Monthly Archives: September 2010

daddy magic.

travis is quitting his second job. he will be home 5 evenings a week now, instead of just 1 or 2. i know one little girl who will be very happy to have more daddy time.

travis has what i like to refer to as “daddy magic”. sometimes sylvie sees him and immediately calms down. well, little girl, there’s a lot more daddy magic coming your way!

emotional recovery.

i’ve been putting off writing this post for almost 8 weeks now. it’s been 7 and a half weeks since sylvie’s birth, 7 and a half weeks spent trying to come to terms with my unplanned c-section. this article, thought quite lengthy, is the best i’ve read on the subject.

it’s like this. say you have spent the better part of a year planning a trip to paris. you’ve thoroughly researched your flights, hotel accommodations, and every thing you plan to do and see there. you’ve written out a dream itinerary. you’ve read countless guide books and websites. you mark a big red X on the calendar each evening before bed, counting down the days, minutes, and seconds until you leave. you are excited beyond all belief.

on the morning of your flight, you decide to run some last minute errands. travel sizes of shampoo, snacks for the flight, etcetera. suddenly, another car runs a stop sign and crashes into you. your leg is badly broken. you have to say au revoir to paris. except you’ve never been to paris, so what you’re actually saying goodbye to is the dream of paris. the fantasy of paris. the paris you’ve built up in your head to be so extraordinarily life-changing. au revoir.

in the coming weeks, as your leg begins to mend, you notice that the authors of several blogs you read are traveling to paris. you read detailed accounts of their trips, “travel stories”. you see countless pictures and videos of couples beneath the eiffel tower and the arc de triomphe. you read drool-worthy accounts of every wonderful meal consumed there. you are happy for these bloggers, some of whom you consider to be your friends. still. all the while, in the back of your mind, comes a nagging feeling of it should have been me. you are convinced that nobody wanted and worked for that trip to paris as much as you did. it pains you to see others get the experience you longed for, some of whom don’t seem too enthused. you know that maybe you will get the chance to travel there again a few years in the future, but that the likelihood of that isn’t up to you. you hold onto that for comfort.

********

that is the best parallel i can draw. i never got my paris and i still get a twinge of pain every single day. some days it hurts more than others. i have the deep red scar to remind me every time i change clothes or shower (which isn’t as frequent an occurrence as it used to be). i know it will take time. i’ve heard it does get easier. now that i’ve lost breast feeding as well (sylvie is SO MUCH HAPPIER this way), it’s been weighing particularly hard on me. i wonder: if i had the natural birth i dreamed of would sylvie have been a better nurser? could we have gotten through her tummy troubles? would she even have those tummy troubles? i know the answers are probably no, no, and yes, respectively. i still can’t help but wonder if things would have been different.

my mind is a constant swarm of what ifs? what if i had her at a birth center (like i wanted, but there are none close by) instead of a hospital? what if my water hadn’t broken prematurely and she had made it to term? what if i had waited just a little longer to finally give in to that epidural? i don’t know if any of these things would have mattered. all i can do is to try again when the time comes to give sylvie a sibling. if i work hard enough, maybe i can have the natural birth i envisioned with her little brother or sister. perhaps we’ll be living in a place with an excellent midwife-attended birth center nearby. i hope so.

until then, i will work as hard as i can each day to move on from the experience, to live in present and focus on how blessed i am to be sylvia’s mother.

wardrobe wednesday.

i was thinking about starting a new weekly feature on the blog called wardrobe wednesday. every wednesday i will post a picture of sylvie’s cutest outfit from the past week.

yesterday we went on our weekly family outing to the park. fall is in full force here and the days have been chilly but beautifully sunny. here is what sylvie wore:


headband: target (part of a 3 pack), cardigan-style sweatshirt: baby gap (it’s reversible!)


skinny jeggings and booties: babies r us

i have been waiting for that headband and those jeans to fit her! sylvie’s general style is comfortable, a little bit tomboy, a little bit hip, but always with a feminine accessory thrown in.

what do you think of wardrobe wednesday? would you like to see more of sylvie’s styles every week?

the beginning of the end?

after a couple of weeks of supplementing with formula, we have finally found a brand that works for sylvie. she has a sensitivity to both milk protein and soy. the original formula we got for her, earth’s best organic soy and lactose-free, made her even fussier. that’s how we found out about her soy protein sensitivity. enter the nutramigen. no soy and lactose. everything should have been good, right? WRONG. this stuff smelled FOUL. satan’s armpit FOUL. it would take 45 minutes of constant screaming to get her to choke down an ounce. obviously, this was no good.

last night, after a few days of breast milk only and an exceedingly fussy and gassy baby (a baby that hadn’t pooped in 5 DAYS), we purchased a canister of gerber good start gentle plus. at almost $10 cheaper per canister than the nutramigen and $5 cheaper than the organic soy, we figured it was worth a shot. like the nutramigen, the milk proteins are hydrolyzed and broken down. this makes them much easier to digest.

my milk supply never came back up. in fact, it has gone down a bit more since she started nursing again a few days ago. she has never been a strong nurser. for the last 5 weeks it has been an uphill battle to get her fed and keep my supply going. we gave her a few consecutive feedings with the new formula last night while i pumped to help my supply out. she went down to sleep at 10:30 last night and didn’t get up to feed again until 3:30 this morning. then she went right back down until 8:00. no fussing. no excessive gas. no screaming in pain. no startling herself awake by spitting up. she woke up a new baby. she is smiling. she is engaging us and grasping at toys. she is doing all the things she was in too much pain to enjoy before. she is cuddly and content again. she is the baby i came home from the hospital with, the one who was replaced by fussy mcgee at 3 weeks. she has never napped without my holding her before today.

for now, i am continuing to pump to keep a supply going. we are going to give the new formula another few days to settle in. we are going to make sure it works for her and that she continues to tolerate it. if all goes well i think it’s time to slowly ease up on the pumping and come to a stop. i have come to terms with the fact that NOTHING has gone the way i planned. my perfect natural birth turned into a c-section. my breast fed baby will likely be formula only within a few weeks. the idea of breast feeding was difficult to let go of. she fought me at EVERY SINGLE FEEDING for the last 4+ weeks. she was excessively gassy around the clock to the point of constant straining, fussing, and crying. i gave up dairy and soy. i ate incredibly bland foods at every meal day after day. nothing eased her troubled tummy. the bottom line is my baby can’t tolerate my breast milk and to continue to feed her that way because i can’t let go would be SELFISH. i want a happy, well-fed baby. for us, this seems to be the answer.

i wanted this to work out so badly. in the weeks after her birth, when i was still grieving over my c-section, nursing was all that kept me sane. i couldn’t BIRTH her, but i could FEED her. at 2 and a half weeks, a switch flipped and the room went dark. i have spent everyday since then pumping around the clock, offering her the breast only to have it pushed away, listening to her scream and cry through every feeding. this morning i fed my child a bottle, which she contentedly and vigorously drank down. after a quick burp she was napping in my arms, smiling in her sleep.

thank you.

sometimes you have a really bad day. you know the kind. the baby cries for hours on end, she won’t eat, and you feel tired and a little bit sick. then something happens to turn the whole day around.

today was one of those days. sylvie cried and fussed and barely ate enough at each feeding to hold her for 2 hours afterward. travis and i are exhausted. determined to make tonight better, we cooked ourselves a nice dinner and ventured out to rent a silly movie. on the way home we stopped by the mailbox. inside was a small package from allie and henry, which contained the most beautiful vintage corduroy dress for sylvie.

the note tucked inside was even sweeter. i nearly cried when i read it. so, thank you, allie (and henry, too!) for making my day a whole lot brighter. sylvie thanks you, too!

louisville.

i apologize for my blogging absence. i spent the last several days with my little family in louisville, kentucky! travis was down there to take (and pass with flying colors) his first level sommelier exam. sylvie and i tagged along because it’s BIRTHDAY WEEK! what is BIRTHDAY WEEK? travis’ birthday was tuesday and mine is today. we both turned the big 2-5.

to celebrate the three of us went out to a nice dinner at proof on main in downtown louisville. sylvie slept in her maya wrap the entire time.

after dinner we took a walk down the block to the louisville slugger museum. travis snapped a picture of me and my girl in front of the world’s largest baseball bat.

the rest of the time we were there it was super hot outside. 97 degrees is far too hot to walk around downtown louisville with a little baby! we spent the next couple of days at various indoor places. i read magazines in a borders for hours while sylvie did this:

it was heavenly to read magazines at a leisurely place and with BOTH HANDS. we also walked around a random mall for a couple of hours. again, she slept in the maya wrap while i scored a peacoat sweater for her at old navy.

old navy is having a FANTASTIC sale right now. all clearance is an additional 50% off. i got this peacoat for…wait for it…$2.98! TWO NINETY-EIGHT. say whaaaaaat?!

we got home fairly late last night after a delicious dinner stop at an all-you-can-eat-for-$9.99 family-owned buffet. amazingly, sylvie slept 5 consecutive hours the last two nights! i feel like a new woman. she and travis were still recovering from the trip this afternoon.

she is snoozing on her daddy’s chest as i type this. we’re going to put her down and climb into bed. goodnight!

awake.

our days are looking more like this:

and less like this:

it’s way more fun this way! happy six weeks to my little milky-moo.

the dreaded “s” words.

supply. stress. sleep. supplementing.

remember in my last post when i said my supply is a little low? i was downplaying that a little bit. for a couple of weeks now i have been pumping and getting barely enough for each feed. the milk i stockpiled in our freezer in those first days is gone. sometimes i get 2 ounces a side. sometimes, like the other night, i pump for 20 minutes and get less than an ounce total. i know it is not my fault. i am doing everything right. i am doing everything i can. i eat a healthy (if excruciatingly bland) organic diet. i drink glass after glass of water. i drink 3 cups of mother’s milk tea per day. i take my prenatal vitamins everyday without fail. i eat so much oatmeal i think i might be a quaker now.

this lack of supply leads to stress, which perpetuates a vicious cycle. the more i stress over my supply the worse it gets. sleep deprivation makes all of this more difficult. that pump session when i got less than an ounce? that was at 2 in the morning. i was not a pretty sight after that. let’s just say there was a lot of frustrated crying and spilled milk involved. travis (my knight in shining armor, as usual) calmed me down enough to sleep. he sat up with sylvie the rest of the night so i could rest. i felt much better that next morning.

after a lot of talking, crying (on my part), and a kind message from a good friend we have decided to supplement with formula every other feeding for the next week. 5 formula feedings a day for 7 days means i can pump and get 35 bags of milk in the freezer. it means i can stop stressing about my supply and (hopefully) produce a little bit more. it means the difference between another late night nervous breakdown and calm, nurturing feedings.

i am a mother. it is my job to feed my daughter however that needs to happen. it took me a few days to come to terms with formula. everything i had read lead me to look at it as liquid evil. it isn’t. we bought organic, dairy-free, dha and ara fortified powder. and you know what? she likes it. at first she looked at me with a expression that screamed WTF MOM?, but her first meal of it later and she is sleeping soundly in her father’s arms. i have two 3 ounce bags of milk in the freezer and i haven’t cried from the weight of it at all today. i’m doing what i have to and i don’t feel bad about it anymore. my hope is that, once the colic has passed, we can nurse exclusively again. i hope that this foray into formula is a very temporary roadblock on our journey together. the bottom line is that my daughter is a happy, healthy and well-loved almost 6-week-old, and i am a much happier mom.

busy.

i had no intention of going this long without blogging. it just sort of happened. this past weekend was a busy one. my mom was in town friday and saturday to hang out and help out. on sunday we took our first small family road trip to cincinnati (a nice halfway point) to meet up with travis’ family for a picnic and to hand over auggie doggie for a little while. we found that with sylvie’s colic and travis’ schedule (two jobs+full time grad school) that our pup wasn’t getting the attention he deserved. enter my in-laws who offered to take him for a few weeks until sylvie’s colic passes and we settle in to our new hectic schedules. he is also getting some much needed training while he’s there. he has a few bad habits that need to be broken with a baby around. barking at another dog on TELEVISION while sylvie is napping (no easy feat) a few feet away will not do! luckily, he is generally very gentle around her. he can get a little over-excited from time to time and that is worrisome. he would NEVER intentionally hurt her, but he has almost jumped on her a few times out of excitement. the bottom line is that auggie is a good dog and with training he will be a great dog. thanks, mom and dad for helping to facilitate this!

colic, colic, COLIC. where do i start? i am home with her by myself six days a week, and she does not like to be put down. she is hurting and just wants to be cuddled. who can blame her? the good thing is that she is starting to go down much better at night thanks to a new bedtime routine and soothing methods.

nursing has been a nightmare lately. she tries so hard to nurse, but it triggers her gastrocolic reflex so strongly that she screams immediately after swallowing. it is an uphill battle to get her fed. thank goodness she will take pumped milk from a bottle with very little trouble. it is not ideal, but she gets breast milk one way or another and that it the most important thing. hopefully this will pass in another six weeks or so. we’re just taking it one feeding at a time and trying hard to read her cues to figure out what she needs. we are both trying our hardest. i am trying to be as patient as possible and she is trying her hardest to nurse successfully. as soon as she pushes off, she tries to re-latch. you can almost see the determination in her sweet little face. it breaks my heart to see her in pain like this. the three of us can’t wait for this to pass. in the meantime, i’m drinking a ton of organic mother’s milk tea to keep my supply up (it’s been a little on the low side for a week or two now) and filling the freezer with milk as much as my supply will allow. i can’t wait until i can nurse her exclusively again. sigh. we’re getting through it one day at a time.

back to that new bedtime routine. now that sylvie is approaching six weeks we’re keeping the same routine every night. at around 9 we give her a warm bath, a calming massage with some lotion, change her into her bed clothes, swaddle her, dim the lights, nurse or bottle feed her, turn on the white noise machine, and rock her until she is drowsy. all of this take us up to a 10:30 bedtime. we try to lay her down when she is very drowsy, but still a little awake so she’ll learn how to self soothe. we do not let her cry it out, nor do we plan to. however, we used to pick her up every time she fussed or cried. we now know that this is a step backward for her. now we walk over to her crib when she fusses and rub her back, shush her, and give her a pacifier until she calms herself back down. this method has made a world of difference in our home in just two nights. she went from sleeping for an hour at a time to going down the entire 3-4 hours between feedings. last night, for example, she slept from 11:15-3, 3:30-6:45, and 7:45-10:15. never has three consecutive hours of sleep felt so glorious! next we’re going to start working on naps during the day. our girl is NOT a good napper. she’ll fight sleep all day long every time we put her down. however, she will nap for hours at a time in the maya wrap. i LOVE babywearing (that deserves its own post), but there are certain things i just can’t do while wearing her (cook at the stove, shower, etc). any nap time tips are appreciated. wish us luck!

as for me, my incision is healed and i’ve finally (TMI ALERT) stopped bleeding. the emotional scars left behind by my c-section, however, are another matter. this too deserves its own post. it’s a post that is difficult to write, and i have been putting it off. i want to write it out for catharsis and i will…soon.

okay. enough of that. it’s time for me to sneak in a shower while travis is home to hang out with milky-moo (her newest nickname). have a happy tuesday!

one month.

dear sylvie,

yesterday we celebrated one month with you. one month as a family of three. your daddy and i can’t decide whether this month has been the longest or the shortest time of our lives, but the days do fly by when everything fits into three hour increments. eat, poop, sleep. (i’d like to see julia roberts star in that movie!)

sylvie, it is an honor to be your mother. i love watching you take in the world around you. your eyes are beginning to focus on our faces, your hands and the pages of the books we read. speaking of those eyes, we are still trying to decide what color they will be. they are getting lighter and looking bluer everyday. i was so sure they would be brown in the days after your birth. your dad always insisted they would turn blue. daddy won that round!

this first month together has been all about taking life one day at a time. we are learning as we go along, and i apologize for any mistakes we’ve made so far. try not to hold those against us, okay? the colic has been particularly trying, but we’ll get through it together. we’re slowly figuring out what works to soothe you. white noise+your pacifier+holding you tummy to tummy seems to be the magic equation. i have also cut out dairy as an attempt to keep your sweet little tummy from bloating. i think it’s helping.

you are our sunshine, sweet girl. you are the tiny being that contains all of my hopes and dreams. you have transformed us from a couple to a family. you have increased the love in this tiny apartment exponentially. you are the piece that was missing all along. we just didn’t know it until now. we love you so much and we can’t wait to see what the next month will bring.

with all of the love in my heart,
your mom