twelve weeks: whoops

Oh, man, the holidays hit like a ton of bricks this year.  SO BUSY.  I thought maybe I’d be able to slow down a bit what with having the kid, but no.  Even busier, cause everyone wants a piece of the baby when you have one.  Damn.

Norah will be 3 months old next week, and I’m so excited.  This past month has been so much fun with her – she’s a laughing giggling little whirlwind at the moment.  Just this past week, she decided she wasn’t up for being my little cuddlebug so much anymore, and there are times during the day where she essentially demands to be put down.  It’s kind of a bummer.  Still, they have to grow up, and at least I can get a few things done now.

Let’s see, what else is going on…

  • Breastfeeding is still rocking.  At about 8 or 9 weeks, I ended up using up my fridge stash during a growth spurt of hers and got super nervous about my supply.  So, I decided the best thing would be to switch to pretty much exclusively nursing to boost production.  The pump is great, but it doesn’t really replace nursing.  Also, she was latching just fine, and there really wasn’t any reason not to.  I can happily say now that it worked very well, that she has plenty of milk (although she does get frustrated at night sometimes because the flow isn’t fast enough – guess she’s used to fire hose in the mornings, hah) and that she really prefers the boob.  I prefer it too – it’s made my life way easier with the reduced pumping and washing of bottles and pump parts.  I bought a Medela Harmony hand pump to see if I could use it for engorgement times, and it works SO well.  With it, I was able to get my freezer stocked to 24 ounces again, yay!
  • No more bottles means that even though I will once in a while bring one on an outing, I have to nurse in public now.  I’m getting very comfortable with it –  I discovered our mall has a fantastic family lounge with little rooms to breastfeed in.  I do it in the car frequently as well.  I haven’t tried anything much beyond that yet, but I’m hoping to branch out soon.  I do cover up with a blanket most times, but not really for myself, more for other people.  I know that’s super silly, though.  I’ll get better with time.
  • Merry and I left Nono with his mom for the first time a couple of weeks ago.  It went well – it was only for an hour and a half or so.  My sister in law is very structured with her kids, they go on strict schedules and things like that, so I think my mother in law was a little confused with all the sort of liberty in front of her – she’d ask me if the baby was supposed to nap and I’d just smile and say, “If she wants to!”  I don’t schedule Norah, she’s far too little, and I firmly believe that’s why she’s such a good sleeper.  Plus, when you breastfeed on demand, there isn’t much room for scheduling.
  • Cloth diapering still going well – I discovered that I really, really like using flats.  Pockets are convenient, and Merry prefers them, but the ones we have are kinda unpredictable when it comes to leaks.  She’s just still a teeeeny bit too small.  Prefolds and flats with covers are still the number one choice to me, even though they’re super difficult to manage when we go out.  I need the pockets to start fitting just for that reason.  Sorry for the cloth diaper gibberish talk – those who know about it will understand, hah.  I’m about to order a couple Alvas and a couple Sunbabys to take a look at them.
  • I bought a beautiful Kalea Baby ring sling for Christmas, and I love it so much.  I wore Norah all through the Target this afternoon, and it worked really well, except that in my hurry to get her in it I didn’t adjust it comfortably and my neck was killing me by the end.  Still, I know what I did wrong, so I’ll fix it next time.  I’m planning on getting another Ergo-like carrier with our tax return, since the Ergo we have is really Merry’s deal – it fits him far better.
  • Norah is 12 pounds now, meaning that at 3 months she’s doubled her birthweight.  She’s sitting right at the 50th percentile – she’s the first child I’ve ever known who adheres to the sizing guidelines on her clothes EXACTLY.  Like, she is 3 months, so now she’s just slightly too big for the 0-3 clothes and just easing into the 3-6 month ones.  It’s really funny.  She’s got lovely little chub rolls and she eats like a freaking horse.  She also got her first shots at her 2 month appointment.  I was a bit nervous for her, but I needn’t have bothered – she let out one GIGANTIC scream and then huffed for a minute afterward.  That’s it.  She was back to smiling 2 minutes later.  That’s my kid.

And the big news of the month that gets its own little paragraph:

  • I have officially decided to start my doula training next month.  I’m going to be getting certified through Childbirth International, who does an online course that I’ve heard great things about.  I will be certifying in postpartum doula care only at first, meaning I won’t be attending births for probably another year or two.  Births are just too hard to attend with a little one, especially while she’s breastfeeding.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t start my business now.  I’m very excited!  I will be certifying as a CBC (Certified Breastfeeding Counselor) as well, although I don’t plan on that until next year.

Oh, shit, the beast is stirring.  At least she obliged me by letting me play on the Internet in peace for an hour.  Till next time, my lovelies.

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five weeks old: playtime

This entry is labeled 5 weeks old, but Norah is in fact just two days away from 6 weeks.  That means that 6 weeks ago today, I was starting out on my lovely induction journey.  I’ve honestly managed to forget many details of the birth – I mean, I distinctly remember her ACTUAL birth, but all the shit leading up to it faded pretty fast.  Also, I can’t remember how it felt to be pregnant.  WHAT?  Seriously!  I bounced back so fast and having a new baby is such a distraction that by the time I stopped to think about it, I forgot it all.  I suppose that’s why women keep having babies, eh?

Everything is splendid on this end – this baby is seriously a freaking treasure.  Other than the odd fussy night, she sleeps so well and is so easygoing.  My milk production has gotten much better – I finally have a stash in the fridge again of about 10 ounces, which is three good sized feeds.  Total load off of my mind, I can tell you.  Unfortunately, my letdown has gotten a bit out of control – if I try and breastfeed with full boobs, I tend to spray my kid in the face.  :/  Oops.

Those of you who are Jewish might know that Hanukkah is crazy early this year – it starts on Wednesday, as a matter of fact.  So I’m having to get into the holiday stuff this year before I’m anywhere near ready, before Thanksgiving even!  It’s Norah’s first Hanukkah, so it’s important to me that we at least haul out the menorah and light some candles.  We also celebrate Christmas, and hopefully we won’t be burned out holiday-wise by then.  Eeep.

At her one month appointment, we found out that Norah is now 8 1/2 pounds, although that was a week ago – I’m sure it’s close to 9 by now.  That’s a 2 1/2 pound gain in one month!  Boob feeding is the way to go, guys.  Especially for a super hungry kid.  She is now officially in her 0-3 month clothes.  All the newborn things are being packed away… and I’m totally not crying every time I think of that.  No way.  *sniff*  The cloth diapering is still going well, and I expect to get her into her pocket dipes very, very soon.  I plan on using the dozen or so Chinese cheapies we have for a while, but also buying probably one expensive pocket a week – probably Bum Geniuses.  I have a couple of those already to try, so we’ll see how they do.  Right now, prefolds and covers are wonderful and very simple to wash.  She outgrew the preemie sized prefolds in a couple weeks, and she’s right at the veeery edge of the newborn ones right now.  I just put a regular Osocozy Size 1 infant one on her at her last change and it’s fitting just fine.  She needs the extra absorbency – kid is a champion pee-er.  Seriously.

So, I’m planning on doing one more weekly type update at 6 weeks, and then I’m going to let this blog morph into more of a topical family life type thing.  I have been crafting somewhat again, which I want to chronicle (god, I need to get back onto Ravelry) and I will obviously still update about the babe, but babies aren’t quite so easy to cut into weekly chunks as is pregnancy.  Plus, we’re planning on making some life changes around here (yay for a year of debt repayment! so excite) and I’m boring enough to blog about those.

Whee!

one month old: miss piggy has opinions

ImageI have no idea what’s going on in this photo.  I think I intended to show off her ridiculous outfit, because this kid wears 90% pajamas and 10% absolutely wackadoodle ensembles.  It’s my way of getting all her newborn stuff worn at least once before she outgrows them, and I am gonna be cutting it close, you guys.  This kid has grown.

ONE MONTH OLD.  The best part of Norah being a month old is that I’m a month post-partum!  I’m feeling really good – the afterpains are all gone along with the bleeding, my hips are nearly back to shape (I still can’t walk for long distances or drive too much in one day, but normal activity is a-ok), and the memories of the trauma of her birth fade more every day.  I can’t say I feel 100% back to normal yet, but I definitely feel like myself, and that’s nice.  I was pregnant for almost an entire year, people – I haven’t felt like myself in so long!  I love it.

Nono is without a doubt one of the sweetest babies I’ve ever known.  She has the sunniest disposition – well, when she isn’t hungry.  When she’s hungry, you best watch the fuck out, cause she will EAT YOUR FACE.  Do not get any body parts close to her mouth – she will assume they are nipples and just go to town, people.  But otherwise, she’s fantastic.  She’s started to have some fussy periods at night where she can’t quite settle down, but Merry and I watched the video we got from the pediatrician called The Happiest Baby on the Block, and the techniques in there were freaking genius.  Merry in particular is very good at swaddling the kid up like a burrito, shushing in her ear and getting her to calm down immediately.  It’s pretty damn cute.  I loved the video, it was very Attachment Parenting friendly.

But seriously, the eating.  I’m still pumping, and for the past couple of days I’ve been working to increase my supply since it seems she’s going through some kind of growth spurt.  Norah ate a TON last night, and so I suspected she might sleep for a good amount.  I actually set my alarm for the first time just to pump about 4 hours after we went to bed, and I’m glad I did – she slept for 7 hours again!  I love it.  I haven’t been nursing as much for reasons I’ll get into in a moment, but she hasn’t had a drop of formula since she was a week old.  I haven’t really been able to save much milk – there isn’t any in the fridge at the moment, though I do have about 6oz pumped and sitting here waiting for her to wake up from her nap.  But at least she’s getting enough.

But, the nursing.  She’s been latching without the shield for a couple of weeks now, and everything seemed great.  However, I kept nursing her on both sides and then having to give her pumped milk in a bottle afterward – she would be constantly unlatching and relatching and complaining about it, so she was obviously done nursing, but still hungry.  I checked and there was always still milk coming out of my boobs, so it wasn’t that.  Lo and behold, after reading some signs and symptoms listed by the lovely ladies on my Mothering birth board, I discovered that Norah is lip tied!  This essentially means that she’s unable to latch properly and gets tired of sucking very quickly, which is why the bottle is easier for her – less work.  Her lip tie doesn’t seem to be too severe, but it is interfering with nursing, so we’re going to bring it up at her one month appointment tomorrow.

Other fun things?  Hm.  She’s had a few baths so far and one shower – she really liked them all, except for the part where she had to get out and get dried off.  This kid HATES the cold like poison.  The shower was hilarious – Merry handed her to me while I was showering so I could wash her, and as soon as the water hit her, she grabbed onto my front like a little monkey and wouldn’t let go.  She didn’t cry, but she definitely wasn’t sure about the whole spraying water thing.  So sweet.  But she definitely lives up to her name – water goddess indeed!  Merry is eager to teach her how to swim, and I’m sure she’ll love it.

And, pediatrician tomorrow!  I’m eager to see her weight, cause I can betcha it’s over 9 pounds now.  We are out of the preemie cloth diapers and well into the newborn sized ones, with the regular Osocozy infant ones just a step around the corner.  Eeek!  Stop growing, kid.  

 

three weeks old: stuff

ImageSleeping so peacefully… you’d never know that ten minutes prior, she was screaming her head off because she’d managed to pee all over the clothes behind her.  Everyone warns you about baby poop and no one ever mentions the pee.  I’m here to tell you – they pee on it all.  All of it.

Also, we are in the baby acne stage at the moment, so I’m not taking as many photos.  Poor kid.  She’s still adorable, just blotchy.  Like Mama!  Seriously, I’m still dealing with the aftermath of all those damn hormones – my face is both broken out and dry as a bone at the same time.  Peely flaky uuughhh.  I need a new moisturizer.

Things are still going well.  Her damn umbilical cord finally fell off yesterday, so we can finally give the kid a real bath, which she super needs, but that’s the most exciting news of the week.  So, I thought I might devote this week’s entry to revisiting the Baby Industrial Complex and talk about the gear I got that ACTUALLY was worth it.  Keep in mind, all of my shopping was down to experimentation, so I expected some stuff to be useless.  That’s why I didn’t buy much new.  But there was some stuff that turned out to be freaking awesome.

The Oh-My-God-I’m-So-Glad-I-Bought-This-List

  • Our co-sleeper.  I originally never planned on having Norah in bed with us at all, that was what the pack & play/bassinet was for.  Then, it turned out that I’m a freaking dork that ends up dragging my kid into bed with me every morning.  She sleeps way better with us, and it’s been getting me far more sleep.  However, it wasn’t really safe, hence my investing in a co-sleeper nest that goes in the bed between the two of us.  Was it worth the money?  Um, the first night in it, the kid slept for a 7 hour stretch.  YES SO WORTH IT OH MY GOD.  Best $40 I ever spent.
  • The baby carriers.  So far, she loves them all.  She’s still a bit small for the Ergo, so we haven’t tried that one yet, but she’s been in the Moby and the Mei Tai.  My personal preference is the Mei Tai – the Moby is snuggly but SO freaking hot.  I’ll still use them both, though, since as I said, this kid loves being worn.  She doesn’t like being put down all that much, so the carriers are a lifesaver.
  • The breastfeeding pillows and bottles.  I literally can’t feed her without the My Breast Friend pillow (god, I hate that name), and she loves to lie on it and sleep after we’re done.  And when she isn’t nursing, I found the Avent Natural bottles to be best so far.  The Tommee Tippee ones are good too, but leaky.  And I do keep a Medela nipple in the diaper bag to use with my bottles of pumped milk when we go out.  
  • A nipple shield.  I bought a Tommee Tippee one on clearance months ago, and it was a lifesaver up until a couple of days ago.  She seems to be done with it now, but I still keep it around in case my nipples are beat up or sore or she doesn’t want to latch properly.  The Medela shield the lactation consultant gave me at the hospital was crappy.
  • The crapton of swaddle blankets.  I wish I had a gazillion more of these things.  They’re the best blankets, and she loves being swaddled.  They’re perfect for everything, though, and I don’t freak out if she pulls them over her face at night, cause they’re super duper lightweight breathable muslin.  
  • The cloth diapers!  These get a whooole paragraph to themselves.

I have absolutely loved cloth diapering so far.  Norah started out in the little preemie prefolds I had and the teeny tiny Bummis NB covers, but now she’s in regular newborn prefolds and her Thirsties Duo covers, which are awesome.  I also bought two Rumparooz covers that work really well.  We were using the bikini fold at first to get the Snappi to work on the tiny preemie dipes, but now we’re doing the angel wing fold with the Green Mountain NB prefolds.  I really love them – I managed to snag them during a seconds sale.

Laundering has been easy so far – they are staining (thanks, weird yellow breastfed baby poo), but I can get those out in the sun, I think.  And I recently bought some Bac-Out, which Merry has fallen in love with and is now putting in all our wash loads since it got some stains out of his work shirts.  That stuff is awesome.  So now, the staining is much less.  I love that you can just wash the crap out of prefolds and not worry about ruining things like PUL or whatever.  (We do wash our covers separately.)  

More updates on baby crap as I use various things, because I’m sure that’s what you all live for!

two weeks old: boobs

ImageYes, my child has joined the legions of other babies dressed as ladybugs for Halloween.  And with a damn good reason – ladybugs are cute, babies are cute, and babies dressed as ladybugs are about as cute as it gets.  This is Norah with her goofy dad.

Yesterday was a good day for several reasons – Norah hit 2 weeks old, and it just so happened to be mine and Merry’s 4th anniversary.  4 years of marriage is pretty impressive in my book, especially because we get to mark this 4th year with an adorable milestone.  Needless to say, we didn’t bother with gifts… the poop machine is enough of a gift.  🙂

I had my 2 week postpartum appointment today, and everything is looking awesome.  I got to see my favorite midwife, show her my little squishy, and share some tidbits of my birth story that she hadn’t heard.  The best part was, shockingly, stepping on the scale for the first time in 3 weeks, because I’ve already lost 18 pounds!  Hell yeah.  I am officially 3 pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight, and the nurse was shocked.  I really do feel so good, though – I feel lighter, all of my old clothes fit well, and the only weight I really have left is in my boobs, which have kinda exploded due to the breastfeeding thing.  And bigger boobs have made my clothes actually fit BETTER – thanks, clothing designers who don’t understand that not all women who wear size L/XL shirts have gigantic titties.  Growing up with barely a B cup, these big old size D boobs are revolutionary.  I hope they don’t go away.  🙂

Speaking of boobs – breastfeeding.  The next great hurdle after you shove the kid out.

Long story short, Norah’s stay in the NICU set us back super far.  Even just those 3 days apart from her made it so that I didn’t get to really give her a chance to latch, and I had to let them supplement her with formula to get the hell out of there.  Luckily, by the time she was a week old, we were off the formula.  I’m pumping pretty often, but I’m also nursing frequently during the day – she has to use a nipple shield since her latch is awful due to the supplement bottles.  I’m sure the shield will be temporary, but because I know it can hurt your supply, the pumping is important.  Plus, I’ve built up a tidy little stash in the fridge, and that makes me happy.  🙂  I give her bottles at night or when we go out, since nursing is a bit of a process with us owing to needing the exact right nursing pillow, the shield, etc.  I’m not a pop the boob out and go lady yet.  I mean, I may never be – but that’s okay.

That’s kinda the place I’ve come to after all this.  Is my kid gaining weight?  Like a freaking freight train – she’s a pound up from her birth weight already!  She eats like a horse.  Is she getting all breast milk?  Absolutely.  Are we spending time nursing each day, which is good for my supply and helps me prevent things like mastitis?  Yep!  So fuck the rest.  Fuck the people who give me shit for bottle feeding (they exist, and they do give me shit, in fact).  I’ve found a way to nurse that keeps my supply growing, that doesn’t hurt, and that keeps my little monkey fed.  That’s all that counts.

Anyway.  The Boob Saga will continue with us, I’m sure.  I’m paranoid about my supply, but it’s holding so far.

Other tidbits?  We are happily cloth diapering – she finally fits in her smallest covers, so that’s working out.  She’s actually about to bust out of the preemie prefolds, so I have some newborn ones on the way to help transition into the next size.  We scrambled to find her clothes that fit at first (I didn’t buy much newborn stuff), but now she’s getting into the 0-3 things, and I have plenty of those.  She sleeps very well at night – I got a 5 hour stretch the other day!  Usually she will sleep at least 2 chunks of 3 hours at night, sometimes 3.  She doesn’t fuss or cry randomly – only for food or to be changed.  She wants to be held most of the time, but that’s no big deal, cause I don’t wanna put her down.  🙂

So far, this little family of 3 is quite happy.  I think we earned it.

week zero: happy birthday, little one

ImageWell.

I mean, you all KNEW the end result of this blog would be a baby.  Right?  Or at least something resembling a baby.  🙂

Now, I wasn’t aware that I would in fact, with my husband, create the cutest baby ever born.  That came as a surprise.  But there you go.  There are some surprises left in the world, apparently.

This is Norah.  I went in for my induction Monday morning, and gave birth to her Wednesday afternoon.  That’s right kids… over 50 hours of labor.  The induction went as inductions go – however, it got massively complicated by the fact that the baby was sitting sideways with her face in my hip.  The pain level I dealt with was unimaginable as a result – this was not regular labor.  I made it until Tuesday night without an epidural, when my midwife basically sat in front of me and told me if I didn’t get one, I’d likely end up with a C-section due to failure to progress.  And she was right – we all knew it.

The epidural, while helpful, did not at all help with pushing, due to the baby’s position.  Because my midwife is once again awesome, she got me in positions that helped turn her so that in the end, she did twist and come out properly.  However, I had pushed for almost 5 hours at that time.  I nearly gave up so many times – if it hadn’t been for my midwife and my absolutely fantastic husband, I would have.  As it stood, I opted for a vacuum assisted delivery just to be sure she’d come out, and it only took one pull of the vacuum in the end.

As a result of the traumatic labor, Norah came out in pretty bad shape – lethargic, very badly bruised head, and very limp.  She was breathing on her own, but she was so listless that she got rushed away to the NICU.  It was a long week as a result, guys.  She got INSTANTLY better, however, and by day 2 after the birth when I was ready to go home, truth is, so was she.  We’re still trying to figure out why she had to stay 2 more days – but eh, such is life.  🙂  The pediatrician said she was shocked at her immune system and the fact that she made it through the entire thing without even getting more than slightly jaundiced.  She had an IV for a few days, which prevented her from coming to our room – I think otherwise, she would have been able to.  But what’s done is done.

So.  Went in Monday, gave birth Wednesday, went home Friday, got my kiddo today (Sunday).  It’s been the longest week of my life.  🙂  But, obviously, also the happiest.  This little girl is the light (literally) of my life, and she lives up to her name in every way – she is the brightest, happiest newborn I’ve ever seen.  There is no way she’ll ever be able to bring anything but joy to my life and to her father’s.  Merry is literally smitten with his little girl.

And now… we are three.