Sunday, January 31, 2010

This is a rollercoaster

So being a mother is like a riding rollercoaster - highs and lows, ups and downs and all that. No duh right? Moments of joy and excitement, fun and exhileration, and moments of "I'm not sure I like this, I want to get off."

Let's start with the lows and then end on a high note:

1. My son had a week of almost unbearable fussiness. I mean the kid was either eating, asleep (for very brief periods of time) or screaming in pain (tummy/gas issues, maybe reflux...more on that later). Almost zero happy awake time. He was miserable and there was NOTHING I COULD DO. And that was awful. My baby was shrieking in pain and I could not help him. And I was so friggin sleep deprived, I just wanted to cry. Or lay down on the floor and sleep and let him cry. I did cry a few times, but I never laid on the floor. Things have improved, but I never fully appreciated how a shrieking newborn can make you crazy. Just 15 minutes of it feels like a lifetime.

2. My husband and I had our first big fight since the baby was born. Now I have written before about how wonderful he is, but no one is perfect right? I won't go into details, but he made me quite angry. This whole newborn period is very stressful and I guess we're figuring out how to navigate it without taking the stress out on each other and how best to support each other.

3. My son spit up blood. A gush of bright red blood that went all over his face, sleeper and the changing pad. It was very upsetting. Now I knew that it was probably from me - he had dots of blood in his spit up a day or two before and the advice nurse I spoke to said it was most likely from my nipples (which are still incredibly sore and obviously bleeding a little). But seeing that much blood come out of his mouth was not a happy moment. I called the advice nurse again and again she said it was probably from me. My head knew this, my heart did not like it. The fact that my nipples are bleeding is bad enough. Seeing it come of out of my son's mouth was not cool.

4. I took a picture of poo. Since this whole fussy/bad tummy period started, the kid's poops have stopped looking like "normal" newborn poops (the mustard, seedy ones - and by the way, tell me this. Why seedy? I assume there are no seeds in breast milk so why are there seedy things in his poop?). He had green ass-plosion poops. Watery messes. Then it was a medium brown. Then he moved on to very dark brown. One of those is what I ended up taking a picture of. It just didn't seem right. And the bad poops combined with the gas and fussiness - I just thought his doctor might need to know what they looked like. Luckily, when we saw the doctor, Finn had a huge ass-plosion so he could see one in real time. I did not have to bust out my camera. By the way, I have never talked or cared about poo so much in my life. When my smartass brother came to visit the first time, he said "So, do you guys just sit around and talk about poo now?" Yup. Pretty much.

5. Breastfeeding is still a struggle. Let's see - my nipples still HURT REAL BAD, I may have hyperlactation syndrome which is causing my son to have horrible tummy problems, or we may have thrush which is causing us both pain, turns out he is NOT a good latcher and I have let him do it wrong for a month, he also uses his tongue wrong so its giving my nipples the equivalent of rug burn....what else? And all of these are "maybe's." According to the lactation consultant, there is no way to know for SURE what is causing us both pain, so its trial and error. Try this for a few days and see if it works. If it doesn't try this for a few days and see what happens. Very frustrating. And meanwhile, while we trial and error this, he and I are still both hurting.

Okay, now for the highs.

1. HE SMILED AT ME. A big ol' smile while he was awake and looking and cooing at me. OMIGOD it was wonderful. I had seen some half-smiles before. And he's been smiling in his sleep for a couple of weeks. But this was DEFINITELY a smile FOR ME and it was amazing.

2. I recognized my son's cry. When we went to see his doctor to figure out this tummy stuff my mom came with us (G$ had to work). After the appointment, I went to the pharmacy to get some Mylicon and she stayed with him in the waiting area. While I was waiting in line, I heard a baby wail. And I knew it was him. Sure enough, my mom walks by the pharmacy with my shrieking kid to push him around the parking lot. Now maybe this is a "no duh." Of course you know your own kid's cry. But it made me feel like such a mom. I just wanted to tell everyone in line with me, "that's MY baby's cry and I KNEW it." It was one of those moments that makes me realize I am finally a part of the club I spent years wanting to join. One of those moments that I've seen people have or hear my friends tell stories about. And it happened to ME.

3. After a week of awful fussiness and nearly sleepless nights, my son let me sleep on and off for 12 hours. Granted I had to get up every 2-3 hours to feed him, but then he would fall back to sleep pretty easily and therefore, so could I. Omigod, I felt like a new woman the next day.

4. I went to the appointment with the lactation consultant by myself. I felt well enough to carry the car seat, deal with stroller and the diaper bag, the whole nine yards. And when we came out of the appointment and it was POURING rain outside, I didn't freak out. I also didn't have an umbrella and I was parked quite far from the entrance. A wonderful lady held her umbrella over us and we struggled to the car. I got soaked as I got him and all our gear in the car. The baby shrieked. But I did it. By myself. And I just laughed about it once we were safely in the car.

So there you have it. I'm sure there are more things I could add to both lists, but I can't remember them due to sleep deprivation. But I will say this: this is SO HARD. So totally worth it, but REALLY REALLY hard. And wonderful.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Finn Photos

I mean he is seriously the cutest baby ever right?

Friday, January 22, 2010

4 Weeks Already?!

Four weeks ago, I gave birth to my son. Four weeks ago my world became infinitely richer and my life completely changed. These last four weeks have flown by and at the same time, it feels like he's been here forever. In honor of surviving four weeks of caring for my newborn, I've compiled a list.

10 Things I Could Not Have Lived Without in the First Four Weeks of My Son's Life

1. My Husband. He gets the number one spot. I have a wonderful husband. I cannot imagine doing this without him. I honestly don't know how single mothers do it. Or mothers with shitty husbands. My husband makes me feel safe and loved and supported. He cheered me on during my 32 hours of labor. He stayed calm and made me believe that everything would be okay when the baby was in distress and they prepped me for the C-section. He helped me in and out of bed (in the hospital) and on and off the couch (at home). He slept on the floor of our living room for almost 2 weeks when I could only sleep on the couch so he could be there to help me feed the baby at night. He dried me off after a shower and helped me get dressed when I couldn't lift my legs or bend over. He told me I looked beautiful when I know I looked like shit. He cooked, cleaned, changed diapers (I didn't change a diaper for over a week), answered the phone and dealt with visitors. I could go on and o During labor and the birth and the first weeks after, I was definitely the most vulnerable I have ever been in my entire life. I am not good at being vulnerable. I pride myself on being strong and able to handle anything. Being vulnerable is hard for me. And to feel that way and to have a partner who was there to help me through it....I feel such a deeper love for him. He has been just amazing. And on top of all that, he is a GREAT father.

2. My Meds. Oh vicodin how I love thee (and miss thee). Motrin ain't bad either. The combination of the two is heavenly. During our hospital stay, the nurses had to administer every dose. I get that. They can't just leave me with a bottle of Vicodin while I am in their care. But if they missed my "pill time" (which they frequently did) I would pick up my little phone and call them and GENTLY remind them to come put me out of my agony. The nurses who got me my meds on time were my favorite - I loved and appreciated them (I had almost all great nurses and I know they are overworked and my stupid pills are not necessarily THE most important thing for them at any given moment. But you get a little bitchy when you are in pain right?) I knew EXACTLY when four hours (for vicodin) and 6 hours (for Motrin) was up. I now truly appreciate the concept of "staying ahead of the pain." When we got home, Greg made a spread sheet to keep track of feedings, poo and pee, and my meds. That chart was my best friend. And I really understand how people can get addicted to pain meds. They make you feel so good. Oh, and one more pill. Colace. Oh Colace. Considering how bad trips to the bathroom were with me taking it twice a day....I can't imagine how things would have been without it.

3. Lansinoh. My poor nipples. At some point I assume they will stop hurting? I'm already on my second tube of Lansinoh. One of my book club buddies recommended Lansinoh when Iwas still pregnant. She spoke of it so passionately and lovingly. Now I understand why she was adamant that I have some ready to go.

4. Tivo. I loved tivo before and I hella love it now. Makes those late night (or morning or mid day) feedings fly by. I love my Law and Order reruns during the night feedings. You can't watch a new show that time of night. You might fall asleep and miss something. And its hard to hear the TV when burping the babe. So reruns of my favorite show are perfect. And my new shows are recorded, waiting for me to get a free moment to watch them (I can't believe how much stuff I have waiting for me on tivo - Grey's, Project Runway, Daily Show. I guess I'll get caught up when he goes to preschool).

5. The Swing. My friend lent me her swing. The big Fisher Price Papasan one. Turns out that thing is my best friend. Because after sleeping happily for almost two weeks in the pack and play, my son decided he could only sleep in the swing. Oh, he'd also be happy to sleep ON me or in my ARMS, but since that is not really an option (except for the occasional nap when I am desperate), the swing it is. I would not get any sleep if it wasn't for that swing. And at first I felt a little weird about it (okay, I still feel a teeny tiny weird about it). Like, should he really be sleeping in his swing? Is it safe? Am I starting some horrible habit? And I decided that he is still brand new - you can't spoil them at this age right? And I HAVE TO SLEEP. So whatever.

6. Food Brought by Family and Friends. I would have starved without it. Or had to live on protein bars and potato chips. People who bring new moms food are AWESOME. I vow to always be that guy in the future.

7. The Internet. Email and Facebook were my little window to the world since the only trips I took out of the house were to the doctor or short walks around the neighborhood. Reading the blogs made me feel better - reading about people I've followed for awhile have their babies, or progress through their pregnancy or get pregnant made me feel happy. And reading about people with babies the same age as mine go through the same things that I am going through makes me feel better, like I am not alone. And boy, Google has gotten a workout - I've looked up countless things I was worried about - newborn sleep patterns, reflux, thrush, breastfeeding problems, c-section recovery.....just to name a few. My husband would say this is a NEGATIVE thing about the internet, that I need to relax and not worry, but he is wrong.

8. A Great Swaddling Blanket. Needs to be square. And big. Stretchy is nice too.

9. The Boppy. My neck, arms and shoulders are pretty goddamn sore. But they would be infinitely worse without the Boppy (and the 5 other pillows I keep handy).

10. My camera and the Flip. Because I have to record every adorable moment of my little son's life! I think he already hates it when the flash is constantly going off but I just tell him to get used to it - I'll be annoying him in this way for the rest of his life.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Poor gassy baby

So we had a rough night last night. Little man was up for several hours with gas (I think it was gas - so hard to know what's really going on with them since they can't tell you what's wrong - that's the most annoying thing about those newborns).

Anyways..... after one night of the h*ppiest b*by on the block, we were back to fussy baby. I was SO happy after we had a night of "every three hour feedings and then the kid goes down pretty easily." It was heaven. But the Universe quickly brought me back down to Earth. I expected as much, but after only one night? Doesn't seem fair.

On Tuesday, G$ and I watched the Happpiest video, swaddled our kid right up, shushed like crazy people and jiggled him right to sleep after every feeding. It made for some good laughs. I wish we had the camera out for me jiggling him as I walked to the swing. But it WORKED.

My dad got me the video for a shower gift - I'm not sure why I waited until the kid was almost 4 weeks old to watch it. Brilliant (note to self - watch how-to videos BEFORE the baby is born). I think it could have saved me some pretty brutal nights. But I really like it - the whole concept of the 4th trimester makes sense to me. And my little man really does take to the 5 s's. I mean, we were already swaddling and shushing, but the happiest swaddle is WAY better than what I was doing - he can hardly get his arms out now and I think that keeps him much more calm. The little monkey would always wriggle his arms out before - the strength on this little guy is crazy. But the side thing was new to me. And the side with jiggling combo works like a charm. He is even sort of taking a pacifier after I used the strategy I saw in the video (I am ALL for the pacifier and I have been so sad that my kid would just spit it out or SCREAM at you if you dared to try to put it in his mouth). So anyways, like I said, Tuesday night was heaven.

Then came Wednesday. After the 3am feeding, he started to fuss and I quickly went through the 5 s's. None of them worked. Or they would work for a bit and then I would try to put him down and he would start up again. Then there was the time I had him completely asleep, in the swing, me snug in my blankies on the couch, about to fall asleep.....he starts to cry again.

Poor guy had gas. I just know it. During the feeding, I tried to burp him like I always do, but he would cry and cry and want back on so bad, that I just let him. I was HOPING he didn't need to burp, but I knew he probably did. He also pulled himself off violently a couple of times (that felt fecking GREAT) like he was in pain. So I burped him in all the positions I could think of and I jiggled him and talked to him and bounced him. He was SO tired - yawning and nodding off. I could tell he wanted to go to sleep so bad, he just couldn't. Slowly but surely we got some burps out, I fed him again and he finally settled down. My darling husband told me to go to bed (he had gotten up to help after two hours) - he would stay up with the baby. So I did. And I woke up two glorious hours later to hear my little dude crying, ready for the next feeding. And did the baby sleep that whole two hours? Of course he did. Because it was my husband's shift right?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Time is flying by.....

My little boy is asleep in his swing (the only place he will sleep lately), I have had a cup of coffee, checked my email, Facebook and some blogs, used the bathroom, did my hair (sort of) and put on some powder and covered up the luggage under my eyes - its a good morning. Why do my hair and put on some makeup? Its not like I am going to leave the house or anything. Well, after two days of barely showering and doing NOTHING to fix myself up and therefore feeling like shit any time I accidentally caught my reflection in a mirror or window, I decided that, if I can, I will take the 5 minutes in the morning to make myself look a little better because it makes me FEEL better.

Anyways...I caught up on some blogs of ladies who had their babies around the same time as we did. Apparently we are all having similar, no strike that...the EXACT same experiences and challenges with sleeping, breastfeeding, fussy babies, etc etc. It makes me feel better to know I am not alone. I am not a bad mother. My baby is not a horrible, fussy baby. This is just the way it goes. Phew. Of course I already KNEW all of this, but its nice to get a concrete reminder, to see that somewhere in the world, mothers are going through the same things that I am.

And then I read this one post that was about all the things the mother wanted to remember. All the wonderful things her baby does that she loves and doesn't want to forget. She wrote this long, beautiful list of things her baby does and how he looks when he sleeps and how clothes that were too big now fit. And she wrote about how much he has changed already....and I started to cry. Because I feel the same way. I look at my little boy and I can't believe how much has happened and ho much he has changed in three and a half short weeks. And it really hit me how fast time is flying by.

Will I remember how he only opens one eye when he waking up or about to fall asleep and he looks like this adorable little Popeye? Or how he makes these wonderful squeaking noises? Or how he will suddenly thrust one arm in the air as if to say "power to the people?" Or how sometimes the one arm thrust will look more like he is raising his hand to ask a "Um mom, can you please change my diaper?" Or how he absolutely swam in the monster sleeper when I first put it on him the week we got home...and now its almost too small? Or how he smiles in his sleep and its just the most beautiful thing I have ever seen?

I want to remember all these things. I want to write them down. I want to take more pictures. And, as difficult as these first weeks are, I wish that time would slow down.

So..I am determined to write more. I have said this before and nothing came of it - and that was when I was pregnant and had all the time in the world to write or read or watch TV or leave the house or cook or do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted to!!!! But I digress.

If I can get a small post in every day or two, I will be happy. I should say happy-ER. Because as tired and overwhelmed as I am and as difficult as this whole newborn thing is, this is the happiest I have ever been.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My Son

My son was born on December 26 at 12:12am. He was 6 pounds 15 ounces and 21 inches long. He is healthy and beautiful and I am so in love. I could stare at him all day. I've only had him (on the outside) in my life for 17 days and it feels like forever. It is WONDERFUL (and tiring and overwhelming and surreal and painful - for my boobs anyways - and a million other things.....).

I think we are are doing pretty well. But the days just seem to get away from me. I can't believe he is already 2 and half weeks old. All of a sudden it will be dark out and I think - what did I do today? Feed my baby (the breastfeeding has had its ups and downs), try to get some sleep, have some visitors...not much else. Although we are starting to get into a tiny bit of a routine and I am finally feeling better and able to get up and around on my own (Finn's birth was 32 hours of labor and then a c-section).

This is the first time I've logged onto the blogs since he was born and I have so many to read and so much to catch up on. And at some point, I will write out his birth story and post some pictures. But my little man is starting to fuss a bit so I must go and check on him.