A cold and rainy day

What a day to stay inside. It’s been cold and raining all day long. It’s days like these that make me wish I’d hate Kate at a different time of year. It’s been hard to be mostly inside for these last 3 months. I get her out a good bit–we go to the grocery store, drug store, church, Babies R Us (of course!), the library, etc. But I really miss being able to get out and walk every day. I have a great stroller for her (a BOB) but it’s just been too cold to get her out much. I’ll take her on a walk if it’s in the mid-50s or so, but any colder than that and her little cheeks turn red and get chapped. I’m so ready to get her out everyday on a walk and be able to take a blanket outside and sit in the grass with her. All she can do right now is look out the window at the outside world.

She’s down for her first real nap of the day–and it’s 5pm! Somehow, the naps just didn’t happen today. When taht happens, nursing tends to go downhill because she gets over tired and just doesn’t know what to do with herself. She’s hungry, but tired too, and doesn’t know which feeling to follow–the hunger or the tiredness. I started to nurse her at about 1:30, but she got herself so distressed, she didn’t settle down to nurse til 2:30. Then she nursed for almost an hour! That’s become fairly regular lately. I don’t mind though. Like I said, it’s been so chilly outside, I mainly stay home except for a few things scheduled during the week, so if she wants to take an hour to nurse, that’s an hour I get to sit on the couch and watch HGTV! (Sometimes I feel like my brain is turning to mush but other times I appreciate the chance to do nothing but sit and watch tv and not feel guilty about it because there’s nothing else I can do–with a baby at the breast, you’re pretty limited as to what you can get done!)

Tonight is cream of broccoli soup. It’s delish and also meatless, which was my requirement for dinners this week. We’re trying to be extra frugal this pay period, so my dinners for the next several nights won’t have meat (except for some sausage in a pasta dish, but that’s cheap.) One of the easiest ways for me to cut my Publix bill is to go meatless. That means soups and pastas for the most part. I don’t ever mind not having meat, but I can’t do it too many times in a row or Matt will start to protest. Do you have any secrets for saving money at the grocery store?

10 lbs!

Woo hoo we’ve hit 10 lbs! For some reason, I’ve felt all along like this is the magic number for things to start getting better. They already have gotten better in general (breastfeeding going better for the most part, sleeping going pretty well) but I’m curious to see if anything will change now that she’s passed that mark. This morning at the lactation group, she weighed in at 10 lbs 4.5 ounces. She gained 8 ounces in the last week. Go Kate! She has a really cute round belly now. I remember when she was born her legs were so thin. There was extra skin that just wasn’t filled up yet. Now those legs have little rolls, which I love. Not huge rolls, but the beginnings of them.

In other news, I’m excited about a few new books I’m getting from the library this week. One isn’t really new but it’s recent, and I’ve just read about it. It’s called People of the Book by Gereldine Brooks. It’s about the rediscovery of the once-stolen Hagaddah, which is some sort of ancient Jewish book. The girl who is asked to come investigate it before it goes back on display finds within its pages a grain of sand, a gray hair, a butterfly wing and a wine stain. Intrigued by the momentos left in the book, she decides to go back and try to find where the book has been in the decades since it was stolen. I think it sounds fascinating.

 The other books are The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson, Shadow of the Wind (another one about a  book, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon), and a historial fiction book by Phillippa Gregory called The Constant Princess. I think it’s about a Spanish princess who becomes Queen of England. I don’t have much time to read these days, but in the stolen minutes here and there, I want a book to really sink into. Books are such an escape for me, and I miss having time to really get lost in a great book. The only time I read these days is in bed before I go to sleep, so it takes me a really long time to finish anything. I’m going to try to make a commitment to allow myself 30 minutes  a day to read for pleasure. And not on the internet. Read an actual book. Because the thing is, I do have time. For instance, right now, I’ve been on the computer for about 30 minutes while Kate is finishing up a nap. I could have used this time to read, but instead I’ve been checking email and facebook and reading blogs. I enjoy doing that, but I’m finding that the internet is a big time-waster for me. I need to make better use of my time while Kate naps and get the things around the house that I need to do instead of always getting on the computer. That way, the chores will get done and I can carve out those 30 minutes for my reading pleasure. That’ll make me a happy (happier) girl.

Friday

Whew, the past couple of days there’s been something going on in the breastfeeding department. Everytime I think we’re getting to a good point, we regress! I’m not sure what the problem is. Every time I feed her in the middle of the night, she nurses like a champ. And usually the first nursing session of the day (usually between 7:30am and 9am) goes well too. But for the past couple of days, the rest of the nursing sessions of the day are up in the air. Sometimes they go well and sometimes they don’t. And when they don’t go well, they *really* don’t go well. She fights and fusses and really cries as I try to put her to the breast. And it happens occasionally to Matt at night when he gives her the bottle too, so it’s not always just the breast. But today, one nursing session went so poorly that, after trying to nurse off and on for an hour, I gave up and tried a bottle. She took it hungrily. I knew she was hungry because it’d been 4 hours since she last ate, but she just refused to nurse. The fact that she took the breast so willingly tells me she really was hungry and it was just something about the breast. Not sure what to make of it, but I keep telling myself it’s a phase and it’ll pass. It started up all of the sudden, and hopefully it’ll pass all of the sudden too. So far, everything with her has been a phase. The only consistent thing we’ve had is change!

I saw a political cartoon in the paper this morning that really hit home. One frame had phrases like, “Out of work? House foreclosure? In debt? Need a job? High gas bill?” And the other frame had a woman holding a baby with the wreckage of Haiti behind her. The caption read, “She’d take your place in an instant.” Heartbreaking. I could add, “Fussy baby? Having to spend an hour on your couch with Ellen on the tv while you try to get your baby to nurse? Resigned to take quick showers instead of long hot showers now that you have a baby?” My “problems” are so slight when compared to the troubles in the world. Lord forgive me for my selfishness.

Trucking along

I wrote the previous post on Monday of last week. I said I was hopeful that I’d continue to feel good, back to my normal self, and I did. I don’t know if it was the act of actually making the appt with my doctor, the fact that I spent good time with other new moms and felt better about the crazy new mom feelings I’d been having, the serious prayers I uttered Sunday night and Monday morning, or the fact that all of the sudden, breastfeeding started going better…or  maybe it was a combination of it all, but the weepiness was gone. I still went to my doctor on Thursday and told her everything that had been going on. She made me feel a lot better, assured me that a lot of the feelings I was having were normal, and she agreed with me that breastfeeding is HARD! She also said that if the weepiness comes back, to let her know and we could talk about medication for it. She gave me a prescription for the mini-pill for birth control and to hopefully stop this constant period I’ve had for 5 WEEKS!! Good grief, enough already. I just took the first pill this morning, so I’m hoping it’ll stop soon, and that the pill won’t cause more hormonal fluctuations and therefore more out-of-whack feelings/emotions.

So, I feel back to normal in the sense that I’m not crying for no reason anymore, and I feel better about life in general. Just the fact that I’m wanting to write more, read more books, maybe even take an online writing class, is evidence that I’m getting back into life again after my month or so of not feeling very perky. However, I’m feeling a lot of shame at how I’ve treated Matt over the last several weeks. I realized, after we had a pretty major talk over the weekend, that during my low points over the last month or so, I didn’t treat him very nicely. Part of my problem was raging irritableness and poor Matt bore the brunt of that. I know the irritableness was part of the depressed state I was in because truly, there’s no reason to be irritable with him. I don’t know how much other husbands do for their wives who have just had babies, but Matt does so much for me, and for Kate. He is incredibly helpful, he takes on so much of the load, he comes home almost every day for lunch and helps in any way he can, he comes home at 5 and does everything he can then to help, even though he’s tired from a long day just like I am. I realize now that I wasn’t giving him credit for the abundant help and wonderful partner he’s been. So I’m trying to make that up to him.

In other news, Kate is doing well. The breastfeeding is still going well, for the most part. She has some fussiness at some of our nursing times and we can’t really figure out what is causing it, but are hoping it’s just a phase. Also, she slept all night long two nights in a row over the weekend! It was glorious. Thursday night she went to sleep around 10 and woke up at 5:30, and Friday night went to sleep about the same time and slept til 6:30! I don’t know what got into her, but I wish it’d come back! The next night, and every night since, she’s back to waking up between 2 and 3, then again between 6 and 7. Not too bad, but those two nights gave me hope that she’ll sleep through the night soon. We’re trying lots of different sleeping positions and sleep attire (fleece onesie, thinner cotton onesie, fleecy swaddler, etc) to try to find the right combination that helps her sleep sounder and longer. We’re also trying to combat a bit of flat head syndrome due to the back sleeping and are trying to get her to sleep on her side more. That’s not working too well, but we’re trying. Don’t want Kate to have to wear a helmet!

Hopeful

Never underestimate the absolute necessity of spending time with other new mothers when you have a new baby. I think it may be the most important thing when it comes to a mom’s well-being. Seriously. Being home-bound with a new baby, it’s hard for me to find time or the means to get together with other moms sometimes, or as often as I’d like, but when I do, it reinforces to me just how important it is. This morning I went to the breastfeeding support group that’s organized by the lactation department at the hospital. I’ve been going to it every Monday morning and am starting to get to know some of the girls better. It’s great to hear other moms talk about issues they’re having and to realize I’m not the only one dealing with a particular issue.

Each week, we get to weigh our babies to see how much they’ve gained in the week, and we also can weigh them after a feeding to see how much they take in. This week, I was happily surprised to see that Kate gained 9 ounces in the past 7 days! She’s up to 9 lbs 7.5 oz. For some reason, breastfeeding actually got better in the last 5 or 6 days. I started to do a few things differently with how we nurse, and it seemed to help her take more in. The nursing sessions are lasting longer and she’s drinking more, so I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised that her weight went up more than usual. Also, after nursing her there at the class, we weighed her and found out that she took in 5 ounces from me! That’s huge! That’s how much she takes in from the bottle. I’m SO glad to know she’s getting that much from me. Previously, she’d only get 1.5-3 ounces in a nursing session.

Today is a good day. However, I’ve had a smattering of not so good days in the last week. I’ve bitten the bullet and made an appt with my OB to talk about what may be causing my mood swings and blue-ness. I never thought I’d want to take something (a medication) for feeling blue, but I’m so tired of not feeling like myself. Again, today is a good day. I feel recharged. I spent a lot of time in prayer this morning and I’m telling you, sitting and talking with those girls this morning did a world of good too. But this recharged feeling may not last, and I’m feeling good about the upcoming appt with the dr. to talk through some of this stuff and see if I need to take something to help me level out. If I felt everyday like I do today–pretty much back to my normal self–I wouldn’t have a problem. But the low points over the last several weeks were scary and really not a fun place to be. I don’t want to be there again. My life is really what I prayed for so much over those two years when we couldn’t get pregnant. It’s not perfect, but I have a wonderful husband, a precious daughter, and I’m able to stay home with her, not working full time. It’s exactly what I wanted, yet I’ve been feeling like I can’t fully enjoy it–like I’ve been in this fog that’s keeping me from really enjoying life, enjoying Matt and Kate, as much as I should be. I just haven’t had my usual interest in and zest for life. I’m ready to feel like myself again. I know part of it is that being a new mother is hard and it’s a big adjustment, but I also know with me, there’s more to it, and we just need to figure that out and address it. I’m hopeful things will get better.

A Good Day

I’m sitting here watching fat snowflakes fall from the sky and hearing kids outside laughing and playing in the street. Snow is a rare treat here so school’s are closed for the day, much to neighborhood kids’ delight! Kate and I have had a good day inside snuggling. She’s in her bouncy seat sleeping now. I’ve been making the most of her nap by uploading and organizing photos…although I should be writing those darn thank you notes!

After my low point yesterday morning, things have gotten better. I had a good day yesterday and the night went well too. It’s funny, in these 8 weeks, every time I’ve gotten really fed up with breastfeeding and talking about giving it up and going to pumping and bottles only, the nursing starts getting better. Kate nursed well yesterday (meaning, longer than a quick 5 minutes that does nothing to relieve me and doesn’t fill her up) and has done well so far today. Maybe this is the turning point. The lactation consultant says many girls say they can point to a specific day when breastfeeding got easier for them. Like one day, it’s hard, and all of the sudden the next day everything changes and it gets better. I’m not convinced this change will be permanent, but I’ll take it for however long it lasts.

I loved having her sleep on my chest earlier today. It’s such a sweet feeling to have her nestled under my chin, making little noises in her sleep. Her mouth twitches and her little eyes move all around under her eyelids. I wish I knew what she was dreaming about! She’s been an active sleeper since the very first week. Back then, I wondered what she could have possibly been dreaming about since she had no life experiences under her belt. I decided she was dreaming about heaven! (Or wherever she was before she came to us–heaven or someplace else, but I know she was with God!)

Sweet baby Kate

Confession

For all my “life is wonderful”ness yesterday, I’m actually struggling quite a bit. I had a rough night last night and what was hopefully the bottom this morning. I realize that I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself to figure everything out associated with motherhood, and the fact that I haven’t figured it out yet is stressing me out. So much so that I’m crying a lot and that worries me, which makes me cry even more! I think most of the issues stem from the fact that I’m really struggling with breastfeeding. Everyone told me it would get easier after about 6 weeks, but we’re at 8 weeks and it really hasn’t gotten easier. We have good sessions and bad sessions, but nothing consistant. I’ve had to pump more than I’d like because I produce a lot of milk, much more than Kate takes from me, so I end up in a good deal of pain, so I pump. But pumping a lot brings it’s own problems. So basically, it’s a never ending cycle and I feel like I should have this feeding thing down by now. There are also a lot of other defeated feelings bouncing around my head and heart, having to do with Matt, my role as a wife, how I’m doing as a wife, how I’m balancing everything, etc. Not to mention my hormones are completely out of whack, which is also contributing to the come aparts, I’m sure. I actually started my period 5 weeks after having Kate, which was so disappointing! I thought it’d be a while before I had to deal with that again. Not only that, it hasn’t gone away! Yep, I’ve had a period for three solid weeks. (And the regular after-childbirth bleeding prior to that.) And I’m losing a good deal of hair too. So I’m feeling totally unsexy along with feeling like a basketcase! It’s great!

This morning I spent some time reading my bible, which usually brings me a measure of comfort. I read the verse in Philippians: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. So I did that; with thanksgiving, I presented my requests to God. Namely, that he’d change my heart and help me to have a better attitude. That he’d give me the strength and peace to enjoy each day and each moment with Kate and with Matt so I don’t miss this sweet time by being constantly frustrated/worried/sad/anxious. (Like Matt said, I need to just let things be as they are, and let them be messy and be ok with it.) That he’d turn my “wailing into dancing” and remove my sackcloth and clothe me in joy. And more specifically, that Kate and I will be able to get the hang of BF’ing so that I can just pump once at night when Matt gives a bottle. (Either that, or that he’ll give me peace about going to exclusive pumping and feeding her breastmilk in a bottle and foregoing breastfeeding.) I realize that’s a lot of requests, but he tells us to present our requests to him, so I’m doing that. I know his will will be done, and it just may be that he continues to allow me to struggle in order for me to learn important things about myself. And if that’s the case, so be it. I just need a heart change in order to get through it. I have a beautiful baby daughter and a husband who loves me unconditionally. I need to focus on that and IGNORE the fiery arrows of defeat, discouragement, and doubt that satan flings at me.

Whew. Glad I got that off my chest!

So, in other news, tomorrow is our snow day. It’s all everyone is talking about on the news here in Birmingham…well, that and the BCS bowl in Pasadena tomorrow because Alabama is playing. So, football and snow, that’s all we’re talking about here! I asked Matt yesterday to pick up milk on his way home from work because we were almost out, then I remembered we needed bread for sandwiches too. When he got home, he said he felt like a walking cliche because he bought bread and milk two days before snow. (That’s the running joke in Alabama, that when snow comes, there’s a run on bread and milk at the store.) Here’s hoping we get a pretty dusting of snow but no power outtages. I don’t want to spend the whole day inside with no tv or computer! Although I do have a whole lot of think you notes to write…

(Note: I originally posted these first two posts in a blogger blog, but moved them this morning, Thursday, to wordpress. That’s why it looks like I posted them both this morning, rather than Tuesday and Wednesday when I actually posted them.)