9

A Prayer for my Boobs

I am still struggling with breastfeeding Teddy almost a month into this relationship. I don’t think his latch is everything it should be but it works because of the nipple shield. I haven’t been able to get him to latch without the shield at all; he simply looks at me like I’m crazy. I’ve been battling double mastitis and clogged ducts for over a week and feel downright rotten about every other day. I’m on day 3 of antibiotics and definitely have had a new clog develop in the last few hours. Letdown brings sharp pain that is only just bearable.

I know I don’t want to quit though. There has to be a way to fix all these issues but when I’ve been solo parenting for a week (B had been in San Francisco for a work conference since last Thursday), I don’t have the energy or time to devote to getting better because there’s always a child that needs something. B leaves again for another work trip on Sunday so I’m hoping to get as much rest as possible between when he gets home tomorrow and Sunday morning.

If you’re the praying type, I need help getting through the next week and a healing touch.

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4

Two Weeks

Teddy turned two weeks old last Friday. I was thinking about his birth at the exact time he was born at 1:13 AM since we were up for a feeding. I wanted to wait until today to write up a two week post because he didn’t see the pediatrician until this morning.

One of the biggest markers of progress at the two week appointment is to see if baby has regained and reached his birth weight. An exclusively breastfed baby can be expected to lose as much as 7-10% of his birth weight before starting to regain after mom’s milk comes in. Teddy’s lowest weight was 7 lb 7 oz, a loss of only about 4%. He continued eating really well and was 8 lb 4.5 oz this morning! That’s a 13 oz gain in two weeks. Go Teddy! Now that we have an idea of his ability to put on weight, the pediatrician encouraged me to let Teddy choose when he wants to eat, even overnight. He has the fat storage and good metabolism necessary to go up to 6 hours between feedings. We’ll see what he decides to do and how quickly I feel like I may explode as the time between feedings lengthens. I feel like I might be developing clogged ducts or double mastitis so I’m keeping an eye on my own boob health. I drink around 100 oz of water, lowfat milk, or 100% juice daily so my supply has been keeping up with the little man’s demands.

We’re still working on teaching Teddy the difference between days and night. He tends to give me a hard time every other night and refuses to go back to sleep after he eats. He may doze through an entire feeding but his eyes will pop open as soon as I wrap him in his swaddle blanket! There have been a few times where all he wants is contact with me so I’ll tuck him along my side by his bed and he immediately quiets down. We sleep like that until I wake up again and put him back in his own bed. I’m not entirely comfortable with cosleeping with a baby this small so I’m trying to do everything I can to avoid it.

Teddy’s umbilical cord stump fell off when B was getting him ready for bed on his one week birthday. It smelled awful so we were thrilled to have it gone! He got to have his first tub bath the next day and, surprisingly, didn’t hate the whole process, just the part where he had to get washed. We’ve learned since Ben was tiny that the temperature sensing bath toy we used to test the water temp for Ben’s first bath likes water colder than any sensible human does. This time, we simply filled the tub a little cooler than what Ben had for his bath, tossed in the new infant bath pillow we bought to replace the plastic bathtub (much better control of the baby!), and Teddy was content to sit in the warm water. He screamed his head off when I took him out but since that’s my least favorite part of taking a bath, I don’t blame him one bit!

Teddy is still wearing newborn clothes and newborn diapers. The Gerber onesies are getting a little tight so I’m guessing we’ll need to switch to 0-3 month onesies once we start using cloth diapers. I can’t decide if I’m excited to use cloth. I love the cost savings and their reliability but we haven’t had the leaking problems with Teddy that we had with Ben so it doesn’t seem as necessary. We’re almost out of newborn disposable diapers though and I’d like to reserve those for nights and the diaper bag so switch we will. Like Ben, he poops in pretty much every diaper so we will need to keep a look out for diaper rash. We’ve already dipped into his tub of Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm and the rash we did see cleared up quickly. That stuff is incredible (and cloth diaper safe)!

I’ve been waiting for B to have free time to take Teddy’s newborn photos but that miracle hasn’t occurred yet. I realized today that I’m capable with a camera and can at least take the photos for B to edit when he has time. Editing is not as time sensitive as the photos themselves. I’ve set up a little photo station in Teddy’s crib and will be taking a few photos at a time when he is sleeping cutely.

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“Hold hands, Mommy!”

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Teddy loves his lion boppy

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B has his hands full with two boys and a cat but loves every minute of it

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Two weeks postpartum and a new haircut! I have more of a belly than I’d like but keep reminding myself that I was very, very pregnant a little over two weeks ago

3

One Week

Happy one week birthday, Teddy Bear!

It’s hard to believe that it has already and only been one week since Teddy was born. Time both slowed down and sped up for the last 7 days. We haven’t done a whole lot other that work on some sort of routine that works for our boys but doesn’t affect B’s work hours too much. We haven’t been too successful yet but B hasn’t told me he’s worried yet so I’ll let it be for now.

B is a wonderful dad but I knew that already. He changes diapers (all of Ben’s since Monday since I’m on lift restrictions and can’t put him on the changing table plus many of Teddy’s), gets up with Ben in the morning, snuggles fussy newborns, encourages me when I’m feeling frustrated, and continues to work to financially support our family. I don’t know how I would do this without him!

Ben is adjusting as well as we could have hoped. He loves to give Teddy kisses and hugs and is more excited to see his “billy broller” in the morning than he is to see me. He is aggressively loving, as most toddlers are, so we don’t trust him alone with Teddy yet but it warms my heart to see them together. We try not to have Teddy in our laps all the time so there is space for Ben too. He has been acting out a bit this past week and intentionally disobeying us. Time out is pretty common! We can’t tell if he is acting out because of Teddy or because he still feels crappy from the cold or allergies that we’ve been fighting for a month. We haven’t had our mother’s helper over for the last week but I think she’ll be back next week to help us get back into a good daily rhythm.

Every once in a while, I forget that I recently gave birth but then I try to lift my leg up to put on a sock and have almost no muscle control in my lower body. I bought a Belly Bandit because I could remember how soft and vulnerable my stomach felt after delivering Ben and thought that an abdominal support band might help. I was right! I’m planning on writing more about this and other products that I’ve been loving this time around soon.

The second degree tear I got because of Teddy’s face-up orientation is much less swollen and seems to be healing well. I got a spray can of Dermoplast from the hospital and it was life changing for the first few days! It numbed the whole area and made it possible to sit comfortably. I’ve gone through an astonishing number of Tucks wipes as well but using them seems to be speeding along my healing. My stomach has shrunk a bunch and it is wonderful to be able to sleep however I want and be able to reach my feet. I went into the hospital at 152 lbs and was down to 135 when I weighed myself yesterday. I took 800 mg Ibuprofen for the first 5 days for the aches and pains plus headaches that I had forgotten are common for me in the first few weeks postpartum and have dropped down to 600 mg. I don’t think my postpartum bleeding has been as heavy this time as with Ben. I have hopes that I won’t be bleeding for 6 straight weeks this time. I’d totally be ok if it was shorter!

We’ve been very spoiled by our church and have meals lined up to be delivered every few days for our first two weeks at home. We’ve gotten several meals plus snacks for us and treats for Ben. Of all the things that I need to keep doing to keep the house from imploding; I’m glad that food (dinners and leftovers for lunch) are completely taken care of.

Teddy has figured out nursing with the nipple shield, for which I am thankful. I was in such excruciating pain for the first day of nursing every 2 hours without the shield and struggled with getting him properly latched on one side due to a flat nipple. The shield provides just enough of a buffer than the initial latch still makes me wince but I’m not bleeding or cracked yet. We will work on weaning off the shield in about a month or so when he has a stronger suck and I’m sufficiently toughened up. My milk came in earlier this time on day 3 instead of 5 so our boy has been getting fed a lot. Engorgement has been worse this time and uterine contractions caused by breastfeeding were excruciating for the first few days. My mom and other mothers of more than one child have agreed that they really do worsen with each baby. Great?

Teddy has settled into being part of the family very quickly. He actually slept and ate better once we got home from the hospital than before we were discharged. His circumcision is healing very well and we’re only a few days away from not having to cover it with gauze anymore. His umbilical cord stump is drying out, smells pretty gross, and is super close to falling off. I’m expecting to find it in his onesie when I change him overnight. When his belly button heals, we’ll be switching to cloth diapers. He loves boobs, soothie pacifiers (especially his Wubbanub), snuggling, being swaddled, pooping right when it’s most inconvenient for me (usually as soon as I put a clean diaper on), and taking naps. He is hard to keep awake while nursing but the upside is that he falls asleep quickly and deeply between feedings so I get to sleep too. In spite of his tendency to be a lazy eater, he weighed 7 lb 7 oz when we discharged from the hospital and still weighed 7 lb 7 oz when I took him to the pediatrician on Monday morning so I don’t need to push him any harder.

I fell asleep on the couch while watching The Avengers with B tonight and woke up to this photo set as my phone background. This is what it feels like to have a one week old!
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0

What is on my Nursing Table?

I have always had a crazy curiosity about the things that people thing essential enough to keep on hand during critical moments so I thought I’d share what is currently on the nightstand in Teddy’s room. I nurse at night almost exclusively in the armchair in his bedroom so I try to set up everything I’ll need within arms reach for night feedings so I won’t have to stay awake longer than necessary.

Tonight:

  • An already dog-eared Pottery barn catalog that came while we were at the hospital
  • Kindle: This came as a surprise baby gift from friends halfway across the country. She and I were talking about them earlier this week or last and I mentioned how useful I thought it would be for reading during night feedings. We have wonderful friends!
  • Phone: My calm and constant companion (and feeding tracking device)
  • Red tin of breast pads: I learned early on with Ben that one of our cats likes to steal breast pads and play with them so I had to find a container that he couldn’t open
  • Lamp turned on low
  • Nipple butter: This stuff is far superior to lanolin. It smells lovely, doesn’t stain clothes, and goes on smoother and less sticky.
  • Nipple shield: I was going to go without because it seemed like Teddy could handle it but the pain of learning to breastfeed again is buffeted by the shield a tiny bit so I’ll work on weaning him later
  • Quaker banana bread soft baked granola bar: Breastfeeding makes me hungry so I grabbed a bar from the hospital bag. Good choice
  • Mostly empty water bottle because I already emptied it today! 20 oz of 95 already done by 6 am!
1

My Boys

I can hardly describe what it felt like for my two babies to meet each other. My heart was overflowing and there definitely were some mom tears creeping up in my eyes.

Ben was super excited to meet Baby Brover Teddy and knew exactly who Teddy was as soon he walked in the door.

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Ben was super excited to find out that Teddy had gotten him a surprise to unwrap (a farm animal puzzle that makes animal sounds and Sesame Street stickers)

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He was grinning pretty big when he got to hold Teddy. He waved and said, “Hi Teddy!”

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One of our tactics for when we were separated and Ben was staying at my parents house was to pack a small gift for Ben to play with at the hospital for each day he would visit. Today he got to read the Baby Lit version of The Jungle Book. If you haven’t checked out the Baby Lit books yet, we highly recommend them! Ben can “read” the three we have (Dracula, Jungle Book, Moby Dick) on his own and is very proud of that.

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3

40+4 and Introduction

Ben slept over at my parents house last night so B and I lazed around in bed until 9:30. It felt like the best short vacation ever!

I nearly forgot that Ben had his well-child check up this morning but still managed to shower and make it to the pediatrician’s office on time. Ben is just about 26 lbs (22%) and 2 ft 9.5 inches (31%) and a healthy little guy. He met all the developmental markers they checked too so we are happy parents.

B and I took off for my OB appointment a little after 1 and (par for the course), waited nearly an hour before the doc came in to see me. I’m still dilated 4-5 cm but am 80% effaced at this point. My OB consulted the two other docs in the office (who happened to be the ones on tonight and over the weekend) and collectively they gave me the option to go to L&D and have my water broken to (hopefully) trigger labor contractions tonight or Saturday night. Um, tonight would be good!

It is an odd experience to drive yourself to the hospital feeling totally fine only to know that you will not be leaving without birthing a baby before going home again.

We spent lots of time getting admitted and paperwork completed since there was no rush. The resident doctor broke my water at about 4:40 pm and we’re waiting to see how my uterus reacts and how baby fairs through this process. I’m definitely more uncomfortable 20 minutes after having my water broken than I was before so hopefully that means good things.

I’m working on making some progress. In the 2.5 hours since having my water broken, I have gone from no contractions to definite, strong contractions with a clear peak and ebb.

I got up and walked for a while and my contractions seemed to slow down afterward. Not exactly what you’d expect but hopefully things will pick up again. I send B off to pick up the few things we intentionally left at home and make sure the house was locked up. I ordered a take out salad from one of our favorite restaurants close to the hospital that I can keep in the patient fridge here until after delivery. If timing works out well, he should be back right around my next cervical check (3 hours since the last). I pray I’ve made progress but I’m thinking that if I made any, it isn’t much.

I literally made no progress on my own in the last three hours so I’m going to be started on a low dose of pitocin and stadol, an IV pain drug, along with getting an internal contraction monitor. I learn that stadol affects me like a punch to the face and I cannot open my eyes because the entire world is swirling around me. The pit contractions aren’t terrible yet so I’m content to let the drugs wear off and go pain med free for a while. If I can figure out how to roll to a side instead of laying on my back, I think I’d be a lot more comfortable.

I finally got a chance for an epidural at 12:30 am. The contractions were piling up on top of each other so it was hard to sit as still as they wanted. Please start working!

Nope, no chance for that epi to work. Baby is coming now! 12:57 am and time to push. I have never been in this much pain in my life. Dang that slow moving epidural!

1:12 am with the biggest rush, sunny-side up baby brother Theodore John (Teddy) joined his parents after about 9 hours of induction and active labor. Praise God!

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0

40+3

A Day in the Life: Uncomfortably Overdue Edition

1:00 am: Ben had woken up at 11 pm and couldn’t fall back asleep without flipping out at B so we tucked him into bed with me and both of us passed out until B came to bed at 1. Ben didn’t want to be moved but it was over quickly. B told me later that Ben was talking in his sleep and tried to climb on top of me to avoid getting picked up.

4:12 am: Wake up to pee, am slightly excited about the 3 hour stretch of sleep until I got back to bed and couldn’t fall back asleep again. It takes at least 30 minutes.

6:20 am: I wake up from a crazy dream to B snoring. I hear noises from Ben’s room already but decide to leave him because maybe he’ll sleep some more?

6:47 am: Ben is definitely awake when I wake back up and check the monitor. Oh well, guess I didn’t need any more sleep either? I lay in bed and check my email and read a few blogs before attempting to sleep for a few more minutes. B is snoring and I’m annoyed. Baby keeps kicking internal organs and I’m uncomfortable.

7:34 am: I must have managed to sleep a little because I wake up to Ben creating chaos in his room. Decide to blog instead of get out of bed. Am too tired to function still.

7:50 am: I can’t tell what Ben has been doing in his room in the monitor so it’s time for me to intervene before his entire dresser is emptied into the floor. Maybe I’ll make us a big breakfast?

8:00 am: Ben had stashed some of his play dishes somewhere in his room and found them this morning. He’s never done that before so that’s why the sounds were so unfamiliar. Ben chatters constantly while I change his diaper and tell him that we’re going to have eggs and toast for breakfast. Eggs and toast are his favorite things to make in his kitchen so he runs into the living room to grab his supplies. He mimics a lot of what I do while making breakfast, right down to “cracking” his wood eggs on the counter.

8:15 am: Ben is settled in his chair with breakfast so I head down the hall to wake up B. He had forgotten we have a family chiro appointment this morning and needs to get up.

8:30 am: After a struggle and bribing Ben with more toast, I’ve successfully gotten Ben to eat most of his eggs. Last week, several other wives of WordPress developers and I started a chat group like our husbands have. There’s no reason why they should get to hang out during the day and we can’t! Two other wives are up while we eat breakfast, one with a 3 month old and one who is slightly less pregnant than I am, so I have adult company. B is finally up and I decide I have enough time to drink a cup of tea before leaving for the appointment.

9:00 am: I jump in the shower as B finishes his. Ben is watching a Baby Einstein show on my laptop from his room so B has enough time to eat breakfast and get Ben changed and dressed while I shower.

9:30 am: We leave for the chiropractor as we’re supposed to be there. Ah well. I’m hugely pregnant and it doesn’t really matter with the way our office runs.

10:00 am: Our whole family is done with adjustments and stretches. The chiro office is in the same parking lot as our local library and Ben has requested we stop. We have time so Ben and B walk to the library to use up some of that inextinguishable toddler energy while I answer a few text messages (friend’s wife wasn’t in labor yesterday, just a false alarm, and a few check-ins from my mom and good friend). Ben goes crazy in the library around so many books so it’s always nice to have B with me when we go. Ben picked out 4 new books (How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Birthday, Little Pookie, My Dad is the Best Playground, and My First Baby Signs). We drive home with a very happy boy in the back seat.

10:30 am: Time to read books and play with the train station and garage. Since Ben is playing fairly independently, I pull out my computer to get some work done on tasks for the rental house. Of course, as soon as the computer shows up, Ben wants my undivided attention. I need to get this work taken care of today because our tenants lease is officially over so we turn on the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh on Netflix in the living room while B continues his work in the family room. Ben splits his attention between the movie and his play dishes. I have a few moderately strong contractions while working on my computer but nothing monumental.

11:45 am: I start thinking about lunch. Ben has been napping poorly for the last few days so we’re trying to bump the beginning of nap forward about 15 minutes to give him more time to wind down and still sleep for 2 hours before waking at 3.

12:15 pm: Ben’s lunch of raisins and a two-slice-of-bread PB&J is ready so he starts eating and I clean up the kitchen a little. B moves to the kitchen table to be close by and I run downstairs to start a load of laundry. This is my last one before I’m completely caught up. Now baby can come, right?

12:30 pm: Ben has either eaten his sandwich or thrown the rest on the floor (B wasn’t watching too closely) so he’s officially done-done with lunch. I take him out and take him for a diaper change before nap. He still hasn’t pooped today so I’m anticipating a short nap due to a dirty diaper. I hate it when that happens!

12:45 pm: After reading through his library books and snuggling for a few minutes, Ben is in bed and fairly quiet. B started making our lunch while I was in with Ben so I get to sit down with a book.

1:00 pm: I can’t see Ben on the monitor so I go to check on him. Crap, he filled his diaper. Back to Baby Brother’s room for another diaper change. At least he did it before nap actually started? It takes about 15 more minutes and some fatherly discipline to get Ben to sleep but he does. Hooray!

1:30 pm: I fold and stuff clean diapers and decide it’s time to try some nipple stimulation to induce contractions. My OB told me that it’s one of the few ways to naturally induce labor (along with sex) that are scientifically based and have proven to work (at least, it works when your body is ready). I spend an hour with Netflix on my computer and using my breast pump one side at a time. I do get some strong contractions but they fizzle out after I stop pumping. I know it has done some good though because I tried for an hour before bed yesterday and I lost more mucus overnight. Even if I don’t go into labor, the contractions are making some progress.

3:00 pm: B is done with the meeting he had with our campus minister in the basement office so we catch up about what is going to happen later today. My mom called and offered to keep Ben overnight after my little sister K’s birthday party that we committed to attending so I could get more sleep tonight than last since there is a chance this will be my last night without a newborn. Three cheers for Grammy! I have no problem taking her up on that offer and while folding the (now dry) clean laundry, I set aside PJs and clothes for Ben.

4:30 pm: We decided to let Ben sleep as long as he wanted this afternoon but since we need to leave in 15 minutes or less, it is time to get him up. I also need to finish packing his overnight bag and gathering the rest of our essentials just in case I go into labor while we’re at the birthday party.

5:15 – 9:00 pm: Partying with my family! All but one of my siblings are here (she has a 6-9 pm college class) and we’re finally old enough to enjoy time together without fighting. Ben has fun playing with the special toys he only has at Grammy and Papa’s house. He eats close to nothing for dinner but mom reassures me that we all went through a phase around the same age where we didn’t want to eat anything and encourages me to stick with the basic rules like “no dessert if you don’t eat dinner” and “mom is not a short order cook.” B gives Ben a bath and we put him to bed, eat cake, and go home sans child. I’ve had a few contractions throughout the evening but no labor yet.

9:30 pm: Home again and I take care of the rest of Ben’s clean laundry, get ready for bed, noodle around on my phone for a while. I decide I’m too tired to try using the breast pump again today so I put it off until tomorrow morning.

10:30 pm: B has come in to pray, we coordinate schedule for tomorrow, and I turn off the lights. Goodnight! Hopefully I’ll sleep like a rock tonight.