Monday, August 31, 2009

aaaaaaall, by MYself!

It looks like we made it through month one! The first few weeks were rough. Before Rohan arrived, our life was one of those white sand beaches, where everything is so clear you could see the grains of sand through the water. A month ago, however, this huge 9 -pound rock hit our beach. Sand and silt and water went everywhere, and things were pretty gritty for a while. But now, the sand and water has settled, the water is clear, you can see all the way to the bottom again, and now have a great view of our perfect 9-pound (well, now 12-pound) rock. Life is slowly going back to "normal".

Before Rohan was born, I was really worried about being his primary care-giver. I was shocked that people thought it was ok for me to spend 8-9 hours a day ALONE with an infant. I had never even held an baby before, let alone be the only person to make sure he lives through the day. And don't even get me started about driving him around (gasp!) ALONE. I was petrified; obsessing over all the things that could go wrong when I was with him. Crazy things like dropping him off the porch to the more realistic tripping and falling while holding him*. Since being paralyzed with fear was not really an option, I took each week one day at a time, and here we are, one month later.

The past two weeks have been great. We get up, I feed him, I eat, we nap, he eats, I do chores around the house, we eat, he naps until Josh gets home, I feed him, Josh and I eat dinner and then we all hang out until his evening feedings. Lately, he has been awake more and more during the day, which has been wonderful. We dance around the house, talk about his future, gossip, play with toys, sing songs. I can see him learning more and more each day. It really is amazing.

What we didn't do, however, is leave the house. Even if I wanted to go out with him, it was just too hot and humid. My mom, Josh, Rohan, and I took a walk to Davis a few weeks ago, and Rohan was just covered in sweat when we got back. I didn't want to expose him to such extreme temperatures if there was no reason.

But then last week, I had to go to the pharmacy, and Isis Maternity is just down the street, and since I needed a few things there as well, I thought this would be a good first solo outing. I was so focused on making sure his diaper bag had everything I may need, getting him in the car in one piece, and not forgetting anything I, myself, may need, that I didn't even remember to be scared. We just loaded up, I pulled out onto the street, and away we went.

Then a few days later, we went to the doctor's office alone! And then to my mother's house alone! And today, I took the stroller out of the first time by myself, and we went to Davis to check out a day care open house, alone! I was actually pretty pleased with myself this morning. We both woke up at 8am, I fed him, did a post-feeding cuddle and calm down, showered, got him ready, and we were out the door by 9:20. For you non-mom's out there, this is huge. If you ARE a mom and this seems like the norm, please don't burst my bubble :)

Now that the weather is a little more temperate, I want to take him for an hour walk at least 3 or 4 times a week. I need the exercise (badly) and it is great to get him out of the house. In two weeks, Mommy-and-Me classes start, so I will be going there every Monday morning. I am really looking forward to meeting more new moms. Besides the occasional visitor, I really only see/talk to Josh, my mom, or Josh's mom. I miss grown-ups.

* So tonight, HALF my biggest fear come true. While walking through the kitchen, I took a nasty spill and hit my head. It was scary, there was blood. I am fine, no blackouts, no stars, no nausea, no memory loss, no dizziness. While Josh was flipping out about the possibility that I could have a concussion and not wake up tomorrow, I was flipping out over the fact that I could have been holding Rohan when it happened. I can't stand the thought that I am capable of hurting him in any way shape or form, even accidently. This upsets me more than any bump on the head.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

untapped power

As ABC Family has been airing Aladdin for the past few days, I learned that I can still recite the entire movie from memory. I missed a few lines here and there, but, yup, whole movie, still memorized, 16 years later.

Now what if I had used all those Aladdin memorizing (and Beauty and the Beast memorizing, and The Little Mermaid memorizing) brain cells in school? I could have been an archaeologist or something...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Breast feeding Blues

We brought Rohan back from the hospital on a Thursday afternoon. That Friday morning, we had his first check up with the pediatrician. It was there we learned he lost about 10% of his birth weight. The doctor was worried about his weight loss and asked us to supplement the breast feeding I was doing with formula. We agreed to bring him back Monday morning to check how his weight was doing.

I cried in the parking lot, devastated that I wasn't able to properly feed my child, beside myself with worry about his weight loss. Not even a week had gone by and I was already failing as a mother. I kept asking myself what we were doing wrong. Josh was close to tears, too. To hear that there was something wrong with our baby was hard. We were both not expecting bad news that morning.

Later that day, a nurse came by to check on my recovery. We told her about his weight loss and she was surprised no one had told me that my milk will take about a week to come in. A week! She also said that someone my size is not automatically equipped to feed a 9 pound baby. That this type of weight loss is normal and expected. And that there was nothing wrong with me.

When we got the pump and were able to measure how much milk I had in ounces, I found that I was giving him a quarter of an ounce of milk at each feeding. A quarter of an ounce! I was slowly starving my child and had no idea. It terrified me that if we hadn't gone to the doctor that morning, I would have continued to underfeed him. I was also shocked that with all the doctors and nurses that paraded in and out of my room for three days, no one told me that this may happen. I was also surprised that the pediatrician didn't mention that my milk may not be in yet, and that this may be a reason for his weight loss. I was angry at myself for not being able to feed him, angry at myself for not knowing that this may happen, and angry at the doctors and nurses for not even giving me an inkling of a warning. The formula worked like a charm, and his weight was back to normal on Monday morning. I don't know what would have happened if he didn't get the formula. What if the doctors appointment was Monday instead of Friday? We would have gone all weekend without knowing that he wasn't getting any food from me. I don't even want to think about it.

In addition to thinking I could adequately feed my own child after he was born, I also was under the misconception that breast feeding would come naturally. It doesn't. The first three days, it was stressful for both of us. He was fussy and unhappy and needed to eat every hour and half (clearly because I was barely giving him anything at all). I dreaded the pain and discomfort that accompanied each feeding. By day three, I was seriously considering going the formula route. When I found out that I was starving my kid, I was all set to quit.

Luckily, my mother-in-law knew a lactation consultant, who came to the house Monday afternoon. She not only showed me what I was doing wrong, she taught me how to teach Rohan to feed properly. She told me that what I am going through is normal, that it could take up to two weeks for my milk to come in, and stressed that I was doing nothing wrong. I sobbed with relief. For three days, I felt like a failure. It was like someone lifted a huge weight off my chest and head when I heard that everything was going to be ok. Now, I look forward to feedings; Rohan usually locks eyes with me and his expression is just so content and trusting, it is indescribable. I am already dreading weaning him onto just formula when I get ready to go back to work. For now, I am just happy that I am able to give him whatever I can. Happy that I am doing everything I can for him, including a bottle feeding here and there when I don't have enough.

For all you would-be mothers out there, don't go through the drama and tears that I did. If you want to breast feed, talk to the doctors and nurses in the hospital about what you can do to feed your baby while you milk comes in, make sure that you are watching your baby's weight loss those first two or three days, and be prepared to supplement with formula. Don't make the mistakes I did; read up on breast feeding beforehand, take a prenatal breast feeding class, and talk to breast feeding mothers about their experiences. Talk to the nurses about teaching your baby how to latch on properly. If not the nurses, then a lactation consultant. For something that is supposed to be so natural, it does not come naturally for everyone.

And on a much lighter note, how cute is this?

And this?