Monday, August 26, 2013

Holy Hormones

Can we say basket case?  Henry starts daycare next week.

Insert internal sobbing.

As much as I have LOVED having Henry at work with me every day, the time has come for him to start daycare (mostly because I have to start paying for it or he will lose his spot).  He'll only be going 3 days a week to begin.  But judging by my emotional state, you'd think he was going off to college.

I know he will be okay at daycare.  He'll get to play with other babies and get tons of stimulation.

But I will miss him!!!

We've spent all day, every day together for the last year.  He's my little buddy.

Who wouldn't miss this:

Obviously we think he's a genius.

Ok... I've got to cut the cord eventually.  Might as well be now.  I do want him to be well-adjusted.  Nobody finds a grown man with mommy issues attractive.

I'm going to go cuddle with my baby now get back to work.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Workin' Hard

When Henry was about 5 weeks old, I had to start going back to work.

My boss (my dad for those not in the know) was going to be out of town on vacation for the week.  Since I am the only other engineer in the office and this is an engineering firm, it was important for at least 1 engineer to be available to answer phone calls.

 There was NO WAY I was leaving my 5 week old with anyone.  Just thinking about it makes me want to cry.

What's a girl to do?  Bring him with me, of course!

Truthfully, being a business owner has a lot of challenges.  I wasn't exactly thrilled with having to go back to work so soon.  I didn't really get much of a maternity leave, but I suppose it is to be expected when you own a business.  You make sacrifices when you have to. But one of the benefits is that I get to be a little more flexible with work schedule and work conditions.  This has definitely been a blessing through the whole cancer/having a baby stuff.

He does a lot of this:

And some of this:

{I just love that he is petting his giraffe.  Tired little guy}

And a whole lot of this:

At this age, Henry isn't mobile and spends a decent amount of time napping.  Well, he can nap at the office just fine.  None of this would be possible if he weren't such a good baby.  And he really is an amazing baby.

He won't be coming with me to work every day for much longer.  He starts daycare three days a week in September.  I know it is what is best for our situation.  I have to work and at daycare he will get to interact with other babies.  He will get a TON more stimulation than he would with just me at home.  Heck, they even take field trips with the babies.  Henry will have A BLAST there.  Plus it will help me get more done at work.

What will he do the other two days?  Probably come with me to the office or my mom will watch him.  Daycare is SPENDY so we are figuring out something that will work out.  Most likely I will want for him to come with me.  I can't imagine not having my little man with me all day.  :(

Can you blame me?  I get to look at this:

Only occasionally this:

Ok I think he's cute even when he cries.  :)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Safari Football Fan

I kind of can't stand Wal-Mart.  Not to be dramatic or anything, but I kind of feel like a piece of my soul dies every time I go into one.  Maybe that was a little dramatic.

But since Henry is a growing boy and I love a good deal, we ventured into one to get him some new pajamas.  Carter's has, what I assume is, a special line just for Wal-Mart.  Here's what we got:

In case you can't see very well in the picture, that's lions, giraffes, elephants... AND FOOTBALLS.  In addition, there is a giant football on the butt of the pajamas.

They also have this little tag on them.

"Daddy's little rookie"

...which is cute except there is a LION on the tag?!

I'm confused.  Safari football team?  I don't often associate safari animals and american football.

Do you think they were sitting around Carter's in the conference room having the following conversation:

Team Leader: "Alright everyone, we have one sleeper yet to design.  Half of you want safari animals and half want football.  How are we going to resolve this?"

Mensa Applicant:  "Let's put 'em together!"

Team Leader:  "Brilliant!  Meeting dismissed."

Because it wasn't like it was an accident.  Someone somewhere DESIGNED and manufactured this fabric.

I think we are the real winners here because we actually paid money for this.  Oh well... Henry looks cute in anything.  :)

Monday, August 5, 2013

Cow Tales

Throughout my entire pregnancy, I was worried about breastfeeding.  Especially after a little internet research, I was concerned that my lack of a thyroid would affect my supply and therefore my ability to exclusively breastfeed my child.  Exclusive breastfeeding was important to me not only because of all the benefits of breastfeeding, but also, let's be honest, because of $$$.

Formula is SPENDY and we are currently p.o.o.r.  We're not like super poor, but I definitely don't want to be using money on formula.  Not when I can use it to buy Henry cute little outfits and toys.  Please.  Priorities, people.

Nursing was going really well in the hospital.  In fact, when they weighed Henry before we went home, he had only lost 0.1 ounce.  The nurses and doctors were astonished since it is normal for babies to lose some weight.  I had also read that babies delivered with epidurals tend to show an even more dramatic weight loss because their birth weights are often inflated due to pumping the mother full of IV fluids.

Between my nurses and the lactation specialist, I left the hospital feeling like I had this nursing thing figured out.  And I also felt like maybe all my fears about nursing difficulties were for nothing.

But after a couple of days, Henry was getting fussier and fussier.  Nights were the worst.  It was getting to the point were I dreaded the evenings.  Throw in my rash and my hormones in general and I was a mess.  Thankfully, we had opted for a weight check and quick doctor's appointment scheduled for Monday (Memorial Day).

After they weighed Henry, we found out that since Saturday when we left the hospital Henry had dropped from 8 lbs 1.6 ounces to 7 lbs 8 ounces.  And they offered us a quick appointment with a lactation specialist.  She only had about 5 minutes to spend with us, but it was enough for us to figure out a general plan of action.

She wanted us to breastfeed Henry every 3 hours (tops) and then pump immediately afterwards.  And then I was to feed Henry whatever breastmilk I got from pumping.  She could tell that I was producing some milk.  It was there.  And she said Henry was just too impatient to work for it.  And then she set us up with a full-on lactation appointment the next days.

We left feeling so much better.  But Henry was still extremely fussy.  And it was obvious when we arrived at the doctor's office the next day that we were in desperate need of the lactation specialist.  While the other newborn babies sat quietly sleeping in their carseats, waiting for their appointments, Henry sat in his carseat screaming his little head off.

The lactation nurse was AMAZING.  She didn't bat an eyelash when I sat in her office and basically cried through the whole appointment.  And she was extremely kind and understanding of my feelings.  However, Henry had lost ANOTHER ounce since the day before.  And he hadn't pooped since we left the hospital (Saturday).  It was time to get our little guy fed and on track to gaining weight.

And she gave us another plan of action.  At most every 3 hours, we were to wake Henry up to nurse him.  Then I needed to pump for 15 minutes.  And while I pumped, Phil was to feed Henry a bottle of formula.  And we needed to keep this whole routine to under an hour.  Then repeat the whole process two hours after that.

Yep... I said it.  A BOTTLE of FORMULA.

Aka the Devil's Joy Juice.

Just kidding.  But from my Bradley classes and birth classes, the benefits of breastmilk had been indoctrinated into us.  And I really wanted to breastfeed him.

But we needed to get Henry gaining weight.  He was now 5 days old and my milk still hadn't come in.  We needed to supplement with SOMETHING until it did.

We left with our new plan, a follow-up appointment for 2 days later, and strict instructions that we needed to do nothing else but follow this feeding schedule.  Her exact instructions were to turn away visitors, lock ourselves in the house and just feed Henry and try to sleep.

That program SUCKED (and that's no pun intended).  All I did was nurse and pump.  Nurse and pump.  We were going to her office every few days.  And it got to the point where I was pumping 15 ounces of breastmilk every time.  Then I had an oversupply issue and we had to work that out.  Who knew that ice on your chest could ever feel so good?

After two weeks, we had graduated from the lactation consultant.  We made it through.  But I can totally see why women give up.  It is hard!  If it hadn't been for Phil's total support and the lactation consultant, I don't think I could have done it.  My advice for any soon-to-be new moms: know about the breastfeeding support available to you and take ALL THE HELP YOU CAN GET.  Even if you don't need it.  It never hurts to have someone tell you that you are doing it right. :)

Over the next few weeks, Henry and I got into a routine with feedings.  But we were noticing some pretty intense fussiness when he would poop.  Like SCREAMING from a dead sleep.  Totally inconsolable.  Back arching.  And green poop.  It didn't take long before Dr. Google, the Le Leche League, his doctor, and my doctor pointed out what could be the culprit:


NO!!  I love dairy!

But I also hated the screaming.  So I decided I would eliminate it and see what happened.  I am not sure if I was happy or sad that eliminating dairy seemed to make a huge difference on his fussiness.  No, I am happy.  It is an easy problem to solve.  Just not enjoyable (for me).  Much like when I had to give it up for the LID diet, I am finding that no dairy has kind of taken away me desire to eat.  But I am slowly adjusting.  I think this will prove to be an excellent means of losing weight for me.

I would be lying if I said I enjoyed breastfeeding.  Every once in a while, I kind of resent having to feed him every two hours.  It feels like I just finished feeding him and it is time to feed again.  But there are other times when I like the time holding him.  His pediatrician complimented me on his weight gain since he is exclusively breastfed and I again found some strange sense of pride in that.

And I am one of those women that will breastfeed pretty much anywhere.  I'm not going to go hide in a corner or nurse in the bathroom.  No one will shame me into nursing in the car.  I nursed him at about a week old walking through Target.  I've nursed him at restaurants, sitting at the table.  I nursed Henry while walking through the Charlotte airport.  Granted I am covered.  But still... I refuse to be pushed into a dark, secluded corner just because Henry needs to eat.  The hippy in me is coming out again.

{That's all you can see}

And thus concludes the longest post (certainly the longest post about my boobs) I have written to date.  The sad part... I could have written so much more.

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Happenings

Oh how life just keeps on throwing curve balls.

I'm not going to lie... I really struggled for the first 6 weeks of Henry's life.  Not because he wasn't a good baby (because he was) but more just adjusting to life, mixed in with some baby blues.  With the end of Phil's dissertation on the horizon, I knew I would need to switch into super wife mode so that he can focus solely on finishing.  That seemed impossible.  And I was needed back at work, but working seemed impossible.  The house was in shambles.  How am I supposed to clean when all I wanted to do was stare at my baby and cry?

Slowly but surely, I was getting back to myself.  And things like laundry didn't seem like impossible tasks.

Then we had to make an emergency trip to Virginia.  Phil's dad had/has sepsis from 4 different bacteria.  We were there for a week and he was in the ICU for another week after that.  It's looking like he might be nearing the end of his battle with Liver cancer, but who really knows.  He is home from the hospital now.  But it sparked a lot of questions and feelings for everyone regarding the end of his life and just the grieving process in general.

But while we were back there, Henry and I spent a lot of time alone.  And I had to do laundry and cook AND work while I took care of him by myself.  And you know what?  I did it!  Sure it took way longer, but things still got done.  And that kind of pushed me out of my remaining baby blues.

We've been back from Virginia for about 10 days and we are starting to get our bearings straight again.  Although it is hard to get into any kind of a routine because Phil will likely be heading back to Virginia again here soon.  And then Henry and I will be home alone with the dogs.

Oh the dogs... Cotton overwhelms me lately with his energy.  Deep breaths, Natalie.  He's a sweet little dog, but he definitely needs his exercise.

So that's what has been going on around here.  I have been kind of wrapped up in my own little world, just trying to figure everything out.  It kind of feels like when it rains, it pours and there are just so many things going on.  Phil and I have been trying to focus on keeping things as simple as possible and enjoying our handsome little man.

And he is handsome.

Our goal for the next couple of weeks is just to get some kind of a morning routine down so that I can get to work before 10 in the morning.  I think it will require me to get up at the crack of dawn.  Oh wish me luck.
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