Friday, December 26, 2008

DAY 12418

Or: The first day of my 35th year.

My answer to the question "What do you want for your birthday this year?" was an easy one.

Nothing.

I have everything I want.*

Sacha has decided on a name for me. It's been coming about for the last 2 weeks or so.

So when ge woke up at 4:45 this morning, and with a little wimper said "Ehhhoooo-mehhh"**, I pretty much felt on top of the world.

----
*I mean, other than a full night's sleep or a day off, but neither of those are a viable option at the moment.
** Say it out loud... it kinda sounds like mommy!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

MAY YOUR DAYS BE MERRY AND BRIGHT

I wish you all the best this holiday season. I am thankful for all that I have, including this wonderful community.
I feel like I am the luckiest woman alive to have The C and my Sacha in my life.
Here we are celebrating Sacha's first Chanukah, The C's 11th and my 33rd.

Lighting the candles

Sacha playing with his present from Mommy and Papa

Sacha enjoying Mommy and Papa's presents

Sunday, December 21, 2008

CATCH UP

Whenever I don't blog for long stretches I find it so hard to click that post button. There is always so much to say, and well, the longer I wait to write... You know how it is.

I am putting a top to it this moment. My husband is home with me, on his first day off in 68 days (working 90 hour weeks), our holiday menu is planned and shopped-for, Sacha is taking his afternoon nap, the snow is falling and the world looks beautiful. And I have a second to write.

All in all everything is spectacularly good. Every day, several times a day, I stop and take a moment to appreciate how blessed I am. Yes, I was so so fortunate to be able to conceive and carry my baby to term and have an uneventful labour. But this child that resulted? He is truly and completely amazing. Just writing that brings tears to my eyes. There really are no words to explain this feeling. My heart overflows when I look at him. I never knew it was possible to love one being so much. I wish there was some way to thank the universe for this opportunity to be with and be a mommy to my Sacha.

Ok, right. That was a little tangent. Not sure where it came from because I actually signed on to write about the one thing that is so not awesome right now. (Nobody's perfect, right?)

So.

Sleep. Or, shall I say, lack there of.

Allow me to take a moment to review. When Sacha was 3 weeks old he went down to sleep at about 9pm, and slept until 6 or 7am with one wake up for a feeding. We counted ourselves supremely lucky for this occurrence. We were even fortunate to have a few sleep-through-the-nights. At 4 months Sacha's napping started to get wonky. It seemed to me that he was up too much during the day, but his nights were still fine. At 5 months we went to Portugal for 2 weeks, so with the 5 hour time change all hell broke loose. Sleep was crazy through 10 days of those 2 weeks until Sacha adjusted, and about the same when we got home. We introduced solids around 6 months and i think this allowed us (finally!) to establish a good eating/nursing/napping routine. Until this time Sacha was going down at 7:30pm, still waking up his once in the night to nurse, and sleeping until at least 6am.

Perhaps it was a few weeks later that the nighttime sleep started to get crazy.

At first Sacha would cry about an hour after he went down. The C would go in a rock him gently and he would be back to sleep within a minute or so. This happened only every few nights so we didn't let it bother us.

Just before Sacha hit 8 months (I remember because the first real bad night was The C's birthday), he started waking up multiple times in the night. Anywhere from his usual once for feeding, plus the once about an hour after we put him down, and add to that maybe 1-2 more occasions. At first it wasn't hard- he settled right away (especially if I gave in a nursed him).

Then about 3 weeks ago things started to escalate. Sacha was sick, and so along with the multiple times in the night, Sacha started waking up for good at 5am. We thought it would all work itself out when he got better (which took about 2 weeks). But he's been well now for about a week, and it's only gotten worse.

And by worse I mean: Baby-waking-up-maybe-five-times-a-night-screaming-like-his-hand-has-been-chopped-off-and-refusing-to-settle-sometimes-even-for-more-than-two-hours-at-a-time.

Now I know. Beggars can't be choosers. Sacha really is most awesome in all other ways. So obviously something has to be an issue. But this?? It's just insane. We are not getting any sleep. And we are beside ourselves about what to do to help our little guy.

So, of course, I'm putting this out there so that you guys can help. Before you start in on the advice (which I want! which I anxiously await!), let me tell you what I have found concerning this sleep issue.

Apparently, according to Moxie, there is such thing as a nine month sleep regression. As we are upon nine months, I think this may be us. This regression is linked to major development that is going on right now, for example: crawling, standing, pulling up, cruising. Yup, that's us, alright. Add to these physical milestones some mental ones (which, by the way, completely blow me away, but i will talk about that when I write a nine month post about Sacha), and I think that we have development-induced sleep hell.

So while, YAY, this is all, supposedly, normal, I am totally feeling like: What the fuck can we do about this? Like what? Because, honestly, I can barely take another night of this. I have been driven to tears myself on several occasions. And also, man, the poor kid who spends hours screaming every night.

Alas, before you go dispensing advice/commiseration/hope, here is our sleeping situation. (You know, before someone writes something like: are you co-sleeping?)
  • Sacha sleeps in his own room in a crib. It has been so since he was about 4 weeks old. So his sleeping arrangements have not changed
  • The room is neither too hot nor too cold.
  • I nurse Sacha to sleep at 7:30, give or take. We have never tried to not do this. I am open to suggestions on how to stop doing this, but I think that now is not going to be the time to implement them!
  • I swaddle him (mostly to signal sleepy time), though he does take his arms out. It's an added layer of warmth, and he has never seemed to mind it.
  • When he wakes up he is screaming bloody murder. No amount of patting, back rubbing or shushing will settle him. In fact, it seems like he doesn't seem to realize I've come into the room.
  • So, we have to pick him up. And that doesn't even seem to settle him. Usually after The C tries unsuccessfully to get him to stop crying for half an hour I swoop in and nurse Sacha. Which does settle him for some time.
  • Sometimes the nursing puts him to sleep, sometimes not. If so, then I find that I need to hold him for about an half hour more to prevent him from waking when I place him back in the crib. If nursing doesn't put him to sleep, we have reached a new level of hell because the screaming may start all over again.
  • Yes, he is teething. This is his fourth tooth. I have to tell you that with the previous 3 I didn't even notice they were coming in. Also, it seems like it is taking more than a month for this tooth to come in. I swear I have been saying any day now for that long!
  • No, it's not his diaper or a tag rubbing him or other such thing... we have looked into that.

Here's the most amazing thing, though: Sacha wakes up happy, cooing, playing and rested. He is most cheerful thought the entire day. Most people comment on how much he smiles and that he never cries. You would never know that this is a child that does not sleep at night. So that's great for him. But for us, I feel like we are fighting a loosing battle.

I just don't know what to do for my little baby. His screams pain me so much, but nothing seems to be wrong or fixable. I am also worried that we are in the process of creating bad, unbreakable habits. Eeeks.

And, finally, because you are always such good helpers, I am wondering a few things (and no! I have not asked enough of you already!):

1- Are we (me, Sacha and The C) alone in this? Are any of you experiencing the same thing?
2- Do you think that other people lie about how much their babies sleep?

I didn't ask for holiday gifts from you, so please consider your replies the biggest present you can give me this year. Many many thanks in advance, blogosphere.

Monday, December 08, 2008

THE LOWDOWN

1. We were feeling better.

2. And now we're all sick again. Even The C. It's horrible. Obviously not the most horrific thing that can happen to a family. But still.

3. Sacha has had a runny nose and a cough for what will be a week tomorrow. We steam, use saline drops and the dreaded nose bulb. The snot just keeps coming. Sacha has no fever, and is sleeping pretty well (aside from making a habit of getting up at 5am every morning), and is his happy playful self. So, while I am not that worried about him as his behaviours aren't altered, I am concerned that he isn't getting any better. I will call and make doctors' appointments for us both today. (And praise myself all the while for choosing the pediatrician that is in my family doctor's practice.)

4. The little guy turned 8 months. I can't believe how big he is and how much he can do. It is just awesome watching him absorb and learn. This subject, of course, deserves its own post. I hope I will get to it soon. As I type this the pumpkin is playing in my paper recycling bin in my office- his new favorite activity.

5. The nanny is working out wonderfully. It is such a relief. (Though she has been sick too!) I am trying to bring in some work, but with me being sick again it has be a bit hard.

6. I was cleaning up my files on the computer and found my birth story. I wrote it the day after we came home from the hospital, it's in point form, rough around the edges and not complete. Are you guys interested in reading it anyways? Let me know.

7. I am reading your blogs but don't always have the energy to comment. I'm sorry. I am here and support you all, I hope you know that.

Monday, November 17, 2008

HERE COMES TROUBLE!

Mommy, look how clever I am!

Note to self: Batten down the hatches.
But first: get well and deal with baby's top tooth coming in.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

SICK

I am so sick. It is awful. I feel like I have been run over by a truck.

On the nanny front, she is awesome. I feel like she came into our lives at the exact right second. I don't know what I would do without her. Sacha loves her. She is great with him. It's all so good. I only have her 2 days a week, but I am going to see if she can come a third this week so that I can rest.

Not much else of not around here. Sacha still has his runny nose, but it isn't affecting his personality so I'm not worrying. Though there is no tooth in sight, just swollen gums!

I think I'll go make some tea.

Miserably yours,
Ms. C

Monday, November 10, 2008

YOU'RE HIRED!

Yes! We hired the nanny! I'm so freaking excited I just can't contain it! Big woot. Like: BIG. I'm so thrilled that she wanted to work with us. I really hope it all works well. She is coming tomorrow so that we can talk about details. Please, any suggestions of what I should show her and make sure of?

In other news, Sacha has a runny nose. He hasn't been sick before, so dealing with this is a new mothering thing for me. I think that it's just because he's teething (his top 2 gums seem very swollen) as he has no other cold symtoms. This morning he blew a snot bubble out of his nose. An amazing feat, I know. I'm going to mark it down in his baby book. Friday night and Saturday night Sacha was up 3-4 times during the night, either because he was in pain for his teeth or he couldn't breathe. Last night he woke up just his usual once. I had given him a homeopathis remedy for teething before he went to sleep so perhaps that is what made the difference. Anyone have suggestions (non medicinal) for dealing with a runny nose?

Saturday, November 08, 2008

UNEXPECTED

So the other day I decided to hop onto craigslist and peruse the nanny listings. I had no idea what I'd find, but I needed to start my search for childcare somewhere.

If it is possible to fall in love with a craigslist posting, I have to say that I did. I emailed the nanny candidate immediately.

My husband and I just finished interviewing her, and I have to say that after spending an hour with her I LOVE her. Maybe even more than my husband. But certainly not Sacha.

I think we covered all the standard interviewing questions. She even met Sacha when he woke up from his nap and he smiled at her instantly. I just got this great feeling from her. She is supposed to email me her references later tonight, and I can't wait to contact them. I want her SO BAD. I totally have a nanny crush on her. My husband and I looked at each other when she left and we like: oh YA!

Here's the thing: how do I really make sure that she is the one? And also how do ensure that she chooses us over the other families that she is going to meet?

And, oh, another awesome thing about her: she's studying to be a doula- with the doula who assisted at our birth. How cool is that?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

WORK

I just started composing a post about how bored I am. But it's whiny and complainy. So I will spare you.

The gist of it was about how I am about to come out of my "slow time" of work. And in order to work I need to find someone to take care of Sacha. The care would only have to be part-time (either half days or 2-3 full days a week), because I can get some work done with Sacha playing beside me on the floor, just not not all of it.

But I have some concerns about this. It's not so much about the person who will take care of him. I work from home, so I will be here most of the time.

It's the hows:

How am I going to find a caregiver? I have no idea how to go about doing this.

How are we going to work out breastfeeding? Sacha doesn't take a bottle, so it's only breast for him.

How is someone else going to put him for a nap? Sadly I still swaddle and rock him to sleep in my arms. No one else seems to be able to get him to sleep for naps. Either they don't swaddle right, don't rock right, don't hold him tight enough, or can't ride out his freak-out crying jag until he lulls himself to sleep. THIS for sure is a subject for another post.

How am I going to be able to concentrate when my sweet little one is giggling in the next room?

There are also some other hows that have to do with business logistics:

How will I be able to meet with clients who can't meet with me during the day? I used to book evening meetings but now I can't do that because 1-I'm too tired in the evening and 2-it coincides with Sacha's bedtime (I nurse him to sleep, see above re: subject for another post.)

How will I be able to set limits about making appointments on the weekends when I want to spend time with my family? (While Sunday would be an ideal time to book appointments because The C is home, it's not ideal because it's the only day off he has all week.)

How will I deal with the work that I will lose as a result of limiting my hours for meeting with clients? Will I even be able to get any business if I insist that clients take only day-time meetings?

So many questions.

It's true, I never really stopped working when Sacha was born. But I see this somewhat as a return to work, as I have been taking it really easy the past few months. If I want to make any money I really have to step up my work.

I keep wondering if it's worth it: to bring someone in to watch Sacha while I work knowing that much of what I make will go to paying this person.

I know the answer is yes. I was never cut out to be a stay at home mom. I am just not the type to be all baby all the time. The past seven months have been so hard on me. I have really felt unproductive and brain-dead. And bored and boring.

I know I want to do more than just mother Sacha. I work with people who are planning special events; most of my clients are brides. My work is my no means life-altering or earth-shattering. I am not in danger of not keeping up with the workforce in the line of work that I do. No one will miss me if I close up shop.

But I actually love (most of the time, I am not a freak here!!) what I do. I feel creative and successful. I like meeting with clients and the satisfaction of making a sale. I enjoy the challenge of running a business and making money.

My work is cyclical- I know it starts to get busier around now (following a trade show that I have this weekend), and really gets going in January. I have avoided thinking about this whole work thing for so many months. I knew this was coming.

When I was pregnant everyone always said to me: "It's going to be so great, you just can plop the baby down next to you and get your work done. You are so lucky to work from home." I was so naive to believe them!

So now I embark on my next phase of life: Working Mother.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

POO-DATE

Not a date with poo. But an update of sorts on the poo-tuation.
Not an hour or so after I posted my previous post Sacha "did his business". Thank goodness. The next day I gave him some prunes to help him along. Again, poop.

But on Friday I was still concerned- he seemed gassy, hadn't pooped again (it was approaching 48 hours), and well, I was being neurotic. The doctor very nicely told me that I had nothing to worry about, Sacha seemed just fine, and even 3 days without a poop is fine. He said I should return to feeding solids to Sacha, that he should be getting 3 meals a day by now. He also told me that I could feed him prunes every day if I felt I needed to, but to back off if things seemed to be resolving.

Phew.

So, I continued the prunes and increased his food intake. And the little pooper pooped again on Sunday and Monday. So far no poop today, but I am trying not to be concerned. I stopped the prunes because they seemed to be making the baby a gassy little fellow.

So now I wait for the poop, and I try not to freak out.

But, seeing as I'm here, let's take a moment to look at solids. I have to tell you: MAN, this kid LOVES to eat! (Though he comes by it honestly, for his mommy and papa love food too.) Sacha basically will eat anything. I have moved away from rice cereal, and now give him barley, which he seems to like more than rice. He loves chicken (I made it myself), and so far he goes crazy for peas. Green beans and carrots are ok too! In fruit we have tried pears and prunes- I'm trying to stay light on the fruit as to not introduce too many sweet flavours before we get through more veggies.

This week I am thinking of introducing more green veggies (maybe avocado or zucchini), and perhaps another meat. I bought a jar of "beef, carrots, potatoes and peas", but it the idea seems a bit eww to me (the jar was only 79 cents, I figured I would go for it seeing as I was in the store...).

Have any of you tried a jarred combo like this? If not, do you puree your own meat? And final question: how much do you feed your baby at each meal, and when do you feed him breastmilk/formula? (If your baby is 7 months, that would be really helpful, or if you remember what you did when your baby was 7 months...)

Thanks a million gals. You are really the finest of the fine.

Just for kicks, here is Sacha enjoying some green beans. A friend of mine told me that babies with food all over them gross her out and she doesn't see why people think it's fun that parents show them to other people. Do you agree or disagree?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

THIS MAY BE TOO MUCH INFORMATION, BUT...

So many times I have composed posts in my head and sadly, none of them have made it into the computer. I feel bad about this. I want to post, I want to chronicle what is going on in my life, and in Sacha's life (which mysteriously are pretty much one and the same these days.) And I wanted to tell you guys about the adventure of travelling with a wee one (that is the subject that "won"), but I never got there.

Time both moves so slowly and so quickly. Sacha will be 7 months old next week. And in 2 weeks I will be exhibiting at a trade show that will essentially launch me head-first back into the market for work full-er time.

But first things first... You know that if I am posting there must be a super-sonic reason, right? Ya, well. We have a problem.

Sacha hasn't pooped in 5 days. I need help.

Can we examine the situation in as brief a manner as possible? As an infant Sacha was a pooping super-star. When he reached a couple of months he was very regular- he pooped once a day and it was always in the morning. Then, almost 2 months ago we went to Portugal. And as soon as we arrived his regularity stopped. He popped maybe every second day, and some day not for 3 days. And the consistency changed. I wasn't that worried, for after all, who doesn't have bowel issues when travelling? I just attributed it to travel. And the fact that he was breastfed, and "they" say that breastfed babies may go up to 10 days without pooping. When we got home, though, this continued, but the ped told me not to be concerned. Also, Sacha didn't seem to struggle and he was still he happy self.

Then we introduced solids. We were ok for a bit (and Sacha loved eating real food, LOVED it!), until I started realizing that his pooping was increasingly infrequent. It became very thick and he seemed to be having some trouble. But he was still pooping every 2 days so I was trying to keep perspective.

A few days ago I was talking to my homeopath about something unrelated and decided just to seek her advice on this poo-tuation. She recommended that I stop all his solids and go back to just breast milk for a few days to reset his system. And then introduce fruits and veggies again, but no cereal. (I had already cut out cereal for 2 days as I was getting concerned). She also said that I should give him some water, but that is pretty much impossible as he doesn't take a bottle and has yet to master a sippy cup.

Yesterday I realized it had been 4 days. I have to honestly say that I have yet to have cause to worry about Sacha's health until now (save his jaundice in the first few days of his life.) I spent yesterday in an obsessive, diaper-checking panic. NO POO. Sacha's behaviour was definitely different. He was clingy and needy, and cried more than usual. And he really seemed to be struggling to push, especially when I was feeding him.

I put in another call to our homeopath. She recommended a remedy, and she also recommended that I stimulate his anus with a thermometer just in case he was a bit tight. (Has anyone heard of this? I hadn't but my good friend said he mom had done that.) I also bought some prunes, but have yet to use them.

Here we are, embarking on day 5 of no poop. Yesterdays' tricks did not work.

So I ask you: please help me.

What would you guys do? Should I feed him the prunes? What about suggestions for giving him water?
I just feel so helpless and lost. Mothering is so hard, I rarely know what to do. But I feel that now my baby really needs me. And I can't seem to help the poor little guy.

Friday, September 19, 2008

CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE

I chose mine.

It was 15 days in Portugal with my son and my husband. At my in-laws' house. By the beach. Where the weather was near-perfect. And the flights were fine.

So that's why I haven't been around for the past couple of weeks. I did miss you all terribly, please know that!

There is so much I could tell you about, but I thought I would let you choose. Below are a list of titles for posts. You can vote and I will write about the one that wins. How about that?

Here we go:

Dear Mother-in-law: No, the baby isn't cold or hungry, but can I please have him as he has to nap

Traveling fun: crossing 5 time zones with a 5 month old

Yes, I know my baby is fat, and yes, I do only give him breastmilk

Apparently babies' digestive systems go wonky when they travel too!

Sacha! Now with a tooth (this time for real.)

Oh why won't this baby sleep through the night?

Dear everyone in Portugal: please stop clapping and whistling and doing things that you would generally do to a cat or dog in order to get my baby's attention

Four people taking care of the baby sure makes for a relaxing-ish vacation

OMG-90210! (self-holding statement.)

Ok- go to it! And I'll tally the votes. It's good to be back, but it'll take some time to catch up on everyone, so please cut me some slack.

Friday, August 29, 2008

MONTH FIVE

Honestly, I don't know how we went from here:


To here:

In five months.
Time is unbelievable.
Sacha is just an amazing little being. There is so much for me to be thankful for. Even given all the sleep issues, I think that I am finally starting to get the hang of this parenting thing. Which, of course, means that tomorrow everything is bound to change.
I am trying not to think of that.
Instead, let's look at this month's accomplishments.
Moving: While I wouldn't say that he's crawling yet, he certainly is mobile. When he is on his tummy (which is almost always, as he rolls the minute I put him down on his back), he uses his arms to pivot his body. He can make full circles. And Sacha also "moves" by bringing his knees toward his chest so that his bum is high in the air, and then he launches himself forward.
Talking: I have no idea what he's saying (and it's certainly nothing near Mama or Papa), but Sacha is talking a blue streak. I can have full conversations with him.
Laughing: Sacha smiled and giggled at a very young age (probably at a little under one month). Previously he would giggle if I ticked him, but lately he will laugh if I make funny faces, or if I am laughing. He also has the smile that a friend refers to as "if I open my mouth any wider it will break". See photo above!
Gesturing: I'm not sure how, but my mother taught Sacha to raise his arms when he wants to be picked up from the crib. (He only does this in the crib, though.) It's pretty amusing to see. If I walk in while he is playing, he will drop a toy and hold his arms up to me.
Sitting: I don't even know when the transition from sitting propped to sitting alone occurred. One day I thought to myself: what if I left him to balance on his hands while he's sitting. Low and behold- he did not fall over! Sacha can sit holding on to the side of the crib and holding on to his playmat bars. He's getting pretty good at supporting himself with one hand, and shoving a toy in his moth with another. Today I put him on his knees, and he balanced for a good while before toppling over.
Playing: It's amazing- Sacha actually plays with his toys. He chooses a toy with purpose- sometimes he will turn his body just to get a specific toy. His aim is spot on, and he grabs with one hand, and brings his toy directly to his mouth. I find that I can leave him on his own for quite a long period of time and he is able to amuse himself. Sacha has also now perfected grabbing the animals hanging from his mobile-while it's moving. He holds on tight, and when I come in to his room and see him doing this he looks at me as if he's saying "look what I've done!".
More Playing: Sacha found his toes last week, and perhaps they are his favorite toy of the moment. He has figured out how to get them to his mouth, and yesterday I found him sucking quite intently on his big toe, as if it were a thumb. He also loves it when I play airplane with him high up in the air. He is starting to stretch his arms and legs out while flying. And he laughs wildly. And, like most babies, Sacha loves to dance. He loves Ra.ffi, and The Beatles, and James Taylor and even my humming of silly diddies. As long as he's bouncing to a beat he's smiling and laughing.
Growing: Last week I weighed Sacha on my brother's produce scale (he's a farmer). He weighed 18 pounds. He is headed in the direction of tripling his birth weight by six months. We have a doctor's appointment in 3.5 weeks (just shy of 6 months), so I will keep you posted. He is fat, that's for sure, but he's also tall. This week I started using size 2-3 diapers. The 2s just weren't cutting it anymore.
Personality: Like I've said: Sacha loves to laugh. And he is smiling almost all the time. He is just one happy baby. Hardly anything bothers him. If he's crying it's because something is drastically wrong. He rarely cries if he's hungry, or even when he's tired. He is sweet and calm and seemingly good-natured. He loves people and smiles at everyone. I know I am incredibly lucky in this aspect. I KNOW.
For the life of me I don't know what I did to deserve such an angel. I am truly blessed.

Monday, August 25, 2008

THE WOMAN WHO CRIED TOOTH

Yup that's me. Just to confirm with you all: there is no tooth. if any of you are like my mother, then you may, as she did, be thinking "I knew it! Teeth do not appear on top first!". Thank you mom.

Now on to another timely topic:

Sleep.

(We could talk about the lack of mine, but I won't go there today.)

Let me just say at the outset that Sacha is pretty much a super-duper baby. (The B.aby W.hisperer may like to label him as an "angel baby", but let's refrain from labels.) If he weren't so happy and smiley this sleep issue would definitely be way worse. I am lucky, and I know that. (Sacha is not this happy because of anything specific I have done, I am pretty certain of that.)

After his stay in the NICU, it became apparent that Sacha was a baby who liked to sleep. By 3 weeks of age he was down to waking once in the night. And he went down for naps with minimal fuss: I would swaddle him, turn on the mobile and he would already be yawning (very Pavlovian!).

As he started growing and becoming more interested in the world, he of course had less sleep time and more periods of awake time. Still, it was easy to get him to take his naps. And he often napped for at least 2 hours at lest twice a day. Sacha would go down easily at night and still only wake his once for a feeding.

Then something happened... And I don't know what. In the past 6 weeks or so Sacha has steadily decreased his frequency and quantity of naps. I am lucky if he sleeps a full hour nap. Luckier even if I can get him to do that three times a day. Twice last week he took 4 45-minute naps. And each nap is a fight now. While it is very much easier to get him down to sleep at night (possibly because this is my husband's activity), Sacha still wakes up at least once a night, and on a couple of occasions in the past few weeks it has even been twice in the night. I go to bed each night with a bit of dread, as I don't know what each night will bring.

Of course I am looking for advice/explanations/comments of understanding.

So, just to give you the whole picture, let me just tell you what I do do when it comes to sleep.

I wait until he is tired. Which is a hard one with such a smiley guy! But he is good at giving me signals. He rubs his eyes and I watch for yawns. (And even after he starts yawning and rubbing he is still playful and happy!)

I always swaddle Sacha. Even at nearly 5 months, and even though he is very big, he really likes it. I think it signals to him that he is going to go to his crib to sleep. Though, sometimes he giggles while I am swaddling- like he thinks it's a game- no so conducive to sleep!

During the day I walk and or rock him sometimes. It really depends more on how I'm feeling. I always turn his mobile on to his "sleepy" music. If I put him in his crib awake he almost always is asleep by the end of the 15 minutes it takes to play through the mobile. Sometimes he cries when I leave him like this. On those occasions he always breaks out of his swaddle. And he falls asleep on his side.

While I feel bad about somewhat letting him "cry it out", I know from experience that it will last less than 15 minutes. During those time I usually go to my computer and try to distract myself by emailing and what not.

No matter what I do, he is usually awake within an hour. Happy and ready to play! Sometimes he is still yawning and/or eye rubbing, but he refuses to go back to sleep. Other times I leave him in his crib to play for a bit (mostly when I have a bit of work to get done or I am exhausted and need a few more minutes to myself).

At night we have a very strict routine: bath, naked time, massage, nurse and then sleep. Often Sacha falls asleep nursing, and on the rest of the occasions my husband walks, jiggles and shushes him to sleep. When he wakes during the night he will often fall asleep while nursing. But if he doesn't- it's an uphill battle to get him back to sleep.Sacha is wide awake and smiling- we swaddle, we jiggle, we shush, sometimes I even try nursing again. These are times that I think that I must be living hell on earth. Why, oh why does this happen? It's especially scary now that this has started happening sometimes twice in a night.

Most people say that he seems ok because the lack of sleep doesn't seem to be affecting him. "He's so happy!" they say, "If he needed more sleep he would be crankier."

My actual issue here is two-fold.

One- if Sacha is not napping there is no way I can get some rest myself. Nor is there any way that I can get a nice chunk of work done without feeling like I am leaving him for too long on his own. (To remind you, I am self-employed and work from home. When in Canada mothers usually get one full year mat leave, the conditions of my self-employment have meant that I was working less than 48 hours after Sacha was born.)

The second issue is a bit bigger: Don't babies need sleep in order to process all that they are learning and to grow? This really really is worrying me.

I know I am not alone. I have been reading so many post lately of other mothers dealing with the same issues. But it's so hard. I have no idea if there is anything I can do, and if so what it is!

On thing is almost for certain: it is not a tooth.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

ONE+ONE+ONE+ONE... UPDATED

I am so tired today I might just croak. And my husband looks like he's been run over by a truck. He took Sacha grocery shopping so that I could have a break, but I can't fall asleep. I keep thinking about what the little guy has been experiencing the past couple of days.

Let's explore:

Increaced poop (more than his 2 times a day): check!
Waking in the night and taking 1-2 hours to get back to sleep: check!
Not napping: check!
Lots of coughing: check!
Emitting funny gurgly sound while puring lips and sucking on the inside of his mouth: check!
Chapped upper lip: check!
Spitting up alot more than usual: check!
Not knowing what he wants: check!
Being quiet (whenn usually happy and laughing pretty much all.the.time): check!
DROOL KING: check!

Tip of tooth peeking out of gum on top left: check!

Who stole my baby and replaced him with this big boy??

UPDATE: Umm... I think that I lied. Today there seems to be no tooth! What on earth did I see yesterday? And: then what is up with Sacha??

Monday, August 11, 2008

THE BOTTLE

I did talk about this a bit in my previous post. But it's on my mind.

As we speak, Sacha is downstairs with my mother. She is attempting to give him a bottle (of pumped milk) for the third time this week. (The third attempt in one week time. So far: bottle 0.) We think it's best if I stay away while she tries, hence my sitting here typing.

I know: it's not necessary for him to take a bottle. It just means that I can't leave him for more than 3-4 hours during the day, and if we want to go out at night we have to wait until Sacha is asleep at 8 or so.

I actually never thought this would be an issue. I thought I wouldn't care if he took a bottle. At the very end of my pregnancy I bought an inexpensive (relatively speaking) pump and some bottles almost on a whim. A total whim, as I really was leaning very granola in my child rearing ideas.

I thought I would co-sleep. We purchased a co-sleeper and used it as a bassinet in our room for 3 weeks. That's all. I thought I would baby-wear all the time. Which I did often at the beginning of Sacha's life, but he quickly became to heavy to wear constantly. And, of course, I thought my baby would only eat from my breast. No nipple was going to touch my boy's mouth but my own.

(I have other convictions that I'm happy to report that I am sticking to, but that's not the point of this post.)

What I found out very quickly after Sacha was born was that I like my independence. (Which is not to say that I'm not thankful for my baby being in my life, we all know that I am, I don't have to go there, do I?) I just thought that I would be alot more... attached. To be honest, I didn't even read anything about attachment parenting before Sacha's birth. I only found out there was a name, a movement, for what I thought I wanted to do as I began to read baby development literature.

Can I tell you how thrilled I was to have my room back after only 3 weeks of sharing it? I didn't mind going to the next room when Sacha woke at night. In actuality it was easier to change feed and put him back to sleep in his room than in mine.

And can I tell you how thrilled I was when other people wanted to hold the little guy? And how comfy he seemed in his vibrating chair? And in the stroller? And anywhere I would put him down to sleep? Sacha didn't seem to mind, and I certainly felt a whole lot lighter not carrying him around all the time. I may have persisted if he didn't seem happy being put down, but in truth it seemed as if he didn't notice that he wasn't with me! (I know that baby-wearers will refute this, but again... not really the point of this post.)

And can I tell you about the concert tickets that my husband bought for us when I was about 7 months pregnant? The ones for a concert 5 weeks after my due date (Which he didn't even realize! and which ended up being only 3 weeks after Sacha's birth)?

We had to leave Sacha with my parents. And we had to leave a bottle. And he took it. No problem.

I liked the independence of that evening. My husband and I had a great time out. After only 3 weeks of parenthood we were able to leave the baby. It felt amazing to have some sort of semblance of life back if only for a few hours courtesy of Billy Joel.

I made certain that my mother was available to give Sacha a bottle about once a week. And he was always game. Sometimes it took a little coaxing, but my mother is patient beyond belief and Sacha always drank it down in the end.

Until this week. I don't know what is up!! We have tried 2 different types of bottles. I even went out and bought a sippy cup. Let me tell you- he loves that sippy cup. he figured out how to hold both handles, and that the spout goes in his mouth (a genius I tell ya!), but he can't suck hard enough yet (or hasn't figured out that he should suck the spout.)

I'm at a bit of a loss... Like I said, in terms of parenting issues, this doesn't rank so high in the "I have a problem" area.

But I like the little bit of independence that I had. It was what was keeping me sane. I knew I could go out and have a bit of me time at any point as long as there was someone to take care of Sacha. I haven't really written about this at all, but being a mother is alot more difficult that I could have ever imagined. And it's been very very hard on me. So my me time was important, even if it was infrequent.

And I am scared to lose it.

Friday, August 08, 2008

FOUR MONTHS

Last week Sacha turned four months old. It seems incredible that he has already been four months, but on the other hand the past four months seem like forever.

I don't usually post about Sacha. It's more how having him has created, umm, let's say, new challenges in my life. But I thought on this occasion perhaps you would like to know what is going on with the little guy. (Also, I would like to have a record of it. So as usual, my motivation is selfish!)

Without further ado: Senhor Sacha's fine achievements to date.

At three months and one day Sacha figured out how to get his arm out from underneath himself and completed his rollover from back to front. Last week he perfected the front to back roll. We were at my parents' house and once he did it the first time he did not want to stop. Sacha rolled under the coffee table and out the other side and clear across the living room until we could not push the furniture any further. It was fun to watch him; every time he ended up back on his back he looked up surprised like: "whoa! how did I get here!".

Sacha has been putting toys in his mouth for ages. At a few weeks I would hold toys as he would suck on them. Then I would put them in his hand and he would try so hard to hold on as he sucked on them. Then I would leave a toy on his belly and he would pick it up to chew on. Now he reaches for anything in sight to pull towards himself, and when it get there he chomps heartily on it. And does not let go. I remember thinking "is he ever going to have enough strength to hold his toys?", and now here he is, choosing which ones he wants and grabbing at it with one hand.

Speaking of grabbing toys, Sacha's mobile continues to be one of his favorite things (though, as he is developing a bit of a flat spot on his head, I try not to leave him on his back when he is awake.) He is able to track the animals as they make a complete turn, and has started batting at them as they come closer to him. He opens his hand to grab them, but they move ever too quickly for him. I know it won't be long before we have to take it down. (Not to worry, we have the fis.her.pri.ce aquarium all lined up.)

The little guy is almost sitting up on his own. He spends alot of time in his bumbo, and his neck and abs are getting stronger every day. He can sit in his pack and play and while holding on in front of him, and if you prop him on the sofa he pulls himself up straight and hold his head steady. When Sacha is in his car seat he likes to bring his head forward. He sits really well on my lap when I'm at the computer; he puts his hands on the table and bangs as I type.

I am still exclusively breastfeeding. Sacha would take a bottle here and there, but only from my mother. The past couple of days we have been trying to give him a bottle and he is refusing it. Apparently I screwed up there and waited too long between bottle intervals! Now until he starts some solids it's going to be very difficult to leave him with anyone as they can't feed him. But, because he is showing such interest in what I am eating these days, I think I am going to get him a sippy cup to see if he will take it. (He does drink water from my glass, but he won't brink pumped milk from the glass!) I actually would start introducing solids, but we are going to Portugal in a few weeks and I would prefer to wait until we are back to make a big change like that.

Which isn't to say that he needs the solids per se. He seems to be doing fine with breastmilk. When we went to the doctor at 2.5 months Sacha weighed 14.5 pounds. I weighed him last week on a regular scale (me alone, and then me with him, and take the difference) and he was about 17 pounds. We don't go to the doctor again until the middle of September (when he will be almost 6 months), so I won't have a more accurate weight until them. But suffice to say that Sacha is a big boy. (The other day my brother went to snap A sun hat on Sacha and he called over to me: "which chin should I button it under?")

Where sleeping is concerned, we still have not mastered the through-the-night skill. He has been sleeping long stretches at a time (like 7-8 hours) from the time he was about 3 weeks old. I thought he was a champion then, boy! Now it seems like every other kid is sleeping through (like from 7-7!) but little Sacha! I am actually fine with waking up the once in the night to have him nibble; he gets back to sleep pretty quickly afterwards, and so do I. But the past few nights he has been waking up twice in the night! TWICE! I think I smell a sleep regression! Eeeks.

Oy! I am rambling on and on like a proud mama. Well I am! I just can't get over how my little guy is growing. It is phenomenal. So often I turn to The C and say "what have you learned in four months?!". It is simply amazing to watch my son grow. As hard as it has been, this mothering gig is so rewarding in many many ways.

I'll leave you with a few photos of Sacha (from about a month ago) taken by a friend.



Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I JUST DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO

I'm finding it impossible to be both a mother and a wife. My relationship with my husband is really suffering and I just don't know what to do about.

It's not that I regret anything. Our entire life is different. And it's not that I was naive enough to not think it would be so. But I'm not so sure I am dealing with the change so well. And my husband doesn't know how to deal with me.

I'm not even sure how to write about it.

It's just all fucked.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

THE NAPPER

He went down like this:
(I always put him this way, even though this photo is from another day.)
He woke up screeching a bit, but I let him be. He fell asleep again. He woke up again. I heard grunts a poops and hand sucking, but I didn't go into to him, I was letting him do his business in peace. Then there was quiet. I just peeked into the room to see how he was doing.

Breaking free of the swaddle, Sacha discovers that he can indeed roll over in his bed. He will, however, be requesting a wider crib for Chanukah this year.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A GAZILLION THANKS

One of the main reasons I blog is to get things off my chest without having to pay a therapist to listen. Often in the past all I have had to do is type and press publish and my anxiety would lessen. After yesterday's post I actually felt worse after writing.

And then your comments started coming in. And the weight? It lifted. The clouds parted and the sun shone through.

Which brings me to another main reason I blog: the support.

I know I say this time and time again: I don't know what I would do without this community. Thanking you can't get old. It is always wonderful to thank someone (or many someones in this case), is it not? Thank you again and again and again. Yes, you. And you. And you.

So much of what you wrote was helpful and overwhelmingly supportive. While I don't want to rejoice in the fact that many of you new mamas feel the same way I do, by golly does it feel good to know I am not alone.

Some of you asked questions and raised points, and I think it would be great to address them here as a sort of follow up.

Rachel asked if it was possible for me to work in the evening or on the weekends a bit. I do, and it helps. I have no choice... But sometimes I get flack from my husband about wanting to spend "family time" as the three of us. I feel it's a great opportunity to have papa/baby time, but him: not so much. (That post I never wrote about our changing relationship? That's part of it.)

Aurelia suggested trying to coax Sacha into a routine by feeding at certain times and sleeping at certain times. I like this idea... I think that is more what I want than a regimented schedule. And, yes, he is easy going (as in he doesn't usually complain when he's hungry!) so I just may be able to do it. I am not a very flexible person, it's usually all or nothing with me. I realize if I want to implement a routine it will be easier on both me and Sacha if I exercise some flexibility.

I think alot of this is about having the confidence to just feel what I am doing/want to do is right for the baby. (And right for me.)

Oh, and how I love you guys who are with me on independent time. I am just thinking that it can no longer happen in the crib. (I am still not sure about the bumper use. It is in the washing machine as we speak, and I may try it tomorrow on the crib.) Independent play time is getting harder even if isn't in the crib (ie: on his playmat) because he rolls from back to front with such ease and can't figure out how to get back (so I am constantly having to flip him back!)

While this cuts down on time I can be "away" while Sacha is playing, I have to admit that baby development is absolutely fascinating. I can't believe in 16 shot weeks how much this little guy has learned to do!

A couple of you mentioned childcare. I have thought about getting someone in maybe 2 half days a weeks so I can get some solid work done. I will have to increase my workload in order to afford this. When my busy season ramps up in January I will have to revisit the option. Right now it's not something I can spend money on.

Lots of you mentioned diaper output and baby weight. As far as I know we have no problem in that department. Regular pees and poos all around. And I am pretty sure Sacha weighs in the neighbourhood of 17-20 pounds (and he's not yet 4 months!)

Which leads me to the feeding. I have been paying very close attention the past couple of days. Yes, it does seem that I have a fast let down, and Sacha seems to gobble and swallow crazy-fast at the beginning of feeds. Thanks for letting me know that you guys have asked yourselves the same questions regarding "time", and helping me see that we are doing alright.

As for the night feeding- as Serenity pointed out that he actually may not need to eat when he wakes. I have thought about this. I don't know if I have the guts to not feed him at night (I know he won't starve, but still...). He doesn't use a pacifier, so I'm not sure how I would soothe him at night other than picking him up and rocking him. In which case I feel that I might as well feed him.

And finally, a big nod to Robin. Thanks to her I think that I am ready to say fuck you to the Ba.by Whi.sperer. Really, reading her second book is what started this anxiety in the first place!! I think that some good ideas are broached in her book, but I am feeling that being a little more flexible on how I interpret the "advice" will go a loooong way in making my life less anxiety ridden.

(Wow. Did not intend this post to go on for so long.)

So. In conclusion: not enough words to tell you how thankful I am. I can invent a new word for thanks, but then I will have used it, and next time I will have to invent another new one. And well, I have a baby, and work to do, and enough stress already. I hope plain vanilla thanks seems heartfelt enough. I really mean it.

It has been a relief to be free of bad mama thoughts for a day because of all of you.

Monday, July 14, 2008

I am a pretty realistic person (to a fault, some might say).

I don't believe I ever let my intense desire to have a child with my husband cloud the idea that parenting would not be challenging. The thing is, even with my realistic outlook, there was no way I could have been prepared for how.

As usual I have left too much time pass between posts, and I find that there is so much that I want to say. When I sat down to write this post I thought about which topic to write about. I realized the common theme with all of them: what a hard time I am having with this mother thing. How I so often think that I am just not a good mother.

I love Sacha with all my heart and I am thankful for being able to carry him and give birth to him. And I am honoured to be his mama. I am told that he is an easy baby (I don't know babies, so I couldn't say so myself!). He is a delight, he is delicious. It is amazing to watch him grow and change.

However, none of the above make the role of being a mother easier. There is so much that I am struggling with... Can I share a bit?

I constantly worry that Sacha isn't eating enough. I feed him 5 times a day and one time during the night when he wakes up. I would say that on average he eats for about 10 minutes. I was told from the beginning that I shouldn't watch the clock when breastfeeding, that the baby will eat what he needs to eat. But I couldn't help it. As a newborn he could eat for nearly an hour. By month 2 we had mastered the feeding and Sacha would eat for 20 minutes or so. In the past month we have dropped to 10 minutes, and I find that at some feeds it is even less. Often I have to burp him in the middle (unusual for breastfed babies, from what I understand), and he almost always spits up. His pee and poop is not cause for alarm (he fills his diapers plenty), and he doesn't seem to be lacking in the weight department. I also know that after some time babies suck more efficiently. But less than 10 minutes? That just doesn't seem like enough. When do I worry about this?

Closely related to feeding is, of course, sleeping. I can't seem to get the little guy into any type of routine. Being an easy baby he isn't too too fussy. I find that he doesn't wake up at the same time every day, he doesn't nap at them same times every, or for the same amount of time at each nap. (And as a result he doesn't nurse at the same times.) We do get him to be between 8-9 every night, but he hardly ever wakes in the night at the same time. And he has only slept through the night on a handful of random occasions. He's pretty easygoing: He can be awake for up to 5 hours without getting unhappy. What I am unsure about is this: should I just go with his flow? Is my concern about his lack of routine an issue for me because I like routine? Am I trying to impose something on my child that he doesn't really need? If I don't start him on a routine now is it going to be a problem in 3 months, 6 months or a year from now? Am I not teaching him good habits??

You see, I don't know. And not knowing makes me feel incompetent. Which in turn doesn't help with the feeling like a good mother thing.

Here's another thing that I am struggling with. As I've written before, I am self employed and work at home. While I was able to scale down my work for the arrival of the baby, I have not been able to stop working completely. I don't work every day. But I have been working from the day we have gotten home from the hospital (no work means no money coming in- I don't have any maternity benefits.) I really really really wish that I hadn't had to work for the last three months, and that I could have been able to spend every moment with Sacha. That just not a possibility. And neither is "sleeping when he sleeps", because that is time that I have to take to work. (Or blog! And that's why I don't blog so much! I then I end up with post the length of the Bible.) Adding to this is issue, is, with his lack of routine and unreliable nap length, I have been having to work while he is awake. Which means leaving him "alone" (on his play mat, vibrating chair or playing in the crib.) The other day his leg got stuck between the crib bars and he screamed bloody murder. This morning I found him with his arm hanging out. I am worried that I am leaving him too much and that he is going to get injured. (Please do not call child services on me!) I don't know if I should put the bumper pad on his crib for fear of SIDS. Some people tell me that it is ok to leave the baby, that he should learn to play independently. Which is good advice... but how much independence?

Couple this with my sometimes feelings that as much as I want to it is really difficult to entertain a baby all day long. So I leave him to play because I feel I am going to go bonkers. And that makes me feel bad.

All this is just making me into a stressed-out ball of nerves. I know it's not good for me or for Sacha. I read "the books". And then I feel I can't do what the books are telling me to do. Which in turn makes me feel even worse. Like I'm not doing the best for my baby.

I, of course, have other concerns. How will I ever get him to drop the middle of the night feeding. I am reading that babies should be starting to sleep through the night by now. I don't see this happening, no matter how much of an angel Sacha is. But I feel the pressure. What if I'm not doing something right?

Worse is that people seem to think that I am crazy. (I am neurotic. Those of you who have been her for the past 2 years may recall...) It doesn't help that Sacha is all smiles when The C comes home at night, and I just can't seem to get him to comprehend why I feel the way I do. The women who are my support (my mother, my aunt, my grandmother), tell me that Sacha doesn't seem to complain much, so I should not be so worried.

This post is not meant to be whiny or complain-y. The fact of the matter is that I just don't know what to do. At some point on most days I tend to work myself into being so upset that I think how am I going to do this?.

Please don't go telling me after you read this post that I should just be thankful for what I have. I know that. That's part of the problem.

(I also know that this post is a bit all over the place. Thanks for reading, I hope it make a little bit of sense, at least.)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

IN-LAWS IN MY FACE

You kow, here's the thing.

I have always been the baby of the family. I was 10 before a new addition was made to the family, and even then I remained the baby. Growing up with family friends I was youngest of all the kids. I have 3 cousins who are younger than me, and 2 neices, and still I am referred to as "the baby". While I was pregnant, I can't even tell you how many times I heard "the baby is having a baby!".

It's funny, I never minded being called the baby. It has never bothered me. I liked the attention.

Now, of course, the baby's baby is born. A family member pointed out to me that I would longer get the attention of the baby in the family. And you know what? I LOVE it. I love that Sacha is the centre of attention around here. It thrills me to have people come over, say a quick hello to me and beeline for the baby. (And I get the distinct feeling that Sacha adores it too!)

Friday night my in-laws called and told my husband that they were coming for the weekend. (Yes, they told him they were coming, not asked if we had other plans, seeing as they would be arriving 12 hours later.) Alas, as annoying as this information was to me, there was little I could do about it. They haven't seen Sacha since he was about 2 weeks old.

I was out all day with Sacha yesterday, and arrived home a few minutes after they arrived at our house. I unlocked the door and there was my father-in-law. He grabbed the baby seat from my hands and plunked the baby down in the living room in front of my mother-in-law, who immediately started fawning over him. The child was still strapped in and it became apparent that the mechanism of the carseat was too much for my mother-in-law to handle so I unbuckled him. My mother-in-law practically pushed me out of the way to lift Sacha out.

As I said before, I am ecstatic that everyone wants to see Sacha right away. And I know they were excited to see him- it had been 3 months. Never mind that they did not take into account that the baby might be scared when faced with people that he doesn't recognize. Never mind that someone that is a strnager to him swooped right in and grabbed him. I am hardly ever comfortable around my in-laws (they don't speak much English, and make very little effort to try to communicate with me), and their behaviour instantly put me on edge. Some kids are sensitive and don't like to be bombarded by strangers. I'm lucky that Sacha likes to laugh and giggle at anyone.

I realized about 10 minutes after our arrival that my in-laws did not even say hi to me. It's almost as if I don't exist. They have never been warm and fuzzy towards me, but now it's apaprent that I was just a vehicle for their grandson. My husband thinks that I am nuts- of course they said hello! He, as I recall, had ran out to the car and not seen this whole transaction, or lack there of.

All day the in-laws have been clapping and whistling at Sacha, holding him when I want him to be playing or having tummy-time. The C showed my mother-in-law some books we found in Portuguese, and asked her if she would read one to Sacha. She basically laughed at the notion that we read to the baby because, of course, he can't understand!

I know it's only a weekend, but it still puts me on edge. Are there not limits to what I should tollerate?

Monday, June 23, 2008

HELP- NOT OF THE BABY KIND

So... As always, Mel over at Stirrup-Queens has come up with another fabulous idea. Go on... click over, but please come back... I need your help.

For those not wanting to click, in a nutshell, she writes:
The first days may have been the hardest days for the Grateful Dead, but the second year is certainly the hardest year for a blogger.

I am less than one week away from getting through the second year.

Therefore, I am marking the event, nodding towards the stamina and the
journey and the hard work by choosing a new secondary blogging name much in the same tradition as a trail name.

[...] If your blog is two years old or older; or when your blog turns two years old (perhaps, if you just crossed into your second year, this will be an impetus to keep writing for 11 more months), please add your blog to the registry I have started on my sidebar--the Blogging Name Project--and state the new secondary blogging name you have either chosen for yourself OR that you asked others to choose for you in a post you place close to the two year mark.

My 2 year blogaversary was June 12. I can hardly believe it’s been 2 years that I have been writing here. I also can’t believe that in that time I was able to conceive and give birth. I am truly blesses. Also, I realized, June 12 of last year marked the first day of my period of the cycle I conceived. Freaky? Yah.

I feel it is important to commorate this. As I roll into my third year of blogging I realize so much has changed around here. I think it would be so, umm, nifty to mark this transition by choosing a secondary blogging name. And that's where you guys come in.

Suggestions? How 'bout I help you help me. You've been reading for a while (some of you from the beginning: Erin, you commented on my very first post!), what words do you think fit me? You know, ones that will be great to mark the past and the future?

Let's come up with something good. Ok- go!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I KEEP SAYING THERE IS SO MUCH TO WRITE ABOUT

And then I don't write about it.
Maybe if I didn't wait so long to post it would be easier...

***

I DID write an almost-complete post about how Sacha has stopped napping. But as I was writing it he decided to take a mega-long nap. Since then he had been mostly alright about the napping. It's really just a matter of us (as in me and Sacha) figuring out what works for him.

***

I have been told time and time again over the past 11 weeks what an "easy" baby Sacha is. I don't have much experience with babies, so I can't really compare. But he's generally happy, eats well, sleeps well, and likes people. I count myself as very very lucky. (Really, I do count it as luck. At this point in his life it's about his disposition, not about my parenting!) I am thankful everyday for my little boy.

***

The little boy, however, is not so little. We went to the doctor yesterday. Sacha weighs 14.5 pounds. That is almost double his birth weight of 7lb 7oz, and more than double his NICU admission weight of 6lb 7oz. He is 25in long. I have packed away all his 0-3 months clothes, and he fits quite well into all the 3-6 month stuff. It is so hard to believe how fast this kid is growing!!

I was a little sad packing up Sacha's first clothes. These were all the items I purchased over a number of months before he was born. I selected each piece with such love, marveling at how tiny they were, thinking about the little boy I would give birth to. Each one was a "favorite", and Sacha looked so yummy in them all.

I was also sad because at the same time I found myself thinking: we'll save them for our next child and what if there isn't another child to wear these...

***

I try to savour every moment just in case. Every smile, giggle, pout.

***

Still the post about my husband is brewing in my head. I compose it over and over. It's just so complicated. I love him. He loves me. We both love the baby. But it's been so rocky for so many weeks now. It's not about how good a father he is. I knew he would always be wonderful in this respect, which is one of the reasons that I wanted so badly to have a family with him. As a matter of fact he has so far exceeded any expectation that sometimes I get teary just watching him with Sacha.

Of course I knew that our relationship would change after the baby was born. Is there any out there that doesn't? We aren't just "us" anymore. But it's more than that... My entire life pretty much revolves around caring for Sacha. And it's hard, it's draining. And in so many ways The C just doesn't understand what it takes on a day to day basis. He doesn't get it, and it makes me feel that he doesn't get me anymore.

I do have to admit, though, that after taking a week off of work to spend with the baby last week, perhaps he has begun to see what is involved with looking after an almost-three-month-old. I see that he is trying harder to be who I need him to be, not just for the baby, but for me. I hope this is a sign of things getting easier on our relationship.

***

Just one more thing on the subject of husbands. What is it with them and sex? Why can't they understand that now is just not a good time? Believe you me, this does not mean that we have not, umm, done it since the baby was born. In fact, in my opinion, we have had more sex then I ever would have imagined possible! Buy, why, why, is that still not enough??!!

***

End of rambling.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

NO, THE BABY HAS NOT EATEN ME ALIVE

My boy, he is getting FAT. He likes to eat. I guess my breastmilk is doing him good.

Speaking of breasts...

I promised that I would not write another post about my boobs. The problem with that is that it lead me to not post for, like, two weeks. I feel like I left you guys hanging!

Long story short: I am no longer sweating a lot during the night. My supply seems to have regulated. I am wearing a bra at night, with just one set of pads. I do not love wearing the bra (and have tried a few different types), but at least I am not leaking everywhere. This means I have been able to eliminate sleeping on the waterproof pad. Thank the LORD. I feel SO MUCH better.

All thanks to you guys. It really is marvelous to have such a community to turn to. There really are no words to express how grateful I am. I only hope that I can pay it forward.

***

I also still am sorting out my thoughts about how the baby is affecting my relationship with my husband. There just is so much to write about. Some days I can't believe I have such a gem of a man as the father of our baby. Other days I am just so mad. There is so much that he just doesn't get.

Hopefully I can write about it soon...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

ASK AND YE SHALL RECEIVE (AND SO I AM ASKING FOR MORE)

You guys are just absolutely amazing. Thanks so much for your support and suggestions about the whole leaking and sweating thing. Really, THANK YOU. And a special double merci to Mel who posted on the Lost and Found that brought so many of you here to help.

Ah! This community! it just rocks.

I know you know, but: it is so great to feel not alone! This was me a few days ago: I'm so abnormal, what the fuck is going on with my boobs, am I a freak of nature?! This is me now: I may be uncomfortable, but many others have been through it, and I WILL survive.

Woo wee. Deep breath: it's all gonna be ok.

I have been wearing a bra at night with my regular reusable breast pads. It has worked so far except on one occasion where I leaked. One out of the past 5 nights is not bad.

But... (isn't there always a but?) A few things of note:

I have found since not leaking at night I wake up incredibly engorged. My boobs (already size G since giving birth) are hard and full and heavy.

AND: this new bra-wearing, non-leaking regime has coincided with the baby deciding to sleep through the night! Not that I am complaining about the sleeping (he has slept from about 9pm until 4 or 5 am the past 3 out of 4 nights), but this is exacerbating the engorgement of the boobs.
Furthermore, I think I have a plugged duct on the underside of my left breast. It hurts. Like a bitch.

So... here are my questions for today:

1- My supply will go down, and the engorgement will stop, right? If the baby stops his night feeding then my body will stop producing milk and adjust, right?

2- So given that, if I pump to empty my breasts so that I leak less, the pumping will actually stimulate my body to produce more milk. I think I have that correct, do I not? So I think that I am only going to pump when I need the milk.

3- I have resigned myself to wearing a bra at night (which I don't enjoy, but is a necessary evil, I guess.) Given my humungoid breasts, does anyone have a suggestion for a very comfortable bra to wear at night?

4- I am interested but weary of using Lilypadz. What happens to the milk that leaks? It's no good if it just pools around the nipple, is it? I am not adverse to using them, I just don't want to spend all that money (on one set of pads!) and never use them.

5- Back to this plugged duct... what do you guys recommend? I am going to use hot compresses through the day and see if that helps.

AND AGAIN: you guys are the greatest. There is nothing in this world that can compare to the support and love that I feel from you.

***

Do you want to hear about the baby at all?

I'll be brief (in case you don't. And in case he wakes up in the meantime...)

Sacha is doing great. He's 7 and a half weeks old (He'll be 2 months next Thursday!)

He is getting chubby, so I know that he is eating well. His long slim fingers he had at birth are no more. And he has like 4 necks. He has even grown out of some of his sleepers, and is fitting well into clothes that he was not able to wear in his first month. I have no idea how much he weighs (we haven't been to the doctor since he was 2 and a half weeks old), but I would guestimate about 10 lbs. To think that I was worried about my breast milk and about him getting enough!

It's also fun to watch Sacha do new things. He's been smiling for a few weeks (especially for The C, it's so delicious to watch!) and in the past day or so I think that I can identify a little laugh as he is smiling. Sacha also loves his mobile- he can lie under it for 45 minutes just babbling away to his little animal friends. I try not to use it as a baby sitter, but I have to admit that it does give me time to take care of some things! We also try tummy-time at least once a day, and some days are more successful than others. Sacha is getting more consistent at holding up his head, and he likes to look at the baby in the mirror.

And his sleeping... I told you above that he's maybe starting to sleep through the night (praying for no regression...). He naps well too, in short spurts during the day. He rarely has trouble going to sleep in his crib as long as I swaddle him tight. He is even learning to fall asleep on his own in his crib (as opposed to before when I would only put him down after I rocked him to sleep in my arms.) Don't get me wrong, he does fuss- he is a baby after all. But overall in this department I count myself as totally lucky. (And luck has everything to do with this!)

Ok, I'll leave you with one yummy picture. (Taken a week and a half ago.)


Next time I will try not to write about my boobs. Maybe I will tell you about the good and bad behaviors of my husband...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

QUESTIONS, ADVICE NEEDED... PLEASE!

I have so much to write, but every time I sit down and finally have a second either: 1- my brain goes blank; or 2- Sacha wakes up from his nap. Here I am... but the little guy seems like he is about to stir.

I have a million questions, and two million things to tell you about (and that I want to record for posterity), but I will stick to the single most pressing issue du moment.

Of course, it's about breastfeeding. (Ok, it very well could have been about sleeping or pooping, but this time: it's not!)

Here's the thing: Sacha is a champion breast-sucker. Pretty much from the middle of his second week things have been smooth sailing for him in the breastfeeding department. (We were off to a rocky start due to my insecurities coupled with Sacha's 3 days in the NICU, but I had a lactation consultant come in immediately when we got home, and she helped us out immensely.)

As you can imagine, I am thrilled beyond belief that my boobs are working to feed my little boy. I actually never thought I would be able to do it, you know, what with the fucked up hormones and all. And I'm certainly not all smug and fanatic about breastfeeding. I pump from time to time, and my mother and The C have both been able to feed Sacha from a bottle.

So the question/ advice that I need today is not about the baby and the breast. It's about ME. (Yes, me, me, me.) This is going to be totally TMI, but I don't know where to turn to talk about this...

The problem I am having arises only at night, and it is two fold.

First: While during the day my breast hardly leak at all (as in I don't really need to wear breast pads, but as I have leaked about 2 times, I wear them just in case), at night I find that they leak pretty much out of control. If I'm lying on my side then I get huge, soaking spots on the bottom sheet, and it I'm lying on my back I soak the top sheet. (In terms of timing, I usually feed the baby at 8 before putting him to bed, then he feeds at 1-2 am, and then again at 5-6 am.)

Second: I have been having unbelievable night sweats. Again, nothing during the day whatsoever. But at night I am soaked. And again, my sweats are soaking my sheets. Top sheet and bottom sheet. And so much sweat that the other night I had The C bring me a towel to put on top of me because i was absolutely dripping.

I have tried to "deal" with the two situations above by putting a waterproof pad down on the bed. (I procured it from the hospital post-partum... thank goodness I had the foresight to, umm, bring it home with me! I thought I would need it for bleeding at night...) In the morning the pad is so wet that I joke to The C that I can just have Sacha suck on it for his morning meal. It gets very cold when I get up in the middle of the night, making it very uncomfortable to come back to bed. And also it is very hard to turn during the night as the pad is so wet that it literally sticks to me.

I know that the the leaking and night sweats are related: the higher levels of prolactin due to breastfeeding cause sweating (I read about it in brief here.) So I know in theory that what is going on is, perhaps, normal. BUT I don't feel normal. In fact I feel disgusting, gross and wet. (How yucky is it to have to ask your husband to get you a towel to put between yourself and the top sheet because you are pouring sweat!)

So... I need help.

Firstly- really, is this normal? Is this just one of those things that no one talks about/doesn't want to tell you about?

Second- How come I am leaking so much- should my supply not be all "regulated" by now? Sacha eats pretty regularly (in terms of quantity consumed and number of feedings per day.)

Third- What can I do about it? (The leaking and the sweating.) Does anyone have any solutions for me? (Sleeping with a bra and nursing pads is not really an option- I will leak right through...)

(And, before you ask, yes I sleep with nothing on, because how double gross would it be to leak and sweat through pjs. Oy!)

(And also: I feel pretty bad/guilty writing about this. Like in the same way as I did about writing about pregnancy after IF. I'm so sorry if I'm offending any of you out there who are thinking: if only I had these problems. I know that feeling. I will never be able to forget that.)

Friday, May 02, 2008

MONTH ONE

My precious pumpkin,

I can hardly believe you have been around a month already. (Yes, I know it's a few days late, but so were you coming into this world, so let's just call it even.) We use the phrase "I can't believe that..." alot around here. That's because you're unbelievable. You are pretty amazing, little guy. We worked so hard to get you and you are all ours. It still seems so unreal.

When your papa and I carried you out of the hospital (the first time, when you were 2 days old), we looked at each other and mused: I can't believe they are just going to let us walk out of here with this perfect child. Truth be told, even though I had yearned for you for 32 months (plus an extra 9 days for good measure!) I had no idea what we were doing.

One month later I am learning minute by minute and day by day what your needs are. You are doing a great job of teaching me what you need. Your classes are very hard- some of the hardest I have ever attended- but I think that I'm passing.

One of the toughest classes by far has been breastfeeding. At first I couldn't even imagine that my breasts would be able to nourish you. I know, it's an age-old art, but when it came down to doing it, you and I, I found myself thinking "how's that gonna work?!". After many trying times (made much more difficult because of your stay in the NICU) it would seem that we have this eating thing down pat. It's like a well choreographed dance: you whimper, I whip out my boob, you are thrilled. Lesson learned. We even successfully got you fed in public on a number of occasions. Really, I can't believe that my breast milk is making you grow big and strong.

And big and strong you certainly are! At your 2 week check-up you weighed 8lb 4oz, and I'm sure you are well over 9lb by now. I feel it- you are getting heavier. And pudgier-your thighs, hands and neck are really filling out. It's amazing to watch day by day how you are learning to control your body parts. Your neck is so strong- you often want to hold up your head all on your own. And you have discovered how to get your hands to your mouth- a feat that requires so much coordination! It's so fun to lay you on your tummy for a minute or two and watch you stretch and exercise your arms and legs- you seem to have endless amounts of energy bursting out of your every limb!

But, I have to admit, it is more fun to watch you sleep peacefully. Primarily because with your eyes closed you look so peaceful and beautiful. I feel like I could sit and stare at you for hours. But I can't- this is the time that I use to get stuff done: work, laundry, shower, pee, the list can go on and on! Sometimes, if I'm lucky, I am able to take a nap too. Oh, and the second reason that I love to watch you sleep? It's knowing that once again I was able to do something right by you: it's a major accomplishment sending you off into dreamland.

Speaking of major, let's take a moment to discuss your poop. Kid: you poop like no other. Your quantity, frequency and timing are probably unparalleled. We had to move to a bigger diaper size just to be able to contain your movements. (All is normal, I have been assured. But it DOES seem like alot.) One skill you have mastered is the projectile poop. Oh, your papa and I have learned our lesson! Change that diaper FAST. Last week your poop travelled no less than 5 feet across the room when our timing was off. And somehow the other day you managed to plant poo on papa's leg. Still trying to figure that one out.

I think your papa and I thought we would never become the type of parents to discuss sleeping, crying, eating and pooping with so much interest and enthusiasm. But you are the new centre of our universe, and these are your crowning achievements. How could we not spend hours dissecting their frequency, change or meaning? I mean, it's all just so important!

The newest lesson I have learned is that if I do everything right by you, you will give me the biggest reward of all. You show me what love and joy and feel like. You have even started showing me your gorgeous gummy toothless grin. A smile that melts my heart, that makes me think: I can do this, and I'm doing it right. And that, most of all, is so amazing to believe.

I love you.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

YOU ARE REWARDED

There aren't enough ways to thank you guys for your comments, support and suggestions following my last post.

As promised, your compensation for being so wonderful follows below.

First off, the baby's room (formerly known as the little room. I STILL can't believe it's for a real live baby!)


And here is a random selection of Sacha, currently known by my husband as "Super Pooper":





I'm biased and all, but I think he's pretty delish. If you can tear your eyes away from the little guy, I just wanted to respond to some of your suggestions...
1- As you can see in the picture above, I DO have a sling, and YES, it is marvelous. As I type this Sacha is breathing hot air down my cleavage in a wonderfully restful nap. (While I love the sling, wearing it for him to nap means that I can't nap while he is. But I can blog...)
2- Penis has been pointed down and diaper leakage has abated. Why was it pointed up to begin with, you may wonder? Because my husband likes his pointed up, and well, he assumed the baby would too! OY!
3- Yesterday I moved to size 1 diapers. Also with much success. It seems funny because they are SO BIG on Sacha, but they are doing the trick. It's hard to believe that he has already grown out of something!
4- I had purchased The Happiest Baby on the Block prior to Sacha's birth, but didn't get the chance to read it. I have, however, read it now. You are all right, Dr. Karp is a genius. I have mastered most of the 5 S's, and can calm Sacha easily. I find that getting him from calm to sleep a bit more difficult.
5- Also, after reading the book I realize that Sacha isn't really that fussy. It's perhaps more that I am a little low on patience. I am trying to adapt...
6- About my husband... Dawn made a wonderful point about leaving the baby with him for an extended period of time. I would have no problem doing that, and neither would he. The only issue is that until June he is working 12 hour days, 7 days a week, and will not have a day off. That's just the way the cookie crumbles in our family-run business, and there is little either of us can do about it. But I still reserve the right to complain!!
Ok, I'm off to try to get a bit of rest. I will post more on how life changes after baby when I have a moment. And also- the birth story will be up one of these days. (Hopefully before March 2009!)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

MY BOY IS A POOP MACHINE

Or: Stuff That May or May Not be of Interest to You.

I don't know... do you want to hear about Sacha? How cute and delicious he is? How when he "smiles" he has a dimple that matches mine, and it can make your heart melt?

Or would you prefer to hear about how deluded I was about being a mother because I was so blinded by wanting a child that I never in my wildest imagination thought that being mommy to an infant would be so overwhelming?

Or how about the fact that my husband went back to work when Sacha was 5 days old, leaving me to sit in the NICU by myself? How he gets to go off and be normal everyday, thinking it's easy to parent because: look the baby fell asleep after I rocked him for 15 minutes- your days can't be that hard! How our relationship will never be the same, and although I knew it wouldn't, I could not have imagined how.

Or how I'm not 100% certain that paragraph 1 above makes up for paragraphs 2 and 3.

I'll let you decide what you want me to blog about, and I'll post about it next time.

In the meantime, I have some questions for some of you who are currently in the infant rearing stage. (I really have to get out and join a "group" or something. Because I don't have anyone around me with a baby. But I am scared shitless of interacting with run of the mill fertiles, you know?)

Ok, so...

1. What kind of diapers are you using? Cuz Sacha seriously seems to leak through any type we have tried so far. Is it a boy thing? He gets wet spots on the back of all his clothes because his penis (pointing up) pees out of the top front of the diaper and then runs along to the back. Or am I just a horrible diaper-putter-oner?

2. What do you do with a child who is dry, fed, and being rocked, but still is crying? At these times I find myself going batty. And then I start crying. And then no one is doing anyone any good over here.

3. Also- being alone all day at home- that I'm used to from my past 4 years of self-employment. But being at home with an infant who is in constant need of you? Diaper, feed, play, rock to sleep, repeat. I have to eat, I have to shower, I have to do load after load of poopy laundry, I have to do a bit of work (I have to blog...). What is with this notion of "sleep when the baby is sleeping"? How am I supposed to do that??!!

Ach... is anyone still reading anyways?

If you are, then remember your homework- topic to write about from first part of post, and answers to my questions from second part of post.

Next time you may be rewarded with yummy pics. And pics of the baby room which I never posted.

Monday, April 07, 2008

HOME SWEET HOME, AGAIN

We got discharged from the NICU on Friday afternoon, and Sacha made his second trip home from the hospital. He was up close to his birth weight and nice and rosy looking. The three days there were the hardest of my life so far. My heart goes out to all of you who have had extended stays in the NICU. I can't even begin to imagine.

On Sunday we returned for a weight check and bili count. Sacha had lost a bit of weight, but the pediatrician was not concerned as I have been exclusively breastfeeding him. The doctor looked at his colour, thought he looked terrific and decided there was no need to prick the baby for his blood. We were sent home with a clean bill of health (and an order to see our pediatrician in a couple of days time for a weight check.)

So far so good. I have met with a Lactation Consultant (who I love!) to ensure that I am feeding Sacha properly. I wasn't so concerned with his feeding immediately post-partum, but when he became jaundiced I couldn't help but think that it was my fault, that I wasn't feeding him well. The LC told me that as long as he was peeing often (6+ wet diapers a day) and gaining weight then I was doing my job. Let me tell you, now that he is well, my little boy pees and poos like a pro.

Tomorrow we are off to the pedi for his weight check, and then I will know for sure how he is doing.

Tomorrow in the late afternoon we are also having his bris. His first Jewish milestone.

This is by far the hardest thing that I have ever done. But every time I look into my little son's eyes I fall in love a million times over.