Sunday, June 26, 2011

c is for cookie

Ollie @ 7 weeks
and cake and chocolate, and they all are good enough for me.  i have had a heck of a sweet tooth since ollie's birth.  it seems unfair that at one of the most critical times to have a healthy diet, i have unbelievable cravings to stave off.  and frankly, i haven't been very successful.  i don't think i've experienced this before.  there are other times in my life where i've craved junk food, particularly when i was working and going to school.  it seems like its the exhaustion that does it.  and really, i've never experienced sleep deprivation like this before.

that said, ollie is finally sleeping more!  the last couple of nights he's only gotten up twice for feeding, allowing me to sleep more than i have in about 8 weeks.  it's amazing how significant it feels to get that extra 1-2 hours of sleep; i needed less sugar and even was motivated to get a work out in.  fingers crossed that we all continue to get some more sleep in the weeks to come.

this week, ollie turns 8 weeks old.  i can't believe how quickly our days are flying by and how much he's changing every day.  most recently, he's started to coo and talk with us.  when i sing to him, he likes to coo along.  logan and i are loving the special interactive experiences that we get to have with him now.  we can't wait to see what comes next.

Monday, June 13, 2011

What I Wish I Knew About Early Motherhood

Look at those chubby legs!
on saturday, ollie & i went to the farmers market.  we picked up our csa (ollie loves supporting local agriculture!) and one of the staff there engaged us in conversation.  she too is a mom and her babe is about 1 1/2 years old now.  she asked me how things were going and then quickly said, "it gets better.  it gets much better."  i worry about what my face conveyed to her, because my words were all positive.  still, early motherhood is challenging.  i haven't been a mom for very long - only 6 weeks - but there are already some things that i really wish that i knew ahead of time.  i don't know if knowing these things would've changed my experience, but i still wish that i had known.

1. overachievers beware: motherhood cannot be aced.  

i like to do things well.  really well.  and better than other people.  i take great pride in my work and took great pride in my school work.  i went to graduate school full-time while working full-time and made sure that my grades were stellar.  after i took up running, i decided that i needed to run a marathon.  when i do something, i want to do it as well as i possibly can.  this attitude is great in the workplace and at school, but is not helping me so much now.  in fact, i think it's making things tougher.  i find myself questioning things every day because i want to do everything perfectly.  but it's hard to be a perfect consoler or breast feeder or swaddler.  and while doctors and friends can offer suggestions, the reality is that ollie and i need to figure out what he needs and what makes him feel safe and happy.  and more frustrating still - those needs and wants are going to change and change and change.  perfection just doesn't live here.  so, i'm trying to let go of my overachiever attitude some.  i think it's healthy to want to be a good mom, but striving to be a perfect mom is making me insecure.  i just don't think that motherhood can be aced.

2.  breast feeding can be really hard.  

i know that i'm not supposed to say that and i'm sure that it isn't true for everyone, but it's too true for me not to mention it.  ollie & i have been very lucky to have a lot of resources to help us out - nursing staff at the hospital, lactation consultant at ollie's doctor's office, breast feeding class instructor, and 2 moms in my life that breast fed their babies - and i've still found it really challenging.  every time that i think i've resolved our last problem, another issue arises.  most recently, i've been trouble shooting having too much milk.  this is annoying because just a couple of weeks ago, i was working to increase my milk supply for my ravenous little babe.

i guess i thought that i'd learn how to do it and that would be the end of it.  the reality is that it's been a learning process - problems arise and we've had to work through them.  hopefully, we're nearing the end of the learning process, but who knows?  soon, i'll have to go back to work and we'll need to figure out how to work more regular pumping into my schedule.

the problems are not insurmountable, but it's harder and more time consuming than i expected.

3. information can be helpful. or not.  

i read a few books in advance of ollie's arrival.  i took a child care class and a breast feeding class.  i talked to other moms and dads.  often, this information has helped me and logan as we've worked to figure out the parenting thing.  sometimes though, i wish that i didn't have the internet or baby 411 at my fingertips.  first, it's made me jump to conclusions.  for example, i've had some issues with my breasts.  when i googled the symptoms and referred to the books it seemed likely that i had thrush.  so i headed to the doctor, where i was assured that i was perfectly healthy.  that's when i was told that breast feeding can be painful for some people.  which brings me to the second reason that i don't always love having so much info: in general the books and the classes talk about average experience.  for example, all of the books say that breast feeding might hurt during the first couple of weeks, but then it does not hurt.  they go on to say that if you do experience pain then you're doing something wrong or there is something wrong with you.  but that's just not always true.  and i wish that the books would say that.

and sometimes they leave info out altogether.  for example, everyone talked about how quickly i would get my figure back if i breast fed.  frankly, that's not why i was breast feeding, but it seemed like a nice benefit.  what the books and people left out is that you actually feel your uterus contracting back into its original size.  it's not painful, but it's really bizarre:  every time i fed ollie, i felt my uterus contracting back into shape.  the process is pretty incredible; i could see my belly shrink every day.  i just didn't expect that i would feel it all happen.

i'm sure that there are more learnings to come.  :)

Friday, June 3, 2011

I showered and other achievements from babyland

Ollie weighed in today at 9lbs. !
well, ollie is just about one month now and im starting to feel like myself again, albeit a less energetic, crankier version of myself, but myself nonetheless.  its shocking how quickly the first few weeks flew by.  really, i feel like i just got home with him a week ago.

so, i thought that i'd start a mommy/baby blog to document ollie's first months of life and my first months as a mom.  in fact, this week was my first week at home with ollie by myself and i find myself learning new things every day.  for example, yesterday i showered!  it doesn't sound like much of an achievement, but it sure did feel like one.  ollie doesn't sleep reliably during the day.  he gets tired, but doesn't want to sleep in his bed.  so there have been a number of days that i've spent snuggling a sleepy baby in my arms.  i'm not complaining - he gets fussy, but has been very soothable - but it does make showering difficult.

yesterday, i got him down in bed for a whopping 15 minutes, long enough for me to get a shower.  i can't tell you how nice that shower was, and i felt victorious.

my colleague told me that the first months of being a parent are spent figuring out how to do everything in your life with a baby and that's what i'm finding.  yesterday the shower, today the grocery store.  life's an adventure.