Monday, August 30, 2010

My Mia Monday

A lot has been going on for Mia! She was six weeks old on Sunday. The main thing we are working on right now is our bedtime routine and going to bed at a decent hour (between 6-8) and not nursing for hours before finally falling asleep. We are making progress! We still aren't on a regular timetable, but our routines are pretty set.

She is very smiley! I LOVE her smiles!!! Lately she has been smiling a lot when we switch sides during nursing and after nursing (if the burps aren't bothering her). Tonight she smiled some during her bath, which I was pretty sure from the beginning she enjoyed.

We went on a road trip this weekend to be with Will. Really, it went pretty well. It is really neat how, even as little as she is, she knew we were somewhere new. And she had trouble falling asleep because she wanted to look at everything so much! A great moment was when she smiled and smiled at Will after seeing him again. How sweet!

Today Will tried to give her a bottle of some of my milk. Absolutely no progress! She just kept pushing it out with her tongue and fussing. I ran to the store because I didn't think it would be good if I was right there! She wouldn't like that! We have just a generic nipple so I might pick up one that I've heard a lot of people use. I'm not too concerned about getting this worked out. We just have a bunch of frozen milk from when I was pumping the first week. I thought we'd try to use it before we moved. It would be nice to have one feeding off a day, or to be able to leave for a while. But if not, that's okay too. It won't last forever and I know as she gets older she'll be able to go longer without eating.

I bought a "Mommy and Baby" workout DVD. I'm not sure if I will get around to doing it this week, but I am doing a few just baby exercises from it, as well as using some massage techniques. However, once we move and are settled, I look forward to doing a 10 minute segment every day.

I keep thinking how I just love having a baby! I do look forward to her growing and getting to know her better... hearing her talk and learn about her interests and what her talents are. But sometimes, when things are smooth, I just want her to stay little and sweet and cute. Maybe that's why people have more than one child... for the baby phase. I don't know, but it sure is a precious time!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Review/Preview for the Weeks

This past week was very busy for us compared to the previous weeks. Things aren't going to slow down for a while though!

August 22nd-28th
Sunday - We took Will to the field for the first time in the morning. After the 1:00 game, we met him back at the field to visit until the team left for the road trip. Many people stopped by and Mia was very social and even smiled at some people!

Monday - I had a WIC appointment at 1:00. Thankfully, it was quick and easy. Also, our host mom had her baby girl!

Tuesday and Wednesday - Just stayed at home, but did a lot of preparing for the weekend.

Thursday - Went to Target, Babies 'R Us, gas station, and ATM. Prepped for the weekend some more.

Friday - Left for New Hampshire to meet Will! This wore little Mia out and she slept a lot!

Saturday - Spent the day with Will. We had breakfast at the hotel and lunch at Panera. After Will goes to the field we will spend some time with a couple other baseball girls.

August 29th-September 4th
These are the plans, we'll see what actually happens! :)

Sunday - Take Will to the field and go meet the team with him. (Lord have mercy!) Go to the second half (or less) of the day baseball game. Go home with Will.

Monday - Tuesday - Nothing planned. Probably will be recovering from the weekend and doing a little packing for the upcoming move!

Wednesday - My six week appointment with the midwife. I'm excited to review the labor with her and hear things from her perspective!

Thursday - Saturday - Nothing planned at the moment. Probably more packing!

Friday, August 27, 2010

A Word on Faith - My 40 Days

In the Orthodox tradition, a woman stays home 40 days after giving birth. She doesn't even go to church. Sorrily, I can't explain the significance behind it, but, as with everything in the Orthodox faith, I know there is a deep and meaningful reason. However, having just completed mine, I will talk about what it meant to me.

Yesterday was my 40th day and I ended it all a little early by running a couple errands. Thanks be to God they went very smoothly, including a nursing in the car (piece of cake!). Today we drove a couple hours to where Will is with the team and are going to stay (hopefully) tonight and tomorrow night. It went fairly smoothly, though not as great as I had hoped. Yet, it is a learning experience - that's the point of the trip besides getting to be together.

Before these excursions, I did go to the store a few times, but never by myself with the baby. If I had before now, I think I would have been a nervous wreck! Not that I wasn't nervous these times, but I felt more confident. After all we had spent weeks just at home... nursing, learning to sleep and staring into each others' eyes. She gained 2 pounds in those weeks and started to smile. She has had little stress because all of her surroundings were the same since she came home from the hospital. I, as I wrote in my last post, have gained confidence and I was ready to test the waters of life outside of home with a baby. Religious reasons aside, I think it's very important for a mother to spend lots of time just being a mother.

Honestly, up until this time, I didn't really want to go anywhere. I didn't feel cooped up and I didn't, for sure, miss being around lots of people. I feel more complete and obviously I'm pretty preoccupied. I did get out of the house with one or two walks every day and I think that helped. I think it's a gift from our faith allowing us to put all things aside, even attending church, and reminding us it's okay to, and we should, focus on our little gift that came straight from heaven. I'm not sad that time is over, but I'm thankful to have had it.

Speaking of thanks... two random things I am truly thankful to God for. Today I had to go through 3 tolls and I didn't bring cash with me. Thanks be to God I had change for two, and at the third, the lady let me go without a fuss (I didn't even ask!). He always provides, even such little things!

Also, I am so, so thankful for the birth I was able to have with Mia. A friend recently had to have a C-section because her baby was breech and there was low amniotic fluid. Another friend is going to have to have one due to low amniotic fluid too. Both of them wanted natural births. I and so glad that I was able to have a spontaneous, natural birth and most importantly, a healthy baby. Glory be to God!
The Why

Since I joined the world of mothers a few weeks ago, I have had floods of “blog quality” thoughts race through my head. At first I resisted the idea. Why do I think others would care to read my thoughts? Why do I want them to? I had decided to just journal via the computer in a Word document. Yet, as I follow a handful of favorite blogs of mothers, some whom I know, some that I don’t, I feel inspired. I enjoy reading about their days, thoughts, adventures, challenges and victories. I feel a yearning to express myself. For some reason, I write differently when I know (or think) people will be reading. When I try to do the journal thing, it’s just that – a journaling of events. I don’t write creatively, and therefore don’t fulfill this need to express myself.

I don’t hope to compare to the blogs I love (see list). I simply hope to release my creativity, as meager as it may be, in order to have an outlet. This blog is for me. And if others read it and enjoy it… great!

The design I have in my head for this blog is structured. I’ve often seen this in other blogs that I’ve read and I think it will help me not only be fairly consistent, hopefully, but give me a structure for my thoughts, which feel rather scattered most the time.

Here’s what I am going to try:
            Sunday – off
            Monday – My Mia
            Tuesday – Thoughtful Tuesday
            Wednesday – off
            Thursday – In the Home
            Friday – A Word on Faith
            Saturday –  Review/Preview of the Week
Getting on the Right Foot

In a breastfeeding class, the instructor told all the pregnant women that we would only retain 60% of what we heard. Our mind wasn’t on learning, it was on our baby. In school, that percentage would be failing.

Before I had our precious daughter, I thought I had everything figured out. I had read all the books I had wanted to; I was ready. However, it had been some time since I had read some of the books. And if the instructor was right (which I think so!), I only retained 60% of it all.

In the hospital, dear Mia feel asleep on her own and slept great. On the second night, before going to sleep, I asked the nurse how often I should feed her. Every two hours like the day? Should I wake her up? “Babies tend to want to be near their mother from about 11 pm to 5 am. She’ll let you know.” was her advice. A bit confused, I went to sleep, only to wake up every hour – no cry. Finally, watching the clock endlessly, I got her up after four hours and feed her and she fell right back asleep. What was that nurse talking about??

The next few nights after we got home from the hospital were nightmares. Mia would nurse forever, then fall asleep, only to wake up 10 minutes later wanting to nurse again. The day was okay (honestly, I can’t remember that part as well – it was such a blur), but she simply would not sleep at night. We figured we had a baby that was just didn’t sleep much or well. After all, my brothers and I were all poor sleepers.

I looked at a book again, and reread that babies don’t reach deep sleep for 20 minutes after being asleep. That’s why people have rocking chairs (or sore feet). For some reason, I can’t recall ever thinking about how I’d put my baby to sleep, or that it would/could be difficult. I guess I was too busy worrying about breast feeding.

I figured she was confused about day and night. So I started implementing the EASY program during the day. Eat, Activity, Sleep, You time. We put her to sleep by swaddling her, dimming the lights, putting her in the bassinet and proceeding to pat her back while going “Shhhhhhhh” for 20-30 minutes. It worked like a charm, most of the time, and I was excited. But gradually, and as Will’s departure came closer, meaning I had no one to take turns with me, I dreaded doing that, what, 5-6 times a day!

The next thing I tried was wearing her in a carrier. The kind we had was highly recommended, but for infants, it required an insert, which we had. It was like a cocoon for the baby and reminded me of what Native Americans put their babies in, or at least what the pictures showed. I tried it a few times but it was just so huge on me. Plus, it was really hot and she got hot and I really worried about that. But she feel asleep and stayed asleep!

So I bought a cheap, light carrier and resigned myself to being doomed to be on my feet all day. Before this I was all about carrying my baby, some, but not all day… I mean, come on! But out of desperation and not wanting to say “Shhh” for hours, it became the norm.

Around the same time, I also I changed my thinking about night sleep. Will had left for his week long trip and I was spending the night in the glider, letting her nurse at will and trying to doze when she did. I had noticed there was a point that she finally did sleep for a few hours, but I never knew when that time was. While talking (ok, griping) to him about this he said, “Why don’t you just put her in bed with you?” He knew how I felt about it. I didn’t agree with co-sleeping. I didn’t want to have to ever “kick” my baby out of my bed so I just won’t put her there in the first place! But I listened to him. That first night I think I got two full hours of sleep and I felt great!  

So I went from not only imagining my baby sleeping in her own bed all the time, but being against anything else, to not only wearing by baby all day and co-sleeping with her, but LOVING it and not wanting it any other way. For now of course. As she gets older, I will teach her to sleep independently, but for now, I enjoy being her prop to get to sleep. She’s just a tiny one, new to the world. I’m the only thing familiar to her. It makes sense to keep me as close as possible. Not only that, I don’t feel normal without her.
So this is our basic day: We wake up together and I’m delighted to see her pretty eyes again. We nurse in bed, I change and dress her, and then we “get all wrapped up together” as I tell her. She stays awake some while I pick up the room, make the bed, and say some prayers. I then fix my breakfast and eat. She has either fallen asleep or is still contentedly observing. After breakfast I get ready by brushing my hair and teeth. If there’s time before she is to eat (which she always wakes up for!!), I start on my “to do” list for the day. After it’s been two hours since she ate, she eats again and I play with her some until she gets sleepy. Back into the wrap we go and usually take a walk for the beginning of this nap. The rest of the day follows that pattern, only what I do while she’s napping varies. As the day goes on, it’s harder to get her to fall asleep on her own. If she’s particularly fussy, I pace the room while patting her bottom and singing to her until she falls asleep, which takes anywhere from 10-15 minutes. If she’s not crying and I don’t think about what I’d rather be doing, then I really enjoy these moments. I can tell that I soothe her and she feels safe.

I won’t go into what our evenings were like before I started our bedtime routine. Our routine now is after the late afternoon feeding (around 4-5), I give her a bath and a massage. I get her all ready for bed and then we say some prayers. She is usually past ready to eat again, otherwise I’d read to her too. So we just start nursing in bed and we have a little playlist that we listen to and I sing to her too. It has a few folk songs, then Orthodox hymns, then Bach. While Bach is playing I review the day with her and tell her about the next. Right now she falls asleep a few times and wakes up again to eat before she falls asleep “for the night”, which is anywhere from 8-10. On a good night, she’ll only eat every 3 hours and go right back to sleep. Those are not exactly rare, but not the norm for sure! But I think we’re getting there. Things like gas and burps get in the way of having more of those nights!

So finally, I feel like I’m walking straight when it comes to caring for her. And if I get enough sleep, I can handle a day she’s a little more fussy or things don’t go as normal. If not, then it’s hard! I know things will continually change, but I feel like I at least have a handle on things which makes me more flexible for changes, instead of feeling clueless!

What about you? Did caring for your baby come naturally? Did you change your techniques after you had your baby?