Tuesday, February 15, 2011

He's Already HOW Old??????

Six weeks! I just cannot believe he was born 4 days into January and it is already halfway through February! We are (thanks Grandma!) planning for a big family vacation at CHRISTMAS time, and things are already booked! This year is flying by...I feel very overwhelmed most days, with how much time I seem NOT to have and things I seem to NOT get done.

Then I think about what I DO get done...spending an entire day with a sweet boy. Still no routine, which is soooooooo difficult for someone like me to adjust to. Right when I feel like we might have a bit of one, it changes. So, I am trying very hard to get used to the idea of just not having a schedule at all. Again, every fiber of my TYPE A-Being screams at that, but at this point, I just have to surrender or I'll drive myself crazy trying to get everything I got done before Luke was born done AND tend to him all day. My once-a-month counselor told me that I sound like I am trying to be responsible for far too much and need to just be responsible for myself and Luke right now...and the rest will fall into place.

I feel more like the rest is falling apart, ha ha! In any event, I'm allowing myself some leeway in getting things done. If I can get one or two things on a list complete, I'm super happy.

A post each week for Luke, at minimum, is on the list for today, so I'm thrilled I can get it done. Of course, as I type, I hear him cooing away on the monitor, so not sure how many details I'll get out!

He's had a few rough nights in the last week, but still, nothing like I know so many with newborns have. More just getting up more often because he was out of sorts, but not having to spend lots of time getting him back to sleep. John is pushing to get him into his bedroom because he thinks I'll sleep better when I can sleep but he forgets that I'll STILL be on hyper-aware for every sound, and him being further away will be MORE work for me!

He also has the nasal congestion still, and now some lung congestion and the sometimes-runny eye. We see the doctor on Friday for a growth check (his cheeks are filling out and his diapers are always full, so I am fine with his growth!) and I'll ask about this congestion, his eye and this rash he seems to get randomly. It's all over his face--well, mostly cheeks and a teeny bit behind his ears. It comes and goes--no real rhyme or reason. Sometimes, his skin looks just as clear and perfect as it ever has. Then, for no reason, it looks like he has horrible, horrible baby acne. Then, for no reason....just a little bit of a rash. It's sometimes raised and bumpy, others just red. The consensus seems to be that it's probably some sort of a heat rash; John thinks it's cradle cap (he did have a bout with some dandruff for a few days, but it's gone) and I am wondering if he may have some allergies.

Whatever it is, I have to say that it has taken everything I can possibly do to not have been to the doctor the second I saw the first bump. I am working very hard to not overreact to 'normal' newborn things, but have to say...it's hard. Again, in talking with my counselor, she validated so much for me. The reality is that I do NOT have any idea of what a 'normal newborn' experience is.

My experience with newborns is that they die and leave me brokenhearted. So...it stands to reason that I will worry about every little thing and that is not just to be expected, it would be very weird and detached of me if I didn't. Have I mentioned how much I love this counselor? She suffered a miscarriage nearly 40 years ago and she GETS it. She GETS how hard it is to be a 'normal' mom to a 'normal' baby when you are actually a very unusual mom to a baby that is nowhere near NORMAL simply because he LIVES! I love her and am so grateful for her constant reassurance and empathy.

As usual, I try to temper my worry with action and feel like I am doing ok with the balance. I admit, though, I'll feel better Friday after talking to the doctor and just getting the official reassurance that he's fine.

He has had a few more outings this week and done well. We've been to church twice now and he is pretty good. During the week, we call his "Hands Up" position Jazz Hands, but on Sunday, they become Praise Hands and he is so cute! He pretty much sleeps through it all and for now, I'm glad so I can have him out of the nursery for just a bit longer...cold and flu season babies get a bum deal!

I have to be 100% honest. I am a huge, huge, huge fan of breast milk.

Not so much of breast feeding. It could be that again, the Type A in me makes it more difficult than it should be--worrying about whether he's getting enough and hating that sometimes he'll eat for a few minutes and others, forever...not being able to predict that.

I think it's more that we just don't have the 'groove' for the latching...and not only is it painful sometimes, it's just frustrating--especially at 2:30 in the morning. He'll do a great latch and then pull off...and we go again. This happens maybe 8-12 times a feeding. Each side. He just never seems hungry enough to put much effort into eating, and I know I am making all my lactation consultants and La Leche Friends cringe when I say this, but seriously, pumping to bottles is looking more and more like the option for us. I realize it's more work, but honestly, it's controlled work, and I feel more like I could deal better with that.

I know that not many people want to know about this, or really care (surely Luke won't when he's older and reads this!) but I am writing about it because I have been really humbled in this whole process and feel like I ought to come clean in that confession.

I've obviously come to 'know' over the last 2 years many, many mommies--through blogs that deal with infertility, pregnancy, loss and pregnancy after loss...I've read and follow so many different women with babies and have read about their ups and downs. Most times, when reading about the frustrations of breast feeding, in my comments, I'd say, "You do what's right for YOU!" and truly, truly, truly meant it. In my head, though, I'd think, "But WE are going to make breast feeding work, NO MATTER WHAT!"

After all...one thing I did learn when Matthew died was that I'd be a great milk-maker. And I am.

It takes two to tango, though, and as much as I like to 'control' situations, let me say now...newborns will NOT let you control them!!!!!

Like I said, I've been humbled. I don't feel like a failure, I just feel a bit guilty for not 'loving' every single thing about parenthood. Motherhood, more specifically. Don't get me wrong...I am so grateful I have the opportunity to realize that breast feeding is probably one of the most difficult things I've tried to 'master', but...it's still hard and I'm frustrated with the decisions before me.

Give it some more time--let him have a bit to get his groove going?
Nurse and express to bottles for 'the best of both'?
Go to exclusive pumping?

I'm not ready to make any decision, so for now...I'm sort of in the middle and just hoping the right decision for us makes itself more clear.

I think we are over 7 pounds...maybe even close to 7 and a half. Again, we'll know on Friday. I also think his eyes are definitely going to be daddy's color, though there are lots of times he'll make a face with his eyes and I am instantly transported to a picture of me as a baby. All in all, though, he looks SO much like daddy. For looking so much like Matthew when he was first born (and Matthew looking like me), I wonder if this would have happened with Matthew as well? Looking like me for the first few days/weeks and then daddy more and more each new day?

He's stirring...and I have forsaken a shower for this blog post! That's ok...I want him to know his mommy's thoughts...and he loves me even if I am a bit scraggly! Little Bit...mommy loves you so, so much. Here are some pictures from your sixth week!

The one time we can always count on him crying--diaper changes!

About as good as a picture by himself will get!

Ready for church on Sunday with my awesome aviator hat!

His Austin Powers face!

"A diaper change coming?????"


  1. Lori-For what it is worth, my son was 6 1/2 weeks early so I had to pump for him. He ultimately had to learn to take a bottle so by the time he came home at 12 days, I was still pumping about every three hours. We never got the latching on thing going. So for 13 1/2 months, I pumped breast milk for him. He never had formula. Yes it is more work, but it was just something I got used to. I learned to adapt and as he got older I didn't pump every three hours. I made a lot of milk so this was really the best option for us. My husband was always able to give him bottles as well. You can do it. I did rent a hospital pump that I kept at home and then I had a home model that I kept with me. I got really good at pumping while my husband was driving the car. We even drove 14 hours on vacation and I pumped for the boy. Best Wishes,Kacy

  2. Sounds like you're doing great! Tough decisions to make and I'm sure plenty of advice to go around :)

  3. Lori, I promise you that a lot if not most mothers struggle with BF'ing. It is not a pleasant thing at first. My girls hurt so bad each time that I cried. I tried with my first three and eventually had to go to bottle. It made me feel like a failure (even if that is NOT the case). I have prayed and prayed that this time around I will be able to do it. It is the one thing that does not come natural to me that I want to do for this baby! I am praying for you and want you to know that no matter what you do, Luke will be fine and healthy. You are his mother and have to make these decisions no matter what anyone else's advice is. Hang in there mama! You'll make the right decision no matter what it is!
    As far as being that mama that calls the ped. for everything...that is me! They get paid to do what they do. Do not feel like you can not call.
    Hugs and prayers!

  4. He seriously has the cutest face!

    I found the EASY rountine worked really well for us. I'm a Type A person, too, so having a routine and a nap schedule was very important to me. E-eat, A-activity, S-sleep and Y-time for you. Very simple! Maybe, 6 weeks is too early for this but just a suggestion :)

    You're doing a great job as a mommy! You do have to do what's best for you and if that means, exclusively pumping well then you're still doing the best you can!

  5. Lori, he is just adorable ! I am sure you will make the right decision for what is best for you !I found pumping nice because it gave someone else an opportunity to feed.

  6. Breastfeeding takes a lot of work. Pumping takes A LOT of work. The time is doubled. You have to pump AND you have to feed the bottle to the baby too. Once I mastered feedings, pumping was just an added step in the middle of the night.

    I had all the same thoughts about b-feeding that you expressed. Pumping is easier, it's painful, there's no predicting, etc etc.
    There will come a time when it becomes more predictable. Keep it up a little longer, if you can. Nursing for me went from something I dreaded to something I looked forward to. You can do it! :)

  7. he is absolutely precious. I love the aviator hat :)

  8. I've been doing the whole pump and bottle thing since Nora was 3 months old. She only gets 10oz of formula. The other 20 are bm. It's hard, but pumping gives me an excuse to sit on the computer and not feel guilty. I do it while Nora naps.
    Just saying.. the whole latching off thing for us was a reflux symptom.
    Hugs- Luke is so adorable!

  9. Ahhhh yes...the dreaded "schedule" word :) Evan is soon turning 2 and he STILL throws me for a loop every now and then! :) But you learn to go with the flow.

    As for BF'ing...with my boys 12 weeks early...I was the pumping queen from the day the were out until Evan decided he was done (at around 9 months) and even then I kept pumping until he turned a year. From day one he was one 2 supplemented high calorie preemie formula feedings, but I just used breast milk with the powder when I had to.
    And you know what...you are right, you don't have to make a definitive decision right now, so take your time. But DO NOT feel bad or pressured if you decide pumping is the way for you and Luke! I found it relieving to actually see how much Evan was eating and helped calm my fears.

    I COMPLETELY understand the whole not experiencing a normal newborn situation. I understand this all too well. And I am right there with you. I was TERRIFIED more often then I like to admit because of losing Zac. I just kept expecting the floor to fall from under me again. But looking back...I am sad that I had so many fears. But as a mommy of losing a newborn...how can you not be worried over every sniffle or cough. It's hard for us because we can't imagine going through something that unreal again.
    But I'm praying for you, and for peace.

    When you described the rash I instantly thought heat rash too! Or maybe a lotion/bath wash or even laundry detergent that might bother his skin? Hmmmm, but heat rash was my first thought as well.
    And his runny eye sounds like maybe a plugged tear duct? Try a warm compress with it happens. Just a warm washclothe lightly on his eye. It might help.

    Ooooooh, the showerless days...I had sooooooooooooooooooooooo many of those! :) Isn't it funny what we give up in order to get one other task done!

    I ADORE the pictures of Luke! They are so precious! And so are you!!!! You are a wonderful mommy!!!


    Heather (heathershope - HP / GOL)

  10. As someone who is exclusively pumping, my vote (for whatever it is worth) is commit to giving it 2 or 3 more weeks - the first 6 weeks are the hardest and Luke came early. Give him 6 weeks from his due date and if you still hate it then reevaluate.

    Pumping hurts. A lot more than nursing. It hurts your nipples, it hurts your back. And it's incredibly hard when you baby needs you and you need to pump at the same time. At least 3 times a day I have to hand Gideon to someone else to be fed because I have to pump and I think that's the part I hate most of all.

    There's a great pumping board on Diaper Swappers where you can get a lot of good information. If you go that route definately rent a hospital grade pump (I'm using an Ameda Elite) and buy a regular double pump for traveling (I suggest Ameda because it's a closed system - Medela's pumps can pull milk into the motor and they are known for growing mold inside where you can't see it... YUCK!!!).

    The congestion - Gideon gets really mucousy and congested if I eat something with milk in it. Taking a dairy digestive supplement makes all the difference. The rash and congestion combined might be indicitive of an allergy to something either environmental or in your diet.

  11. I can't believe how many days have gone by! So crazy! But so lovely to see him and see another side of parenting for you ... it's amazingly beautiful (and heartbreaking) to watch you parent Luke in your home and in your arms and to see that parenting Matthew isn't the same - but just as lovely and full with all your love poured into it ... I'm glad you have the people you do surrounding you and truly knowing you in all of this, even the breastfeeding. It's just one more worry to throw in there with everything we will worry about the rest of their lives. :) Don't stress though, you'll know what's best for him. Love you.

  12. Oh, have you tried natural coconut oil for the rash and acne? It's amazing.

  13. oh the guilt of new mommy issues after losing a baby. I still deal with that. I'll get irritated at either of my miracles and then think "you have no right to complain or be aggravated!! At least you HAVE children now!!" But, it's normal. (Yep, that's what I try to convince myself of too)

    And the BF'ing. UGH. Nightmare!!! Riley couldn't latch...it was just impossible. We tried the supplemental thing, the dropper thing, the shields, giving him pumped milk by a tiny cup...it lasted a bit over a week and I was crying constantly (he was baby # one after the twins)so we gave up and went to formula. He's fine!
    Ella could latch but she was like a piranha and I just couldn't take the pain. So, after 3 weeks she went to formula and then we found out at about a year that she has an underbite which explains the insane pain. And I STILL feel guilty about not BFing. But they are both healthy. So, I just have to get over it and not cringe when someone mentions how bad of a mother you are when you use formula.

    If pumping works better for you, the do it! It's nobody's thing but yours (and Luke's!)

    AND He is SOOO stinkin' cute!!!

  14. lori, lots of great advice and wisdom here for the breast feeding its definitely not easy . dots skin does exactly the same as lukes does, could be to do with what we are eating although im assuming its a newborn hormone thing?
    as far as routine goes,something i found really helpful, maybe it will sit well with you too
    i'll email it to you xxx anne

  15. It seems like Blake and Luke should be buddies. We had a hard time breastfeeding as well. Blake had a bad latch and the LC said I have big nipples (no one has told me that before!!). So, I mainly pumped for him. I would pump every three hours around the clock until he was about 3 months old. Then I started pumping every 3 hours during the day, and every 4 at night. I pumped until last week. We have enough breastmilk in the freezer to last until he is almost 7 months old. So, it can be done. It is hard work though. There were soooo many nights that I would get up to pump, only to have Blake wake the second I got back into bed. Those nights were exhausting. I got a hospital grade pump, which helped and I highly recommend. I rented it for 35.00 a month.

    It was the right choice for us. His latch was killing me. I was stressed out from the pain and frustration. It was just better for us.

    If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

  16. Wish I could offer some little tidbit to help with the challenges of breastfeeding, but unfortunately, I can't. Never had a real option to do it with Emerson. The good news is that her latch was amazing on the bottle and she is always consistent and predictable with her eating as a result.

    Love the pics, but loved seeing in real life even more!


  17. Surrender...the most basic lesson of parenthood, applied to all things trivial, monumental, and everything in between. But you've had to surrender so much (literally and figuratively) already...seems like you should be cut a break. As your head must tell you, life will settle down and you'll get back to feeling productive - and it seems like Luke (and his good disposition) is doing all he can to help you out. It's the inevitable nature of life with a newborn: frustrating at times, but temporary. I had no idea it would be like that after my first baby was born and let it bother me quite a bit. I went with the flow more with #2, and my sanity thanked me for it.

    Maybe give yourself a deadline for a strong reassessment about the best way to feed Luke. Go along with whatever you've been doing until he's eight weeks (to adjust for his age?)? "They" say BFing gets easier at six weeks (which was my general experience, too), but every mom/baby dynamic is different.

    Both of my kids strongly favored my husband their first few months, and now they look much more like me. It'll be fun to see how Luke develops - and wonder if Matthew would've followed a similar path. Regardless of whom he ends up taking after, he's sure to stay cute...what a sweet little Man of Many Faces you have.

  18. having never had the honor of having a newborn or breast feeding, i defer to all the other lucky mums out there! :) meanwhile, I will add in my 2 cents about his completely adorable photos.. gosh he is just so stinking beautiful, lori. truly. even if you had time to get things done, if i were you i wouldn't either.. i'd be too busy oggling over the bundle of sweets you are lovin every day :)

  19. I love the Austin Powers face! So cute!

    Just do as you feel is right with nursing. I had a lot of issues come up with Ezekiel when I was nursing, and one thing led to another. Next thing I know, his doctor is telling me that he needed to have formula! I was not happy with this news. He was loosing weight and turning orange, I knew at this point, it was going to be the healthiest choice for my son.

    I know that is not quite the same issues with you and Luke. You have been doing a beautiful job with Luke, and I'm positive that you will make the best possible choices for that little boy! :)