Saturday, June 28, 2008


  • The font size issue on my blog is driving me crazy. I think I'm just going to have to go with the tiny font you see here. My apologies if you need to squint to read it. There's no happy medium between tiny and giant in this template, unfortunately. Maybe it's only me who's anal enough to care about it? :p
  • I'm down 11.4 pounds as of this morning! I still have more to lose, but at least it's progress. Sidenote: I noticed this morning that a lot of the people at my meeting proceed immediately to Le Peep or McDonald's after they leave. *cry*
  • You know how I thought Olivia was sleeping better? Yeah, I'm sure you can guess where this is going. She went down at 11:30 but was up at 12:30, 1:30, and 2:30 this morning (picture me yawning as I type this).
  • We're off to Lowe's today to buy a window a/c unit for our bedroom, because after spending nearly $1000 on insulation for our attic, it's still 10+ degrees hotter upstairs than it is on the main floor. Bah.

Friday, June 27, 2008

magic numbers: five and four

Last night, Olivia slept in her pack n' play for five straight hours. Yes, you're reading that correctly. Cinco! When she woke up at 4 a.m., I gave her a bottle and had her in bed with us until 8 a.m., when she got all squirmy and I put her back in the PNP. She then slept until 10 a.m. Woo hoo! Sadly, what should have been blissful sleep was not because of that weird back issue I'm having, but painful sleep is definitely better than none. I have an appointment with a sports medicine/chiro in early July. I hope she can do something for me. I mean, I know I'm an older mom, but I don't want to be an old mom.

Our dainty eater has also suddenly gone from barely eating two ounces at a time to guzzling four ounces in one sitting. I'm hoping that a fuller stomach will help her sleep longer stretches. Perhaps the 4-month wakefulness period is coming to an end as she nears her 5-month birthday. We'll see ...

In case you didn't know, toes make a super-tasty snack!

Monday, June 23, 2008

knocking on wood

I almost hate to type this out for fear that she'll go back to her old ways, but our darling Olivia has actually logged a few hours of nighttime sleep in her pack and play in the last two nights.

Saturday night she was awake when I put her down for a minute so I could take out my contacts. Much to my shock, she rolled on her side, sighed, and went to sleep. I was almost cackling in disbelief and had to run downstairs to tell Dan what had happened. That night, she slept about 10 minutes short of four hours in there. Which means I got almost four fabulous hours of horizontal, non-baby-holding sleep!

Last night, she slept in her swing from 10:15-11:15, then I took her upstairs and put her in the pack and play. She didn't wake up crying like she often does the second she leaves my arms, but instead rolled onto her stomach (which makes me terribly nervous given the whole "back to sleep" SIDS prevention campaign) and kept sleeping. I think she made it until about 3 a.m. before she woke up for a bottle. Between 3-6 a.m. she drank three bottles; at 6 a.m. she was stirring around and couldn't get comfortable, so I put her in the pack and play. Again, she rolled over and slept! I think she woke up around 8:30.

The downside to this is my back -- I don't know what's going on, but when I sleep lying down, I wake up with horrible back pain and it takes me an hour to get upright again. It's like my 35-year-old body has suddenly decided to act 80. I'm going to call a chiropractor (or maybe a physical therapist? I'm not sure yet) today ... if I'm going to be getting some sleep again soon, I don't want to be waking up in agony every time.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Breastfeeding sucks. Pun intended.

(pardon the small font -- this got really, really long.)

I've been creating this post in my head for a while now ... I'm hoping that typing it out might be therapeutic somehow, though I think I may need some heavy therapy in order for me to ever feel ok about the whole situation.

If you read my birth story, I mentioned that breastfeeding wasn't going well. Olivia latched on in the hospital, but a nurse told me she wasn't doing it right and threw a nipple shield at us. She didn't really like that at all, and so she was having issues getting latched back on. It was after 5 p.m. when we got to our room the day she was born, which meant no lactation consultants were on duty. We'd have to wait until morning. But in the meantime, the nurse said, we needed to make sure that she ate. They were going to take her to the nursery for a while (she was having problems keeping her body temperature up) and they'd give her some formula there. Just a little bit, they said, in a special bottle (I later learned it was called a Haberman) that wouldn't interfere with breastfeeding. I cried as they took her off to the nursery -- just one of many, many times I'd feel like a failure in the coming weeks and months. I'd heard about how the nurses would try to push formula on us in the hospital, but I didn't think it would happen to us. I didn't think we'd have problems. I was so confident that things would work that I hadn't bought any bottles and had even purchased a pump and all the essentials.

Little did I know that after the flurry of attention you get during labor and delivery, they basically stick you in a room with your baby on the post-partum recovery floor and leave you alone. For hours, it seemed. I didn't know what I was doing. The nurses kept taking Olivia to the nursery to warm her up and would bring her back to eat. In my bleary-eyed-ness, I gave her bottles that first night because I was just so exhausted and had no idea what I was doing, and there was no one there to show me.

Lactation came in the next morning. Groggy and completely out of it from not getting much sleep that night -- I was hallucinating that there were things scampering across the floor of the hospital room -- I had a hard time taking in everything they told me. I do recall the lactation consultant (LC) telling me to pump three times a day. Little did I know that when the baby isn't latching at all, you need to be pumping EIGHT to TEN times a day. I didn't end up learning that little fact until a week or so after she was born, which no doubt affected my supply.

I kept trying to latch her on, but every time I did, she would scream and cry hysterically. It was heartbreaking. Irrationally, I felt like she hated me.

I went to see an LC at the hospital where she was delivered -- twice. The first time I went to see her, I described our problems in detail, tears in my eyes, asking if it was too late. The LC helped me get her latched on, she ate happily, fell asleep, and it was like nothing was wrong. It felt a lot like when you take your car to the mechanic because it's making a noise, but then doesn't do it when the mechanic drives it around. I was so happy on my way home that day, and actually had an appetite (a rarity in those early days). When it was time for Olivia to eat again, I took her upstairs to her room, anxious to repeat the positive experience we'd had earlier that day. Much to my dismay, she once again worked herself into a hysterical frenzy. I had been so overjoyed only minutes before, and then I was experiencing yet another setback and more heartbreak.

I trekked to breastfeeding support groups at that same hospital as well as another one across town twice a week. I broke down crying at one meeting as I tried to get Olivia to latch on and watched her thrash and scream as the LC just stared at us and shrugged her shoulders. All the other mothers looked at me pityingly as they breastfed their babies without incident while I sat there giving her a bottle of evil formula that she sucked down happily.

I tried several times to contact the La Leche League; their local phone number was disconnected. On my first visit to the support group at the second hospital, I was told the wrong location for the meeting and ended up going to three different buildings, lugging poor tiny Olivia in her carrier in the freezing rain, before I found it mere minutes before the meeting ended. It was like a comedy of errors at times.

I hired an LC to come to my home. I kept using the dreaded nipple shield along with a feeding tube and a syringe ... it was quite a sight to behold, and required two people to make it work. Then we were on to an extremely annoying device called an SNS that I hated with every ounce of my being. I rented a hospital-grade pump and I pumped. And pumped. And pumped. Sometimes eight times a day or more. I created checklists to make sure I was drinking enough water each day and to track my pumping sessions and output. I downed herbal supplements like fenugreek, blessed thistle, More Milk Plus, and the super hideous tasting goat's rue. Sometimes I was taking 14 or more pills a day -- quite a challenge for someone who can't stand gulping down a daily multivitamin.

I spent my precious free time (of which there wasn't much, due to Olivia's need to be held nearly nonstop and her inability to nap unless in my arms) online, scouring breastfeeding information resources like, trying to figure out how to increase my supply in the hopes of weaning her off the formula, of which she was getting more with each passing day. In desperation, I even ordered domperidone (a drug not approved in the U.S.) from an online pharmacy in another country to try to boost my supply.

I thankfully didn't experience post-partum depression, but I absolutely experienced breastfeeding-related depression. The same websites I used for information also scared me senseless and would send me into sobbing fits frequently (my mom sadly had to witness most of them). Formula-fed babies, they said, have lower IQs, are more at risk of getting childhood leukemia, diarrhea, ear infections, juvenile diabetes, and any other number of bad things you don't want to happen to your baby. I didn't want anyone to come over and visit. I often sobbed in the shower, wondering aloud why my body wasn't working properly; why I couldn't feed my baby like everyone else did; whether my poor, innocent, helpless baby was going to be stricken with some terrible illness because of me and my inability to breastfeed.

I would cry in the car on the way home after purchasing formula, certain that everyone was staring at me, judging me: she's lazy. Defective. Unwilling to do what it takes to make it work. Other mothers in the waiting room at the pediatrician's office would glare (or so it felt) at me as they smugly (or so I thought) breastfed their babies. Reading other people's birth stories on a message board I'm on made me cringe, because no matter how different the story, they all had a common thread: "He/she's breastfeeding like a champ!" Ugh.

When Olivia was 16 weeks old, I started thinking that maybe I should allow myself to stop. Give up. Throw in the towel. She still wouldn't latch, or when she would she'd cry. All my pumping was only yielding maybe 6-8 ounces/day; she was eating 2-3 ounces at a time every couple of hours. I figured that I tried my best, and it was ok to resign myself to the fact that it wasn't working out and was never going to. That doesn't mean that I was ok with stopping/giving up, or that I probably ever will be. The subject still reduces me to tears on a near-daily basis. I've cried a few times while typing this out.

If you've found this post because you're having breastfeeding difficulties, I feel your pain and then some. If you're supplementing with formula, check out Formula Isn't Poison. It might not make you feel completely better, but I hope it helps some. Thanks to my sister for finding it and sending it my way. Olivia is growing just fine, according to her pediatrician. She's only had one cold so far, seems to be a very fun, active and alert baby, and is ahead on all her milestones. So I guess I have formula to thank for that. And if I'm being honest with myself, I'm really enjoying not pumping. I can hold Olivia more. I have more free time. I can booze it up all I want (though I've learned that alcohol = fatigue, and who needs more of that right now?).

I guess there's really no point to all of this, except perhaps to release some of my sadness and guilt out into the ether. And to prove -- to myself? Others? I'm not sure -- that I tried. I really, really tried.

forgot to post these: 3-month pro pics

I've had these for a couple of weeks now, but forgot to post them. Amy at Portraiture shot these on a rainy Friday afternoon when I realized that Olivia was almost past three months old. I'd been planning to have three-, six-, nine- and 12-month professional photos taken of her, thus a panicked call to the photo studio to see if they accepted walk-in customers. Yeah, I'm a little anal retentive like that. I think they turned out really well. There were tons of great shots, but we picked four poses to have printed.

Adorable, yes?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

gross, but somehow cute

Or maybe it's just cute to a mom? Here's Olivia on the porch today, making herself a fabulous, frothy beard of saliva bubbles.

uneventful week

So ... not much is going on this week. Dan is out of town again on his last work training trip, so Olivia and I have been trying to entertain ourselves. My mom came over and helped me clean the house in preparation for a visit from the in-laws tomorrow, which was a huge help. We had some insulation blown into our attic today as well, in the hope that it'll keep the upstairs part of our house from reaching the 90s on warm days. I'm crossing my fingers it works, because the guest bed on the main level is really uncomfortable (though sleeping in a 90-degree room is even more unpleasant).

O is currently asleep in the pack n' play upstairs. This does not happen often, as you may know. Lately she's been even harder than normal to settle down for naps: needs lots of rocking/bouncing/shushing/walking; shoots awake at the slightest noise; wakes up screaming if you try to put her down anywhere, including the swing. She seemed pretty sound asleep after I'd held her for a while, so I figured I'd give it a try. So far, so good. Fourteen minutes sleeping solo! I have to admit that my heart is racing a bit because I know she'll wake up wailing at any moment.

I read in the 90-Minute Baby Sleep Program that most babies' sleeping habits improve between four and six months of age. It even goes so far as to say that naps lengthen and bedtimes get earlier -- as in between 6-8 p.m. Two hour naps? A few hours of time to hang out with my husband in the evening? That would be an absolute dream! Somehow, I don't think I can get my hopes up. I was googling "baby sleep issues" yesterday as she took a three-hour nap (in my arms) and came across an article on the Dr. Sears website about high-needs babies. That article said that babies like that can have sleep issues for quite some time. I hate to call her high-needs, because in all other ways she's an absolute joy -- quick to smile, so alert and observant, loves people, only cries when she's hungry or tired. They also use terms like "spirited" ... maybe I'll just keep reminding myself that she's extraordinarily intelligent and that's why she's not interested in sleeping. ;)

update: she woke up at 9:45. Not too shabby.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

desperately seeking sleep

Last night we went for a walk on the Monon Trail, which was fun. Olivia looked around the whole time and cracked up when we imitated the techno music of some teenager driving by. Because we'd gotten a little exercise, we decided to grab Taco Bell for dinner. What a disappointing 14-point dinner! I should have known better. To think of the many things I could have eaten for that many points ... sigh.

The night shift was not fun. After rocking, swinging, shushing, bouncing, feeding and everything else I could think of from 10 p.m. (when Olivia started rubbing her eyes and acting tired) until midnight, she slept in her bassinet until 12:30 a.m. A whole 30 minutes. I gave her another bottle and then she fell asleep again until 1-a.m.-something. From then on, I saw every.single.hour on the clock. I didn't even bother with trying to put her in the pack n' play to sleep -- it seems to instantly wake her up -- so the sleep I did get was pretty fitful with her in my arms. I got to "sleep in" until 9:45, but that's a joke, because I was up pretty much every hour all night/all morning.

I don't know if it's the fabled 4-month wakefulness period, I'm doing something terribly wrong, or I'm being punished for doing something dreadful in a past life, but I hope she starts sleeping better soon. I can't imagine having to go to work and be productive while this exhausted. My eyes are all scratchy and my brain hurts.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

poker night was a bust

It was fun getting out and seeing people last night, but I wasn't able to play poker at all. Miss Olivia decided to be shy and pull out her new pouty-lip-tragic-face when I tried to hand her off to anyone else, so I spent most of the evening holding her/feeding her/trying to get her to fall asleep. Once she was asleep, my cousin's wife suggested I try to put her down so I could joint the group. I should have known better, but I thought, hey, what the heck, everyone else's babies sleep lying down! Ooops. Her back hadn't even hit the couch when her arms shot out in the startled pose and she started wailing. It was all downhill from there. It's probably for the best ... the last time I played, my $20 buy-in was gone within 10 minutes.

She didn't go to sleep until 1 a.m. This was especially distressing to me after talking to another couple at poker night whose 9-month-old baby was already in bed at 7 p.m. and home with a sitter. 7 p.m.? That's crazy talk! They did tell me that their child was a horrible sleeper until 3 weeks ago, when they let her cry it out (CIO). Ugh. I just don't like that idea AT ALL. It seems so mean: you can cry all you want, but mommy isn't coming to help you. How they could listen to their child cry hysterically for an hour straight is beyond me. Three minutes and I'm breaking out into a cold sweat and nearly crying myself.

Thankfully, she slept in the pack n' play until around 5 a.m., so I got a few hours of somewhat sound sleep -- dreams and everything! I overslept the 7:30 and 9:00 a.m. Weight Watchers meetings, so I went to the 10:15 session instead. I'm down another 2.6 pounds for a total of 8 pounds since I started 3 weeks ago. Sadly, I won't be in swimsuit shape in time for our beach vacation next month, but I suppose every little bit helps.

Friday, June 13, 2008

rain and more rain

It seems like it's been nonstop, though I guess it was sunny here yesterday. I'd planned to hit Target today to get out of the house for a bit (and pick up a Father's Day card for Olivia to give Dan), but it's pouring and looks like more bad weather is on the way. The last time I took her out when it was raining, I ended up looking like a drowned rat and got more "What kind of mother are you, dragging your baby out in this?" looks than I care to remember. I guess we're housebound for the afternoon, anyway.

Tonight we're going to my cousin's house for a poker night -- lots of people there will have their kids along, so it should be fun. The last time we went to their poker night, I was 5 days away from my due date and could barely keep my eyes open past 10 p.m. Dan finally took pity on me and went all in on a bad hand so we could head home. Or at least that was his excuse for losing. ;)

Better go -- the UPS guy just rang the doorbell and got a look at me sitting here in my bathrobe with my hair up in a towel, glamour queen that I am. Off to dry my hair while O is still sleeping ...

Monday, June 9, 2008

I get tired of explaining

If I were a little bolder, I'd make this on and take her out in this:No, she didn't fall down.
Nope, it's not a cut/scrape/burn, either.
I didn't drop her on her head.
I also didn't press my thumb there and leave a mark, genius.

It's not so bad when kids ask about it, but you'd think adults would know better. Maybe I'll make and order that onesie after all ...

Saturday, June 7, 2008

4 months old today!

It's been the most exhausting -- but absolutely the best -- 4 months of my life.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

home sweet home

What a week! Friday night, there were severe storms around 10:30 p.m. that knocked out our power and drove a crazy snapping turtle into the window well of our basement (more on that later). Saturday morning I realized that we also had no water, because despite living three stoplights away from a fancy mall, our subdivision isn't connected to city water/sewer. By Saturday afternoon, we realized that it might be a while until our power came on, so we packed up some stuff and headed to my parents' house.

I'm not sure they realized they'd have three houseguests -- including one who likes to get up at all hours of the night -- until Wednesday. Cable/phone/internet (a.k.a. Comcrap's "triple play" package) didn't make it back on until this morning.

It was so nice to be able to have somewhere to go, especially a place with fabulous home-cooked meals and clean fluffy towels. Some of our neighbors rented generators or showered at their neighbor's house. We lost all of the food in our fridge and freezer and got a little water in our basement, but it could have been much worse. It'll be a long time before I take things like basic phone service and electricity for granted again.