I’m gonna make this fast…

Hadley is 4 months old & gets more breathtakingly gorgeous every day. I have proof:

Here’s us the day after she was born:

Here’s H on her 4 month birthday:

Long story short, I’ve now been a single mama for almost 2 months. Well, not legally single, but that part will come.

Hadley and I are now living in small town central MS with my parents & brothers. I never imagined I could move back here & not literally want to kill myself, much less be as happy as I am here. Things change SO much when you have kids. I know everyone says that, but it’s true. Things that once would nauseate you become desirable and vice versa.

I am so, so, so fortunate to have an opportunity allowing me to work from home for the company I worked for & loved on the coast. It’s only temporary I think, but it’ll buy me some time to find a good job here.

Breastfeeding has not been without our own set of obstacles. I am proud to say we’re still going strong & I see no end in sight yet.

Cloth diapering is still so much fun & I can’t imagine having done it any other way. I’m really starting to desire more and more disposable things gone from my life. I want to switch to reusable menstrual products (if I ever have a period again, I haven’t had one for over a year, so it seems so foreign now), unpaper towels, even “family cloth” (which for the unfamiliar is reusable toilet paper). Of course all that will probably wait until I move into my own place.

Now that Hadley is getting older there are more upcoming parenting things to think about. Solid foods are just around the corner, and I’m very interested in Baby Led Weaning. I would love to hear other parents’ thoughts on BLW or any other weaning experiences.

I have wanted to get into baby wearing ever since I was pretty newly pregnant. However, I don’t have a good carrier (I have a Baby Bjorn but I read after getting it that it puts all the weight on baby’s crotch area & isn’t good for them so I use it seldom) & they’re SO expensive! H is 4 months old now & roughly a little over 12 lbs I think. Is that too late to get started BW? Also, please let me know if any of you see someone wanting to get rid of a wrap or sling cheaply. (I would love a Moby wrap)

OH, & H can talk!

Pumpin’ it up

While on maternity leave, I did not inherit a million dollars from a mysterious benefactor, nor did I win some other state’s lottery (didn’t buy a ticket either so I’m not complaining). So yesterday I went back to work.

I had actually been looking forward to it. I love being with my baby & I missed her while I was gone, but being in my apartment was driving me crazy. And I love Hadley, but I was excited to have 8 hours where I wasn’t responsible for all her care, ykwim?

As I mentioned last post, I have felt apprehensive about pumping at work. I faced that problem like I do any task I feel apprehensive about but is still necessary to do: I just did it. & let’s just say I was broken of embarrassment/sense of secrecy I’d feel that as a Pumper pretty quickly. I emailed the HR lady beforehand to make sure the room for pumping would be available when I needed it, etc.

HR lady replied oking everything, & a few minutes later, I got a reply to THAT email  from a fellow graphic artist – a MALE my age who was out on vacation the day I started back – saying “Hey Amanda, are you getting all your emails? I had your email forwarded to mine while you were out & wasn’t sure if it’d go to your inbox too. Good to have you back!” Not only had he been receiving all the emails I had that morning, but he chose to email me by replying to the one about my pumping schedule. For Chrissakes, the subject line was “Pumping”!! If he had just sent me an original email, I may have never noticed….

I am very fortunate that my workplace sets aside an area for breastfeeding mothers, however, it is in a rather awkward location. The room has two doors & happens to connect two areas of the building & makes a convenient hallway through which to take a shortcut. So when it’s not in use, people use it as a hallway, in spite of HR having sent out mass emails reminding people that the room is a private area for phone calls & breastfeeding etc. & not to use it to walk through.

I went into the room for my first pump break. The door I entered has a lock on it, but a sign had been put up that read “Do not lock this door!” I locked it anyway. (I’d rather get in trouble for locking a door for 15 minutes than take the chance of getting barged in on!) The door opposite the one I entered is always left open, because the floor is uneven or something & rubs against the door & makes it hard to open & close. It doesn’t lock, so I just closed it. Since it’s always open when the room is not in use, I wasn’t too worried.

I started getting set up, plugging stuff in, attaching tubes etc. when I heard people talking somewhere outside. One of the voices got closer, and I heard it say “Oh, watch this door be locked & me have to go all the way around”, then the door I had locked jiggled! I said “Someone’s in here!” but the person had walked away. Thank goodness I had disobeyed the sign & locked it! What if I’d already had my boobs out & attached to the pump?

I finished pumping without anymore incidents, and later than afternoon went to go tell HR Lady what happened. Maybe she could shoot out another mass email reminder! I told her, and she said, “Oh, that was me! I’m sorry!” Turns out it had slipped her mind, and as soon as she had jiggled the door, she realized what time it was, that it was my Pump Time & felt terrible. Also, I did not get in trouble for locking the door & can do so every time I’m in there.

Even better news… the company is in the process of converting an old office (with ONE ENTRANCE) into the pumping/privacy room! So hopefully pretty soon I won’t have to use the crazy hallway/room.

Hadley did good with Daddy my first day of work. She slept a lot. When I got home for lunch at noon, I noticed her diaper was wet & changed it. My husband said, “That’s weird, she hadn’t been fussing or anything.” Whoops – while I had taught my husband how to put on a diaper, I hadn’t taught him what baby’s cues for needing a new diaper are: that (for my child) there are none. That you have to check for wetness. So I told him this before I went back to work at 1pm.

When I got home at 5pm, R was bragging about how well he’d managed to not let the baby die while I was gone, and mentioned how he’d even kept up with the diaper changes. “Yeah, I changed like six hundred diapers,” he said. “What?” I said. “Well, no about six,” he said. (Remember, this was in the space of four hours.)

I guess I also should’ve told him that you generally change a newborn’s diaper every 2 hours. Or maybe I will keep that my little secret & let him do all those extra diaper changes to make up for the 6 weeks that I changed 99.999% of the diapers myself. 😉

Losing my mind

The past 2 days I have done nothing but feed H & sleep. I have not left the couch for more than 3 minutes at a time. And that is mostly to change her diapers. Any preparing of food that has been done or visits to the bathroom have been done while H is fussing because I’m not feeding her. I haven’t showered since Wednesday. I haven’t brushed my teeth since yesterday.

Yes, I am breastfeeding while I type this. I have found a way to rest her head on my arm at the appropriate level & type on the laptop on the boppy pillow on my lap.

I love breastfeeding, but I loathe doing nothing BUT breastfeeding. I know about growth spurts & cluster feeding, but this is madness. Is it possible that something else is wrong? That maybe a lot of her nursing is comfort nursing because her tummy or some other little part of her is hurting?

People have told me I learn to discern my baby’s cries & know which ones mean I’m hungry, I’m pissed, I need a new diaper, I’m hurting, etc. That’s bullshit! I have no clue, seriously. I just know that if she seems unhappy, I put her at my boob & that stops the fussing until she falls asleep nursing. Then I put her down & within a few minutes or less, she’s fussing again.

Husband isn’t much help. Just a few mins ago, she was screaming, and R was like “Wow, she sounds like she’s REALLY hungry, maybe we should make her a bottle?” – as if my boobs are only good for light snacks. Boys!! (Yes, I had been supplementing but I’m trying to wean off the formula.)

The only way she will fall asleep is if I feed her lying down, with us both lying down on our side. But that makes me fall asleep too, and has led to me sleeping all day & being awake most the night. Which I HATE more than anything.

It looks like it’s been gorgeous out my window! I really want to go outside. I want to run. I want to go grocery shopping myself.

B commented my last post asking if I’ve felt depressed. I haven’t at all until yesterday. Sleeping late depresses me, so it’s been really hard sleeping from 3am until 10 or 12, being awake for maybe an hour, then going back to sleep until 3pm or so. And I only feel a little depressed. I don’t want to hurt the baby or myself. I just want off this effing couch.

I thought mommies were supposed to be really sad when they had to go back to work. I know I will miss H like crazy, because I miss her even while I’m taking a shower & she’s in the other room, but frankly I get ecstatic thinking about going back to work a week from today! I may even see if I can go in Thursday.

I am not looking forward to pumping at work. And I have it better than most BFing working moms, because my workplace has a private room with a couch for that purpose. I know I will have to carry my pump around, and even though everything’s hidden in a “stylish” black leather bag, I know everyone will know what it is. And whenever I get up from my desk & walk away with the black bag, people will know where I’m going. Why does that matter to me so much? Why does pumping make me feel so incredibly self-conscious? I can’t even bear to pump in front of my husband. I go back to our bedroom to do it now, and if he happens to walk by there while I’m doing it, I can’t meet his eyes. I make such a lousy advocate for breastfeeding rights…

Just so this post isn’t ALL negative, here is a picture of my gorgeous little angel rockin’ her Fuzzibunz.

Things I Figured Wrong About

  • I figured since the human population has grown just fine before the invention of formula in the 1950s (I think, correct if wrong), that breastfeeding would come very naturally. I figured, for the most part, I’d put my nipple to her lips and ACTION.
  • I figured I’d breastfeed at LEAST until her diet became mostly solid food, so formula would never touch her lips.
  • I figured my daughter would tell me when she is hungry. I figured the hungrier she was, the more easily she would latch on to my breast. (It’s actually the opposite!!) I figured if my daughter was asleep, that meant she wasn’t hungry. (It can mean she is so weak from hunger that she does not have the energy to stay awake!!)
  • I figured my husband would help change diapers.
  • I figured my postpartum bleeding would taper off & stop after 4 or 5 days, like all the baby websites say.
  • I figured my perineum would heal & my stitches dissolve without a trace in about the same amount of time.
  • I figured my maternity leave would not involve any massive bleeding & clots or trips to the ER.
  • I figured I’d feel confident & not self-conscious at all while attached to a breast pump, since collecting breastmilk for my baby to drink while I’m at work is the best thing I can offer her, aside from winning the lottery & becoming a SAHM.
  • I also figured that, while I didn’t expect pumping to ever be one of the highlights of my day, I would not hate pumping with the fire of a thousand suns.
  • I figured that, while as a new mom I didn’t expect to ooze rabid sex appeal & animal lust, I would not feel THIS gross & unattractive.
  • I figured that since I feel SO STRONGLY about women having the right to openly breastfeed in public, that I’d have the confidence to do so myself, that I’d feel no need to grab a receiving blanket every time someone knocked on my door mid-feeding. That I wouldn’t keep a bottle of formula in my diaper bag.
  • I figured since my mom never had painful labor, that I wouldn’t either. Or at the most, it’d hurt SOME but not enough for me to EVER agree to things being inserted into my spine. (Yes, I mentioned this in the previous post, but it still blows my mind how dumb I was and how much it hurt.)
  • I figured whenever my baby felt hungry, I would nurse her for 15 or 30 minutes, then she’d either sleep or be content for the next 2 hours. I never figured I’d consent to my husband giving her a bottle of formula, not because we still need to supplement, but just so I can leave the couch & the Boppy pillow for just a few minutes.
  • I figured the second we got home from the hospital, I’d remove her disposable hospital-provided diaper & slap some cloth on her butt. (She was about a week old when I started CD’ing her.)
  • I figured the very popular, very affordable Sunbaby Diapers I ordered in bulk from China would work for us, thus completing our diaper stash to get her from here to potty training. (I’m still holding out hope with these, since she’s still pretty small…)
  • I figured my body would be so proficient at making milk that I’d spray everywhere if a gentle breeze hit me from the right angle – not that I’d be seriously considering trying to collect the dribbles of milk that go down my daughter’s cheek after a feeding & freeze them…
  • I figured it wouldn’t be much trouble for me to spray off cloth diapers in the toilet. It’s not a gross thing for me as much as it is a pain in the ass thing. So I’ve really slacked off on that. Still no stains! But I need to get in the habit of spraying diapers, since she will eventually eat solid food & be grosser.

Vessel No More

Hadley is here!

She has been here for almost 3 weeks, but I don’t exactly have time to write more than a few sentences of this blog at a time, so it’s just now getting posted.

She is without a doubt the cutest, sweetest thing I’ve ever seen.

When I first saw her, I was thrilled, but didn’t exactly have that OMG-I-love-you-more-than-anything-i-have-ever-loved-in-my-whole-life sensation everyone talks about, but I do think that love is forming in me gradually. Every time I see her open her eyes or stick her little tongue out, I feel more and more smitten. 🙂

My water broke at midnight while I was just lying in bed reading. My first thought was, no effing way, this is not happening right now, we’re not ready! I shuffled into the living room to tell R & all I could get out was “I’m..I…I’m..leaking!” I don’t think he understood what that meant, and why would he? “Leaking” is a pretty vague description of several things that can happen to a pregnant woman. He told me to just lie down & relax, try to get some sleep. Good thinking, I thought. Maybe if I just go to sleep this will all just kind of go away until 3/13. Well, it did not stop and I could not sleep. Not for more than an hour at a time. I finally got up around 5:30 or so, and R was awake, too, so we decided to go to the hospital. We stopped for mcDonald’s breakfast on the way, since who knows when I’d eat again. We got the hospital, and after much poking & prodding, was told we would be having a baby today!

Childbirth was nothing like I envisioned it. I was undecided on most aspects of it, such as epidural/drugs vs. natural, but I knew I wanted nothing to do with Pitocin (the drug that induces labor).  However, my water had broken, and I was not having any contractions. Broken water means no protective barrier between our germy world & the baby, AND I had tested positive for Group B Strep, so she needed to come out within the next 24 hours. I was given an IV of antibiotics for the Group B Strep, and Pitocin. (I still have the gummy shit stuck to my hand & arm from where they taped the IV to me.)

My own mother never had painful contractions (even with Pitocin) – according to my dad, the nurse had to tell her when she was having one, even at 10cm.  Although I tried to tell myself to be prepared for anything, deep down inside, I had (stupidly) assumed this would be a genetic trait that was passed on to me. WRONG. It was completely AGONIZING. I had back labor, too (when baby is face up so the back of her head presses against your spine) which is purportedly even more agonizing.

Another thing I KNEW I had wanted in my birth experience was to not be chained to my bed, by fetal monitors or whatever. It was also much of the reason why I didn’t REALLY want drugs/epidural. I figured if I could move around, I’d be OK. However, Pitocin and continuous monitoring are a packaged deal. I got moved into another room that had wireless monitoring just so I COULD move & use the bathroom myself and all that stuff, only to have the wireless monitor not work, and then me end up being chained to the bed for most of the ordeal. 😦

I think I was around 5 or 6 cm when I decided natural childbirth was not going to be the way for me. I was still hesitant about the epidural, so I got an injection of Stadol, which made me a feel a little like I’d chased a Lortab with a beer. I could still feel the contractions, though, and they still hurt, and by the time the Stadol wore off, I no longer had any reservations about something being inserted into my spine.

Pretty much the second the epidural kicked in, it was time to push. That lasted about an hour (I think – I wasn’t actually watching the clock). During that ordeal I got another childbirth-thing I swore I would not get – an episiotome. I’m so glad I got an epidural, because I did not feel it at all. (I didn’t feel anything actually, it was quite strange…)

Hadley Elizabeth was born at 7pm on the dot on Friday 2/25/11. 7lbs, 5oz & 19.75″ long.

So that’s my birth story. It was more challenging than I thought it would be. And the challenges, rewards & stories have not stopped there. I hope to blog more specifically about my other adventures in new mommyhood very soon…

I do eventually want to discontinue this blog & start a new one 🙂

STOP! bellytime

Can you tell I’m running out of names for belly posts? I should only have like 3 more pics left to post, if that many!

35 weeks

36 weeks

37 weeks