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Earth to Mother Mary

Where the hell have I been lately? I don’t even know. It must be some other planet – Planet Baby – because not only is life so very different here but it is so out of touch as well! The fog/high of delivery gave way to a fog of visitors followed by a brief fog of routineless, carefree summer, all mixed in with a whole lot of Baby Time.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppSo much is new. Baby2 is growing so fast – why must they grow so quickly? She loves working on holding her head up, pushing her feet down in a “standing” position, moving her head and holding it up during tummy time, all that good baby exercise stuff. She already seems and feels so much bigger. She doesn’t fit in the dress she wore when we took her home from the hospital. That was a little sad to discover! But she did just start smiling so the blow of ill-fitting newborn outfits has been softened, somewhat.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppKiddo1 started fourth grade on Wednesday. Deep breath. Fourth grade feels so… old! This year he is applying to be a safety helper or recess helper – only fourth and fifth grade students can do those jobs, so he’s very excited. He’s talked about doing those since kindergarten.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppLuckily before school started we could fit in a camping trip. Baby2 is pretty good at night so we knew it wouldn’t be too bad. We stayed pretty close to home and found a great site on a river (river noise covers baby noise!) with only one other close campsite. Baby2 did great all night anyway so I didn’t have to worry so much about finding a good site. She gets up to eat but as long as she’s dry she’ll go right back to sleep.

I have so much more to write about with her sleeping and baby-wearing and of course breastfeeding, which specifically needs a lot more attention since I wussed out on most of my planned posts for August’s National Breastfeeding Month. Sigh. I’m slowly working my way out of this baby fog!

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Book Review: The Milk Memos

This book was recommended to me by fellow new second-time mom and blogger, The E is for Erin. Thanks Erin! After reading Nursing Mother, Working Mother, I was looking for more books on the topic of breastfeeding moms working outside the home.

http://www.milkmemos.com/The Milk Memos is about a group of moms who work at IBM and pump their breastmilk. This real group of women kept spiral notebooks in their “pumping palace,” as they called their lactation room. They wrote back and forth to each other and encouraged each other to keep pumping and somehow stay sane in the endless search for work/home balance.

I identified so much with the women in this book. I returned to work six weeks after my son was born and pumped breastmilk several times a day. I recall the struggle to leave my baby at such an early age. Luckily I left him in the capable hands of Mr. Handsome (which I will do again after this maternity leave ends) but that hardly takes away the separation anxiety that a new mama feels upon returning to work. The women in this book felt the same things I felt then and will feel again when I return to work in September.

What’s great about this book is that the women are like characters in a story that is woven through a practical breastfeeding book. These women suffer through everything that typically plagues working mothers of infants: separation anxiety, struggles with milk production, faulty pumps, “mama brain,” unsympathetic bosses and co-workers and finding balance between a job you love and a baby you adore more than anything in the world. I very much enjoyed reading about their real lives and how they overcame real struggles, struggles that I’m sure I will have once I return to work.

Like I stated, this book is also a practical breastfeeding manual, covering the typical sub-topics but also giving them a working-mom slant. There’s great advice on buying a pump, storing milk, reheating milk, educating care-givers about handling breastmilk, finding an appropriate childcare solution, dealing with sleep deprivation, and on and on and on.

Also, the idea of keeping a notebook to write to other pumping moms in the company is complete genius. When you work in a big company (my office contains several hundred people), it’s hard to find co-workers in a similar situation. Having the notebook in the room not only helps to find like people but also encourages support and sharing within those people. I’m inspired to bring a notebook to my company’s lactation room so that I can try to find something similar to what “the milk mamas” had.

This book is well worth the read for any breastfeeding mama working outside the home!

Next review: Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers by Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC and Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, PhD, IBCLC

Our Sleep Game, Vol. 2

Sunday I pledged to start working on Baby2’s sleep routine and start developing sleep habits that align with my philosophies. And that’s what we did. It has helped that all our visiting family has headed home. We appreciate their visit and time we got to spend with them! But… we’re relieved to have a little time to ourselves. Perfect time to start settling in to our “new normal,” as Mr. Handsome calls it.

Here’s how we have fared so far…

Rule #1: No sleep props.

50% success (progress, right?). We aren’t completely there with the naps yet. Both Sunday and Monday I used a lot of “Shh”ing, a technique from The Happiest Baby on the Block, to quiet down Baby2 a few times. Sunday she was just not having a good day in general. She didn’t eat a lot (always makes a mama worry!). She slept a good bit but struggled with falling asleep. Let’s just say I was done with Sunday!

Monday wasn’t too much better. Today I’d like to try waiting a little longer before putting her down for a nap. However, whenever I did put her down she was obviously tired. So we’ll do some experimenting there.

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Peaceful crib sleep

Nights were not bad, though. During the night Baby2 didn’t have an crying fits, a vast improvement over the Saturday night debacle which started this whole thing! Getting her down at the start of the night was just as difficult as the naps, though. She went to bed about 9:00 both nights, which is about an hour after her last “day” feeding, but I resorted to a little “comfort nursing” before going to sleep. I must stay strong tonight! She doesn’t seem hungry before bed (she doesn’t have a strong suck, she mostly just lies there and watches me, etc.) so I know she doesn’t need the before-bed nursing. But it does calm here really well!

Rule #2: Sleep in crib.

90% success! The past two nights were great: I successfully put Baby2 back in her crib after each feeding. Well, to be completely honest, we did sleep snuggle for 30 minutes or so after one early morning feeding (both days), but I’m giving us a pass. We do need some lazy snuggle time! Plus I do get her back to her crib to finish off the night eventually. So no harm, I say.

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One nap didn’t make it to the crib!

Baby2 slept in her crib for all but one at-home nap since I made the renewed commitment to healthy sleep habits. That one nap she was just not having. Mr. Handsome and I took turns every few minutes with her, but ultimately I felt like she was hungry so we abandoned the nap attempt. My suspicions were correct: she nursed for a solid ten minutes but then she was out like a light. No eat/play/sleep routine for that round, but I’m okay with that every now and then. Buuuut I did just let her fall asleep after eating and she slept in my arms for almost two hours. Eh, win some lose some right? (I don’t know… that loss felt like a win at the time!)

Rule #3: Self-soothe.

90% success! Baby2 stirred on every one of her naps and I did not immediately jump to pick her up! I did check on her, of course, but only one time did she actually need to be pulled from her crib. Okay, two times if you count the nap that just didn’t happen yesterday. Another time she woke about 45 minutes into her nap. She was obviously hungry so maybe that one was a pass. Maybe I should give myself more than 90% on this one.

Only time will tell if these scores keep up, but I do feel a ton better about getting on track with our sleep habits. Next I’ll be forming my own routines so I don’t go completely crazy during maternity leave. Wish me luck!

Getting on My Sleep Game

Ah, the woes of nighttime sleep, the bane of many newborns’ parents’ existence. Perhaps adding insult are the first couple relatively blissful weeks of newborn life during which sleepy babes tease parents with adequate stretches of slumber and quick returns to shut-eye.

I have fairly strict philosophies on sleep, which I’ll write more about when I review Babywise in about a week, but for now, here’s a short version. Also, I must say that this is the plan that I’ve found works best for me and our family, based on experiences with Kiddo1. It won’t work for everyone – we all have our own philosophies to follow. Here are a few of mine, though:

  • I won’t use “sleep props” such as comfort-nursing or swings to soothe my baby to sleep.
  • I will put baby in her crib for naps and nighttime sleep while she’s still awake so that she can learn to fall asleep on her own in her own crib.
  • I will teach baby to self-soothe (if they wake and do not need a diaper change, feeding, burping, etc.) by not rushing to her every time she makes the slightest peep.
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Day One: already a rule-breaker (but it was okay then!)

For Baby2’s first couple weeks of life, I pretty much ignored my own rules. I used sleep props like nursing to calm her down before sleep, I put her in her crib already sleeping, I rushed to her every time she stirred, I let her nap in her bouncy seat all day long and let her sleep in our bed all night. I did these things because she was (and still is!) so new, so tiny, so helpless, so adorable to look at!

An aside: some may think my rules are too strict for a newborn. I get that – I read them back to myself and yes, they are strict. But they are not hurtful, they don’t break our baby-mama attachment and they don’t cause psychological damage. If anything, they foster solid sleeping habits, increase our attachment because we’re both happily well-rested and give baby confidence in her abilities to self-soothe (I understand that last one seems like a stretch, but Kiddo1 is living proof that it’s true). Also, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with breaking these rules every now and then. Napping with Baby2 now and then or falling asleep together after a nighttime feeding once-in-awhile is really no big deal, but I’d like my habits to follow my rules a vast majority of the time.

Anyway, so after a rough night in which Baby2 couldn’t be ushered back to sleep on her own and I caved to comfort nursing and co-sleeping, I knew it was time to get on my game. That, and Mr. Handsome reminded me that the habits I’m starting go against my sleep principles… that, and he’s tired.

Today I’m practicing what I preach. Case in point: for Baby2’s first nap of the day I put her in her crib. She cried. But she only cried for a minute (seemed like an eternity!) and soothed herself right to sleep (she didn’t cry herself to sleep! I saw!) and slept so long I had to wake her up for her feeding (she’s probably tired after last night too!). All hope is not lost. Over the today and the next few days I plan on having her take more naps in her crib until she’s sleeping in there exclusively (with one exception, see below).

Over the next few nights I plan on trying my hardest to put Baby2 back in her crib after a feeding. My hurdle isn’t so much the desire to hold her close all night (although that does factor in!) it is more that I just plain fall asleep during a feeding. I’m tired! She falls asleep too, it’s a win-win, right? Except she isn’t learning to sleep on her own and that will escalate into bigger sleep problems later on if I’m not careful. So it’s time to break that habit.

When we’re out-and-about, Baby2 will have to sleep in her carrier or even car seat, which I’m okay with. But I don’t want her sleeping there all the time, either. I don’t feel like she gets as good-quality sleep there as she does at home. This brings me back to part of our dilemma over the past few days: we’ve been out too much! We’ve had family in town since Baby2 was born and we just haven’t had an opportunity to work on our routine or our habits. So I can’t blame myself completely (score!). Now that the visitors are gone, we can shift our focus back to Baby2’s sleep needs. Yay!

Updates will follow, so I’d better get on my game!

Our First Week at Home

First week down! Baby2 officially turned one week old on Wednesday. So much has happened that I thought I’d write another update. Here’s what has happened since our first days at home.

Breastfeeding

Baby2 continues to eat well – she’s gained another five ounces since Friday’s pediatrician appointment, bringing her back up to her birth weight already (which is a week two milestone – she’s an overachiever already!)! We went to the pediatrician’s office to weigh her yesterday for my own sanity. I think every breastfeeding mama wonders if her baby is eating enough. You just can’t see the milk going in! But we can see what’s coming out of her, and if Baby2’s diaper actions are any indication I’d say she’s eating like a champ. I probably didn’t need to go weigh her, but I was curious!

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Milk Drunk

What is interesting about her feedings is that she tends to eat in five minute increments. After five minutes are up, she loses interest. I can normally burp her and put her back on, or change her diaper and start again, but I could almost set my watch by her cadence. I’ve also noticed that the ducts on the underside of my breasts tend to get really full so after her first five minute time block I’ll spend the second five minutes massaging those ducts to give her a little more milk.

I’ve also been experimenting with only using one breast per feeding instead of switching back and forth. I know that the more empty the breast becomes, the more fatty hindmilk she’s getting (which is good!). So the focus right now is a full feeding and an empty breast. We’ll see how that effects my supply since one breast will be fully emptied every 3-6 hours as opposed to being maybe half emptied every 1.5-3 hours. I want to research this topic more…

Speaking of timing, she’s still eating every 1.5-3 hours. I won’t let her go longer than three hours between feedings. The other day I had to wake her out of a dead sleep because time was up. We struggled through that feeding but I did get a good 10 minutes out of her! In two five minute increments, of course.

Nights are working well. I always put her down in her crib about 30 minutes after her 8:00 PM feeding. If she wakes up after that I’ll feed her and put her right back down. If she wakes up after I’ve gone to bed (which has been late lately! 10 or 11 o’clock!) I’ll keep her in bed with me so I can get some sleep (just pull out a boob when she stirs! So much easier than getting out of bed). She wakes up a lot until I pull her in bed with me, then she sleeps a ton. I’m slightly worried that she’s preferring our bed over her crib, so she may start getting a lot more crib time soon. We’ll see.

For the first few days, I didn’t keep track of night feedings at all. Now I’m trying to a least glance at the clock when she stirs so I can keep track of how long she’s going between feedings completely on her own (there’s no way I’m setting an alarm or something to make sure she’s eating every three hours at night!). So far she’s keeping a rhythm of eating at 12, 2:30, 5 and 7:30 AM. Whoa. Self-regulating is amazing!

Sometimes she stirs but doesn’t really want to eat – she’s wet and needs changing. So I’m trying to watch out for that more. I don’t think she’s at all ready to drop a feeding, but I’m also not sure if five minutes every 2.5 hours is really much of a feeding… Monitoring is on-going.

Cloth Diapering

Still loving cloth diapers! We’ve modified our prefolds a little though. Since the size one Osocozies are still a little long for her, we’ve been folding them down in front so they’ll fit into the covers. But since Baby2 is a girl, she wets more in the back than the front so we started folding the prefold down in the back. That has helped to not only absorb more but also makes securing the prefold with the Snappi that much easier because there’s more fabric to pull around her legs. Ah, discovery.

Baby2 had a bit of a diaper rash earlier this week which really freaked me out! Kiddo1 had the nastiest of nasty and persistent diaper rashes when he was a baby. I fear diaper rashes like some people fear tight spaces. Or the dark. Or commitment. Anyway… Luckily the diaper rash is gone now, probably because I attacked it and killed it! I took Baby2 outside and sunned her bottom twice a day for a couple days, about five minutes in direct sunlight each time (I did shade her upper half from the sun). I also started using Earth Mama Angel Baby’s Bottom Balm on her with each diaper change. Worked like a charm. For one final nail in the coffin, I’m adding an extra cold rise (that’s two cold rinses) at the end of our diaper laundry routine, just to make sure all the soap gets out. Now I’m monitoring the absorbancy of the prefolds to see if I need to strip them because of the Bottom Balm build-up (although Bottom Balm is cloth diaper-safe!).

Baby2’s Disposition

Still quite awesome. I know she’s in the easy-going newborn phase, but if she’s anything like her brother she’ll continue to be content and mellow. She still doesn’t cry at much, just when she’s hungry or needs a new diaper. Our barking dog doesn’t even make her flinch. I’m sure she’s been used to that sound since well before she was born!

Mr. Handsome swears that she smiles. He “knows” that she’s just working her facial muscles, easing out gas, what have you, but he likes to say that she smiles. I gotta say, though, when she does start smiling for real it’s going to be freaking awesome!

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Dress up!

Finally, can I just say how much fun it is to dress her?! Oh, super fun. Dressing a boy was nice and all, but little dresses are quite nice. Baby2 has been in a dress every day of her life. Come to think of it, I’ve been in a dress this whole week too! (I just haven’t been feeling jeans yet. Maybe this weekend.)

Adjusting

Life in general is slowly getting back to normal. Mr. Handsome’s family (his parents and two older brothers) are currently in town until Monday. Once the family visitor traffic slows I think everyone will be able to relax a bit more. Two of my dear friends from college are flying in from the Midwest in mid-August. I’m super excited about that!

Kiddo1 has been super talkative lately! He’s probably a little more chatty because his uncles are in town (he loves to bend their ears) but lately he’s been talking-it-up to anyone who will listen!

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Kiddo1 wanted to be swaddled too!

He seems to be getting back to his normal, silly self. Perhaps he’s realizing that we will still take time to listen to him and hang with him. He has been awfully sweet… most of the time. For some time now (a year?) he’s loved to disagree with almost everything we say. What’s that all about? He’s back to doing that lately so things must be normalizing with him.

Mr. Handsome is, of course, still freaking awesome. He even took his whole family to the coast the other day so Baby2 and I could have a whole day to relax. He’s making sure that I get enough rest and don’t try to push myself too hard (because I do/will push myself, see below). I’m not sure if he is getting enough rest, as he seems tired and perhaps a bit stressed by all the visitors. He’s sweet to try not to concern me with these things. I’m still concerned though! I think we’re both just excited for things to get back to normal. The “new normal,” he calls it!

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Mr. Handsome practicing some baby wearing!

Max (our dog) seems to be used to the new human-to-dog ratio in the house. He loves to sniff Baby2 and give her light little kisses. He isn’t as sensitive to her cry anymore, but the other day we heard a distant sound of a neighbor’s baby crying and he was quite concerned. He kept looking at our silent, sleeping baby and seemed very confused.

As for me, things are going pretty damn great. Let’s get the gross stuff out of the way in this paragraph, shall we? As soon as my milk came in on Saturday, some bodily functions have returned to normal. Most notably, I poop every day now! And in the mornings just like my old pre-pregnancy self. It’s funny how elated this makes me feel. I can sit down without having to be slow and careful, too. Just plopping myself down on hard chairs, no big deal! The lochia, or hell, let’s just call it bleeding, has slowed to spotting and I’m down to just wearing panty liners and, get this, regular bikini underpants! Sure they’re the same one-size-up ones that I wore in third tri but at least they aren’t the hospital mesh granny panties that I wore for a week (I took four pair home with me!). I’m not sure if all this success is due to the placenta pills or not, but I can tell you that I feel better at 1.3 weeks postpartum from this pregnancy than I did with my first pregnancy. Of course that birth was a bit more difficult, too. Anyway, I do think the pills are helping, at least a little. I’ve tapered off to one or two pills per day because there aren’t that many and I’m supposed to save some for three, six and nine months postpartum. Speaking of pills, though, I’m completely off the ibuprofen now! It’s been three days since I took any so I’d say that need is dead for sure. Yay!

Okay, the squeamish ones can open their eyes now! (Who can really stay away from the gross stuff anyway, right?)

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Baby2 and I are ready for the public!

I’ve been getting out of the house more. Wednesday Mr. Handsome took his family to the coast and Baby2 and I got a lot of rest. That evening I finally got to walk around a whole two blocks (which really is like walking six blocks right?) and I felt really great when I got home, like I could do another two blocks! So on Thursday, yesterday, I probably overdid it a little. We took Baby2 to the pediatrician, then had lunch out, then went on a registry-completion spree at Target. First postpartum Target visit -big deal!! Then we only stopped at home for only about an hour before taking Kiddo1 to a late doctor’s appointment and finally going to dinner with Mr. Handsome’s family. Whew.

At dinner, Baby2 and I were pretty spent. It didn’t help that Baby2 was hungry, the restaurant was noisy (she seems to have trouble nursing in noisy environments) and we were hot. I ended up taking off her dress it was so hot! So she let out some loud cries at dinner and even though I ushered her out to calm her down, I still felt bad about 1) having a crying baby in a restaurant and 2) most importantly, not being able to get her fed! I tried a few times but she was just not having it. She ended up going five hours between afternoon feedings. I felt awful!! I talked it out with Mr. Handsome on the way home and I have agreed to take it down a notch. Today we still went out (I’ve got to do something with the in-laws!) but only to the Big Bookstore and lunch. Then Kiddo1 and I are going to watch the Olympics Opening Ceremonies (I’ve got to jet off to that here in a second!). He is super excited about that!

Physically I feel ready to do full days out but I don’t think Baby2 is quite ready and I might not be mentally ready to handle it either! I’m still in kind of a foggy state, although it is lifting a bit. It’s a super happy fog though! Happy baby drunk. I don’t really mind that not being back to normal!

A few “normal” things that have happened this week and I do like very much:

  • I drove for the first time in over a week! I was telling Mr. Handsome it felt like the first time you return home from college and get to drive the car you haven’t driven in months. He had a car in college though so he couldn’t really relate.
  • I cooked myself a meal! It was eggs and toast, not difficult, but I was proud enough!
  • I painted my nails, strategically timing polish removal, nail trimming and two coats of paint after the start of each of Baby2’s naps on Wednesday (when the fam was at the coast).
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Slowly shrinking!

A couple not-quite-normal things:

  • I feel great and so much smaller but I’ve only lost 12 pounds. I suppose the boobies have gain a pound or two though! Honestly I just weighed myself for the first time today, so I’m really trying not to focus on it. Feeling great and taking care of myself are definitely prioritized over losing weight. I am excited to get back to exercising, though. Hopefully I’ll get clearance for some light yoga after my two-week check-up. No water aerobics until the six-week mark though. Sad face.
  • So far I don’t really miss being pregnant which is great because I thought I’d miss it a lot. Maybe those four overdue days helped get that out of my system. I do feel a little, well, empty, for lack of a better word to explain it. Something was there that isn’t there anymore and my body notices it. I don’t miss being pregnant but I do miss that something extra. I have to get used to being just one person in this body again! Weird huh?

Well that was, once again, quite a massive brain dump. Off to get ready for our early afternoon out! Thanks for reading!!

Our First Days at Home

Wow, there has been so much to write about lately! First, again, thank you to everyone for your comments this week! I have loved reading your reactions to our birth story. Second, this is a really, really long post and most people will probably find it incredibly boring. However, I wanted to get this all down for myself before I forget. This is such an awesome part of my life and I don’t want to lose any of it! Here’s what’s going on with our start at breastfeeding, cloth diapering and how we’re all adjusting to our new family.

Breastfeeding

Baby2 took to breastfeeding like a natural. She ate for a solid hour after she was born. I couldn’t believe it! It didn’t take much to get her latched on and going.

The rest of that first day I attempted to feed her a dozen times, but she just wanted to sleep. The nurses and lactation consultant all assured us that sleeping the first whole day is completely normal. She ate wonderfully all night and the next morning, but she ended up losing eight ounces in the hospital.

She has continued to eat like champ since we arrived home Thursday at noon. She gained three ounces back by the time we saw the pediatrician on Friday morning! I had been anticipating that weigh-in for sure!

So far she’s eating about every 1-1/2 to 3 hours, but she has enjoyed some cluster feeding around dinner time. I’m not thinking at all about a schedule yet, just working her into an easy eat, play, sleep routine (more on that in a couple weeks).

My milk came in Saturday morning. I have felt very full but not painfully engorged. Mr. Handsome says my boobs are twice as big as Baby2’s head. I say they’re only one and a half times as big. I did have to bust out my pump on Saturday afternoon to get some relief, as Baby2’s 20-minute feedings just weren’t cutting it (I get a good 30-minute feeding a couple times a day). I got a solid two ounces in five minutes which was enough to feel some relief. Time to start building a breastmilk stash! I pumped again this morning for another two ounces. If I can continue to get just two ounces a day I’ll have 112 ounces saved by the time I go back to work!

Nights are honestly not bad. We put Baby2 down in her crib, but once she starts eating at night we keep her in our bed. That way I still get some sleep and Mr. Handsome doesn’t have to be too disturbed either. I’ve been taking a daily nap and so far keeping my energy at a good level.

Cloth Diapering

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Oh my goodness we are loving cloth diapers! Baby2 was in disposables for her first day, but we put a prefold and cover on her on Thursday morning and haven’t looked back. We’re using Osocozy size one prefolds with Snapis and covers by Kissaluvs, Thirsties, Bummis and Rumparoos (one of each brand, two newborn sized and two one-sized, two Velcro and two snaps). We haven’t picked a favorite yet, but we’ll get to that I’m sure.

So far we’ve done CD laundry once a day and OMG it is so easy! I literally empty the big wet bag into the machine, do a cold rinse then add my Nellie’s detergent to a hot wash with a cold rinse cycle. Pop in the dryer (we need a clothesline-type device!) and we’re done! We used flushable liners for two days to catch the newborn tar poop, but on Saturday she gave us nice liquid breastmilk poo so we ditched the liners. The diapers clean up just like new – even the ones that got tar poop on them!

We’re using cloth wipes too. So far we’ve just used water on the wipes. We keep a little bottle of water on the dresser and wet each wipe before use. Of course we haven’t had to clean too many colossal poos yet, but this method is working well so far!

Baby2’s Disposition

She is such an amazing baby! She rarely cries and when she does it is so easy to soothe her (thank goodness for The Happiest Baby on the Block!). She’s had fantastic periods of active alertness after feedings. It’s so wonderful to stare into her eyes and interact with her. I can tell that she knows her family’s voices already.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppShe sleeps great, usually nodding off 30-45 minutes after eating (but sometimes staying awake to just after her next feeding). I like to put her down while she’s still awake for at least one nap per day and at night (more on my sleep philosophies later). She does a great job conking herself out. I’ve been able to shower every day (that’s a big deal!) and even dry my hair and dress myself because of her ability to sleep (plus Mr. Handsome is all over holding her all the time).

She makes the best little faces, she smells fantastic (even her poop smells good! Really!), she seems to be trying to lift her head already (tummy time starts as soon as the cord stump falls off!), her skin is so soft, her eyes are so deep and intense, her toes and fingers are so long like her brother’s and her little nose is adorable. I’m so in love.

Adjusting

Life in general is on hold as I recover and we adjust. It’s wonderful having no outside-the-house responsibilities. My parents have been here since Wednesday afternoon. My dad is busy building a desk for/with Kiddo1 (he cut the pieces back in Phoenix and they put it together; they finished last night). My mom has been cooking and baking. All in all they’ve been great to have around. They leave tomorrow morning and Mr. Handsome’s parents and two older brothers arrive Tuesday afternoon. Lots of visitors in the house!

Kiddo1 is handling all of this very well. The kid has basically had his only-child life turned upside down: Dad is distracted with visitors and my requests (even though I try not to bother him, sometimes I just can’t get up from a feeding!), Mom is just straight-up different (I can’t go out much, I can’t walk far, I’m always breastfeeding), other people are constantly in our house and there’s a baby who everyone says looks just like him but he doesn’t see it.

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Kiddo1 (left) and Baby2 (right), both at about six hours old

He’s also been cooped up in the house ever since we got home on Thursday, which doesn’t help. He’s gotten out with one of my parents at least once a day, but it isn’t the family outings that he’s used to. We can’t have kids over for playdates like normal just yet either.

Since he’s got some extra energy he’s been a tad more sensitive, a little more short with his responses and a bit less responsive in general. He spends his time reading, playing video games, watching TV and occasionally helping my mom cook/bake or my dad build a desk for him.

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The finished desk he built with my dad

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppDespite these things, he’s doing amazing. For the last couple nights, I’ve made a point to put Baby2 to bed around 8 so he and I can read together before he goes to bed. I try to sit with him and talk for a minute after tucking him in. He’s a fantastic child – so interested in big things right now like ships, planes, movies and books. He loves to bend someone’s ear about these things. I’ve tried to give him my full attention whenever he talks, but I admit I’ve had to dismiss him once or twice and it kind of breaks my heart to do so.

We’ve been talking about when he can expect things to return to normal, when the visitors will trail off and when he can have friends over again. I know he’ll pull through this transition time with flying colors.

Mr. Handsome is my freaking hero. He has dealt with everyone in the house tugging at him from every direction. My dad needs tools and miscellaneous items for the desk he’s building (they couldn’t bring his whole shop from Phoenix with them!) so Mr. Handsome tracks things down from neighbors. My mom needs to find stuff in the kitchen so he helps her and lets her talk to him about all kinds of stuff. Kiddo1 tells him everything, all day long, and he dutifully listens and tries to play with him as much as he can. Max bothers him to go outside, go to the park and toss the ball, plus he has been barking a lot more and Mr. Handsome meets most of his demands but always without complaint. I have tried to limit my own demands on him as much as possible but, like I said, sometimes I just can’t get up in the middle of a feeding. I don’t know how he’s handling all this, but he gets it done.

We don’t get a lot of alone time right now, which super sucks. I love talking to my husband, even if it’s about boring, day-to-day stuff. I don’t know if he’s noticed, but I’ve been trying to sneak in some time with him when he takes Max out back or to sit with him when he’s holding Baby2. Soon we will have time together again. In the meantime I just hope he’s staying sane with everyone’s constant demands!

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppMax (our dog) has been a joy to watch adjust. On Thursday when we brought Baby2 home, I think Max was a little scared of her. He didn’t get too close to her and wouldn’t turn his back on her. Thursday night, though, she made some little coo noises while in her crib and he shot up in bed and booked it over to her to check things out. He slept in front of her crib. From then on out he’s been very curious about her and gives her lots of sniffs. He’s sensitive to her noises and will come right over to check her out.

He’s obviously jealous of her when Mr. Handsome holds her, though. He rushes right over to Mr. Handsome and tries to distract him. I find this amusing but I believe Mr. Handsome is getting a little annoyed.

Max has been barking a bit more and displaying other protective behaviors, but he is very gentle with Baby2 and has even given her a few little kisses! My camera isn’t quite fast enough to get a clear shot though.

As for me, there are only two words to describe my current mental state: baby drunk. My mind is in a happy fog in which I don’t feel too forgetful or “dumbed down” (for lack of a better phrase) but I do feel a little tipsy, if you will. I’m pretty much super happy in general!

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Out for breakfast – our first real outing as a foursome!

Today has been the first day that I’ve felt annoyed that I can’t do much yet. We ventured out to the neighborhood breakfast joint, a short four block walk away. Baby2 was snug in the wrap which was awesome – I can’t wait to start writing about our no stroller experiment! But even after four blocks there, a whole lot of sitting and four blocks back, I was spent when we got home. My body let me know that I needed to rest now. Luckily my parents had an outing planned with Kiddo1 so I took Baby2 to bed for her feeding and relaxed all afternoon.

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An evening walk around the neighborhood on Friday night

Otherwise, I’ve been pretty good physically. Sure, things are sore “down there,” but not “sit on an inflatable donut” sore, so that’s nice. We started taking an evening walk around the block on Friday night. After Saturday’s walk I vowed to walk two blocks tonight, although after this morning I might stick to just one block again. No need to push it. I’m just happy to get out of the house for a bit and Baby2 seems to love the fresh air.

Here are the gross parts of my postpartum period, so skip this paragraph if you’re queasy. My lifesavers for healing “down there” have been Earth Mama Angel Baby’s New Mama Bottom Spray and, what some like to call Peri Pops (pads doused with witch hazel and frozen – freaking heaven). I had used both every time I peed up until today, now I just use them when needed. I’m trying to wean myself. I’m also trying to cut back on the ibuprofen; I’m taking two or three doses a day, down from four or five 800 mg doses. I was super nervous about pooping for the first time because after my first pregnancy/delivery (with a third degree tear) pooping hurt more than anything ever had in my whole life. I had to scream and hold on to Mr. Handsome while I pooped. I shit you not (ha!). This time I started to get nervous because I hadn’t gone since Wednesday morning. But I finally pooped this morning and it went so well and I was so happy about it that I told Mr. Handsome! He was happy for me. One more gross thing, we took the placenta home and had it encapsulated. I’ve been taking placenta pills and I just drank some placenta tea since last night. Whoa. Too early to tell if it is having an impact, but the whole process was interesting to watch!

Enough gross stuff. And, I think, enough in general. That was quite a brain dump there (that I wrote over a few days) so I think I’ll go rest with my sleeping husband and baby. Yay!!

On a More Positive Note!

Still no baby, but I have been busy the last couple days which has helped my mind a lot!

Last week, Kiddo1 received his shipment of Titanic memorabilia. He was very excited about getting these commemorative coins and reproductions of Titanic stuff. We came up with the idea to frame some of the cool stuff so he could always look at it without having to get it out of a box or something. Yay project for me! I finished it up last night while he was at a sleepover. We still need to get it hung (always a sticking point for me!) but here’s a picture we took of it just now…

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I used a new mating technique where the mats are raised a little by another layer of mat board hidden underneath the other two layers. Difficult to describe, easier to show. I think it makes the mat a little more interesting.

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Also during Kiddo1’s sleepover away, Mr. Handsome and I got in a date night! Probably the last one we’ll have for awhile! We went out to dinner downtown and stopped for some ice cream to celebrate National Ice Cream Day. Yum!

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Then today I not only fit in two, TWO, naps, but we also took Kiddo1 and his sleepover buddy downtown with us for lots of walking and to see some sand sculptures that were being built for a festival this weekend. I had no idea how hoping downtown is during the week! We usually only venture down there on the weekends, and I figured those were pretty busy. I guess all those people working come out of their buildings and make it quite a busy place!

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We stopped by a toy store, too, and the kids got a little crazy with some ride-on toys. Normally I would not condone this behavior (I swear!) but it was pretty cute and the store was dead. Then the kids crashed, which was hilarious.

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I’m glad Kiddo1 got some energy out. He seems to have been a bit anxious himself these last few days. He releases his anxiety by basically going a little nuts and bouncing all over the house. We go to the park, get out to museums and generally “run him” at least once a day, but right now that isn’t really cutting it. I really hope his extra energy is due to nerves (that sounds bad, but stay with me) and not some kind of energy surge in general because that will make a house with a newborn kind of crazy! We’ll still be able to get him out of the house, though, and with family here he’ll have lots to do. He insists that he wants to just stay home after the baby is born, but I’m sure he’ll get bored enough to want to go out with them after a couple days.

So not a bad past 24 hours or so. I’m feeling more zen this afternoon than I was this morning. It helps to be accomplishing things, like the framing. Now I must find something else to create!