Friday, January 31, 2014

Seven Quick Takes: Growing, sleeping, and not dying

Tad is two months old now, see?

He just had his 2-month checkup this morning--he was supposed to have it last week, but I decided to reschedule instead of taking him out in -15 windchills. He weighed 10 pounds and 13 ounces, was 22.25 inches long, and got a ton of shots. We're dosing him up on Tylenol so hopefully tonight won't be too awful. (He might also be comforted by the fact that he got Angry Birds band-aids. Seriously, they have the coolest band-aids at his ped's office.)

About two weeks ago, this happened:

(Please excuse our nasal voices; we all had colds. Also, I have no idea why the video is sideways.)

It has happened several times since then too, so it wasn't just a fluke. Like any first-time mom, I am now convinced that my son is a prodigy and will be composing symphonies at the age of 5.

So far, my best baby purchases have been this swing ($15 from Craigslist) and a ring sling that was made for me by a friend from back home. Tad naps in his swing every morning while I eat breakfast (or sometimes quietly waves his arms and looks disapproving), which is awesome, but the most reliable way to keep him calm and happy is to pop him in the sling for a while. I usually unload the dishwasher while he's in there. Due to my sad lack of physical coordination, it has taken me several weeks of concerted effort to master the snuggle and cross-cradle holds. Regular cradle hold still fills me with confusion and dread. (See here if you don't know what I'm talking about.)

Our big accomplishment of the week was learning how to nurse in the sling. (But only on the right side because I wear the rings on my left shoulder and can't do cradle. But one side is better than zero!) This is a big deal because this kid seriously doesn't stop eating. I read forums sometimes where people complain that their 6-week-old nurses every 2-3 hours around the clock and I have to go read some other thing because it just depresses me. My 9-week-old gives me 2-4 hour stretches of not eating at night, which is lovely. During the day he eats pretty much constantly. *does math* Okay, if I break down the log I kept last Friday, he spent about 1/3 of my waking hours at the breast. (Plus lots more nursing during 8 nighttime sleep hours and 2.5 naptime sleep hours.) That's not quite constantly, but it sure is an awful lot.

We really are doing better in general, though. Nobody's come to clean or cook for us in 3 weeks and we're still surviving. The trash needs to be taken out badly, but that's just because nobody wants to walk to the dumpster in -15 windchills. And we did have frozen pizza for dinner one time last week and another time this week. I am refusing to feel guilty about that because nobody actually cares if we eat convenience food or not, and we haven't run out of money yet.

(Okay, and there was the time two days ago when I was tired and the baby was NOT interested in going to bed, so I handed him off to Scott and said, "Walk with him or something while I get some rest." Scott chose "or something"--which is to say he called his dad to come over and baby-whisper until Tad was in a better mood. My FIL has serious baby-whispering skills.)

Regarding #4, I should also note that Tad's good nighttime sleep is accomplished by cosleeping. I was always kind of attachment-parenting inclined, but during pregnancy I was swayed by all the safe sleep literature into TRYING to get the baby to sleep in his own crib.

That lasted about two weeks before I decided it was safer to purposely sleep with the baby in bed rather than falling asleep with him on the couch because I was SO TIRED and he woke up within 5 minutes of being put down. (Seriously, this kid can be so fast asleep he's like a deboned fish and the second his back hits a crib sheet he's wide awake.) So we all pile in bed together and it works pretty well most days. Of course, now I'm telling Scott that I want a king-sized bed, just in case Tad decides he needs to cosleep until he's 5. :)

My follow-up at the OB was pretty anticlimactic. I had an ultrasound which showed a teeny-tiny bit of retained placenta, but it was all shriveled up (I'm paraphrasing the medical terminology here) and Dr. B doesn't think it should cause any more problems. Obviously I'll call back if I start bleeding again or get signs of an infection or anything, but for now I'm relieved to avoid dealing with a D&C on top of mothering a 2-month-old. (And I'm relieved that even if there are problems down the road I probably won't have to have the birth control pills conversation.)

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Seven Quick Takes: Baptism, postpartum recovery, and Kroger employees

Tad was baptized on Sunday (Jan 12). Here is a picture of him in his baptism gown:

I was worried that putting a little boy in a "dress" would be weird, but the other little boy being baptized that day was dressed like Prince George, so apparently we're okay.

(Side note: He's being held by Youngest Younger Brother, who is now the tallest in his family by a few inches and will probably grow more judging by the size of his feet. That is not relevant at all, but I felt like noting it.)

Mari is Tad's godmother. She made his gown, and I think she used the same material as my wedding dress. Apparently simple little gowns are much easier than wedding dresses, though, because she hasn't made me promise to never speak of this outfit again.

Tad's godfather is one of Scott's friends from back in Iowa (Scott lived in Iowa until about 2001). Fun fact: Tad's godfather's parents are Scott's sister's godparents. (Did you follow that?) That's how you know you've been friends with somebody a long time.

I feel bad for abandoning this blog right after mentioning the whole PPD thing. I promise I haven't been sobbing into my Christmas candy this whole time. I just haven't felt like saying much. Things are getting better slowly on the mental front, and meanwhile I feel like Tad and I are sort of growing into each other, so I can spend more time doing stuff and less time sitting around thinking about how miserable I am.

We also hit a turning point with the whole breastfeeding thing right after Christmas. I probably won't ever tell the breastfeeding saga here, because I am lazy and forgetful, but for now I'll just say that it took about 6 weeks before I got to the point where I didn't want to quit pretty much every day. I do still need to work through some feelings regarding the postpartum nurses and the hospital LCs, who nearly wrecked the whole thing for us right out of the starting gate. Seriously, Tad's birth was awesome and I'd totally deliver at that hospital again, but I might just check out after 2 hours because the only good thing about the postpartum floor was the free cookies.

Male readers (hi, Dad!), this is another bit you'll want to skip.

Okay, are we alone now? Good.

A week ago I finally had my 6-week follow-up at the OB after the holidays and a random spell of -30 windchills made scheduling difficult. I would have put it off until this week because I really wanted to see Dr. B and not one of the nurse practitioners, but then on Thursday it occurred to me that at 7 weeks postpartum I probably shouldn't be having little gushes of blood every time I sneeze (that's why I told you to go away, male readers; stop complaining). So I called and talked to a medical assistant and she had me come in for the next available appointment, which was with the nurse practitioner I hadn't met before. Fortunately I took a liking to said NP as soon as I met her. Anyway, after many fun times (and when I say "fun times" I'm referring to gynecological diagnostic things and I'm being sarcastic), she went and consulted with Dr. B and now I'm on progesterone for 10 days and I have an ultrasound and follow-up at the end of the month. With Dr. B; apparently he wants to see me himself instead of having one of the NPs see me again. So I at least get my wish to chat with him again before I go my merry way. Meanwhile, I've been passing the time googling all the terrible diseases I might have. It's highly entertaining.

(It's probably just a PCOS thing. But feel free to pray for me. If nothing else, I have a lot of things I'd rather do with my money than keep buying a package of pads every week.)

Okay, moving on to more positive things: Liza Jane finally had her baby! (I think she is still mad at me for going 3 weeks early when she went a week late.) I am going to start coaching Tad on future best friend skills.

We all three had colds this week, and yet somehow we survived. I think we win at new parenthood.

On Tuesday, in spite of our sickness, Tad and I went to Kroger to get pads and fixings for chicken noodle soup and stuff. He was quietly alert for the first 15 minutes or so and then cried the rest of the trip. At one point I was power-walking over to the pharmacy section to get some vitamins and this random employee was loitering there and said hello and asked me how I was doing and started to say something else but I had already breezed past her at that point. Seriously, I'm bad at social cues but even I would know better than to try to waylay someone with small talk when she has a crying baby and seems to be in a hurry. People who are in customer service should know better than that.

But then the bagger walked my stuff out to my car and unloaded it for me, so I am once more favorably inclined toward Kroger.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Seven Quick Takes with random unrelated pictures

How to be a very sexy man in one easy step: Abruptly whip off your shirt in the middle of the night --so you can do skin-to-skin with a fussy baby.

First photo with Wiggles the frog.

Tad has real eyelashes now, as opposed to the faint fuzz on the edge of his eyelids that he had when he was first born.

"Why are they making me wear this ridiculous hat?"

Two weeks ago, Tad smiled at me for the first time. Then he did it a second time, just in case I thought the first time was a fluke.

I think he overheard me saying that babies aren't very rewarding until they get more interactive.

They look like they're plotting mischief.

I had a WIC appointment last Thursday (she said nonchalantly) and according to their scale weighed 184 pounds. Yes, I did get a LOT of comments about how I was only 1 pound up from my pre-pregnancy weight.

Also, my hemoglobin was 11-point-something, which caused some clucking. I had to explain to everybody that that number was AWESOME, considering it was 9-point-something right before Tad was born.


Tad has started to get ticklish--if I brush my fingers against the nape of his neck (he's got a stork bite there, incidentally), he hunches up his little shoulders. It amuses me more than it should.

Tad's first snow.

Non baby-related take: Scott and I ran through all the available episodes of Sherlock on Amazon the other week. After the first episode I was already acutely disappointed that there are only six so far. (Admittedly, they are all 90 minutes long, so it's like about 12 episodes of a regular show. It's still not enough.)

The onesie was a gift from Scott's coworkers.

At my WIC appointment the lactation consultant gave me a postpartum depression inventory that I could fill out at my leisure. I filled it out on Saturday, right after my mom visited, and still managed to score in the "depressed" category. I didn't think much of it, but then Sunday morning I sat in bed holding the baby and dreading the fact that another day was beginning and realized that I was actually really depressed.

Monday night I posted in a private Facebook moms' group asking for prayers. Liza Jane asked if I could take meds while breastfeeding. I said that I probably could but I had no idea where to go to ask for meds. She said to call my OB, and two other ladies chimed in that yes, I should call him right away.

So at 8:30 on Tuesday morning (Christmas Eve) I tried the OB's office and got the office-is-closed message. I tried again at 9:00, just in case, and only then left a message on Dr. B's on-call phone which basically amounted to, "Hey, I'm depressed and some people told me that I should call the OB about that, so I'm calling you."

He called back a few minutes later and said that yes, that's definitely something to call the OB over, and we discussed my symptoms for a while (I'm depressed and anxious but not yet a danger to myself or others) and he said that normally his first line of treatment would be making an appointment and talking to me, but since the office was closed until Friday, he would call in an antidepressant for me if I wanted one.

I did, so he called it in and I started taking it Christmas morning. It seems to be helping, though I'm not controlling my experimental variables very well. For example, it turns out that keeping a box of protein bars on my nightstand is helpful for those 3 a.m. fits of existential despair.

One month old

Bonus 8th take: I finished my birth story. (The link is to part 1 of 7, because I am terribly long-winded.) So far I think only my mother has read the whole thing, so you all should go appreciate my loquacity.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!