Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving dinner...missing my dad

Holidays still are pretty difficult for me since my dad passed. Even having my grandmother sit at the head of the table (which was always my dad's spot) REALLY made me upset. Grandmere even called it "her" spot at one point - that almost set me off.

Holidays now miss much of the fun they used to have. My dad had such a great sense of humor, so there was always so much laughter at the dinner table when he was here. I remember everyone eating and talking at the table for HOURS - my dad driving so much of the hilarious conversation. But now it seems we finish our Thanksgiving dinner within an 1/2 hour of sitting down. Hours of food preparation, then we seem to be shoving food down our necks and quickly cleaning up. I really wish we had those long, relaxing, and laughter-filled dinners back....I wish I had my dad back.

It was Nolan's 1st Thanksgiving. We'll have to try to bring back some the excitement the holidays used to have - I want Nolan to experience the incredible times I was able to experience. He, Robert, and Connor deserve that kind of incredible family experience.

I am truly thankful, however, that I have such an amazing, close-knit family. I am incredibly close to my mom, Jarrod, Jenn, and my nephews. Based on conversations with friends, it seems that that closeness is truly rare.
So what I'm thankful for this year: an amazing husband (our 1st thanksgiving as a married couple), the most adorable and amazing son, and an amazingly close-knit, supportive family.

Here are some pics of that day:

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I truly feel thankful (and extremely LUCKY, as expressed on Nolan's shirt) this Thanksgiving.

I have incredible family and friends, and a beautiful baby boy! It will be so exciting to spend my first Thanksgiving with Nolan!

What a happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Getting better every day

I really hope that I don't jinx myself by saying this (knocking on wood!), but I would have to say that things are getting better every day!

As Francis and I are learning how to coordinate feedings at night and better understand Nolan's schedule, we are finally feeling a bit more sane. I would still have to say that it can be incredibly difficult waking up at 2am and 4am to feed the little guy, but my body is starting to figure out how to operate on the broken up rest. My hardest time of the day: the period after his ~4am feeding. He really does not want to go to bed for HOURS after that feeding, which means I'm often up from 4am onward! That's why my 9am bedtime curfew is crucial!!

I still find it almost impossible during the day to get anything done outside of breastfeeding and changing diapers, but I am really hopeful that Nolan will be on a more regular feeding schedule within the next couple months. As of right now, he sometimes eats within 20 minutes of the last feeding; then other times will wait at least a couple hours. But I keep reading (and I'm staying hopeful) that his feedings will become more regular as he gets a bit bigger.

Breastfeeding is also become easier - he is latching much faster lately, and I have been experimenting with different techniques. I think I'm going to try the "laying down" position (where I am in a basic side-lying position) in the next couple feedings to see if maybe I can try to feed Nolan while still laying in bed. That would be AWESOME if Nolan took to it - maybe I could breastfeed him while half asleep in my cozy bed. *sigh*

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

1 Gallon of breastmilk frozen!

As of today, I have ~1 gallon of frozen breast milk! Well, technically I have 126 oz (not 128 oz), but close enough! I thought that a gallon would be next to impossible after only ~3 weeks, but apparently not. I am able to pump ~2 oz of milk after feeding Nolan, or 2-3 oz if I have not just breastfed. I thought I was not making enough milk (I felt deficient after hearing some freaks of nature *cough, Jenn* were able to pump 10 oz), but the lactation consultant said that 2-3 oz is the normal range.

I have been pumping a couple times during the day after a feeding + 1 pump during the night (the night pump is to replace 1 breastfeeding, as Francis takes 1 feeding during the night so that I can get a bit more rest. It's 10 minutes of pumping vs. sometimes an hour to breastfeed - that time is crucial to my sanity!)

I think I will start to chill out on my pumping, however, as one of the lactation consultants recommended that I not try to build up reserves until ~8-9 weeks before starting back to work. Plus, it will help my breast milk supply better match Nolan's needs and avoid engorgement.

I never thought I would be excited by such an odd milestone, but I guess things change once you have a kid!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Strong boy!

I have been so impressed how well Nolan can hold up his head! From the day he was born, he has been holding up his head and looking around. He is such a curious little guy - always looking around with bright, wide eyes at this weird world around him. And the looks on his face are just hilarious as he does it - sometimes his eyes go really wide and he purses his lips into a little "o" formation, almost as if to express his amazement of the oddity he's staring at. Too cute!

At 3 weeks now, he can hold up his head for at least a minute before it wobbles back to your shoulder. Maybe I'm just a cheesy, proud mama, but I find it impressive :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Visit with the lactation consultant

Today I went to see a lactation consultant at El Camino Hospital. Nolan is getting better at latching each day, but I thought it would be helpful to see a lactation consultant in order to find techniques to get Nolan to latch faster. Sometimes Nolan will latch on with no difficulty...other times, he takes numerous tries to get him on. This can be especially difficult (and most common) during his midnight feedings!

I saw a lactation consulting nurse named Elaine O'Neill, who was pretty helpful. Of course, Nolan latched on immediately with no issues when we were there (figures!), and she seemed to think that overall the technique was good. But then why am I still having some difficulties???

Elaine said that it can take 4-6 weeks for some babies to get efficient at latching, so that may be the issue - but I am hopeful that it will get better in the coming weeks! She also showed me other positions/techniques to try, such as the "upright football hold" (side hold where the baby is sitting upright) and "belly to belly"(where the baby is laying on your stomach, and should generally crawl themselves to the boob).

I addition, she gave me helpful information about feeding/pumping in general. At $156/hour (luckily paid by insurance), I really hope I see some significant improvement soon!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Maybe I spoke too soon...

So maybe I spoke too soon with the whole "sleep" post.
Today I am so completely exhausted! Nolan barely slept at all last night - we filled his tummy with tons of milk, which generally works to knock him out for a few hours...but not last night! He was WIDE AWAKE most of the night!

Francis was getting so frustrated, and I just felt my tears starting to well up from exhaustion.
What are you supposed to do? Should I continually wake Nolan up during the day in order to get him to sleep at night? It seems a bit cruel, but maybe that's what we need to do.

The problem with parenting in the "google age" is that all your parenting questions can be easily googled, however you end up with 2 billion answers to your parenting questions. Which one is right?? Just 10 years ago, you ask you pediatrician all your questions, and you can really rely on that. But with google so accessible, you can't help but to go to the internet for your parenting queries! You end up more confused with way too many answers :(

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Day 14: Sleep!

After crying to Jenn's mom (Bev), she helped assure me that we need to try whatever technique get's us some sleep. If that meant just bottle feeding at night, we needed to do that.

So that night, Francis took the first late night feeding (around 1 am), while I pumped, then went back to bed. I took the 2nd late night feeding (around 4:30am) using a bottle again, then pumped.
It seems that when Nolan is super hungry, especially after a long stretch of sleep, he is so desperate for milk, that getting him to latch can be EXTREMELY difficult. So just bottle feeding in the middle of the night seems to work best.

So this night, I got two sleep chunks of 3 hours + around 2 hours in the morning. God it feels good to have some sleep!! I have not shed one tear today! What a difference a little sleep makes!!

I think we'll try this technique again tonight! Cheers to my little man, Nolan, for being a sleep champ!!

Nolan's 2nd (2 week) doctor appointment

So Nolan had his 2 week doctor appointment today. He is continuing to gain good weight and is doing very well (knock on wood!)

Here's his stats:
  • Weight: 7 lbs 11 oz (22 percentile). Up 11 oz from last week, and up 8 oz from his birth weight! I was a bit concerned that he was a bit light (only being at the 22 percentile), but Dr. Fazilat reassured me he's doing well because he was born at around the 22 percentile, so he is growing at steady rate. Right where they would like him to be!
  • Head circumference: 35 cm (15 percentile)
  • Height: 21 inches long (50-75 percentile)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Day 13: Why can't I stop crying??

Last night I got *maybe* 3 hours of (interrupted) sleep. In an effort to only feed Nolan from a bottle once per day (to avoid any "nipple confusion"), I would have Francis feed Nolan the first late-night feeding via bottle, then the rest of the night feedings would be normal breastfeeding.

However, when I tried breastfeeding him later that night (around 3:30am), Nolan didn't want any part of the boob! It took me almost 2 hours to get him to latch and feed. By the time I had fed him, and tried to get back to sleep, he was hungry again. And again, I had real difficulties getting him to latch and feed. As I fed him, I just couldn't stop crying. When would this ever get easier??!! Shouldn't this breastfeeding thing be a cinch by now???

Given my complete exhaustion + crazy postpartum hormones, I could not stop crying that entire day. You could ask me anything, and the tears would just gush down my cheeks. What a mess I am!

What I can't figure out: Francis & I seem to be pretty stable people; how is all this so overwhelming for us, yet 16-year-old teenagers somehow are able to pop and babies and handle all this?? What is wrong with us? Why is this so hard??
Please tell me it gets easier? It must, right? Or else no one would have more than 1 child, right?? PLEASE tell me this gets easier!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Day 7: Nolan's 1st doctor appointment

Today was Nolan's first doctor appointment. This would be our FIRST day out of the house since we brought Nolan home, and that coupled with our lack of sleep, it was a frantic morning.
We needed to get Nolan fed, get ourselves showered, quickly eat some sort of breakfast, feed Nolan again, pack up his diaper bag, and then pack ourselves into the car. Getting out of the house in the morning has never been this hard and required so much preparation/coordination!

We had our list of questions ready for Dr. Fazilat, who didn't seem fazed at all by my list of paranoid new parent questions. Nolan then got weighed and checked out.
By day 7, Nolan was almost back at his birth weight (of 7 lbs 3 oz), and Dr. Fazilat expected him to be back at his birth weight by the next day. Since the goal is to have a baby back at their birth weight by 2 weeks, I was ecstatic that he would be there by around day 8! Yay for my little eater!!!!

After the appointment, Francis & I were ambitious enough to go out for lunch. We headed over to Panera Bread for some delicious sandwiches. Wow, it felt GREAT to be out again - sunshine felt so good!!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Day 5: Nolan slept 4 hours straight!!!

I have never been so thrilled with 4 hours of sleep!! But last night, Nolan slept for 4 hours straight!
I almost feel like a new woman!

Francis put Nolan in his crib that night, which I didn't think I could handle. So far, we have kept in him in our bed (my paranoia generally requires me to check him several times a night to make sure he's breathing, so having him in the bed makes it a bit easier). But having him in his crib that night really helped us get just that bit of sleep we both really needed.

Sleeping like a champ! So proud of my little man!