Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Elusive Sleep

So, I know I am opening myself up for all kinds of advice on this one. But I want it. My sweet (almost 12 week old) baby boy continues to be a happy, smiley, giggling little guy, despite that fact that he has suddenly decided that sleep at night is best done in 2 hour increments. He had been sleeping 5-6 hours at a time. He would go to bed at 10:00, wake up at 4:00, eat, and then wake up again at 7:00. Not too bad at all. I could function quite well with that schedule. Well, now (starting about 10 days ago when he had his 2 month vaccines...I know it’s probably more coincidental than causal, but my husband is convinced the vaccines are to blame!) he has decided that he needs to go to bed earlier (that's fine, and definitely normal) and wake up a LOT more often. Now he goes to sleep at 9:00 and is waking up at 12:00 or 1:00 and then every two hours. I don't nurse him every time he gets up and he does go back to sleep, but just not for very long.

I don't think this would be so bad if he hadn't given us a taste of what getting a "good" (wow has my definition of "good" changed!!) night's sleep was like. I just want my solid 5-6 hour stretch of sleep back!

Any suggestions? Did this "setback" happen with your kids? How did you get them back on schedule? Any and all advice/guidance/suggestions are welcome!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

He's Baaaaaaaack!

In a follow-up to my previous post, I just wanted to let everyone know that as of Tuesday morning my sweet, easy-going, giggly little Ryan has returned. He is such a joy! I love him so much!

Sunday, March 21, 2010


As a new mom this title could have so many meanings: My patience could be shot (it's not, at least most of the time) my eyes could be blood shot from lack of sleep (bloodshot, no, dark circles, yes), etc, etc.

However, what I am talking about is my poor sweet little boy who has been replaced by a sad, cranky, little boy ever since his 2 month vaccines. I have never ONCE thought about delaying or skipping any vaccines. And while I still won't, I am now DREADING all future pediatrician appointments that involve vaccines. Poor little Ryan is miserable. My baby that would only cry when hungry or needing a diaper change has been replaced by a little guy who whimpers and cries most of the time except when he is eating or sleeping (he's currently sleeping, that's how I can write this). So far we're 2 days out from the shots.The info sheets we were given said that if this persists for more than 3 days to call the pediatrician. Let's hope that doesn't happen! I want my sweet boy back!

His latest stats per the pediatrician (keeping in mind that he was measured incorrectly at his last visit, during which they said he was 25 1/2 inches long) are as follows: 12 lbs 13 oz (60%), 24 1/2 inches (88 %), 41 1/2 in head circumference (70%)

In other news, prior to the aforementioned shots, life with Ryan has been wonderful. He giggles and laughs more each day. He coos and squeals. He even tries to mimic me when I say "la, la, la, la, la." He'll have it in no time! He watches how my tongue moves and he moves his the same way, he just doesn't have the sound quite right. But he is trying so hard! Its adorable. (I know, I know! I sound like a sappy mom, who thinks her baby is the greatest baby ever to be born...but hey, that's what mom's are supposed to think, right?)

Here's to my beautiful baby boy and the hope that his sweet, calm, happy personality is back in no time!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

“Amazing, wonderful, awesome, special…”

I wrote this "essay" about 5 weeks after Ryan was born. I had had a typical post partum period, but I was shocked by how hard it was. My husband and I also felt alone in our feelings of how hard it was. I decided that I didn't want the women in my life to feel alone like that when they have a newborn. So, I wrote this as something I will save and share with women I care about as they have their first born children.

“Amazing, wonderful, awesome, special…”

These are all words used by others to describe the first days after a child is born. After just experiencing that time period first hand, I can say that this time is indeed “special” but not in the way one would think.

These first days are about survival. They are about sleep deprivation, out of control emotions, diaper changes, tears (not just the baby’s), feedings, and repeat, repeat, repeat. They are about recovery. Your body is recovering from a major stress, in my case, from a c-section. I couldn’t move the way I wanted to. I was sore. I had just had major surgery and yet I was going through the most stressful life event I have ever experienced. It was painful, in more ways than one.

These days are also about immense love, selflessness, giving, and devotion. But this “bright side” of things is not always easily seen. While you immediately love your baby (or at least most do, although I know some don’t feel an immediate bond, and this is not abnormal) you are also immediately overwhelmed by the immense change that has just occurred in your life. While you prepare and anticipate this baby’s birth for 9 months (and usually for many months more before you’re even pregnant) you have no idea to what extent your life is about to change. And I say this as a mother who wanted a child desperately, who prepared for his arrival with the support of a caring, loving husband, and who truly thought we were fully ready and prepared for the change that was about to occur in our lives. We had no idea!

I am a woman who has, for as long as I can remember, felt that I was put on this earth to be a mom. I have always loved children. I knew I wanted to be a mom since I was 8 years old and my first “little cousin” was born and I got to spend time with her. While I love my job, and am immensely proud of my career and the work I do, I have always felt that my true calling was to be a mother.

Imagine my surprise when Ryan was born and it was hard! Really, really hard! I thought I would just fall into motherhood naturally. That it would be all “sunshine and rainbows” like many people lead you to believe. And while much of it was “natural”—I was lucky that breastfeeding went well for me (though it doesn’t for everyone), I have always felt comfortable holding babies and changing diapers, and I was able to calm Ryan without too much trouble—I was still overwhelmed. I didn’t have a minute to myself or alone with my husband. I had cherished the time that Matt and I had with each other before Ryan was born. We are a very connected couple who would rather spend time with each other than with anyone else. Suddenly all the time we had with each other was invaded by a hungry, crying, needy little person. I did not anticipate how much this would impact me.

And then, there is the emotional roller coaster a newly post partum mom is on. I have always been an emotional person. Sad movies make me cry. Emotional news stories make me cry. Thinking about the wonderful people I have in my life and how lucky I am to have them makes me cry. So, I am a crier. But I don’t cry all the time. In the days after Ryan was born I CRIED ALL THE TIME. I felt like I didn’t have control over my own person. I didn’t know what would trigger my tears; I just knew that something would trigger them. I cried at least twice every day. One day Matt and I went out to a local hotdog place. It was one of our first outings with Ryan. I stayed in the car with Ryan while Matt went in to get my Hotdog. He came out with a hotdog with mustard and ketchup. I wanted mustard and relish. This made me, you guessed it, cry. I cried over a hotdog! Fortunately I was immediately able to also laugh about it. But this just demonstrates how fragile my emotional state was.

As a Social Worker I am well educated about the “baby blues.” I know what it is, I educate women about it, I tell them what to expect. But I never thought I would experience it. I mean, after all, I was meant to be a mom! People who are meant to be mothers don’t get blue when their dream comes true. Well, I was blue. Fortunately, as a well educated mental health professional I was able to remind myself (and my worried husband) that what I was experiencing was normal. But it still shocked me, and made me feel like a bad mother.

Women don’t often openly talk about how difficult these early days of babyhood are. We are reared in a world that talks about how “amazing, wonderful, awesome, and special” this time is. We’re supposed to “cherish” and “enjoy” every moment. So, here goes, I will say it: There is not much to cherish or enjoy about the first few weeks of babyhood. As I said at the beginning, this time is about survival. It is about getting through, one day at a time. It is about leaning on the people in your life who offer help and support. It is about leaning on your spouse in a way you never have before. It is about letting him support you in any way he is willing. I am blessed to have an amazing husband. Without him, I couldn’t have done it. This time is about calling your mom and crying and crying because you know she won’t pass judgment on you no matter what. It is about reaching out to other women who will openly talk about how hard this time period is. I was lucky to have two very special cousins in my life who were willing to share their own stories of survival. This was more helpful than I could have ever imagined. They made me feel normal. They reminded me that I am indeed still a good mother. They let me know it was ok, that I would survive, that it would get better!

And it does get better! For me 3 ½ weeks was when I finally felt like myself again from an emotional and physical stand point. By 4 weeks Ryan was beginning to smile and he was starting to sleep more consistently at night. In many ways, I am lucky that I felt “better” so quickly. If you don’t feel things improving as quickly, do not despair, because it WILL GET BETTER! Your baby will smile, your baby will eventually sleep more, and consequently you too will eventually sleep more too. You will be able to get out of the house; you will have time with your husband again (if you make it a priority). You will one day feel like yourself again.

Having a baby will rock your world. It will overwhelm you. You will at times wonder if having a child was the right thing to do. You will swear that this baby is going to be an only child. But then, one day, he will smile at you. He will coo. He will indicate that he knows you’re his mommy. And then, all the pain, the tears, the life changes will be worth it. You will know that this little person has indeed changed your life in ways you couldn’t predict, but that he has also enriched it, made it more full, and given you a better understanding of the word love. You will know he is meant to be a part of your life and that you are meant to be a mom. It will continue to be hard, but it will also be amazing, wonderful, awesome, and special.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

2 Months

Dear Ryan,

Today at 2:38 pm you turned 2 months old. As cliche as it sounds, it is hard to believe! In some ways it feels like you were born just yesterday, and in other ways it feels like you have been a part of our lives forever. You have found your niche in our little family, and I can't imagine life without you.

You have grown in so many ways since the day you were born. Not only are you so much bigger (at the last pediatrician appointment you were in the 97% for height!) but you are also so much more active and engaging. You coo and giggle and laugh. You look directly at your Mommy and Daddy when we talk or sing. You grab for toys on your activity mat, and just earlier this week you rolled over from your belly to your back! I think it was a bit by accident, but you have repeated it a number of times and are growing more and more able to do it consistently. You also learned to yell when you want to be picked up but aren't actually that upset (you're already learning that when you make noise Mommy usually comes to get you!). You are sleeping well at night (5 hours straight, then a feeding, 3 more hours, a feeding, and then sometimes 2 more hours!) You are a joy to be around and I love you so much!

My favorite part of each day is when you fall asleep in my arms after you nurse. You just look so content, calm, and peaceful. Sometimes I let you stay there to nap on my chest (and I nap too), but other times I try to put you in your crib. So far you haven't slept in your crib for very long. You seem to like to be down where all the action is. You sleep best during the day with noises in the background. I guess that's a good thing. But whether you like it or not little guy, you will start taking naps in your crib at some point! :)

In the 2 months you have been here I have given you more nicknames than I would have thought: Bubbualou, Squirt (b/c of your tendency to "squirt" during diaper changes), Little man, Munchkin man, Buba, Boo Boo, and Peanut. I am pretty sure you're not going to know your name is actually Ryan!

Another amazing aspect of your life has been watching your Daddy take on the role of Daddy. He loves you so much and already has such a special connection with you. I always knew he would be a great Dad, but seeing it in action is more special then I anticipated. I have fallen in love with him all over again!

Speaking of love, I am so often overwhelmed by how much I love you. Sometimes just looking at you brings tears to my eyes. It is amazing that Daddy and I created you and that you are so perfect and so beautiful! I can't wait to watch you grow and develop and fill my heart with even more love.

Happy 2 month birthday baby boy!



Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The great day that turned....

Monday March 1, 2010 was a great day! Ryan woke up with a smile, and was just a smiley, happy guy all morning. We played on his activity mat, danced to music, and he enjoyed some time in the swing while I stripped the bed and put in a load of laundry. He let me put him in his bouncy seat, where he sat, wide eyed and content on the bathroom floor the entire time that I showered, dressed, and did my hair and make-up.

We then headed to Target and the grocery store where he napped the entire time. We got home, and he stayed content in his car seat long enough to let me unload all the groceries and switch the laundry from the washer to the dryer and put in another load.

I was on top of the world! I was super mom! I had gotten so much done and Ryan had been happy and content the entire time. And then....

Then, I was debating whether I should feed him or change him. I knew he would be hungry as soon as he was fully awake, but he had also been sitting in that diaper for quite a while. I decided to go for the diaper change. I did my usual preparations: laid out the new diaper and Desitin (he is nursing a diaper rash that while much improved WILL NOT GO AWAY!) got a warm wash cloth (see above re: diaper rash), and then lay him on the changing table. He was still a bit sleepy. I put a wipe over his you know what, as he has previously demonstrated that he is an effective squirter and I went to town.

Then I heard it. The farts started, and then the poop began flowing. I immediately moved the wipe from its position over his penis in order to prevent the poo from getting everywhere. He then immediately began peeing. It squirted up on his face and much to my horror he began LICKING HIS FACE! At which time he began screaming, partially out of hunger I am sure, but also because, well, HE JUST DRANK PEE! At this point I was desperately wishing my husband was home to help. But he wasn't. Alas....

I put on a new diaper as quickly as possible and then just scooped him up to nurse him. He chowed down for a good ten minutes, but then, because he had been so worked up he immediately began to vomit, two rather large vomits. He probably didn't actually digest anything he had just eaten and he was now covered in three body fluids. He got his first afternoon bath, and was immediately content again, as he loves his bath! He was no worse for the wear, and I guess neither was I, I suppose.

Ahhhhh, the fabulous life of a new mom.

The Cam Fam has been Published on:

Scary Mommy