Friday, October 17, 2008

Guilty as Charged

Last night was one of the first times I felt guilty as a parent.

If not for what little common sense I have, I would not hesitate to wallow in my self pity and think "Gosh, I must be the worst parent EVER."
But I am almost positive there has to be at least one parent out there who is worse at this game than I am.

For the first 3 months of my daughter's life, I've managed a happy, healthy baby, and had the good fortune to think to myself, "Yay! I don't entirely suck as a parent". Afterall, you can't entirely suck if your kid is still alive & kicking, right?

First, I want to be upfront and say how adamant I am about breastfeeding my children. I wanted to exclusively breastfeed Grace until she was at least 6 months old. Unfortunately, my supply has been dropping without any reason I can think of, and my poor baby has slowly been starving. I try to tell myself that I've always been able to feel her ribs, and not be entirely paranoid over it. I was just so determined to keep breastfeeding her exclusively and not give in to the urge to supplement with a bottle of formula.
So, you can imagine my dismay when I gave in to that urge last night.

I've been sick for a few days now, with a low grade fever, and last night I was dehydrated, and "the girls" were high and dry. The fight to get Grace to sleep at night has been gradually been growing more and more tremendous, mainly because she's so hungry I think. The last few nights she was waking up every hour, which is how I got sick in the first place (you try going two nights with minimal sleep at the start of cold & flu season and see how healthy you stay, lol).
Usually she's awesome about sleeping straight through the night, but it's gotten to the point where hunger is overriding that habit. She even started refusing naps.

So I broke down last night & gave her a bottle of formula. I felt terrible about it, but I wasn't about to let her go to bed hungry another night. Both Andy & I needed rest. Andy's been such a champ this week about taking care of two babies, but I think it's starting to get to him.

The decision to supplement, and with what, wasn't easy. I called the after hours pediatrician hotline and asked them what formula would be best to do the deed with, keeping Grace's reflux in mind. They suggested the soy based sample I had on hand at first, but weren't entirely sure. I had several sample cans from the hospital-- two cans of Enfamil with Lipil, and two cans of Similac, one of them soy based.
Eventually the nurse called us back to tell us which one specifically to get (something AR), but to stick with one formula for at least a week before switching to see how Grace would react to it.

So far she seems to be handling it well, she even slept in till 8:15 (booyah!). I was able to pump 5 ounces of breastmilk out this morning, so that was a good start. However, I only managed to get 2 ounces at the next feeding, so I made another "I'm a horrible parent" decision. I combined it with two ounces of formula for a four ounce bottle. I guess some breastmilk is better than none, right?
At feeding #3, my supply is found wanting again, so I'll be repeating the process when Grace gets up from her second nap.
Holy cow... her second nap... I can't remember the last time she slept twice in the same day!

As for a solution to the low supply problem, I've been taking fenugreek capsules and More Milk Special Blend. More Milk tastes & smells like Satan's behind... not that I personally know what that smells like, but it really reeks. I haven't been taking it this week because I've been sick, and had a hard time stomaching food for a day or so, so I am waiting until I'm better to get back on the stuff.
I guess if you're a huge fan of intense black licorice, you'd probably go for it, but I think it's as nasty as spinach, coleslaw, and other commodities I tend to gag on.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sleep is for the Weak

I've dreaded this day for a long time.
I'm sick.
I'm a mom, and I'm sick.
I'm a mom, I'm sick, and there's no one but me to care for the baby right now.

Sure, it's just the common cold, but nevertheless I feel pretty crummy.
I just want to sleep. Problem is, my three month old is refusing to take a nap for whatever reason. She'll fall asleep in my arms, but the second I put her in her swing (where she usually naps), she's wide awake again, crying, and we're back to square one. She's fed, dry, and she's got to be tired. She usually has her nap from nine to noon, but here we are pushing one and she's yet to fall asleep.
I'd bang my head on the desk, but I'm pretty sure I still couldn't tell the difference in pain between the throbbing head & sore throat I already have.

The worse I feel, the more convinced I am that motherhood is next to sainthood.

How on earth do you other women do it?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Trick Pony

I know I'm LONG overdue for a post, so here goes...

Y'know how I said at the end of my last post that my day revolves around my daughter's poopy behind? It's true. Around that time she was having some bowel problems. I guess we are both trying to get regular. She would go several days without pooping, and at the very climax of the pressure, she would be inconsolably fussy. You could tell she was uncomfortable. She kept doing this for weeks, and I finally got tired of it. The tricks some of our friends had shown us to help relieve her were not working... it was time for medical intervention!
After my 6 week postpartum checkup, I took Grace downstairs to the pediatrician's office. I cried to the nurse like an idiot (who knew poop could get a mom so emotional?!), and she took us into one of the rooms. She showed me a last-resort type procedure that I like to call The Trick Pony. It involves a q-tip and vasoline... I'll leave the rest to your imagination.
I stopped & got some lunch afterwards, and about 20 mins after I got home, Grace had an atomic diaper-- HOORAY!
The next week she had her 2 month checkup and first vaccinations. The nurse was impressed with how curious Grace was. She said Grace is one of the most alert babies she's ever seen. She is a funny baby, and seems happiest when we are on the go ("Places to see, people to meet!"). I have a feeling she is going to love shoulder rides, and sitting by herself in the shopping cart.
Anyway, she has steadily been getting more regular and tends to have a poopy diaper every other day now. She does better when I eat better, which I should probably do more often. I've gotten really terrible with my sugar control lately, and really need to re-commit myself to staying on top of it. Just like a year ago, I need to do it for my baby.
Speaking of which, one of my friends is thoroughly convinced I'm expecting #2 just because I incessantly crave soft serve vanilla ice cream.

In other news, Grace started laughing on September 13. She doesn't do it very often, but when she does, there's no mistaking it for anything else. It's a laugh if you ever heard one! She also carries on conversations with people in baby gibberish, and is starting to roll over.

I turned 26 last week, and Andy's grandmother passed away that day. We went down to California for the funeral. I was grateful to have Andy's brother & sister with us in the back of the van we rented, they were troopers & kept Grace entertained for the 12 hour drive. It is making me seriously reconsider my desire to fly to New York for Christmas. The rolling changes in pressure & elevation in the car bothered her as she would seem to get the fussiest right around the time our own ears were about to pop. As adults it's something we're all used to, but I can't imagine the discomfort it would be for a baby who's never experienced something like that before.
Now I know why babies cry on planes.