Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Daddy's Little Girl

My little Aysia has her daddy wrapped right around her precious little finger. No doubt about it!

As you know, we didn't find out the gender until she was born. And DH always said he would be so happy either way, but I guess I always thought that deep down, he probably preferred a boy, just a little. He's a typical man in a lot of ways - very handy around the house, likes sports, plays golf. But he's also pretty modern - well groomed, fashionable, and handles the role reversal we have where I'm the breadwinner and he does more of the cooking and cleaning than I do. I guess I figured he would want a little boy to teach things like golf, building/fixing things, someone to play sports with, etc. And I think I was subconsciously leaning towards a boy because of that.

Well, when Aysia was born and the nurse told us she was a girl, we both cried tears of joy. There was a tiny part of me that was afraid he might be disappointed, but I was so happy that I had a little girl. I feel like I have a lot to offer a girl as far as showing her there are many paths that a woman can take, and the traditional gender roles are not the only way to go, or the only way to be happy. So when I asked DH how he felt (later, when we had calmed down from all the excitement a bit), I was so happy to hear what he had to say. He said he couldn't be happier with a girl, because he will still play sports with her, teach her golf, show her how to build and fix things. PLUS he gets the cuddles and charm and preciousness of a little girl on top of all that. He said he realized that with a girl, he can have it all.

And since then, he grows more and more in love with her. At least 4 or 5 times, I've seen him crying, and when I asked why, he says that he's just so happy we have her. That sometimes, he gets choked up just thinking about her and how lucky we are, especially when for a while, we thought we might not ever have a baby. He said there have been a few times when someone asks about how Aysia is, that he has a hard time holding back his tears. That is so touching to me.

And I have to say, I'm so lucky to have him. He wants to be completely involved with her. He even likes doing the diapers! He says that in the beginning, since she was breastfeeding and sleeping most of the time, that the diaper changings were the longest moments he would have with her some days. And now, she loves to "talk" and "play" when she's on the changing table (I think she likes being up high and being able to look around), so those are nice moments for him to interact with her. He's very good at getting her cleaned up properly after an "explosion", and he's very, very good at getting her dressed, even with the "foolish" outfits that I sometimes buy with lots of buttons and stuff. One day, he came home with a sly smile on his face, and broke out a huge BRU bag with a ton of cute little outfits for her. Really nice stuff, too! And in the 6-9 month size, since we already had so much 0-6m sizes as gifts - very smart of him.

He's also very calm with her when they're alone together. If she gets fussy, he runs through his head - diaper, food, burp, sleep - and as long as those main things are taken care of, then he knows she's fine and he just needs to distract her, hold her, walk her, etc. and she'll calm down.

But the best is to see the smiles she gives him. Without a doubt, he gets the biggest grins and even laughs from her, it's just adorable. And while maybe I'm a little jealous, as she looks at me like I'm lunch (she stares at my boobs, not my eyes sometimes!!), I'm so glad that she's just as in love with him as he is with her.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Last week we had a big milestone.... We moved Aysia out of the pack n play bassinet in our room, and into her crib in her own room!

I did this on Friday night, thinking that if it did not work out well, and she was up all night, that we'd have 2 days to work out the kinks before I had to be back at work. Well, she slept her usual 8 hours the first night! What a relief! Me, however, I kept waking up all through that first night. It felt so weird to not have her right next to me. To not hear all of those cute little noises she makes all through the night (except through the monitor, not the same!). I felt like there was a huge hole next to the bed where the bassinet was.

But I also felt proud - it was like she was taking a step in growing up a little bit. In having a little independence. Proud, yet sad at the same time. And this is an act of independence that I controlled... and one I can watch obsessively on the video monitor. (best purchase ever - a video monitor with a 7" tv screen that we keep in the bedroom, plus a portable 2" screen that we keep downstairs - makes it easy to tell if her noises are sleepy noises, or if she's awake, saves a lot of running up and down stairs to check!). Imagine when she starts being independent on her own, how it will affect me!

Anyway... the rest of the week was up and down with sleep. I always put her down around 8pm, and two nights she woke up around 11, then again at 4/5, the other nights she slept all the way to 4/5 without waking up. But last night.... down at 8:30, up at 6:30. 10 hours - whoo hoo!! And I had actually gone to bed early as I've been exhausted. Sadly, though, I didn't pump at 10 or 11 like I usually do, and then I woke up at 4:30 with insanely engorged breasts!

I was lying there thinking - if I go pump, she'll wake up and I'll have no milk, she'll be waking any minute, so just relax and wait for it. Well, I waited for two hours and she was still sleeping, and I was very sore! Now I'm stressing because I have an 8:30 meeting at work, have to drop her at daycare, and still have to shower. So I get in the shower and tell DH to let me know when she wakes. Not two minutes later, hair mid-shampoo, he's at the door. He changes her diaper and dresses her while I condition and dry off. And, wow, she was hungry! But I'll tell you, even though she ate a lot, I could tell I still had milk in me, and when I got to work and pumped, I still got over 8oz!! I can't believe how much can fit into these "previously barely-B's, now full-C's".

Needless to say, I didn't get the full advantage of her 10 hours of sleep, but I did get a nice dinner with DH, a solid 6 hours of sleep, and a bountiful first pump of the day - can't complain about that!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

It's been a while....

It's been a long time since my last post!

Actually, it's been a long time for a lot of things... feeling fully rested, staying up past 10, being up to date on my TIVO, going out to dinner or a movie, reading a book about anything other than baby development. Not that I'm complaining, these activities have been replaced by some pretty wonderful things!

Aysia is now pretty reliably sleeping 7-9 hours straight. Then a quick feeding and another 2 hours. We put her to bed around 8, she wakes around 4 to nurse, then back to sleep until about 7. We get to have a nice dinner and conversation at night, which I really enjoy. Unfortunately I'm so tired, I usually go right to bed after dinner! I have found that with work and Aysia, I'm so much more tired than when I was on maternity, even though she was sleeping a lot less.

One thing we don't have down is the nap situation. I find it very hard to get her to nap during the day. So does my mom. At daycare, though, she usually naps pretty well. And the more she naps, the more she sleeps at night. Strange how that works!

Speaking of daycare, I am amazed at how well behaved she is. I think she's really just mesmorized by all the activity, and they tell me she only cries when she needs to be fed or changed. At home, she gets fussy a lot more and wants to be held and walked and bounced, whereas at daycare, she's happy to sit in a bouncy or swing and play with toys or just watch the other kids. I LOVE that there is a live video so I can watch her from my laptop. It's so reassuring. And the girls at daycare love her. She is the only girl in the Infant room of 8 babies, and she is definitely the favorite. And I'm all for anything that gives her more attention and cuddles!!

Today was picture day at daycare, so I dressed her in the cutest pink taffeta dress (and then quickly put her in a sleep and play right after - she does not like the dresses, tights, etc.). I think the photographer got some smiles out of her. I can't wait to see the pics.

On the breastfeeding front, she is still going strong. Much quicker at feeding, which is great, and I haven't gotten a blocked duct in a while, which is also great! She has developed this weird habit, though, that's killing me. Only on one side, she nurses for a little while, then keeps rotating her head so my nipple slides out. Then she quickly turns back and re-latches. Over and over. It's painful like a rug burn type of pain. I've checked to see if there's still milk, and there is. I've tried to burp her thinking it might be gas, but it's not. I'm really struggling with this, and it's so strange because it's only one side. So I end up just switching her to the other side, but then the breast doesn't get fully depleted (which could lead to a blocked duct...).

Otherwise, the pumping is going well. As long as I'm in the office and not traveling, it's pretty easy. I just had to rotate out all the frozen milk and re-freeze freshly pumped milk, as I was nearing the 3 month deadline for frozen milk. I'm slowly losing ground on keeping up with what she eats, but I'm not going to stress about it (yeah, right!). I figure, if we get a rainy day on a weekend, and I'm stuck in the house with her, I'll try to pump between every feeding to boost up my frozen supply.

We've been taking her outside a lot more, and I have to say I'm surprised she doesn't love the outdoors or even the stroller walks. I think she's surprised by the breeze, probably because she was inside so much as an infant, being born in December. I hope she gets used to it and starts to enjoy it more, because I want to be outside a lot now that it's nicer weather.

Anyway, life is good. Real good. There are new little things that happen every day, and so much to look forward to. And yes, I'm exhausted, and yes, it's hard to be away from her. And yes, my social life has completely changed. But it's all good and it's definitely all worth it!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

First trip

Well, today I had my first business trip since Aysia was born. In and out of Detroit for a 2 hour meeting.

I had to leave at 4am to catch a 6am flight. Which meant getting up at 3. Yikes! Now, we've had 7 days in a row of Aysia sleeping 7-8.5 hours straight, usually 8pm to 4am, and then a quick feeding, followed by another 2 hour sleep. However, last night?? Not so. I did the bedtime routine, and put her down at 8. Slept for a few mins, then cried. DH's turn. Few minutes, then cried. My turn - I nursed again. Slept a few minute, cried. DH - same. Now it's almost 10. So I settled in bed, put on the TV, and planted her on my boob. We alternated between nursing, watching TV, and sleeping in my arms until around 1am, and then I put her down. She slept til about 3:30. I didn't have time to nurse her and finish getting ready before my ride at 4, so DH fed her while I pumped (I hate that - much rather nurse, but it takes longer!).

So needless to say, it was a tiring night and busy morning! But my biggest stress was pumping and storing the milk while I traveled.

I am happy to say, that I have been able to pump twice, and I have a total of 14.5 oz! I have had to pump in the restroom at the Detroit airport, standing up in a stall. Not the best situation at all. Luckily the restrooms in Detroit are a lot nicer and cleaner than Newark! In fact, I got my biggest pump to date - 8 oz during the first pump. And I have to say, I'm proud. Quite an accomplishment, considering when I first started pumping I would be lucky to get 2 oz! And I even had the nerve to ask my client if they had a fridge I could use, so I could store the milk/icepack while we met. And I had to tell all the airport security I had breast milk and an ice pack to take through security. Newark gave me a little bit of a hard time - they pointed out there was no milk, just the gel pack, and I pointed out that I needed the frozen gel pack to keep the milk cold once I pumped it. We went back and forth a bit, but I won! So hopefully it will stay chilled until I get home around 7pm.

So the good thing is that I will hopefully not lose as much ground as far as milk as I thought, but the bad news is that by only pumping twice, I'm not helping my milk supply at all.

One thing that has really surprised me - pumping is much harder to do and limits you MUCH more than breastfeeding. I can feed Aysia in public with a nursing cover, pretty much anywhere. Nothing to lug around, nothing to wash. Very easy. But you can't pump in public, you need to be somewhere private, like a smelly restroom (I have a pumping bra that allows you to be hands-free, and it looks crazy, with these two big flanges sticking out of your chest!). You have to lug the pump with you. You have to be able to store the milk and keep it cold, and you have to wash the pump parts if you need to use it again before you return home. So much more complicated than breastfeeding. Luckily, at work I have an office, so I keep a second pump there, along with a small fridge, and all the supplies. But when traveling - what a pain!

I can easily see how it becomes too hard to keep up breastfeeding once back to work. My goal is 6 months, but I'll just do the best I can. I do have about 30 oz stored up in the freezer, plus another 40 or so in the fridge, but she's drinking more and more - probably around 24-30 oz a day. But as difficult as it is, I like feeling like I'm doing something good for her while I'm away at work. Helps with the guilt of being at work. A little.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

This is what Aysia has to say...

We had a photo shoot this morning... isn't this picture just adorable!?!?
The photographer I use comes to our house with all the lighting, backgrounds and props, and stays for as long as we want (he did pre-wedding pictures, maternity pictures, and now this). He takes tons of pictures, then just loads the jpegs onto my laptop. I want the images, not the prints, as I love to edit picture and make photo books and all kinds of things using Shutterfly. We even have a website there for all of her pictures. So I can't stand the photographers that won't give you the digital images, or that charge a fortune for them.
Here's another one I really like. I haven't edited it yet, but I'll likely crop the edges to come in a little closer, and maybe turn it to black and white...

Monday, March 8, 2010

First Day of Work.... Sighhhh

Well, I'm here at work today.

Feels very strange, yet very familiar... One of the reasons it is strange is because we moved office buildings while I was out. Just around the corner from the old building, so still close to home and daycare, but much, much nicer than the old building. Feels almost like a "fresh start" - my working life as a mother, with none of the reminders of my infertility that I had in the old building (like being able to see the clinic outside of my office window...).

Truth be told, last week was my emotional week. I pretended I started work last week and had the grandmothers and the daycare "dry run". I setup a few appointments for myself (dentist, hair, waxing, etc.), but was around for most of the days just staying upstairs for the most part. Well, here's what happened:

Days Aysia was with my mom: My mom is so great with Aysia. She's really in tune with her signals, and is able to get her to take the bottle, go down for naps, and has a lot of fun playing with her. She talks and sings to her a lot, and it's just so great to see them together. I learn things from how my mom cares for her - Aysia will thrive with my mom. Plus, my mom is completely open to how I want to do things, and she asks me questions whenever she's not sure what I want, without being "needy" - she's able to make decisions and figure things out, but will check with me if she's not sure. She also offers advice, but in a very non-threatening way, and is completely fine if I decide otherwise (although mostly I've found it to be very, very helpful). Really the perfect caregiver relationship.

Days Aysia is in daycare: I brought her to daycare on Thursday and Friday. I woke up on Thursday at 5 to feed her, and could not stop crying until around noon. I was crying in the car, crying at daycare, and crying some more after that. After I dropped her off, I rushed home to watch her on the live-feed cameras (thank goodness for that!). I wasn't scared for her safety, or even her emotional well-being, I was just so sad to be dropping her off with strangers. They said a lot of new moms cry the first day. It was really emotional for me. But as I watched her online, I felt more and more comfortable. She seemed calm, and well cared for. They don't have a ton of time to spend with each child to cuddle and play, but they feed her, change her, put her down for naps, pay attention when she cries and helps her get comfortable. They use swings, bouncy seats, tummy time, boppys, and various toys, so she's not left in the crib when she's awake, and there are a variety of things she experiences each day. There are seat positioners and activity stations for when she is a little older, too. I feel she's safe, cared for, and will do fine in daycare. And when she can benefit from the interaction with other children, I think she will thrive there, too.

Day Aysia was with MIL. Nope. Not working. Not at all. First of all, she was crying and fussy for most of the day. And Aysia is not a cryer, not at all. Only if she needs something (food, diaper, gassy, etc.). So while I was upstairs, listening to her cry, my heart was breaking. I went downstairs a few times to help soothe her, but I tried to let MIL do this on her own as much as I could stand. Meanwhile, I was watching on the baby monitor, unknown to her.

Well, she did it again - she left Aysia on the changing table. Just for about 5 seconds while she got a toy off the shelf on the adjoining wall, but still. Anything can happen in 5 seconds. Then she put the toy back, while Aysia was still on the table!! At that point I went downstairs and took Aysia to nurse her. I couldn't stand it. And I told MIL that she can't leave her on there for even a second, that she has to put her in the bassinet part of the pack n play which is RIGHT NEXT to the changing table part. I continued to watch her on the monitor, and the next time she did it right, but my confidence was completely down at that point. I had told her the week before that she can't leave her alone up there. Why would she then leave her alone, even only for a second??? I think she just doesn't have the right instincts about what is safe and what isn't.

In the early afternoon, DH txted me that he was on his way home. Aysia was fussing, and then crying, but I stayed upstairs as I wanted him to see for himself. Sure enough, he walked into the house, Aysia was crying hard and MIL was not able to soothe her. After he saw that, then the next time she was crying, I just went down and took her back from MIL. I really think she means well, but she is just overwhelmed, or tired, or not interested in putting in the effort - I don't know what it is, but I was done.

I had a frank conversation with her and said I was very concerned that this was too much for her. I asked if she was tired, she said no. I asked if this was too much for her, she said no. I asked why she thinks Aysia was crying so much, she said she was fussy. I told her (and have told her many times in the past ) that Aysia is not fussy, especially in the morning, that she just needs to be walked and bounced and she falls asleep, and she said she really can't hold her for a long time (she is in her mid-60's, but obviously not nearly as fit/healthy as my mom who is 62). I said that concerns me, because then she doesn't calm down or sleep, and then that leads to more crankiness, etc. I asked why she would have sat on the couch last week and left Aysia on the table if she was not tired, she said it was a mistake and now she realizes she shouldn't have. (But I still just don't get it - safety issue aside - if you are here to watch a baby, that you love, and you are not tired, why would you be sitting 5 feet away and not interacting with her?? It just makes no sense. She also doesn't really talk, sing of play with her, just tries holding her while sitting down. Maybe she's just not good / comfortable with babies??). I told her that we could put Aysia in daycare, or ask my mom to come over and she said no, she'll be fine, I'm probably just nervous being a first time mom. Heck yeah, especially when my baby is crying all day and left on a changing table!!!!

So I told DH that I was not comfortable with having MIL watch her all day. He was supportive, but he also wanted the chance to spend the day with his mom to give her suggestions and try to help her be better. I said fine, as long as he was there all day. That was going to be today. Well, as it turned out, he had jury duty, so I had my mom come over for the day with MIL. I told DH that after this week, I wanted to put Aysia in daycare Mon, Thurs, Fri, and have my mom watch her Tue, Wed. And MIL was welcome to come over and watch her with my mom whenever she wanted (MIL and Mom get along well), and in fact, that would be nice for my mom to have a second person there, especially when she wanted to eat lunch, use the bathroom, etc.

Well, DH told MIL yesterday that Mom would be there today, but he didn't elaborate on how the conversation went. I'm guessing that she was hurt or insulted, or that DH didn't 100% agree with my solution, but I just let it go. Usually I want to talk everything out, but I really didn't want to get into it about this topic as I was not willing to compromise. My only concern is whether I'm going to feel that Aysia is safe and thriving. MIL seemed fine when I went home to nurse at lunch today, and Mom said she seemed fine in the morning, but MIL decided to leave around 12:30. She just said that she needed to go home. I didn't ask.

So, I've probably caused some hurt feelings and friction with the in-laws, and maybe even a little with DH, but I feel 100% better that the situation is solved and that I feel good about Aysia's care. And I really hope that MIL does decide to come over every week to help my mom with Aysia so she will have some time with her granddaughter. Otherwise, she is just missing out, I think...

Friday, February 26, 2010

Catching up

I notice that it's getting harder and harder to find the time to write in this blog! My to do list is huge and it keeps getting bigger instead of smaller. But here's what's going on lately....

First and foremost, freaking out that I'm going back to work in ONE WEEK. Seriously, I've been crying a lot, feeling so sad that I won't be here with her during the day. Since the daycare is only 2 blocks from work, and my house is only 10 mins away, I'm hoping I'll be able to go and nurse her during lunch as much as possible, for the 2 days in daycare, and the 3 days with the grandmas. But I already have a trip to Detroit for the second week I'm back (luckily it will be in and out the same day), and then a trip to Vegas in May. The Vegas trip will be bittersweet, cause I love to gamble, but I will be really sad to leave her overnight for the first time.

I've been trying to pump a lot to build up a supply of milk, and doing OK, but boy is it a pain to pump in between nursing. It cuts down on "free" time, and then I stress that when she is ready to eat again, I won't have a lot of milk built up. But I'm really committed to try to provide as much breast milk as possible when I'm away from her. I even brought a second pump on ebay so i can keep one at work and one home and not have to carry back and forth.

I'm making some progress with being comfortable with my MIL watching her for one day a week, but with every step forward, there's 2 steps back. I'm finding that even though she says she wants to spend as much time as possible with Aysia, and complains about not getting enough time with her other granddaughter, she is not taking advantage of the time I'm offering her. She finds it hard to commit to being here, and has come late / left early for times she is scheduled. To be completely honest, I regret offering her Mondays when I go back to work, and would probably feel more comfortable with putting Aysia in daycare that day, but now I feel I need to give her a chance. My biggest fear is that she's older, not in good shape, and just doesn't have the energy. But she would never admit that or say to us that she can't handle it, even though we've told her again and again that she has to be up front with us. Just this week she was here and I let her do full care of Aysia while i did other things around the house. I came downstairs to find Aysia alone on the changing table and MIL sitting on the couch about 5 feet away. Aysia was having fun just looking around, swinging her legs and arms around. I had a heart attack. I told her she can't leave her alone on the table, she asked why. !?!?!? BECAUSE SHE CAN FALL OFF!!! I kept calm, and she went over to her right away, but jeez, common sense! I'm sure she was just tired and wanted to get off her feet, but you just can't do that! So now I'm terrified that she will leave her somewhere and she will fall. MIL is coming over on Monday and I will be very specific - not alone on the changing table, couch, bed, or anywhere that she is not strapped in. I've left 3 sheets of printed instructions for things, but I don't feel confident that she's read it or will refer to it (up on the fridge). It's definitely causing a bit of friction with me and DH, but he also sees my point. I will just need to watch her closely when she's here this Monday, and then make sure I come home for lunch and leave work at 5 on Mondays in general. Also, DH has off a lot of Mondays so she won't always be alone with Aysia. But if I see another scary thing I'll have to make some changes to the arrangement. Am I over-reacting??

Aysia had her vaccinations this week, and while it was hard to watch, it wasn't as bad as it could have been. he screamed (and I had to hold her arms), but then by the time I put her clothes back on, she was calm again. I had pictured her screaming for hours, but luckily not. No fever or any reactions afterwards, either. I asked the doc about giving Tylenol or Motrin and he told me something interesting. Apparently there is a recent study that shows that Tylenol or Motrin reduce the effectiveness of the vaccinations. He's no sure if he's in 100% agreement, but could see how that could be the case. So he said to give it only if she's running a fever, but not as a preventative measure. Luckily, she was fine.

I'm not getting much progress with nighttime sleep - seems we've taken a step back to only 3-4 hours. then a long awake period, then 2 hours. Doc said that when she wakes, to nurse her as little as possible to satisfy her, then put her back in the bassinet. That you might think the more milk you give her, the more soundly she'll sleep, but he said she will still wake up for the next feeding, and the objective is to have her eat less and less in the middle of the night until eventually she's eating nothing and doesn't need to wake up. Makes sense, I think. So that's my new game plan!

It's funny, though. As soon as you think you've gotten something figured out and under control, the little one shows you otherwise!!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

What a great day so far!

Me and Aysia had some great cuddling time this morning, then came downstairs to a fabulous brunch that DH made. Complete with champagne and chocolate strawberries. Now, usually I tell DH to get NO CANDY on VDday, but this year I told him to bring it on! I am craving sugar big time. He gave me a dozen roses (a beautiful yellow/orange color) and a chocolate filled heart. Yum! He also gave Aysia a dozen white roses, and a cute little teddy bear. So sweet of him!

But the best present of all -- DH told me that today, he will do each and every diaper and clothing change for Aysia. Nice! Being breast fed, she needs a diaper change every 1-2 hours, so this is huge. Normally, DH definitely does his share of diapers, at least 50/50, but getting a full day with no diaper duty is probably the most romantic gift ever!

We've had a lot of visits from friends and family lately, and even a trip to Barnes and Nobles and BRU. And Aysia was very, very fussy, to the point where I had to take her out of B&N before I got what I wanted. I get very uncomfortable when she's crying and I'm getting looks from others. I should be able to just ignore it, but it makes me want to just leave. I've gotten better at being able to breastfeed in public - I've ordered a nursing cover that will hopefully be better than a receiving blanket, and make me feel even more comfortable. Any suggestions from people about nursing in public aids?

I also have just come to LOVE baby wearing. It's the best. Calms her down, keeps her close and cuddly, and saves my arms and back! I have way too many of them, tho. Here are my reviews:

Bjorn (backpack) - The best. Definitely need the Active or Synergy model with the lumbar support. No strain on back or shoulder. Kind of hard to figure out at first, but then it gets really easy. Expensive (130+ for the active, more for synergy), but I've picked up a second from someone on craigslist for $45 so our parents can use one and keep it adjusted for their bodies.

Jeep (backpack) - I haven't used it, this is DH's. We keep it adjusted for him, he loves it. No lumbar support, but he's strong, so he feels no strain on the shoulders. Very rugged and outdoors looking so he likes it, and she seems comfy in it. Inexpensive (clearance BRU - around $20)

Wallaby (backpack) - eh. No lumbar support, gives me some strain in the shoulders, and it's a little harder to slip her into it, the way it's made. She seems to like it tho. Inexpensive (clearance BRU - $18). Good for keeping in the car in case I forget to bring the Bjorn on an outing.

Moby wrap - excellent, very snuggly, lots of holds, especially once she can hold her head up. But... takes a bit of time to wrap it. If I think if it, I wrap myself up while she's sleeping, and then it's ready to put her in. otherwise, if she's already fussing, I go right for the bjorn. ($40)

Hotsling - OK. very easy to put on, not sure she loves the position. Might be better as she gets older and can go in different holds. Small and foldable, so easy to take with you. (Some styles on clearance for $18 at BRU).

Infantino sling - Eh. simple to put on, she seems OK in it, but only has the cradle position. decent for nursing, but I haven't used it in public yet. (picked it up at Marshalls for $20)

So am I insane or what? Every time a box is delivered, DH sighs and asks if it's another backpack for her! But it really helps me out. After I feed her, the routine is a little playing (tummy time, activity gym, or just singing, 5 little piggies, rattles, toys, etc.), and then into the bjorn for some cuddling and a nap. And then I can do other things while she's sleeping. DH is also a personal trainer on the side, so he showed me some exercises I can do with her in the bjorn - squats, lunges, calf raises... very helpful to get in some exercising and she loves it. With a built in difficulty increase and she gains weight!

Oops, she's in the bjorn now, and I just heard a little explosion... DH, where are you, time for a diaper change!!! :)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

7+ weeks

Aysia is a little over 7 weeks old. I can't believe how quickly time has passed!

Update on the breastfeeding - basically, the issue is that she does not deplete the breast when she feeds. I can't pump each time, but I have gotten really good at early detection. As soon as I feel a clogged duct, I start massaging it, and now they go away before they become really painful. I've gotten 2-3 more since my last post, but it hasn't been as big of a deal. I guess it's something I'll just have to deal with.

Now I am trying to build up a supply of milk for when I return to work. I only have 4 more weeks at home. And the last week we are doing a dry run with the grandmas and daycare, where they come to watch her for the full days Mon-Wed and I bring her to daycare on Thurs and Fri. This will hopefully allow me to be comfortable with leaving her (especially with my MIL), but yet not be away for the full day. So ideally, I'll have my supply of frozen milk built up in 3 weeks. It's hard to pump a lot during the day, though. I really have to plan for it and be disciplined to do it. I should have been better these past two days - we've been snowbound and my DH has been home for the last 2 days. But I only pumped twice each day, and DH gives her a bottle of expressed milk each night, so that only nets one feeding per day. It's harder to pump when I'm alone because I have to wait for her to be asleep.

Aside from breastfeeding/pumping, it's been great to see her develop. She's starting to reach for things a little, and she can really follow you with her eyes. She's also making great progress in controlling her neck. It will be great once she has full control - many more things we can do with her then. Every time my mom comes over, she thinks Aysia has grown so much. I can't see it, since I see her every day, but I can definitely feel her getting heavier. I've ordered a scale so I can start weighing her! Seems silly, but a lot of the baby gear has various weight limits, and since I'm not going to the doctors every other day for weight checks anymore, I really don't know how much she weighs. I've done a rough estimation on our bathroom scale, but I want a more accurate weight!

As far as sleeping, we still don't get any more than 3-4 hours from her at night, and lately, it seems it's been less. 2-3 hour stretches throughout the night. I'm not happy with that, seeing as work is coming soon... Although, even with the little sleep I've been getting since she's been born, I don't feel an overwhelming sense of tired. I get tired by the evening, but I feel very sharp during the day.

I had my 6-week checkup last week and the doctor said everything looked good. I have the OK to exercise again, but I've only done it once in the past week. Not very good at all. The problem is that we moved the gym down to the basement, and it's too cold down there to bring her with me. It's a great temp for working out, but I'm afraid she would be too cold just sitting in a swing or bouncy seat. But I really need to get back into the habit so I can get myself back in good shape. I've lost the pregnancy weight, plus 5 of the IVF pounds, and I have 13 more pounds to go to be at my pre-IVF weight. But I've also lost most of my muscle tone, so I need to add muscle plus lose weight. I seem to have plateaued at my current weight. I've also started eating a lot of candy and sweets. Poor eating plus no exercise, definitely not a good combo...

In 2 weeks, Aysia has her 2-month doctor visit where they give the vaccinations. I'm not looking forward to that - I know how hard it was for me when they had to draw blood to check her jaundice, and she was screaming the whole time. This will be bad, too. But I did read that the study that originally linked autism to vaccinations has recently been completely rescinded - all the doctors involved in the original study have retracted their position and they find no link. I was planning on doing all the vaccinations anyway, but it's good to know this.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Breastfeeding blues

Man, this is harder than I thought! I've now had mastitis plus 5 blocked ducts. I'm getting them constantly and they are so painful - sometimes keeping me awake at night. The lactation consultant couldn't offer any good advice on how to avoid them, and I've gotten pretty good at massaging to get rid of them in about 1 day. But it's so depressing when I feel that certain pain, check, and sure enough, another blocked duct the size of an egg.

And she also feeds at least every 2 hours. I'm starting to feel very tied down, even though I take her out a lot, I always have to plan ahead to have a place to nurse discreetly. I'm still not very comfortable nursing in public, although I've done it... So excursions to stores or to run errands are always a little stressful because of the nursing situation.

And a fairly new thing... she's getting very fussy at the breast. Latch, pull away, on, off, lots of noises, kind of playing. It could be many things - a growth spurt and she wants more milk, so she's trying to stimulate another letdown, could be the milk comes out too slow and she's getting impatient, or maybe she's gassy or uncomfortable. It's frustrating not to know what the problem is. I've also noticed that she's getting more fussy in general at night in general. I like the mornings!

I'm coming up on 6 weeks, and I have another 5 weeks before I return to work. However, I'm starting my childcare plan the week before - 1 day MIL, 2 days mom, 2 days daycare (including Friday when I know I'll be able to leave work no later than 5pm). So I have 4 more weeks to build up a milk supply. Sadly, though, when I pump, I'm only getting about 1.5 oz total. And she usually eats more than that each feeding (I'm guessing, based on the one expressed milk bottle feeding DH does at night). So I'm not having an easy time building up any supply. Especially since she feeds so much as it is. Adding in the time to pump is hard.

I'm very committed to breastfeeding, but I'm nervous that I won't be able to build up and maintain enough of a supply to keep formula out of the picture.

On another topic, DH got very sick last week. He had to go on antibiotics. His doc said he needed to stay away from Aysia at all costs - that if she got sick, it would almost definitely mean a trip to the ER, and if she got a fever, they would need to do a spinal tap! Yikes! He said to stay away for a week - no holding her, sleep in guest room, etc. So I was 100% on the hook. He usually takes her from about 8-midnight, giving me so down time, and a head start on sleep. I was so upset that I couldn't have that time anymore. The ped was a little less conservative and said that once his symptoms stopped, he could hold her again. So it only turned out being 4 days of all me. But it was hard - I can't imagine how single parents do it. Much respect! And DH was devastated that he had to keep his distance, he really loves his daddy/daughter time. He made up for it by waiting on my hand and foot and doing all the household stuff (laundry, dishes, cooking, etc.), which was very helpful!!

On a good note, we went out and bought a new bed today! The bed we have is old, not good quality, and kind of sagging in the middle. So we splurged and got a real nice, good quality bed, which is being delivered tomorrow. I can't wait! Now I need to find nice new bedding to complete the look...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Time flies!

Wow, it's been almost 2 weeks since my last post, where has the time gone? I'll tell you where it's gone... breastfeeding, burping, diaper changing, laundry, repeat. Seriously, taking care of little Aysia can get very repetitive unless I plan some diversions!!

First, on the breastfeeding... much harder than I thought. I had mastitis on one breast, which was very painful and needed a doc appt and antibiotics to clear up. Then I promptly got a blocked duct on the other breast, even more painful - you need to massage it and continue breastfeeding for it to go away, when even a light touch hurts. Then 2 days later, another blocked duct. I think the problem is that my little girl is a lazy eater. She sits on my breasts for at least an hour for each feeding. She sucks, sleeps, sucks, sleeps... I continually try to arouse her, burp her, whatever I can do to keep her focused on the task at hand, but she likes to take her time. And sometimes, it doesn't feel like she's fully depleted the milk, and that can lead to infection and blocked ducts. So what I should be doing is pumping the remainder out after each feeding, but here's the problem - she feeds every 2 hours max during the day (every 3-4 at night, thankfully!). During that 2 hours, I first change her diaper (5-10 mins, depending if the clothes need to be changed, too), feed her (60 mins average), and burp her twice (5 mins). That leaves me about 45 minutes between each feeding. I like to try to give her some tummy time for playing, or sing or read to her. I also may have to pee, or shower, or grab a bite to eat, never mind do the laundry, get thank you notes done, check emails, return calls, and a whole list of other things that need tending to. And that's if Aysia naps, which isn't always the case between each feeding. So if I pumped, that would take about 20 mins form start to finish, leaving me almost no time for Aysia or for anything else. I'm lucky if I get to pump once or twice a day!

I think the lack of time has been the hardest thing so far. It's difficult when people come to visit, and I can hardly focus on them (I'm reminded of a scene from a SATC episode where Miranda is breastfeeding her son while Carrie is over, and she can't pay attention to the conversation because she's trying to get Brady to latch). It's difficult when I go out to do errands, as most places to not have a good spot to breastfeed (thank goodness for BRU and their mother's room). And it's difficult when I have so many things to do around the house, but can never get to them.

Thankfully, my mom has been coming over 2-3 times per week, and that really helps me out. She is so good with Aysia - she talks to her, reads and sings to her, plays with her... it's really great to see. I feel completely comfortable with her watching her 2 days a week when I return to work. My MIL, I'm not as comfortable with. She's a little older than my mom, and has much less energy and agility. Plus, it's been so long since she's cared for an infant, I think she just doesn't know what to do. She's been over a few times when DH was off of work, and he showed her a lot of things, but I need to have her over on a regular basis when it's just me, so I can coach her and teach her what to do, and get more comfortable with her caring for Aysia. She is supposed to watch her one day a week, so I need to do everything I can to get her up to speed. She's coming over on Thursday, and I think I'm going to have her come over one day a week ongoing. And maybe even when my mom is here, too, as they get along well, and maybe my mom can help her out, too.

The most frustrating thing has been the endless paperwork and fighting about my disability pay, benefit elections, etc. Turns out my disability plan only allows 6 weeks for a c-section as a standard practice. What???? One of the main reasons I had them cut me up was to get the extra two weeks of disability!! I had the doc fax over a form for the extra 2 weeks - denied. They wanted medical records. Doc visit notes, etc. So I had to get them to fax that over, and after several calls, the 8 weeks was approved. Then, since I live in NJ, I have to fill out all kinds of paperwork and have my doc fill out more paperwork to get the NJ disability payments (which is offset from my company disability). And then, since Aysia was born so close to the end of the year, the ability to make changes to my benefits was not working properly, and I couldn't get my new health and dependant care FSA elections input into the system properly. I've been on the phone several times about this one, and it's still not resolved. I hate that these things are taking up my very limited time!

So those are my complaints! On the positive side, I love the time spent with Aysia... she's developing a personality and it's so fun to watch. I've learned all kinds of little tricks and tips for caring for her, and it's fun to learn new things and become more competent and confident. We've also had a bunch more playdates with other friends with babies, joined some parent / children groups, and taken her out to a restaurant and even a few family and friend parties. I enjoy taking her out, as long as I can figure out the logistics of feeding and changing her at the right times! And so many friends and family members have come over to visit - that's a lot of fun and a lot easier logistically, too.

And here's a tip for anyone buying clothes for a new baby... buy 3-6 or 6-9 month sizes (season appropriate). New moms have soooooo much newborn and 0-3 month clothes from the shower that the baby will never get to wear it all. Not to mention they grow out of it so quickly. So larger sizes really come in handy!

And a tip for new moms - read Dr Karp's Happiest Baby on the Block. The 5 S's really do work, especially swaddling, swinging and shushing. A real lifesaver for me!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Fun with Aysia

The past week has been quite eventful, as I've decided that I'm not staying in the house all day anymore! Although I am definitely self-conscious about bringing her out if she cries and fusses and annoys other people, but I've decided I'm not going to let that stop me. And I think when I feel more confident, and less worried, she actually behaves better, too.

So what have we done together this past week....
  • Shopping trip to BRU to get more "necessities"
  • Quick errands at various stores
  • "Play date" over at my friend's house who has a baby girl 5 days older than Aysia
  • Mommy and baby support group at the hospital
  • More doctor's appts (Aysia has gained weight again, and is up to 8.3 now. Doc is no longer concerned, no more weight checks, yay!)
  • Waxing and pedicure. For me, not Aysia! :)
  • Blood test at Labcorp. For Aysia, not me!! :( This was horrible. They had to try both arms before they could get a vein. But the doc needed to check on her jaundice which was still higher than he wanted. It was "breastmilk" jaundice, the good kind, no worries
  • Doc appt for me - I now have mastitis - a breast infection. Very painful, and you have to keep nursing through it. Yikes! On a course of antibiotics that will hopefully help.
  • Many visitors to the house to meet my little girl
She was very good through all this activity. Only fussed a lot at the mommy baby group, and I was able to calm her down by swaddling her (love the swaddle!!). Today it's supposed to be in the high 40's, so I think we're just going to hang at home today and take a walk! I'm hoping to get the time to finally send the birth announcements out.

Meanwhile... here's a picture of our beautiful little girl. This is the day we took her home from the hospital (Christmas day):

Thursday, January 7, 2010

All about Mommy

In addition to all the amazing things I've discovered about Aysia in these past two weeks, I have also experienced some interesting things about myself - physically and emotionally....
  • The c-section was much easier than I thought, and my recovery has been great. In the hospital, I got up and walked around the maternity ward at least 2-3 times a day, and when I got home after 3 days, I could easily walk around, including the stairs. After one week, it was as if I didn't have surgery (almost!).
  • The doc says I can't exercise until my week 6 appointment, and it's killing me as I feel great. But I am listening, as I don't want to do any damage...
  • The scar is real low and looks like it will heal well. I opted for sutures, not staples, as I read they heal better.
  • I never had the dark line coming from my belly button as many pregnancy women get, but after the C, I had a dark line from my belly button almost up to between my breasts. Strange! And my belly button was partly black. Not as noticeable now that it's retreating back in, but still darker than before.
  • After one week, my stomach was almost flat, and after 2 weeks, I have lost all of my pregnancy weight and even a pound or two of the IVF weight!! Wow, that was incredibly easy! I will need to be careful when I stop breastfeeding, though, as I'm sure that's why the pounds are coming off, despite eating 3 full, home-cooked meals a day (thanks DH and mom!)
  • Breastfeeding - easier and more difficult than I thought. Latching - piece of cake. Milk production, not so much. I was a barely B before the pregnancy, and now, although I've bought C-cup bras, I'm really just a B plus. I was really hoping for some big boobies during the breastfeeding stage, but I guess not. :( Not to mention, I'm sure the size has something to do with the not-so-stellar milk production.
  • My nipples are soooooo sore!! Ouch! When she latches on, it's the worst pain ever. Then the sucking is not so bad. Usually when she's done, she lets the nipple go gently, but sometimes she maintains the suction and rips her head away. Ouch, ouch, ouch!!!! I put lanolin on constantly, and so far no infection or cracking, but by the end of each day, I'm ready to give it up! Except I like the closeness/bonding, convenience, and the great health benefits for Aysia. I'm hanging onto the hope that it will get better!
  • I found myself weepy the first few nights. Mostly about Aysia's weight loss and my lack of milk production, but I also think it was a touch of the baby blues. Luckily I could recognize it and talk to DH about it, so neither of us were freaked out or worried about post-partum depression.
  • Holding and caring for Aysia - really came so very naturally. I was worried that I'd be awkward, or not good at it, but I was pleasantly surprised to see how easily I figured it out. And honestly, I don't mind the diapers, even the big poo's, at all!
  • DH and I have gotten into a good groove - no fighting about who's turn it is, and we are both a little in awe of how good the other one is with her. He naturally takes the late night diaper changes and formula supplements, so I can sleep earlier, and I get up with her in the early morning, as I'm more naturally a morning person. An we each probably get 4-5 hours of sleep a night, with one 3-hour stretch. It's actually manageable. While I'm not working. Hopefully we'll get more sleep when I'm back at work!
  • I'm definite stir crazy. I think having a winter baby is really tough. With this weather, I can't take her out for a walk (low 30's and windy), and the doc advises against malls or stores until 8 weeks. I have a bunch of friend/relative visits setup for next week when DH goes back to work, but I'm also going to take her out to stores (in moderation). I've read other mothers talk about taking their babies out to stores right away, and just being very careful about keeping strangers away and not letting anyone breath on or touch them. I just need to get out with her, I can't stand staying inside all day!
  • Things stay on my to-do list way too long now! I can't plan on getting things done the way I used to. I'm just getting a website setup to show her pics, haven't done my thank you notes yet, and the list goes on and on. Between constant nursing and being tired, I have to accept not being nearly as efficient. But I am good at multi-tasking while I'm nursing - e.g. using the laptop while she's sucking away!

That's about it for now... it's really a great learning experience!!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

All about Aysia

Where to begin?!?!

Aysia turns 2 weeks today, and it's been amazing so far! I've been meaning to write, but my days seem to disappear in a cycle of diapers, feeding, sleeping, laundry... But I love every minute of it! Some things about Aysia....

  • She was born with a full head of black, silky hair. So beautiful. I have dark curly hair, but I think this is a trait from DH. His hair (before he started shaving bald) is jet black, and I think the straightness comes from his part-Asian background.
  • She took to breastfeeding right away - no problem with latching on. How cool!
  • She's a "rester" - she falls asleep while feeding and constantly has to be woken up and prodded to keep going.
  • She lost a lot of weight the first day - over 10% (14 oz). This was pretty scary, and also a little emotional for me. I want to breastfeed exclusively, but she wasn't getting enough. I couldn't help feeling inadequate and disappointed that the doc wanted me to start supplementing formula with each feeding. I didn't want to on the one hand (less milk production, risk of nipple confusion), but on the other, I didn't want her to keep losing weight. So we started supplementing 0.5 oz of formula with each feeding, giving DH a chance to get involved in the feedings. It was emotional for me. After a week and a half, she had only gained one oz back. But at least she was gaining. We've had to go to the doc 4 times since leaving the hospital to weigh her, and yesterday she finally had significant gain - 5.5 oz in 5 days. Yay! So now we are only supplementing at night. The doc said I just might not make enough milk, some women don't. I've tried pumping after each feeding to fully drain each breast, but it doesn't seem to make a difference. I have milk, but I guess not enough for what she needs. I'm getting to be OK with this - it is what it is, plus the formula helps her to sleep a little more at night!
  • She smiles in her sleep - so cute! It's like little laughs, and when we giggle in response, she smiles even more
  • She picks up her head when having "tummy time", and she likes to interact with us
  • She likes to hear me sing (love that she has no idea what a bad singer I am!!)
  • She loves to be swaddled, and "shushed" (Dr. Karp's Happiest Baby on the Block techniques work like a charm for her)
  • She's a great sleeper - we usually get two sets of 3-4 hours of sleep at night, and then 1-2 hour naps many times during the day. Very reasonable and easy on her parents!!!
  • She loves her hair and jawline stroked by mommy, and her fingers munched by daddy
  • She doesn't mind diaper changes or clothing changes - very mild mannered
  • She has beautiful, smooth, soft skin. Hasn't been affected by baby acne yet
  • She likes to be rocked. Thankfully we bought 2 gliders, one for each floor. And DH thought that would be a waste - silly man!!
  • She has way too many clothes - typical girl!! But I'm glad we didn't find out her gender until she was born, so it's not all a "pink explosion". She has a good variety of colors.
  • She sleeps in the car seat and stroller (the one time the weather was above 40 degrees and not terribly windy so we could take her for a walk! Please, weather, cooperate with me - I want to do many more walks!!)

All in all, this has been a wonderful experience so far. Much better than I imagined, because I am lucky enough to have a very good baby. The sleeping time and minimal crying has made it easier for me to recover and in turn, appreciate her more.

Next, I'll post more about some of the things I've been going through physically and emotionally...