Friday, December 10, 2010

Coming Out of Hiding

Okay so Ben is three months now, and the latest news is that he is glued to Mama like white on rice. He was having these awful screaming jags and was completely impossible to soothe. It would usually start when I would try to get him to take a nap- either holding him, putting him in his crib, or in the swing or bouncer, whatever. Once he would get going, nothing I could do would calm him down. He even lost his little voice from screaming! It was terrible and had me in tears and counting slowly to 20 on more than one occasion. I thought maybe I wasn't getting him out enough, because with a good enough major distraction (Paula Deen's cooking show, or standing on our driveway bouncing) sometimes he would quiet down for a few minutes at a time. So I tried taking him for walks or to people's houses, but it didn't seem to improve his mood on the whole. Sometimes he would cry the whole time, sometimes not.

Then I went to my friend Virginia's house for a playdate (she has twins, Ben and Kylie, who are a month older than our Ben) and she has a couple of exercise balls. That did it, I bought one. I also just completely gave up trying to put him down while he is trying to sleep or sleeping. So here I am, with Ben strapped to my chest, bouncing up and down while I write this. And he has been asleep for like an hour like this. I can't get much done like this (except for shopping- he will cry all the way there, but once in the Moby he will be quiet and happy the whole time). I did awkwardly wrap a present and change out some photos in frames, but obviously can't vacuum or take a shower. I really need to shower, but last night I exchanged shower time for more sleep time, and I'm not sorry!

Anyway, now that he sleeps more at naptime, he sleeps better at night. He cries less the more he is close to me and smiles and talks more. So, at least for the near future, I am building some serious leg and back muscles. Here is a smile to brighten your weekend:
Now, wouldn't you do anything to see that everyday?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Finding My Grip

Ben will be three months old this weekend. It is like a constant, daily work out. I struggle every day past the muscle soreness, fatigue, and self doubt to make it another day as the best mom that I can be. It is a wonderful struggle, like working out. It is so hard to push your body and mind past the protesting and on to higher performance, but it feels incredible when you fall into bed at night feeling like you gave your all to something so worthwhile. Some days he scares me- he cries much longer and harder than I ever thought he would. He sleeps longer during the day than I thought he would. He doesn't calm down when I change his diaper, clean out his nose, swaddle him, jiggle him, shush him, sing to him, rock him, take him outside... and finally he just wears himself out, and I never find the answer. The next day he is like a completely different kid- he smiles, coos, falls asleep with just a little fussing, talks during his diaper changes, and plays without melting down. Then I feel like I know what I'm doing. He is gaining weight, he is healthy, and he sleeps great at night. Overall, I do feel like I am doing my best and accomplishing my goals.

I went on a long six mile walk with a group of mommies. We all have babies within weeks of each other- there are five of us and our babies span in age from 2 1/2 to 4 1/2 months, a really small margin. Three girls and two boys. We have been getting together once a week for awhile now and its very motivating! I can't believe I did that walk, I feel so alive again! Even though I was so exhausted, I feel rejuvinated. Suddenly whatever needs to get done doesn't feel so hard.

Tonight I have a GNO (Girls' Night Out). I am so excited! I am wearing clothes that are frilly and difficult to launder. I am wearing a non-nursing bra. I am wearing heeled boots and will strive NOT to talk about babies. Its going to be great. Oh! Scott is home already, my night has begun!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Ben is Two Months!

And I love using cloth diapers. Disposables are fine, too, I have nothing against them. They are easy, trim and quick. But I get a very accomplished feeling knowing how much less waste I have made for the earth, and putting soft cloth against my baby's skin- I gotta say- that feels great, too. Plus, what a community there is out there! So much support and fun things to try and discuss. I feel like a modern mama. We now have 14 Bum Geniuses, which I use for night time diapers, and I have learned how to wash them myself, which is a laugh because it is so easy. (Cold rinse, add detergent, hot wash, hang dry. Put absorbent inserts into the dryer on low). When he starts solids I will have to spray them off into the toilet before throwing them into the washer. Either that, or I can lay a liner in the diaper, and peel that off into the toilet. That will be a little more smelly. Right now, its a breeze. Thank you, breast milk! We still use prefolds and covers through our service, Central Coast Diaper Service. See all the details on life with prefolds in my previous blog, (LLCool B, Ladies Love Cool Ben).

So Ben is now batting at his toys, cooing and squealing, kicking his legs more and he can see so much more. I catch him noticing things further and further away, like the television. So exciting. His preferences have changed, from the swing to the bouncer. He sleeps pretty well, still waking up about twice a night, but he sleeps pretty consistently from 7p to 12:30a at least. It takes me about an hour to feed, change and put him back to sleep. I just Netflix-ed "Happiest Baby On the Block". Kris recommended it because she loved the toddler version- it was fantastic! I had heard some of the techniques in our Baby Basics class, but somehow seeing him demonstrate it on infant after infant just clicked. I immediately tried them and it worked just like in the video! Incredible. This is going to make my life so much easier.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Keeping Up with the Jones (es)

Wow, I just fully understood the title for the Kardashians' show... ew.

ANYway, today has been one of those days. I realized while getting ready quickly (Ben asleep in swing for 15 minutes!) that I didn't fully rinse out my conditioner and my hair looks greasy. I discovered flecks of baby poop all over the wipe warmer (and finally cleaned them off), the cat pooped downstairs in a corner. The fan is in the way of me quickly putting away TV trays and I keep forgetting to recycle the coke can that I just rediscovered sitting on a side table as I write this. I did the dishes and wiped down some of the kitchen, but the house still looks like a wreck for some reason. I finally cleaned the toilet in the downstairs bathroom (just squirted some cleaner around the bowl and came back later to flush it down- I almost did it with a baby on one arm, but thought better of it with all the bleachy fumes.) But forget enjoying that effect, as there is a dirty diaper cover sitting on the counter waiting to be washed. Lovely.

I am musing over all of this because I might have some girlfriends come over. Fellow mommies, thank God, who will totally understand my situation, but they both have beautiful homes, that are always clean when I visit them. I love home decorating and design, and I love seeing what other people do with their furniture and spaces. That being said, I don't spend a lot of money or take really any time to sit down and decorate my house. It drives my BF Kelly crazy, as she knows I have had the time in the past, and her home is spectacular. She really enjoys actually doing it- the construction, the painting, the detailing. I just like to buy things, pick out colors and pay other people to do the rest. Which of course costs more. And I am privy to her price tag for that kind of gorgeous shiny perfection and I definitely cannot afford it. I limit my creativity (for now) to scrapbooking. I buy a piece of furniture every couple of years. Finally all my wood furniture is the same color! (after 5 years). I plan on keeping our couches for much longer than they will be pretty for. I like my stuff, and I am happy in my home. But it would incredible if I could sit down and pay the money to design and execute a room from start to finish. And that would be a blast! (If I could pay someone to do the painting and hauling).

I was trying to remind myself of what my reasons are for having a mediocre decorating scheme. And not cleaning more. What is important to me? Why don't I invest the time and money? Well I don't invest the time and money because I don't want to yell at my kids (and especially not someone else's kids) when they inevitably spill red juice on it. I don't want to cringe and hear the cha-ching sound echo in my head when the cats scratch it. When it gets flecks of baby poop on it and the paint comes off when I clean it. In other words, we are entering into a break everything, spill everything, stand on everything phase of life and I think its worth it to slow my roll when it comes to bringing nice stuff into the house. Now, that being said, Kelly and my other friends do a great job of making their houses durable, comfortable and inviting. But I would rather spend the money on the extras when the kids hit high school. I want to do it in a house more permanent, where I know we will be for a good decade plus. I want to get deep in it, and enjoy it. Set aside money and make it really what I want, and enjoy it for years and years.

What is important to me? Well, I've decided that more than I want to be a stylish family, more than I want to be a family with a clean, shiny and organized house... I want to be the kind of family that has fun. I want to take that time and play. I want to go places, take pictures, make memories. I want to laugh it off when stuff breaks, use our flatware as toys, turn our living room into a fort and eat pickles and chicken nuggets when I forget to go grocery shopping. I want to become a good cook! Not a fancy cook, but make healthy, basic meals that taste good, and make them over and over again. I want to have all my time to focus on holidays, birthdays, homework, back to school night and playdates. I want to have enough energy to say "yes" when my kids ask me to drive them to a friend's house, or take them to the local pool. I want to stop and hear my kids, instead of being stressed out about completing my to-do list and trying to give them just a quick fix. Maybe someday I will be skilled at doing all these things and keeping the house clean and beautiful, but I want these things to come first. I want to be it all, have it all, do it all. Isn't that what we are told is possible? What we are told we "should" be doing? I can't clean my house, spend time with my family and be cooking an elaborate meal all at the same time. I have to remind myself often that what I label a "good use" of my time is my decision, and only mine. If it starts to be about what I think other people might think, I will become only a stress case, and not good at anything that I want to do.

This is me reminding myself. I hope you all are taking time to play, too!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ladies Love Cool Ben (LL Cool B)

Yesterday we went around the corner to a new friend's house and had lunch and a playdate! It was great. Ben was very happy for most of the afternoon, and it was so neat to see all the babies together, all around the same age. The girls patted his head and face and wrapped their arms around his arms and he was fine with it. He looked a little surprised every time he got a little hand to the face, but he just hung out. He reminded me a lot of how Scott used to run his game. He would stand aside, by himself, quietly scanning the room, and somehow a girl or two would just start talking to him. He wouldn't even look surprised. What I call antisocial, he calls "technique". Apparently it is handed down genetically. Also genetic: Scott's inner heater. We all sat around in pants and t-shirts, and Ben fussed his way all the way down to a diaper before he was finally happy. Like his Dad, he just wants to lounge around with his shirt off, otherwise he overheats. I find it extremely amusing (except during the time it takes me to figure out what the problem is).

He loved all of Elana's stuff (she is on the left) and Cindy (her mama) is even using the same cloth diaper service that we are. We gabbed about how much we love the service (Central Coast Diaper Service) and the lady that runs it (Monica). So now that we have been using cloth for almost two months (even on one road trip) I thought I would do a little blog about how we do cloth. Be-caaaaause, there are a ton of ways to do it. It can actually be insanely overwhelming. We do the easiest, most straightforward version and I was so intimidated when Monica came to do a demo! She even looked at me like, "are you gonna be okay?" I must have gone pale a little when she showed me how to fold them.

Okay, so- she drops off a big bag of prefolds on Thursday. Squares of fluffy white cotton. Altogether we pay for 70 a week ($20), but some of them are at our house and some of them getting cleaned. So, while I am watching TV, I fold them, usually a day or even two later. Its no rush we have plenty of diapers. Scott will do it, too. Whoever has the time and finds two hands free in the living room. It goes really fast, actually, I thought it would be more time consuming but its really not.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Road = 1.... Me = 0

Ya... so that didn't go as well as I'd hoped. Main problems?

1. Since I was alone, I had to travel during the day, when Ben eats the most often.
2. It takes me about 30 minutes to feed him. Add in a diaper change and trip to the bathroom, and thats about an hour per stop. Counting from the beginning of each feeding, that means an hour until we have to stop again to eat.
3. If you do the math from the first two, you can understand why a 3 hour trip took us 6. Each way. Well, toward the end, the kid just didn't want to be stuck strapped to that seat anymore. Can't say I blame him.


1. Cloth diapers rock and were very easy. Just as easy as the disposables, except bigger of course.
2. When we did stop, Ben was so cooperative with my learning curve. He was wonderful while I stood in lines and put him into awkward positions to change his diaper.
3. Once my sister arrived, the relief was immediate. I went from utter exhaustion to feeling like I could finish the day after all.

On the way down, he was great. He slept for the first hour and a half, I stopped to feed and change him, and everything went off without a hitch. We got all the way down into LA, with him sound asleep. And right as the 405 was meeting the 101, in like 7 lanes of stop and go traffic, I think to myself- this would be the one place where it would be super hard to pull over- and pow!
Ben starts wailing like someone stuck him with a pin. Completely out of nowhere, just working his lungs for all he is worth! I reach back with one hand and pet his head, singing loudly. I am trying to figure out how to get off the freeway (to go where?) and a CHP officer pulls up just to my right, so I have to be extra careful. I somehow get off the freeway, with Ben still screaming, higher and louder than I thought possible. Immediately off the exit I peel into a carwash that I happen to catch sight of.
I park awkwardly off to the side, jump in the back and lock all the doors. As I am bouncing and rocking Ben, (when I still can't calm him, I lay him on my lap and whip off his diaper, putting on a clean one) I am looking around at where we are. It starts to rain, and a burrito truck pulls up near me. A van pulls in and parks right to my left. It looks like they are in line for the car wash, but there is no one in there, since of course, its raining. I am just praying that nobody approaches my car.
Finally Ben quiets and looks tired and peaceful. I set him in the car seat and pull the straps around him. One piece just will not line up and fit into the other. It appears as if it has been put on backwards. But I just got him out of the seat! I figured I must be frazzled from the screaming. I take a deep breath, and try again. And again. And again! Finally there seems to be no other option but to fold the strap in half and try to twist this piece around. By this time Ben's patience is wearing thin. I laugh to myself and tell him, "Someday, kid, I am going to tell you about this trip, and you will laugh. And hopefully so will I". It takes me two hands to muscle the buckle. How did it get flipped? I will never know.
Once we arrive he is extremely cranky. I feed him, but he cannot settle down. He has been fussy anyway, and he really put on a show for Nana. She can't hear well, so every time I would have to answer a question, he would startle and get upset again. She also asked repeatedly if there was something wrong. I explained that he is a little bit fussy in the afternoons, that he just has a little colic, nothing to be concerned about. It was draining. By the evening I could feel my face had fallen, I could barely hold my eyes open. Then Stephanie arrived! Ah what a relief.

Then things were calmer, and easier. Ben was still fussy, but I went upstairs to change and feed him, like we do at home, just the two of us, and that quieted him down quite a bit. He was content to play in his carseat, with ribbons that Nana tied to the top. He loved them and stared and batted at them for hours. We took Ben over to the neighbor's house, where Nana has an evening "Happy Hour" every night in the garage. Her friends oohed and aahed and she got to show him off with bright pride. It was worth it. Barely worth it- but still. She is eighty-nine in just some days and who knows how much time with her we have left. I took out the video camera, and walked through the house, documenting as well as I could the accomplishments and precious belongings that hung on the walls. I want us all to remember that house. They built a beautiful life together, my grandparents. They valued hard work, community service, family and history. I hope those values pass down to the generations that follow them.
I planned to leave early, after Ben's first feeding. Getting everything together had me staying up a little later than usual, after finally getting Ben to sleep. He woke up at 5:30 to eat, and I was feeling pretty well organized, when he blew out his diaper in the middle of his meal! I had to stop everything, change him completely, rinse out his diaper cover and finish feeding him, which added on some extra time. And, poop got all over the breastfeeding pillow, too, so I had to clean that off. We finally left at 7am, which put us right in the middle of rush hour. But what was I going to do? I had to get on the road, we weren't going to get home any sooner sitting around. It took us three hours to get out of the LA area, with two planned stops to change and eat. He eventually threw a fit near Goleta and I had to pull over and comfort him. When he had calmed down, we pulled back out on the road, and five minutes later he was screaming again. We were a little over an hour from home, and what he clearly wanted was to be there, so I had to keep on. It was heartbreaking to listen to him scream, although I stroked his temples and sang to him as loudly as I could. It was quite awhile but he cried himself to sleep. I nearly cried, too.
We made it home and I was beat down. I emptied what I could and laid down with him, and when Scott got home he finished unloading the car, and took care of him so I could take a long shower. That pretty much fixed all that needed to be fixed. But definitely next time, we will have to make some changes, although I think it will still be really hard. We will try to travel when he is about to go down to sleep, around seven, because thats when he sleeps the longest. I am considering how I can carry a bottle or two of breastmilk with us. Other than that, lots of prayer, I guess!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Headed to LA and Terrified...

I really wanted my first trip to be at Thanksgiving, where basically Scott would be able to load, haul and unload for me, and I would just have to weather the car ride. I love him. But, that is not to be. We have enough trips north and south lined up all the way into February and I promised my Nana, who is gaining on 90 now, that she would be able to hold her newborn great-grandson. Her very first. Newborn, being the key word there. I know it will change her world and add a check to her bucket list and that matters so much to me that I am packing up the car by myself and taking Ben through LA traffic to see her. On Wednesday. Scott will be staying here to work. My Grandad passed away a year ago September, and their wedding anniversary would have been this Friday. She said that Ben's birth and this visit are keeping her spirits up during what might have been a darker time of year. I can't wait to see her face when she sees Ben! But why haven't we developed an instant travel device yet?

Just an update- I have been feeling better (read: not critical). But by no means am I normal, unfortunately. If I stay on my feet for too long I get more pain and swelling. The doctor said I wouldn't start feeling normal until 8 weeks though, so I'm just trying to relax and be patient. So, hoping that this trip goes really smoothly. I'll be bringing food, so Scott did some chopping for me tonight. To prepare, I've been trying to stay on top of medications and stuff like that. I plan on driving straight there, sitting or laying down the whole time, and then driving back :) Bonus- I get to see my sister!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Okay! Back on Track!

Feeling better for the first time today! Called and cancelled my doctor appointment, I was so terrified of that procedure, I  really don't want to do it. I am hoping that I will continue to heal back up, and this time I am going to make a concerted effort to take it easy. My doctor did say it would take about eight weeks to recover, and he wasn't kidding. I really want to conquer the world with my baby! Walk around downtown, meet people for lunch, get exercise... that just isn't meant to be right now. And Ben seems to be sending me the same message. He has been so easily overstimulated lately! Today we had to swaddle him tightly to get him to calm down and eat, and as long as we took things quietly and slowly, he has been an angel ever since. It may be the key to the colic. Its tough because I don't want to be this super careful parent, whispering and tip toe-ing around my child- but if quiet and calm is what he needs to stop screaming all the time, then thats what I need to do. It has nothing to do with being high strung, its just what he is telling me that he needs. And I guess thats right in line with me taking it easy, too. I just miss the outside world!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Still Not Better...

Ben is still fussy when he is awake, but he has been sleeping four hour stretches at night, its fabulous! I am still in a lot of pain and its not getting better. I called my OB and he wants to bring me in for an exam. This type of an exam- I have had it before, years ago. At the time, the pain was so bad Scott could hear my screaming from the lobby. Labor came close, but I had the epidural before it got that bad. The doctor says if I can't handle it they may have to sedate me to do it, but that he can't help me until he takes a thorough look at my injuries. I have an appointment tomorrow morning, and I am extremely scared and upset...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sick Mom, Colicky Baby, SUPER Hot Weather

Basically, I can't believe Scott hasn't run away yet. My injuries from the birth flared up again Thursday night- and again, and again, and again... I am on lots of medications and ice packs and staying off my feet to try to get better fast, and every night I start to feel better... and then every morning I am in pain again. Its awful. So, when Ben became unusually fussy with Scott on Thursday night (who was wonderful enough to call in to the office and get up for all the diaper changes) I just thought it was that his routine had been disturbed, or he was being affected by how much pain I was in when he was nursing.

But then, come the early morning hours, I remember asking Scott, "What is going on with him?" The next day it continued- he wouldn't sleep for more than 20 minutes at a time, and he would wake up just wailing, like someone had stuck him with a pin. We took turns bouncing, shushing, singing (humming in Scott's case)... all the while Scott is running up and down the stairs to bring me medicine, water and food. It was a circus. When the baby was asleep we would be all but speaking in meaningful glances and hand motions, terrified to wake him up again. I would lay next to Ben, whispering in his ear, replacing his pacifier and he had my hand clutched in his, pressed up against his little cheek. That would calm him for about fifteen minutes, then he would be wailing again for awhile. Finally that night, I called the pediatrician's office. I just wanted to make sure I was doing all I could for him. Well, based on his on and off again pain, the nurse wanted us to go to the hospital, to rule out an intestinal "knot" or bend or something. They told us that based on his age, appearance, and rectal exam (which he didn't mind at all, but pooped explosively and startled the doctor, which was very amusing) that it was extremely unlikely. He was already calming down when we got there, and he ended up sleeping great all night. I assume he wore himself out completely. Basically, he has colic. I just think colic is a fancy name for painful gas. Plus, it has been incredibly hot at home lately and we are all more than a little unhappy with that.

We have been doing some pretty amusing stuff to keep him happy. Both hands and arms are usually busy bouncing, swinging and patting him. Its the little things- that hair that won't stay back or an itchy nose- that will drive you nuts. If you spare a hand to fix it, you will inevitably invite the wrath of Ben. Its a balancing act. I just wish I could get better already!!!!!! The doctor said two months. So, I am giving him three more weeks and if my stitches haven't stopped killing me every single day at that point, I am going to hold a sit-in at his office.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Four Weeks!

We made it. Alive. Here's some fun we were having last night:

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Ben is almost a month old! He is doing great latching now, and nursing has become a whole lot easier really fast. Tomorrow we are going to see a lactation consultant. I wish everyone could see the cute face he makes when I get ready to feed him. He typically screams at Scott through his diaper change and then when Scott makes the hand-off, and he hears my voice, he immediately quiets down, like he was never upset, and his little hands start curling and uncurling under his chin. He makes this shape with his mouth- I call it the "bird mouth"- he's kind of making that face in the top left photo I am posting here. And he starts breathing fast and making these small little noises- he's clearly excited. His eyes get big and he's looking around frantically, his little dimples dissappearing and reappearing. Its plain adorable. However, right before I'm going to latch him on, somehow one or both of those excited little fists ends up in his mouth and he sucks vigorously on his fingers. He then gets upset that they don't give him any milk, opens his mouth to scream a few times, and BAM, we have a latch.

He won't burp for me during the day. He will stop feeding, to gasp for air when he has been gulping too fast, and its been ten minutes or so, and I try to burp him for just a minute so he doesn't get too many bubbles stuck down there. He gets prematurely full and/or cranky. Well, forget it. He will scream and squirm and root around for a nipple on my shoulder until I finally put him back on, even if toward the end he is so full he has to spit out the extra milk.He just can't perch at my shoulder knowing there is milk just inches away. But if Dad is around? He will burp like a champ and drift off to sleep like an angel. The look of contentment when he is sleeping on Dad is unparalleled. What am I going to do when he goes back to work?

He sleeps really well. He eats about every two hours during the day, and at the most- midnight, 3am and 6am during the night. Last night he slept through the midnight feeding, for about a 4 hour stretch, and woke up around 2, a little early. Its great, he already seems to have a little routine, and he always goes back down easily. (So far, so far!)

So as promised, here are some comparitive photos to have fun with:
Baby Mary
Baby Ben

Baby Scott

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Ben's First Bath

See his cloth diaper? Its a classic white cloth, just like you would imagine, and its folded under this waterproof cover that works like a disposable, with elastic and velcro and all that. With the diaper service, its a breeze, we just take out the cloth, toss it in the diaper pail, and put another one into the cover. There is no smell from the pail yet, the cat box is way worse! Its really much easier than I even dreamed. 
 OH! Fun times last night. So we don't have any counter space in the bathrooms, so we brought his cute little whale tub down into the kitchen. Grandma and Grandpa are here, and Grandma helped me with the water temperature. Scott held him until we were ready and we plopped him in! He didn't cry for one second, even being lowered in. He seemed to love the water, just looking around at us and I just folded him up in the wet towel and kept squeezing water over his tummy. Let me tell you, he was a happy kid!

Well, then after lots of fun pictures and rubbing down his hair, we took him out. I handed him to Grandma who folded him up in a dry towel, and we were kinda talking to him, and he peed all over her and onto the floor! We laughed and she handed him to me so she could get cleaned up. Just as I was saying that we could simply wipe him down when we put his diaper back on, he lets out this huge fart and poops all over! Well, we ran out of clean towels! So while we sent someone to get a new one, we plopped Ben back in the bath (still completely happy- and no wonder) and we laughed about what we were going to do and how at least he had done his business. Just then, as if to prove a point, he casually spits up into the water. We couldn't stop laughing for like five straight minutes!! Eventually we got him (and ourselves) all cleaned up and he didn't argue about any of it until we started putting his diaper back on. What a relaxed little guy he is. As long as he is fed, he is up for anything.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Latch Wars of 2010

Okay so last night went pretty well! Except for the 3am feeding. Apparently he takes after mom, and neither of us is really good at getting along with others in the dead of the night. I had to pump off some excess when he was done, I'm just going to freeze that for the future and keep at this.

We bought a glider and somehow fit it along with everything else into the master bedroom. That glider really does make a huge difference in my comfort level. Each feeding starts with like ten minutes of him screaming and trying to claw my boob with his hands, and if I had eight arms, that wide open mouth would really be perfect. Anyway, he does eventually get a good latch, but wow. Its a struggle. My boobs are scratched up and sore. But aha! I figured out what works way better than my washable breast pads- overnight they get soaked and move around and its a pain. I read somewhere that a folded panty liner works great- so of course I put two in each side and voila! Totally worked, its a miracle. Sigh, my little piranha. We will get it. He did sleep three hours between feedings, just like usual, and that really helped. I feel pretty rested, I'm just going to try to get in a long nap this afternoon, too. Okay, off to try this again...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Jumping In

Well, we have been supplementing with pumped milk and a little bit of formula ever since the doctor asked us to do that when he came in underweight and jaundiced at his first appointment. On the one hand, its been great- I get extra sleep when I pump, and Scott and his dad get to feed Ben, which I know they have both enjoyed (Scott enjoys it less at 3am, but still). But on the other hand, even though Ben has been a trooper, he is starting to show more and more trouble latching correctly as time goes on. Ben is almost entirely on breast milk, its just that he gets about a third of his feedings with a bottle, so we have to switch completely to breast feeding. Sounds easy, and I know I am one of millions to have done this, but its hard. The trouble latching turns a 45 minute feeding into an hour and a half, but I know that once we tackle it, it will get better. I really want to do this while I have the help here, but its tough because I know I will be really wrecked and emotional at first. Ben started spitting up yesterday! So now everything smells like spit up. He's officially a normal baby, haha!

Last night around two in the morning, I was pumping, Ben was in his Pack and Play, and Scott was passed out next to me. Suddenly I hear a thump thump thump and I glance over at Scott, who is patting his chest with his hand in a tell-tale rhythm. I say, "Babe?" He wakes up immediately and says "Hm?" I say, "You burping Ben?" He looks down at his chest, I think half expecting to find Ben laying there, and starts to laugh. It was one of those wonderful moments. I love watching Scott become a father. He is even more devoted and dedicated than I thought he would be.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Two Weeks and One Day- And Lo and Behold...

It is starting to get better. Phew!! I am feeling better, doing more, and just feeling more up and like myself again. We took Ben over to Steve and Anna's yesterday for Simon's second birthday, just to say hi for about fifteen minutes, but that was his first visit. Today Grandpa and Dad put him in his stroller for the first time and are now on a walk down to get some frozen yogurt for us.

Today Ben wanted to eat every hour on the hour, but just a little snack. Thank goodness my pain is all but gone now. Between feedings, he was wide awake! Scott put together his bouncer and he was pretty pleased with that, and he quietly checked out his toys for a bit, but mostly he wanted to be held, burped and talked to, and he wanted his diaper changed every hour as well. This kid must be about to sleep hard tonight, because I don't think he slept more than maybe two hours until five or six.

I tried putting him in his Moby, which worked out okay, a little loose in places, I will have to have Sarah troubleshoot it with me, but I could tell its going to be great and he will love it once he can stand to be close to me without wanting to eat. It was a little too hot to wear it today anyway.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Two Weeks

Wow, what a crazy few days. My nipples have been so sore, breastfeeding just kills me. It's been so hard to really feel that wonderful bonding feeling when every time he latches its like burning. My back is hurting, just from carrying six pounds in really strange positions. I haven't been getting much sleep- Ben wants to feed for an hour every two and a half hours. That means that half of the entire day is breastfeeding and did I mention how much it hurts? There is the whole "breastfeeding isn't supposed to hurt" thing that just ticks me off because then there is the literature about how it takes a couple of weeks for the skin on your nipples to toughen up... so it does hurt, no matter what you do. Its so funny to me, though that the magical number seems to be two weeks. I can't count how many friends have called or written and said, "Yes, those first couple of weeks are the hardest."

So its the end of day 10, and I am here to say, it is getting better! We slept well last night. Ben showed up to work last night, and then fell back asleep in record time, so Scott and I got these amazing stretches of sleep. My milk supply is finally catching up to him. I pump for about five minutes after every time he feeds to make sure both breasts are drained, and that seems to have helped considerably. He seems satisfied after a feeding in a way he hasn't yet, and the only bottle we gave him today was pumped milk, because he slept a little late and I was getting engorged. He ate that not long after. So we are on track! Day 5 I was pumping one ounce from both breasts, now at Day 10 I'm pumping over 2. The right is putting out more than the left but I can't figure out why. Oh, well. As long as he is getting enough. Day 8? He made his first little coo. He lifted his head off my shoulder, turned his head toward me and made a little sound, it was so adorable. Hey!! Day 11 and I just pumped 4 ounces from both. Woooo!

I have a bladder infection, but I've got antibiotics on it. Ben had his circumcision appointment today and as the doctor said, "You've got a little marine there." He didn't cry at all, just looked at the doctor the whole time. He's been that way through all of his blood draws, too, doesn't even flinch. He will raise total hell though whenever someone tries to change his diaper. He's been a little sore, but he slept great all day, and hasn't been fussy at all. This seeming resistance to pain is not genetic, I will tell you that much. He is more alert every day and turns his head at our voices. Dad can calm him the fastest, he is immediately content when he is on Dad's shoulder. We took Grandpa out to breakfast afterward as a thank you for all the hard work he has been doing for us, and Ben slept right through it in his carseat. Grandpa and I agree that pancakes are one of the greatest foods ever invented. And God bless coffee.

Jeff and Kristen brought us a delicious dinner tonight, and I just finished it. YUM! Right in the middle of one of the most incredibly terrible weeks for them, I can't believe they still insisted on doing it. Jury duty, a sinus infection, and a flat tire are just a few of the challenges today held for Kristen. We are praying they make it through the weekend and everything falls into place! We miss Grandma and can't wait for her to come back this weekend. We have a Skype date with Auntie on Thursday. I plan on spending the rest of this week in bed, to try to force myself to have a chance to really heal. Especially with this bladder infection, I need the rest that everyone keeps telling me to take. I have two wonderful guys helping me with all my needs, but its still hard to accept all their help and not get up and contribute. I can't wait to feel healthy!

I can't believe I forgot to add this! The biggest news from the beginning of week two, is that Ben is back to his birth weight. After our doctor visit, we went into frantic feeding mode (obvious in my older posts) and we only had four days to "show an upward trend" as the doctor said. Ben was born at 6lbs 2oz, and dropped to 5lbs 7oz in 5 days. In the 4 days before we saw the doctor again, he gained 13oz! He weighed in at 6lb 4oz at the doctor on Monday and his jaundice was gone. The doctor says his skin looks amazing now and he seems very healthy. So now I am dialing things back to on-demand feedings. That means instead of checking for a rooting reflex every half hour, I am waiting to hear his slowly accellerating grunting noises that mean he is about to be hungry and upset. We are letting him wake us up instead of setting alarms, although this morning I woke up needing to pump because he slept in! It does help considerably, although breastfeeding is still not comfortable yet. We will get there...

(9/15/10) Ugh the antibiotics I was on made me really sick! The doc took me off of them and wants me to stay really hydrated until he can re-evaluate how I am feeling tomorrow. I feel so weak, I couldn't even sit up until a few minutes ago, its been a brutal afternoon. I pumped twice, because I just can't hold Ben right now, but of course my supply is down by half. Sigh, so tired of feeling bad. There are victories, and then setbacks. I hope I can really start feeling better at some point here, I want to enjoy my baby! I can't even change him because standing upright hurts my bladder so much. Oh well, I just need to keep remembering that someday I will feel like myself again, and will be able to breastfeed with joy, and take care of Ben. I just wish that was tomorrow.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

I Knew I Married a Winner...

...but this is ridiculously above and beyond.

So already I have had to be on top of tiny baby Ben- he likes to give me a big O and then the minute he hits the boob, pull back and purse... and the kid has suction like a piranha, especially when his latch is wrong! We went to the doctor today (Thursday 9/9) and while Dad was removing his diaper for the check up, his cord fell off! 5 days old. Meanwhile, at our dr visit we find out he is super jaundiced and lost 11% of his weight from birth. Sigh. (Yes, I am feeding him every time I can get him even somewhat out of a completely comatose state) He is staying alert more every day, but I'm trying to feed him non-stop, and the kid has to sleep sometime, he is a newborn lol. That was a hard visit, the doctor mentioned how in extreme cases where parents don't get on top of it, jaundice can cause brain damage. Well, that starts my hormone letdown and I just start crying. Scott is holding the baby, and trying to get me a tissue, and the doctor looks really apologetic. Phew hormones. So anyway, this company comes by and brings a bright blue light to help with his jaundice. Its actually amazingly flexible- like a thin little pad connected to a hose, the pad slips up inside his onesie and lights up on his little chest. However, burping and feeding this little guy has just gotten twice as hard. If I thought getting him to latch was hard before, getting him into different holds with this glo-worm thing on him is a whole new world of frustration. So I am also supplementing with pumped milk... and healing from the birth (ahem five days ago, OUCH) I tore like crazy and since then everything I do has required me to sit upright, why is that?! So here I am, trying to semi-recline tonight, with Ben and his radioactive blue glow being burped by dad, a pump attached to one boob, moaning because my tears are hurting so bad (we walked around town a lot today getting little man tested), and I go to adjust the pump bottle and spill the whole thing everywhere. All over me, all over the sheets, and I had just taken a hard-earned shower. I sobbed. And sobbed. And sobbed. Husband got me calmed down, cleaned up, fed and put to bed for a two hour nap, but boy. THIS IS HARD.I am pumping about an ounce from both sides in fifteen minutes. He has been eating about two ounces every three hours, but thats an average. Some feedings are excellent and he eats a lot, and then the next feeding will be longer and more... "snacky" it varies.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Benjamin's Birth Story

I labored for about 8 hours. I was having contractions 2 minutes apart for HOURS and my body wasn't getting a break. They put me on something to try to space out the contractions a bit, and it would help for a second, then they would speed up again. I walked. Then it was like... even when I wasn't having a contraction at all, I was having what they thought was radiating cervical pain. Like an ache so bad it was burning. Finally, after sobbing through a check from my doctor, we got the epidural at 6:30. I could still feel contractions and move my legs but I felt great. They started some pitocin, I talked to my family, slept and then around 3am my epidural stopped working on the left. The pain was slowly returning and we had trouble getting on top of the problem fast enough. Pain went from a 5 to a 9 in an hour and a half and while they were trying to solve the epidural issue, they put me on a little Fentanyl to hold me over. Thank God because I thought I was going to die. In the middle of that the baby kicked and broke my water. And someone finally turned off my pitocin. Finally around 5am I felt good again and went back to sleep. There was a shift change and our new nurse brought me some Jello. I had a couple of bites and promptly threw up! I had some warning, which was fortunate. After that she decided to check me around 730. Wo! She could see the baby's head! She ran out to call the doc and then said I should start pushing since it could be awhile. After pushing through two contractions she told me to stop because I was going to deliver right then! She ran out to get the doctor, and boy there was a big scramble to get ready to go.

I was feeling great, just a little pressure, like my butt was super heavy, that’s all. I pushed through a few more contractions, and the doctor said he was going to have to do an episiotomy. He said he rarely does this, but it was necessary. It was a tight fit and I was going to tear as it was. I felt the snip but no pain (so weird) and I wasn’t afraid. I pushed him out and they laid him on my chest and rubbed him down. It took a long minute for him to get pink and that was a little scary, but they didn’t take him away so I figured he was probably alright. Sure enough, he cried and pinked right up, and then we just stared at each other for over an hour while my doctor stitched away, with the husband of course right there at my shoulder. What an experience! I didn’t feel or even notice the placenta. I just stared at this baby that they said was mine. And he just stared back at me. It was wonderful.
It was almost two hours before they gave him a bath and weighed him (in our room). He was 6lbs, 2oz and 18 3/4 inches long. A tight fit?! He is the most miniature person I have ever seen! He's perfect and wonderful.

Friday, September 3, 2010

39 Weeks

Its been an interesting week, with all the starts and stops, lots of contractions. Steph stayed with us until Tuesday, and then Scott's parents joined us on Wednesday. I had two doctor appointments this week, and we finally took the suitcase out of the car. We have been enjoying the help and the company, getting projects finished up, like installing the recall repair kit on our crib, and I have been trying to finish up some pregnancy journalling. Nothing too urgent, we are pretty well prepared. My weight has stayed at about 150. Sleeping has been horrible to say the least. I went from waking up every two hours all night long, to waking up at 4am three times this week. I just pop out of bed, wide awake, its terrible! Then around seven I feel suddenly sick, like I've been up all night, and its back to bed for a couple hours. I never quite seem to recover. This morning is the second in a row like that. Its also super boring at 4am. Steph is coming back up this weekend, hoping Ben will show his face. Okay, off to hopefully catch some more sleep!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I WILL Have a Baby When This is Over...Right?

I am fighting some hormonal rollercoasters. Nine months is a long time, so when you are at the end, even though intellectually I know I am at the end, I don't quite believe it. I keep wishing I could just see Ben's cute little face, know when he will be here, just to convince myself that this is happening. So I did the next best thing- I looked at some pictures of Scott and I and tried to imagine which features he will get. I don't have very many infant photos but here we are at around six months-ish:
For the record, I think he will look like his Dad, which is great. But I am hoping he gets some dimple action.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

38 Weeks and Shoot Me Now

(Saturday 8/28/10)
I am writing this at ten in the morning, after being up almost the entire night with nice, strong, uncomfortable contractions. They started at 6:30. I was reading my book and Scott was watching television and I felt the normal tightening of a contraction, that held, and then slowly lowered into what felt like a pretty decent, attention-getting period cramp. I glanced at the clock, and went back to what I was doing. Another one hit at about 7:18pm, and then another at 7:40, 7:50, 8:10... they would get closer together, farther apart, closer together. Scott jumped up and quickly decided to take a look at the packing list for the hospital. He started organizing things, finishing up the laundry, packing. That really brought it home for me. We called the doctor before we went to bed around 9:30, just to let him know. He said that sounded good, just call him when they were around 5 minutes apart, with pain, for about an hour and a half. Then we went to bed around ten.

I laid there, trying to ignore the contractions for about two and a half hours before getting up and puttering around trying to distract myself. Around 1am, still feeling the regular, rolling contractions, I sent a message to my sister that she may want to think about leaving in the morning. I hated the idea of dragging her all the way up here for a false alarm, but also I wouldn't want her to miss it! And she has such a long drive, about six hours in easy traffic. Good thing its the weekend, but she has school on Monday! Now the pressure is on. I finally got tired and after feeling a good painful rhythm around 2am, I fell asleep for about an hour. When I woke up I was starving! The contractions were still going, faithfully on, but the reason I couldn't sleep was the hunger pains! I woke up Scott and he went downstairs and made me some oatmeal. I ate that, felt much better, and was able to sleep again from about 4am to 6ish. Once I woke up around six, the pain was gone! I was still feeling some tightness, and some painless, infrequent contractions, but no pain! NO!!!! I was exhausted, my sister was already two hours into her trip, and I was feeling like an utter failure. I got a call from Heather, who told me that walking really helped kick her labor back in, and that its possible for there to be breaks and slowdowns. I dragged Scott out of bed, let him eat some cereal, and we started walking. Then we got some coffee, and walked some more. Sure enough, back on the clock, with some increased discomfort.

Scott has decided that its fun to get me riled up, so he keeps making these obnoxious comments and then laughs when I am appalled. He keeps suggesting that he will just step out for a little while, to go to the golf course, just to pick something up! And then laughs at my reaction. Loads of fun.... for him. ;) Steph arrived, and I'm feeling increasingly uncomfortable, but I think I still have no real concept that this is happening. We'll see....

(Sunday 8/29/10)
Steph and Kelly both got here, I was having lots of contractions, strong and good... walked all day, enjoyed their company... went to the hospital, got checked. I was at 2cm, 75% effaced and having strong contractions every seven minutes, with small ones every 2 minutes. The nurse said that the baby was really low and that this looked like early labor. I went home, walked some more and nothing happened. Went to sleep, nothing happened. During the night started feeling more trickles of fluid, but thought nothing of it. This morning I lost my mucus plug, and when I talked to my doctor, and wanted to send me into the hospital! He is concerned that my water has started to break and I haven't gone into active labor yet. So off we go! Will come back with a baby!

(Monday 8/30/10)
Oh wow, now I am starting to lose my mind. So yesterday, we get to the hospital and get checked into a room. The nurse treats me like this is all in my head, tries to explain false labor, and that I am early still, which I try to remember is understandable from where she is standing. I just want her to run the tests and call my doctor. I don't want to hear "this could be a few more weeks still". Thank you, I know. Would you like to take over for a couple of days? She inserted a Qtip (ow) and told me to cough (hilarious)... that amniotic fluid test was negative. She checks me (with difficulty) and says I am dilated only to 1cm, which makes me feel miserable but I don't say anything. She told me to get up and walk around and try to reproduce some of the wetness I had told my doctor about. Try? She said they are trying to find reasons to keep me admitted, but its so early that wouldn't I just rather go back home? I just came for an amnio test because my doctor told me to, I'm not trying to find reasons for anything.

So I am walking around, and getting increasingly anxious. All this talk has me agitated, and I feel like I have to 'perform' or like I am in control of this, begging for an early induction or something. Its making me crazy. Then I have to go to the bathroom and she hasn't returned yet, so I just go. LOTS of blood. She comes in, I report it, but she wants to see it, so I show her. She gets excited, like "great, its starting!" I'm shocked. Whats starting? I feel less activity than I did before, and up til now she's been talking to me like a child. So,  I lay down and try to de-stress. I listen to some music, talk to Kel and Steph and Scott. Just try to relax.

I get my blood drawn. She runs another amnio test, which is also negative. Then she gives me another speech about false labor, about how I shouldn't be so anxious to get labor started and being home is better anyway, and it could be a few hours or a few the time she is done I am hormonal, frustrated, and close to tears. I know all of this, I am not the one trying to "make" labor happen... UGH. The doctor calls, and says he thinks its perfectly safe for me to go home for a few days but if I want to stay, he will make that happen, I just have to say the word. I tell him how overwhelmed and frustrated I am, but that I know thats not a good enough reason to induce labor and I wouldn't dream of it. I'm crying, just from pure emotional exhaustion. He spends a lot of time comforting me and telling me to call him whenever I want to, and then we make an appointment for the next afternoon (today). He of course knows I want to try and let labor come as naturally as possible, but wants me to know he is open to me changing my mind. Great guy, worth every penny. I get it together and go home. Kelly leaves to get back to her family, wishing me luck. Steph will be here until Tuesday.

When I got home I kept having overwhelming rushes of hormones- my skin feels like its crawling, I get chills, stomach ache, nausea, all of that. For about fifteen minutes I couldn't stop sobbing for no reason that I could see. Poor Scott, he had to take a nap after I was done crying, he hates seeing me that upset and with no way to help. We would both rather I just be having labor pains. So now its back to the doctor. I keep trying to look at Ben's little things and remember to be excited. My hormones are telling me that I will never have a baby and will just be in this miserable want-to-climb-out-through-my-eyeballs limbo forever. Its down to one minute at a time in here, and I am feeling every single minute. Sigh... patience.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

37 Weeks and Nursery Stuff

Phew! Fun week! We had two classes this week, CPR and breastfeeding. Breastfeeding was my favorite, though, the nurse was so great, both Scott and I learned a ton and I just got so excited to hold Ben!! I had a doctor appointment that went quick and easy. Ben is head down, ready to go. All my tests are normal and my weight came in at 150. He is super tight in there, but the doctor says there is plenty of fluid, so thats always good to hear. On Thursday I started the morning off with Bond and her roommate Arianna at Linnaea's, our favorite coffee shop here in town. They make the best waffles ever and we had some good laid back girl chat. Poor Bond, this was the morning after she was put to work by Scott installing out new entertainment center. There was a lot of feeding wires through the walls and I thought they were both going to lose it but they have way more patience than I do. After that I met up with Sarah and her beautiful daughter Felicia, who is so fun and lets me talk to her in high pitches and kiss her little cheeks while she takes everything in. She throws me the best smiles once in awhile and they can light up the whole room. Then we went over to the other Sara's house and babysat for her son Everett while she got her hair done. Tons of fun and plenty of laughs. Oh and I had a hair appointment in there, too. My hair was getting so long and I will need it out of my way for this whole newborn thing. The good news is I now have the cutest little pony tail you've ever seen with a preggo belly. They just seem to "go".
So after that crazy day, Scott and I had a wonderful Saturday together. We went to High Street Deli and got some great sandwiches, laid around together for a bit, and I got a ton of work done on the curtains for Ben's room. Now that I have all but one installed in his room, I think I probably could have just stopped at valances, but whatever. It was fun, and I completely accomplished my objective. Our future guests (and Steph, who already knows this) will be happy to know that we spent the majority of last night fixing that crazy awful loud fan in the nursery. It is essential to have a fan in there, but that thing is like sleeping next to a construction site. Steph lived with us for a month and never complained, she just dragged our spare in there and plugged it in, never said a word. Well, it does have a hum to it still, but is completely usable. We took it apart piece by piece (I was the holder and hander of small parts) and finally we figured it out. Scott McGyver-ed it a bit and now it is perfectly workable and we can banish the floor fan from the house forever. Fans on ceilings everywhere are a must.
How cute are these frames, just waiting for little pictures of Ben?
I bought these adorable wall decals from Etsy, they totally accomplished the look I wanted. Scott is skeptical about how long they will actually stay on the walls, but they are out of reach of little fingers, so I think they will make it.And don't worry, I'm not done with those curtains yet. They will not remain wrinkly and one-sided. Hopefully they will just peek out from both sides and not bother anybody. They are just for show. I asked Scott what he thought about them, and he paused, and I could see him trying to sneak a peek at his server on the top shelf (which the valance blocks from view). I said "Ahem, decorative opinion, not functional" and he immediately says, "Oh, well then they are great!" Haha, that server is a must-have but its ugly. I'm glad my cute valance hides it and all my not-cute accessories, like breast pumps and such.Although Scott thinks they are a little "girly". If we are still here when his macho-ness begins to be a concern, perhaps I will make new navy ones. Somehow I don't think its something I will have to worry too much about. For now, the adorable-ness of a little boy nursery has been achieved, in my opinion.