Fiona: 3 months

I’m a couple weeks late, but this info is accurate for 3 months! 

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Stats: Fiona didn’t have a well check for 3 months, but we did happen to be in the doctor’s office 2 days before she turned 3 months so I have real stats! She was 12 lbs 15 oz and 23.75″ long. I didn’t get the percentages on those… but seems pretty average to me!

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Clothing Size: She didn’t gain THAT much in the last month, but somehow she seems to have grown a lot– maybe that extra (almost) inch? Almost all of her 0-3 clothes are too small, and some of the 3 month stuff is too small. She is wearing some 3 month, lots of 3-6 month, and a few 6 month items.

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Sleep: Fiona is still doing pretty well with sleep, although it was sort of a generally rough last few weeks. She had started sleeping all the way through the night, 9-7 or even 9-8 a few days, and it was incredible. Then we had a big set-back with her eating and it really screwed up her sleeping so the last week or so she’s been waking up more and fussing and sometimes getting up for the day really early (3:30 or 4:30 am). But I feel like this is all related to her eating and when we get that sorted out (again) she’ll hopefully go back to sleeping well at night. Her naps have been really stellar for the most part this month though! She is taking 3-4 naps per day, and usually at least one or two of them is 2 hours. The best thing about this is that she is generally well rested and is super happy between naps.

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Eating: Unmitigated disaster. We had a few good weeks after I quit breastfeeding where she took the bottle pretty easily, rarely fought, and easily got in plenty of ounces every day. Then one day she woke up and decided to just stop eating. Like, she just would. not. take. a. bottle. It was insane. To make a long story short… 3 doctor’s visits and one upper GI series later… we think we’ve figured out that she has both reflux and also some food intolerances (dairy and possibly soy) that were making eating painful for her and made her not want to eat anymore. We have her on reflux meds now, a new hypoallergenic formula, and I’m off dairy and soy entirely (so hard!). Things have been getting steadily better since I’ve been off of dairy and soy and I’m starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel. I’m really really hopeful that by the time I do our 4 month update we will have eating entirely figured out for the first time in Fia’s life. The silver lining to this whole drama is that because of her reflux I have to hold her upright for 20 minutes after feeding her, which means I’ve been rocking her to sleep a lot more than I ever have before, and I am really enjoying the cuddles!

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Milestones: Fiona is doing so much now! She makes funny faces and smiles all the time. She coo’s and gurgles and squeals and squeaks. She can grab toys and is putting everything in her mouth. She is starting to laugh more. She’s just so much fun!! She’s a super strong little girl and does great standing up (with a hand or two on her to make sure she doesn’t topple!) and she can lift her legs/arms/head up great during tummy time. She hasn’t quite figured out that she can put her arms down to help push her up during tummy time, nor has she rolled. But I think she has all the strength and just hasn’t thought to try yet.

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Things I Want to Remember: Nothing is more important than a healthy baby! We had a somewhat stressful month health-wise with a cardiology appointment to check up on a heart murmur (turned out to be totally fine) and then our nightmare feeding situation. Getting a clean bill of health for Fiona is really all that matters in the end, and I think that going through this month will help me not sweat the small stuff so much and just be grateful she’s healthy! I also want to remember just how much fun I’m having. I’m not saying that the days aren’t hard sometimes. There are bad nap days and bad eating days and just cranky pants days (me or her or both). But being home with Fiona right now is awesome, and I enjoy her so much.

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Outings/Adventures: We took Fiona out to eat for the first time this month! We went to one of our favorite burger places and she did pretty well! She got a little bit fussy towards the end of our meal but never actually cried. We also took her to her second party, where she laughed really really hard at my friends’ dogs and it was awesome. Also, my parents hosted an open house and she got to meet my grandma and the rest of my family. It was a bit of a stressful day because it was a few days after our eating trouble started, but I was really happy that she got to meet my grandma!

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Favorites: Pets! Nothing gets Fia laughing like animal antics. Our friends’ dogs chasing each other around, or the cats playing with a rope toy– she thinks it is great. She’s also started to get into toys more and she likes her sophie a lot. Also, her hands. Can’t get enough of chewing on those hands! My favorite is seeing her laugh or just smile really big. I think B would say the same! He puts her up on his legs and talks to her and she “talks” back and it is basically the cutest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.

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What I’ve Learned: Sometimes you have to fight for your kid. Our first ped diagnosed Fia with reflux and basically ignored me when I told her that we still had a baby who wouldn’t eat and needed more help. I suggested it may be an allergy and even asked if I could/should try hypoallergenic formula and was told no. I decided to find a new pediatrician and when I met with her she immediately suggested I try the hypoallergenic formula and try an elimination diet. I’m so glad I trusted my instincts to not trust the first doctor and find someone who would actually listen to me and help me fix what I knew to be a problem.

 

 

Feeding my kid…

I’ve been planning this post for weeks, but I wanted to wait until we had things all worked out to do it. I think (hope?) we’ve gotten to the point where we have a sustainable plan for getting Fiona to eat, so here we go!

Let me start by saying, I always planned to breastfeed. I never thought it would be a problem. My mom breastfed me with no problems, I read a whole book about breastfeeding, and my pregnancy had been so easy I just felt like I must be made for baby-having… which I assumed meant I’d be able to feed my baby with no problems too.

Not the case.

Because I had a c-section we knew my milk might take a little longer than usual to come in, but I know that babies generally do lose some weight at first and then gain it back and it just isn’t that big of a deal– you keep at it. So I started breastfeeding as soon as I could (tried the first time in the recovery room less than an hour after birth). I also got a lactation consultant (LC) to come see me within a few hours of birth at the hospital to help work on Fia’s latch. I knew it was more shallow than it should be, but couldn’t figure out how to make it better.

While in the hospital I had visits from LCs twice/day every day I was there. By the time I left we thought we’d worked out a pretty good latch with her, although it still hurt me and was still causing me a bit of damage. We thought that maybe it was just a learning curve and normal new breastfeeding pain. Also while we were in the hospital Fia was diagnosed with jaundice (on day 2) and the pediatrician told us the best way to treat was by supplementing with formula. The best natural way to treat jaundice is to make sure the baby is pooping a lot (because that clears out their system) and in order to do that– they need to eat a lot. So we said okay to supplementing and started a process of breastfeeding, then pumping and feeding her whatever I’d pumped, and then supplementing with formula. Every 3 hours. The process took 1.5 hours, so we were spending half our day, day and night, feeding her. It worked though and her jaundice levels came way down and eventually resolved themselves with no further treatment– and when we left the hospital on Friday her weight was back up to 8 lb 2 oz (birth weight of 8 lb 4 oz).

That next Monday we saw the pediatrician who gave us the blessing to stop supplementing with formula, as the jaundice had resolved. Her weight was still 8 lb 2 oz, but the pediatrician seemed happy that she was so close to birth weight at only 1 week old.

Thus started two weeks of hell. Fiona cried all the time. No really. All. The. Time. If she wasn’t eating or sleeping, she was crying. Luckily she slept decently, and I was feeding her every 2-3 hours (each breastfeeding session taking 60+ min). But that still meant that she was screaming 5-7 hours/day. Like literally screaming. Not whining, fussing, or sad crying. Wailing. We were losing our damn minds. It was not a good week in our home.

The next Tuesday we saw the pediatrician again and we told her that Fiona was crying ALL THE TIME. She said some babies cry a lot. Sigh. Fiona’s weight was 8 lb 3 oz. Which didn’t seem like enough to me– but the pediatrician said it was close enough to birth weight and they were just looking for her to be at birth weight by 2 weeks so it was fine. Enter week 2 of hell. Eat, sleep, scream, repeat. I tried to make an appointment with an outpatient LC but she wasn’t available until the next Monday. I called an LC help line and asked about my supply and she said that if Fiona was eating all the time, it was fine. Also by this time I was in a LOT of pain breastfeeding. I had large open wounds and feeding was extremely painful for me.

The next Monday we met with an outpatient LC for the first time and did a weighted feed. Fiona weighed only 8 lb 5 oz at 3 weeks old. And during the weighted feed she got only 2 oz from me. The LC said with certainty– I have a low milk supply and our daughter is hungry. She’s not gaining enough weight (she gained 3 oz in 2.5 weeks– newborns should gain 5-7 oz/week). She’s not getting enough from me. That is why she is eating for over an hour per session. That’s why she is sucking so hard she is wounding me. Thats why she’s screaming even when she’s done eating. She was hungry for two weeks and we didn’t know. (Cue guilt). She recommended we start supplementing again to get this kid fed while I work on my supply. She also prescribed All Purpose Nipple Ointment to help get me healed.

That week we started a cycle of breastfeeding (no more than 40 min as per the LC), then I pumped while B fed Fia whatever I’d pumped last time and then supplement with formula. It was a long week but Fiona was sooooooo much happier. Immediately the screaming reduced to almost nothing. It was like magic and I finally started falling in love with my baby, rather than loving her because she was mine but also sort of fearing her every time her eyes opened because I knew it meant screaming.

The next week at our LC appointment Fiona weighted 9 lb 6 oz! She was certainly making up for lost time and the LC was thrilled. But unfortunately when Fiona fed again, she still got only 2 oz. No increase in my supply. The LC told me I could stop pumping after every breastfeeding session and just breastfeed and supplement as needed. She also told me that since I was still dealing with such extreme pain, and since my wounds had actually gotten worse rather than better in the intervening week– she wanted us to get Fiona evaluated for a posterior tongue tie. This is the type that is very hard to see/diagnose and you need to go to a specialist to get fixed. A specialist that is 1.5 hours from our home, and that unfortunately was on vacation that week. The earliest we could get in was the next Friday. She also said that my open wounds were putting me at risk for a breast infection and I really needed to get myself healed, so she thought I should take a break from breastfeeding and just pump/feed until I was healed, but she warned me that sometimes when young babies take a break from breastfeeding they refuse to start back up. So I opted to just breastfeed at night and pump during the day.

So we toughed it out another 1.5 weeks and took Fiona to be evaluated at 5.5 weeks. She did have a posterior tongue tie AND a lip tie. We had both “clipped” via laser– which was probably more traumatic for me than it was for her (although she was not a fan). That weekend she went on a nursing strike and refused to breastfeed, but by the following Tuesday she was willing to nurse again. I was still nursing at night and pumping/feeding during the day because I was still not healed, but I noticed that her latch seemed better than ever at this point and breastfeeding her started to hurt less.

Then the next Sunday rolled around, and we had another nursing strike. I called the LC on Monday and was told that because I’d been unable to breastfeed her exclusively she might be developing a bottle preference and if she refused to nurse there wasn’t much I could do. She suggested trying a nipple shield, and said if that didn’t work I’d probably just have to give up nursing and pump/bottle feed.

She did NOT care for the nipple shield but the next morning I tried nursing her again (sans shield) and she did it! I decided enough was enough, and wounds or not I was going to breastfeed my kid. So I just breastfed her every meal despite the pain from my (still not healed) wounds, and supplemented afterwards. Everything was going great and I was really hopeful that we had worked out our issues (finally) after 8 weeks. She seemed happy, I was thrilled to be back to breastfeeding and not having to pump, and I actually seemed to start healing a little bit now that her latch was better.

Everything was great until the next Monday when it was like a switch flipped and Fia decided she hated bottles. She would finish breastfeeding and be clearly still hungry (she has a specific hungry cry + she chews on her hand), but would fight and cry and thrash when we put the bottle in her mouth. If we kept trying she’d eventually take it and then eat ravenously. But as the week wore on, we lost more and more battles. By Friday I had only been able to get 1.5 ounces from a bottle into her, which is about 8 short of what she needs. That night she cried for an hour because she was so hungry, she’d already breastfed and I had nothing more to give her, and she refused to take the bottle.

It was a tipping point. I’d bought into all the “breast is best” data— but for MY kid? When I wasn’t making enough to just breastfeed her and breastfeeding her  meant that she would refuse bottles and then be hungry? Something had to change. I decided to try going back to just breastfeeding her at night and bottle feeding all day. I thought if she was only breastfeeding twice/day and bottle feeding 5 times/day she’d get used to both again. But she didn’t. She would continue to fight us on the bottle throughout the weekend, and any progress we made with her on Saturday was destroyed on Sunday by my breastfeeding her overnight.

So I quit.

I was honestly, shockingly, heartbroken over it. I never thought I’d care. Breastfeeding had been such a crazy (painful) challenge for me that I would’ve thought I’d be happy to be forced to give it up. But that bond (the one I’d always rolled my eyes at because I just didn’t get it)? It sneaks up on you. And I miss the snuggles, especially since Fiona is not a very snuggly baby. And I miss the way she’d fall asleep nursing and sleep in my arms for a few minutes (the only time she ever slept on me anymore). That sleepy happy milk-drunk face, that honestly can’t be replace by a bottle (at least not for her)…

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But it wasn’t worth it. Not if it meant hours of crying every day because she was hungry and wouldn’t take a bottle.

So now I pump. And we bottle feed. She gets about 2/3 breast milk and 1/3 formula, and now that she never breastfeeds she fights the bottle far less. We’ve been at the new plan for a week and I wouldn’t say we’ve got it entirely figured out. She still refuses the bottle and screams sometimes and we’re not sure why. But for most meals she takes the bottle with no problem now and we have our happy baby back.

I never ever expected feeding my baby to be so hard. I assumed I would breastfeed and it would just work, like it has for billions of women across the millennia. Or if for some reason it didn’t work it would be immediately obvious and we’d formula feed and I’d be fine with it. I never expected two months of struggle and pain and lactation consultant appointments and fighting. But I’m hopeful that we’ve now found what works for Fia and we can put this battle mostly behind us.

Fiona: 2 months

Wow– two months already! Here we go!

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Stats: Fiona was 12lb 0oz and 23 inches at her 2 month appointment! She’s 60th percentile for both height and weight, so perfectly proportional (something I don’t think I’ve ever been!) and right about average.

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Clothing Size: Fiona has started to outgrow some of her 0-3 month stuff, although that is also partially because of her cloth diapers (which we started in week 5). She also fits solidly into a lot of her 3 month stuff at this point.

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Sleep: Fiona continues to be awesome in the night sleep department. She started getting on a pretty regular schedule of sleeping 10-5, waking to nurse, and then going back down until 7. The last week she has been sleeping until 8! We’re considering trying to move her bed time up a bit earlier because she seems to get tired around 8pm and and it would be nice to have some extra time with B in the evenings. We did put her down at 8pm last night because she was falling asleep, and it went horribly (she fell right asleep but then woke up at 3:30am to eat and never went fully back to sleep after that!)— but she had had her vaccines at her appointment yesterday and was definitely feeling the effects all day. Today we put her down again at 9, but I think we might try moving her back to 8 again some time soon. Naps are a bit hit or miss. I’m trying to do a 3 hour EASY (eat, activity, sleep, you) schedule with her, which some days works perfectly… and some days doesn’t work at all. Getting her down for a nap is rarely a problem anymore, but I’ve noticed that when she sleeps for 1-1.5 hours she wakes up happy and our day goes on very well. When she wakes up after 30-40 minutes it is pretty much impossible to put her back to sleep, but she is still cranky and tired. When that happens it often sets us off on a bad foot for the rest of the day because then she is overtired and continues to not sleep or eat well. I have not yet figured out how to fix the problem– but I am working at it!

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Eating: Biggest challenge by far this month. It sucked. Really bad. I can’t even get into it in this post… except maybe to summarize and say that I think I’m done breastfeeding. And I’m really sad about it.

Milestones: I feel like Fiona has changed so much this month! She started making really good eye contact and smiling more and more. In the last week or two she started “talking” a lot too, and her coos are adorable. She can now track us with her eyes, and she watches as I move around her when she’s on her play mat. She flails and kicks a lot, and while she isn’t “reaching and grabbing” yet… she does sometimes get hold of one of her toys and hold onto it and seems to find that very funny. She’s also doing much better on tummy time, and when I hold her stomach she can sit up really well! We also tried her bumbo for the first time today and she did so well! She’s a strong little girl!

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Things I Want to Remember: So much this month! I feel like this month Fiona got really fun. As soon as she started smiling we started having a real two-way relationship. She follows me more with her eyes and she smiles really big when I “boop” her nose. She also loves when I sing “I love you a Bushel and a Peck” to her, and she loooves watching the fan. She’ll just smile and smile and kick and kick watching that fan go around and around. I also want to remember this month for breastfeeding. For a brief period I thought that we’d worked through our feeding issues and we got into a good breastfeeding routine. I never thought I’d be one of those people who was into breastfeeding for the bond, but I’ll admit that there is something that is just so incredibly sweet about how content she was when feeding. It was a contentment beyond anything else I can do for her, and when she was satisfied she’d pull away with her eyes closed and the sweetest happy look on her face. I will most certainly miss that!

Outings/Adventures: We took Fiona to her first social outing! One of our good friends had a bbq for July 4 and we took Fiona along– she did great! We managed to stay there from about 4-8, and I even managed to feed her there (first time I’d breastfed her outside of our home or the hospital). I was so glad she managed to nap and hang out while out, it made me feel like going out is a little bit more do-able.

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Favorites: Fiona’s favorite things are the fan in our bedroom, the giraffe that hangs from her play mat, and when you sing to her or talk to her in silly voices. My favoritest thing ever (in life) is when I do something she thinks is funny and breaks into a huuuuge toothless grin and gives me a coo that is almost a laugh. I love making that kid happy. B’s favorite thing is “talking” with her. He sits her up on his legs and she coo’s and he coo’s back and it’s like they have a little conversation. So cute. Also when he sings journey to her.

What I’ve Learned: The importance of naps! Fiona really needs to be PUT to sleep with a routine and not just left to fall asleep on her own, even for naps, and I’ve learned that when she is well rested she is a super happy baby. I haven’t quite figured out how to make sure she is well rested all the time, but I’m working on it! I also think that this month, now that I’m feeling that I’m more on top of this whole “mom” thing and not just trying to survive each day, I realized how much I really want to remember all the details of this time in our life. It’s entirely possible that Fiona may be our only baby and she is already growing so damn fast! On one hand I love it because every day she is more fun than the day before (well– there is certainly an upward trend, but some days she is just a cranky pants lol). On the other hand I know that I’ll miss when she could fit snuggly on my shoulder or in my arms. Last month I wrote how I wanted to remember the snuggles, and I’m glad I enjoyed them while they were happening because Fiona has already become a far less snuggly baby. I think I need to remember daily, and not just once a month, to try to enjoy all the time I have with her right now.

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Things that are awesome.

… continued from my last post about the the top 10 sucky things about parenthood so far. The top 10 things that I’m loving about Fiona and being her mom!

10) Fia’s little monkey feet. And her tiny hands. And her chubby thighs. And her squishy cheeks. And basically all parts of her… staring at the most adorable baby ever is not a bad way to spend your way. Not that I wouldn’t love her if she wasn’t cute. But come on…. 

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9) The fact that she’s a rock star sleeper. Of all the traits a baby can have, I seriously appreciate this. Before Fia was born I was most worried about sleep. Neither B nor I are particularly good on no sleep, so I just wasn’t sure how I would handle a kid that was up every 2 hours for months. It makes me feel like maybe we all really do get the babies we can handle– I couldn’t handle a baby who didn’t sleep and I got an awesome sleeper… but maybe I’m more able to handle our feeding issues than someone else would’ve been.

8) All her funny faces. Which is actually different than just her being so damn cute. She’s starting to get a personality and I love watching it develop. She spends a lot of time looking like she’s figuring things out, and sometimes she gets this super surly look… glimpses of her teenage self! 

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7) Figuring out what she needs. The learning curve to parenting is so steep. I’m figuring her out, she’s figuring me out, and we’re slowly working into a routine that works for both of us. I love that I’m getting to the point where I can generally tell why she’s upset if she is. It makes me feel like a good mom when I realize I know the difference between a hungry cry and a tired cry!

6) The way she stretches post-nap. It makes me laugh every. single. time.

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5)  Dreaming of the future. Every day Fia becomes more the person she’s going to be. She is changing and growing so fast! I’m not particularly anxious to move past this time in our life, but I do think she is just going to get more and more fun. I love thinking about the first time I’ll get to put pigtails in her hair. The first time she asks me to do her nails. Come to think of it, the first time she says ANYTHING! I’m so curious about who she is going to be, even though I know I’ll miss her being tiny when she gets too old to curl up on my chest and snuggle. 

4) Watching her watch the fan in our room. I have no idea why it is SO fascinating, but it makes her happy every time. I’ve never in my life been so caught up on laundry because I do it every day so that she can lay on the bed and watch the fan while I fold clothes! 

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3) Making her happy. Sometimes when she is close to sleep I stroke her forehead and she smiles and closes her eyes and drifts off and it’s the best thing ever. Or when she got that fully satisfied look after breastfeeding… making her happy makes my entire day. 

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2) Speaking of happy… her smile. I’m not really a person who cries a lot, particularly not happy tears. But I literally cried the first time she made eye contact with me and smiled and I knew that smile was for me. For someone who was never a baby person before… I’m shocked at how entirely true it is that there is nothing better than when your baby smiles at you. I spend half her awake time singing and talking to her in stupid voices trying to win those amazing little smiles and happy coo’s. 

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1) The love. I love her so much it makes my heart literally ache sometimes. And every day, somehow, I love her more. And I love B more for being her dad. For helping create her. For being the first one to hold her. For the way he sings to her. I didn’t know how much I could love him until I saw him cry when she was born, or saw him dancing around the living room singing to her. She hasn’t just doubled the love in our home, she’s somehow multiplied it infinitely. 

 

Apparently I’ve turned into a big mush ball, but I blame this blue eyed beauty (and I wouldn’t have it any other way).

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Things that suck.

I wanted to do a post on the best and worst things on parenting (so far)… Fiona is 2 months old today and I can officially say that today there are way more awesome things than sucky things. I’m not quite sure where the tipping point was, but I think maybe somewhere between 4-6 weeks… and it just keeps getting better. But I’m all about truth in blogging so I feel I should share the suck too (also so I remember when the inevitable baby fever strikes and I need to remind myself why MAYBE having just one perfect baby is enough). And since I’m all about ending on a high note, I’ll share the suck first.

Top 10 sucky things about parenting:

10) Waking to feed in the first month. We were blessed with a great sleeper and for that I am eternally grateful. But having to set an alarm for every 3rd hour of the night and then piss my kid off to feed her when all she wants to do was sleep? Suck.

9) Revolving door of guests. I might be in the minority here (although I don’t think so), and I acknowledge that we had some extenuating circumstances (see below re: healing and feeding)… but having guests in and out of our house so much the first 4 weeks of Fiona’s life stressed me the hell out. I thought I was protecting us by not allowing any overnight visitors the first week we were home… but that was not enough honestly. If I ever have another kid, unpopular as it might be, I think that I will have a “grandparents only” visitors rule for anything more than a quick (by which I mean– 1 hour tops) pop-in. And even for grandparents, 3 night max at a time (except my mom honestly– because when you’re having a hard time sometimes you need your mom. Even if you’re almost 30. And I don’t care if it isn’t fair, it’s what I need).

8) Unpredictable schedule. Maybe your kid slept great last night, but who knows what they’ll do tonight. Maybe they just went down for a nap, but do you have 10 minutes or an hour? Do I have time to shower? Can I wash bottles (not being able to hear if she’d cry because the water is running) or will she wake up before I’m done? When should we eat when she’ll be okay enough that we can possibly eat together…? And speaking of…

7) Not eating with two hands. For the first month of Fiona’s life (except when my mom visited) I don’t think B and I ever ate a meal together where we both got to use two hands. Inevitably she’d freak out right before dinner and we’d have to take turns holding her.

6) Crying you can’t stop. The older Fiona gets, the more she only cries when there is a problem. But that was not always the case. Sometimes babies cry and you can’t figure out why and you can’t stop them and it just sucks. You think you now how much it sucks before you have a kid– because you can imagine… having a crying kid sucks right? But you have no idea until it is YOUR kid and you feel incompetent because they are screaming and you have tried everything and what worked last night isn’t working tonight and omg take this kid before I lose my damn mind.

5) Not being able to go out anymore. I mean… I guess we COULD. But we’re scared. B and I have spent our lives being annoyed by crying babies in public. We were always all… omg why would you bring a kid here? Keep that kid at home! And now that we have a kid, we don’t want to be those parents that inflict our crying kid on the world. Not that she cries that much anymore, but I imagine karma will bite us in the ass the first time we try to take her to a restaurant and she’ll scream the whole time. Other than the grocery store or target or the doctor… we haven’t yet taken Fiona anywhere really. Which means we’ve not gone anywhere really. We haven’t eaten in a restaurant together in over 2 months… how crazy is that? (I actually never ate a meal outside of our home until last weekend… wow).

4) Lack of time together. Because I was up so much at night, I wanted to go to bed when Fiona did to maximize my sleep. Which meant B and I had basically zero alone time for 2 months. This is the first week we’ve tried putting her down and coming back downstairs for 30-60 minutes before we head to bed. Already I can tell that just that small amount of alone time every day is making such a difference in our happiness.

3) Speaking of B– his schedule. I’m grateful for his job, and I definitely want him to finish school. He’s doing everything right… but it sucks. I’m alone all day 5 days/week. And 2 nights/week he is in class until after bed time so I’m on my own from wakeup until bed. And then he has group work for his class 1-2x/week as well. So I’m home alone with a baby A LOT. And I love her and it’s actually fun hanging with her a lot of the time now… but that is an awful lot of time to be alone with a baby, especially because of….

2) Healing issues! I had a c section. I’ll write more about that, but for now let’s just say… RECOVERY SUCKS. Especially when you’re home alone. And also…

1) Feeding issues! This will also be a separate post, but has been by FAR our biggest challenge in taking care of Fiona. I have shed more tears over trying to get this little girl fed than I have about anything else in my entire life. Including a rather epic breakup I had in college. When you have trouble feeding your kid, there is nothing worse. They are so tiny and you just want them to be healthy, and when you can’t figure out how to make that happen, it is wholly heartbreaking. And at 2 months, we have still not quite worked this out. I think we may be on our way to a solution, and I can’t even express how excited I’ll be to not have every feeding session be such a struggle!

 

And this got long… so stay tuned for my next post of things that are awesome!

A day in the life… 2 months.

I thought it would be fun to do a “day in the life” post to see (and remember) how I spend my days at this point in Fiona’s life. This is yesterday, which was a day when B had class at night so I was on baby duty until bed time (when he doesn’t have school, he gets home around 6:30-7 and usually helps with dinner and gives me a little bit of a break). Luckily Fiona is a great night sleeper (for now) so I’m probably more well rested than most new moms… although she doesn’t nap much during the day so those are maybe a little bit busier than most. Here we go!

2:30am- Fiona starts fussing. I think she probably needs to eat so I get up and go to the bathroom before grabbing her…. but by the time I’m done 3 minutes later she is back to sleep. So I go back to bed.

4:30am- Fiona starts fussing. I think she is hungry, and this is a normal wake-up time for her. I get up and put my glasses on, take my water over to my nursing glider on the other side of our room and turn the TV on (I just leave it on the netflix homepage so I have enough light to nurse without waking B up). By the time I get back to her crib 3 minutes later, she is asleep. I leave my glasses on and lay back down and leave the TV on, sure she’ll be up in another 5 minutes but…

5:20am- I wake up to Fiona fussing again. This time I grab her right away because I’m tired of this up and down nonsense. Unswaddle her, and nurse her on one side. Change her diaper, reswaddle her, and try to nurse the second side but she’s fallen back asleep and won’t nurse. So I put her back down in her pack n play and head downstairs to pump. The cat puked on the carpet so I clean that up. Then pump. Then back to bed.

7:45am- Fiona wakes up crying and B gets up with her and lets me sleep a little more.

8:15am- I wake up to Fiona crying. Brian is in the shower so I get up and grab her and take her downstairs. Diaper change, and nurse her. Then I feed her the milk I pumped earlier that morning. We play around for a little bit chatting and singing (more me than her). I ask B to throw a load of whites in the wash.

10am- She starts looking tired. I change her diaper and put her in her swing (she hates being rocked to sleep.. weirdo haha). She falls asleep at 10:20 and I grab a muffin and some coffee and get online to chill out for hopefully an hour…

10:44am- She’s up! I try to calm her back down to sleep for a bit longer but I fail. I get her up and we play a bit more. 11:15 diaper change.

11:45am- She’s hungry so I nurse her, then feed her some more pumped milk. Changed her diaper again at 12:15 and 12:30 (she loves waiting until I change her diaper then pooping right after! She’s clearly tired so I try calming her down a bit and get her into the swing and asleep.

1pm- She just fell asleep in her swing. I run upstairs and throw all the dishes I’ve made so far in the sink. The dishwasher is full of clean dishes and I don’t have time to unload them. I quickly run and clean the half bath because someone is stopping by later. I grab some cheese and crackers and a pluot to eat for lunch. Fast food is important because I never know how long I’ll have. Hopefully an hour? (An hour seems to be the amount of time it takes for her to be really well rested and happy). I sit down to eat and hop on my computer again for a break.

1:35pm- She’s up! Damn. Not that she’s not cute, but I know she’s still tired. I can’t get her to sleep any more. Oh well… time for a bath! I throw the whites in the dryer then I try out a new bathtub that allows her to actually sit in a tiny bit of water, rather than just the sponge bath chair I’d been using. She freaks the hell out and it takes 10 minutes to calm her down and convince her I was not trying to drown her– poor baby! She also pees on our bed. She gets a sponge bath and then into the pack n play so I can strip our bed and throw the linens in the wash. I get her dressed and we head downstairs.

2:20pm- Time to nurse again! Then supplement with formula. Another diaper change, and another 15 minutes after that. Right as I’m changing the second diaper my guest stops by. We chat for about 10 minutes then Fia is clearly getting tired so I put her down for another nap at 3:35pm. I visit with my guest for another half an hour then walk her out to her car in our driveway. By the time I come back in..

4:05- she’s up! Another 30 min nap, sigh. I run up and throw the sheets in the dryer. We nurse again, and I try to supplement her but she doesn’t want any formula. Diaper change. I try to put her back down for a nap but she is not having it. We head upstairs and I put her in her pack in play to watch her fan (a favorite game) and I make the bed. Then I put her on the bed and fold the load of whites we’d washed earlier that day (I’ve never in my life been so caught up on laundry– she LOVES hanging out on our bed watching the fan so I try to do laundry every day so I have something to fold). Another diaper change. I try rocking her, I try her bouncer, I try the swing… homegirl will. not. nap.

6:30pm- I give up on her trying to nap because at least she is pretty happy in her bouncer and I’m out of ideas after an hour of trying. I make myself a turkey sandwich really fast and eat it while bouncing her in her bouncer.

7pm- She falls asleep right as I’m about to feed her. Of course! But she needs the sleep so I let her go. I run upstairs and unload the dishwasher, reload it with the day’s dishes, and tidy up a bit from the day’s chaos. I also toss the day’s cloth diapers in the wash.

7:25pm- she’s up! Diaper change, diaper change, and nursing. Supplement with formula.

8:30pm- B texts that he is on his way home. I throw a frozen pizza in the oven for him. Diaper change. Turn cloth diapers on for their second cycle. She’s happy but doesn’t want to be set down so I just hold her and we sing songs. She’s a big fan of James Taylor and Johnny Cash (me too).

8:50pm- B is home and we hang out a little bit while he eats. She starts looking tired so..

9:15pm- I head upstairs with her to nurse her to sleep. Nurse one side, change her, swaddle her, nurse the other side. She falls asleep while nursing, so I put her down in her pack n play.

9:40pm- I head downstairs and turn on the monitor to watch her, and start washing all the day’s bottles. B comes upstairs and takes over the bottle washing and I start unpacking some of the stuff my friend had brought over (hand me downs) earlier in the day. She wakes up so I head upstairs and shush her back to sleep.

10pm- We head downstairs and watch half an episode of ninja warrior and chat while I send a few emails for my photo business.

10:40pm- Pump! At least I can do it while watching TV.

11pm- Bed time for B and I. I get my stuff ready for the night (motrin, water, protein bar) and he hangs up the cloth diapers to dry. Then to bed we go and we’re out in approximately 14 seconds…

 

So, that’s it! It was a pretty normal day. Sometimes she sleeps a little more, which is nice because then I can get a little more done… but at least she was in a good mood all day (sometimes when she doesn’t sleep much she is really cranky). Also I usually try to do tummy time with her a few times, but I spent so long trying to get her to nap we didn’t really have time for that because I try not to do it right after she eats, so she doesn’t puke! Oh, and I do shower usually every other day at least. Yesterday was not that day, but when I do I just put her in the pack n play after her first morning feeding after I’m awake, and hop in for a quick shower. She almost always will just watch the fan and coo happily as long as I’m out pretty fast. I’m pretty luckily that she’s a generally happy baby and that even though she doesn’t nap a ton during the day, she’s a rock star at night. <3

 

Fiona’s Birth Story

I’ll warn you now– this is long! But I loved reading birth stories when I was pregnant and I also want to remember all these details that will probably get hazy over time. So, here we go!

Fiona was due on May 4. We tried EVERYTHING to coax her out on her own, but she was (is) a stubborn little girl and just refused to vacate the premises (the premises being.. me). I had an induction scheduled for May 16, which was about as far as my midwives would let me go before evicting her. I also had an ultrasound and non stress test booked on May 12 to make sure that she was still healthy enough to give her that last week to try to let her come on her own. I really did NOT want to be induced, because I had such high hopes of a natural childbirth and I knew that induction would pretty much blow all those out of the water.

We arrived at my ultrasound appointment at 8am on May 12 and Fiona looked great! Right before we left, however, they took my blood pressure and for the first time in my pregnancy it was really high. The doctor on call said she was going to send me to the hospital to labor and delivery just to get monitored and see what was going on, and make sure I didn’t have pre-e. I was pretty confident I didn’t have pre-e, because if you recall, I had just lost my job 3 days earlier and despite trying to see the good in it, I had been super stressed all weekend. I know my bp is usually pretty sensitive to stress so I assumed that was it

**Pro tip: If you ever get sent to the hospital just for “monitoring” and it is not an emergency situation— stop and get some food on the way! I hadn’t eaten yet that day so I stopped for a bagel but if I’d known better I would’ve eaten more… once I got to the hospital I wasn’t allowed to eat real food again until about 30 hours later**

We got to the hospital and got checked in and the nurse hadn’t even taken my blood pressure before she informed me that I was not leaving without a baby. I was a bit shocked and upset because I felt that I did not need to be induced, and I really wanted to wait for the end of the week. She told me she really thought I had pre-e and that the doctors don’t let 41 week pregnant women with high blood pressure just walk out of a hospital. I asked to see my midwife on call because I thought she would agree with me and let me go home after running tests to make sure it wasn’t pre-e. They drew blood and took a urine sample and in the meantime the midwife, E, showed up.

She immediately informed me that I was not leaving without a baby. Sigh. I asked what about waiting for her to come naturally, and explained the job loss/stress thing– and she told me that it doesn’t matter WHY my bp is high, it is high and I’m too pregnant to go walking around that way. Bummer. Although (in a recurring theme) I am still glad that I had her there and was with the midwife practice because hearing it from HER made me believe it was actually medically necessary, and not just the hospital being overly cautious/med-pushing.

So, my induction started at 10am with the insertion of cervidil. Which is basically a medication they insert into you to help dilate your cervix. When I arrived I was the same as I had been at 40 weeks, not quite 1cm and 50% effaced. I called my mom and hung out to wait for things to start happening while B ran home to get things set at our house, take care of the pets, and get our hospital bags (so glad I had printed a list of last minute items and put it on our suitcases so it was easy for him to get what we needed!).

The biggest bummer of the day was that because I was now getting induced, I had to have constant monitoring. Which means two monitors (one for the baby’s heart rate and one to check my contractions) were strapped to my belly and hooked to a computer. Which also means I couldn’t move. Some people apparently can move with them on (at least a little bit)… but Fiona was a wiggly little worm and every time I even shifted my position in bed she’d flop around and they’d lose the heart rate and nurses would come running in to re-adjust her. So I just had to sit there still, no changing positions, no standing, no walking. And needless to say, I would not be able to walk the halls or labor in the shower or tub as I had planned. E also talked to me at this point about an epidural. She told me that although she would fully support me in going (pain) med free if I still wanted that– considering how far I had to go and the fact that she expected my labor would last 24 hours or more and the fact that medically induced contractions are way worse than natural contractions… I should seriously start considering getting an epidural when I started to feel a lot of pain. I asked her about getting it “too soon” and she said that in her experience it may slow things down a little but it really doesn’t stall labor out entirely if it was meant to be– and it doesn’t really matter if it takes another 2 hours because you aren’t in pain anymore. So at this point I had a lot to think about.

According to the monitors I was already having contractions about 5 minutes apart when I arrived, but they were mild and I couldn’t feel them. Around noon I started to be able to feel them, but they weren’t very bad at that point. B got back from home, and my parents arrived around 1:30. Shortly after the contractions started getting a little bit worse. Still around every 5 minutes and still not horrible, but as the afternoon wore on, it got progressively harder to talk through the contractions and I started having to breath to get through them. At 2:30 I got a second dose of cervidil and was only 1-2cm and 80% effaced.

Around 4:30pm I got up to go to the bathroom (dragging all my cords and monitors with me!) and when I got back and sat on the bed I felt a big gush. I told the nurse I thought my water had broken and she said it was probably just my bloody show. I told her I really thought there was too much for it to be that and she said I’d be surprised. (Why she wouldn’t just check? I don’t know. I did not like my first nurse, thank God she was off duty at 7).

Within about 5 minutes of my water breaking (and it WAS my water breaking) my contractions got ridiculous. They started coming every two minutes and lasting at least a minute (which means one minute on, one minute off basically). Also they moved from my abdomen to my back. Talking through them wasn’t an option. Breathing through them was barely an option, although I did my best. The worst thing was still be stuck on my back. Laying in that bed while having back labor was the WORST. Every time a contraction came I’d sit up and try to lean forward as best as I could, which the nurses hated because it moved my monitors– but I was physically incapable of staying on my back. I feel like if I could’ve stood up and labored on my feet, walking, or on the yoga ball they would’ve been a lot more bearable. But unfortunately that was not an option for me.

I made it until about 6pm laboring this way until the nurses came back and told me that my bp was getting really high due to all the pain I was in and they thought it might be time for an epidural. At this point, based on what I had been told (and the fact that I was only at 1-2 the last time I was checked) I was expecting to be in labor for at least 16 more hours. If I could move around, or if the contractions were not 2 minutes apart… I think I might’ve tried to wait a little longer. But at that point I just felt that the odds of my making it through med free were 0, and if that was the case then I might as well just get the epidural ASAP.

The anesthesiologist was in the room by 6:30 to administer the epidural, and when I got up it was clear my water HAD broken (um, I told you that 2 hours ago, thanks..) and unfortunately there was meconium in it. That meant that a team of pediatric docs would have to be called when it was go time to check on Fiona’s lungs and make sure she didn’t have an infection. Which meant I wasn’t going to get the immediate skin to skin or delayed cord clamping I had wanted. Sigh. But! The epidural worked (and placing it– while super unpleasant– was not nearly as bad as I’ve heard from some people) and within 10 minutes I couldn’t feel anything. It did totally kill my ability to move my legs, but I really didn’t care because I wasn’t in pain any more.

At 7pm the midwife came back to check me and I was only at 2cm. At that point I was SO glad I’d gotten the epidural because I felt like there was just no chance I was going to make it from 2-10 without one if I was in that much pain at 2. She inserted a foley catheter which is basically a balloon they put through your cervix then blow up to try to dilate you more. That worked pretty well and by 8:30pm I was at 4cm.

They finally started pitocin and when they checked me again at 10:30 I had advanced all the way to 8cm! That was huge progress, much faster than anyone had expected. At this point I was feeling pressure when I had contractions but still no pain. The midwife told me that she recommended I not up the epidural, because she thought I’d be pushing around midnight and being able to feel more would help me– so I agreed. She told me to call her if I started feeling the urge to push, but otherwise she’d be back around 12 to check me and see if I was ready to go.

At 12:30 the midwife came back to check me and this is where things really started going downhill. I was only a 7. The front part of my cervix had started to swell because the baby was posterior (sunny side up) and crooked. She was putting all of the pressure on just half my cervix and causing it to swell, and also not putting pressure in the right places to get me to dilate further. At this point they started talking c-section but I wanted to try a bit longer and the OB on call gave her blessing to wait a few more hours to see if we could make progress.

They upped my pitocin and started rolling me back and forth to try to get the baby to move. The next few hours sucked. I got the shakes really bad, felt incredibly cold, and incredibly thirsty, and then super nauseous and threw up. I was getting really tired and was sort of out of it and things were getting sort of scary at that point.

At 3:30am when I was checked I had made no progress and was still swollen. The baby hadn’t moved and I’d spiked a fever. The baby’s heart rate was starting to go wonky with the increased strength of my contractions, and things were not looking good for waiting any longer. My midwife told me that a c section was THE option at this point. It was no longer safe to wait it out and try to birth her vaginally. I was really scared and disappointed, but I knew that my midwife was really committed to natural birth and if she felt that a c section was my only option then it really must have been.

They wheeled me back for the c section at 4am. Luckily, since I already had the epidural, they just had to up the meds going into it and I didn’t have to get poked again. I was numb from just under my boobs down. Although I could still move my toes which really freaked me out. It seems like if they are going to cut open your stomach you shouldn’t be able to move your toes, right? But they said it was fine!

Luckily I felt absolutely nothing except some tugging (not painful) and Fiona was born at 4:33am! It took two doctors to yank her out because she was so stuck, and they said she was never going to come on her own.  She came out screaming– which was wonderful because it meant that her lungs were probably okay. They had to take her right away to check her, and she checked out just fine. They brought her over to B, who at this point was crying (literally the first time in our 7 years together I’ve seen him cry) and he was scared to hold her because he thought he’d drop her. I told him not to drop her! I was honestly really bummed that I carried her for 9 months and I didn’t get to be the first one to hold her, but I’m so glad that B was able to be there with me and hold her so I could see her… and that he didn’t drop her! Once they started to get me sewn up they were able to put her on my chest and I could snuggle with her a bit while they finished closing me up.

By 5:15am I was in recovery with her on my chest and my parents could come back and see us. Fiona was incredibly adorable and alert! Every person that saw her couldn’t believe how wide awake she was, just taking in the world around her.

We had to spend three nights in the hospital after she was born (so we ended up there from Monday morning until Friday) due to my c-section. Before I had Fiona I really really did not want to be in the hospital more than one night, but it was honestly not that bad. Fiona ended up having jaundice so I was glad to be there so they could monitor her, and with my c-section I felt I needed a bit of looking after too. I’ll do another post about c-section recovery, but really the 3 nights we spent in the hospital went incredibly fast. The worst part about it is that they keep telling you to rest, but then waking you up every hour or two to check vitals, administer meds, or check on you. The whole time we were there neither B nor I ever slept for more than 1.5 hours at a time, and I don’t think I got more than 8 hours combined in the 4 total nights we were there. But luckily that first time parent adrenaline was going and I didn’t really crash until we came home and no one was waking me up all the time (well, except the baby!).

And now onto the fun part… pictures!

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