April 26, 2012

Five Weeks: All Smiles*

What a change this past week has been with the nugget! Holy cow! For the past two weeks, Lucas and I were solo as Daddy was out in the field for some Army training. With no help, we were left to figure thing out on our own, and I will admit, it was kind of nice. It also means that this little man is turning into a serious Mama's Boy, much to M's dismay!

But this week has been all about the smiles! Lucas has finally figured out how to smile on his own, with out the help of his little farts to do the work, and it has become so easy to get that big, cheesy grin from him! In fact, aside from the morning snuggles, getting this guy to smile has become my favorite thing to do. Seeing that big grin first thing in the morning, when he sees me to come pick him up, makes my heart melt a million different ways.

But now that M is back home this week, I've been doing my best to let him handle more situations. Since we've been on our own the past two weeks, we've gotten a pretty good routine down. I know his cries, and his timeline, and essentially, what he needs at any given point during the day. M does not, not that it's his fault. I spent 24/7 with the kid so it only makes sense that Mama Knows Best! But Dad needs to figure it out, too, no matter how hard it is to hear him cry when I know exactly how to rock him/sooth him/hold him to make him feel better. It's a learning process for him, and I need to not let my anxiety get the best of me in those situations. As much as I say that I could use some alone time during the day, when it comes down to it, I love this little guy so much ... I really don't want to let him out of my arms!

He is also growing SO MUCH. He is no longer my tiny little baby we brought home from the hospital. I had to accept the fact that we were moving to a bigger diaper this week, and some of his pajamas's and little pants are getting a tad snug. He's still in newborn size onesies, but we've had to break out the 0-3 month clothes for some other things. It makes me sad that he is already growing so fast. I want him to stay little forever! But Lucas eats like a horse! We cannot put enough food into his belly, which doesn't help my supply issues as he is gradually getting more formula than boob juice, but we are lucky he is such a good eater.

His schedule has also become a little more predictable. His days are still a little varied, and one day can be completely different than the next, but he seems to be falling asleep around 8:00 every night. Aside from a couple quick wakeups for some food (once around 10:30 and again around 2:30) he sleeps very soundly through the night, and we are both up and starting our day around 7:00 am. Because he is such a sound sleeper and is typically very quiet, I'm sleeping pretty hard in those four hour stretches (or so). So with that, I am feeling pretty good these days. Although not as good as I'm sure I will feel when he first sleeps through the night. Of course, it's not all roses and rainbows, but most of the time, it is. I really have no complaints about this kid.

Aside from almost daily walks, there still isn't a lot of physical activity on my part, but I am looking forward to changing that this week. I am going to start working out on a daily basis, thanks to some long walks planned and some home workouts that won't take up too much time. I'm still taking it easy, but I am itching to get into shape and lose some more weight. I'm lucky that I didn't gain much during my pregnancy, and am weighing less than I did when I got pregnant, but I'm still feeling blah. At five weeks post partum, I'm looking forward to being a little more active. I'm stir crazy at the house and feeling antsy, so hopefully this will ease some of that for me and make me feel a little better.

All in all, things are pretty good these days. My maternity leave is half over, and while I am looking forward to going back to work in June, I can't imagine leaving this guy. I'm preparing for it, but getting in all the snuggles I can. We have a trip to Seattle in the very near future to visit family & friends, so I am looking forward to that as well. I can't wait to see how this kid changes in the coming weeks!

April 25, 2012

Breast Feeding & Pumping*

There are a lot of things that are difficult about being a new, first time parent. The exhaustion. The feeling of being completely overwhelmed, especially in the first couple of weeks. Realizing that you are completely responsible for the life of a new person [and hoping you don't fuck it up too bad]. Figuring out how this new little person fits into your life.The extreme lack of sleep.

The list is endless.

It's no surprise that nothing about having a baby was easy for us, or for me. Between the miscarriage, infertility, a rough pregnancy and an even more difficult delivery, everything was challenging. I knew, because of my breast reduction two years ago, that breast feeding may also prove to be difficult when the time came. I made the choice and understood that as a result of the type of breast reduction I was having, that there was a good chance that I wouldn't be able to produce ANYTHING. So, as I reached the end of my pregnancy and the topic of whether or not to breast feed came up, my mind was open to the possibilities. If I could, great!! If I couldn't because of my surgery, then no big deal and I wasn't going to beat myself up over it. I thought I had a good mindset about the reality of the situation. Everybody I talked I told them this with a sort of nonchalant attitude. Everyone told me that I was in a good place with what I would be able to do.

So why do I feel like failure?

When I was in the  hospital, we had no problem getting Lucas to latch on [well, with the help of a nipple shield. Thank you, very much, to my extremely large nips!] and he would nurse without a fight. At this point, they don't need much other than whatever colostrum I can give them to begin with, so it was a relatively easy process. After each nursing session, I would pump for a few minutes, just to make sure that my body knew I needed to produce more. A few days later, it was obvious when my milk came in and I was ecstatic that my plumbing was working!

Cut to two days later, with a hungry baby, and tears streaming down my face because suddenly nursing has become extremely difficult. Lucas would suddenly get fussy and angry with every session. One day, we spent an hour and a half trying to nurse, before I finally gave up and gave him his first formula bottle. It had been five hours since his last nursing session, and the kid needed to eat. Immediately after that, I called the lactation department at our local hospital, where I had given birth, and made an appointment to see the woman who had been helping me after delivery. Through a couple of nursing sessions and a fancy scale, we learned that Lucas was, essentially, not getting any boob juice from mama. I was, essentially, starving my child for a few days. He would latch, and he would nurse, but he was not eating. For a while, we thought maybe a SLIGHT tongue tie was to blame, but three different doctors said he had no problem and they would not cut his frenulum.

So, frustrated, I turned to pumping. The hope was that as he got a little older and a little stronger, his suck would get better. Our schedule was essentially nurse for 30 minutes, simply for the idea that he was keeping up with the practice & staying with it, give him a bottle [which takes about 15 minutes for him to take] and then pump for another 15-20 minutes. Since he was eating every two to three hours, you can imagine how much of a daunting & exhausting task this was. Unfortunately, what we also found out through pumping was that my supply was not that great. I was not [and still am not] producing enough for what his daily intake is, despite weeks of power pumps and herbs galore. So even if we could get him to latch AND eat, he would still need to be supplemented.

And that failure thing? This is where I feel it. Which, i do not know why. I went into this expecting NOTHING. I knew that there was a chance that if I produced even a drop, it was a miracle. So I should be happy with the fact that even though we are supplementing, he is still getting a substantial amount of boob juice every day (about half of what he takes in). But after four weeks of figuring out what to do, and what would work, calling my Lactation Consultant and telling her that I was throwing in the towel and focusing on pumping was difficult. I got caught up in an emotion that I wasn't expecting. The tears weren't expected.

I know this is my doing. I chose to have the surgery to make my situation better. Do I regret it? I don't know. It would have made things easier. Or it wouldn't. I'll never know. But it is what it is. Breast feeding is hard. And challenging. And emotional. Making that choice to quit nursing was hard, but I know that it's what is best FOR US. Although, I will admit that being tied to my pump, especially now when I am pumping every two to three hours, kind of sucks. But, some boob juice is better than nothing, and I have to keep telling myself that I am doing the best that I can, doing the best for my little man. I am still struggling with how to handle all of this, but we will get to a place. And every day that I keep pumping is one day better for Lucas. Right?

April 19, 2012

One Month Photo

I wanted to do something original for monthly photos of the little guy (I've already missed his newborn photo!) but I decided that clean & simple was the way to go :)

Four Weeks: One Month Old!*

It's hard to believe that at this time four weeks ago, I was recovering from our very difficult delivery but completely & blissfully enamored by the little guy that had graced us with his presence. I know I will keep saying this, probably for years to come, but I do not know where the time went. How is it that this little guy is now a month old?

This past week has been challenging, as Lucas has been going through what I can only categorize as a growth spurt. He has been eating constantly [every hour and a half to two hours, versus every three hours of the previous weeks] and does not want to be put down. Clingy does not even begin to describe it. With that said, I am very grateful that I spent money on some excellent baby carriers, and my Maya Sling Wrap has been used every single day. Aside from the growth spurt/eating/clinginess phase of this past week, he is also napping in shorter time frames, leaving very few opportunities during the day for me to get things done. Insert sling wrap here. It has allowed me to at least throw in a load of laundry, wash some bottles or cram a sandwich into my mouth with both my hands and without a crying baby in the other room. We've been solo this past week as M has been in the field [hooray Army training!] and won't be back for a few more days, so it's been a little daunting, but nothing I can't handle. Although, M may have to take over for a couple of hours when he finally gets home so mamma can have a LITTLE alone time! :)

But, with shorter naps for Lucas, it means more baby time for me! Since he has been so awake this past week, it has left more time for us to play. Or, play as much as you can with a four week old newborn. Our playing time this past week has consisted of some tummy time in bed in the morning after his bottle, as well as time on his play mat in the afternoons. We've also enjoyed reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar in the mornings when he wakes up. Because he has been so alert this past week, he has been able to focus on specific objects much better. I think he likes this books because of the high contrast in colors. Either way, it always catches his attention. 

But the best part of all of it is that his personality is really starting to come out. This kid is about as laid back as one can get. The only times he cries is if he's hungry, needs a diaper change or just wants to be held. Other than that, when he is awake it just soaks everything in. I am hoping that he stays this way through life! The dogs still haven't quite figured out what is going on yet, but have become a little more accustomed to having Lucas around. Cooper is not a fan of the crying, at least the past couple of days, but they are curious as ever when he is down at their level and it is fun to watch them try to figure him out. I can't wait until Lucas is big enough to interact with them a little more.

View from above! He loves the sling wrap!
All in all, I can't believe how fast the time is going, and even on the hardest days [which I will admit, they have not been that difficult lately] I want the time to go just a little bit slower. With four weeks down, it means I only have six weeks left of my maternity leave. As much as I miss people interaction and am looking forward to getting back to my job, I already know I'll have a hard time leaving this guy, even though I know he will be in completely capable  hands. It's just not something I'm ready to think about!

As far as the breast feeding is going, I have, for the most part, stopped nursing. I am still pumping 8 times a day, but am only producing about half of what he needs on a daily basis, despite herbs and other methods to up my supply. This is another post that I am currently working on, but it all boils down to a breast reduction surgery I had two years ago. But, he's still getting some boob juice with every meal, we are just having to add a little extra to supplement. And you know what? I'm ok with that. But again ... another post for another day!

Tummy Time!
 The baby blues I can safely say have pretty much passed. The baby blues are a natural aspect of post-pregnancy, but let me tell you, they are rough. I can categorically say that post-pregnancy hormones can kick pregnancy hormones asses. TEN TIMES WORSE. But, it is what it is. I used twitter and this blog for an outlet a couple of times when days were really bad, but for the most part, I have kept things to myself. The only people that I talked about the baby blues in details to were my husband and my best friend, two people who know me better than anybody and always had the right thing to say. It's not fun to admit that you're crying hysterically over something that you can't even remember. Not to mention the fact that those first two weeks are completely overwhelming. But the way I was feeling, I just didn't want to discuss it at length with anyone. It definitely didn't mean that I was struggling, but I FULLY appreciate all the support that was given to me when I did bring it up. So, thank you for that. However, I am glad to have that part of this behind me!

So one month down. I feel like next I'm going to be writing about his high school graduation. Slow it down kid, will ya?

April 13, 2012

Three Weeks: Still Learning*

I had every intention of being one of those savvy bloggers who has the time to keep up with baby updates. The original plan was to do once a week for the first month, and then monthly after that. I have already missed the second week, so yay me! BUT, I am posting for week three. So, high five to me for that.

So! Three weeks! I have been peed on more times than I can count in the past three weeks! And Lucas' personality is starting to come through. He is, for the most part, a very easy baby. Aside from the usual fussiness that comes along with a three week old [I'm hungry. I need a new diaper. I'm tired.] is a very chill baby. He is smiling often [although I know at this point, we can thank the gas] and when he is really content, he has started to make some seriously adorable cooing noises. He hates tummy time, but his head movement is stellar for being only three weeks old, so we keep practicing. Aside from some rough times last week when Kim was here, thanks to some gassiness issues, he has been sleeping like a champ during the night, sleeping completely between feedings. Knock on wood.

Our big thing this week is to start working on some sort of routine. It's still difficult because of his sporadic schedule and the fact that we live in two to three hour increments, but we're slowly but surely getting there. We're also trying to get out of the house at least once a day, whether that's for a walk around the neighborhood, visiting some friends, or running errands. It's good for my sanity to get out [and, you know, get dressed in something other than sweats] and good for the little man to experience the world a bit.

He also is much more alert during the day, not instantly falling asleep after his bottle, which is great for some one on one mommy/Lucas time. Finding ways to stimulate a three week old while he's awake is difficult, but we sing songs, read books, and play. Again, seeing his personality start to come out has been so wonderful.

As for me, the post-partum healing continues. Aside from being sore the first couple of weeks, I was feeling pretty good about myself. I had lost all of my baby weight by the end of week one, and continued to drop another 10 pounds in week two [losing 28 pounds total in those two weeks. I only gained 18 pounds total during my pregnancy.]. I've hit a stand still for now [which is fine, I'm not concerned about the weight loss just yet]. Any sort of cardio is still a couple of weeks away, but I think I was so used to seeing myself pregnant for so long that I felt so great about myself in those first two weeks. But this week I've just felt saggy and flabby.

Either way, we are getting there. Being a mother is so very hard. But I am so grateful every single day for this opportunity. I love this little guy more than words can express and we are so blessed to have him in our lives. Plus, he doesn't care if I don't dry my hair or put on makeup. As long as he gets his mommy snuggles, this guy is happy.

April 12, 2012

Life These Days*

Last week, my best friend, Kim, flew out from Seattle to spend some time with our little family. I can most definitely say that it was much, MUCH needed on my part to have her here. We have, for the most part, been figuring out this whole parenting thing solo, as all of our family lives on the west coast. We have had offers from friends for various things, but most involve just coming over to see the baby so I can nap or shower. Again, both wonderful things, but I'm not quite to the point yet where I'm ready to leave the kiddo in the hands of friends, even if it does mean that I get to snooze for an hour in the same house [plus, I can do that when baby sleeps!].

But having Kim here was different. Her baby is seven and a half months old so the few days here was a nice vacation for her, but she was also an unbelievable help to me both physically and emotionally. When she wasn't washing bottles, buying groceries & making coffee [despite me telling her not to] she was convincing me that I was doing everything right, even when Lucas was so gassy that he didn't stop screaming for two hours, leaving both of us [Lucas & I] in tears. And when I just needed to cry because the baby blues are kicking my ass something fierce, she sat there and listened. There is something about a best friend that brings emotional support that nobody else can provide, not to mention the fact that she had very recently gone through everything that I was going through. I love our friends here, but I can't talk to people the way I can talk to Kim. I think this just naturally comes with 20 years of friendship. And, you know, the whole best friend thing.

The Bestie! Love her so very much!
But more than anything, it was just SO NICE to have her here. Our relationship is so unlike any other. It's weird. And I wish every day that we lived closer together because life is just so much more fun with her around. I'm convinced that we wouldn't need anybody else if we lived close to each other again. [You know, aside from our husbands & children!] So it meant so much to me that she was able to come out and share this time with us. And again, she was such amazing help! I love her dearly & I can't wait for our boys to meet each other in May when Lucas & I fly to Seattle for a week.

Aside from that, this whole parenting things is fucking HARD. They tell you before the kid comes that it's difficult and that it will change your life. But I don't think anything really prepared me for EXACTLY how hard this all is. There are some really amazing times, where I look at this kid and am in total awe of what M & I were able to create. He's so perfect and wonderful, and the love we both have for him is unreal. But holy shit. There are times where I think, I have no fucking clue what I am doing. I second guess everything that I do, wondering if it's the right thing. Am I feeding him enough? Am I bad mom because we're not breast feeding right now and I'm only pumping at this point? [a different post for a different day]. Have I held him enough today or did I put him down and in the pack and play for too long? Is he going to get sick if I leave the house for a little while? Is he too warm? Too cold? Did I let him sleep too long in between feeding sessions just because I wanted an extra 30 minutes of sleep? Questions after questions after questions of trying to figure it all out.

And when the pure exhaustion hits, that's when the baby blues are at their worst. I feel like things are getting a little better on that aspect ... there definitely are not as many tears as there were in the beginning ... but some days I just feel so lost and helpless that I can't help but lose it. It's frustrating to feel like this and it makes me feel HORRIBLE for crying over something that we wanted for so long. The emotions are so random and extensive. But, I'm fighting them and hoping that with time, things get easier.

Plus, this little guy? He really is worth it in the long run. That run is exhausting, but he is worth every second.

April 11, 2012


I'm working on a blog post that I HOPE to have up later today [it's taking me a while to write it, thanks to the little man. How do mommy bloggers do it with a newborn??] but I had to share this video for the time being. If you have not heard of Gotye, you must definitely check him out.

I am obsessed with this guy's voice & his album! His voice [and this video] remind me a little of Peter Gabriel. I've been listening to his album for the past couple of days ... it's catchy & fun, and definitely a must listen! Check him out!