✍ All sorts of new and exciting things coming up for the cast of L to the Third so stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I'm totally turning into one of "those" moms

I've entered this photo of Sammy into an online photo contest; you can vote by clicking here. As they say, vote early and vote often. Baby (and mama) need a new pair of shoes!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Two-Month Update

Sammy had his two-month well baby check-up on Wednesday; he weighed 12 pounds, 4 ounces and was 22" in length (though the nurse didn't get a good measurement on him so he's probably closer to 23" or so). His length and weight combo put him in the 95th percentile, which translates to I've got myself a big baby! He also received his first round of vaccinations and handled them like a champ, meaning he only screamed a little. Other milestones: He slept through the night for the first time on Wednesday--at first I thought it was just a fluke due to him getting his shots that day, but he did it again last night, so hopefully this is a trend that will continue. I had almost forgotten how nice it is to wake up feeling refreshed and well-rested.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Got milk?

Sammy turns two months old today. Today also marks the last time that he'll be getting any breast milk from me. Unfortunately, simply possessing an ample rack does not guarantee that one will be successful at breastfeeding, despite what I was told; whenever I would express any doubts about being able to breastfeed, the person I was talking to would eye my cleavage and then say something along the lines of, "Well, you certainly shouldn't have any problems." Apparently my body didn't get the memo that my awesome boobs were supposed to be able to feed a small horde of babies.

There were issues from the beginning: first of all, Sammy refused to go on the breast and acted as though I was trying to kill him with my nipple any time I attempted to get him to latch. He screamed like a banshee and flailed wildly; had he any teeth, I'm sure he would have bitten me in his anger and frustration. Even without teeth, he managed to draw blood on a few occasions with his nails. Fabulous. Not exactly the Lifetime Movie experience I had been envisioning in which I cuddled my angelic baby close to me in peaceful bliss as he nursed contentedly while soft music played in the background.

During our time in the hospital, I worked with every lactation consultant on staff in an attempt to get him to breastfeed. Each time a new one would come in, I would tell her of the difficulties I had been facing with Sammy, and they would nod, probably thinking, yeah, I've heard that before but it's nothing I can't handle. By the end of each session, however, they were singing a different tune. One actually patted me on the shoulder and said, "You should be commended for your dedication." Physically, there weren't any reasons keeping Sammy from breastfeeding; the only explanation that anyone could come up with was the simple fact that Sammy was a lazy feeder and he didn't want to have to work for food. Normally, the solution would be to keep at it until hunger and desperation finally got him on the boob, but that wasn't an option for me as he was severely jaundiced and had to be supplemented with formula every two hours on doctor's orders. In between finger feeding him in an effort to avoid nipple confusion in the future, I was hooked up to a pump while I willed my milk to come in. To say the experience was a little stressful would be an understatement and I felt completely betrayed by my body. How could something that was supposed to be so natural be so hard to do?

My milk finally came in two days after we left the hospital. I was still finger feeding Sammy formula and pumping around the clock, but now I was able to give him a little breast milk here and there. Eventually I was producing enough milk to cover most of his day feedings, but I was far from where I needed to be to cover his every meal. I was also attempting to get him to nurse at every opportunity, but he was still fighting me tooth and nail. My stress levels were through the roof. Finally I just couldn't take it anymore at about day ten--I was trying to get Sammy to latch, pumping for twenty minutes, and then finger feeding him, which took another twenty minutes or so. Then I had to wash the pump and before I knew it, it was time to start the whole process again. So I made the executive decision to bottle feed him expressed breast milk. In my mind, it was the best of both worlds--he was getting breast milk and other people could help me feed him, so it wasn't all on me all the time.

This continued without complication until Sammy hit his six-week growth spurt. I was pumping like crazy, trying to keep up with him, and popping so much fenugreek that I reeked of maple syrup. My supply just would not increase to meet his needs. Eventually his formula feedings began to outnumber his breast-milk feedings. A few days ago, I noticed that I was producing less and less milk with each pumping; on Saturday it took me all day to produce four ounces, which equals one feeding for Sammy. On Sunday, it was even worse; I only netted three ounces for the day. It seems that the proverbial well had run dry.

And so it ends. On one hand, I'm happy with my decision to forgo pumping because I no longer have to worry if what I'm eating will effect Sammy in some way--I can have as much chocolate and caffeine as my little heart desires, not too mention the new-found free time now that I'm not tethered to a pump every two hours. On the other hand, I mourn the loss of what never was. My goal all along was to breast feed for at least six months; when that became a no go, I decided that I would try to give Sammy expressed breast milk for at least that long. Well, at least he got about two months' worth, which is more than I or Captain Husband ever received, and we turned out okay. Besides, Sammy is happy and healthy and that's what really matters the most.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

House Call

Taking a cue from the wonderful blog, Young House Love, I thought I'd give you all a little taste of the reality of having a baby in your house. Especially when said baby doesn't have a dedicated room of his own, effectively turning the entire place into his de facto nursery. We'll start in the living room, as that is where Sammy and I spend most of our time.

Not too bad, right? The swing is a life saver for me when I need to pump or take a shower (and is easily transportable from room to room). The mess on the coffee table includes freshly-washed cloth diapers, Sammy's feeding/changing log, his next meal, and a burp rag. Sammy was actually sleeping the cradle when I took this picture, but his naps there are becoming shorter and more sporadic, so I have a feeling the cradle won't be in use for much longer (much to the cat's chagrin who naps in it more than Sammy does now). The reason why the living room looks ok is because I usually shove everything that's not being used over into the reading nook.

This is where the bouncy chair, car seat and activity mat reside when they're not in use. I wouldn't mind leaving the mat down on the floor in the living room most of the time, but Sandy takes it as an open invitation to use it as her personal lounge area when I do so.

This is pretty much how the kitchen looks all of the time now. Between pumpings and formula feedings, there are always dirty bottles on the counter waiting to be washed. The grass drying rack my mom bought me on a whim has come in very, very handy and I highly recommend it to anyone dealing with billions of baby bottles.

The bed hardly ever gets made these days, but hey, at least I'm sleeping. The whole co-sleeper thing is working out pretty well; I basically wake up whenever Sammy wakes up, which means I can often get him up and on the changing table before he has a chance to become really upset. And the less mad he is, the easier it is to get him back to sleep. Which means more time in bed for me. Everyone wins!

Speaking of late nights, this night light is perfect for diaper checks and feedings. It also has a cool color change feature that Sammy seems to enjoy as he's falling to sleep.

The office chair is now residing in the bedroom thanks to my mom's quick thinking. I had been complaining about how my back was bothering me at night, likely due to me standing and holding Sammy while he ate. My mom said, "Well, why don't you put a chair in the bedroom so you don't have to stand the whole time you're feeding him?" It was like a light bulb had gone off; a chair---in the bedroom. Why hadn't I thought of that? She wheeled the office chair down to my bedroom later that night and it's been there ever since.

And that brings us to the office, the final stop on our tour. The office serves as my nightly diaper drying station. The crib is still in there and I've managed to get Sammy to nap there for short bursts while I'm working on the computer, so hopefully one day he'll be used to it when it comes time to transition out of the co-sleeper in a couple of months.

I'm sure as Sammy gets older, the amount of baby stuff in the house will increase (don't even get me started on what's already in storage for when he gets bigger in the garage), so stay tuned to see how the house continues to evolve and change with him.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Taking care of business

On Tuesday I loaded Sammy and myself into the car and headed up to Alexandria. The trip was half business, half pleasure. The business part was finding the testicular fortitude to tell my boss that I wasn't going to be returning to work, while the pleasure part was introducing Sammy to the rest of the gallery staff and taking advantage of the beautiful weather to walk around Old Town for a bit.

Originally my plan had been to return to work on a part-time basis, hopefully with the baby in tow, and then work my way back to full-time. Ah, to be that naive again! It is to laugh. Then along came Sammy, and with him, reality. There are simply not enough hours in the day for me to commute two hours (sometimes more!), work full-time, and then come home and take care of Sammy. Maybe if I could clone myself...but only then. And don't even get me started on the cost of childcare. If I had to pay someone to watch him while I worked, I would be losing money every day. Just not worth it. Plus there's the overseas move looming in the not-so-far future to plan. So yeah, going back to work in the traditional sense was just not going to happen. Fortunately, my boss was very understanding of the situation. I'm sure his reasonableness was helped along by Sammy being very cute throughout our entire visit, plus my offer to gallery-sit a few Saturdays here and there, and work on research projects from home certainly didn't hurt. Evidence of the cuteness:


Having taken care of that part of the trip, I loaded Sammy up into his stroller and off we went. We headed over to Lee Street where my friend, Chris, has an antiques gallery so that Chris and Sammy could meet. We caught up on some of the latest news and talked shop for a bit; I let him know I wasn't returning back to work and that I'd be happy to take on some research projects for him if he was so inclined. Chris actually had something in the gallery that he hadn't been able to look into, so I left Alexandria with my first work-from-home project. It will be so nice to use my brain again; it's kind of been on auto-pilot these past few weeks. Also, it will be good to have a source of income to call my own, no matter how small it is. I've discovered that I can wring out about an hour or two to myself to work if I put Sammy in the Bjorn, as he promptly falls asleep as soon as I get him situated--plus I then get two hands to type with. Bjorn, 1; Baby, 0. Evidence of the Bjorn in action (and my new haircut):

Monday, August 2, 2010

Time flies

It's hard to believe that Captain Husband and I have been married for two years now; we celebrated our anniversary last Monday while my mom and brother watched Sammy for us. CH surprised me with a lovely dinner at the Inn at Mount Vernon. While it was nice to get out for a bit, the evening was especially bittersweet because CH was leaving the next day for Korea.

My mom stayed on for a couple more days to help me adjust to CH's absence; we took Sammy in for his first professional photographs when he turned five-weeks old on Wednesday. I also took advantage of her being here to watch Sammy for me and went and got all of my hair cut off (I had promised to wait until after CH left, and I managed to do so for a whole two days)--something that I had been meaning to do for a long, long time. It feels soooo good to be free of all of that hair. Unfortunately, mom could only stay for so long and she headed back home to Pennsylvania on Saturday, leaving Sammy and me all on our lonesome.

To be honest, it hasn't been as bad as it could be. The days are long, but I seem to have figured out a routine with Sammy, which consists of finding any excuse to get out of the house at least once a day as well as taking long walks with him in the stroller or the bjorn. It's the nights that are the hardest; I have never wished for an extra pair of hands so much in my life. Especially when it's 3:30 in the morning and Sammy has managed to wet through his diaper, necessitating a change of diaper, sleeper, and sheets all while he's screaming his head off because he's hungry and/or needs to burp. Good times.
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