So… Hi. It’s been a while. I didn’t really mean to go away for that long, and I have posts that I am thinking of continually in my head, but time goes by so quickly right now that I look up and don’t know where the day has gone. So this will be a bit ramble but figured I would update you all on a number of topics.
Before I do that, though, there is a bit of a disclaimer that I want to put out there on two topics. First of all, there are things that are hard, and are also rewarding, and parenthood and pregnancy are perfect examples of these. And there are things that are hard and just fucking shit, and diseases, like infertility (because it is a disease, fuck you insurance and a system that doesn’t value women and family health, but that is a larger post for another time). Disease and loss are just hard, and there is no guarantee of a reward at the end, you hope that there will be, but that is one of the hardest things, not knowing if it will end the way that you so desperately hope. So there are things that I will talk about below that are hard, but please know that I am aware of how very lucky I am, and how even with the hard bits, there is nowhere that I would rather be.
Second of all, I offer advice on things that have worked for us, because they have worked for us, not because they are the ‘right’ thing to do or ‘right’ plan to follow. Just like fertility treatments and resolutions for infertility, there is no 100% right thing, there is only what is right for you. What I loved most about this community is the unwavering support for all options, and helpful advice from others experience, treatment options, second opinions, etc. I wish there was more of that support and non judgmental advice in the mommy world. I am quickly finding that it’s not like the supportive community of infertiles. And fuck all of that. I am not engaging in any sort of mommy war or judging of what others are doing, and I offer everyone my full support in whatever makes you and your family happy, and I want to hear about those things and I offer what is working for us in return. End of rant, I’m sure I’ll have more on this subject as we get deeper into this whole parenthood thing 🙂
Baby’Olive’ aka AV
She is now 11, almost 12 weeks, which is insane to me. She is now smiling and cooing, which is so much fun to see her little personality coming out. She has a small amount of reflux so we are giving her some Zantac every day which seems to be helping for the most part. The first 6 weeks were definitely the hardest with her, she only slept for small chunks at a time at night and there were days when she was definitely on strike against naps. One day the husband got off work (he works from home in his office upstairs) to find me and her crying in the bedroom because I hadn’t been able to put her down the entire day and she would only sleep on me for 5 minute increments at a time.
But after 6 weeks it started to get easier, we moved her to sleeping in her crib in her room downstairs (which was rough for me), she was sleeping upstairs in our living room in a bassinet with the two of us taking shifts at night to be near her for feeds and just to make sure. The first few nights with her far away were tough as I would get freaked out that someone was going to break in (irrational I know, but she is on the ground floor and we are one floor up and it freaks me out even though we live in a safe part of the city and always use the alarm) but we all started sleeping better and for longer stretches. We have been somewhat following the advice from two books – Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child and The Sleepeasy Solution, which basically say at the age she is now to try and not have your baby be over tired and start a bedtime routine at 8 weeks, both of which we try to do and may be starting to pay off (or it’s all just luck, who the hell knows). We still rock and feed her to sleep (and then pray like hell that her eyes stay shut when we put her in the crib) but she has had a few times where she’s woken up and put herself back to sleep before I can grab a robe and a bottle, so we are hoping that is a good sign. At this age neither book recommends real sleep training, but they have options for when she gets a little older, and I like options. Last night she slept a whole 10 hours, woke up to eat and then went back down fairly easily, which may never happen again, but today I feel rested, almost like before baby and pregnancy, which is amazing. Two nights ago she had some tummy issues and woke up every 3 hours, so not every night is like the last, but at least they have been on a good trend since she made it to 6 weeks. And yes, I realize this could all go straight to hell when she gets a little older, but at least we have right now.
Things she likes:
-Sleeping in mom or dad’s arms/being held
-Car rides (but not ones through the city where there are lots of stops)
-Diaper changes (really, it’s so strange, she loves being a naked baby on her changing table)
-The finger – this is the best baby trick of all time for us – it came from my sister and was never mentioned in any of our classes so I wanted to pass it along here. You take a pinky finger, ut it in the baby’s mouth so that the pad of the finger touches the roof of their mouth. And at least for our girl it almost always works to settle her down if eating doesn’t. Bad news is that you are now without the use of one hand, but I have eaten entire dinners in restaurants with one finger in her mouth while she is in the carseat and we have both been very content. I need to figure out how to design and patent the ‘severed finger’ pacifier, I could make millions if I could figure out the design.
Things she tolerates:
Things she hates:
-Taking her Zantac
-Being hungry (most of the time if she is crying it is due to wanting to eat)
To go along with her likes/dislikes and because I love lists here are some things that we have found invaluable in the first weeks to help with eating, sleeping, pooping and soothing:
-The Ergo Baby Swaddle – perfect for when she was really tiny and fairly idiot proof as it uses all velcro (we failed the swaddling parts of our baby classes)
-The Miracle Blanket Swaddle – what she is using now and is a little harder to figure out and keep swaddled but is like a baby straight jacket in keeping her arms down. It seems like it would be uncomfortable but since she is a baby that likes to be swaddled (and I know not all do) it seems to really help her stay asleep.
-Snuza Monitor – what we used when she was in the bassinet and when we went on vacation – it hooks to the diaper and touches their stomach and goes off if it doesn’t have motion (I’m sure not necessary and probably doesn’t really prevent SIDS but it makes me feel better)
-Angel Care Monitor – because I am crazy and paranoid about SIDS (see above)
-Marpac dual speed sound machine with fan – she seems to like the white noise and it has a fan which is supposed to help with SIDS (again see above)
-MD Moms baby silk fragrance free wipes – they are stupid expensive but especially when she was really little the only things that cleaned well and didn’t irritate her skin
-Puj sink baby bathtub – doesn’t take up a lot of space and cradles her nicely for bathtime
-Ergo baby 360 carrier – she didn’t like this or the Boba (still doesn’t love the Boba but I think that is because I didn’t start her in it at a young age) at first but now she will fuss for a tiny bit and then hang out or snooze while I try to get stuff done, I only wish I had tried the Boba carrier earlier as I think she would have liked it in the early days of wanting to be so close to us.
-Baby Bjorn Bouncer – Seriously one of the best things we have. I have used it for many purposes including to shower (sticking a leg out to bounce her), shove on some makeup and eat some dinner while keeping her happy
Is amazing. Seriously. I knew that he would be a good father and wanted to be involved, but seeing it just melts my heart. From the beginning he has split every night with me so that we each get to sleep some. He always takes the toughest shift with her so that I can sleep some and once we started feeding bottles of breast milk we really could more equally share (although I was getting up every 2-3 hours to pump in the beginning – seriously I swear I will write about my boobs soon). And now that he has gone back to work he is the one that has the rough job of putting her down for the night and on weekends he takes her ALL NIGHT. Meaning that other than pumping he puts her to bed and gets up with her anytime she needs it from about 7:30 pm to around 7 or 8 am. And seeing her with him is just so much fun, he is so involved and able to soothe her as well as I can, which means a lot to both of us.
The not so fun story of my boobs and breastfeeding is a post all in it’s own (which I swear I will write soon). As far as the rest of me goes, recovery went fairly well, but it did take a good 3-4 weeks to stop bleeding and I used the witch hazel and numbing cream all the way to 4 weeks postpartum. As for the actual weight loss, I gained about 35 pounds in total and lost 20 of it within the first week. From there it’s taken me until now to get to about 7 pounds away from my IVF weight (which is 5 pounds over where I would like to be). Right now I’m not too concerned, although I would love to fit into my old clothes again, I am walking a ton with her and our dog and started running again on vacation and on weekends and I’m starting to at least feel like my old self physically, so hopefully the rest of the weight loss will come. I went to my 6 week postpartum checkup and they cleared me for all physical activity, including sex (which is seriously the farthest thing from my mind) and asked the birth control question. I definitely do not want to go on any more hormones like birth control so we are going to do condoms from here (in the unlikely event we actually do have sex) and then likely just not use anything once it gets to the point that we even consider having a second.
Every year we go to Whistler for the US 4th of July, this year we obviously couldn’t go with a 6 week old baby so we decided to push our trip to the end of July. We packed up all of our things (holy shit it was a lot of stuff with a baby – bottles, pumping, travel crib, bouncer, etc) and went up to Whistler for 8 days in the mountains. Luckily we had a 1 bedroom hotel room that had a kitchenette and laundry on every other floor – without those two things I think we would have had to cut the trip short. She had a rough night the first night sleeping in her travel crib in a new environment and we feared a long ‘vacation’ of even more sleepless nights while away. But luckily she settled in after that first night and was a champ for the whole vacation. We would get up in the morning, take the dog for a long walk and get coffee, and then do lunch or shopping and nap for a bit before dinner. We ate early in some amazing restaurants and she slept for a lot of it or hung out with ‘the finger’ or flirted with the wait staff. We only had one night where she melted down during the walk to dinner so we grabbed a pizza and a bottle of wine and hung out in the room for the evening. All in all it was a great trip, very different from years past but so nice to have my husband free from work for that long and no obligations beyond some light cleaning and laundry vs all the normal chores that need to be done at home.
Hopefully what’s next for AV is that she continues to be a happy baby, sleep well at night and become a better napper during the day. For me I have 1 month left of maternity leave (it hurts to even say that out loud), I took 4 months off knowing that likely we will never get to do this again, a lot of it unpaid, but even with that seemingly large amount of time, it has gone so very fast. I love my job but I’m not looking forward to going back. Hopefully that will change once I get back in the swing of things. My mom is moving here for a year in September to take care of her full time which is the best and most amazing gift ever, we got her a little apartment down the street so she will be close and it will be as easy as possible. So I am so lucky in that I’m not at all worried about childcare, just will be sad to not spend this much time with her every day.
As far as this blog, I’m not sure what’s next. For now I will post when I have time and a topic (someday I swear I will post my IVF play list) and we’ll see how it goes. I love, love this community (especially now that I see just how unique and supportive it is compared to the general parenting community) and I will always be infertile so please know that even if I don’t comment often you are all on my mind all the time and I am sending hope and light and love to you all.