Sometimes, I’m cool just letting a nap happen on my lap.
Today marks the seventh week of our parenthood; the seventh week of Tucker’s life; The seventh week of my postpartum healing from the Cesarian.
Being a parent is hard; and we haven’t even gotten to any of the really difficult things like walking, talking, potty training, kindergarten, girls, driving, college…(you get the idea).
Right now, we muddle through our work-from-home lives, dazed and amazed at how fast 24 hours really is (and how SLOOOOW it can be). Not only that, but how hard being a spouse is. Parenthood is not just a journey for us as a couple, but as individuals within a couple. We’ve been a couple for four years; we continue to develop our communication skills and to grow as husband and wife.
It’s good (and important) for us to keep growing. I think we are in a constant state of learning what the other needs and adjusting to meet those needs. Throw in a baby, and our work is definitely cut out for us.
Seven weeks ago I was just amazed that he was here and real. I think Jason and I both are still shocked that we made this tiny, über-dependent person. For my part, I pretty much find myself obsessively googling the strange things he does and habits (or lack thereof) he seems to be acquiring. It’s all a matter of perspective.
“They”–and by “they,” I mean just about all the literature the LCs and doctors have handed us–say that Tucker should be sleeping roughly 16-18 hours a day. He doesn’t. He averages 12; on bad days he gets maybe 9 and on really good days he might pull off 14. I have learned that if he has a crap day, the next one is likely to be good.
I’ve also discovered that Tucker isn’t the only baby NOT sleeping the prescribed length. We are very lucky that he isn’t really a fussy boy…If he’s overtired, he doesn’t really complain; he just grows sad, droopy bags under his eyes. It’s where we keep the extra binkies.
He likes to sleep after nursing, and he can get a solid hour or two napping on my lap (we have a giantnormous pillow acting as Boppy for the time being which also allows my laptop some space to work). He sleeps great (most nights) through the night.
I have been healing nicely. The doctors didn’t use sutures or staples, but what Jason and I are calling “bio-glue,” to close me up, so my incision site is and has been looking good.
My abs, on the other hand, are pretty much non-existent. And my pelvis is still pretty sore (even though I didn’t have a baby push through it). The good news is I will be cleared for more strenuous exercise next week.
Jason decided that we should train together for a [half] marathon. Run or walk, I think it’s a great idea and a good way for us to do more together. I’m excited to begin training with him next week!
We can take this guy with us while we’re still working out the lower mileage.
I neglected to post a Mommy Milestone on Monday because I actually started back to work on Monday. I’m thankful for my boss (both bosses really [my VP is great], but my Editor in Chief is truly the bee’s knees) because she has been so accommodating. She’s been kind enough to work around our Tucker schedule (as in… he doesn’t really have one and my work hours are now quite sporadic at best).
Regardless of how accommodating my office has been, the fact of the matter is that Tucker is unpredictable. On Tuesday he slept 2-3 hours every hour or two. On Wednesday and Thursday, this wasn’t the case and I really had to scramble to make my deadline on Thursday, 5:30 pm.
In this case, Jason, my wonderful and amazing husband, took control of the baby and whisked him away (after he woke up from a much-needed 3-hour nap) yesterday afternoon/evening so I could make my deadline.
In addition to stressing about work, I’ve been stressing about Tucker in general. He’s 4 weeks today, and while we had a rough beginning, things are mellowing (albeit somewhat slowly). The newest thing to cause both (or all) of us stress is Tucker’s odd nursing behavior. At first I thought it was nipple confusion on account of him needing to be bottle fed for the first few days while he was in the NICU. And to be honest, we probably started using/continued to use bottles too soon before breastfeeding was established completely, but he does the same thing with his bottles too.
The behavior: Tucker will attempt to latch, and even if the nipple is in his mouth, he roots around, gets pissed that he can’t find it, and starts to cry. OR he has latched, but pulls off within seconds, and then he tries to latch again, only to get frustrated while doing the same thing mentioned above. It’s super frustrating to him, but to me as well… to the point where I end up tearing up or all out crying. Babies are hard work. In the back of my head is the constant: how have I f***ed him up already/ how will I inevitably f*** him up in the (near) future. We’re meeting with a lactation consultant on Monday before my 4-week post op appointment with my OB-Gyn.
This week’s victory goes more to my husband for being superman.
Ahh, last week flew by. Baby boy has rounded the 2-week bend. And even if I had still been pregnant last week, he’d be here by now since Friday was our 42nd week. According to Dr. Karp (of The Happiest Baby on the Block fame), only ten more weeks until Tucker is a proper, communicating infant. Hooray!
Most of the week has been good. Tucker had his second well-baby visit and logged a hefty weight and height increase.
But I would be totally lying if I said that it wasn’t a tough week. For all of us. Well, Jason and I joke that it can’t be too tough for the baby since his needs are being met and he’s still alive. But for Jason and me, it’s been hard. Lots of tears, and not just the fake baby tears.
If I haven’t said it here, I have said it to Jason: I’ve cried more in the last two weeks than I have in my entire life. I’m over the crying, but my postpartum, fragile emotions don’t seem to be.
I cry because I am tired. I cry because I feel guilty about needing a c-section. I cry because the baby seems to be suffering from a case of nipple confusion as a result of his stay in the NICU. This then leads me to cry about insufficient and inefficient milk production. I cry a lot. I hate it. My goal for the coming week is to cry less.
For the last two or so years, I’ve been reading this woman’s blog. Around the time I found out that we were expecting Tucker, she announced that she too was expecting. Her commitment to providing well thought-out information for her readers has no doubt helped me on several occasions.
Of particular note, she recommended an app called Baby Connect. This easy-to-use app helps me keep track of how long the baby sleeps, how many wet/poopy/both diapers he’s having, how often he nurses (and on which side), and it allows me to record his stats at doctor visits. I can even log baby’s medications (he’s only taking a vitamin D supplement since it’s not present in breast milk), and moods (although I haven’t done this). It is a paid app, but well-worth the investment.
Another victory this week: FaceTime can moonlight as a baby monitor. I attempted this last night while Tucker was sleeping in the bedroom and Jason and I wanted to enjoy some educational programs (History Channel…Ancient Aliens…fun to mock). It has been getting colder in the evenings and over night here, and being that our boiler has now decided to stop functioning all together… we employed our wood burning stove for the first time since about February. We use a blower attachment on the stove to push the warm air down the hallway to the bedrooms. It is loud. Obnoxiously loud. Since we did want to be able to watch TV and let Tucker sleep in his bassinet at the same time, I improvised.
I’ve never really used FaceTime except once to check it out. But it worked amazingly. Since we have both an iPad and an iPhone, I set up the iPad near the baby, dialed the phone, and ta-da: instant baby monitor. I muted the sound on my end so nothing would pick up on the baby’s end, then we went about our business and kept an ear open for Tucker squeaks, squawks, and whales. Totally worked and has staved off our purchasing an expensive baby monitor for the time being.
**Question: How did you stay organized during those first few weeks with baby? Who helped you out?**
I wanted to change up a few things with the blog to reflect the changes in our lives. With that, I am going to be posting a weekly update on the milestones I achieve as a new mom. Here, I’ll talk about the trials and victories of being a new mom.
I don’t think I want to make this a full-tim parenting blog. I don’t think that really fits with how I’ve always envisioned this blog. It’s a living blog, so I do intend to maintain that theme.
As you, my readers, know, my little boy was born on the 12th. In this first week of his life, I can honestly say that it’s been nothing and everything like all our advice-givers have told us.
I had a Cesarian Section after 12 hours of labor. In addition to my having major surgery, Tucker had to be whisked away to the NICU. The plan I had, the wish I had, of feeding him right from delivery and holding him skin-to-skin was not going to happen. This was and still is upsetting (It’s been over a week and I still get misty!)
I’ve never before had major surgery. The only time I’ve ever been under anesthesia was about 15 or so years ago when I had my wisdom teeth pulled out in the middle of 9th grade and that was just gas, not heavy drugs.
I remember laying there, and most people who know will say that I’m pretty stoic, and not the most emotional person. But as I was laying there, feeling the tugs and pulls of the doctors working on us to get Tucker out, I couldn’t help but feel waves of guilt for not doing more to get my baby out in a quicker and more healthful way. Then, when he was out, and I could hear him, I couldn’t open my eyes because I knew I would burst into tears and could be detrimental to the process of closing me up. I could still feel the tears stream out of the corners of my eyes, and the telltale quiver of my bottom lip.
Moments later, the neonatal pediatrician was at my side (or head, rather) letting me know that she was going to be taking Tucker to the NICU for observation because he was having a little difficulty breathing as a result of the meconium he had ingested before birth. Before they took my baby to the NICU, I got to see him for the first time. I don’t have words for that moment. I’m sure you can imagine the flood of emotions.
Jason first went to the table where they were cleaning the baby in the OR to cut his umbilical cord. Unfortunately for Jason, he took a peek at me on his way. He tells me he’s very surprised he didn’t collapse then and there. It’s not every day that you see your wife on an operating table with a large gaping hole in the middle of her. The doctors working on the baby redirected his attention to the baby so he could focus on his job. Apparently that, too, was pretty gross.
As for me, I kept my eyes closed but to look at Tucker that first time until I was in my recovery room.
Healing from a C-Section is not fun, at all. Not that I would have expected it to be. I just don’t like being in pain and having to rely on pain medication to function. This, coupled with caring for a new-born, was exceedingly difficult–because not only am I a pretty stoic person, I’m also a pretty independent person. I can’t even drive for two weeks, post-op. As the primary driver in our family, this isn’t only hard for me, but for Jason as well. He’s not a fan of driving…I should say he’s really not a fan of OTHER drivers.
We haven’t really gone anywhere since we got home last Monday. We had Tucker’s first well-baby visit on Tuesday, which was a big trial for Jason because of his needing to be able to drive us to the appointment. Driving not being the big issue, but the sleep deprivation playing a big part. At a point, I made Jason sleep several hours in our guest room, just so he would be rested enough to drive. The first night home with Tucker was…interesting.
Waiting for my milk to fully come in had been another major trial. For all of us. Remember how I said a few paragraphs ago that I wasn’t the most emotional of people? Well, postpartum hormonal imbalance has pretty much taken care of that. As my husband will tell you: these days, I cry at the drop of a hat. Mostly its in the middle of the night, after the baby has woken up after only sleeping for twenty minutes for the third time, and he can’t keep a latch, so we default to the single bottle of formula we’ve resolved ourselves to needing. This usually triggers my guilt from needing a C-Section, not being able to nurse until two days after Tucker was born, and blaming my body for not providing enough for my baby.
My milk has come in! I’m even leaking, which is an odd sensation. I still feel as though I’m not producing enough, but I think Tucker has entered into his very first growth spurt, so that could account for his needing more nutrients than I am physically able to provide him with currently. Of course this still makes me sad, but I have come to better terms with the situation. When we left the hospital last Monday, they gave us a decent supply of the formula they’d been feeding Tucker throughout the duration of his stay. We also got a gift bag full of baby goodies, which also contained the powdered version of the premixed bottles they’d given us. So, for at least this first month or so, we’re set for feedings.
We’ve also just about figured out how this little guy operates. I can usually get him to sleep just by breastfeeding, especially during the day time. It’s at night–that 2-6 o’clock window–during which he is supper fussy and no amount of breast milk seems to do the trick. A 2 oz bottle of formula works like a charm. This leads to more sleeping time for Jason and me too. So, for now, we’ll continue to play this by ear and see if it sticks… or for how long anyway. I’ve read that the first 6 weeks are the worst of the first three months. Here’s hoping!
The swelling in my hands and feet has gone down so much, that I’ve been able to put my wedding ring back on. I don’t remember how far along I was before I had to take it off, but it was a sad day for both Jason and me. I had hoped to wear it longer, but it didn’t work out that way. When I showed Jason that I had put it back on, he said “Hooray, we’re married again!” This made me smile; something I needed.
While I was pregnant, the swelling in my ankles and feet got so bad that at one point, I’d gained nearly 5 pounds in a single week from the water retention. Now that Tucker is here, and my body has had a little bit of time to re-acclimate to normal conditions, my feet no longer resemble fat sausages, and I’ve actually lost about 1/4 of my baby weight. I’ve actually lost about half, but I give Tucker credit for half of that.
**Question: What are your Mommy Milestones this week?**