baby" thing to himself on Tuesday night by getting up with P in the night both times and bottle feeding him expressed milk (I got up one of those times and pumped, plus I pumped right before I went to bed). Throughout the night, P drank about 6 ounces or less of expressed milk and I was able to pump twice that. Al is going to get up with P and bottle feed him tonight and possibly tomorrow night, too. I didn't ask him to, he wants to, and as long as I don't see it interfering with my supply, I say Go For It. I really don't mind getting up and nursing at all. It's easy and convenient and more gentle and quiet than day nursing, but Al doesn't see the boy all day and he's usually in bed by the time Al gets home at night, so it feels like the right thing to have them get those quiet times together when Al can manage it without being completely useless the next day. Plus, he WANTS to help me get more sleep, and I appreciate that. Maybe we will also try, while P is still needing two overnight feedings, taking one feeding per night each.

The nursing's going well. I seem to have plenty of milk and I've had enough time to pump the past week so I'm building up our frozen supply again. P is a very squirmy, jerky, pulling little feeder, which is different to Bean who was placid and fell asleep all the time. I don't know if it's just his nature or if he's dissatisfied in some way with the experience, but he eats well and fully and is growing by leaps and bounds and doesn't seem to have any tummy troubles or anything, so I guess I won't worry about all that hurky jurkiness for now. I'll ask his pediatrician, MAYBE, although for Pete's sake I'm afraid to say anything about anything now lest we be sent off for more unnecessary TESTS. Criminy.

I need to write about P's developmental stuff but this will have to do for now because I have CHORES to do while he sleeps. He is a busy, busy boy and I love him!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

8 Weeks and Better

Thanks again for all the advice. And concern. And encouragement.

As of Tuesday, I gave up on crib naps. I figure he's doing well in his crib at night (which I know is actually quite good for this age) so the day will come when he's happy there for naps, too. It just takes time. I did modify the crib a little to make it seem smaller for him, in case he's feeling too exposed or swallowed up in all that space.

So during the days, I'm content to just wear him in the Snugli and get on with our days that way. The benefits far outweigh any fears I'll "spoil" him (can't spoil a baby this age anyway). He's close to me - which is good for breastfeeding in SO many physiological AND emotional/psychological ways. He's portable, which makes life easier for Bean and me and Peabody, too, really. And my back, amazingly, has felt fine these past days, probably because I've surrendered myself mentally to this, accepted that perfection (defined as a baby who takes his naps in his crib) isn't as important as keeping my baby happy and well-rested and my Bean cheerful and entertained and properly loved on and cared for. I don't have to be anyone else's definition of perfect - I just have to do what works for us (as many of you said) and this is what works for now. That relieves emotional tension, which in turn makes me feel more relaxed physically, which helps my back not get so hurty and tired out.

I'd read on either Kellymom.com or LLLI.com that if I wore Peabody during the day so he had a peaceful day, felt safe and cozy and attached to me, he'd also settle better at night. And lo and behold, last night he nursed much better than he has been in the evening and went to bed without a hitch at 7:45. AND, he dropped one overnight feeding, too. He was asleep from bedtime to 1 AM and then 1:30 AM to 5 AM and then he slept again until 6:30 AM. Normally he'd have gotten up at 4 AM, as well. Could be a fluke, but it made me feel like my efforts Tuesday & Wednesday to wear him and feed him totally on demand (which meant I fed him a lot while I was out in the morning, at the doctors office, in the preschool parking lot, etc.) were rewarded in some way.

The doctor appointment was my last offical visit for this pregnancy. She pronounced me back to normal save the obvious suppression of estrogen from breastfeeding which creates a few issues for an old broad like me, but nothing that isn't easily remedied. My scar is healing nicely. I'm going to miss Dr. Howey. She'd be a great friend if she weren't my gynecologist. I can't see myself having a close friendship with someone who has to examine the hinterlands once a year. So I'll miss her.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Clarification

OH! What great advice I got. I want to thank each and every person who commented and/or emailed me after that last pathetic post. And I have and will try many of the things you suggested, I promise.

BUT.

I want to clarify what I wrote because, dude, what I wrote was far from clear!

The issue is not so much that Matthew cries allatime for no reason. Oh no. His reason for crying is very very simple.

He does not want to take his naps. Unless he is allowed to take them in my arms or in the Snugli. Period. He will sleep, once we get him to sleep, which I will discuss in a minute, in his crib overnight, and he's still doing pretty well at that. But once the sun is up, that boy cries his head off when I put him in there, no matter WHAT state he's in when I put him in. Awake, asleep, half awake, half asleep... doesn't matter... the minute I lower his little self into that bed, he commences to wailing. For a very very long time. Napping in the crib, unless I am willing to let him cry for 45 minutes or more, is a NO GO.

Now, the putting-him-to-bed thing. Here's the issue. Peabody likes his belly plenty full when he goes to bed for the night. Trouble is, he also likes to eat many, many times leading up to bedtime - he's a cluster-feeder starting around 4:30 or so. So by bedtime, he can eat and there are milkies there, but he is tired and The Girls are not chock full and he is displeased with that situation. He fusses and fights and fumes and WILL drift off to sleep and allow himself to be placed into his bed, but then, 5 or 10 minutes later he's up crying and screaming and mad.

So we've been giving him a couple of ounces of expressed milk from a bottle, which for some reason, does the trick, puts him out like a light, and he's happy.

Trouble is, the way the days are going, I have a baby strapped to my front all day and zero free time or really opportunity between live feedings to actually pump any milk anymore. He seems satisfied with what he gets from me during the day at each feeding, but JUST satisfied. And two hours later he eats again.

Now maybe, MAYBE this no napping, eating every two hours thing is STILL the 6 week growth spurty thing, but if so, that means he's been growth spurting for TWO FULL WEEKS as of tomorrow. That's a long time, and I haven't read or heard a thing about a spurt lasting longer than a week. So.

But the issue is, well, after tomorrow, if I don't find time to pump at some point, we will have gone through our supply of expressed milkies.

AND even more importantly, is this little "supplement" at the end of every day (would it still be a supplement if I pumped it out at some other point during the day?) somehow going to mess up or at least not properly adjust my supply?

To be honest, after all of this baby-wearing feed-on-demanding I EXPECTED my supply to be noticeably more plentiful, but it doesn't seem to be at all. Maybe it's because at the exact same time as that growth spurt my body finally adjusted itself, but lately I do leak less, feel less full, and then there's those feeds that never seem to want to space themselves out even a little bit more over time. Also the night feeds are staying exactly as they were, or are maybe slightly closer together, too.

All of this is rattling my confidence.

And the baby-not-sleeping thing too.

And I feel whiny. And tired.

This is all SO EXACTLY BEAN. She did all of these things. And we ended up letting her cry (which I so do not believe in for a baby this age!) and giving her formula. And all that made life so much easier for everyone. She slept, we slept, she was happy, we were happy. (Well, I wasn't all that happy about the crying and the formula, of course.)

I WANT this to get better without employing either of those methods. I wonder, though, if it will.

Friday, September 26, 2008

I want to give up

I do NOT know what to do with this baby. I've been feeding him non-stop for 3 days and still he is completely miserable. Bean hasn't had any attention (except to be told be be quiet or sit down or handed a box of dry cereal or some grapes to eat) in days and I AM EXHAUSTED.

If he isn't eating or being held in my arms, he's SCREAMING.

Is he sick? In pain?

What do I do? I can't do this to Bean any longer. Right now he's lying in his crib just wailing his little heart out/ head off, but I HAVE to get Bean ready and I have to EAT SOMETHING, as does she.

Should I just give up and feed him formula? What is wrong with him?

Can't cope like this. Just can't.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Six Weeks and Some Days - I'm Bleary, Sue Me.

I need to be napping! It's crazy I'm here instead about to "waffle on" as Alice would say, but I have so much to talk about and I NEVER get a minute to myself, until today, because TODAY, I finally caved and put Peabody down to sleep on his belly and he's napped so well thanks to that. I already feel like a new person and it's only 1:30 PM.

Since last Wednesday we've been having a rough time with sleep for Matthew. Prior to that he was literally allowing himself to be put to bed awake and was peacefully drifting off on his own. BUT THEN! Like clockwork, just as the books and new baby websites state, my little almost six-week old (at that time) found his hands and decided that HE MUST SUCK ON THOSE HANDS, OR DIE TRYING.

Which meant we could not swaddle him tightly enough to keep him from prying those hands and arms loose, whereupon they'd wave wildly around his little head (because he hasn't developed control of them yet), batting him in the face and ultimately knocking out his precious pacifier. Then the floodgates would open and he'd be inconsolable until somebody went in, reswaddled and plugged the pacifier back in, which would last another 8 minutes until he'd pry his hands loose and start the whole miserable cycle again.

At night he still slept very well, but getting him DOWN the first time at night was miserable. I'd feed him, swaddle him and put him into his bed all sleepy with his eyes closed and the minute he was actually fully into his bed, his eyes would FLY open and he'd just lie there, staring up at me with this "HOW COULD YOU???" look on his face, wrestling his swaddle blanket and whimpering.

Sigh. And I'd rub his head, tell him I loved him and to have a good sleep, and walk away, hoping he'd drift off quickly.

And the nursing at that time of night has been really difficult. For some reason he squirms and pulls and grimaces and kicks while I try to feed him. He pops off and on and angrily roots around, but once latched he seems SO DISSATISFIED with the meal. I thought it was that he was tired because a few times two weeks ago the MINUTE he started that I'd just wrap him up and put him to bed and he'd go right to sleep, but that didn't last and now he just does the whole stare pathetically thing and begins to howl. So of course my first thought was, "I'm not making enough milk for him." Because as well as we've been doing, my confidence is still very shaky and the first sign of anything wrong immediately makes me think I'm going to FAIL AGAIN at feeding him myself. Anyway so two nights ago I decided to give him, on top of nursing him, about 2 oz. of expressed milk from a bottle.

And wouldn't you know he guzzled that down and fell merrily off to sleep as if that was all he'd ever needed and why hadn't I done that ages ago?

Sigh.

So all day yesterday I fed him every hour on the hour (he wouldn't nap anyway so I figured why not?) to build up my supply and by day's end my back and The Girls were KILLING ME from all that nursing (not my nibbles - his latch is great and they've really never hurt - just the whole breast feels bruised and raw on the inside from all that vaccuum action, if that makes sense). I haven't pumped today so I don't know if it did anything for the supply, and now I think that wasn't the issue anyway because he went to sleep pretty well last night (after an hour of the pacifier relay we do, one going to plug it in, then the other, back and forth like that for an hour. It's so stupid. Why did we cave and give him that thing?)

Besides, if I've been putting him to bed hungry night after night, why does he sleep six hours and then wake up and only eat one side before falling back into blissful sleep again?

It really can't be that I'm not giving him enough milk.

So today I decided to try some new sleeping positions, and to let him out of that swaddle for awhile to see what he'd do. First I tried him on his back without the swaddle and that just made him cry. Then I tried him (I know, it's bad, but I'm right here with the monitor, his bedding is plenty tight and the mattress very firm) on his belly and WHAMMO. Lights out, dude. Oh, and I also put a little wind up sailbox that plays Row Row Row Your Boat in there with him, which he LOVED. I think the best part of being on his belly is that with his right fist placed naturally up by his chin, he can actually hold his pacifier in his own mouth.

So now, he sleeps again. I don't think I'll put him on his tummy overnight - maybe on his tummy for the first sleep of the night and the when he gets up to eat I can put him back down on his back or his side, because he seems very easy to get back to sleep then anyway.

We shall see. All I know is that by 11:30 AM yesterday I called Al to warn him that things were not going well at ALL and he might need to come home, but I'd give it another hour or two before I asked him to do that. (I never called him again but he came home by 3 anyway. I guess he knows I don't make that kindof call without a seriously good reason and so decided to just come on home.) I never made a call like that even once with Bean, although she wouldn't sleep during the day for MONTHS. It's the two-kid factor, I guess. I was kindof at my wit's end yesterday. But then again, I forgot to mention that night before last Bean was up for an hour on top of the two times I got up with Peabody, and we stayed up until nearly 11, so I only got about 2.5 hours of sleep that night, which I can't handle. At rock bottom minimum, I have to have 5 hours or my brain does all sorts of weird things the next day. I really need 9 hours a night, but that's pretty much out of the question at this point, obviously.

--------

The bloodtests:

We went last Thursday to the hospital where Matthew was born to have blood drawn for his bili-level and anemia/hemophelia tests. The phlebotomists couldn't find a vein in my poor boy for the longest time - he had to be stuck FOUR times, once in the hand, then in both arms and finally in his heel (should have done that to begin with!) to get the blood they wanted for the tests. At one point they decided they couldn't SEE a vein anywhere so they'd just stick a needle into the inner crease of his elbow and DIG AROUND in there until they struck gold.

I about body slammed them after several minutes of digging in my baby's arm as he screamed and cried. They made ME hold him down, too. It was AWFUL.

I know it's hard to find veins on newborns. I do. It's hard to find a vein on me - I'm notorious for that and no one can EVER get into a vein the first stick on me. I'm an adult. I can take it. BUT A BABY?

What a nightmare. We were in the room working on him for TWO HOURS, with poor Bean bored and restless, me sweating and angry and ready to FIGHT someone, and Matthew wailing away. I stopped them at one point and nursed the poor guy for awhile to give him some comfort, but he had to go back to them again after that.

The test results were fine though. I shouldn't have had to take him in for those tests - she KNEW he was fine.

Anyway by the end of that day I couldn't string two words together. Al came home and I just looked at him blankly. Bean had to tell him where we'd gone and he gleaned all the info he needed from what she told him. "MAFEW CRIED A LOT DADDY. A REALLY REALLY LOT."

Oh yes. He did.

Anyway, his bili levels were slightly elevated but not enough to warrant the doctor "insisting" I stop breastfeeding for 24 hours. Much to her credit, she said, "You could do it, but I know you really would prefer not to, so we'll reassess at his 2 month c/u in three weeks."

You betcha we will. He'll be fine, too. He's fine now. No longer yellow as far as I can tell.

I just want to know how much he weighs, because I was looking at him today and I swear he's gigantic. His facial features used to take up his whole head/face area and now they seem so small when I look at them in the context of his big round noggin. Al comes home every DAY and says he's grown more. I just bought 0-3 mos sleepers for him less than two weeks ago and he'll be out of those in a few days - his FEET are too big for the feet on the sleepers, and he's so long they just pull on his little shoulders when he stretches out full-length. My boy is BIG.

He's also gettin' those CHEEKS like Bean's. I need to take a picture of his little pumpkin-head cheeks. He's adorable.

And smiley.

But he has cradle cap really badly. (Did someone say to put breastmilk on cradle cap? Jemma, was that you?) I'm using dandruff shampoo on it and that works great, actually, but I have to be SO careful not to get it in his little eyes, and one place he has it very badly is his eyebrows, so that's a challenge! He also has it on his ears and the creases on each side of his nose. Never seen anything like it, but it's confirmed to be cradle cap. I want it gone - because he's just so adorable but then he has this CRUST all over his cute little self.

Oh, I have to go. He's starting to grumble which means time is of the essence and I have to potty and hopefully get a little fifteen minute rest in myself. And drink something. I have constant cotton mouth!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

5 weeks old!

We had Peanut's one month appointment today with his pediatrician!

Guess who now weighs 10 lbs. 3 oz.?

ZIKES!

I don't think Bean weighed 10 lbs. until she was 3 months old!

He's 22 inches long now, too. My baby boy is growing so fast. It's amazing.

He is very alert these days, looking around when he's awake and really focusing in on my face and trying SO HARD to smile and laugh at his Mama. Sometimes he just stares and stares at me and opens his mouth up and the corners just baaaaaaaaarely turn up and he makes this little "AHAAAAAAAA" sound. SO CUTE. He also occasionally tells me "Goooooooo." and "OOOOH." Mostly in the morning, right after he wakes up and eats and he's sitting up in the bed with Bean and me.

He's just so sweet.

He's outgrown, obviously, all of the preemie clothes I bought for him (not many, but enough to get him through those very tiny early days) AND most of his size Newborn things. I'll be buying him size 1 diapers next time because his Newborn sized diapers are starting to mash his little cheeks together in back and leave creases and lines.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. The doctor noted that Peanut is still slightly jaundiced and although she's certain this is just normal breastmilk jaundice, she wants me to take him to the hospital for a little blood draw and some tests to rule out anything more sinister. He's fine though. He's growing really well and showing all the signs of perfectly normal development. The tests are basically to cover the doctor's you-know-what. I don't relish the idea of blood draws and a trip to the hospital, but I'll do it anyway.

The only real "cure" for breastmilk jaundice, apparently, besides just waiting it out, is to feed the baby formula for 24 hours (while the mother pumps). I am seriously not into that idea, but since it is likely breastmilk jaundice he's "suffering" (if you can call being slightly yellow suffering, that is), that's what's going to be offered to me as the solution. Either that or he just stays yellow for another month or two, which honestly wouldn't bother me, really.

Anyway speaking of pumping, I have a pretty nice supply of milk stored up now from pumping several times over the past week. I pumped last night after 4 hours (I was out at Bunco and came home after Peanut had gone to bed and likely wouldn't be up for another 3 hours or so) and got a total of 5 ounces of milk. Wow!

So that was about it for the doctor's appointment. Peanut didn't get any shots today and we discussed briefly that at his next visit (2 months) I only want him to have a couple of the vaccinations he'll be due for, and then I'll take him back at three months when he isn't DUE for a visit or anymore shots, to get the remainder of the ones due at 2 months. I don't like too many of them going into his tiny system at a time.

Anyway after that Bean, Peanut and I made a quick trip to our local Penney's to exchange some MORE outgrown shoes of hers (her feet are suddenly enormous to me, and to her shoes, apparently) and I picked up a few little 0-3 month outfits for Peanut. For some reason when I've shopped for him earlier I've bought Newborn things and then 3-6 month things and completely omitted the 0-3 month size. I guess those are harder to find on sale or something so I just didn't buy them? Or did I think he was going to be born small and then wake up one morning BIG? (Not so very far off what has really happened!) Anyway so now I have three more little cute outfits for him so he won't have to wear Newborn snap-crotch shirts and kinda hunch over because they're too short! (Hee hee, I really haven't made him do that!)

Let's see. Peanut has had many baths in his little bathtub on the bathroom counter and he hates them as passionately now as he did his first one. This is a boy who simply despises to be chilly! Bean never cared a bit about that, but Peanut really gets himself worked up EVERY TIME I take his clothes off or change his diaper and he really, really, REALLY can't stand bathtime, even if I try my best to keep as much of him covered as possible with warm washclothes while I'm washing. He also passionately dislikes WIPES on his bummy. Those are good for some real screaming, as well. I used to think wipe warmers were a silly waste of money, but come wintertime I may have to have one for my little NO COLD WIPES ON MY BUMMY boy or I think I'm going to be listening to a LOT of crying at diaper-change time. I tried using warm water and cloth wipes but it takes forever to get the water in the kids' bathroom to warm up AND that breastmilk poop's impossible to rinse out of those things! IMPOSSIBLE. Heck, it's impossible enough just tryin' to get it off of nice, smooth SKIN.

He's going about 3 hours between feeds in the daytime and his first sleep at night, which usually starts between 8 and 9, lasts 5 hours or more, then he sleeps another 3 hours and eats again, and then about another 90 minutes. So his nighttime "schedule," which he's setting himself and has kept very regular for weeks now, is bed by 9, up at 1:30, up at 4:30 and then up for the day at about 7 AM. The days are a little bit more chaotic and I haven't tried to force a schedule but I am learning his patterns and tricks (as is Al, who is the Baby Whisperer in some respects!) that make for less crying and more happy time and more sleep in the crib during the day vs. sleep in the Snugli, which has been lovely but the boy weighs 10 lbs. and having him strapped onto me all day is starting to really do my back in.

Knowing now that he needs to be headed back to sleep about 90 minutes after some wakings (some wakings he goes immediately back to sleep after he eats - the 90 minutes awake thing happens 2 to 3 times a day right now) has made for many fewer hours of trying to soothe an overtired little boy to sleep as he screams and cries and flails his little arms around. As long as he's tightly swaddled and has a nice full tummy 90 minutes after he last woke, he easily goes back to sleep and stays asleep for 2 hours or more in his bed.

When he wakes, I feed him, change him and then Bean and I play with him gently for 15 or 20 minutes. After that he's usually just pooped out so I'll either put him in the Snugli if I need to be up and about, and he'll fall asleep in there and I can pull him out and put him down, or I swaddle him and put him in his vibrating bouncy chair for a few minutes, until he shows signs it's time to go get rocked to sleep and put in bed. Of course it doesn't work every time and sometimes he DOES get overtired and then we are IN FOR IT, because once this child is overtired, he fights sleep with EVERY THING IN HIM. Just like his sister did.

Oh, there's more to say but I'm tired, (overtired) and snippy and in need of a hot bath and some mindless TV before bedtime. Tomorrow is Friday. After tomorrow, I'll be able to say I managed a WHOLE work week with my two children, alone.

And in a few more weeks, it'll hopefully all seem a lot easier. If it weren't for the aching back and the crying, I'd say it's almost fun to experiment and tweak to find the right routines for these kids of mine. ALMOST.

What IS fun is how cute they are, and how much more I love them both every single day. Yay!

Monday, September 1, 2008

3 Weeks, 4 Days - Must. Write. It.

ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGH! I am itching to write Matthew's birth story but there's never time! Somebody come take dictation, please!

That is all.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Three Weeks, 2 Days - This Too Shall Pass

The thing about newborns is this.

They're cute little bundles of chaos.

And I am not a chaos person. I thrive on routine, predictability and at least a little bit of control. It's not so much that I get overwhelmed by the many, many feedings, the fussy, gassy periods or the middle of the night wakings. All those things I expect and know babies just DO. It's that a person like me likes a PLAN - a plan to manage the day (not a schedule, just an order) and a plan for handling each little issue that arises.

But babies don't work in order, and they don't stick to a routine. They do things randomly (it seems like, anyway) and with little to no warning. Peanut's favorite little trick on me is that IF he's done the same thing at the same time for the past three days AND he recognizes in me a tendancy to begin relying on or feeling confident about his doing it again the fourth day, he MUST then not do it on the fourth day. He must do things very differently on the fourth day, so that Mama stays off-kilter and wary. And tired. For that is what tires me out the most - not the getting up 2 or 3 times a night, but the not-knowingness. The inability to predict. The life on the razor's edge.

And I know it doesn't last long. Things get easier and more rhythmic. I remember that. And I tell myself, "Just take it a few minutes at a time. That's the way to handle this period of time without getting tired and frustrated. Accept the reality of now and live in it flexibly." And sometimes I can and do and it's all good. But without warning my brain wanders out into the hours ahead and tries to hatch a plan. After we finish this feeding, he'll drift off to sleep for two hours, like he did yesterday and Thursday. And then I'll take a shower and get Bean ready for the day and we'll have breakfast and then it'll be time for him to wake up again and I'll feed him and then we'll all go for a walk to the playground.

And then I feed him, and in the middle of eating, he gets gassy and needs to poop and he cries and winces and I try to burp him and he can't burp and he keeps wanting to suck to help him poop but that doesn't help and then he gets hiccups from all the sucking and milk and he still can't poop and the "predictable" 30 minute feed runs into an hour, and then an hour and half, with burping and attempts to poop and crying and rooting around angrily and before I know it lunchtime's nearly upon us and we haven't had breakfast.

Or he feeds beautifully but instead of drifting off to sleep he remains wide awake and alert and peaceful as long as I HOLD HIM. If I try to put him down to take a shower or get dressed, he falls apart and wails pitifully, so I'm forced to just sit and hold him, which is fine in theory but still leaves Bean unattended and unfed and still in her pajamas, and me as well. And in less than two weeks I'll be needing to have Bean and me dressed and fed and out the door to get her to preschool by 9:30 AM. And I try not to project into those days (take it a few minutes at a time, I remind myself) but I can't help wanting to work us toward that goal a little bit at a time over the next days. It's my nature to want to have things organized and be prepared for what's ahead.

It's the age-old baby problem. It won't last long. I say, trying to make the simplicity and truth of the statement bring peace to my soul.

I just wish the me-ness of me didn't make behavior so fleeting and normal for my little man so frustrating and leave me feeling so completely out of control and behind.

I wish my own human limitations didn't cause me to sometimes rush away these early days with my tiny baby boy.

Friday, August 29, 2008

3 Weeks, One Day - Milkin' Honey

I feel like any day now I'm going to be able to sit down and write Matthew's birth story. In fact now, more than anything else, it's just the time factor vs. the "I have things to process" factor as has been the case up to a few days ago.

On the breastfeeding front - here's a funny thing! I remember reading and hearing while I was nursing Bean that other women could just THINK of their babies, hear them cry, see a picture of them or even just smell an item of the baby's clothing and their milk would let down. It never happened for me, of course! You could have stuck Bean herself up my left nostril with nothin' but her feet left stickin' out and I'da still been sittin' there affixed to my pump as it sucked away for a hour, producing nothing more than a bucket of sad tears.

But, dude.

Now all I have to do is think of the PUMP, and my milk lets down.

I do love that pump an awful lot, though.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

2 Weeks 5 Days, On Breastfeeding So Far

OHMYGRANNY.

Today started out so great - all peaceful and happy with bluebirds lighting on my shoulders and little woodland creatures dancing around me and my two little babies. We all woke up in great moods and I was even able to deliver everyone his or her hot breakfast beverage of choice, including Peanut, who nursed in bed, snuggled up with Bean and me.

Bean and I took a bath together while Peanut had a little time in his bathside swing, then we got dressed and all went down to the kitchen, Peanut asleep in his swing (a first!) and Bean and me all set for a great breakfast. We emptied the dishwasher and made breakfast and finished eating it just as Peanut woke up. Then I fed him again, got him dressed and cleaned up for the day and Bean and I brushed our teeth and we headed out with Peanut in his front carrier for a walk to the playground.

We managed a full HOUR AND A HALF of walking and playing at the playground and came home in time to feed the boy again, at which point he SHOULD have been ready to go down for a nice long nap.

But no. He remained awake until just a minute ago (3:15 PM!). Which messed up Bean's chance to go back out and play, my chance to have a minute to myself to rest and think and write a few of the 962 thank you notes I need to write.

Oy. It's a good thing I'm taking things 10 minutes at a time or I would be at my wits end right now.

Anyway now both kids are finally asleep. Peanut is on his TUMMY, which makes me a nervous WRECK, but he's been sleeping for 15 minutes without waking, which is better than he's done all day long so far.

I wanted to write about breastfeeding -- how it's gone from day one to now, because I want to capture how miraculous (mostly) it's been for my boy and me. How REDEEMED I feel because of the experience and how grateful I am to God for this second chance.

Matthew was born at 8:57 AM on Thursday morning. Unfortunately I don't know for SURE what time it was when I was out of recovery from surgery and holding my baby for the first time, but Al says it wasn't much more than an hour, if even that. I have little recollection of exactly what transpired when I DID hold him, other than that he didn't leave my arms again for HOURS after that, and he nursed for at least an hour on each side after he first latched. I also remember many of the nurses and medical staff looking at us together and commenting on how beautifullly we were doing with the latch and my holding him -- that we both seemed like "pros" already. When they'd ask about his feeding times and durations, I told them about the one-hour-on-each side thing and they were amazed. It didn't seem like a big deal to me, though - I was just lying there with him anyway, might as well have him nursing, right? And he was game, so we just kept going.

I nursed him off and on all day that day, for nice long stretches of time - maybe 30 minutes each side every two hours or so, and the rest of the time he was in my arms. Each time he nursed I would get a rush of sleepiness and doze off comfortably. Those moments were bliss! But then someone else would come in for another check of our vitals (Matthew left me briefly for each check, which I believe were on the hour for the first 12 hours or so but always came right back to me and was offered the breast the minute he was in my arms.)

By midnight, he'd fallen into that cry, cry, cry mode and since Al and I were both completely wiped out by then and I'd had major surgery, our nurse asked if she could take Matthew for a few hours to weigh him, bathe him and do his hearing screen. I acquiesced somewhat reluctantly and tried to sleep, but was unable to do so for more than 15 minutes at a time. He was gone for four hours, and by the third hour I was feeling very worried and wishing they'd bring him back so I could nurse him, and worrying that they might be giving him formula.

When he returned to my room, though, they assured me he'd had his bath and gone immediately off to sleep without so much as a pacifier and had slept the rest of the time he was gone. He was awake when they brought him in, though, and nursed well on both sides then dozed off again, as did I, briefly.

The second day (Friday) found Matthew a bit harder to keep awake, but we nursed when we could and he remained in the bed with me all day long except for some brief moments when Al or a nurse held him or changed his diaper. Still groggy, I didn't do a great job of keeping track of how often or how long he nursed, but apparently the staff asked me and I kept them informed of his eating activity because on day three the lactation consultant showed me his chart and pointed out that he was doing very well with his eating and his wet/dirty diapers. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Friday night was a bit of a repeat of Thursday night, with Matthew leaving me around 1 or 2 AM to be weighed and then staying in the nursery to sleep for awhile so that I could sleep as well. I would have preferred having him near me, but with him in that tiny hospital bed and me unable to move easily on my own, I couldn't sleep for fear I'd hurt him somehow. I was very worried during the longer separations that we weren't doing what we needed to be doing (nursing every two hours per Jemma's plan with Jove) to get my milk flowing properly.

Which is why, on Saturday, when I was finally feeling a bit more alert, having had several meals and plenty to drink and a SHOWER, I requested a breast pump to augment Matthew's nursing schedule and keep things going if he had another super long sleep or two that night. With the pump came the lactation consultant who was brusk about certain things (she seemed displeased that I had my laptop with me at the hospital), but completely reassuring AND very knowledgeable. I overlooked her bruskness and listened, which was tough for me to do, but since she clearly knew her stuff, I forced myself!

She helped me pour over Matthew's chart and all of his feeding times and durations and diaper changes, etc. and watched him latch and nurse and pronounced that we were doing EXACTLY what we needed to be doing. She said I didn't need to pump, but that if I wanted to, I could, and she left me with the pump and a kit (it was a Medela Symphony or something like that and it was AWESOME). She also instructed me to get a Medela Pump in Style ADVANCED pump and some Playtex Natural Latch bottles, nipples and drop-ins, all of which she wrote down for me, which is good because I was forgetting Matthew's NAME off and on at the time, such was my sleepy/groggy state. (Al went to Target got those things Sunday right after he brought Matthew and me home from the hospital. The Medela pump RULES. I'd recommend it to anyone.)

That day, Saturday, I could feel a change in my breasts and could see cloudy milk beginning to tinge the colostrum I was feeding Matthew. My milk was coming in. I remember telling Vera (the lactation consultant) that I figured it'd only be another 24 hours or so before Matthew would begin getting a nice little flow of milk and colostrum with each feeding, and she seemed to agree with me.

On Saturday night, I was prepared to finally get some sleep, somewhat easily allowing Matthew to go off to the nursery for his evening weight check and some sleep. I was comforted by my conversation with the Vera and feeling confident and capable and a bit more relaxed.

Unfortunately, that night's weight check revealed Matthew's weight had dropped 8% since birth, and my night nurse came in with him just an hour after she'd left and started talking (calmly and sweetly) about supplementing with formula.

I nursed him quietly, worried and crying, feeling so defeated and alone and so much like I remember feeling with Bean - that "here we go again" feeling that just took me somewhere dark and miserable immediately. After he ate, I called the nurse back in and she brought the hated bottles and formula and we painstakingly attempted to feed Matthew 15 ml of Infamil, which he flatly refused to drink. Inside I cheered and worried simultaneously.

I nursed him again on one side briefly and pumped on the other side and then away he went to the nursery. About 45 minutes later I was still awake and worrying about my tiny boy and just wanting to see him, so I dragged my aching self out of the bed and slowly staggered down to the nursery to look at him. He was sleeping away soundly and my nurse came out and brought me inside to be close to him. When he heard my voice, he immediately reacted, so I moved away to keep from waking him. The nurse told me she'd gotten him to take 15 ml of Similac with a different nipple, plus the tiny bit of milky colostrum I'd pumped for him at the end of his last nursing session, as well. I was mad he'd taken the formula, but glad he'd gotten my pumped goods.

When I walked out of the nursery, my nurse came with me. She knew I was worried and upset and sought to reassure me, and her sweet, gentle tones just loosened something inside me and I began to cry. There was so much going on inside me that had nothing to do with Matthew - this darkness and fear and defeat still left over from being so sad and stressed about my experience with Bean - I was back in that place again and it all just overwhelmed me. I cried and she just hugged me and said, "Don't worry, Megan. Don't worry. He's fine and this is not something to beat yourself up over - you're doing a great job. You are not to blame - it's all perfectly normal and he's fine!"

I went to bed but didn't sleep the rest of the time Matthew was gone. He was back in my room again and nursing when the pediatrician came in early on Sunday morning and she commented on his weight loss but said, "Oh, we don't really worry about it until a baby's lost 10% of its birthweight. He's doing fine."

Well, okay then.

Matthew had been born on Thursday weighing 7 lbs. 15 oz., and at midnight the night before we left to go home (Sunday) he weighed 7 lbs. 4 oz.

My milk REALLY felt like it was on its way in by Sunday, as I was very firm and full and could pump a little bit of milk if I tried - not much, but some. Still, we planned on supplementing him and took bottles and some formula home with us that day. I nursed him on demand all of Sunday, and he had very little interest in the formula after each feed except one time in the late evening, when he downed the entire 15 ml that Al fed him.

Monday my milk was fully in and I was leaking through breast pads and making wet spots on shirts every time I went longer than 2 hours without nursing. Letdowns were sharp, painful and long and I already knew things were very different from when I nursed Bean in our first few days. I knew this time Matthew and I had hit the proverbial motherload!

Tuesday at 10:15 AM we took our boy in to see OUR OWN pediatrician. She pronounced him beautiful and perfect and only slightly jaundiced and my beautiful boy'd already gained 6 full ounces, weighing in at 7 lbs. 10 oz.

I cried when the doctor told me what a great job I was doing and how beautifully he was gaining.

The week following that appointment my milk continued to let down nearly every hour and I could get 3 ounces each time I pumped if I just waited an hour and a half since Matthew had last eaten. Matthew nursed well as long as I fed him one side then changed his diaper before giving him the other side (if I didn't do the diaper change he was too sleepy to feed the second side). He pretty much emptied both sides at every nursing session, which were between 2 and 4 hours apart. If he slept 4 hours at night, I'd literally wake up soaked to the skin through nursing pads and clothing, sticky, wet and proud of myself. I still wake up that way, and I'll buy 50 pairs of pajamas and 90,000 breast pads before you'll ever hear me complain about it!

The formula went back in the cabinet, where it has stayed ever since, leaving his total formula consumption to date a mere 30 ml, and I built up a supply of breastmilk in the freezer with my 3 oz. pumping sessions at least once a day.

The following Monday, August 18 when Matthew was 11ish days old, Al and I took him to see Dr. Bettancourt again, and my beautiful, healthy, greedy little boy weighed 8 lbs., 4 oz. -- he'd gained a full pound in less than a week.

Since then, I've had a few scares. There are times now when Matthew cries and cries and roots around for the breast and latches on only to struggle and pull at me angrily as if he is unhappy to be there. Of course my first fear was that he was hungry and there wasn't enough milk for him, but after watching him pull off time and time again with a milk mustache and beard, and after leaving immediately to go pump and get an ounce or more from each side, I've determined he's not unhappy because he isn't getting enough. It's that he doesn't WANT anymore milkies! He's full! He just wants to suckle and enjoy closeness with his Mama, but he can't because she keeps making milkies and he doesn't have anymore room for it! So now he's using a pacifier here and there, which I don't love but seems to help him settle without getting too stuffed or having awful hiccups or spitting up great floods of milk.

Nothing's perfect - the boy has a really hard time with burping and sometimes takes forever to poop. His tummy is very finicky and hard to get right once it's gone wrong.

But his mother is making plenty of milk for him and for all his wailing over his gassy tummy, he's never had to wail over being hungry.

I pumped last night because at our 10 PM nursing session he could only finish one side, and then he was too full and sleepy even after a diaper change to do the other. So I pumped the un-nursed side.

Guess how much milk was there?

THREE OUNCES.

On one side.

It's a miracle. And I am so happy and thankful.

Mothers to be: Keep that baby in your bed with you after he or she is born (which means you have to stay in bed, too!). Nurse, nurse, nurse those first 48 to 72 hours. Do it. It's worth it. Get a lactation consultant to check your latch and your baby's sucking and swallowing and just keep working on it, and you will be rewarded.

And please, PLEASE do NOT listen to anyone, ever, who wants to tell you you can't do it. You can't make enough milk for your baby.

It's not true. You CAN do it. You need support, positivity, rest, time with your baby and plenty to eat and drink. And you CAN do it.

We all can.

Don't give up. Don't be defeated. Do your research and believe in yourself.

We were made to do it!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Twelve Days Post Partem, Another Peanut Nurse-a-thon

OY, people.

Is it too late to go back to the hospital?

Sigh.

I'm fine, just really, really tired out and looking back at the past 12 days in a bit of a daze. My mom left a few hours ago with Al and Bean to go to the airport and then home. Which is fine - she was a huge help with the cooking and household stuff while she was here but it's time for us to start easing into being just the four of us, now, and I know my Mom needs to get home and get on with her own life in her new home.

But I could really use a day or two of bedrest and pampering, I think.

Peanut has been such a great little baby so far. Really different from Bean, although probably the difference is in ME moreso than in my two children. Peanut's had the benefit of a mostly calmer mother, a better start to breastfeeding, and even a sweet big sister to swing by occasionally to kiss and hug him.

I have so much to say about these first days - about this amazing emotional transformation I've been through since Peanut was born, about how incredibly happy I've felt, how much more ME now, in such a short time. There's almost a sense of enlightenment in my thinking, as if a blinder's been ripped from my eyes after nine months in virtual darkness. And it's not all about the physical discomfort of the pregnancy ending because really the end of the pregnancy was fine, physically, it's just the CLARITY with which I can now truly see the depression I was in, and how deep it was, and how completely it had pervaded my life and my thoughts. I have no real explanation for it other than, well, "Hormones!" I just know that now, comparing my feelings today with those I had two weeks ago, even, I am hardly the same person at all. I feel like I owe everyone around me a huge apology for being so down and lethargic and just ... pitiful.

I want to recount every minute I spend with Peanut, and with Bean and Peanut together.

I want to talk about breastfeeding - how much better things are but how even now the smallest little issue sends me crashing into fear and doubt all over again.

I want to talk about the nights - how Peanut (so far) has already been sleeping up to FOUR HOURS at a strech at night, so I can feed him once before I go to bed (between 10 and 11 PM), once in the wee morning hours (between 2 and 3 AM) and then one more time just as it's time to get up (between 5 and 6 AM). He sleeps into the morning after that last feeding, so I have time to get up and drink coffee and eat and get some things done before he's up again between 8 and 9.

I'm also anxious to get the birth story written and I've been working on it in my mind for the past few days, just trying to begin unraveling those hours in my own head. There's a lot to tell, a lot to try to sort out for myself in terms of timing and logistics, and so much to work through emotionally because as you can imagine, things didn't go at all the way I'd hoped or expected, and even though the outcome was perfect in the end, there were some moments that I know I'll have to mull over quietly and come to terms with before I can write though them here.

Today though, I just have to be content to get this much out and down on "paper" then rest and relax and wait for the right time to work on the rest. Peanut's had a rough day today, his first, really. He woke up in the morning at 8 AM and really hasn't settled well for another good sleep since then, and he's been wanting to nurse non-stop despite seeming quite unhappy at the breast when he's there. I finally gave him some Mylicon (gas drops) about 45 minutes ago and while I can still hear him stirring and grousing from time to time, he's finally drifted off to sleep starting around 2 PM. TOO LONG TO BE AWAKE for a little guy his age!

And the girls are protesting all the sucking in a big way, too.

Oh, and I've pumped at least once a day the past few days and gotten a full and easy 3 oz. each time, which is WAY MORE than I was EVER able to pump with Bean, no matter how old she got. So I was excited about that -- I just wish I could produce it fast enough to get Peanut all full up whenever I fed him, regardless of how long it's been since the last time, because Peanut LOVES to be completely stuffed before he goes to sleep -- nothing else will do for him! So when he stays up for such a long time, I have a hard time giving him what he needs when he's finally ready to go to sleep, because he's nursed so often and so recently.

But all the sucking today should make for a lovely, milky day tomorrow.

And the nibbles will recover in a few hours - they're amazing like that.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Nursing. And Nursing and Nursing and Nursing

Oh, it is going SO much better than it EVER went with Bean.

We have, though, had two nights in a row now (and I feel certain we're headed into a third) of those lovely, lovely (sarcasm) cluster feedings that make me feel like my eyeballs are soon going to be sucked into my head and shot out my nibbles. Seriously. UGH. But the cluster feedings are doing the trick to get Mafew what he wants eventually as ZOIKS! the milkies let down frequently between daytime feedings.

Does anyone have a chart or easy reference of when the growth spurts most commonly happen for baby? I'd go look it up in Alice's diary, but that might take some time. Which I don't have much of. Because I am always nursing. Yeeps!

WHEEEEEEEEEEE!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Mama, Get You a Belly Band. Or Many!

Seriously, all of you lovely girls who are pregnant now -- and there are many of you -- I have a word to share with you.

COM - FORT.

More specifically, comfort in the boobage area.

Oh yeah.

Peanut's a week old today, and I've spent this past 7 days in and out of maternity bras and maternity tanks of every description and some of them are pretty good and some of them I will NEVER EVER WEAR AGAIN BECAUSE OH.MY.GOSH the misery and brow-pretzeling irritation!

Yesterday afternoon during a particularly lengthy Mr. Peabody nap, I took a shower and then dug through my vast collection of foundational undergarments to find one to stuff my GIGANTICALLY HUGE AND VERY UNCOMFORTABLY FULL (Can I get a heel-click on that one!?) girls into. I found one that's a nice large size and choked myself into it.

And then I died.

The end.

No, not really. BUT. It WAS awful. And no matter what I put on, it was still awful, and I have a LOT of choices and there were bras flyin' out drawers, hangin' off the ceiling fan, littering the floor - it looked like a maternity ward gone brothel in my bedroom and 20 minutes later I was still nekkid from the waist up and truly out of ideas.

UNTIL.

I spied my trusty belly band (like a Bella Band, but I bought the store-brand one from Motherhood Maternity).

And I put it on like a tube top. And stuck breastpads on the inside. And AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! Cue the angels!

Now it's not the most supportive of the undergarments, so you wouldn't want to wear it under your best tight sweater for a romp through the center of town, but under a t-shirt just knockin' around home until your girls figure out the proper ebb and flow of milk for your little nursling, a belly-band-gone-north works wonders. I wore mine under my PJs last night, too, and while it did slip a little as I slept (yes, I said SLEPT!), it was comfortable and definitely supportive enough for overnight, plus it was easy to just pull down for Peanut's easy access to his milky sources and then back up when he was ALL DONE!

Comfort, light support, easy access. Doesn't get mooch better'n that, y'all.

Go pick one up if you don't have one. If you're an ample girl upstairs, get a big one (you can probably even try them on in the store. Figure on getting one that fits comfortably to very slightly loosely now - that should house you quite harmoniously once you join me among the ranks of the Moo-mies.

XOXO.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Matthew, Day 6 - Poop and Mr. Peabody

I owe y'all a birth story. And me, too. A lot of it was such a whirlwind that it may be hard to get the facts straight, but I'll do my best. Soon. I know it'll be emotional to relive and write about. Parts of it were so-o-o-o hard and scary (whoops I'm tearing up just thinking about thinking about it) but I HAVE to say this - I've had a feeling it would go the way it went, starting many months ago. Not that I think I'm psychic, just that something inside me physically knew. I don't know how to explain it. But I knew. When the decision was made I'd have a C-section, I didn't feel surprise really - I just felt resignation. Not peace, though. I feel peaceful NOW, because my baby and I are fine. And that's what matters.

But I'm not ready to dig into all of that stuff yet. I'll have to do it soon or it'll all be out the window, memory-wise, but not quite yet.

For now, I have a few updates and facts to share. Someday, I think I'd like to write a pretty detailed account of the c-section and my recovery. I haven't looked for books on the subject but I don't see much in the way of "What to Expect if You Have a C-Section" information on the internet. I'd love to have found a day by day account of recovery along with a "here's what it is like to have a baby on the operating table via emergency c-section instead of in the birthing suite (or at home, etc. etc.)" to read the day after my surgery - to (hopefully) find out some of my feelings were normal and what the next days held in store for me. Obviously I have MORE days in store for me, too.

So that's why I want to write the blow by blow - for others to discover maybe and help them know what to expect. What I did find was SO general - just, "Most patients take about 6 weeks to fully recover from this major surgery." Well, okay but MORE PLEASE.

So anyway!

I'm healing pretty well, I think. I'm down to just Tylenol for pain now (I've been on Vicodin and Celebrex since the spinal block and morphine wore off) and really my surgery site/abdomen are virtually pain-free as long as I don't let the Tylenol dosing get too far behind. BUT - my back hurts worse than my front and it can get downright awful in the late day/nighttime. I guess that's from the epidural? I suspect that if I continue to take it easy and let other people do stuff for me I will feel pretty good within another day or two, which is a great thought to focus on.

I have finally POOPED! It took until yesterday afternoon (so nearly a week!), and Nana was getting a little stressed out about it, but it never bothered me - I mean I never felt like, "Ohmygosh I have poop in my throat, so full of poop am I!!" or anything.

Anyway. That "crisis" has passed. I know. Thanks for sharing, right?

My milk is in fully, although there's still a tiny hint of colostrum present judging from its color, and Matthew mostly nurses really well WHEN HE IS READY -- I am finally (after 5 days, I mean) figuring out his little quirks and tricks and the work-arounds for both. (He likes to nuzzle and nudge and snorfle a LOT, and sometimes doesn't want to nurse so much as he just wants to make out with my nipples while he contemplates life or tries to poop! Hee hee.) Breast pain is minimal, thank the LORD. Last night AFTER I fed him, I managed to pump THREE OUNCES of glorious golden nectar for storage. I am astounded at how accomplished and RICH that makes me feel. Maybe I can get my hair cut while Nana is here, even!

Bean has been a little bit attitudey but LOVES Peanut so much so far. She's helping a lot, is very involved and interested and loving. But she's also clingy and loud in turns, trying to capture my attention, and her normally gracious manners and politeness have slipped a bit. I'm trying to keep the discipline at a NORMAL level (not too high, not too low) but it's hard to get a good balance when I'm divided. I'll keep working on it.

Al's been good about helping too, when he's here. He gets up in the night with me and sometimes alone when there's nothing else we can do to please the little guy besides rocking or bouncing him. I got NO sleep to speak of Monday night, but last night I think I got about 4 hours, which felt like a LOT. I actually feel crazy-good today after "so much" sleep, hee hee.

Nana's running the household/cleaning-out/organizing things. And cooking. A lot. Which is nice! Because I am HUNGRY!

Matthew had his first tummy time today - it was pretty short but I had him lying with his head on a burp cloth that had some breast milk on it and he turned his little head and started rooting and bobbing around trying to figure out WHERE THAT SMELL, THAT HEAVENLY HEAVENLY SMELL was coming from, which did require major neck and head control. He actually ALREADY holds his head up very well - he did from the beginning. He's amazingly strong, but then we knew he would be, didn't we, from all of that strong movement and pushing he's done since I could feel him.

And he is beautiful, and oh so sweet. I just adore him - his tiny little flashes of smile when he looks into my face, his little birdie mouth poking around for me when he's hungry, his sweet little chicken wing arms and legs (the poor thing got so skinny at first, more later on that -- but he's gaining well now!) his fuzzy little head! He's SCRRRRRRRRRRRRRRUMPTIOUS.

More later. (Not later today though!) But soon, I promise!

My Lil Family