Monday, June 28, 2010

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Avery and the Bottle

Oh Hai!  We gon' play now?

Ehhhh, whaz dis?  Is no good.  No good.

Is better on chin.  Is no good in mouth.  Where'd I leave that boob?


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Friday, June 25, 2010

Happy Birthday to my people!

Avery's two month birthday was yesterday, and coincidentally it was also Adam's birthday (Happy Birthday Honey!).  She had her two month pediatrician visit - the first time she's seen a doctor since the day after we were released from the hospital.  Not surprisingly, she's doing great and is right on track for her age.  She weighed in at 11.3 lbs, which means she's gained 4.2 lbs since her birth, and technically even more than that since she had dropped below 7 lbs before we left the hospital.  She's in the 50th percentile, which means half of babies are bigger than her and half smaller.  I really liked her pediatrician, which surprised me since we are pretty much stuck with whatever the military clinic has to offer.  Avery didn't cry at all and only fussed a little when the ped put her cold stethoscope on her, and when she looked in her ears.

I was worrying about her vaccinations because I started doing research and ended up deciding to delay any vaccinations until at least 6 months.  Initially I was thinking I would just go ahead and start them yesterday, but spread them out instead of giving her 6 at one time, but after digging into it more, I decided I didn't want her to have any vaccines yet.  I fully expected the pediatrician to bully me at least a little bit, but when I told her we wanted to delay them, she didn't even bat an eye.  She just said, ok just let us know when you want to do them.  I'm still a tiny bit on the fence about whether I want her to have ANY vaccines.  After all I now know about food politics, where big corporations are in bed with the government agencies that regulate them... you know pharmaceutical companies have an even bigger lobby than ag.  I don't know.  I will probably still get her some of the vaccines, but there are a few I'm really leaning towards no (rotavirus, chickenpox, definitely not flu, and no MMR until she enters school).

Adam was supposed to go with me to the appointment, but he ended up having to work the two days he was supposed to be off, making it 12 out of 13 days!  We miss him around here.  Thank goodness my mom was able to come back early so she was there to help me.  I think I would really be on the verge of institutionalization if I was all alone so much... this baby is still quite the handful!  Although I think we have passed through whatever growth/developmental spurt we were slogging through thank the lord!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Exercise in futility?

It's no wonder my digestive system is malfunctioning.  I barely chew my food anymore; I usually just gulp it down in big bites as fast as possible while jiggling the little on my shoulder.  You would think this inability to cook & eat meals translates into rapid weight loss, but sadly, no, it does not.  When the Little is fussing and won't be put down, do you think I'm going to prepare myself a nice salad and sit and eat it with a fork?  Or grab a handful of trail mix and some cookies to scarf down while I'm pacing the halls?  Hmmm?  I bet you can guess which.

I know I need to clean up my diet if I'm going to lose the baby weight, but I have to admit when I'm tired and hungry or just feeling strung out, I do a fair amount of comfort eating.  I'm getting to where I am figuring out how to exercise regularly even with the Little and even if she doesn't nap - doing it in chunks, taking as long as it takes - but as we all know, that has little to do with whether I will lose the weight!  You can work out till you're blue in the face but if you're still eating too much you'll stay the same.

In a rare moment of foresight, I planned to exercise at home while on maternity leave and bought some hand weights and a stability ball.  You can get a pretty decent work out with body weight exercises and some hand weights!  I have a couple pairs of pre-pregnancy pants that were baggy on me before that fit now (just).  Now if I could only keep my hands out of the cookie jar!

Oddly, though, I actually feel ok with how I look right now.  I'm pretty much in awe of my body after pregnancy - my body created a human, out of nothing! - and I'm feeling a lot more forgiving of it these days.

The Little stirs... blogging time is up!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

I still feel like I want to squeeze her too tight

Two steps forward, one step back. We had two good days and then yesterday the Little was in another mood. She was fine in the morning, but she wouldn't take a nap and as the day wore on, she became crankier and fussier! By the time Adam came home I was ready to toss her to him and run out the door!

She says, "Whut?"

He took her while I went up to shower and she screamed her head off the whole time. Poor little biddle. I felt so bad for her, I know she was tired. I was carrying her around as I got my dinner, ate and got ready for bed and she fell asleep on my shoulder. But we had to wake her up to get her pj's on and a fresh diaper. By the time we had her swaddled, she was practically hoarse from screaming so much. But after I got her to sleep again, she was good all night.

The nights I really can't complain about. I think I must be getting used to sleeping with her. Plus she doesn't make as many noises as she did in the beginning, except for the occasional adorable "uhhh?" sound or this little gasp/pant thing she does that is also pretty cute. And she is getting bigger so I worry less that my boob will inadvertently smother her. She feels enormous to me! Anyway, we've been getting into sort of a routine where she gets her diaper/pj's/swaddle and then I nurse her and walk her around until she falls asleep around 8 or 9 o'clock. Then she wakes up to nurse around midnight and again around 2. When Adam's alarm goes off at 4 (he's back on the day shift), it stirs her and she usually starts squirming and grunting until she gets a big poo out. I drag my butt out of bed and change her and bring her back to bed where we nurse and usually sleep again until about 7:30.

She's napping on the couch right now, thank goodness. I hope she stays down a couple hours, she is a much happier baby!

When I get a day where she takes a good nap (nap = break for mommy from holding/carrying baby) and is playful and smiley, I feel like this motherhood thing might not actually drive me to insanity after all. HahahahaHAHA AIEEEEEE!

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Well, despite what I wrote yesterday morning, we had a pretty good day around here. Avery *might* be pulling out of her doldrums (knock wooood!). After a good screaming fit yesterday morning when Adam tried to give her a bottle, she unleashed all kinds of cuteness and playfulness on and off the rest of the day. She still had some fussies, but mostly she was all smiles and cuddles. Yay! Of course, she screamed with righteous indignation when she was getting her diaper changed and swaddled up before bed. But then she slept pretty well last night and now she's napping on her tummy (we'll see how long that lasts!). I don't think I slept much last night, though. Yawn.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Human pacifier and the velcro baby

No, that's not the name of my new garage band. It's me and Avery. She's been stuck to me, mainly on the boob, pretty much constantly. Little Avery is having a hard time the last week or so. She has been extra fussy, and crying a lot more. And clinging to me! Poor baby. I think it's probably a combination of two things. First, my mom left. I think she formed an attachment to my mom as her second mommy and when she left it threw her little world off kilter. Second, it's possible she is going through another growth spurt. The internet (from which all wisdom comes) says that when they go through growth or developmental spurts, they often get extra fussy and want to nurse all the time for comfort and reassurance. This too shall pass... this too shall pass...

Monday, June 14, 2010

It takes a village

The baby is asleep on my lap. I would love to try to put her down but I don't want her to wake up!

God, I sound like *such* a whiny, ungrateful louse. I know I do. I can't help but wonder, how do people DO this the world over?? Certainly some have easy babies - babies who will sit in strollers or swings, or be carried in a sling through a rice paddy. I definitely didn't get an easy baby. Well... maybe this is just a phase because she seemed somewhat easier in the first few weeks (don't they say fussiness peaks around six weeks?). But some have babies who are harder than mine. I keep thinking about the phrase "it takes a village to raise a child" and how true it is in ways that I didn't even consider before. I think about our modern lives and how isolated we are now. How much better it would be to be near family - sisters, parents, aunts - and have the collective help and wisdom of generations. How broken it seems in some sense that in our culture we are all just floating out there like our own little planets.

Adam told me: "I never saw a wild thing feel sorry for itself..." And he reminds me that no one else in the world could be her parents.

My cousin told me about this book by a Buddhist lady who had a baby, and she talks about when she was in a monastery and a bell would ring every hour to summon them to different activities, the idea being that you surrender yourself to the routine of the monastery as a spiritual practice (achieving a state of zen through denial of self and ego). Having a newborn baby is like that - surrendering yourself to the needs of the baby. If you just accept that state of affairs for now, you can avoid feeling resentful about all the taking, taking, taking.

We have a concept like that in Christianity too - "not my will but Thine be done." Conceptually it is the same thing as the zen Buddhist idea: denying your own desires and having faith and acceptance of the will of a greater power. This is not in contradiction to the idea of free will. We are free to choose, and by grace and discernment can choose to be in harmony with God's will or be in disharmony. Suffering is part of the human condition (as illustrated by the crucifixion) and we have the free will to choose our reaction. To accept that which we cannot control, and to strive for harmony with natural law when we can. Not my will but Thine.

I'm telling you all this because I want you to know that I'm not just sitting here pouting. I realize all the many things that we tell ourselves and each other when going through a rough patch. My rational mind can even assign a spiritual nature to what I'm going through. But the sleep-deprived, hormone-addled parts of my brain win out more often than not these days over my rational self.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

It could be worse. I guess.

It's silly, really, the fact that I've been weeping on and off since about 10 pm Friday night. I mean, it could be worse. It could be so much worse. But she just won't let me put her down, not even to sleep at night. I spent about 6 hours on Friday night alternately trying to lay her down and walking her down when she woke up each time. And sobbing on the phone to Adam at work because I was just so tired, and I felt so incredibly alone, and I'd been alone with the baby all day already, walking her around for hours, and I knew I was facing another several days of doing this alone. I finally got her to sleep cuddled up next to me in bed, but of course, I don't sleep very well (if at all) like that. Adam came home and took her for a couple of hours so I could get a little sleep.

Yesterday I cried on and off all day. The Little was fussy all day and wouldn't take a nap, and she wouldn't be put down either. I even went to the bathroom holding her at one point because she had fallen asleep on my shoulder and I didn't dare wake her by laying her down and have to start the process of her fussing and me walking her down again. I just felt so, so lonely, and tired, and tired of carrying the baby around, and angry. I felt angry at the poor baby. And at Adam because he gets to lay down every day and sleep without thinking about the baby, and he gets to go work out without having to worry about getting her down for a nap or whether she will stay asleep for an hour, and because he isn't here having to pace around with her for hours and hours, and because he's not here - he sleeps all day and I barely see him for 30 minutes and he's gone all night (not his fault or choosing, but...). It's taken me two days to write this post because I've barely had five minutes of peace to write it.

I guess I feel like this isn't what I signed up for, this de facto solo parenting gig. This isn't how I thought it would be, mothering this baby. I feel way more overwhelmed and more negative feelings than I thought I would. I pictured wearing the baby around the house, taking her for walks, and getting chores done while she napped. I pictured getting sporadic sleep, but sleep nonetheless, at night. Instead, the baby basically needs to be held constantly, even at night. She won't sit in her bouncy seat or swing. She hates the car seat and the stroller and all of the baby carriers most of the time. I can't take her anywhere because she won't sit still half the time, she needs to be walked around.

I know it gets easier. But when? I was looking forward to six weeks as a turning point, and if anything she's gotten fussier in the last week, not better. Three months? Maybe, but it seems so far away still.

Ok... I have more to say, but she just woke up from her five minute nap and she's about to lose her shit if I don't pick her up!

Friday, June 11, 2010

This post is brought to you by Endorphins

Y'all, I just worked out! Wheeee! I feel so self righteously accomplished right now, it's amazing. I feel like maybe I will really not spend the rest of the year in a lumpen sleep-deprived stupor on the couch. Man, it that workout was hard, too, after not working out at all - not even a little - for seven weeks. I had intended to start back at the beginning of this week, but it just didn't happen. Even this morning I was feeling discouraged because I put the Little down for her morning nap and got my weights and stuff all situated and of course she woke up and it took me another hour to get her down for good. It was like she knew I wanted to do something. It took me over an hour to run through the workout because I had to keep stopping in order to not puke a lung up onto the carpet.
Did I tell you guys I was in pain for the better part of six weeks? I don't think I did. I mean, I think I mentioned the infection thing and the pain that nearly surpassed the birthing of a seven pound human, but I don't think I told you how much of a rollercoaster my recovery was. I mention this only because I am really only JUST feeling capable of exercising. I had fully intended on taking six whole weeks off from formal exercise anyway, but I thought it would have been nice to get some long walks in or maybe a hike or something before then (see how naively ambitious I was?!).

The recovery from the birth itself was really not that bad. I was sore for the first few days and then felt fairly good. By the end of week 2, I felt pretty well healed. And then that infection reared its ugly head and oh my lord the pain. DID I MENTION THE PAIN??? Anyway, you all know that landed me a 10 day course of antibiotics, which of course led to a yeast infection and horrifyingly painful constipation, and let me just say that when you spend nearly $30 on various hemorrhoid treatments and then have to send your husband back to the mini-mart at 10 pm to buy an enema, you know you've hit the "worse" in "for better or worse". Until that moment I had been maintaining with Adam that girls don't poop or fart, it just doesn't happen for us. Let us never speak of it again.

After all that, I had to go back to the emergency clinic and have the stitches removed because they didn't fall out on their own (yeowch!) and then developed another inflamed and painful cyst probably caused by my body having a reaction to the internal stitches and an unrelated but weirdly coincidental ingrown hair that the doc actually wanted to do another course of antibiotics for! I told her if they were going to do that, they might as well take me out back and put me out of my misery because I didn't think I could survive it again. See how one thing led to another in a vicious cycle of pain? But I'm finally starting to feel like myself again... um, down there.

Aaaaannd... now you know more about me than you ever wanted to! But seriously, I don't think people talk about postpartum enough. I'm sure I'm not the only one who's gone through wonky recovery hell, but no one talks about it because who wants to admit they had to buy rectal suppositories? Anyone? Anyone?
On a completely different tangent, yesterday I pumped a bottle** and Adam was going to attempt to give it to Avery for her first nighttime feeding so I could get some extra sleep. Would you believe that when I got into bed, I actually felt sad that I wouldn't see the baby for her next feeding? How insane is that?! I get an opportunity to sleep for 6 hours and I almost say no because I will miss her. Even though I would be sleeping and probably not even notice. This does not bode well for my return to work in 5 weeks (*sob*). I am already feeling like I want to cast myself off a rooftop when I think about leaving my Little Biddle and not knowing if she's crying for me and I'm not there. I think Adam wants me to quit my job. I'm still somewhat on the fence about it, but that's a whole 'nother blog post.

**Speaking of pumping, is it supposed to be a little painful? Is it supposed to take a long time? I have a Medela Pump In Style and it kind of hurts and my nipples turn purple or white after using it. And it took me about 30 minutes to get 3 oz out of one boob yesterday. Normal? Suck it up? Or am I doing something wrong?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Under Pressure

The Little is taking her third nap of the day (on her tummy) next to me on the couch, and while she still requires patting every 20 minutes or so lest she rouse from her peaceful slumber, I am very grateful she is napping instead of fretfully "ehh, ehh-ing" and needing to be carried around. Especially after the past two nights we have had where she decided that instead of going down for the night around 8, she preferred to nurse and get bounced around until 1 am, thereby reducing my already blighted sleep time to four hours.

She woke up from her last nap and wanted to eat right! this! minute! or I'm gonna eat my hand! So we nursed and she fell asleep again, and I put her down even though her diaper was a little (ok, REALLY) wet. Relatedly, why is it that she is perfectly happy to suck on her hand, the carseat strap, or my shoulder, but if you put a pacifier in her mouth she looks at you like you just took a big crap on her shoe?! Why, why, WHY?! I really want her to take a faffy because of the carseat thing (you know, the one where she wails pitifully to be released from her bondage and my heart melts into my ankles), but she has refused three different kinds now. Although, she did suck on one for nearly an hour the other night, but only because she was asleep when I put it in her mouth. Also relatedly (to the diaper, not the faffy): when we were on nurse/fuss repeat mode last night, the Little managed to puke on three pillows, five burp cloths, my hair & shirt, the bed, and pee out an outfit because someone (ADAM) put her diaper on askew and one of her little butt cheeks was hanging completely out of the dipe. Diapering fail. I woke up this morning and my room looked like the linen closet exploded.

Isn't it kind of hilarious when you're burping the baby on your shoulder and you hear an urp come up so you look and find barf all over her face and your shoulder and your hair, and you get all that cleaned up and go to fluff up the pillows you're leaning on and you find MORE urp, like a lot more, all over the pillows, because she barfed OVER your shoulder as well as on it? Or when your mom is carrying the baby and you hear a burp and a splat and you don't even have to be told that she just propulsion urp'ed on the floor? Hahahaha, right? Right! I almost can't remember what we entertained ourselves with before the Little came along and started vomiting and pooping on everything!

I feel so much pressure during naptime to get something done! Yet somehow I have only managed so far to wander around the house uselessly flapping my hands. And write this blog post. It's the small things. Tomorrow a workout?? Stay tuned for these exciting developments!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010


I dropped my mom off at the airport this morning. I cried as I hugged her goodbye, and on the drive home I permitted myself a brief fantasy about turning onto the highway and heading downtown to have lunch and a pedicure and maybe see a movie all by myself. Instead I pulled into the driveway and came inside to face my first day alone. Well, technically I am being melodramatic, as I am hardly alone in the strict sense of the word. Adam was upstairs sleeping, the lucky SOB. However, for all practical purposes, STILL ALONE.

I suppose I have known all along that eventually I would have to fend for myself in this motherhood business. That somehow I would have to figure out how to pee, get some lunch, do laundry, and keep up a modicum of neatness in the house while keeping the baby alive. That the duty of walking the baby around for several hours every evening during her fussy time would fall on me. I am shocked that this moment is upon me already. It's been nearly seven weeks since Avery was born. That was fast. And, weirdly, slooooow. At any given moment, it feels like I'm stuck in an infinite do-loop of rocking and bouncing and patting and soothing and shushing and changing diapers and getting barfed on and nursing and not-sleeping. It's a weird baby time warp where the hours seem to simultaneously drag on and fly by.

I'm sure one day in the future, perhaps when she's crawling all over trying to stick her fingers in the light sockets, I'm going to look back on this time nostalgically and wonder what on earth I thought was so hard about THAT. However. I would very much like to exercise once in a while, or spend a few uninterrupted hours mindlessly watching tv or surfing something on the internet other than "nipple pain pumping" or "normal infant poop", or take a shower or get a pedicure or sleep for more than 3 hours. I try not to wish her babyness away because she's so precious and it's such a fleeting moment in time. But I'd be lying if I said I don't often wish she was a bit more settled, developed and routined, and less unpredictable and just, well, needy. I feel bad even having these thoughts. I love her so much it's impossible to explain! And yet...

Sunday, June 06, 2010

My particular baby...

... does not like to be put down. We have a house full of various baby gadgets - a swing that makes womb noises, plays music, and has a light show, a cradle that rocks, a bouncy seat that vibrates, a pack and play that also vibrates and plays music or nature sounds, the dreaded car seat & stroller - and she doesn't seem to really like any of them. If you put her down in them, she will sit for a few minutes before she starts grunting and getting frustrated like why am I in this thing and not in your arms?! Much of the time, the preferred method of holding also involves walking, bouncing and butt-patting around the house.

I had planned on doing some "babywearing" around the house and when we are out, so I was prepared with a sling and an Ergo baby carrier before she was born. I now have five (5) different baby carriers, and she has to be in the right mood to be happy in any of them.

The sling is great because it's easy and she seems to sleep well in it since she is all cuddled up in a ball, but it's uncomfortable for me to wear for too long since the weight is only over one shoulder and one of my arms is confined. Plus, she seems to get frustrated in it if she's awake and not sleepy. Maybe it's too confining or something, I have no idea.
The Ergo is technically for an older baby unless you buy this ridiculous infant insert that is like a huge quilt - totally impractical for a tropical climate. I have had her in it with a blanket folded up under her bum and that seems to work just fine. It's the most comfortable carrier I have for me to wear because the weight is distributed on my hips instead of shoulders. But it is HOT, even without the infant insert! The material is heavy canvas, and the lumbar support is super-padded, and once you get two warm bodies pressed together with all that canvas wrapped around us, it's just a big sweat-fest. So I don't know... it doesn't seem like it would be all that comfortable on hikes. It's so humid here you end up soaked within an hour of outdoor activity even if you're not hugging a tiny radiator.

I also have a Moby wrap, a Snugli and a Baby Bjorn. The Moby wrap I haven't quite figured out how to use yet. And it is a huge piece of heavy fabric that you wrap around yourself five or six times with the baby snuggled somewhere in the folds: also seems hellishly hot. The Snugli seems nice, but it is also padded and seems like it will be really hot to sit in. The Baby Bjorn I have is made of mesh and is nice and cool, but it doesn't have any lumbar support, only shoulder straps. It's like wearing a backpack backwards. The baby is only about 10 lbs now and even at that weight I feel the stress in my upper back. Plus that thing is $90 (holy cow).

In the Bjorn.

I hope over time she will grow to like being in the sling or one of the carriers pretty well, because my arms feel like they are going to fall off from carrying the baby around all the time! Plus it's hard to get anything done, like getting something to eat, with only one hand.
The large humans have displeased her.

My particular baby also does not like to sleep on her own either. She can be sound asleep in my arms, and the moment I lay her down, her eyes pop open and she starts making her dragon noises. This situation is also not conducive to getting anything done. I have spent entire days holding the sleeping baby! At night when Adam is home, he holds her all night. When he is working, she sleeps with me, which is fine for her, although admittedly I do not sleep very well mainly because she makes quite a lot of noise in her sleep especially if she is on her back. Even when swaddled, she squirms and grunts and hisses most of the night. Obviously life cannot go on like this forever, and though I realize one day she will grow out of it and sleep famously on her own, I would prefer to find a solution sooner rather than waiting indefinitely.
It seems some people on the internet who have this same problem find that when they put their babies on their tummies, they sleep just fine on their own. My own cousin now sleeps her baby on his tummy after three months of no sleeping, and now he sleeps like a champ. I am beginning to suspect there is an underground movement of people who go ahead and sleep their babies on their tummies despite all the expert advice that babies should sleep on their backs. I wonder, do those experts have any practical experience with actual babies? Because my experience is that babies do not like being all exposed on their backs while they sleep very much. I can understand this since I myself do no like to sleep on my back either.

So. Yesterday was Avery's six week birthday and we marked the occasion by putting her down for her naps on her tummy. We put her on the couch and then sat right next to her watching the rise and fall of her breathing through the blanket. She slept great. In fact, she is napping on her tummy on the couch right next to me as I type, quite happily like a little roast turkey, for over an hour now. Does this make me a bad mommy? I sure feel guilty enough about it even though 15 years ago everyone put their babies on their tummies. I am worried about SIDS, obviously, and I don't know if I could put her down like that at night when I'm not checking on her fifty bazillion times. However, I have noticed that though the experts say SIDS rates have declined significantly since they started the "back to sleep" campaign, if you look at the statistics, the rates have been declining since long before that. I don't know, I don't know. Surely I am not the only one who has done this?
You probably noticed that I keep saying "we" are doing this or that. By that I mean my mother and I. Yep, mom is still here! You guys, my mother is a saint. She has been mothering both me AND Avery for the last six weeks. And while I am so grateful for her help for my own selfish reasons, it also makes me so glad to see her and the baby spending so much time together. I know I have told you this already, but did you know that baby girls are born with all the eggs they will have already in their ovaries? That means that the egg that became Avery was made by my mother's body when she was pregnant with me! This blows my mind! And I think is the reason there is a special connection between generations of women. Avery LOVES my mom. She smiles so much when my mom talks to her. Mom has such a sweet, soothing energy, Avery calms right down when she holds her. When I see my mom's gentle hands patting Avery's back, I feel so much love in my heart. I think, those are the hands that patted me when I was this tiny. And it is so hard to believe! I was that tiny! But it's true, and when I watch my mom loving on Avery and taking care of her, I get a glimpse of what my own infancy and childhood were like and I feel so, so lucky that she was my mom. I hope I can be as good to Avery.