Saturday, July 8, 2017

Sleep Regression

Over the past two weeks Isabella has been teasing me.  She would fall asleep and sleep a good 5-6 (even once a seven!) hour stretch, wake up for about an hour and then sleep for another 3 hours or so.  I was so excited.  "This is it", I foolishly thought to myself, "she is creeping her way toward sleeping through the night like those magical babies I hear about!"  Sure she had an off night here or there, but never two nights in a row.

Silly, silly me.

I am now typing bleary eyed as we have now suffered through not one, not two, but three disruptive nights of sleep.  We have had a 3-4ish hour stretch followed by 1-2 hour stretches:(.  No rhyme, no reason, just cause I guess.

J.T. is going to put her to bed tonight so I can try to go to bed at 7 and hopefully get at least 5-6 hours in a stretch.

With the decrease in sleep I am feeling an increase in my anxiety level which makes it impossible to nap during the day and more challenging to fall asleep at night even though I am beyond tired.

Such cruel irony!

Saturday, July 1, 2017


Yesterday was the last day of my contract as principal of an elementary school.  For the first time in my adult life I am officially not employed anywhere.

I have received some sort of a paycheck since I was 14 years old.  Even though I intend to earn an income in the coming months I will be self-employed.  No supervisor.  No co-workers.  No formal paycheck.  Weird.

I think what also makes it strange is that my last official day at work was not meant to be.  It was the Friday before spring break and I fully expected to come back for at least a few days after that break. So it's kind of like I got cut off mid-sentence.  I did take Isabella to school on field day and got to see everyone, but it was a quick spin around campus and it certainly wasn't work.

What's even more weird is that the back to school ads are bound to start any day now (I mean it IS July so why wouldn't they), and I will not be having a first day of school.  I mean I will start my classes again so I guess that counts but for the last 16 years (and for most of the last 30+ years) I have had a first day of school in the K-12 world and this year I will not.  Weird.

And the adjustment period continues...

Friday, June 30, 2017

Family Fun

My family takes an annual trip to the beach in June, but this year with the baby they came to visit us instead.  My out of town family rented a house on the lake.  Monday was the only day we were all together as a group and took a boat ride (turns out my husband is an excellent "driver" of boats!) and then played a game back at the lake house.  After that there were schedules to contend with:  my husband and brother's work schedules, my teenage niece and nephew's sleep schedule (noon wake up) and Isabella's nap/bedtime schedule (naps were ok out and about, but had to be home by 8 for bed and frankly she started getting cranky around 6).  So while it was a different type of vacation then we have experienced in the past it was wonderful being able to see my family without leaving town.


Friday, June 23, 2017

Adjustment Period

I was going to title this post "Identity Crisis", but that felt a bit more dramatic than how I actual feel so I went with adjustment period instead.

After 6.5 loooong years in the making I am getting to do exactly what I set out to do:  I am a mom who is blessed with the opportunity to stay at home with her child (with a general game plan for still contributing to the family finances and finish my doctorate).

The first month, despite the ups and downs of being a new mom, I was perfectly content to stay very close to home and begin to traverse this new role of being a mom and to be honest that is all I had the time and energy to focus on.  The second month, while still grappling to find my bearings as a new mom, was fraught with health issues (mine, Isabella's and J.T.'s) so again all of my time, energy and thoughts were spoken for.  However, as we have begun moving into month three, many of the health and brand new mom hiccups are subsiding and I am beginning to focus more on what lies ahead in the big rather than simply putting one foot in front of the other for the day to day stuff...and it feels...well...weird...

Adjustment #1--It's a small world after all
My world has become so very small.  For my whole adult life I have (whether I should have or not) been focused on the needs/wants/concerns of dozens (as a teacher) and hundreds (as a principal) people most of the days of the year.  These needs/wants/concerns filled most of my work days and thoughts and I needed the rest of time time to unwind from it all.

Now for the first time I am only focused on the needs/wants/concerns of two people.  Going from hundreds to two is strangely overwhelming in that I seem to have taken the energy that was once given to lots and lots of needs/wants/concerns and am now pumping that same level of energy into my tiny family.  Um, yeah, that's not going to work in the long run as both J.T. and my mom have begun to gently point out that I am essentially making mountains out of mole hills.  They are not wrong, but how do I reprogram this part of myself? 

Adjustment #2--Work/Life Balance
Since about my third year of teaching I began to try to have work/life balance.  As an educator this has always been a real challenge (ask any teacher you know and they will tell you the struggle is real!).  Over the last five years or so I have been pretty successful in working my 50 or so hour work week and then leaving it behind (for the most part) once I left campus.

Well now I have a new challenge in that my new work IS my life.  TGIF no longer means the same thing because Saturdays and Sundays strongly resemble Mondays-Fridays.  Do I get days "off"?  Though I suspect some would argue as a mom who is home I am always off, it definitely feels like the concept of "free time" is nearly a distant memory as any time I am not directly caring for my child (which is only when she is sleeping) I am working on my house, finances, health, future endeavors, etc.    This blog is one of my few personal outlets and it seems I only get to it about once a week and crank out multiple posts that have been lingering around my brain for days but I couldn't get to (though I should probably have used this time to try to sleep considering I got less than four hours of sleep last night!).

Also there is no physical boundary as I now work and live in the same space and there is no beginning or end to my workday (as evidenced by being awoken by my tiny boss every hour past midnight last night!).  I am getting 100% what I asked for, but what is a work/life balance supposed to look like when you are a mom who works/stays home?

Adjustment #3--Into the great wide open
As a teacher and even as a principal I have experienced summer breaks.  Once upon a time I used to work during my summer breaks but for about the last 10 years I have taken my summers off (be it 10 weeks as a teacher or 4 weeks as a principal), so a part of me feels like I am currently on summer break.  The catch that causes me to nearly break out in hives when I think about it?  In the past there was a return date, schedule, and game plan when my summer break ended, but now the return date/schedule/game plan for my new wage earning work life falls 100% on my shoulders and for now is almost totally wide open.

I will continue to be a full time student in the fall, so that date in August is concrete.  It has also been my plan that I would begin earning money again in August.  I have begun advertising my home child care services and have met with two moms who each need part time care come August/September. While this is a good start, it only fills 4-6 (one mom is still trying to decide whether she wants one day or two) of the 10 slots I need filled each week to hit my magic budgeting number.   I am continuing to find new ways to get the word out and it is still very early.  Also I continue to look at other sources of income (for instance online teaching), so feel confident that the magic number will somehow be reached.  However,  the fact that I do not know with certainty what I will be doing day to day come August is more than a little unnerving.  That same part of me that lets me know things are all going to work out the way they are supposed to is as confident as ever, but the tiny nagging voice that appears from time to time that asks "what if it doesn't?" seems to be a bit louder these can I make him shut up?!?!?

Some food for thought as I let the above sink in:

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

2 Month Appointment

Starting with the positives:

This little girl is sleeping 5/6 hour stretches (followed by a 2/3 hour stretch) most nights of the week-yay!  J.T. will continue to do Saturday nights, but after this week the TA will no longer come to do a weekly overnight (though last night I somehow slept through her 2:30 feeding and woke up at 4:30 with equal parts panic and relief at having gotten 6 solid hours of sleep!).  She is at the 89th percentile for height, 86th for her big ole head and 78th for weight.  She got her 2 month shots (thankfully two were oral, which left "only" one injection per leg).  The doctor declared her strong and overall healthy.

I say overall because we are still dealing with eating aversions most likely due to the reflux not being completely under control.  The pedi is changing her meds to Nexium so hopefully that will lead to long term relief.  She is still eating (though mostly when drowsy) and is gaining weight, but I just can't stand her still being in pain when she eats:(.

We have also entered camp colic.  My child defies logic in that when she sleeps well at night she is more cranky during the day and when she is up more often at night she is more pleasant during the day.  Apparently when you compound this with the fact that she needs white noise and/or paci and swaddling to calm down, she is not able to "self-sooth" when there is no actual issue AND that one of her parents had colic (not it!) this all adds up to a colicky baby.  The good news is that I handle things better when there is a reason for them (even a vague one like colic-though I draw the line at the too vague "unexplained" infertility-but I digress).  The even better news is that she is likely to grow out of it by 4 months so we are in the 6 week home stretch.  The bad news is that I kept telling J.T. it wasn't colic because she doesn't cry in long stretches (rather it's lots of crying over the course of the day), so I was wrong and he was right and I could have had my reason before today...darn Dr. Google!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Return to Land of Crickets

You may recall that in September we were given a 9 month freeze from our adoption professional I have nicknamed Land of Crickets Adoption.  Take our 2 year without-a-peep-wait, multiply it by the two other couples we know who are signed up with them who are/were in an identical boat, and add to it the numerous NC couples who just seem to wait (as determined by stalking the company website), they continue to deserve this name.

We were supposed to be ready to roll with the final 6 months of our contract (for which we had to fight!) on June 1, but not surprisingly given how the spring turned out that didn't happen.  I should note that we were not the only ones to have been lagging; however, we had a good excuse.  Their only excuse in incompetence.  Below you will find an email I sent to them summarizing our interactions over the last two weeks and, as you can see by my pointed questions, they are as wonderful as ever (insert eye roll!).

Good afternoon~

My delayed response is the result of having to take time to process our interaction.  Below you will find my understanding of what has transpired over the last week and a half, the answers to the questions you posed over voicemail and a few questions we have:

1.  I updated our website on Monday, May, 29 in an effort to begin to prepare for our re-activitation in June.
2.  I received an email response from K on Tuesday, May 30, letting us know when our hold is officially removed she would review our website.  
3.  I follow up on Friday, June 2 via email having not heard anything from K.
4.  You called me on Monday, June 5 ready to accept our payment of $250 for a termination date that you understood to be June 12.  Can you help us understand why your organization would accept $250 for less than 7 days of reactivation? You noted that you would willing to take our file to the "review board".
5.  I explained that we had received notification from you in the fall that the "review board" had already granted us a 6 month extension to which you seemed to have no knowledge.  We ended the call so you could "look in to it" and I could find the documentation I knew I had.
6.  I forwarded the email that had been sent in October stating the "review board" had granted us an additional 6 months on our contract.
7.  You call back leaving a message stating you had also found this information in our file (Can you help us understand why it hadn't been there when you initially called?) and asking for our daughter's name and DOB.  Her name is Isabella Grace and her DOB is 4/13.
8.  You note that once you have our check for $250 K will be able to continue her work with us.  The check was mailed today.  Can you help us understand why $250 is needed in addition to the kajillion dollars we paid two years ago?
8.  You then send this letter for us to sign and return (which we will do by the end of the week via scanning and email).  Can you help us understand why the letter was not sent in October when the extension was granted?

Thank you in advance for helping us better understand this process.  Given the monetary, time, and emotional investment we have in your organization we are finding it critical to fully understand all of its components.

As per usual her answers were vague and trite, though interestingly she failed to respond to the question in #4.

So we are still working on finishing our updated homestudy, profile, and video.  It will be closer to July 1 that we will be ready to roll.  Which I am sure they will point out when they are unable to match us by the end of November and want to terminate our contract.

So either God has in His plans for us to have Irish twins (or whatever you call siblings even closer or in age) OR in the event they terminate the contract without a match He wants me to help others see these adoption "professionals" for who they truly are.  Stay tuned...I am as interested in finding out how this turns out as anyone!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Let Her Sleep

Just as soon as I thought I had figured out Isabella's routine she flipped the switch on me on Monday! I tried to let her take the lead, but by Wednesday afternoon we were both cranky during the day and realized that wasn't working either.  The good news is she was sleeping well (for her!) at night, but the daytime/nap time/eating routine was not exactly going swimmingly:(.

Thursday night she didn't sleep very well and today we had our weekly "play"date with my friend Amy.  Upon arriving, Isabella was asleep and I asked Amy where I could put her out of the way since a demon had overtaken her when she woke up from her last nap and I needed the demon to vanish by the end of this one!  I tucked her away in their spare bedroom and hung out with Amy and her girls.

A little while later, I was going to go wake Isabella to try to feed her before we headed to our next destination when Amy suggested I just let her sleep.  Let her sleep and when she wakes up wait for her to let me know she was hungry.  I was hesitant, but trust Amy so gave it a shot.

So for the rest of the day when she would fall asleep I would let her sleep until she woke up.  While the amount she ate did not increase wouldn't you know that kid slept from 8:00-2:30 and then again from 3-5:30 and then AGAIN from 5:50-7:00.  Who is this kid?!?!  She can spend the night every night!  On the eating front I am beginning to wonder if the first few weeks of eating on the higher end of the continuum may be the result of the reflux.  I have read that silent reflux babies can be "overweight" due to eating as a form of soothing from the pain, so maybe eating around 20 oz. is the true norm for Isabella.  She still seems to be gaining weight so maybe I just need to chill on the eating front.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Feel Like Myself Again!

I had my second counseling appointment today and I was proud to have completed almost all of the assignments she had sent me home with.

J.T. took bedtime and Isabella's first feeding on Saturday night.  While I did wake up when she cried for the feeding it felt luxurious to stay in bed.  I ended up getting about 5-6 hours of basically uninterrupted sleep and it was amazing.  The next day I had some brainstorms on various topic.  I had not had a brainstorm in months and it felt so good!

Tonight, our "night nurse" (a TA from my school who took the job when her college aged daughter and friends declined) is coming and I will-gasp-get to sleep from 10-6.  It's almost too good to be true!

Added to all of that Isabella is hitting some longer stretches (4 hours or so) and more consistently getting up twice, I feel like myself again.

I also went prepared to discuss the possibility of an "as needed" medication and whether what I am experiencing is really PPD or Postpartum Stress Disorder.

Immediately she could see/feel a difference in me.  She noted that as needed medication can be more habit forming so we agreed to table the idea of medication for now.  She also feels based on all we have discussed that if we were going to name what I had experienced she feels it is one of PPDs other off-shoots-Postpartum Anxiety.

We also discussed the potential adoption.  She had understood that the 6 months was a freeze period and that we would casually foray back in at that point.  When she realized that it was our hope/intention/plan to match and potentially bring home another newborn in 6 months she noted she was very concerned.

Feeling like myself again, I straight up told her:

"If our roles were reversed and I was sitting in your chair I would feel exactly the same way.   Here you have a woman you are treating for Postpartum mental health needs who is telling you that she is possibly looking at adding another newborn to her family ASAP--that seems crazy!  That being said there are three factors that will be different.  Number one-I have spent almost three decades working with little kids, but having a newborn knocked me on my ass.  I was totally unprepared and even thought this next baby's needs will be different I will not undergo the shock factor I just experienced.  

Two-the physical complications of actually giving birth and recovering also took a major toll on me. My previous major health issues had been infertility (which was basically a void), the removal of my wisdom teeth, and hypothyroidism, so three hospital visits and over a week's worth of hospital stays was not easy to say the least.  Again, not going to come into play with adoption.  

Finally, in the event of two newborns/infants I am asking my mom to stay with us for a month!"

This little speech seemed to put the counselor at ease and I think gave her greater insight into the real me.  We decided that we wouldn't schedule another appointment and that I would just reach back out should the need arise.

As we were wrapping up, we also discussed that while I am out and about and getting to interact with other moms, there aren't a lot of SAHM that were school leaders or are in the process of pursuing a doctorate so when meeting potential new mom friends there's not always much of a connection beyond the fact that we are both moms.  The counselor explained that she had experienced this herself, as had a client, and that I needed to be flexible and willing to accept that, should the time come that I realize that I am not cut out to be a SAHM, and that it is ok if my game plan changes.

I needed to hear this.  I had made a lot of progress in recent years in regard to loosening my tight fist on control and having a plan and expecting that plan to lay out exactly as I foresaw them; however, since being pregnant and having Isabella I have re-entered some dangerous territory in that regard.

God must have whispered into this counselor's ear because I needed to hear it as I move forward into this next stage of my life and for that I am thankful.

2 Months

Likes:  going for walks, riding in the car (most of the time!), going places and seeing new things and people, LOVES music and being sung too (sometimes she even "sings" along herself), dancing and being held up on our laps so she can "walk"/bounce, and having her diaper changed (you will note that this was on the dislike list for month one-she can be a fickle little thing!).
Dislikes:  Eating a lot at one time (darn reflux!), napping anywhere except for her stroller, being awake for longer than 75 minutes
Milestones:  Smiles, coos and if we didn't have to keep her elevated so much I swear she would be about ready to roll over.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Turning a Corner?

Today was the last day of school.  It was so weird that for the first time in 16 years it was the last day of school and I wasn't at a school!  The new principal invited me to participate in kindergarten "graduation", but I declined.  Last year on the last day of school I was looking ahead at an uncertain summer hoping against hope that DE IVF would be the answer to our prayers and I continued to be in awe that it was!

I am also in awe at the changes I have seen over the last couple of days.  Isabella is still hesitant to eat large amounts at one time, so I have adjusted things during the day so that she eats about every two hours instead of every three.  This has helped get more into her system.

We also (finally!) seem to be mastering the art of "eat, play, sleep".  Wednesday I tried having her nap in her crib (since she sleeps better there at night than anywhere else-other than on me-during the day).  That did not go well (I am assuming it's because she could see the wide expanse that is her crib that she cannot see in the dark of night) and potentially led to the first bedtime routine fail we have had in weeks.  She did not go down until almost 11..after she and I both totally melted down:(

Thursday after she would finish eating I would rotate her through "centers" (bouncy chair, walk around and look at things, activity mat, swing, singing) each of which would hold her attention for about 5 minutes max.  I then began to make my peace with the fact that she gets tired after only about 45 minutes at which point I swaddle her, turn on the white noise and sit with her (medusa style of course) until she drifts off.  I then put her in the bassinet of her pack and play (which she is about to bust out of, but works for now) where she naps for about an hour or so and then we rinse and repeat.

I have also made my peace with our day officially beginning somewhere in the 5-6am range (as dictated by Isabella).  Heck I've gotten up at this time for work for years I should be used to it!  Throw in an early morning walk with nap in stroller after wake up and an evening walk with nap in stroller and though it's early yet, I think we may be stumbling onto a routine!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

8 Weeks Old

Our baby is almost 2 months old!  She is becoming more and more her own little person every day:). 

Today also marks what will, God willing, be my final postpartum doctors appointment.   The bleeding finally stopped-hallelujah!  I am also super excited that after a year (between IVF, pregnancy, delivery and recover) of being regularly asked to undress from the waist down, as the nurse practitioner put it my vagina is no longer on display-yay!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

PPD Counseling

Yesterday I went and met with the (free) postpartum counselor at the hospital.  It felt good talking to someone about what I was experiencing and to walk away with some constructive to do items.

The first is that I need to find a way to get more sleep.  That would be great-but how?  My husband works full time and I am not having my 70 year old parents get up with her (they have already paid their dues in this department).  Every suggestion she gave I batted away, but after taking Isabella for a walk this morning I came up with three viable options.  First, asking J.T. to take bedtime and the first one to two night feedings on Saturday nights.  This would give me a 6 hour block of uninterrupted sleep.  Second, look for an overnight babysitter (colleague's college age kid? one week night a week for the next four weeks.  Third, looking at improving the quality of Isabella's sleep.  She is sooo restless and her napping is still so erratic (unless she is sleeping on me!).  Maybe if we got that figured out we could both get longer stretches of sleep at night.

The second thing we discussed was medication.  I am still opposed to medication (not for other people, just for me for some reason); however, could not articulate a good reason as to why I am opposed.  I kept going back to assuming these feelings would be short term, but as she pointed out a number of stressors (family health concerns, possible adoption placement, transitioning to single income again, etc.) are not going anywhere.  While she is right, I still hesitate to strap myself to a daily mood altering medication.  We said we would come back to the topic next week when we meet.  A friend pointed out that some meds such as Xanax are taken only as needed, I feel much better about something like that so will ask the counselor about as needed medication options.

The counselor also recommended a book (see below) which I was able to download on my phone's Kindle app and in reading the first chapter have come to see that there are multiple postpartum mood "disorders" and that I more identify with Postpartum Stress Disorder than Postpartum Depression.  I will be interested in seeing what the counselor says when I share these thoughts with her next week.

I continue to be so thankful for the hospital and affiliated medical practice we selected.  They have been such a blessing.  I think it is awesome that they offer this free service and hope other hospitals provide a similar support and that women in need are aware it exists.

Reflux Strikes Back

Eating struggles have returned:(.  Last Wednesday/Thursday she had a few screaming fits while eating so I called the pedi and they upped her dose of meds from 0.5 to 0.8 mL.  It seemed to help on the screaming front but then I realized last night that over the last week she had gone from eating 25-30 ounces a day to eating closer to 20 and most feedings consist of only 1-2 ounces.  I weighed her and while she still was gaining it was only 3 ounces over the course of the last week versus the ounce a day she had been gaining.  This time when I called the pedi they had us come right in (there was an opening in the doctor's schedule).

We discussed the reflux and the soy formula.  The pedi wanted us to stay on soy and she doubled her meds to 1.5 mL.  She said she had started conservatively and would be comfortable increasing up to a total of 2 mL.  If we are still struggling at that point we would explore other meds.  Hopefully, it won't come to that and any other increases would be the result of weigh gain.

Poor baby...while the screaming was traumatic the sticking out the tongue when we try to give her a bottle is almost more heartbreaking:(.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Medusa Moment

It rained every time I went to mow this weekend, so tonight it finally cleared and I was able to go out once J.T. got home from work.  I had fed Isabella and it was time to transition to a nap (still such a struggle).  It got to the point where I would never get out to mow if I waited for her to go sleep so I told him to just hold her and let her cry until she fell asleep (which she normally does in five minutes or less).  I'm not completely hard hearted in that I am tots cool with my daughter wailing, but sometimes it seems like she just needs that as a stress reliever once all other possibilities have been exhausted and I feel like if we hold her it's not as cold-hearted as cry it out.  Maybe I'm just justifying it, but anyway...

I went out to mow and about 10-15 minutes later J.T. comes out to the deck and gets my attention. She had not yet settled down:(.  I was at a loss so I came back in and sat with them.  She continued to cry and then I realized J.T. was doing what good dads do, but what doesn't work when we want our baby girl to go to sleep...he was watching her!  I whispered, "Don't look at her!".  He averted his eyes and she was out cold within one minute.  He looked at me whispered "I didn't know she was Medusa!".

What can I say, kids are weird man.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

All Around the Town

We have had a pretty good week.  It turns out Isabella likes to be out and about and does a really good job!

Mondays are our stroller exercise class, but since it was a holiday we went Tuesday instead.  I am definitely taking full advantage of the modifications as I struggled with planks and burpees even before I was pregnant!  I am thinking I will try running again in July, so for now I am just glad to be doing something.  So far Isabella has pretty much slept through both classes.

Tuesday night we went out to dinner with some friends and Isabella was perfect.  We sat on the patio and she looked around for a little before going to sleep.  I found a baby white noise track on Amazon prime this past weekend and that seems to work wonders.  Of course it also means she hogs my phone, but she is so calm when it's on that I don't even care!

Wednesday we did baby story hour which is for 0-18 months.  I know it seems ridiculous to take my not yet 7 week old to a story hour, but one it's free and two it gets us out of the house!  Again, Isabella was so good.  She just sat in my lap and looked around.  It was fun watching the older babies and I think it's hysterical when they point to Isabella and say some variation of "baby".  It's as though they see themselves as somehow older and wiser:).

Thursday we walk with my friend Stacy.  Friday we had our first "play date" with my friend Amy's two girls (17 months and 4 weeks) and met up with two colleagues for drinks after school (again white noise for the win!).  

Doesn't Isabella look like a giant compared to her new friend, Emma?

When we are out and about Isabella is so good.  When we are at home; however, we still have numerous moments of struggle (fussy, fighting sleep, etc.).  I think she likes the activity, noise, sights, etc. when we are out.  Still trying to figure out some sort of routine.  I like the word routine better than schedule because I think if we just had an order to our day I would feel better.  Right now we have a bedtime routine (change, pajamas, sleep sack, eat, white noise and rock) and our daily outing routine and that's it.  It is definitely a good start, but after 16 years as an educator I will feel so much better when more of our day follows some sort of structure.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Oh what a night-Happy Memorial Day!

My MIL was supposed to come on Sunday, but ended up not being able to.  So my parents hung around with Isabella and I on the back porch.  Playing games, drinking wine, rocking/holding/feeding a fussy baby.  My brother came up and joined the fun a little later in the day.

Little girl seemed to be constipated so I called the nurse line (what did people do before those existed?!?!).  They suggested giving her an ounce of apple juice which we did, but then she wouldn't eat anything else.  Fortunately she had eaten a fair amount right before then but unfortunately it had been around dinner time.  I was confident that the stretch of sleep she has begun to fall into when I put her down around 9 (she will usually sleep until between 12-1) would vanish as she would be hungry.

I was pleasantly surprised to be wrong!  She slept her regular stretch and then ate like a champ a little after midnight.  She then slept another 2.5 hours and then got up for the day a little after 6.  Only two wake ups and both went super smoothly (ate, rocked, fell back to sleep all within 45 minutes!).  Maybe we are turning a corner and she will join the ranks of babies sleeping well through the night....dare I dream?!?!?

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Final Leg of the Road to Recovery?

Well I had my D & C and hysteroscopy (which I cannot pronounce to save my life for some reason) it went off without a hitch.    One of the 50,000 service providers who wandered through my room was a parent of a former students so that was kind of awkward, but once again for all the medical issues I have experienced I have nothing but good things to say about the hospital.

My parents came down last night so they could watch the baby and J.T. could go with me for the procedure.  Anesthesia is crazy.  One minute I'm being wheeled into a room and the next I am waking up in recovery.  It also have me a nice buzz for a couple of hours afterwards.

So what is it that she found you ask, well of course it was the one thing they thought was the least likely- retained placenta.  It was in a weird place which is how it was missed on both ultrasounds (an probably initially as well).  Hopefully this is the final piece of the recovery puzzle!

It is nice to once again have my parents here soaking in their granddaughter taking on lots of feedings and holdings so I can rest and get stuff done!

Saturday night I was determined to go out so we took Isabella to a craft brew place that is in a renovated house and we sat out at a picnic table on the lawn and played Brewopoly (yes it is a craft beer version of Monopoly) while Isabella slept.  I'm so glad this baby has proved to be so good out and about otherwise I think I would go nuts.

Looking forward to a week that will hopefully be somewhat back to normal (whatever that is these days!).

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Great Expectations and Guilt

I pictured myself as a somewhat crunchy, earthy new mom.  I knew that life would change dramatically, but knew I would be giving my little girl a good start if I was prepared to breastfeed, co-sleep (using a co-sleeper), and baby wear.  I made sure to be prepared with all of these things and 5 weeks in not a one of them is still viable:(.

I am still pumping, but spoke to the doctor about weaning yesterday as the bags of milk are beginning to overtake our freezer.  It will take about two weeks to see if soy is the answer to our feeding troubles and that is a lot of pumping that may be for nought.  I am struggling with the guilt though of being able to produce, to have it on hand, and not to give it to her.  However, I also have guilt that her feeding struggles might partially to blame on my breast milk.  All around the topic of breastmilk makes me feel like crap.

Isabella's Dock a tot just arrived.  It is a reminder of how co-sleeping with our noisy little girl did not work for us as at least one of her parents needs a good night sleep.  Figure it should be the one currently working outside of the home!  There is guilt here too as I want to do what is recommended best practice for keeping her safe.

Finally, the K'tan carrier worked well for taking walks the first few weeks though she was not a fan of being carried in it while I was in the house.  Now she won't get in it at all without crying (she is not a fan of facing inward or laying stomach/chest to stomach these days).  I also tried a sling, but her long body and my narrow upper body cause her to be squished.  As a result if my back starts to hurt from holding her or I need to get things done I have to put her in her bouncy, chair, swing or bassinet none of which she is happy about.  More guilt.

So on top of not being able to feed my little girl without issue (last night we were successful 2 out of three times, but today has been a disaster) I feel like a crap mom for not being able to do the things I set out to do that I feel are in her best interest.  Add to it the fact that I feel guilty for not savoring every moment given the fact we waited 6.5 years to experience the joy of parenthood. For sure mom guilt sucks:(.   However, would I have these guilty feelings if I had not set into place expectations that, while best practice, are not working for my child?  Probably not.  However, how do I transition my thinking to doing what is best for Isabella without following research based best practice.  I guess I need to find that mother's intuition.  It's got to be in here somewhere, right?!?!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Journey Down the Rabbit Hole Continues

I see my labor and recovery as the following equations:

Broken water + no contractions=Pitocin
Pitocin + back labor= epidural
epidural+big baby with a big head facing the wrong way=c-section
c-section=abscess + excessive post partum bleeding
Medicine + excessive bleeding= no change
No change=hystoscopy + D & C:(

Had my post-postpartum follow up visit today.  They have three theories as to why I am still bleeding (endometrial tissue stuck in the wall of uterus, placenta still remaining is unlikely as they have yet to see any on an external or internal ultrasound or polyps).  That's right, I am making up for a lifetime of good health in one season!  The good news is that I have reached my insurance limits across the board so this is a buy a bunch get one free special and is on the house.

The procedure will be on Friday and from what I understand, while I am put under anesthesia, is theoretically pretty low key.  My parents are coming back down (three times in 6 weeks-these people are saints) and J.T. is taking off work to come with me.

I just want to be better.'
On a more positive note, last night with Isabella went much better.  I find when I catch her before she is crying or she is drowsy feedings go much smoother.  So I just set me alarm to wake her every three hours.  All of last nights feedings went smoothly and there were only two difficult feeds and one fussy feed today.  Progress!

Monday, May 22, 2017


So Sunday night was not much better and with all of the crying and emotions I felt over the weekend I have begun to wonder if I may be heading down the path to PPD.  I, in fact, made this exact statement to J.T. this morning.  He suggested exercise, fish oil, and to reach out to the doctor.   We also decided I would drop the Summer I class I was supposed to start tonight.  Side note:  I somehow got through the rest of my spring semester and got three A's so arrogantly assumed taking a single summer I class would be a non-issue.  Had baby sitters lined up, ordered the text books, but given my state of mind it seemed best not to add anything else to equation so I dropped the class this morning.

I went to the stroller exercise class and it did feel infinitely better to be out exercising and commiserating with a mom of a sometimes fussy 7 week old.  I also called a friend and she was of great support.  During our phone call however one dog ate half a pacifier and the other one lost the use of one of his back legs.  So I got off and called the vet who wanted me to bring both dogs in ASAP.

That's right while running on fumes, I was supposed to bring in my 5 week old and two dogs, one of whom could not walk.  Somehow this challenge invigorated me and I was able to pull it off with Isabella only getting fussy towards the end of our 2 hour visit to the vet (which I think actually got us out of there a bit faster!).  They induced vomiting in the dog who ate the paci and popped the knee of the other dog back into place, so all in all a successful visit.  After the vet, I stopped at the Chick-fil-a and drove around Charlotte for 30 minutes while Isabella and the dogs slept in the back seat.

After dropping the dogs back off at home Isabella and I went to Target to exchange some things.  I am noticing that Isabella does like to be out and about.  Even though she just stays in her carseat or in the stroller maybe the change of the scenery does her good!

I also spoke to the doctor about my Postpartum Depression concerns.  Turns out my only symptoms were not just feeling hopeless on occasion or all the tears.  Apparently it is not common to lose all 30 pounds of your pregnancy weight (plus some) in 5 weeks.  Also it is not common to have trouble sleeping when you get the opportunity when you are getting virtually no sleep.   So, there you go.  The doctor said he would refer me to a counselor who is supposed to get in touch to do a more thorough evaluation and he mentioned meds, but said I would need to stay on the for at least 6 months.  I am certainly hoping that once I get my recovery issues under control (yup still bleeding) and a better handle on Miss Isabella's eating/sleeping things will look brighter, so I declined further discussion of the medication.

I gotta tell you, finding myself in this position has caught me completely off guard.  I have highs and lows just like everyone else but despite very stressful situations have always found ways to cope on my own.  The doctor explained that each person has a threshold.  For some being a first time parent and postpartum hormones are enough to trigger PPD.  For others the threshold is higher.  Apparently my threshold is  24 hours of labor, plus a c-section, plus stomach distention and a five day hospital stay, plus breastfeeding issues, plus an abscess and readmission into the hospital, plus excessive postpartum bleeding, plus a trip to the emergency room, plus no answers for the continued bleeding plus extensive medical bills from all of the above, plus a newborn with feeding and sleeping issues, plus being a first time parent and hormones.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Rough Weekend

It is great having J.T. home on the weekends.  He took care of Isabella for a couple hours Friday evening so I could lay down and let me sleep in for a few hours on Saturday and did Isabella's first daylight feeding.  I also finally got to get my hair done.  It is also nice to have another adult around during the day.

All that being said, it was a challenging weekend:(.  Unfortunately the medicine was not the magic cure for Isabella's eating woes.  Friday night she was up just about every hour and was fussy or all out screaming for most of the time she was awake ( she only slept about 5 hours total overnight and it was very choppy so I was lucky if I got 2!).  Saturdays feedings weren't much better though she did take some longer naps.  Despite having gotten virtually no sleep I had trouble napping when she was.
Saturday was virtually a repeat of Friday night except this time I think I dozed off a couple of times while she had the bottle in her mouth (yikes!).  Sunday she would only nap during the day if one of us was holding her.  Fortunately I found a great Netflix series to bingewatch (Life in Pieces); however, other than doing some mowing and tidying around the house all we got done was feeding and holding a baby.

In addition to the eating issues she also struggled to sleep well in her co-sleeper.  She kept wriggling around and either he face would end up in the mesh side or she would somehow find herself wriggled down to the bottom.  In either of this instances she would wake up and cry.

I cried off and on all weekend and there were definitely moments when I was holding her and she was screaming/crying that I just felt completely at a loss.  By Sunday needed to get a game plan in place.  I reached out to friends for advice and everyone was quick to respond.  It's crazy that all of them have had at least one kiddo who struggled greatly with eating, sleeping or both!

Morbid side note:  I got to thinking how did parents in the past cope with this (thinking before modern medicine and conveniences) so  I googled infant mortality (told you it was morbid) and it turns out at the beginning of the 20th century 1 in 3 babies did not reach their first birthday.  Fortunately, infant mortality has improved dramatically (by over 90%), but I guess it helps shed light on the biological struggles babies face and how much effort is needed to support them.  Put in proper perspective my kid is eating and is sleeping within normal parameters so even if it's an emotional struggle (well I guess also physical since I'm not sleeping) she is not in danger even if she is uncomfortable.

One friend mentioned her son had a dairy allergy.  Well since the doctor had mentioned dairy last week that is one direction we took.  I eliminated breastmilk starting Sunday evening (so that we could just focus on one variable and my production of breastmilk while just sufficient did not provide any buffer for spilt milk, a low production time, not finishing a bottle in a sitting, etc.) so we went with formula.  I plan to call the pedi on Monday about changing to soy formula.  I also set up a schedule in Google calendar that covered 7am-10pm.  I recognize that it may not be followed but it at least gives some structure which I am in great need of!  I also found different mommy and me type of activities to add to the schedule (Stroller Exercise Group, Baby Story Time at the Library, Weekly "play date" with a friend, etc) so that we are getting out at least once a day.  Isabella and I are also sleeping downstairs again so she can sleep in the pack and play bassinet (less wiggle around space) until the Dock a tot I ordered for her crib arrives on Wednesday.

Hopefully at least some of these little tweaks will make a big difference in the upcoming week because right now I feel like I am hanging on my a thread!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

5 Weeks Old & Silent Reflux

Yesterday I had one prayer.  I thanked God for his many blessings and asked him to keep baby girl comfortable.  He came through in spades!  After the early morning feeding, the others went rather smoothly.  He also helped me stumble on message board posts for "silent reflux" in babies.

I had google reflux for newborns before and it always included massive amounts of spit up and weight loss (which is clearly not an issue for our chunky monkey!).  However silent reflux symptoms definitely hit the mark:
  • Crying during or after feeding
  • Repeated hiccuping
  • Spitting up when laid flat
  • Choking
  • Weight gain/overweight as baby eats as a way to sooth
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty settling
So in talking with the pedi she prescribed medication for Isabella to take twice a day.  She said it would take a couple of days to take effect.  Hoping this does the trick because listening to her scream, watching her squirm, knowing she is in pain is hearbreaking:(.  We have already seen some progress because instead of trying fifty-thousand different things to sooth her which was likely just jostling the stomach acids around making her feel worse, I am focusing on keeping her upright, holding her and giving her the paci (when she will take it) to help her through.

She also got a clean bill of health from the pedi and is in the 86th percentile across the board for height, weight and head circumference.  She is quite the little her to bits!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Tiny Tyrant

Isabella was up every one to two hours last night:(.  The good news is she was calm for each of her feedings.  That was until all hell broke loose around 5:30 and little girl could not be calmed for anything in the world!  She finally fell back to sleep around 8, but after NO sleep those 2.5 hours felt like decades.

Her feeding times seem to becoming more difficult as does going back to sleep afterwards.  I am looking forward to seeing the pediatrician tomorrow who I am hoping has some kind of magical answer (realistically I know she will not, but here's to hoping!).

I got two hour long naps, which made small dent but by evening exhaustion doesn't begin to explain how I felt.  I  could not make this tiny girl content to save my life!  Once she was asleep she was fine, but getting her there was soooo hard.  She didn't want to swing, bounce, be held, be put down, wore in the K'Tan, walked, fed, burped, not be fed, changed, dressed, undressed, or anything else I could think of.

Because of this (and the fact that I am still bleeding despite meds to stop the bleeding prescribed by my doc) I had also cried on and off for a healthy part of the day.  The tipping point was when I was trying to mix breastmilk and formula and could not math to save my life!!!!!!

Sorry postpartum nurse I saw the previous day seems like I may need a new PPD/Baby Blues survey :(.  I know PPD is no joke, but it just seems strange to be almost 5 weeks out and just now beginning to see some of the signs.  Allegedly this tiny tyrant is coming upon a leap (according to Wonder Weeks) so I am hoping that explains why she is soooo hard to please as if this becomes the new norm I am in trouble!

Tomorrow is a new day complete a visit to the pedi, fingers crossed she will have some answers!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Sorry APA, we tried

The American Pediatric Association recommends that your baby sleeps in your room for the first year of life.  We thought that seemed a bit long, so we planned on having Isabella stay in our room for 6 months.

Well 6 months become one as this tiny child makes more noise in her sleep than 10 grown men with head colds!  As a result, the grown ups were getting even less sleep than they had imagined.  Fortunately, her room is directly across the hall from ours.  We also have a video monitor (J.T. said it's creepy and reminds him of Ghost Hunters--ha, ha!) so last night Isabella slept in her cosleeper in her nursery.  It seems to have worked pretty well-yay!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mothers Day

There are no words.  Today was an amazing day of celebration.

From texts, to cards, to gifts, and to an amazing video J.T. made (not a dry eye in the house), I felt very celebrated.  We also celebrated our mothers and J.T.'s step-grandmother along with our entire immediate families.

I love this tradition we have started in having our families over for Mothers Day brunch.  What was born from a place of sadness has now become such a source of joy!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

One Month

As I noted time is elusive these days and it is hard to believe (but not at the same time) that Isabella Grace is one month old today!

We got the bow and the stick ons as gifts.  It will be interesting to see if she every grows into the bow!

Likes:  Activity Mat, Being read/talked to, taking a bath, her hair styled in a baby faux hawk and going for walks in the baby carrier (K'Tan)
Dislikes:  Being naked, having a dirty diaper, and dawn (this seems to be her "witching" hour 4:30am-8am)
Milestones:  Lifts head off of our chests regularly
Other:  This girl is a freaking menagerie!  As a result of the MANY sounds she makes (primarily in her sleep) her nicknames include:  Tiny billy goat, piggy, and mousey.

Friday, May 12, 2017

A Gift

I knew immediately that something had gone wrong when I woke up in the middle of the night with this unusual feeling I had not experienced for a while...I was rested.  How did this happen?!?!

You see my mom had sent me up to bed after company left at 10 and I had set my alarm to come down at midnight, but I had failed to take the phone off vibrate so no alarm.  It was 3:00am!  Thanks to my wonderful mother who let me sleep, stayed with my baby while she slept and got up with her at 2 when she was hungry I got 5 whole hours of sleep in a row.  It's amazing how one can feel guilty and wonderful in equal measure.

Now it was my turn to send her to bed.  Then I pumped and laid back down.  Lo and behold Isabella didn't wake up again until 5:30 so I got two more hours of sleep on top of that.  A whole seven hours of sleep all in the same night!

It's amazing how your perspective can change in just one month.  Just one month ago on April 11 I got my last full night of sleep (about 7-8 hours) and now four short weeks later this thing that I once took for granted has become such a gift!

Other perspectives have changed too.  A friend came for dinner last night and asked how things were going.  I said it was amazing how fast time had gone.  She then said something about the days going fast.  I commented that while time has gone quickly it's not that the days go fast (and some of the nights have been verrrry long), but somehow time moves along quickly.

I know other perspectives have changed too, but even with my well rested brain I am struggling to pinpoint them at the moment.   I will have to come back to this topic soon.

So in closing I am going to reiterate my appreciation of the gift of sleep I received last night, so I'm just going to leave this right here...

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Hit or Miss and Manna From Heaven

Saturday night was smooth and then Sunday night turned out to be the worst night since we had been home from round one in the hospital.  The magic of the Boppy turned on me and she would only sleep while being held in it.  Which meant I was up with her from midnight until my mom came in the room at about 6 am.  She slept off and on and did some eating, but because I had to hold her I couldn't pump and her 3:30 formula only feeding led into a total meltdown!

Fortunately things were better the last two nights but now we seem to be struggling with falling back to sleep after eating during the day.  She fights going back to sleep (despite yawns and closing her eyes) and then gets overtired and worked up.  We must just be too interesting and she's afraid she's going to miss something:).

Yesterday we had visitors who left at about 5:30 and she was up to see them off and then stayed up (with only a few 10 minute cat naps) until 10.  JT, my mom and I traded off trying EVERYTHING and she finally just conked out after my mom sent JT and I to bed.

I don't know what I'm going to do when my mom leaves.  She had been taking on the late evening shift so I get a couple hours of sleep before the night shift begins.  I can only pray that this little phase ends before Monday when she goes back to PA...

Having my mom here has been great!  We have gotten lots accomplished, it has been nice having company during the day and an extra person to help me get some extra sleep.  With the extra help at the beginning of the week I kept having this nagging thought in the back of my head  "Don't get used to this.  You still need to figure things out on your own.  Next week it's back to normal!".

However, I realized that this nagging voice was dampening the joy of the current day.  I need to look at each day this week as manna from heaven.  That each day this week I do have an abundance of support and that I need to focus on this day not what may or may not lie ahead.  I am stealing my current joy by getting ahead of myself.  So beginning right now I am focusing on this day.  I am focusing on the time with my mother and my daughter.  I am focusing on the moments of rest, the moments of support and the moments of joy


Monday, May 8, 2017

God's Plan

We began attending our church in January of 2012.  In April we reached out to join a small community group.  God guided us to a small group of three other couples.

One of the couples had just had a baby (after coping with infertility) born at 24 weeks.  So their lives were spent at the children's hospital and then were homebound for the first year of his life.  Needless to say while we heard a lot about them, we did not get to meet them for quite some time.

The couple who led the group, I have mentioned before, were married they year before we were and began trying to start a family soon after.  Unfortunately, God had a different plan for them.  They experienced multiple miscarriages and when we joined they group were trying to determine what to do next just like we were.

The third couple started their family in a much more traditional manner.  Mom, dad, 4 year old daughter and 1 year old son.  Their daughter came as a surprise, so needless to say they had not experienced infertility, but walking through life with the group were amazingly empathetic to everyone else's experiences.

A fourth couple joined our midst a year or so later.  They also had two children, aged right in between the other two, but had experienced infertility in trying for their first.

In January of 2016, the lead couple welcomed their daughter Avery through the gift of adoption.  This past fall the first couple has rejoined our ranks.  And this spring we have added Isabella and Avery's biological sibling to the fold again through the gift of adoption.  This sweet girl was born just 2.5 weeks after Isabella.

In trading texts one noted:

It truly does bring tears to our eyes.  God brought us all together for a reason.  Our shared love of desserts, good food and adult beverages, and our shared experiences of struggle have bonded us together over the years.  The picture we will take truly demonstrates God's plan for comfort, fellowship and friendship in our lives.


Sunday, May 7, 2017

Smooth Night and Visitors

Win!  Last night Isabella got up twice.  Both times she just ate, I bounced/glided her, and she went back to sleep deeply enough for me to put her back in the co-sleeper within 30-45 minutes.  They were quite pleasant times.  Interestingly I didn't not attempt to burp her either time, just kept her relatively elevated in the Boppy so she maybe the bottles and the fact that she is primarily drinking breast milk is helping.  J.T. said he was burping her less to, so maybe our attempts at burping her were just pissing her off rather than do anything productive.

Also, I pumped before she got up each time.  I am able to do this because she may be the noisiest sleeper who ever lived:).  She grunts, cries out, whimpers, etc. which I understand is normal, but it wakes me up and then I am on the ready for her to get up even though it usually isn't for another hour or so.  Pumping first or at a different time helped the feeding not seem interminable.

It was nice having a smooth night as the last couple of days she has been eating well, but sleeping has gotten funky.  After she eats she just wants to stay awake like she's afraid she's going to miss something!  Then she gets overtired.  Apparently there is a growth spurt in this third week that we can maybe blame.  Last night into this morning things have gotten much better so maybe she has done all the growing she is going to do this week:).

I like to fall asleep in my Boppy while bouncing on someone's lap.  My bouncy chair just won't do!

My MIL was great for holding and helping feed Isabella yesterday and watching her while I went to do our grocery pick up from Wal-mart (love this service at the moment) and J.T. was at the gym.  She also ran to Target to get the child some pants.  She has outgrown her newborn clothes for the most part and it has been kind of chilly with most of her 0-3 month clothes being summer wear we needed something to cover the poor girl's legs.  Overall it was nice just having some extra company and an extra set of hands for rocking this kiddo who seems to have hit a more needy phase.

My parents are in en route as we speak.  My dad is bringing my mom down and staying the night and then will go back tomorrow and bring my sister down for next weekend as we had originally planned for them to come down for Mother's Day.

Looking forward to spending the week with my mom and having her spend time with Isabella:).

Saturday, May 6, 2017

It takes a village

Despite my optimistic mindset, I had another bleeding incident last night:(.  It was identical to the one on Wednesday.  I decided we would only go to the ER if it didn't slow down, I got dizzy or started to run a fever.  I am getting smarter though.  Instead of waiting things out, I reached out for help from our families who have been offering.

My brother came over last night just so there were three adults in the house in the event I had to go to the hospital.  My mother-in-law came in this morning.  My mom is coming down tomorrow.  I don't know what anyone is going to do, but it will be good just having someone else around.

I am going to call the doctor again on Monday and see what is considered "normal".  It would be nice to be normal again...

Thursday, May 4, 2017

A turned corner, a step backwards, and three weeks old

So the last 24 hours feeding wise have gone much better.  I chalk it up to a few things.

First, extensive prayer!
Second, Dr. Brown bottles and feeding her upright using the Boppy.
Third, saving nursing for comfort at the end if needed (this was actually J.T.s suggestion)
Fourth, streamlining the formula process.
Fifth, hands-free pumping bra finally arrived.

Yay for improvement!

That being said, I also had a step back on the recovery front.  Last evening after pumping I felt a gush.  Sure enough my bleeding, which had been tapering off, had come back with a vengeance.  It was pretty gross and in contacting the triage nurse it just kept getting worse:(.  So she sent me to the ER.  Seriously?!?!?  ANOTHER hospital visit.

Our friend Stacy came down to stay with Isabella (I owe that girl a big gift card!) and we went in at about 9:30pm.  The good news is that I got sent home at 12:30pm after some blood work, an ultrasound, and a bag of fluid.  There were not other issues and it has since slowed down immensely.  I have a follow up with the Ob today from last week's fun and excitement so we will add this to the docket.  Hopefully it is just a minor set back and the healing will commence.

Today is also Isabella's third week "birthday"!  Our little girl is getting so big:).

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

More Feeding Fun

So Monday night's feedings had us both in tears (at least we staggered them so we both weren't crying at the same time).  She at least spread them out a bit so I got a two hour stretch of sleep in there and we only did two so that was a plus.

Burping is definitely a part of the equation, but I am struggling cause she doesn't wanna.  So she presses away from me (regardless of the burping position I try) and it leads to more frustration (for both of us).  I also suspect she senses my frustration which is likely exacerbating the whole process.

On the flip side, last night it was the before bed feeding that caused the most grief.  Fortunately, J.T. was there to help.  However, we began at 8:00 and I was finally able to put her down at 10:30.  During that time we somehow managed to get two feedings in as somewhere around 10 she began cuing for being hungry again and ate 3 more ounces.  This led to her sleeping until 1:00am, but unfortunately I woke up a little after midnight to go to the bathroom and realized I needed to pump so by the time she started stirring at 12:45 I did not get a chance to go back to sleep.

The feeding process actually went very smoothly (including burping!); however, she decided she wanted to be held and not be laid back down so we (actually I) ended up awake for an hour at each feeding before she would lay back down.  I would then pump.  She woke up more often so despite the feedings being less stressful, they were more frequent so got less sleep:(.

I got a good nap after a rough first feed of the day (she popped off the first boob after 5 minutes and wouldn't latch to the other); however the late morning feeding was a disaster.  Nursing went a little better (she ate from both sides!); however, because of my nap I didn't get to pump so she had to have formula only.  That was a disaster.  It took an hour to consume 3 ounces..12 burp breaks, 3 actual burps, screaming, tightening, crying (me).

After she ate she only wanted to be in the K'Tan so I took her for a walk in it, brought her home, at lunch and then called the pediatrician cause I can't do this anymore!!!!

I feel trapped in a puzzle I can't solve.  Nursing doesn't provide enough.  Breastmilk seems to go down more smoothly than formula, but in order to have enough I have to pump immediately after feeding her which has become challenging because she wants to be held.  We tried different bottles for the last two days at the lactation consultants suggestion, but that doesn't seem to have helped.  I found a box of bottles with a "venting system" in the cupboard so will try those next.

Part of me wonders if she is just so confused with all of the various parts and pieces and may be the source of the issue; however, I can't give her enough breastmilk to sustain her and formula seems to be her greatest nemesis.

I hate puzzles I can't solve!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Why is feeding my kid so dang stressful?!?

Clearly things went swimmingly at the lactation consultant...I wish.

So little girl is still only getting about half to 2/3 of an ounce from me when we nurse (despite being able to pump 2-3 oz. on average in 15 minutes).  Her suck reflux and palate are fine and she even stayed awake without Herculean effort but that's still all she got.

I would throw in the towel, except bottle feeding had become its own little nightmare.  Especially at night.  First it takes forever.  The consultant was surprised to hear that it took her 45 minutes to an hour to take down 3 oz. but yes that is our norm.  Add to that the last night or two she had started grunting, stiffening and cuing like she's hungry but than getting upset when I give her the bottle.  

Somehow despite all of these struggles, Ella has still managed to exceed her birth weight.  She is currently weighing in at 9 lb. 6 oz.  

So I guess the upside in all of this is that despite the fact that it feels like torture, I am managing to keep my kid fed.  Victory?!?!?

We left the appointment with the game plan of nursing during the day for 15 minutes (each side) working under the assumption it is giving her a portion of an ounce.  Then give pumped breast milk.  Then give formula.  Then pump for the next feeding.

At 60-90 minutes a pop x 7 or more feedings a day you get a grand total of 7-10 hours a day just trying to keep my kid fed.  Add to it some random crying, grunting, latching issues, spilled breast milk, and sleeping for me in 30-90 minute stretches, and I think I may have answered my own title question.

We are going to give this a go for two more weeks and end in a final consultation.  Hopefully by then I have something better to report on the feeding front!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

The New Normal

I am a full time mom.
I am a full time student.
I am no longer a full employee.
I am no longer a principal.

I am no longer the maker of my own schedule.
I can no longer sleep when I please.
I can no longer move around as I please (still healing).
I am no longer simply a working wife.

J.T. goes back to work tomorrow and so that means it's just me, Isabella, and the puppies.  The whole day laid out before us.  The first day after a three week hiatus from a routine that no longer exists for me.

Over the last two weeks I have been asked by various doctors and nurses "What do you do?".  Technically I am still a principal so I threw that out there.  However I also tried out stay at home mom and full time student.  Despite the former being exactly what I wanted I seem to stumble over the words.

Maybe it's because I don't know what it means.  I've been raised by one.  I have said I want to be one my entire life.  However, now that I stand at the threshold I'm not totally sure they it means.

There will be no orientation.  There is no schedule, mission, vision or handbook by which to abide.  There are no tests, certifications or formal evaluations.

Where do I begin?

Thursday, April 27, 2017

2 Weeks Old

For week 3, we will do a better job of getting some shots with her eyes open:).

Back in the Clink err I mean Hospital

Soooo, regulating my internal thermostat has been a bit tricky over the last week.  I seem to be either roasting or freezing.  Monday evening I was finalizing a paper and realized upon submitting that I had the chills and was achy.  In taking my temperature I did not have a fever, but given the pain meds I was taken it was possible one of them was masking a fever.  I called the nurse triage line and shared my concerns.  She suggested that I wait until my pain meds were on the back end and take my temperature.  If I was running a fever in the morning I should call the doctors office to come in.

At 1:30 am I was running a low grade fever (99-100), but it was gone by the time I got up.  So we just continued with our day.  At about 4:00 I laid down for a 30 minute cat nap and when I woke up at 4:30 I felt like I was on fire.  The thermometer confirmed my temperature was hovering just above 103.

Of course the doctor's office had just closed so I again got in touch with the triage line.  They instructed me to make my way to urgent care.  Since we couldn't crate Isabella the way we could the dogs, we had to quickly come up with a new plan.  My friend Stacy, who lives in our neighborhood, had stopped by the previous morning and had said to call her if we needed anything.  Little did she know we would be calling so soon!  We got everything organized and headed to urgent care.

After hearing my deal:  c-section, fever, no other symptoms, they immediately sent me back to the hospital sight unseen:(.  They gave me Tylenol upon arrival and during the near 2 hours we waited (Evenings are a busy time in ERs apparently!) my fever seemed to break.  So I figured (more like wishfully hoped) that all was well and we could go home.  But it turns out you can't just have a fever without an underlying cause-go figure!

So they did several tests to try to determine the cause.  There was a changing of the guards where my brother came up to stay with me so J.T. could go home and relieve Stacy (I am too chicken to be in the hospital by myself).  And it was almost 11 when, finally, a CT Scan showed that there was an abscess near my uterus which was most likely the result of the c-section.  Damn rabbit hole never seems to end!

They said it could be resolved with antibiotics (phew-no surgery); however, these antibiotics could only be given through IV so I would be staying the night.  They transferred me up to the maternity ward and allowed J.T. and Isabella to come and stay with me...yay!  My brother stayed until J.T. and Isabella got there around midnight.  We settled in and around 3am one of my OBGYN's stopped by and dropped the bombshell that yes IV antibiotics would likely be all that were needed, but that they would be needed for 24-48 hours (likely at least 36) so I was looking at spending at least two nights back in the clink hospital.

Are your freaking kidding me?!?  I have spent more time in the hospital in the month of April than I had in my ENTIRE life and poor Isabella was spending the first half of her short, little life behind bars with me!  J.T. also ended up having to take additional leave from work as he was supposed to return on Thursday.  While I can't stand being in the hospital, being with my little family made it much more bearable.

The crazy thing is that once that fever broke Tuesday night I had no other visible issues.  Nurses kept stopping in and saying you are looking great...I was the healthiest sick person around!  Wednesday was spent watching LOTS of HGTV while they gave me 4 IVs of antibiotics over the course of the day/night.  I was bored and I swear being in a hospital just makes me feel more sick.  Though the good news was that the fever stayed away and no other symptoms emerged.

We got sprung for the second, and God willing final, time Thursday morning around 9.  I don't think they had ever seen someone so excited to leave.  Again, they are an amazing staff, but I don't do hospitals!!!!  Picture the italicized words being said like this:

I will follow up with a week of oral antibiotics and a doctor's appointment next week.  Fingers crossed this is the very bottom of the rabbit hole as I don't want to know what would come next!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Finding our Groove

Parents have been a godsend.  I am still swollen and despite the steady stream of narcotics and painkillers, moving around like a 90 year old women who has not slept more than 2 consecutive hours in almost a week.  They grocery shopped, cooked, mowed and took more than their share of turns holding holding baby girl.  I am as happy for them to be grandparents (again) as I am for us to be parents.  We have had  a few visitors and haven't had to cook a single meal.  My parents ended up staying an extra day until Wednesday morning to eek just a little more time with sweet girl, visiting my brother, and helping/spending time with us.

These are all good things because Isabella, in classic newborn style, is confused between day and night.  Our girl is a rockstar of a sleeper especially during the day.  We have to wake her to eat.  This is true at night as well, except she takes much longer to go to sleep.  We are up every three hours, and are awake for about 90 minutes at a stretch.

Monday, Isabella didn't produce much output, which on the one hand was pleasant, but clearly troubling.  We had a pedi appointment scheduled for Wednesday, but I called first thing Tuesday morning and they told us to come in at one.

Her weight had not increased since we left the hospital Sunday (somewhere around 7 lb. 12. oz).  The pedi who released us on Sunday did not seem very worried about the loss being around 10% even when I brought it up.  However, the pedi we met with on Tuesday wanted us to begin a new routine.  Breast, pumped milk, and formula to supplement every two hours.  She also suggested we meet with a lactation consultant.

We came back for our previously scheduled appointment the next day.  She had already put on a few ounces with the new routine.  She also was given a clean bill of health and is in 86th%tile for head circumference (I told you she had a big ole head), 83%tile for height (20.5 inches) and 65th%tile for weight (work in progress).

The next day we went to the lactation consultant appointment.  I warned J.T. in advance that if she told me that I was part of our issues, I would likely cry.  And cry I did.  So you see, I seem to have this trifecta working against me:  c-section, infertility, and a limited amount of breast tissue (somehow my boobs were the one part of me that didn't grow so much-eye roll).  As a result, Isabella is not getting more than half an ounce out me and I am currently pumping only about an ounce or two at a time.

Why is it that my body needs significant intervention for anything related to reproduction?!?!?!  The only thing I seem to be able to do on my own is carry a pregnancy to term.  Which I am pleased about and recognize as no small feat; however, when you look at all the parts: conception, pregnancy, delivery and breast feeding I can only do 1/4 of these things on my makes me sad:(.

She sent us home with a slightly modified version of our current game plan, and we scheduled an appointment to come back a week later.  Fingers crossed things are looking up in a week!