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Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Elusive Prize and a Contest

Sleeping through the night. It's a coveted state. Really , it means 6 or 7 hours of consecutive sleep- for the baby that is. But that didn't stop us from getting 5 in a row last night. Plus another 2 after her early morning feed. She slept 9 pm- 4:30 am. That would be 7.5 hours folks.

Are we excited or what! Apparently, I slept through the night at 6 weeks too. She must take after me. ;) Here's hoping it wasn't a one time occurrence.

Now, I need your help. I'm going through my posts from this year and trying to pick one for Creme de la Creme 2009. Problem is that I have very little time to really do this properly right now. If you think there's one that is particularly worthy (i.e. my best post of the year), put the Date and Title in the comments section. If I pick the post you chose (first come, first serve), there's a prize. I need some finalists and the deadline is Dec.15th, so please help me out.

I'm going to pick the winning post two weeks from now on Dec.12th and if you're curious what the prize might be, the only hint I'll give is to remember that I'm a photographer...

Happy Hunting!

It's All in the Math


Nine hours of sleep that is! Obviously not consecutive but I'm not complaining.

We had a visit with Bean's pediatrician today.

9lbs, 9oz

Our girl is growing so quickly!

(And there seems to be something about nines...)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Balancing Act

She's sitting propped up in my nursing (ahem, "feeding") pillow. She might be still hungry but I'm not sure. One minute I think so, next I'm not so sure. So I'm waiting for her to make up her mind and let me know.

I have a six week old infant. Still trying to wrap my mind around it. I keep joking with people that I don't know where the weeks have gone and I know I didn't sleep through it. lol. But she's a pretty darn good baby- most of the time. She seems to be going through another growth spurt and is eating every two at times. It gets so tiring. Then I think about how it's be if I was still doing the breastfeeding & bottle regimen and I'm pretty sure I'd be clinically insane at this point. As it is I exist in a partially sleep-deprived state. Most of time I'm fine but there are days when I think I'm going to lose it.

Christmas is coming quickly and I can't wait. Hold On... hold that thought...

Oh, there she goes. Her hungry cry. It's actually really funny and I can't help laughing at it. She can really scream when she's hungry but I have a hard time taking it too seriously. She acts like she's going to perish if she doesn't get some food-right-this-VERY-minute. Even better is when she actually goes through the trouble of producing tears, although not enough to leave her eyes. Then she'll abruptly stop crying, pout her lips and look at me as if to say, "Well, wasn't that clear enough?"

She has changed my world so completely. Made it crazy and wonderful and made it so I don't know what is up or down. But I love it. Most days. Other times I feel myself on the edge. My limits change each day according to the amount of sleep I've had. It's at that breaking point when I need help.

I have a hard time asking for that help. It's hard to admit to people that you can't handle taking care of your child for another minute and need an extra hand. It's hard to say, please take her for me for a minute. But unfortunately, I don't have people on hand during the day to do so, so I usually settle for a phone conversation. Most often with my Mom.

So that was last night and I was going to post this then (when I was done of course) but Bean started crying and wouldn't stop. It was her first bout of crying for the sake of crying. It didn't last too long, maybe ten minute, and I was holding her in her favourite spot curled on my chest and shoulder. She fell asleep fairly quickly. She wasn't hungry after all.

So where was I? I have no idea. I think I'll have to go back and re-read what I've written. Hold on...

Oh, yes. Breaking points. Motherhood is far more difficult than I could have imagined but amazing also. Sometimes it's just the way she looks at me. It makes all the difference most ways.

I think I'm still at risk for Post-Partum Depression. Sometimes the reality smacks me in the face. But on the other hand, I know I'm coping pretty darn well. When I start having too many "bad days", then I know it'll be time to take action but for now, I know I'm fine and that everything will be alright.

Christmas is approaching. Our tree is up with lights but we still need to finish decorating. Tonight hopefully. I'm excited for the Holidays and winter too (does that make me nuts or what?). We're going to my parent's place in two weeks for our Christmas with my family since that's when my Dad is home from working up North. Then we'll be with R's family for a week at Christmas time.
And if you can't quite believe it's coming up on Christmas, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is on TV right now. This also means it's Thanksgiving Day for you folks in the United States. Happy Holidays to you!

As I sign off, I thought I'd leave you a photo of Bean. She's this photographer's favourite new model...

Monday, November 09, 2009

10 Ways...

... You Know You're a Sleep Deprived Mother of a Newborn:

10. You don't remember the day or the date.

9. You've worn the same pants 3 or 4 days this week because you still don't fit into anything else and are too tired to do laundry yet again.

8. The 3/4 am feed doesn't seem so odd any more.

7. You are able to fall asleep wihtin minutes of hitting the pillow (where it took you 3o minutes before).

6. The bed is never made until moments before you crawl into it and even then it's a half-hearted attempt. All you really need is covers for warmth.

5. You can change a diaper or give the baby a bottle without turning lights on. Lights would only wake you up completely.

4. A shirt is considered "clean" if the spit-up marks aren't too obvious.

3. Caffeine no longer wakes you up.

2. You've just blanked out for the thousandth time in a 24 hour period.

1. And my favourite... You go to reheat your cup of coffee in the microwave only to find cup in there from 2 or 3 days including a nice pool of old milk. Yum!

Truly though, as funny as all that is (I have a good sense of humour about it), I am loving this new journey. That being said, I am now actually enjoying my little girl. I decided on Friday to finally give up breastfeeding and just do formula. I would love to say that it was a difficult decision, but it wasn't. Bittersweet maybe but definitely not difficult. There have been too many tears, too much pain and too much guilt. Well enough was enough. I had come too close to the edge of post-partum depression. Much longer and I could have easily fallen into a pit. How horrible would that have been? But how simple the solution.

We're all much happier now. And I actually enjoy feeding her. There's just as much bonding- more so since there's no stress anymore. I can gaze into her eyes when she's working on her bottle. We connect. And that my friends is the priceless moment I've been waiting for.

So as we approach the end of our first month, we've figured out a few things and are still learning other things. But this I do know, no matter what, it is so worth it. More than I ever knew.

Now only if my milk will dry up and go away. The leaking is more than a little annoying...

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Memoirs of a Baby-Lost Mama

It was the cloud that circled closely, hovering, teasing, saying "here's what you want but you can't have it just yet". Not now, maybe later. Maybe if you're lucky.

In the darkness, the cloud seemed to comsume whatever light there was. But it was a sliver of hope that punched through. Tales of an optimist, determined not to give up, who believed that everything would work out in the end, somehow.

Truthfully, it was not expected to happen so soon. A third chance in a year became a bit of a taunting joke. Even with the first flickers, thumps, rolls and melting heart, the cloud hung back just waiting to come in a burst the happiest of moments. The doubt would surface again, convincing the Optimist that perhaps it was all some twisted dream, never real.

Slapped back into reality, the cloud is pushed back a little, just barely out of sight. It's presence still felt. Hushed maybe but it's whispers still screamed for attention.

And then it happened. The cloud changed from a dark thunderhead into something less sinister, more tangibly happy. Perhaps it could stay this way? Can it happen like that?

Nothing prepared the Optimist for this particular event. They say that nothing prepares you for when you create life and welcome it into this world but did "they" ever have a cloud hovering waiting to steal your sunshine? Were they made to doubt and in the weaker moments, give up in despair? Sometimes I think "they" are stating the obvious but also the greatest understatement there ever was.

Optimism may not have prepared the Optimist for this, but it surely didn't leave me desitiute and alone. Harder to hold on to than anything else in the world, hope is our blanket, our comfort. Today, it takes the form of a tiny soul casting newness, naivete and worldy wisdom all in the loving gaze of deep eyes.

Lessons: Part 2

I started this post on Friday. It's occurred to me that I really need to write in short snippets if I ever want to complete a darn post. So this is a collection of snippets...

Friday, October 31st, 2009:
I am perfecting the "new mommy one-handed type" as Bean sleeps curled up on my chest, head resting on my collarbone.

I am so glad I waited till today to write this post. Yesterday was one of a few bad "baby blues" days. I was irritable, emotional, exhausted beyond belief and feeling on the edge of my ability to cope. But I am so much better today. Still tired but at least I'm functioning and coping with her cluster feeding. Saw her pediatrician this morning. She was not impressed because the timing meant that we were an hour and a half late for her feeding. She was hungry and let everybody know it! (She's found her "voice" in the last couple of days)

The good news is that she has finally reached her birth weight. Which means we don't have to wake her up to feed and can wiat for her to let us know when she's hungry. This exhausted Mom was ever so happy to hear that!

And so, in this content state I will continue where I left off about lessons. In this case, these are lessons I learning right now:

Lessons Being Learned:

-Breastfeeding is far more difficult than I ever imagined! After going to a breastfeeding class as part of my prenatal series, I knew things may not be easy but I never anticipated the tears and frustration. Here's this tiny creature who when's she's feeding well fills me with love and contentment; but so quickly things can go downhill and I can be so upset with her. Which of course doesn't help my supply and we continue in a vicious cycle until something breaks it. But I'm determined to make it work! I want her to have the best I can give her. Formula doesn't cut it in my opinion but I've resigned myself to the fact that it's necessary to supplement in order to keep her growing. But I have an appt on Monday with the Lactation Consultants at the hospital where I delivered. Crossing my fingers we can fix some of the problems.

Mon Update: Lactation Consultant discovered that no matter how long she feeds on each side, she gets everything she's going to in the first 10 minutes- which, when it takes 15 minutes to get to the good fatty stuff, it's no wonder we have to supplement. We're working on things still and are going back next week to see where we're at.

-Your best is really good enough. It's so hard as a Mother not to blame yourself when things aren't going well. You have a bad day and are exhausted from lack of sleep. All these negative thoughts go through your head and you think you're doing things wrong when in fact, you're just like every other mother of a newborn who's just trying to figure it all out. In fact, gee, I think we might be human like everyone else. I think I need to dash all dreams of the "Supermom" status. No cape for me. I'd settle for a baby who is happy and knows she's loved. As R tells her, it's our job to give her everything she needs to grow and it's her job to grow. Simple or what?

More later. As I said, we're doing things in bits despite my having lots to say.