Monday, August 30, 2010

Wanted: Naps

We have an amazing nighttime sleeper. She usually goes down for the night around 8, gets up about every 3 1/2 hours (or longer) for her feedings, and will sleep until 9 in the morning. Our night feedings are quick and easy: diaper change, feeding, burping, and then back to bed. We're usually done in about half an hour but they can take up to 45 minutes depending on how quickly Amélie's eating. Since we brought her home she's been sleeping in her bassinet beside our bed at night. Yet, I've been enjoying snuggling up and co-sleeping with her after her last night feed. We both tend to sleep really well during that time and I love waking up with her big eyes looking at me in the morning. Basically, we're golden when in comes to night sleeping! But...daytime sleeping/napping...a whole other issue.

Actually, our sweet little bean had been sleeping as we'd planned in her crib during her naps. I thought we had the whole schedule thing going really well. She'd eat, play for about an hour and when she started acting sleepy, I would wrap her up, hold her, and she'd fall asleep fairly quickly. I'd then put her down in the crib. Now, Amélie is resisting sleep during the day and sometimes her evening bed time. We still have the same routine of eating and playing, but now when I can tell she's sleepy and follow the routine we had before, she will fuss and cry...and cry at the top of her lungs! It's to the point where I have to put her in the ergo carrier and walk around for at least an hour in order to get her to sleep. Then, setting her down in her crib is like deactivating a bomb. I have to put her down slowly, carefully, and without removing my hands from her body for another five minutes. Usually this will work but other times she'll be up again in 5-15 minutes.

I mentioned Amélie's new sleeping habit to my brother and he said my nephew went through something similar when he was about the same age as her so I'm hoping she will get over it as he did.  I told my dad about our new issue, which, coincidentally began once he left us to go back to Guatemala, and he thinks that she's gotten used to sleeping in the ergo and that's why she has a hard time falling asleep otherwise. We've used the ergo almost every day since she got home because it's easy for me to walk the dogs and run errands alone and she's always fallen asleep in it. But, we've also used the stroller as often and it does not have the same effect. She also does not like the carseat! Sooooo....I'm stumped and frustrated.

Yesterday,  we decided to try putting her down in the bouncer, which, before today hadn't really proven to be a soother for Amélie. It proved to be successful during her second afternoon nap. I tried it again today and it didn't work. We've tried the stroller, driving, rocking her, the swing, the bouncer, lying with her, holding her and jiggling her around, swaddling her, laying her in her crib with her sleep sheep on, playing her lullaby CD, nursing her, the pacifier, singing to her, and other variations of soothing her by holding and none of these things consistently work. The ergo carrier seems to be the only thing that does actually work every time, yet she will still cry and fuss for a while before she actually falls asleep. It just breaks my heart when she cries. Those little tears make me feel so bad. So if there is ANYTHING, anything at all that I can do to prevent her from crying and shedding tears, I will do it.

Does anyone have any suggestions, answers, magic spells, prayers for us?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Amélie- Week Seven

We can't imagine life without you sweet girl.

She's discovered her legs and cannot stop moving them. She loves pushing on the armrest of the glider when I'm nursing her. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Amélie- Week Six

We can't believe how big she's getting!

Amélie, we love waking up to your sweet baby sounds and big eyes. 

Friday, August 20, 2010

Breastfeeding: Friend or Foe

It's time to talk about boobs.

Definitely not a subject I would ever think to write anything about, but I definitely have a lot to write about now. I could write a novella about my boobs. It would be my Boobagraphy.

The story begins on a sunny day in July- the 12th to be exact. As would be expected from myself and the medical staff, my boobs would now be supplying our wee babe with everything she'd need to thrive. So, I said to the twins, "Girls, we've got a big job and you've got a lot of work to do!" They were not completely in agreement and so they took their sweet time. They also did not think too fondly of all the criticism and fondling by random people that wanted to "help."

Well, ladies, we all know how it starts. I knew it was going to be hard. Everyone told me it was going to be tough and that I had to just stick with it and it would definitely get easier. At this point, I can agree and I'm very proud of myself for staying with it. It feels amazing to be able to provide so much for our little bean and really see the effects of it as she grows and fills out. But, it was not an easy road to get here.

Since Amélie arrived earlier than her due date, she wasn't up for the sucking she'd have to do to get herself some grub. She'd latch on, but really just spend her time playing around and not really sucking. When the lactation consultant at our hospital made her first visit to our room, she immediately suggested that I pump. The idea was that by pumping, my body would get the whole system working sooner and more efficiently in order to feed the babe. So, I pumped and pumped and pumped my little heart(boobs) out to produce almost nothing those first few days. Mere drops appeared and I felt extremely frustrated and emotionally drained. How come it wasn't working?! It took about a good 4 days for anything more than a teaspoons worth to actually come out. It was quite a victory for me when I actually got a half ounce of real milk out.

During the time we were in the hospital, a lactation consultant visited us to check-up on my progress and to make sure that Amélie was latching on correctly and actually sucking every day. It was really nice and all to have the help, but man, it was a lot of stress on me to produce and a lot of times I felt like I wasn't doing my job. With the suggestions of the nurses and LCs, this is what our routine looked like during our first week:

1st: Try and feed Amélie. Force my boob in her mouth and hope for the best. Try one boob and then the next. She tended to prefer one boob over the other. We'd sometimes have success with that one. 
2nd: Pump. During that first week I truly detested that dumb pump. It was a little painful and until day 4, it didn't really feel or look like it was working. 
Repeat! Over and over again every two hours all day!

{the scary pump I've been using at home and used part of the time we were at the hospital}

Well, eventually we had success with both-the pump and Amélie. Yet, when we returned to the lactation center a week after her birth, I once again felt like a failure. Using their method of weighing her before and after a feeding, the nurse practitioner said Amélie needed more. That meant supplementing her with formula in order to get her weight up. Ugh! She also suggested I try this and that product to increase milk production and also rent a hospital-grade pump. Ugh, again! I was sucking at this whole breastfeeding thing and I just broke down and started crying in their front office. Even though I felt like they were telling me I wasn't doing my job(I know they weren't on purpose) and I really just wanted to cry and punch them in their faces; I took their advice and swallowed those pills, drank that tea, and used the big scary pump. The results: they worked. I'm a milk making machine and my baby's got some rolls on her legs!

Now, Amélie's feeding like a champ. I do wish I had some kind of gauge on the boobs to measure how much she is getting during each feeding. I'm just curious. I also still pump maybe once or twice a day after she eats because I'm working on creating a stockpile of milk in the freezer for when I go back to work.

I'm really happy I made it through the first weeks and that Amélie's gaining weight. When we went back for her two week check-up she had gone over her birth weight after losing a little more than she was supposed to and I have a feeling she's going to be right where she should be when we go to her two month appointment in a few weeks. Aside from supplementing with stinky formula(it really does stink) for two days, Amélie's been gaining her little rolls only from drinking the boob milk I worked so hard to get. So take that well-meaning lactation center ladies!

p.s. I'm in the market for a pump of my very own! woo. Can you sense the excitement or sarcasm? I'm looking at either a Medela or Ameda since that's what I had more success with. But, the Ameda has always been the hospital-grade one, so I don't know if I can compare it with the one you can buy at the store. Anyways...does anyone have any suggestions/comments/advice/whatnot on any pumps?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Rice and Beans: Month 1

Dearest Amélie,

What a month it has been! What started as a quick visit to the doctors turned out to be your birthday! Although you unexpectedly showed up a few weeks early, we couldn't be happier to have gotten to meet you. I'm especially happy because I get to spend a few extra weeks with you during my time off. Your daddy always said he'd hoped you would arrive a bit earlier because he thought I'd enjoy getting more time with you and he couldn't have been more right.  Since the moment we met you, your daddy and I have just been head over heals in love with you and I wish there were more hours in the day because I can't get enough of your sweetness.

Along with your arrival came a few other surprises. You did a very good job of fooling us all about your size, especially the doctors, who predicted that you would be well over seven pounds, but out you came only carrying 5 lbs. and 5 oz! You were so tiny that the clothes I hoped to bring you home in were much too big and the only thing that fit you were a pair of preemie pj's your Abuelita Cookie bought for you. You really looked so adorable in your ducky pj's!

Nena, you also played around in mommy's tummy and turned yourself around in the last few hours before we met, so that it made it quite difficult for me to get you out. That's why you came out all bruised and bumped on your little head; it took us all a little (okay, maybe a lot!) extra work to welcome you into the world. The combination of your itty bitty self and the bruises on your cutie head are part of your other surprise- jaundice. It wasn't a big deal, but we did get to spend a few extra days in the hospital so that you could experience the bili lights; which, you absolutely loved.

My girl, in the first two weeks of your life, your daddy really thought you were sleeping 23 out of the 24 hours of the day. Perhaps he was exaggerating a bit, but you really did sleep A LOT! Lucky for us, sleeping has not been much of a problem for you. I wondered if you were going to have a tough time differentiating between day and night, but if you did, I never noticed. Aside from two crazy days where all you wanted to do was fuss and eat, you've been really wonderful about keeping your schedule. Mommy and daddy really appreciate this!

Your daddy has been the most fabulous supporter to me and a wonderful daddy to you. I really loved watching the sweet way he held you in the first days of your life and the way he speaks to you is just so adorable. He's totally in love with his "Sugar." Since going back to work, we're definitely missing him, so we're trying to make sure you're awake in the evenings when he makes it home. Since you and I have spent so much time getting to know each other, you're daddy hasn't quite figured out how you like to be held and what makes you completely calm. But, he's got lots of patience and is trying his best to make you happy.

My heart has completely opened and is spilling with love for you, baby girl. I cannot put into words what I feel for you and how unbelievable it is to have you in my life. You are truly a miracle. I love the bond that we've created by spending time looking into each other's eyes, by breathing together, and by getting to know each other's scents. You definitely know it's me and I feel very special knowing that I have the ability to soothe you when no one else can and by providing what you need to live and thrive. Although you started out as somewhat of a daddy's girl, I believe you are most definitely a mommy's girl now. I look forward to every moment with you, mi amorcito, and I cannot wait to experience more of life with you.

Your first month has had many firsts. You had your first bath, which, you did not like. But, now you're a fan if the water is just the right temperature. Chiquita, you have "walked" around our neighborhood many times, the first being within the first hour of arriving home. You especially love going for a walk in your ergo. We love it too! You rode the bus for the first time, to go to our first "mommy and me" group. You went to your first yoga class with your little friend Sophie and her mommy Jen. We ventured out to downtown as a family on the muni train for your first city tour. You and I have also had many little shopping trips, mostly to our fave store Tarjay, to buy things you need.  Oh, baby girl, you also had your first photo shoot! You are quite the adventurous girl.

There's definitely been some hurdles, but many, many, many unforgettable happy memories to keep in our hearts during this first month together. I am so overjoyed. Us three, we're meant to be; just like rice and beans.

We love you Amélie Sophia.

-Mommy and Daddy

Amélie- Week Four

We love you more each day.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Amélie- Week Three

One of the many expressions we love. =)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Bean Birth Story: Part Three

Sweet heavenly sleep. I was finally able to get the rest I needed. I slept through most of Sunday morning and afternoon while the pitocin drip increased the strength of the contractions I could not feel and my favorite black clogs made their appearance behind the curtain. I was overjoyed to know that my wonderful doctor would actually get to be there to deliver the baby we had excitedly watched grow for the last nine months. It makes me teary now thinking about what an amazing doctor I have and the bond that we created. I'm saddened knowing I won't get to see her every month now.

It wasn't until 5 in the early evening that the pain once again became existent. It surfaced as quickly as it had disappeared and did not subside until we welcomed our sweet girl.

I distinctly remember the pain and uncomfortable pressure that took over from that point. It was powerful enough to overrule the effects of the epidural and the constant pressing of the button I could control. Two distressing hours later, I told my doctor I was ready to push.

This was the beginning to our happy ending.

Over the next three hours, we tried five different positions in order to aid the descent of our bean- on my back, one my side with one leg up, with my feet on the bar, pulling myself up using the bar, and my legs elevated at different levels. I huffed and pushed to the point where I could almost not do it any longer. Whatever pain the epidural had masked earlier in the day, was now definitely present. I believe now that it had probably worn off or the dose was not high enough (especially since I felt a lot of pain while my doctor repaired a small tear afterwards). Our doctor, nurse, and hubby could see the amazing progress (or so they said over and over again) I was making and once we reached the end of the third hour, which, passed unbelievably quickly to me, we were all wondering if there needed to be an intervention. I worked so hard by pushing up to five times during each contraction because I could not wait to see my little girl. Yet, there came a point when I announced, while on the verge of tears, that I needed some help  because of the immense pain and what I felt at the time was not enough progress. My doctor then suggested suctioning our babe in order to assist my efforts. In a flurry, a large number of nurses and pediatricians entered the room as they prepared to suction and receive our little miracle. Three pushes later, our beautiful Amélie was welcomed to the world with a bubble on her nose and a cheer from everyone present. She was quickly examined by the pediatricians and surprised us all by being a lot smaller than anyone had predicted, but still perfectly complete and healthy.

I was instantly in love.