Friday, September 30, 2011

Thank My Lucky Stars


It feels so good to stretch!



















This is one of those expressions you see in old timey books but I have never, ever heard used in more contemporary settings, like, for example, in actual conversation.

Anyway, the reason I am thanking my lucky stars is.... drum roll please...

Calliope has slept six consecutive hours for the last two nights in a row!!! At only six weeks of age!

And slept 5 and a half hour stretches the two previous nights!!!

So I am very cautiously optimistic that this is not a fluke.

I'm obviously thrilled.

I wonder if the Baby.Whisperer teaching me how to recognize her sleepy signals and get her down sooner helped? Like, in the whole sleep-begets-more-sleep thing, she's better rested so more able to sleep longer?

She's also been working on getting her left hand to her mouth with moderate success. When it gets there successfully, she sucks on it and smacks her lips with gusto.

When it doesn't get there and she's getting tired on the floor, she wails. It's slightly heartbreaking.

Sometimes I cheat and help her, and we talk about that naughty hand and why it won't behave.

I am going to visit a daycare today that was recommended by a parent from the local listserve. Only $175 a week! In New York City! Amazing.

Fist sucking is deeply satisfying (when it works)!

The one time (except for age one day) she got just her thumb in her mouth




Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Progress

Salt Lick is a very tiny person (maybe five feet tall and less
than a hundred pounds), so Calliope looks bigger here
than she really is.


























Last night my friend Sat Lick came over. She was the one that was with me through castor oil, two rounds of Cervadil, and labor. Oh yeah, I haven't shared my birth story with you yet.

Duh.

I really need to finish it.

So okay, she was the friend that I wasn't sure about having in the delivery room, because I sometimes wonder if we will still be friends in ten years.

But then decided that, you know, she was really committed to being there, and that was enough.

And she was a rock star.

So we haven't seen her since then. After five days straight of nearly constant togetherness. And Calliope is now six weeks old.

I had asked her last week if she would come over and stay the night to do a late night feeding, back when I was desperate (well, more desperate) for sleep. She agreed.

So last night she came early from work, a rare achievement for her, and we had a lovely time catching up, and even took Calliope for a walk to the health food store (my first and last time wearing the Baby Bjorn... luckily it was a hand me down... a really old one, without any back support). And then about 8 pm I started to yawn. And when my friend asked if I wanted to go to bed, I realized I did.

Of course, Calliope was resisting sleep in her swing, so it took a while... I didn't want to go to bed until she was down. But I finally gave up and went to bed anyway.

(As a side note: have I mentioned that Calliope has become a BRILLIANT sleeper??? As long as I am organized about getting her to bed once she yawns and fusses... she sleeps two hours fairly reliably, after one hour awake. It may even be getting to be a longer time between feedings. I don't trust it yet, and wake her after three and a half. But would be thrilled if we got to four hour intervals... or longer at night.)

Well, my little Super Baby finally went to sleep and didn't wake up again to eat until four hours after the previous one, then went back to sleep... for five and a half hours!

Could this be the light at the end of the tunnel???

In any case, my friend brought her to me shortly before 6 am. At that point I had been asleep more than nine hours! Of course, I had woken up multiple times to look at the clock and notice my engorged breasts and wonder how things were going... with gratitude in my heart.

After the 6 am feeding, Calliope went to sleep in bed with me (thus reassuring my worried self that she was still capable of sleeping on a horizontal, non-moving surface, and not just the swing) and slept another three and a half hours! I slept three of them, then got up to have a little time with my friend.

So not counting that one feeding, and the little wake-ups here and there, I slept twelve hours!!!

Beautiful!

In other news, I have "caught" a number of poops and pees in the Baby.Bjorn.Little.Potty.

I am, frankly, shocked by these successes, because I did not feel particularly aware of her elimination before.

But now I know that when she pulls off the boob and mouths and bobs at it without latching... she needs to go. And other times she pulls off for no reason, she either needs to "go potty" or else be burped. And the potty position works pretty well with burps.

I have the potty sitting on a towel on the ottoman of my glider, so it's comfortable to move her from my lap to there quite easily.

And it's funny, because sometimes she fusses when I move her, but as soon as she's on the potty (designed for infants and STILL her bum is too skinny to land on the seat yet... it hovers over the whole in the middle) in "that position" (the universal sitting-on-the-pot position) she quiets down and looks intent. Even when she doesn't go.

The only thing I don't love about it is that I might put her on the pot three times during one ten minute feeding.

So our feedings feel a bit choppy right now.

I'm hoping that as we both get more used to this, she might consolidate to one elimination per feeding.

The cool thing, though, is that while she might "go" three times during one feeding... she has also, at least once, gone two-three hours after that, until the next feeding to "go" again. It's pretty wild to realize your newborn has stayed dry that long!

Of course, that makes me feel like I should be EC'ing her all the time, including at night. And that sounds like a lot of work with having to undo and redo her swaddle. So I'm not sure what I want to do about that. But I hate to teach her that I will offer the potty, and then not offer it all the time.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dream Feed Nightmare

So I decided to take another piece of the Baby.Whisperer's advice and try the "dream feed."

A dream feed is where you feed the baby at around your bedtime, hopefully without actually waking the baby. Seems easy enough -- Calliope is generally agreeable with eating at least a little when it's offered. And it had been in the neighborhood of three hours since her last feeding when I was considering this.

So I gently scooped her up out of the swing and cuddled her in the glider.

I was so gentle and cuddly, in fact, that she didn't wake up.

I eventually managed to nurse her for three minutes, at best, before she was passed out and refusing to take any more.

Then I had the brilliant idea to thaw some breast milk and put it into a bottle. She hadn't had a bottle yet today (I try to be disciplined about giving one every day, because I've had some friends have really terrible times with their babies refusing the bottle when mama had to go back to work) and also, a bottle nipple is easier to stick into a sleeping baby's mouth than a human nipple -- a more firm shape.

I figured she was so passed out that I would lie her in her bassinet while I thawed the milk. If she was so soundly asleep that she wouldn't wake to eat after three hours, surely she wouldn't wake up from being in the bassinet, right?

WRONG.

By the time the milk was thawed -- not very long -- she was wide awake, staring at the walls of the bassinet.

She didn't take more than a half an ounce of the breastmilk, but she wasn't unhappy.

So I put her back in the bassinet and got into bed to read. I took a nap this afternoon so I wasn't that tired. Maybe an hour later I turned off the light.

Girlfriend stayed awake in her bassinet for TWO HOURS. Not true. At one point, she was asleep. For as long as several minutes. Then awake again.

Not crying. Just quietly lying there, looking at the sides, making her little awake noises now and then, these coos and grunts. Nothing loud, but loud enough, coupled with the sinking knowledge that she wasn't going to sleep, to keep me wide awake.

Finally I caved, after more than two hours, when I found her scooted into the corner of the bassinet and rooting against the wall, and took her into bed to nurse. She was happy to do so, but quickly became restless.

She pooped.

I changed her.

I tried to nurse again.

She was rooting, and suckling, but then twisting wildly and pulling off... only to root again.

I burped her. Got a burp. Tried feeding again. Same problem.

I figured she was done.

I put her in the baby glider chair by my bed.

She rooted frantically. I stuck the pacifier in her mouth. She sucked avidly for a few moments, then spit it out and began to cry, the first crying of the evening.

After several rounds of this, I took her out and tried to nurse again.

No luck.

I gave up and got out of bed to carry her to the beloved swing in the living room. On top of everything else, I was trying to be conscious of my downstairs neighbors.

Walking out of my bedroom, my arm pressed hard enough against her belly to induce a forceful spit-up.

Ah. Now I know what was bothering her.

Into the living room we go. I try to nurse her one more time, just to make sure that air in her belly hadn't caused the problem.

Nope.

She rooted and sucked frantically for about three seconds, then her eyes closed.

I sang "You Are My Sunshine" (thanks to Jennifer and Tate for the inspiration!), and rocked her briefly and told her I loved her -- all part of our new Baby.Whisperer inspired ritual -- and put her in the swing.

Where she is now conked out.

I stayed in here with her because I wanted to make sure that if I was going to have to replace the pacifier in the first few minutes, I wanted to be close by.

But she seems to be down for the count.

So I spent more than three hours of lost sleep trying to gain an advantage with the Dream Feed.

Maybe it would've been okay if I had just stuck with the not-very-successful initial attempt to breastfeed (the one that lasted three minutes) and then put her back in the swing. Not sure that would've given me much in the way of extra sleep though, either.

Thanks for the reassurances re: daycare organizing her sleep. I hadn't thought of that. I certainly hope so. Because the bassinet was certainly a disaster tonight. And since she doesn't cry or show any signs of unhappiness with it, just the inability to sleep there... I don't know how to tackle the issue.

Too Many Theories... Not Enough Decisiveness. And an EC Win?

Calliope with Jen's daughter, Luna. Isn't it amazing how much
older Calliope looks, at five weeks versus three, even though
Luna is bigger (9 lbs 5 oz versus 8 lbs 8 oz)???





















I need help.

I can't figure out which theories to go by.

I think I like the idea of Calliope sleeping by herself. Mainly because I think I sleep better without her in the bed.

But at the same time, I don't want to feel like I'm never allowed to bring her into bed with me. Sometimes a snuggle in bed is lovely. Though truthfully, I haven't exactly figured out  how to snuggle her in bed. She's either on top of me or smushed against my side (which makes me nervous but happens accidentally) -- both of these are the result of falling asleep while nursing. She still has to lie on top of me to nurse on the left side because my milk comes down so fast. But the right side we can do side-lying.

So the big question at hand is, I suppose, if I should be letting her sleep in the swing or insisting that she sleep in either the bassinet or the crib.

I haven't tried the crib yet. It just seems so huge for her little twenty-one inch self. Though truthfully, the bassinet isn't all that much longer than her, already.

The problem with the bassinet is that while she will willingly go to sleep in it, she won't stay asleep in it. She typically wakes up within five minutes of falling asleep in it. And is considerably more alert after the mini-nap, such that putting her down to sleep a second time can be more challenging than the first.

None of the sleep experts seem to address this not-staying-asleep issue. I put her down awake, so she's not waking up because she's surprised not to be in my arms.

Claire advised me not to worry, and said that Fiona lived in the swing in her early months, and apparently doesn't still sleep there now, two years later! So that was reassuring. This seems to jive with the advice of the author of Happiest.Baby.On.The.Block.

Since she advised that, I know I must've posted about this already. I guess I'm not making any progress.

On the plus side, she is definitely sleeping much longer stretches now. Typically we have one hour of awake time and then two hours of asleep time between feedings. We haven't had an overtired, cranky, won't go to sleep issue since we started the Baby.Whisperer regimen.

A success!

And frankly, that was the issue I cared most about.

Of course, two nights ago she decided to have some "quiet alert" time in the middle of the night, and wanted some company... but that's really the first time we've dealt with that. I even tried pumping that night, thinking I was too engorged for her to nurse successfully. But no, she just wanted to be up and wasn't hungry, thank you.

I can't even remember what the issue was last night. I think I was trying to keep her out of my bed and she was not interested in the glider seat in my bedroom. For some reason, the logical solution was to fall asleep nursing on the couch? I have no recollection as to why that made sense to me at the time.

(For the worriers among you, she was lying on top of me so there was no danger of me suffocating her.)

Please, if you have any advice, weigh in!

And a final success. I was planning to practice Elimination Communication with Calliope, but have been generally too physically exhausted to think of adding one more thing to the pile. But inspired by my SMC friend Jen (and her darling daughter Luna, such a sweetie, and so mellow!), I decided to at least cue Calliope with a "pssst" sound when I noticed her eliminating.

Today before our evening feeding, I put the Baby.Bjorn.Little.Potty on the ottoman of my glider, and sat Calliope on it without her diaper. She seemed happy enough sitting on it while I explained that she could use it for "pee pee" and "poop" (I'm not sure yet if these are the words I'm going to use... I like "pee pee"... growing up we used "wee wee" which cracks me up now. Was that typical lingo back in the seventies?). I made the "pssst" sound and then put her diaper on. Then I nursed her. She didn't nurse for very long and then pulled off.

Just for practice, I took her diaper off and held her on the infant potty for a minute. Again, she seemed happy about it. Then I took her back off and put her diaper back on and tried to nurse again.

A moment later, I happened to glance at the potty.

THERE WAS PEE IN IT!!!

I am sure this is a fluke. But holy f*cking moly!!!

I never thought this could work.

I called my mom to report that her brilliant granddaughter had used the potty, and she said, "you mean, you caught her peeing and put her on the potty."

No!

This was a legitimate potty usage.

It may have been accidental, but it was real.

I was kind of tired and grumpy (despite my fabulous daughter allowing me a nap earlier in the afternoon which I desperately needed... I haven't been napping in several weeks but the three hour awake period two nights ago did me in) and this was just the thing to cheer me up and make me have to kiss her increasingly chubby cheeks. She was delighted by my cheer, and shared all sorts of smiles with me. Lovely!

Friday, September 23, 2011

My Commitment

To my loyal reader/friend who emailed me to make sure I was feeling better because I haven't posted the last couple of day... thank you!

I am feeling... a little bit better.

The bleeding slowed way down. I thought maybe it had stopped, but it came back a bit. Still, it's better. I have an appointment for an ultrasound on Monday but probably won't keep it.

My energy level is... still not great. I've had a headache, on top of that, the last two days. Advil didn't help when I tried it yesterday.

But... my attitude is better. I realized today that I'm not doing all that I can do to boost my energy in terms of eating and drinking. And I feel like: if I'm going to complain [bitterly] about my physical state, at least I have to be able to face the red face test, or in other words, to say, yes, I'm not actually causing this problem that I'm moaning about.

So my commitment to Calliope and myself is to do a better job of eating and drinking. .

So I'm trying to really push fluid and also to eat more frequently and more real food. More protein and more fat and not too much "fake food" -- Cliff Mojo bars, Oreos, etc. I don't think I was doing too badly on the fake stuff, though there is room for improvement, but I could definitely do better with the real food. Luckily I am more interested in food now than I was during my pregnancy. Last night I came home from my new mom's group plus a quick trip to the food co-op to pick up a half gallon of milk, and I was so tired I wanted to cry, and also thought I couldn't muster the energy to prepare (minimal work) and eat my dinner. But when I finally managed to have my dinner... what a difference it made in how I felt.

This was instrumental in me figuring out I needed to do a better job of self-care.

Yesterday the cleaning woman came in the morning, and also the postpartum doula. She was very lovely, but I realized after talking to her for two hours that I didn't really need to do that on a regular basis. I mean, it was great to have some emotional catharsis, plus she showed me how to inflate the tires on the Bob, a task that had felt overwhelming (wow, pushing the Bob is like a dream! by the way), but I don't think I'll need it again right away.

However, when I posted an ad to the local parents listserve looking for someone to just do my laundry (so I could lessen the frequency of the cleaning lady, who I don't really need every week), a doula wrote me back and offered her services. She's less expensive than the other doula. And loves to cook for people. And lives around the corner.

So this second doula, Maria, came by today. She was great. And the wonderful thing about paying someone (and yes, there are certainly lots of downsides to paying someone, also) is that I don't have to feel guilty or beholden, either. Or afraid to ask for what I really want.

This was the great thing about pouring my heart out to the other postpartum doula, also. Which was so cathartic and wonderful.

Maria and I are going to try having her come two mornings a week.

The thing that I am most excited about is having a break from Calliope so that I appreciate her more. I remember at my mom's house that even a short break, or even just seeing her in someone else's arms, made her ever so much cuter and awesome.

But having someone cook and grocery shop and do laundry sounds pretty awesome too.

And the idea of having the apartment to myself while Calliope and the doula go out... or for me to go get a pedicure by myself... lovely!

In other news, Calliope has been sleeping a lot the last couple of days. I don't know if it's because I am doing a better job of catching her as soon as she gets tired, or if she's having a growth spurt, or what. But getting caught up on life a bit has felt great. Today I got to read on the couch for a while (albeit The Baby Whisperer, but it still felt like an escape to get to read) and even lay down on my bed by myself for a quick doze.

And now it's 8:15, Calliope is asleep in her swing, and I'm going to get ready for bed.

One Month Photos!

Since we didn't love the newborn photos, my amazing photographer, Amy Bolger offered to do a re-do session at her studio this past Saturday.

I am thrilled with the outcome!

(Please cast your votes for your three favorites, if you don't mind? I want to put three images, I think, together for a birth announcement. Although if one with me in it comes out nice also, I will swap that in.But feedback is so helpful. I'm looking for a combination of oh-so-adorable but also recognizably Calliope and not just generic-baby-cute. )

Please excuse the crazy alignment and the odd ordering -- Blogger is at it again. Also me not numbering them all -- Blogger's charms.

One

Two

Three

Four

Five

Six




Seven

Eight


Nine

Ten






Eleven

Twelve

















Thirteen

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Down in the Dumps, or Just Tired?

Today has been a hard day.

I'm not exactly sure why.

I've been tired for three days now. My visit to the pediatrician followed by visiting a friend's clinic and having lunch with her took it out of me... and I can't seem to recover. That afternoon I could barely pick up my feet, and had to take a cab home with the baby in the Moby (not her car seat), which I felt guilty about. Then we spent the rest of the day in bed. I was asleep before she was.

Later that day, lo and behold, I started bleeding more heavily. Which my midwives had warned me would happen if I overdid it.

But I didn't feel like I did all that much, considering I'm already five weeks postpartum!

And I'm still going through a pad every four hours or so, 36 hours later.

I called my midwife today and left her a teary message. When she called me back, she suggested that maybe I have my period, of all horrid things.

I don't get my period normally because of my PCOS... how could I have it now, when no one (practically), has their period yet? Especially given that I am breastfeeding around the clock!

Yesterday my bladder was being weird... I had to pee every ten minutes, it felt like. I felt like I was back in the first postpartum week.

Today the bladder is better but I just feel very, very tired. And hormonal.

Possibly lending support to Catherine's idea that this is my period... but being tired is always a trigger for my moodiness... the main one.

She also thought the urinary frequency could be related to a period. My uterus somehow freaking out about having a period already, I think?

But the purpose of this post was mainly to just say... I'm not enjoying being me today. I feel guilty that I'm not appreciating Calliope more. This morning, I laid her on the changing table and saw her sweet little face grinning up at me through my teary moment.

This made me feel terrible. Poor thing doesn't even realize that I'm upset. And why should she?

And also, yesterday I woke her up, documenting her Baby.Whispered status... and we've been off track ever since. And so now I feel like a baby sleep failure, on top of everything else.

And oh, sidebar, the pacifier: what a double edged sword. Helps her calm down so much and often soothes her to sleep. Until she loses it or spits it out... and immediately decides she wants it back. And so... Mommy goes to and fro, sticking the damn thing back in. So sometimes I don't give it to her... and then she cries, because she needs its magical soothing powers to calm herself down. Fuck. Me.  How frustrating that can be!

Today we visited my SMC friend Jen and her darling three week old daughter, Luna. Which was wonderful, by the way. We mostly laid on her bed and nursed our babies and talked. The perfect day. Lying on someone else's bed instead of my own. Beautiful.

Then we watched the video of The Happiest.Baby.On.The.Block. Very useful to see video of how to use his swaddling technique and also how to jiggle a baby. I was too nervous before, imagining myself in the ER, trying to justify my baby's case of Shaken.Baby.Syndrome to concerned physicians and less sympathetic police officers.

Anyway, the author of that book says to give babies whatever they need to soothe themselves in the "fourth trimester." So that swings are okay. Even while the Baby.Whisperer author says that swings are the devil's spawn.

I don't know what to do.

Crying seems like a good option.

But I am considering the idea that sleep might be an even better one. (Sleeping for me, hopefully also for Calliope, who is generally agreeable when I am in the bed with her. Of course, she's been swinging peacefully, but awake, for the last hour or so, so I fear she is overtired and will be difficult to get down... but I feel pretty much like a blithering idiot who doesn't know anything right now... so who am I to say?)

Also, I called and hired a postpartum doula to come over tomorrow night. Unfortunately she can't come until after 8 pm, when her kids go to sleep. Ideally, I think I should be in bed at 8 pm.

But considering the fact that I burst into tears right after she asked me on the phone, "so how are things going?," I decided to not be difficult and just go with it.

She charges $45 an hour and I am just going with that, too.

Who knows, by tomorrow I may already be feeling better.

But my friend Jen said that postpartum doulas are sort of like New Mommy Therapy, and that sounds exactly like what I need right now.

So I'm going with it.

And oh, if the bleeding continues, my midwife is sending me for an ultrasound, just to make sure there's no retained placenta fragments, I believe. We are going to talk tomorrow.

Now if I could just get my energy back. This is so not me. I can't even go for walks these last few days. It would sort of be reassuring to find something wrong (nothing serious, god forbid) so that I could have an answer to my question, and hopefully a solution.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Baby Whispered?




















My friend Catherine mentioned that she was reading The Baby. Whisperer. I shared this with my mom, who suggested that rather than waiting to borrow it from Catherine, I should just download it onto my Kindle.

I started reading it a couple of days ago. Her writing style is fairly annoying, however, it's an interesting read. Very common sense, especially the idea that a baby would want some idea of what to expect in her schedule. I'm following her suggestion (I think it's hers, but I've read so many things lately, I could be wrong) of writing down what Calliope's schedule thus far... starting at 11 am today.

Very interesting!

She went exactly three hours between feedings.

And as a result of the book, I did not offer the boob when Calliope got cranky (after her feeding and "activity" time), but instead just swaddled her and rocked her for a couple of minutes, then popped her into the bassinet, swaddled, stuck the pacifier in her mouth, and turned on the Sleep.Sheep.

Voila! She fell asleep! By herself!

And when her pacifier fell out, as it always does, she only partially woke up, squawked a couple of times, and went back to sleep!

She's done this TWICE now!

I wouldn't say it's a miracle just yet, but I'm feeling cautiously optimistic!

Also, ever so much saner for having time to do things like the dishes.

Of course, stupid mommy that I am, I took a picture to document her progress. And woke her up. Not from the picture.

Nope.

But because the picture didn't look good without the flash. So then I tried a couple more with the flash.

That did the trick.

Grrr.

I stuck the pacifier back in her mouth and turned the Sleep.Sheap back on, and turned on all the fans for white noise, and have my fingers crossed. Wish me luck.

Calliope Smiling

video

Sunday, September 18, 2011

One Month!





















This picture pretty much sums up Calliope's experience of lying on her belly... a humungous head anchoring the rest of her puny body.





After a couple of terrible days with sleep, last night she was a champ and did three, I think, three-hour stretches. God love her.

Here's some more boring (to anyone not her mother or grandmother) video of her charming self.







We met Scott for his birthday dinner last night at my favorite Brooklyn restaurant, Saul. She slept peacefully in the Moby throughout, until I hauled her out and handed her sleepy self to Scott for a cuddle. He's not normally a baby person, so it was so sweet to see him kiss her and coo at her.





















Today Calliope and I went out for a first mother daughter brunch, just the two of us. I felt celebratory because of our good sleep, and also I was craving oatmeal (that someone else prepared) and my friend recommended our neighborhood "nice" restaurant, Farm on Adderley. So "we" enjoyed some fabulous oatmeal and bacon.




















Then my friend Emily showed up, without her three year old (having a reunion with her former nanny), so I had another round of breakfast -- poached eggs with swiss chard and cheddar grits. Divine!

We tried out the Ergo on this trip. I don't like the Heart to Heart insert -- it made her head bob around. I think we will stick with the Moby for now. Even though the Ergo was great for my back.



















Yesterday we had our "make-up" session with our wonderful photographer, Amy. She offered us another session because we didn't have such great luck on day eight of Calliope's life.

I haven't seen the new photos yet, but I think they will be amazing. Calliope was a rock star, and even obligingly fell asleep, naked and unswaddled, TWICE, on the bean bag chair! She normally has to be swaddled up tightly to fall asleep (and even then, is challenging), so this was a thrilling development. The bean bag seemed to support her in just the right way.

Of course, given the fact that she is a newborn and we SO don't have Elimination Communication down (I just started trying naked time and watching her for signals of impending elimination a couple days ago... so far, I'm clueless!), she peed several times, and even pooped runny yellow poop (what else?) down the front of my pants and onto the white faux-sheepskin rug. Ooops!

Today, after brunch, was rough, because the little girl refused to go back to sleep. Even in the Ergo carrier. I would get her to sleep, but as soon as I laid her down ANYWHERE, she would wake up again within three minutes.

I was feeling desperate by the time Michele, one of the teachers at my school, showed up. Michele was more or less an SMC in her day (her sons are adults now), especially for her younger son, so she offered to come over and help. Today was the perfect day! She took Calliope out for a THREE HOUR walk! I got lots done, and feel so much saner. And unbelievably grateful.

Callie is still asleep in the stroller/car seat combo. I guess I should go to bed? Even though it's been ages since she had a real meal?

Oh, and in other news, we went to the midwife on Thursday. Catherine weighed me with and without the baby so we could guess at her weight (since we had to miss our pediatrician appointment while we were in MA)... looks like about eight and a half pounds! And I am a couple pounds below my starting weight.... though my pants don't fit. I don't get it. Everything seems bigger, still. I'm curious if my hips are truly bigger, or just more padded?

Calliope & Catherine



















I don't really care about my weight, though I am concerned about the PCOS returning. I'm already plucking some hairs off my chin... but I don't think it is any worse than during pregnancy... I just have less time to attend to such matters, and thus, don't notice until it's pretty bad! (To be fair, I had about six hairs... not so bad by anyone's standards except my own, pre-PCOS ones.) I asked my RE, via email, about staying on Metformin long term, but because, I guess, my labs are normal, he's not in favor of it. I'm thinking about doing long term acupuncture, maybe once a month, to see if we can stay on top of it. And am sort of working on my diet. I have to be careful, though, because if I actually try to diet, per se, I rebel terribly. So I'm reading Eat Fat to Lose Fat (I think that's the title) and trying to make tiny changes. Mostly by adding things in, rather than consciously focusing on avoiding others.




















Ooops, I almost forgot! On Thursday we re-united with our friend Catherine (not the same as the midwife, she's a fellow SMC) and her handsome son Jack, one month older than Jack.


Isn't he a handsome fella?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sleep, And Lack Thereof

Calliope's first flight
























First off, our trip back to Brooklyn went pretty well yesterday.

Positives:

Calliope slept the entire time in the Moby, except for the car rides, when she mostly wailed. Have I mentioned that she hates the car seat/car combo? However, that meant that I fed her a bottle of pumped breast milk in her car seat, which both quieted her down and got her fed, obviously, so that I didn't have to deal with feeding her in security lines, which I had worried about.

One of the security officers at the security checkpoint was lovely and actually unloaded my stroller contents onto the conveyor belt and even dealt with my laptop so that I could just focus on getting Calliope and myself through the checkpoint.

A much faster journey back to Brooklyn! And probably cheaper, too.


Negatives:

Jet Blue broke the "Universal Car Seat Carrier" stroller. The handle, to be precise, that contains the folding mechanism. Now I can't complain too bitterly, because the stroller was a hand me down from another friend who got it as a hand me down. But now I have to have it either replaced or repaired. Ordering a new one from Amazon would be easy, but I don't want to spend the money on an item I will rarely use. So that's a project.

Right as the cab pulled up to my building... I realized that I had left my keys in the diaper bag that my mother is planning to ship to me. 

Shit.

So there I was with an enormous soft sided camp trunk (on wheels), a stroller, a kvetching baby, a backpack, and my own sweaty self. Which soon had spit up added to the mix, as well as breastmilk -- I nursed the baby in the airless, hot hallway of my building while I waited for my super.

He will not keep keys for anyone, and of course my friends with keys were all at work. But he agreed to work on my front door keyhole with some special machine, and when that didn't work, he went up to the roof and came down to my apartment via the fire escape and god bless him, somehow got in. I don't like to think about it, because my windows were locked, and of course, if he can get in, so could someone else, but I'm too tired to think about that for now.
So sleep.

We were doing really well there for the most part, but the last two nights have been sort of sucking. 

Instead of her usual 3-4 hour stretches of sleep and then quick feeds, she's been waking up every 1-2 hours. And then being difficult to get back to sleep.

I'm really tired.

Does anyone have any advice, at least, on how to get a one month old (as of tomorrow!) to sleep?

Girlie loves her pacifier, but of course, it falls out eventually, even the Wubbanub. And then she cries. With this new, much louder and sort of screechy cry. 

The downstairs neighbor came by last night and was all googly eyed at the baby, and promised never to bang on the ceiling again (or rather, promised her loser boyfriend wouldn't... I haven't actually met him, but he sounded like a jerk when she described him once, and the banging on the ceiling clinched it for me long ago)... but I still feel guilty and bad about Callie making noise in the middle of the night.

At what age can I let her cry a bit? I mean, I know I can do it now, but at what age can they actually learn to self-soothe? I don't want to leave her to cry unless I know that, at least, she would hypothetically be able to learn to put herself to sleep.

Last night was an endless round of nursing, moving her to the bassinet, to the baby glider, to the bed, and back to nurse again. It felt like I mostly slept in 10-20 minute intervals.

I would love any suggestions, please!

Calliope's preferred way to fall asleep... Nursing and then
using my breast as a pillow. Usually only when I am lying down.
Not ideal for me to sleep with a baby draped across me.

Trying out the Sleep Sheep in the bassinet.
Worked for yesterday's nap but not night sleep. Bummer.







Sunday, September 11, 2011

Getting Out and Being Social

Calliope as Little Lord Fauntleroy.
Doesn't she have regal bearing?
(And aren't her tiny bare feet just the cutest?)



























Calliope and I had our first mommy and baby date this week, with my friend Sarah and her three month old daughter, Isla (pronounced "Ayla").

Isla is wishing for a more belly-baring shirt, and making do. 



















This was only our second solo outing with the car, so I was pretty proud of us. Though I wish the car didn't make her scream -- it's so stressful!  

The previous day we journeyed to my cousin Bonnie's house, 20 minutes away. We got to greet her younger daughter, Sarah, getting off the bus after her first day of 4th grade. She was the only one who hadn't met Calliope yet, and was very excited to have a committee waiting to see her home after her first day back in school!

Four year old Cousin William is very, very focused on his responsibility
of holding Calliope -- a job he is exceedingly fond of!




















And as I mentioned in my earlier post, a couple of days ago, SMC Planner Robyn came to visit us, bearing pizza!




















Friday we journeyed into Cambridge for a pseduo-reunion of my summer camp. It was meant to be a big reunion up at camp in beautiful Plymouth, Vermont, but Plymouth is just a couple of miles from the apparent epicenter of damage from Irene (Killington), so at this point, you need a FEMA pass to get into Plymouth. Obviously not ideal for a reunion!

So the reunion was postponed, but a couple of people offered to host events in the Boston area. Friday night a dozen or two of us gathered in one host's beautiful Cambridge home. I got awfully tired and ended up accepting a generous offer of crash space. (I should mention this home has EIGHTEEN rooms in it!) Calliope was a trooper once we went to bed and didn't make a peep all night (she did wake up, of course, but didn't cry); I was grateful that we avoided waking anyone. 

The next morning while all the middle aged ladies went kayaking, Calliope and I stayed put. While she napped I learned how to hand express. More fun and satisfying that milking a goat at barn chores! (My camp was a working farm.) Later in the afternoon, several of us went out to lunch -- Calliope slept in the Moby the whole time -- before we ventured over to Newton for the main event.

There were a handful of us at the reunion that were campers together starting back in 1984! It was wonderful to see everyone. My camp is a wonderful, beautiful place, called Farm and Wilderness, and in many ways, it's what I consider my true childhood home. It's certainly where I felt free to be myself, and truly loved for who I was. I will always be in debt to that community for that. 

We returned home last night and were glad to be reunited with Grammy, who freely admitted that she missed us. I am surprised to realize that we will really miss her, too, when we return to Brooklyn on Saturday. This feeling was certainly accentuated when she, out of nowhere, gave me a check to help tide us over, especially appreciated because of the issues with my leave. We will use this towards a postpartum doula, cleaning lady, and home delivery of groceries, all of which I am already scheduling. 

I'm very, very grateful today. For the millions of ways in which I am so exceedingly lucky.   





Friday, September 9, 2011

Tied Up in Knots

Because my disability insurance carrier, who also administers "bonding leave"... is saying that my disability date starts August 16th, my daughter's date of birth.

Thing is: I don't work in August (or July).

But my salary is pro-rated so that I receive my ten month salary spread out over twelve months.

So it kind of looks like I do work over the summer, since it looks like I'm getting paid (whereas actually I'm just being reimbursed for work that I already did.)

So this is looking like I will only get three weeks of paid disability, instead of six... and worse, it's threatening the twelve weeks total of time off with my daughter (not including my summer time "off" -- I put the word in quotes since it's not like it's vacation time... it's unpaid leave!)

I don't know what to do.

I've called my HR administrator, again, and left a message for the disability administrator, again.

I'm about to call my union... but since there are only four of us school based nurse practitioners with this ten month schedule... I'm pessimistic. They don't tend to return phone calls under the best of circumstances.

If anyone has any advice, please advise me!

My little baby girl is about to wake up and I'm so anxious I'm worried that my milk won't even let down.

Let me be clear... I "get it" that this is still, in the scheme of things, not such a big problem to have. I don't mean to complain. It's just the anxiety of not knowing is really getting to me.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

So Tired

We had a pretty good day today.

She slept until 9:15 this morning, and we had a long stretch from 11:30 pm to 6:30 am with only one wake up.

I felt great when we got up!

We went for a long-ish walk this morning, which I found out from my mom later was nearly 0.8 miles each way. I didn't even feel tired afterwards!

Robyn, a Boston SMC Planner, came by this afternoon and visited with us while Calliope slept in the Moby for three hours. She even brought us pizza! Thanks Robyn!

And then tonight... I put her back in the Moby, hoping for once that I might succeed in getting her to sleep before dinner, instead of fussing during it.

Nothing doing.

And then, against my MUCH better judgement, I let my mom take her (out of the Moby on my chest) and put her down for tummy time while I ate dinner (I eat a LOT these days, so my mom finished long before me). Even though she had had fluttering eyelids for quite a while at that point.

But I just didn't want to be critical and bossy and to say "no" to my mom and her ideas, especially since my idea of using the Moby wasn't working so perfectly anyway.

So my mom put her on the floor (on her changing pad) for tummy time, and sure enough, she was quietly cooing for a few minutes.

Then, when my mom was getting ready to leave for her evening meeting...

Of course.

Baby started to scream. Inconsolably.

And of course my mom couldn't dally.

There went my plans for a shower, never mind a pair of clean underwear. (If I am still wearing maxi-pads, and I change them at least occasionally, is that nearly as good as clean underpants?)

She screamed and screamed. Something she has only done in the car up until now.

I remembered a trick of my cousin's, and ripped off my shirt and the baby's clothes, and tried lying down with her, skin to skin, on the couch

It just made her want to nurse. Which helped for a little while. At one point she popped off and I sprayed milk over both of us as well as the couch, leaving all three of us faintly sticky.

Yuck.

Finally I put both of our clothes back on, swaddled her tightly in her new Miracle Blanket (*best thing EVER) and put her in the swing. Which she couldn't tolerate this morning because her pacifier kept falling out.

Lo and behold, she fell quickly to sleep.

As if I hadn't been trying for two hours to get her down.

And now it's an hour later and I'm painfully tired (not sure why?) and instead of showering and going to bed, I can't seem to motivate myself off the computer.

Anyone know why I would be self-destructive enough to miss out on an hour of solo sleep (we will be revisiting the co-sleeping concept when we return to NYC... I'm starting to see the appeal of not having to worry about rolling onto a baby while sleeping... especially problematic in the guest bed with the too-soft mattress that causes her to roll downhill into me) when I don't have to?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Other Woman (or Man?)

There's another woman sleeping in my bed, and I'm a teensy bit jealous.

Well, she's not an entire woman, just a body part.

Her nipple.

I've been fine, even positive, on the prospect of a pacifier.

I was an inveterate (I hope I'm using that word correctly) thumb sucker as a child, and wasn't able to give it up until the heartbreaking accidental loss of my blankie. Thumb sucking was no good without Blankie, so the habit died a quick and painful death. But if that hadn't happened, who knows how long that embarrassing and dental misalignment causing habit might have lasted?

So pacifiers always seemed sort of great to me, because of the fact that you couldn't carry it with you all the time. So you had a guaranteed cure for addiction, right?

Although I know La Leche League and other pro-breastfeeding factions are against them, or at least, against their early use, I have already read academic literature about neonates that showed that pacifier use without the use of bottles did not affect breastfeeding success. These articles showed that babies understand the difference between "non-nutritive sucking" and sucking for business (my own term, meaning: eating).

So we first tried out a pacifier for the trip home from the hospital, and it worked out well.

Calliope first liked the "Mam" pacifier because it is designed for a newborn -- it's small enough that she can hold it in her mouth. The Avent pacifiers are too heavy for her, and fall out.

But then we introduced her to the Wubbanub, a silly looking pacifier attached to a stuffed animal. Someone had given it to me when I bought their used baby gear (the Wubbanub was unused). It seemed pretty ridiculous to me... but Callie loves it. The Soothies pacifier attached to it is pretty strange and slightly creepy to me, because it's see through -- you can see the innards of her mouth, sucking away on it.

But whatever floats her boat, right?

But two nights ago, she clearly wanted some recreational sucking time. She started rooting, and then wailed with my nipple in her mouth, while continuing to root. 

So for the first time, I brought a pacifier to bed.

And suddenly felt strange about it. 

There was another nipple in bed with us. 

It felt a little like she was having an affair before my very eyes.

Until...

I looked at the nipple more closely.

And observed the bulbous tip.

And realized... 

It looked rather phallic.

So maybe it's not another woman that's in bed with us, after all. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Update from Three Weeks

Modeling her new Big Girl three month size clothing as well as the first
smile caught on camera (both the smile & the capture were accidental)




















Calliope has been asleep in her swing for two and a half hours, allowing me to get lots done.

Including buying us a plane ticket to go home in eight days!

God bless Jet Blue and their $49 fares.

(It's also kind of exciting to get to be a person that gets to pre-board.)

I'm nervous about going home, but also excited.

Two nights ago Callie had a very hard time getting to sleep. We were up 11 pm -- 1 am working on it. Finally, I gave up (admittedly, with disgust), and brought her downstairs to heat up a bottle of breastmilk. I figured my breasts were just too full and forceful in their let down for her (because she would take a few sucks, then pull off and cry.)

I put her down in her swing and got the bottle out and warming in a mug of hot water.

Then I turned around to find her... asleep in the swing.

I am slowly learning that this rooting-then-crying-with-the-nipple-in-the-mouth means "fatigue" and not "hunger."

So I put the bottle back in the refrigerator and got out the breast pump (because she hadn't had a solid meal in several hours, and I was overflowing.) After pumping and then reading a bit on the couch -- I was desperate for some "me" time -- I tried to go to sleep on the couch next to her. But I couldn't relax there. And I was scared to carry her and her swing upstairs -- afraid the movement would wake her.

So finally I decided to leave her swinging downstairs while I slept upstairs.

But of course I slept fitfully, afraid I wouldn't hear her. I leapt out of bed and bolted down the stairs twice... only the second time was she actually awake. After that we slept together, from about 4:30 am on.

Needless to say, I was awfully tired yesterday. So my mom generously agreed to take the baby after dinner and let me go to sleep. This would also allow her to give the baby a bottle, something that is more complicated to schedule than I would've imagined.

I went to bed at 8 pm, and she brought Calliope up at 9:50 pm, post-bottle but still fussing. See above for lessons on crying after eating.

I popped her into the swing (which my mom brought upstairs for us) and turned the fan on its loudest setting, and we both fell back to sleep for several hours.

Despite the fact that I only had a two hour head start... I woke up at 7 am feeling well rested and great and ever so grateful. (Rest assured, there were multiple wake up calls between Calliope's bedtime and when we got up... but I still felt great!)

All this to say... what will I do when I don't have this option anymore, someone to hand her over to? What would I do if, heaven forbid (not really), I had another child to tend to??? How do SMCs with two kids do this???

Also, I'm nervous about returning to Brooklyn because I'm afraid that I will find out that really, I have an empty life without much going for me.

I have a feeling that this might not be true, but still, I worry about it. Facing my loneliness demons and all that.

However, I'm thrilled to be feeling more and more like myself. Yesterday I had a terrifying "head rush" after squatting to dress the baby on the floor... my worst one ever, and I'm prone to them... culminating in a long moment of total darkness, where I feared I would fall and drop the baby... thankfully, it passed. Other than that, I'm definitely getting stronger.

Saturday we went to the mall to buy me some shirts. Turns out that nursing shirts are just as weird as I feared (it's also possible that I didn't actually try any on, and was already dismayed by the concept, and just reinforced this feeling by examining them while still on hangars), so we ended up at the Gap, where I bought a bunch of white and black T shirts (solid color, either white or black) on sale. By the end I was exhausted, for sure, but still, this is so far past where I was a week ago Thursday, where I couldn't even contemplate getting to the bathroom in a rest stop. Sunday we went to Target and Costco and I didn't even need to lie down afterwards! True, I was shuffling slowly behind my mom, but still, this is major progress.

I'm noticing a little bit of anxiety lately, which I am attributing to a lack of exercise. The anxiety is all about ordinary anxiety-producing stuff, like finding out that I am only getting paid for three weeks of disability instead of six, since she was born during the summer when I don't work. And the fact that Liberty Mutual is telling me that my FMLA leave started in July, not September (since my salary is pro-rated over the summer, when I don't work, this would mean I didn't get paid for hours I had previously worked... plus not being eligible for the full twelve weeks off after the summer that I am entitled to). Also what I will do when she grows up and hates my guts and rolls her eyes at me and, god forbid, goes off to college, presumably without me. But it's mostly the first two that I roll around in my brain in the middle of the night.





The cute monkey tushie view of her new duds























"Was it buy low, sell high, or vice versa?"

Co-resting. See, she's still tiny? Those newborn PJ's
won't fit much longer, though.
My rack, not so tiny. 

She's got a firm grip on new Wubbanub and also her cheek,
so she's okay

Angel Baby

(written a few days ago, when I had time to wax not-quite-poetic. But I promise the sentiments were 100% heartfelt, even if they sound trite.)
























She is tiny and perfect and gorgeous.
Pictures don't capture how small she is.
Maybe it's because she slept all day -- I have time and energy to think romantically -- but lying next to me, in her little gown, she looks like a tiny, beautiful angel.
Like a china doll that you send away for from Reader's Digest.
Too perfect to be real.
Only, of course, she is real.
Her beauty makes my heart hurt.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Five S's

Swaddled, in Swing, with Sucking (Wubbanub pacifier)
close by. Fan (Shushing) not shown.
Look how her face is filling out already!
Baby acne not shown.



























We've been studying up on the Five S's from the Happiest Baby on the Block.

Nothing was really helping last night.

I started to think darkly about the term "colic."

And was very, very grateful to not be alone with her. Not that I was scared of what I would do, but just because it was so great to have someone else pick up the slack now and then.

She didn't cry constantly... she'd be quiet for a few minutes, either on the breast or in the swing with her Wubbanub pacifier (best pacifier ever! ridiculous name and it seems overpriced, but she LOVES it and it stays in much better than any other), but then the wails would start again.

This all started in the late afternoon. When my mom came home, she immediately assumed that the problem was simply that I didn't know what I was doing, hadn't tried the right tricks yet.

How many tricks can there be with a newborn, I ask you???

About 45 minutes later, my mom conceded that the problem was perhaps with the child, and not the ignorant mother.

She cried on and off throughout the evening. I'm grateful my mom lives alone, as I don't think I would be comfortable sitting at the dinner table with my breast flopped out on the My Brest Friend (another INVALUABLE invention... hands free breastfeeding is awesome! the Boppy doesn't cut it in this respect at all... she falls down into the pit between the pillow and my stomach) if there were other folks there like, say, my dad.

Wow, just writing about breastfeeding is causing a milk let-down. I'm so mammalian these days.

Finally I decided to take her to bed, wondering if maybe nursing while horizontal would help. It was still early, only about 8:30, so I figured if it was a failure, I could always get up and hand her off to my mother again.

I carefully swaddled her in her Kidopotamus wrap, which she wriggles out of somewhat but is still easier and better for us than the frustrating method suggested in Happiest Baby on the Block (the second step perplexes me every time) and got situated in bed -- pillows on both sides, chux pad under me.

Lo and behold... she passed out while nursing in bed (lying on top of me). I ever so carefully positioned her in the swing (the THIRD awesome invention for which I am deeply grateful), turned on the fan next to her to its highest (loudest) setting, aimed away from her, and fell gratefully into bed.

Girl slept nearly FIVE HOURS!!!!

Glory be.

After that it was every three hours. Until I got up around 9 am. She fed then and quickly went back to sleep... she's still sleeping, now, two and a half hours later.

Thank you!!!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Photo Shoot from Day Eight























Unfortunately, despite the exhaustion imposed by it, the photo shoot was not a rousing success. Amy has offered me a free mini one hour session to try again... most likely September 17th.

I really wanted the perfect newborn photo(s) so I could send out the perfect birth announcement... ah well, the best laid plans!

If the next batch doesn't work out either, I'll just send this first one as a simple, one photo card.

For the record, I've never been a person that cared about perfect birth announcements before!


Can you tell my eyes are blue?


A Better Day

Despite the fact that my mom woke me up to take Calliope back at TEN MINUTES PAST NINE last night!???? (the baby was asleep and the bottle of breastmilk was untouched... my mom just wanted to go to bed. i had been asleep since 8 pm) and the fact that we enjoyed only 2-3 hour stints of sleep during the night... things are feeling much better.

Going to bed at 8 helped a lot. I got up at 7 because I remembered I needed my mom to fax some disability leave paperwork for me today... and I hadn't filled it out yet... but still, that was a lot of time in bed.

I'm figuring out that newborns really can't be up for long. Callie does best if she pretty much goes back to sleep right after eating. I feel bad because it's not that I don't want to spend time with my child... and I feel that way sometimes, shuttling her right back to sleep.

But she seems to do better that way. Right now she is fighting sleep, wailing intermittently in the swing, with periods of quiet in between. I feel terrible leaving her alone with her misery... but I've fed her, burped her, diapered her, thumped her on the bum for a while... nothing puts her to sleep like the swing. Well, that or lying down with her. But I really wanted to post here, and maybe even shower!

Here's some photos from the last few days, now that I can access my computer again.

out for a longer walk today