Thursday, July 28, 2011

Using Our Heads Before We Panic

I am proud to say that both A and I have managed to not completely panic at things.  We've stopped and thought about what brought about the change that turned our happy little prince into the upset ogre baby laying in front of us.

Both times turned out to be our fault.  Well, genetically our fault.

First issue was at about 3 weeks.

Since formula had been the menu item of choice since day one, I didn't question when the minor spit up occurred.  At about 3 weeks, though, they came with every meal.  Add in some gas issues and just plain crabbiness....  Well, daddy asked me if we should mention it to the pediatrician.  I told him it was normal for babies to be like this, and we talked some more about what was happening.

And then the light bulb went on over my head.

See, I remember my mom telling me that I had to drink goat milk as a baby because I had problems with cow milk.  Both my brother and then later my nieces all had soy formula because the regular gave them issues.

Could he have gotten this from me?

Well, 48 hours and one large can of soy formula later we realized that was probably the case.  There was no more gas.  No more spitting up.  And he was asking for more each feeding and then sleeping so soundly.

This made A realize we need to pay attention to things a little more, and me realize that if our son every complained about his head hurting and the light bothering him that migraines were passed down as well.

About 3 weeks later, we had another realization hit us.

Now, Shadow has been here since day one.  There is cat fur in every crevice of the living room, though miraculously not on the couch.  He still has issues with the baby, and since that is where the little monkey is with us, he avoids it.

I was working and had stopped for a break.  Shadow was there looking at me, so I invited him to jump up into my lap to snuggle.  This was the first time since May that he'd been invited, and we spent the better part of 20 minutes with him purring while I scratched his head and neck and tummy.  All while pressed against my chest and being held.

Daddy was holding monkey boy and I went to pick him up for a few minutes, placing his face squarely in the middle of my dander filled shirt.

Well, we didn't realize the dander was there until about 10 minutes later when someone was all red eyed and runny nosed and crabby.  And even then it took a few minutes to put two and two together on what I had done.  And again I thought of my brother, who had the same issue as a little one: cat fur is one thing, but the dander and being up close to it is another issue all together.

Both the baby and I stripped, everything we were wearing and touching was washed, and everything cleared up in moments.

Poor cat must seriously wonder if he has leprosy or something....

We reported both incidents to the pediatrician, and both times we were both told that it was good we were using our heads and not panicking.

And that helps with just going through it all one day at a moment at a time....

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

No Wonder We're Using the Stroller More

My little man has packed on 2lbs 5 oz in the last month.  That is over 11 lbs of baby there! 

You should see these thighs....

That puts him in the 50th percentile for weight.  His length is up another inch, making him an even 22 inches long, and right in the 25th percentile.

Add the fact that the second he is on his tummy he gets up on his hands and starts scrambling with his feet to scoot and I think we are doing just fine!

Friday, July 22, 2011

In All Seriousness...

I thank whatever deity is out there daily for my luck.

Since my son's birth, I have been able to shower daily, sleep when needed, and been fed without having to cook every meal.  Hell, for that first week after coming home from the hospital we had family here daily dropping homemade deliciousness or buckets of fried chicken.

That fried chicken was all my doing.  I couldn't help the craving.

Add to all that the fact that the last 3 weeks or so my loving husband has handled the bandage changes here at home, eliminating our having to leave home for a daily doctor's visit, and I can say I am spoiled.

Which is why writing this post has taken me some time to think about how to share the feelings.  Because all the above made life easy.  But my hormones and the changes in life....

I've been an avid follower of Dooce for years.  When my cousin introduced her to me as something I needed to read I became hooked.  I went back through her archives, read everything she wrote, and cried when she talked about her fight with depression and post partum.  Through her, I've read about Gwyneth Paltrow and Bryce Dallas Howard's battle with post partum depression and it had me prepared.

Well, as prepared as you can be.

I knew what to look for.  I knew to be careful.  And when my son came into this world I fell in love with him instantly and felt as if I could do anything.  He was amazing and so beautiful and I had my husband to help me.  Things felt so great, and I was relieved that there didn't seem to be anything standing in the way of my enjoying all that.

And that lasted until June 4th.

I don't know what triggered it.  And I was waiting for it all to hit, I knew it had to, but wasn't expecting to feel as if I was so overwhelmed all at once.  But that day was a rough one.

The baby's schedule had been off that night.  He didn't seem to want to nap during the day.  Some part of me was determined to figure it out without anyone helping me, and by the end of the day I found myself sobbing.

Was I going to be able to be a good mother?  Would things get easier for both of us?  You name it, I thought I'd done it wrong, and there I was with the man I loved trying to tell me it would be okay at a time when he had no idea what he was doing with a newborn.

It was not pretty.

The next morning I felt better.  I'd cried it out, talked to him, and the baby had slept and so had I.

Which is when my mom called.

Now, I preface this by saying that my mother and my aunt love me.  They have their ways of showing that, and I love them both more for it.  But somehow I'd been caught in the middle of a family issue without knowing it, and my mom was calling to give me a head's up.

See, we went in to deliver the baby on May 25th.  My mom wanted to make sure I was in the right frame of mind, was focused on my little family, and basically wanted to protect me from anything that would interfere with that.

So when news that my grandfather - the last grandparent I had - passed she didn't want me to hear it.  My aunt wanted me to know, and this became their battle.  Mom was calling to let me know I might be copied on a mass email from my aunt about the news and she didn't want me to be shocked.

To be honest, I don't know if things ever have been repaired between them.  Since they both read this, I am hoping that seeing my take on it will help.  Like I said, I love them both, and I can see it all from both sides: the need to make sure nothing was kept from me, and the need to let me have some joy in the purest sense before coming back to reality at a later date.

But the timing of that call was not the greatest.

I don't remember staying on the call that long.  I do remember holding my son and sobbing afterwards to the point where A was alarmed something horrible had happened.  Which triggered another bout of hysteria about what I was doing to our son's emotional state and how horrible I was and ......

Yeah, it was not pretty.

Since that weekend I've had two more cases of what my mother has referred to as "The Baby Blues".  None have been as bad.  One happened at the Colonel's office in front of his nurse, who has been like an aunt to me and taken care of us so much.  She let me cry, hugged me, and told me we were doing fine.  All while A watched and smiled, holding a sleeping baby in his arms.

The most recent has been this incredible sense of missing something.  Mainly missing the feeling of being pregnant.

I totally understand why some women have babies one right after the other as a conscious thing.  It's the damn hormones and that nagging feeling of emptiness.

Which, again to be perfectly honest, is why even after I picked up the birth control pills I still didn't start them for a week.  With my not being healed there was no reason to worry about something happening by accident, so I just stared at them each day and wondered if we could manage two children in our lives.

Which is a whole other post for a later date.

Suffice to say that I didn't get hit as hard with all this as I could have.  And we do get out without the baby almost weekly, and that has helped me focus on getting life back in order.  Especially now with work having started again.

But I do realize how easy falling down the rabbit hole could have been.  How some women have had to deal with so much worse than me, and have managed to come out of it in one piece and sane.

And I just wake up each morning and smile at that goofy grinned little boy and thank everyone at every opportunity for just being there for me and helping me enjoy this.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Sun is Shining and the Birds are Singing!

Why the joy?

Cause someone has put himself on his own schedule.  He goes down for bed between 8 and 8:30 each night.  I can guarantee 8 hours of sleep, which is good for him, and would be fantastic for me if I went to bed at the same time he did.

But last night....  LAST NIGHT!!!

He slept a total of 10.5 hours!

And since I go to bed at 10, that means I slept 9 HOURS! UNINTERRUPTED!!!!

So, while I don't expect this to be a regular thing quite yet, I can say that this morning has been FABULOUS!!!

Sorry - I got a little excited about waking up and the sun already being out.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Noticing a Change and Missing Pregnancy

Tomorrow will be 8 weeks since the baby was born.

And I miss being pregnant.

It isn't just the closeness with him.  We have that now.  He knows my voice and smell, and I love that I can tell he knows it's me. 

But it's the rest of it.  I miss that belly and the kicking.  My pregnancy was such an easy one that I would do it over again in a heartbeat.

Course, the recovery from the actual surgical portion of this whole thing has taken longer than I imagined to heal.  And we still aren't at 100% with that either, but it's almost done.

What I think is interesting is that most of my clothes already fit.  These were the clothes that were loose due to the diet last summer, so not a great thing, but at least I'm able to wear things.

Well, almost anyway.

I've always been a round shape.  It's part of the fluffiness that is me, and I've always dressed to be comfortable.  But in the last week, where we've been out and I've had to wear pants other than those meant to be slept in, I've notice the biggest change:

My mid-section, while not any larger than it was this time last summer, doesn't have the same shape when it comes to jeans.  Or anything other than a skirt, actually.

It's interesting.  I've read women talking about getting back down to pre-pregnancy weight or less and saying that their body shape has changed.  I didn't understand that until I noticed that my hips feel wider. 

This is so different from saying I'm fatter, cause that's not it.  It's just the way that the bones feel underneath....

It's odd.

But for now there is no budget for clothes.  So, our diet should be back in force, and once the healing is done I'll be back to regular exercise with no fear of infections or complications.  Then we'll see if I can do it again like I did last summer.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

When Sleep Overrides Everything

One of the things that A and I agreed on months ago was that we didn't like the idea of co-sleeping.

Now, I don't think there is anything wrong if you like co-sleeping.  But we both are big people, and we take up a large portion of our king size bed. 

I didn't worry about crushing the baby as much as I do worry about getting into a habit that would be hard to break later.

My husband worried about crushing the baby.

The moment we walked in from the hospital in May, our son was removed from his carrier, where he was fast asleep, and laid in his crib.  With the exception of some recent couch naps, he has slept in his crib for all sleep periods.  Especially at night.

Well, except for twice a few weeks ago.  And this morning.

He is great about sleeping 7-8 hours each night.  He really is.  But he falls asleep at an hour where he is awake by 4am to be fed.

Some mornings, like yesterday, he wakes up and is ready to be up for his usual 2-3 hour stint of "entertain me, parent!" and I do that and get the day started early.

Other mornings, like today, he eats a full bottle in 20 minutes, belches like an old drunken sailor, and then immediately yawns and starts to snuggle for sleep.

Most of those times, I will wait until he is really asleep and then move him to his crib.  Normally this means 2-3 more hours of rest, once there was even 4 whole hours.

But today I wanted my bed.  Reeeeeally wanted my bed.

So I took him back to bed with me, got settled, and we were both asleep in time to get 3 more hours before I had to get up for work.

I get an eye roll from A about this, especially because he is now the one up with him while I'm at the desk, but in the end no complaints.

Besides, I sleep better being able to inhale his scent as I drift off myself, and I know he feels the same about me....

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Being There

I began babysitting early on.  I've always been responsible, I love children, and it was an easy way to make money.

Add to this all the babies I've been around for as long as I can remember and you have someone who doesn't scare easy around a newborn.  Or dirty diapers.  And who doesn't blink when a certain someone gets fussy and there is nothing to fix it.

It's part of being a parent.  Adapting and doing what is needed.  And sometimes just having to figure it out before the neighbors wonder what is happening to the baby in that apartment.

My husband has never been through any of these issues.  Up until our son was born, he'd never held a baby.  He loves kids, loves to play with them, but the truth was that anything that wasn't already walking scared him a little.

These last (almost) 7 weeks have completely changed that for him.  He feeds and diapers and dries little hands and feet after baths.  They sit together on the couch and talk and laugh and even appear to be watching cartoons.

But there are still those days.

Those days where even after the feeding and playing and diapering that someone still doesn't seem happy.  That someone would still prefer to be cuddled with his mommy to fall asleep, no matter how exhausted he is or that daddy would like to be the one doing it.

Every time this happens, A gets frustrated.  He thinks he is a failure, a bad parent, because he can't do it all.  And I've had to explain that he needs to relax and just remember that that little thing in his arms is just as frustrated right now as he is.

This morning, our son was up around 4:30, exactly 8 hours after going to bed.  While I changed a diaper and got him settled to eat, A prepped a bottle and made sure we were going to be okay before he went back to bed.  I love the early morning feedings, so I told him we had everything we needed and then asked about his evening since I was in bed early.  The baby had started to eat, but as soon as daddy began talking, he dropped his bottle and turned his head to look up at him, listening and smiling to the sound of his voice.  Once the talking stopped, he went back to eating as if he had never stopped.

I looked up at A and told him that that was the proof that he was doing a great job as a daddy.  All this technical stuff, learning to take care of his son and doing what was needed to help him grow, that was stuff we'd figure out together and make happen.  But that moment, when his son wants nothing more than him, and looks up at him like that, that was something that couldn't be forced or taught.

His son already knows he is there for him.  And that is what matters right now.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Growing Pains

I think the only real advantage that bottle feeding has had over anything else is knowing exactly how much the baby eats in one sitting.

He's been steady, eating 2-4 ounces right off the bat in the hospital, and then maintaining a steady 3-4 ounces after getting home.  Doctors have been impressed with his eating, and there hasn't been any real fussing.

Until last week.

Where he'd eat 4 ounces, wait about 45 minutes, and then signal he wanted more food.  So we'd make 2 more ounces.  And then he'd be happy.

So we upped his formula to 6 ounces a feeding, and suddenly he starting sleeping 7-8 hours straight after the last feeding of the night.  Saturday he slept for 10 hours straight with no wake up at all for anything.

Then this morning he ate 8 ounces.

All I can say is that I am glad I cleaned up his room this weekend and resorted clothes by size.  There are some outfits he hasn't worn yet that better make the rotation soon because I think he isn't going to fit into any of them really soon....

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Where Not Having A Plan Turns Out To Be The Plan

I was asked last week if we were going to subscribe to any specific parenting style.  The question was specifically about CIO, which I had to ask the writer for a clearer definition of because I didn't recognize the initials.

Apparently, that one stands for Crying It Out.

We don't have a plan.  Which is the plan.  To not have a plan.

Is that making sense?

I honestly admire those mothers who track naps and wet diapers and have a routine.  But I can't.  I feel horrible waking him to feed him.  I hate trying to force him to do things.  And I can't handle him being upset.

Which is why we never did get his 1 month portraits done at a portrait studio.  They wanted an appointment.  He wanted to sleep on his terms.  The baby won.

Maybe things would be a lot easier to plan if we did try to structure things.  But he has been sleeping an average of 6 hours a night since he came home.  He never just cries.  He wakes up on his own in his crib, will lay there making noises, and once he's completely awake the volume increases so we know it's time for food.  On his own he has started putting himself to sleep once he is laid down.  Without any crying or screaming.

And he smiles and laughs.  Wow does he smile and laugh.

I've never seen smiles like this that light up every part of the body and has him arching his back as he grins and talks to us.

So, no structure.

But so far, he isn't complaining.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Saying No To (OTC) Drugs

At the one month appointment, my son was starting to doze off when the nurse came back with a needle.

We had decided long ago that the baby would receive all his regular immunizations, and that started just after he was born and still in the hospital. This appointment marked the first we were going to witness, and next month he gets two of them at his appointment.

He was a trooper. He yelped when the injection went in, and then not another peep. Five minutes later we were in the car, and he was napping quietly.

That evening, he was resting on me and starting to doze while I was on the phone. After talking to my cousin, I called my mom and updated her on the day. I also mentioned that I thought he felt warm, and asked if I should give him some infant Tylenol or something to help with that. We've been through this, her with all of us, and me with helping my sister raise twins. It's the logical choice in the end, and normally helps stave of a rough night.

Cue the daddy.

Apparently, a notice in the doctor's office had caught A's eye.  He had read that the one thing that most new parents overreact on was a fever.  It went on to explain what were the normal ranges, when it was time for meds, and at what point a doctor or hospital would be needed.

That and he didn't think we needed to "pre-medicate" the baby.

So, we made a deal: no drugging.  But if the fussiness or fever happened, he would be up handling it while I drove to WalMart to get something for him.  Luckily we are so close to a 24 hour store that it wouldn't be an issue.

And wouldn't you know it?  Daddy was right and we all slept soundly that night....