Thursday, June 30, 2011

A sleeping breakthrough?! And library story hour...

I'm kind of afraid to say anything, because it seems like bad karma or something. Even though I don't believe in karma. But the past two nights, Anne has slept for 5.5-6 hours at the beginning of the night. I actually feel *rested*. That's like a miracle right there, people. She's 6 weeks now, and this is the week that allegedly babies start producing melatonin and are able to sleep longer stretches, so could it be?! I'm sure now that I've written this, she'll be up every hour and a half for the next 2 years. Just you wait and see.

At any rate, I'm grateful. Although, when she wakes, she eats so heartily that she gives herself gas and is then up for an hour. But at that point, it's about 4-4:30 am or so, and I've had a decent stretch of sleep (shows how much you lower your sleep standards as a parent when 4-5 hours of continuous sleep is labelled as "decent") and don't mind bouncing her around and burping her for a bit. It's going good.

In Henry news, today was our first public library children's story hour. It is targeted at 3-6 year olds, so I knew he was at the upper end of the age range. I was hoping that he'd like it, since it's free and something for him to do each week.

Well, the first challenge was getting out of the house this morning. I've had both kids by myself a number of times now, and I'm definitely getting used to it. Notice that I didn't say that I was getting *good* at it, but I'm getting used to it. Mike was teaching, so I showered while Anne napped in the swing (I try for the crib everyday, but so far, that has been an epic failure) and Hank watched tv. I had to dry off, put some makeup on, and pull my hair into a clip. I managed all that before Anne started to wail. I nursed her while watching Dora with Hank. Anne allowed me to put her under her mobile in her crib so that I could throw a load of clothes in the washer.

Then I realized that it was 10:15 (story hour begins at 10:30) and I panicked. I had to lug the stroller out to my car, and given that it's nearly as large as I am, that's no easy feat. I got the diaper bag ready, and in a fit of ambition, also packed my knitting bag in case Anne slept the whole time. I brushed a reluctant Hank's teeth and tore him away from the tv. I strapped Anne into her car seat ("WAH WAH") and got her and everything else out to the car. I felt like Super Woman. Then I saw that it was already 10:26. Oh well. I do my best.

We arrive, and although Anne had fallen asleep in the car, she woke up immediately upon the cessation of movement and began to sob. I had to lug the stroller out of the trunk, get her snapped in, get our bags, and hustle Henry along. We arrived just a few minutes late.

Already, Henry seemed less than enthusiastic. Most of the kids were younger than him, but he gamely went to sit on the rug. I had to walk Anne around outside a bit to get her to fall asleep. Blessedly, she did.

I was able to sneak in and sit down with Anne beside me in the stroller sleeping. Immediately, I could sense Hank's boredom. The age level was definitely below where he's at. But he's well trained enough to not express dissatisfaction until after we're out in the car. I knit a sock quietly while thinking how grateful I am that I'm not a children's librarian. I do like children, but I have a hard time being around a large crowd of them all at the same time. :) That's definitely not my calling in life.

Once the kids were done making their story-related craft, we headed out to the car. When I asked Hank what he thought, he said:

"I didn't care for it, Mommy."

I was very impressed with his articulation. So, alas. I don't think we'll be going back to the library story hour. Frankly, it exhausted me, so maybe that's not a bad thing. His swimming lesson went great, and Mike can take him to those while I stay home with Anne, so it's a lot easier. Plus, he has Vacation Bible School in July. We've been keeping him entertained pretty well. The summer is actually flying by.

I go back to work in 7.5 weeks. :( I can't believe it. And my 6 week postpartum visit with my ob/gyn is today. Holy smokes. Where did the time go?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A "perfect" family?

So, I've noticed something since I delivered Anne. We didn't know her gender before the birth, as you know, and so since word got out that I had a girl, we're getting lots of comments.

"Oh, a boy and a girl! A perfect family!"

"Aren't you so happy that you got your girl?!"

Well, I am happy that I had a girl, because I love my baby. But I would have been just as thrilled with another boy, and that's the God's honest truth. I noticed that while I was pregnant too, people would ask "so, you're hoping for a girl, right?" As if I would certainly be "disappointed" with a second boy. I truly thought the baby *was* a boy, and I was very much looking forward to meeting little Thomas for the first time. :) When the doctor told me that the baby was a girl, I was shocked. I mean, seriously. Totally shocked.

And I was happy. Because she's my baby. :) I adore my son, and so to have another boy would have been anything but a disappointment. I just find these assumptions a tad curious. I know people mean well. But I would have thought that I had a perfect family regardless of the baby's gender. I just feel so blessed to have my husband and two children. I wouldn't trade any of them in for anything. :)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

6 week growth spurt

Anne has been just a little cling-on these past few days, and I suspect she's beginning the 6 week growth spurt. She hasn't wanted to be anywhere but in someone's arms, so it's tough to get anything done. But I persevere. We had a long night last night too (see post below, infra), with her up every 2 hours.

Henry has been good, but it's a handful having both of them. He's been playing well independently in his bedroom with his Transformers. Often heard from the vicinity of his room:


BUT, I did go to Target yesterday with both of them BY MYSELF. *gold star* It went pretty well, actually. Toting children reduces your efficiency in doing errands, and the thing is, it doesn't merely double your time investment. You're operating at something like 20% capacity. Alas.

I hear a crying baby. My 5 minutes is up. Sigh. Off I go!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Summer at the home of the Catholic Librarian

Well, things are in full summer 2011 swing around here. Henry finished school last Tuesday, and Mike began teaching a summer section of Introduction to Philosophy at a local Catholic college, so I'm home with both children for about 3 hours every day. I know all the stay at home moms are snickering at me, and rightly so, since they are on duty by themselves so much more than that, but for me, this is a big change from my regular routine. Happily, the adjustment has been going well.

It's challenging to keep Henry occupied, but so far, so good. We've had a lot going on with my grandfather's passing, lots of family in town, so the visiting helped. We have him signed up for swimming lessons that begin tomorrow. Just a half hour per week for 6 weeks. He expressed an interest in swimming at his new Catholic school next year, and so I thought he's enjoy some formal lessons so he didn't have to rely on an inflated device anymore. He's also going to be doing T-Ball for 45 minutes a week for 6 weeks. Mike is going to field this one, he thought it would be a good introduction for him. I want him to find one thing that he likes, and then we can pursue that more formally for him. We figured this summer was a good time to experiment. I'm going to take him to the public library's story hour for an hour a week (well, Anne and I will) and he has Vacation Bible School in July. All should be well.

Miss Anne is going to be 6 weeks old on Wednesday, and I can hardly believe it. She's starting to smile at us, and she's getting SO much bigger! She's very precious.

Our nights have actually gotten a smidge better. For a number of different reasons, the nights are not slowly sucking the very life out of me like they did the first time around. Anne is starting to go a long stretch of 4 (occasionally 5) hours at a time, and she sleeps very well in her bedside bassinette, meaning that I'm very comfortable between her wakings. I'm still up several times per night, and the evenings are still a big fuss-fest, but all in all, it's going very well.

When she does wake, and I'm startled out of a deep sleep, I always think of the other parents of tiny babies that are going through the same thing as me. I'm sure that for them, the following is also true:

Let's play a game of "A or B?" It's 2 am. You are in dreamland, asleep since your head hit the pillow from sheer exhaustion. Shaken from your dream, you hear something in your bedroom:

(1) A squeaking sound. Is it, (A) your baby, about to work her way up to a full out wail? or (B) a family of refugee mice?

How bad is it that I would much prefer the sound to be (B)? I don't think it's that bad. I know that many parents would agree with me, I see you out there. Just admit it.

(2) A "liquid sound." Is it, (A) your baby, erupting a geyser of spit up? or (B) a babbling brook suddenly running through your bedroom?

The answer is clear in this instance. (B), hands down.

(3) A cranking sound. "Is it (A) your baby, about to make her hungry anger known, or (B) a homicidal maniac in your bedroom revving up a chainsaw?

All right, in this case, I'll go with (A).

The point being that no matter what, night wakings are hard on the parents of young children. If they outgrew it at one week, well, then I think we can all agree that it would be no trouble. But weeks and months of nights without an uninterrupted night of sleep? It's tough stuff. And a side note: anybody that tells you that their baby slept through the night the day they came home from the hospital? Judge that person. God will smite them somehow, for sure.

But I am grateful that I'm faring the nights better this time. It's the little things, you know?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Funerals, and oddly, a pumping tie-in

My grandfather's funeral was yesterday. My grandparents are no longer Catholic, so there was no Mass of Christian Burial. But they remain devout Christians, and so their pastor came to the funeral home to perform a funeral service. I much prefer the solace and beauty of the Catholic liturgy, but of course, not everyone is like me. And the service was very heartfelt and lovely.

My grandfather was a World War II veteran, and so he was buried with military honors. The honor guard was at the cemetery. They played Taps, and performed an awesome ceremony to fold the flag that had been draped on his coffin, and then present it to my grandmother. It was quite something to see.

Throughout the wake and funeral, I had the normal concerns of any breastfeeding mother: engorgement. We left both children with Mike's parents, so I was constantly filling with milk that wasn't being regularly tapped by my hungry newborn.

At the funeral home for the wake on Thursday it was no trouble. I approached the funeral director tentatively, my pump strapped to my shoulder.

"Excuse me? I have an odd request. I have a newborn, and so I have my breastpump with me..."


I was immediately escorted to a private locked room with an outlet and comfortable chairs. It was bliss.

Yesterday at the funeral, things were a little dicier. I had no opportunity to pump until after the cemetery, when we went to a local restaurant for a luncheon following the ceremony. When I approached a woman who worked at the restaurant, pump in hand, with the same request, she gave me a cross-eyed look.

"What? No. We have nothing. Try the ladies room."

Well, my pump has no battery pack, and thus requires an outlet. My pointing out that the only outlet in the ladies room was right out in the open, in the common area, did not sway her. I had to either pump there, or live with a heck of a lot of milk in my breasts.

For the first time ever in my years of pumping, I had to suck it up and pump in public. To say the least, it was awkward. Now granted, it was only ladies in the ladies room, but still. I don't usually expose myself from the waist up in the ladies room. I didn't like it, and I was so tense, my milk wouldn't let down for awhile. My mom gave me her raincoat that I could drape over me a bit, but I still felt very conspicuous in the middle of the ladies room with tubes coming out from under my handmade shroud. It was a bit freakish.

Luckily, everyone that came in must have immediately summed up my plight and ignored me to ease my discomfort. The only interested customer was a little 4 year old boy who came in with his mom. Oh well. What could I do?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Summer crafts

Amazingly, I finished 2 dishcloths apiece for Hank's teacher and the class aide. Crochet is so nice and quick. I would post pictures, but that would require, you know, work. :) Finding the USB cord, plugging it in, transferring the pictures from the camera...these days, I'm online mostly via the laptop with one hand while I nurse Anne. So, suffice it to say that they turned out pretty. I made one set in blues and summery yellows, and the other set in moss greens and purples.

After I finished those, I was rather dishclothed out, although I promised my mother-in-law that I'd make her some too. I'll get to them, but I needed a dishcloth break. In a fit of piousness, I went through my works-in-progress, of which there are (shamefully) many. I chose a striped sock that I started for my sister and the sweater I began last year out of New England Knits. I had the sock completed through the heel flap, so I gamely picked up at turning the heel. All of a sudden, I'm on a roll, and not only did I turn the heel and finish the gusset, I'm nearly done knitting the foot. I just have to finish that, and do the toe shaping and grafting, and voila! A sock. Unfortunately, this means that I'll have to make a *2nd sock*, lest I be stricken with "second sock syndrome," the chances of me acquiring being pretty good. I tend to get bored quickly and want to move on to something new and exciting, but with socks, well. You need two of them. :)

But the sock is very cute. I'm knitting it with self striping yarn. Isn't that a miracle of modern science? *Self striping* yarn. It's so exciting! As I knit, I can't wait to see which stripe comes next. The yarn I chose for her is called "Neapolitan" and is pinks, creams and brown. It's lovely. I also have sock yarn to knit a pair for my other sister, myself, and my mom. I was ambitious one day last year at That's a very dangerous website.

The sweater is also in good shape. The thing is nearly done. I just have to do the sleeves and the neckline. But that'll take awhile, hence the reason that it's been sitting in a bag in my closet for about 6 months.

So, I've been keeping myself busy. This is, of course, in addition to the newborn thing and the Henry thing. I felt so guilty after yesterday's post that I rushed right in and mopped the kitchen floor. I think I deserve a medal.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Routine? What routine?

My grandfather passed away peacefully yesterday at 11 am. He was a wonderful, wonderful man, and I hope that he continues to pray for me in heaven just as he did here on earth.

As you can imagine, things have been chaotic this past week with family coming to town and lots of visiting. I'm so grateful that I'm off from work right now, because I am more available to help my mom and was able to visit the Hospice at my whim. The caveat being that I always have a newborn in tow, but still, I'm glad for this current flexibility.

When I first started my leave, I made up this ambitious schedule for myself. I liked my work routine, and didn't want to allow myself to wallow in postpartum depression without a regular routine as solace like I did after I delivered Henry. I figured I could be all anally organized and have different tasks for each day of the week. One day I could do laundry, another I could alternate mopping the kitchen floor and the side hallway, another I could weed the garden, another I could do general cleanup house maintenance, and the last weekday I could reserve for whatever came up and needed my attention and possibly grocery shop. Mike cleans the bathrooms, vacuums and dusts (yes, I know how lucky I am).

Well. HA! For one thing, a single laundry day. *gauffaw* We do laundry 5 to 6 days a week. We could start a rating system for Anne's spit up events. "That one had some air under it, much higher degree of difficulty. And I think it traveled a full 5 inches before making contact with the couch." Sometimes, each of us needs 2 full outfit changes in a day, and that doesn't include Anne, who has many, many more.

And the floors? Oh good Lord. I'm ashamed to admit that since the week after Anne was born, I haven't gone near the floor with a mop. I've swept, and we keep up with the vacuuming of the rugs, but the mopping gets sadly neglected.

And weeding? In Tiffany versus The Weeds: Weeds 10, Tiffany 0.

I do keep the house picked up, I can't help it, that's something that I obsess over. And we squeeze the grocery shopping in where we can. That's the extent of my housework. The rest of the time, I'm nursing Anne or otherwise doing Anne-maintenance. And to add to the fray, yesterday was Henry's last day of school. So I now have him in tow, too. Much, much fun being had over at the house of the Catholic Librarian. :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Update, and hanging in there

Sorry I didn't get to post yesterday. It's been just a blur, things have been so crazy. It feels like I barely sit down these days except to nurse the baby. Which is a blessing (my poor, poor nipples excepted) since it lets me sit down. :)

Anyway, my grandfather is in a Hospice facility and is still hanging on, but the doctors tell us it won't be long. We've all been up to see him several times, and he's had someone with him 24/7. It's all very sad, but he has led a long, wonderful life and he knows how much we all love, adore, and appreciate him. It's going to be tough this week, especially for my mom who I know is taking this loss very hard, but we'll get through. My grandmother is a tough lady, and I know she'll be ok too. She has a strong Christian faith, and I know that that will be a great solace to her in the coming months.

On the homefront, we've been hanging in there. I've been schlepping Anne to the Hospice, since Mike has started teaching a summer class. Newborns are very portable, which is nice, since they sleep a lot of the day, but they're also very unpredictably fussy, which isn't so good in this type of situation (WAH WAH WAH reverberating through the otherwise serene hallways). Our nights have reached a comfortable rhythm. Anne is actually starting to show signs of going a longer 4+ hour stretch at night, which I'm praising God for this very minute. Unfortunately, her gastrointestinal issues persist (poor babe) and so this keeps us all up quite a bit of the night once she does wake. But honestly, it's not that bad, and I've gotten quite used to it. As we approach week 5, I feel much more like myself, just with a new baby in the mix. It's a very good feeling.

I know lots of new things now. I'm reading Anne's cues a lot better, as in when her cries mean she's hungry versus tired versus wet/dirty. As well, I know what time the birds wake up. Do you know this? The answer is 4 am. I know this, because I'm always awake then too. :) That seems to be Anne's current morning witching hour. Everything goes to pieces at 4 am. But it's ok.

That's the update for now. I'm very grateful for your prayers, and to this blog for providing me with a wonderful network of Catholics and friends. I appreciate you all so, so much.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Tough day

The weeks since I delivered Anne seem to be flying by, but this week ends with a toughie. My last living grandfather isn't doing very well. He's been frail for some time, but things have taken a precipitous turn for the worse. So, we've moved into family crisis mode. Hospice is involved, my phone is ringing off the hook between my mom and my sisters, and we know that we have a long week ahead.

My grandfather is just a wonderful man. Just the kindest, most patient and sweet person you'd ever meet. We're all going to miss him so, so much when he's not here anymore.

I just saw him last week, and he did wake up long enough to take a peek at Anne. He and my grandmother have been married for 63 years. They have 4 living children (1 baby, a triplet with my living twin uncles, died shortly after birth), 9 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren.

I've been finding a lot of solace in the rosary. We've settled into a bit more of a rhythm with Anne, and so I've been able to focus my mind and pray more. I've been putting her down later (between 10 and 11 pm for now) and so she's up between 2 and 3 times then before 6 am. Not horrible. I've accepted this as my nighttime situation for the time being. And while I'm up in the night, I'm able to reflect and pray.

I'll post an update on Monday.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Baby steps, and pumping for success

The other day, I achieved a milestone: I did errands alone with Anne. Now, if we had added Henry to the mix, I think I would have deserved a medal, but I'll settle for this victory right now.

I got her into her car seat, lugged the stroller out into the trunk (no small feat, the thing is nearly as big as I am) and out we set for *3* different stores. Babies R Us, the Salvation Army, and the lactation store.

Upon arriving at the Salvation Army, I wrestled the stroller out of the trunk, got Anne snapped in, and wheeled into the building. In a move that impressed me greatly, I found a flowy thing that I can use as my belly dance costume cover-up for $2.99. Score. I made the naive mistake of continuing to browse after finding my prey, and Anne promptly proceeded to wail. I quickly made my way to the register, and in my fluster, nearly forgot my bag of purchases as I tried to squeeze the stroller containing the wailing baby out of the door, but I persevered. I was sweating a bit as I snapped Anne back into her car seat (glamorous) and hauled the stroller back into the trunk, but I made it out alive.

Then I went to Babies R Us, which is cake with a baby, since everyone there is either hugely pregnant and uncomfortable enough to not really notice your screaming baby, or toting their own screaming baby or melting down toddler. Kindred spirits. I needed a few nursing supplies and some bibs for Anne. I have never seen a baby spit up with the degree of intensity and difficulty that Anne achieves. We are never without a flotilla of soon-to-be-saturated burb rags in every room in the house. But I digress. I fetched the stuff and headed out on my way without a single wail.

My final stop was the lactation store, where I was in search of a hands-free pumping device. I'd been dreading the dusting off of my breast pump, since pumping is, well, a bit of a pain in the ass. But I have an awesome pump, a Medela Pump in Style Original, which I acquired while nursing Henry. I took it out for a test run the day before, and the thing still runs like a champ. It's the Honda of breast pumps. But I have no hands-free device, and this time, I knew that I needed one. It's no fun sitting there for 10-15 minutes while balancing those ridiculous looking cones in one hand and trying to turn the pages of your book with the other. Upon arrival, I hauled Anne's car seat tote out and dragged her in. The lactation lady immediatly knew what I was talking about and whipped out this bustier thing that you stick the breast horns into and voila! Hands-free pumping. Unfortunately, such bliss costs $40, but it was totally worth it. I can email and read now while pumping.

I got back home, all aglow. I haven't had to wrangle a newborn in many years, and I feared that I'd lost my touch. Xanadu.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dishcloth afterglow

I woke up this morning tired, but happy. :) We had a hard time getting Anne down for bed last night, but after that, we actually had a good night. She was only up twice to nurse, although she woke me several other times with some cranking. At the end of the summer/beginning of fall, we plan to move her to her own room, which will be like a dream. :) She's a very noisy sleeper, so that will a good thing.

But she's adorable, and I love her. She's alert a bit more now, which I love, and she'll be 4 weeks old tomorrow! She weighs in at a whopping 10.1 pounds!! As Mike always asks me, "what the heck is in your breast milk?!" Apparently super powered baby growth hormone.

Mike: "What's that smell? Oh right. Vomit."

That's pretty much our life theme right now, but we're navigating it rather well. :)

In other news, I got to work on my dishclohs yesterday, and they're going awesome. I found that I can crochet AND nurse the baby (as long as I use the Boppy Pillow) at the same time! I am: Super Multitasking Crafty Mommy.

That pattern booklet I'm using is 2 Hour Dishcloths, available from the Annie's Attic web site. You can also get it in print, but the electronic download is only $7.95. There are 12 beautiful patterns in it, so I consider it a very good deal. My favorite is called "Wee Bobbles." I made one for my mother-in-law last year, and she requested another because she likes it so much, to use as pot holders. It's nice and thick, so also makes a good trivet. Hers is rose pink with a variegated pink and white border. I'm making one now that is turquoise blue with a summery yellow/blue/green trim. It's really got my crafting mojo going again. I'm loving it.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Still aglow from the baptism, and crafting begins anew

I woke up perky this morning, which is always a nice thing. Last night while up nursing Anne, I was thinking about the baptism again. Part of the rite is the parents and godparents renewal of their own baptismal promises, and an affirmation of the profession of faith (the Nicene Creed). After this is completed, the priest recites:

"This is our faith. This is the faith of the Church. We are proud to profess it, in Christ Jesus our Lord."

I just really love that. It's all so very simple. We affirm a simple statement, and THAT is our faith. It all boils down to that.

So, I've been feeling more peaceful. I also picked up my knitting bag again for the first time in well over a month. Obviously, I don't have my hands free much these days to be knitting. But Hank's last day of school is next week, and I really wanted to make something handmade for his teachers. I won't have time to knit the school themed cloths I originally had in mind for them, but then I remembered a real good weapon in my crafting arsenal:

I love these discloths. They are *beautiful* and since they are crocheted, can be whipped up in no time. This booklet is available for electronic download from the Annie's Attic website, and it's very reasonably priced, fyi. So I'm going to embark. I'm excited, although I know it's still an ambitious plan with a newborn in tow. We'll see how it goes. But things like this, my crocheting/knitting and my dancing, are what really make my creative juices flow. It's good for me. :) I got my cotton yarn out yesterday and my hooks ready. I'm hoping to start on them today. It feels good to feel like the old Tiffany again. :)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Anne's baptism

Well, this Pentecost Sunday brought me much joy, and it was received with a great deal of relief, after a long couple of days (and nights :) ).

I was a little anxious, as I always am about any kind of public event. But the day dawned cool and crisp, which was actually a relief since our house lacks central air conditioning and we were having people over after the ceremony. Hank and I attended Mass in the morning, and then we readied for the early afternoon baptism.

I really couldn't have asked for it to go better. There was only one other baby being baptized at the same time, so the church felt cozy and intimate, especially with the cooler weather prevailing outside. The rite of baptism itself was so beautiful that I actually teared up (*postpartum hormones rage*). The deacon read the gospel about when Jesus asked for the children to be brought to him without reservation. He told us that this passage reflects how God sees us: as little children, his children. And the love that we have for our children is a small way in which we can try to grasp how much God loves us. That just made such an impression on me. No matter how challenging things may be right now, and how great I perceive my faults as a parent, God loves me still unconditionally, just as I love my own children. I just felt so much better after he said that.

The rest of the day I just felt lighter, and I enjoyed visiting with family after the baptism. What a blessing.

And so I go forward, spit up perpetually on my clothes, and smelling like vomit, :) but offering it up for a myriad of difficult intentions. Because that is what God, in my vocation, calls me to do. And while I don't always do it with joy (because I am human, after all) I can do it with great love.

Friday, June 10, 2011


This will be my last "whine" post, since it's easy to get yourself down when talking about such things. We've had a week of long nights, but tis par for the course with a 3 week old. I've been reading lots of infant sleep books from the library while I'm nursing Anne, and the consensus is that there is pretty much nothing you can do to make a newborn sleep longer. They either will or won't, but things will improve by around 12 weeks. They may even slightly improve around 6-8 weeks, but certainly by 12-16 weeks. So, we can hang in there that long. And accepting that this is the way things are going to be is easier than constantly longing for something that I cannot have right now, which is a night of full or limited interruption sleep.

It's tough, because sometimes I think that Anne is actually *fussier* than Henry was, who was a *very* fussy baby. That seems monumentally unfair to me, but whoever said life was fair? Mike and I just don't seem to breed these calm and miraculous long sleeping infants. But all newborns are fussy in the evenings, so it's just one of those things.

I'm just trying to get through the days and nights right now, and honestly, it's not going that bad. I have Mike here to help me, thank God, and we're already over 3 weeks in. I return to dance 3 weeks from today, and I have lots to look forward to.

In other news, Anne's baptism is this Sunday, and I'm very much excited about that. I will post a picture on Monday. :)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I'm still alive

Well, I think I've come to somewhat of an acceptance of the long nights. At least this time, I know they won't last forever. They'll just feel like they do.

We haven't had a good night since I last posted, but alas. We've fared it pretty well. We're exhausted, but hanging in there. I'm trying to focus on the positive. And pretty much everything else is all positive. Anne has been awake more during the day and very lively. She has a very cute personality. I'm just counting the days until she's 12 weeks old and past the worst of this fussy stage. :)

In other uplifting news, I'm feeling happy with my postpartum weight loss. I gained a total of 27 lbs. this pregnancy. That's 2 pounds less than I gained with Henry. The first 20 or so always come off very easily. As you hone in on your prepregnancy weight, the loss gets much more difficult, especially when breastfeeding. Breastfeeding spurs that initial weight loss (excellent) but always wants to hang on to 5 extra pounds or so (not so fun). I have about 3 pounds to go, which I'm very happy with. I've been walking every day, which has the added benefit of getting me out of the house for some fresh air. It's been wonderful.

I started dancing again at home, and it feels *superlative*. I loved belly dancing while pregnant, but now I love being the only one in my body. :) My costume even fits again, although the top is *tight*. My rib cage may not have fully shrunk back in yet, I'll have to wait 3 more weeks on that, so see what it's going to be. But the bottom fits good. As well, I have more "going on" up top than usual, so there's a bit of a va va va voom! factor that I normally don't have. But it feels good to see myself as I was before pregnancy. My "new normal." It's a very good thing.

Monday, June 6, 2011

A tale of much spit-up

Well, as I'm sure you could tell from Friday's post, I wasn't in the best of spirits going into the weekend. And unfortunately, the weekend bore up that early prediction. It was a rough one.

We had two really bad nights in a row, and I was in that sleep deprived newborn haze of seeing pacifers and burb rags strewn over every available surface in my house and walking around with dried spit-up covering my blouse and in my hair. In our "TMI alert" for the day, my nipples were killing me and I felt teary and trapped. Saturday night was particularly bad. The baby was extra fussy and seemed in some clear discomfort and was up every 20-30 minutes throughout the night. I was a basket case by Sunday morning.

Yesterday, I had an epiphany: I think Anne has, to some degree, acid reflux. The sheer volume that she spits up is comparable only to a geyser. I did a little research, and come to find out, *all* newborns have some acid reflux. Their esophoguses are immature and they all spit up for the first 6 to 12 months of their lives. Anne's might be a bit more advanced than some, so I considered calling the pediatrician. But I read a bit about home remedies, and apparently if you incline them after eating, and while sleeping, this can help. I did that yesterday, and lo and behold, we had an excellent night last night and a much better day today.

Last night, I was able to put Anne down by 8:30 pm, and she slept for 4.5 hours. That's the most sleep I've gotten since she was born. After that, she slept for 3 hours, and then was up at 6 am for the morning to nurse again. That's excellent for a newborn.

This morning, I feel like a new woman. Getting some rest does wonders for ones physical and emotional health. We decided to observe her for at least a few more days before calling the pediatrician. She hasn't spit up nearly so much today, and I credit the inclining after feeding. Her bassinette is also slightly inclined, and that must be why she prefers to sleep in there. Side lying nursing is a total disaster for her. She gets all kicky and archy, and seems to have a hard time breathing well in that position, so I never feed her in that position anymore. I always have to sit up to nurse her.

So, I'm feeling better. I've also taken a gigantic amount of pressure off of myself with breastfeeding. With Hank, I never used formula. I didn't even know how to mix it until about a week ago. Feeding Anne has been so much more of a production, and my emotions (and poor, poor nipples) have taken a real beating. We've given her a few bottles of formula, and I feel SO much better knowing the pressure isn't always on me to feed her, sore nipples and all. A little formula isn't going to hurt her, and I'm just feeling BETTER.

I know supplementing can affect my milk supply, but, well. This time, I have a different perspective. My mental and physical health is not less important than Anne being exclusively breastfed. She's getting plenty of breastmilk (she's gained nearly 2 pounds since she's been born, up past 9 lbs, little chunker!) and receiving the nutrition that she needs. That's all that is important.

So, this morning, I'm feeling grateful for the hope that I feel today. That everything is going to be ok.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Officially inaugurated as mother of a newborn

What would that sign be?

Wait for it...

Evenings are tough right now. With Anne now just over 2 weeks old, she's getting into that "evening fussy phase," which I remember vividly from Hank, and well, it can be a bit of a nightmare.

Last night, she was wailing as I walked her around the house, trying to soothe her. Mike was upstairs giving Hank a bath. I had her kind of sitting in my arms, facing forward. Suddenly, I heard that ominous squirting sound. All of you parents know precisely what I'm talking about. Mike could hear it even from upstairs. What's worse, I *feel* something touch my hand. Uh oh.

That's right, poo on the floor. And on my hand. Our first official 'poosplosion'. You heard it coined here first.

Her diapers have generally been much, much easier to handle than Hank's. With boys, pee gets everywhere. Up in an arc over to the adjourning piece of furniture. Up their back. Down onto the changing pad and their legs. Possibly up onto your face. And Hank always had explosive poo diapers. You know it's a bad one when not only does the baby need a fresh outfit, but *you* do too.

Anne usually keeps to her diaper. Until last night. I guess everyone falls prey to it sometimes.

I cried last night for only the second time since bringing the baby home. I consider that a victory. With Hank, I cried everyday. I just felt overwhelmed for a spell. Which is totally normal with a new baby. I miss having some time to myself and not feeling so anxious all the time. I miss my routine. I miss my friends and my dance class. I wish my life felt like "mine" again. But, as with all things, this too shall pass. I'm just going to try and keep hanging in there.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Things going slightly better at the feast of the Ascension

Yesterday, as I pulled out of our driveway headed for the feast of the Ascension vigil Mass, I realized that I was reaching a new milestone: it was my first time out alone with Anne.

You wouldn't think it would be that big a deal, given, you know, that I already have a kid. But since he's five and a half and does everything from getting dressed to buckling himself into his booster seat by himself, it really is a big deal traveling with an infant again.

I had to get myself ready amidst her demands to nurse. Then I had to get her ready, and she seems to be perpetually covered in, and smelling of, spit up. Hank was home from school and was bouncing off the walls; Mike fielded him. I had to pack her diaper bag and get her carrier ready. I had to strap her into her car seat tote amidst her protesting wails, and haul her out to the car. I wasn't yet up to attempting Mass with both children on my own just yet (I'm kind of terrified, to be honest) so I left Hank home to have dinner with Mike and get his evening bath.

Once I got out to the car, I realized that I couldn't squeeze her seat into the rear driver side door given the space constraints of our garage, so I had to switch her seat position with Henry's booster seat. That took at least 5 minutes. Finally, I had her snapped in and headed out. Since it was work let out time, it was a tad trafficy.

Eventually, I arrived at our parish and parked. I had to grab all the baby paraphenalia, get her out of her seat (wail, wail) and into the carrier. My back hurt before I even got into the church. :) The opening hymn was finished by time we arrived, very unlike me. I looked down, and she was wide awake, very worrisome. She did crank as soon as I got into the pew, but thank the Lord above, I had the foresight to pack a pacifier in the diaper bag.

So, the end result is that I made it through my first Mass with a newborn in quite some time. My back was killing me, but I made it. I got tons of stares and comments about the tiny baby ("why aren't you home resting?") but honestly, I simply cannot sit at home in bed. The best thing for me is to resume as much of a sense of normalcy in my daily activities as possible. And going to Mass is key amongst those things.

In 'Anne and Tiffany Battle Thrush Episode 1', we had another bad night the night before last, but last night was much better. I think our thrush medications are working. We have to keep at it for another week, but I'm happy that it seems like progress is being made.

Already, this week feels different than last week. More like "this is me, just with a baby." We're getting there. :)