Thursday, March 22, 2018

it DOES get better!

so my 'always' fussy baby is less fussy nowadays. it really is crazy how quickly they change. every week he's evolving into something better than before.

i'm pretty positive that i was correct that Cam taking really shitty naps or no naps at all was what caused him to be a cranky mess all the time. as i continued in my struggle to find a way to get the kid to nap (bounced on a yoga ball for nearly an hour and a half only for him to wake up over and over again) my friend Marjie came over and all nonchalant was like "lemme try." mind you, we've had plenty of friends try for an hour or so with no real luck. he'd doze and the moment they put him down he'd wake right back up. i had little faith that she'd have some magic touch.

so Marjie swaddled him, hovered over his bassinet with her hand on his chest and rocked the bassinet while shushing him. for nearly ten minutes he cried and fussed and then BAM he just fell asleep. GASP!!! whaaaaat just happened???? she said that he definitely fights sleep and would rather be up and alert which is why he cries but he's actually tired so he's also willing go to sleep if coaxed. of course he didn't actually fall asleep for very long the first time. he woke himself up and started to cry. but she told me to wait it out for a minute and if he continued to actually cry for a solid 60 seconds, then i could go in and help him fall back asleep. but if within the 60 seconds he calms down at any point then start the count to 60 seconds over again. if he keeps calming himself down then that means he's trying to self settle or self soothe. to be honest, when i heard babies cry prior to having one of my own, it never really bothered me but that first day of letting him try to self settle was fairly brutal for a new mom like me. hearing your baby wail like that raises your blood pressure and just hits you in your heartstrings. BUT as i saw that he was able to settle himself and fall back asleep, i realized that he's learning. i tried to remind myself that babies his age (9 weeks) can only really communicate by crying. Marj said that every day it would get better and better. he would be able to self soothe/settle easier and he would sleep longer because he'd be able to help himself.

and guess f*cking WHAT!?! it's been almost a week of this and when he wakes himself up, he's able to fall back asleep on his own pretty easily for the most part. i watch him on the monitor and sometimes he'll wake, cry a few moments or make a frowny face and then go back to sleep. or sometimes he'll wake and look around for a little bit and then fall back asleep. occasionally he'll wake, cry for a while and i'll have to rescue him (as i call it) but he falls back asleep. sometimes he'll wake, stare, even smile and sort of giggle and then fall back asleep. what a freaking weirdo, amiright? true, his naps aren't knock-out-for-two-hour naps but maybe as he's able to self soothe they'll get longer and easier. i know some people might think that letting your baby cry at this age for sleep is cruel but i don't view it that way. it's not like i allow him to cry for even ten minutes straight. and the dude is learning! he's totally capable.

and you know what? because he's actually getting daytime sleep in, he's a happier baby when he's awake and it's been life changing for the both of us! i like my baby! when he's awake, cooing, smiling and playing, i am so in love with him! all he needed was more rest and i'm finally able to give it to him. as he's learning and practicing and as i'm letting the reigns go a little bit, he's been napping way better than ever before. on two occasions today, i didn't even rock him in the bassinet at all. all i did was watch for his sleepy signals, swaddle him and shush him until he fell asleep. it was amaaaaaazing! not that every day will be the same or that i'm never going to have to rock him in the bassinet to help him get to sleep, but hopefully as the days go on we'll figure it out and we'll be able to be on the way to real sleep training through the night. we're already starting the path to that. woohoo!

i have to give so so SO much credit to Marjie. she seriously is a baby whisperer. i am mesmerized with her magic. she's provided me with some groundwork to a happier baby, which means a happier me. i feel far less anxious than i did just a week ago and we're on the road to it DOES get better!!!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

just a note and a few pics

i know a lot of my posts have been about the hardships of motherhood and/or the struggles i've had with it. as a result i've actually had a lot of people reach out, which has been nice to see that people care. i'm assuming most people have felt the same way i do but they didn't have a blog to whine about it. for everybody who has reached out, thank you! i appreciate it!

y'know sometimes i don't think of Cam as a little human yet. because he doesn't actually do much as of now, i sort of view him as a real life Tamagachi. and when things don't work on him like they're supposed to i have to remind myself that he's not a little robot.

i assure you though that as days go on and he does show more signs of being an actual human being, i feel more and more like a mom. and i love him more and more. and i wonder what he's going to grow up to be and what his temperament will be like. he got his first shots the other day and caught a fever from it. his crazy loud cries turned into weak little whimpers and it made me just want to hold him and cuddle the shit out of him. anyway, what i'm saying is that i don't completely hate being a mom. i mean, the newborn phase doesn't seem like it's going to be my favorite but if it means one day we'll snuggle up on the couch and he'll run up to me and hug me here and there, it'll be worth it all.

anyhow here's more of the little man...

brought him to meet some coworkers and he was a sweetheart for them (for the most part)

bath time!

 lol, any mom will tell you that at some point you have to keep your hand on their chest for x amount of time so that they feel secure. one day i decided to fill a sandwich bag full of rice to mimic the weight of my hand in hopes that he'd sleep longer during a nap. this lasted 20 minutes before his eyes popped right back open. could you imagine if the bag were to bust open? #momfail

 fam photo

ugh, that little smile!

if i dress like a dog, maybe he'll accept me.

Monday, March 12, 2018

2 months and sleep issues

two months in and tell you honestly, i'm not sure if i know my baby more or less than i did before. "it gets better" is what i hear. is it easier now? the sleep deprivation is a little better, mainly because i go to sleep when the baby goes to sleep, which means around 7pm everyday and i think i'm getting used to waking up in the middle of the night.

but no, it's not easier. my baby is difficult. he seems to be crying or fussing all the time. we went through what all new parents do. is it reflux? is it gas? is it colic? whatever 'colic' is anyway. seems like such a generic term for fussy-without-reason-and-potentially-gets-better-around-3-months-but-nobody-knows-why. it's been rough, seriously. i know babies cry but this one seems to have a red, angry, pouty face often and it makes me sad. sad because this is the period where you're supposed to 'cherish the moments' and also interact with them a lot with tummy time, play mats, talking, singing, etc. but when he's just a fussypants, how am i supposed to do that exactly?

i think i know what's happening but i don't know how to fix it. i don't think it's reflux or anything actually medically wrong. he's gaining weight (he's well over 11lbs already and seems healthy overall) and peeing and pooping appropriately. the morning when he's woken up, he seems okay. he smiles, coos and seems to be in great spirits. this is our saving grace. it seems this is the only time that he's truly chill. as the early part of the day goes on he seems okay. engaged and observant. then he starts yawning and i know that he's tired. he can't show me other signs like rubbing his eyes or tugging his ear yet because this kid has zero dexterity. they say that a newborn at around Cam's age shouldn't be awake for longer than 2 hours maximum at a time. he should be taking like four naps a day. this means that when he wakes at around 6am, he should be asleep again by 8am at the maximum and it's my duty to get him to nap before that window closes or else he becomes overtired and overstimulated. but this kid is nearly impossible to put to sleep for naps. i feel like i spend my whole day trying to get him to sleep.

i've done everything from:
-spend hours bouncing on a yoga ball with white noise sounds on in the dark
-driving to Half Moon Bay to get him to sleep in the car
-walk around with him in an ergo
-walk around in a stroller
-buy a swing in hopes that this will make him nap
-play lullabies
-let him cry for 15 minutes
-feed him swaddled
-walking around Target with him in a stroller

sometimes while bouncing on the ball he'll nod off for a moment and then wake right back up. this has happened 8 times in a sitting before i give up. then i put him in the ergo and do lunges to make him sleep. sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. i'm pretty sure the reason why he's fussy throughout the day is because he doesn't get enough sleep in the form of naps. all of the sites say 'put your baby down to sleep drowsy but awake.' uhhhh....he shows no signs of being drowsy until he's already yawning and fussy. and we've tried to put him down before but he's so hard to get down then he gets cranky and cries.

and honestly, i can't see a way out. i don't see how this is ever going to change until we are able to sleep train him. but even then who knows. when his circadian rhythm develops and he's more neurologically developed, will he sleep better? i don't know. it breaks my heart that all he wants to do is sleep and i can't get it to him. some days he's so fussy and crying that we just can't wait to put him to bed at nighttime so that he can reset himself and we can get a break. i feel terribly about that but it's sort of true.

month 1, i think i had the baby blues for sure. with the hormones and everything, i was crying all the time. month 2, i think i have found my way to anxiety. there've been a few nights where i'm obviously tired but unable to go to sleep and i can feel my blood pressure rising. every day i wake up thinking "oh shit how am i going to get him to nap today and be chill."  and at night we're tiptoeing around our room so as not to wake him because if we do that means bouncing on a yoga ball for who knows how long again. all i want is for my kid to be able to get his naps in but in a sustainable way for myself too. i can't walk him in an ergo for hours and hours, can i? is there something i'm missing or something i'm not doing correctly? does everybody have this hard a time putting their baby down for naps? how naive i was. before having a baby i thought that when people are sleepy they sleep and that babies were no different. nope. i'm able to write this post because i walked him around in an ergo for an hour and now he's still in that ergo as i type.

does it get better? when? when he's 3 years old and chatting with me?

this is rare

Monday, February 19, 2018

an ode to my mom

my mom with Cam

three generations of moms
(this was taken 19 days before Cam was born)

you know how they say that you don't truly appreciate your parents until you're a parent yourself?

1000% dead accurate!

i've always appreciated my parents but i've never appreciated them more than now. i recall having a good childhood. whether it was going to Disneyland/other amusement parks, zoos, camping or playing around outside, i've always had fun. when it came to disciplining my brother and i, i look back fondly at my mom always making sure to tell us why what we did was wrong. rather than scolding us with no explanation, this method taught us to be analytical and logical in thought as adults. i guess as we grow up it's easy to reflect on your parents by how you felt about your childhood but now that i'm beginning this new chapter in my life as a mom myself, i realize how much more went into parenting my brother and i than i've ever been able to understand. i never knew the true hardships of motherhood and as they unfold, i appreciate what they've endured for us.

at just over five weeks into parenthood i already see how much work goes into the early stages of parenting and let me tell you, it's grueling. the lack of sleep and confusion about what you're doing are intense and you feel like you're living by a thin thread of hope. now that i'm living this, i can only wonder what it was like for my own mom and dad. but if i'm being truly fair this is more about my mom. she's the one that put in a majority of the work and i feel like i could never repay her for it. not that she would ever seek redemption. that's not what parenthood is about. this past week i've cried in recognition and appreciation for all the things my mom has done throughout my lifetime.

so Mom, thank you for the memorably happy childhood! but also...

thank you for growing me for nine months while you worked.
thank you for jeopardizing your youthful body in exchange for extra fluff.
thank you for feeling trapped in what feels like an eternity of sleepless nights.
thank you for enduring the confusion of screeching cries for months.
thank you for juggling two babies under the age of 2 at the same time.
thank you for trading in your life of freedom in exchange for two chaotic additions.
thank you for spending your time changing a million diapers.
thank you for ever feeling overwhelmed, tired and hopeless at any point in our lives.
thank you for always having our best interests at heart.

but you recently stated that you will always worry about me, just like you said poh-poh (my grandma) still worries about you (and you're already considered a senior citizen!!!). i'm finding out more and more each day that if there's anything that epitomizes motherhood it starts and never stops with the worrying. you've only ever wanted what was best for Jeremy and i whether it's in health, happiness or general well being and with that comes a lifetime of worrying and lightweight or heavyweight anxiety depending on the situation. that's a hard thing to live with. but it's also a choice you make. so thanks for making that choice and for having to spend your life worrying about us. thank you for most recently for your worry as you watch me and help me through baby blues or postpartum depression (whichever one it is). it's helped me feel better and i couldn't imagine navigating motherhood without the guidance of my own mom.

i appreciate you! and i imagine that as my journey throughout motherhood progresses and i realize how much your efforts have affected my life, my appreciation for you will only continuously rise as well.

thank you for your selflessness!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

we've made it through month 1

whoa whoa whoa!! how is it possible that a whole month has passed by yet it also feels like time has stood still? i can't believe my baby is already a month old today, while it also feels like i've been living in a stagnant cycle of crying, diapers and bottles. and somehow it also feels like i've been doing this for four years already. that's what sleep deprivation does to you i guess!

Cameron is doing well. he's thriving as he should i suppose. my once 7lb 10oz son has acquired a dad bod and is weighing in at just over 10lbs. his umbilical cord fell off almost two weeks into birth. i found it on the couch a couple hours after we partook in a skin-to-skin nap. i thought it was bug but nope, it was a piece of dehydrated lifeline. his circumcision healed up nicely right around the same time. thank god! it was a chore trying to squeeze vaseline on that thing like a bee hive. boy-moms know what i'm talkin' about. aside from that, i don't know what to say about him. i always see people document things on their child's monthly photos about what they like/dislike, what they've discovered and any milestones they've hit. but so far Cam is a typical newborn. he eats, sleeps, poops and cries. i guess i could elaborate on those. he's eating up to 4oz at a time now. he sleeps well at night and only really wakes for feedings but we put him right back to sleep and he has no problem with that. his poops have been various colors, shades and consistencies thus far, sometimes even within the same diaper. so weird. and he cries. or fusses. i'd love to say more about him but that sort of sums up his life so far. i'll let you know when he's more interesting. right now his little intricacies are cute and noticeable for me but even so, i know his 'smile' is just a reflex. and that when he grabs my finger he has no idea his hand even exists yet so it's meaningless.

as far as i go...well. i've had my downs and my downs. but i'm looking forward to the ups and i'm now starting to see a flicker of a light at the end of the tunnel. if you recall in my last blog post, i was a disheveled mess. i can't say that i'm not still that, but i'm a little bit of a lesser mess now. as every day goes by i feel slightly more confident. whether it's taking him on walks with the ergobaby or putting him in the car and using the stroller, i've overcome the fear of doing new things. when he was about two weeks old i took him in a stroller down Geary Street for a walk by myself. ten blocks in he started crying his face off and i panicked. luckily we were by a Kaiser clinic. i knew they'd have a lobby so i ducked in there and fed/changed him. after that i rushed back to the car where Ted was and proclaimed that "that was intense. whyyyyyy did i try to do that? let's just stay at home for like six months." today was the very first time i left the house with him alone in my car that wasn't just walking out to the park across the street. i took him to a friend's house a whopping half a mile away. it seems like nothing but it's a feat for me.

otherwise, i've still googled way too much stuff. i'm trying to figure out what to believe or what guidelines i should be following. for a few days Cam ate like 32oz in a day, which seems like waaaaayy too much for a kid his age and i kept wondering if i was overfeeding him and setting him up for a lifestyle of obesity. i can't tell the difference between his cries which makes me feel like i don't know my kid. but to tell you the truth, i don't know my kid. actually, at this point i couldn't even tell you the difference between a cry and fussiness. it all sounds the same to me. is he hungry? tired? needs a diaper change? i don't know! but as days go by i'm more and more okay with not knowing and just figuring it out. and if it's none of those things and he's fussy still, i'll just do whatever until he's not fussy. i always thought that i had to find a reason for why he's fussy but i'm learning that sometimes you just have no effing clue and you just deal with it. instead of following the foreshadowing of The Wonder Weeks or any other book that tells you what you can expect exactly when, i'll just take the fussiness as it comes and just make it through. that's the plan anyway. i can't keep trying to find an explanation for everything because there are too many variables and there's almost never a definitive answer considering this guy can't tell me whether he's crying because of gas, colic, or because i'm holding him in a way he doesn't love.

i decided about a week ago that i was going to quit the breastfeeding thing and straight up use formula. for me, the benefit of pumping didn't outweigh the negatives i felt. sitting attached to a machine every 2-3 hours and not spending that time with my newborn made me feel shitty. also having to wash pump parts and staying awake after bottle feeding to pump after already being sleep deprived from every night prior will wear you down. and for what? the 2oz or less i made with each pump session? this kid eats more than that. it just wasn't worth our time. and i'm so much happier now that i don't have all of that on my shoulders. fuck the judgmental pro-breastfeeding people out there who think you're not being a good mom if you don't offer up 'breast is best' for your baby. i won't bond with my kid? pretty sure when he loves me and kisses me goodnight when he's 2, he's bonded. plus, i'm still going to be feeding him and clothing him for yeaaarrrrrsss to come. pretty sure he's not going to know whether i gave him that 'golden' breast milk when he's yelling at me to give him a lollipop.

do i still cry? yeah. for sure. but less. as i let go of control over my life (or my once upon a time life) and allow myself to grasp the idea that i'm a 'mom' with everything that word encompasses, i start to believe that i can do it. and i can be less selfish. but are there moments where i wonder "what if we just didn't have kids at all?" or "what if we just have one kid because i'm not sure i can do this twice?" yeah. HELL YEAH. once or twice i've been out to pick up some butter at the grocery store without Cam attached to me and for a moment i forget i have a baby and it feels nice to have that freedom. but then i see an infant who is four months old being toted along to lunch with her mom and friends or i see a five year old running around the playground laughing so hard it hurts and i can see what this is all worth. there's a lot of sacrifice in the beginning (and probably for the rest of my life) of a life with kids but in the end the sacrifice, tantrums, uncertainty and change in self identity will never overshadow the hugs, laughs and joy that enhance your life as a family. sometimes i still wish i could've just popped out a toddler (or at the very least a 4 month old) and skipped the whole newborn thing but i'll bet that in a year from now i'm going to miss these newborn moments.

check back next month. hopefully i'll be all like "wow this baby thing is amazing. how could i have ever bitched about any of it before? every moment is savored and i would totally do this again." we'll see. i'm told things get better every month so i'm hoping to see some smiles or recognition coming from that little face. but in the meantime he is pretty cute to look at.

one month. we did it! month 2, please be kind to me.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

wow. this shit is HARD!!!

wow. this shit is HARD! i had no idea what i was in for. i over think everything i'm doing and worry about every little thing. is he sleeping too much? is he sleeping enough? is he eating too much? i can't tell if he's showing signs of hunger or not. he's going for his fingers. is he hungry or self soothing? they say i'll soon understand the small variances in cries and be able to distinguish what they mean but i fear i'm not going to be able to tell and the rest of my life is going to be a guessing game with this kid. i'm overwhelmed and constantly concerned that i'll never know what i'm doing.

we are nearing three weeks and this only seems to get harder. they say that at some point they become more predictable but that seems so far away. everything i read (and all i've been doing is reading. seriously. constantly reading how? when? why? about everything. mostly about sleeping, eating and crying, obviously. i've been reading so much that i find myself rereading the same articles over.) says that in three months they sleep longer during the night and less during the day. that they can self sooth better at three months. that they eat more quantity during the day and less during the night, again, at. three. months. THREE MONTHS?? i'm barely scraping by three weeks and i feel like i've been in a haze for months already. thank god i've got lots of vacation and sick time saved up to make it to the three month mark. how do women go back to work after six weeks? or actually, maybe going back to work sounds like a dream come true right about now. someone else can deal with all of this new unpredictability and i can just handle the night time. but then i'd miss out on fully delving into this motherhood thing. there's just no winning.

but i cry. i cry a lot. like, pretty much every person i come in contact with sees me cry nowadays. except for the cashier at Target or the small interactions i have with strangers. but even then i choose the self checkout stand more often than not. these postpartum hormones don't help. when do those leave? or are they just making themselves cozy in me for hella long? i'm in a really weird head space. i think all new moms go through it but none of them told me about it. the feeling of helplessness and overwhelmingness. the questioning of decisions. the frustrations. but once i read (yes, more reading) about other people's experiences and investigate it, it seems like nearly every first time mom goes through these same things. so i know i'm not alone. and every time i talk to another mom-friend of mine, it makes me feel at least a little bit better. one of the very best pieces of advice i've gotten was that "everything is a phase and at your darkest moments, know that i'll be totally different in a few days, weeks, months." THANK YOU, NGOC for this little gem of repeated word wisdom i tell myself every few hours. at the very least it gives me a slight sense of hope.

all i want is for this kid to grow up happy and healthy. but while i'm at it i also want to feel good about myself and my decisions for him. and for now my biggest thing is how to soothe this guy so that he doesn't cry his head off. we've tried using a pacifier but he obviously doesn't know what the fuck that thing is. he likes it but knocks it out because his motor skills aren't up to par. like c'mon man, get it together and keep that thing in your mouth! i read that one mom nearly wanted to duct tape it around his head. i'm with her! just kidding. sort of. rocking. swaying. feeding. swaddling. white noise. walking. what do you waaaaant!?!?! just tell me!!! i can't wait until he can just tell me. please please please. that day can't come soon enough.

as i write this Cam is in the third hour of a nap. he was awake for nearly three hours before this and i could tell he was sleepy but i couldn't get him to take a nap. when he's sleeping i miss him but at the very same time i fear the moment he awakens if he hasn't had enough sleep. this kid is running the show around here. 24 hours a day is all about this guy. i hope that i can get used to it. or make it manageable. i know we'll get through this but that light at the end of the tunnel seems so far away. doesn't make me want to kiss him less though.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

first 10 days with a newborn

my heart melts for this kid

whew. you guys. this is day 11 of being a mom and it's been insane! i seriously can't believe you need a license to drive a car but don't need one to have a baby. they say the learning curve is steep with a newborn and holy shit ain't that the truth!?! it's sort of like when i was in x-ray school and everything you're bombarded in class with is 100% brand new information but you're also expected to go to clinicals and apply what you've 'learned.' but the learning and applying never ends and it's so hard to catch up.

so as i've said in prior posts, i've lived my whole life only having to take care of myself. sure i've had a dog or two but they literally eat, sleep and need walks. otherwise they are sort of just hang out. and nurturing relationships with humans has been a cakewalk because these people are self sufficient. my role with them is to spend time with them and to be thoughtful when i feel like it. not that it's new news but having a baby is on another level y'all!

i want to preface that Cameron has proven to be awesome, just like his mom and pops. he's pretty chill overall and only really cries when he needs something. once he's fed, changed and clothed, he's pretty easy. he sleeps really well and isn't fussy. at night we put him down awake and he generally falls asleep on his own. what a saint, am i right? i want to say he takes after me since i am usually pretty chill. and i say 'usually' because the first few days at home, i was a crazy mess.

if you know me well you know that i'm like 70% logical and 30% emotional. with this newborn popping out of me i'd say that over the first few days at home that number went to 70% emotional and 30% logical. this surge of hormones along with the intense learning curve and lack of sleep has made me feel like a completely different person.

they say that with newborns all you have to do is keep them fed, changed, clothed and otherwise all they do is sleep. you LIARS! there is SO much more you have to keep track of. and it's not all just about the baby, it's about yourself and your partner too. so let's start with all of the worries and concerns that i've come across in addition to keeping this kid fed. i'll get back to the fed thing later. that one is a doozie.

for Cameron

when changing his diapers, not only do we have to keep him clean and not sitting in a pool of his own urine and crap, we have to make sure we get a dab of vaseline on his red, inflamed, circumcised penis so that his skin doesn't adhere to itself and to keep it from chaffing on the diaper, not to mention keeping it from infection. then we have to fold the diaper a little bit before securing it so that it doesn't go over his umbilical cord, which hasn't fallen off yet so as not to increase the chances of infection. if he didn't have a maraschino cherry for a penis and a useless cord still attached to him, changing diapers would be so much more of a cakewalk. the extra time we spend putting vaseline on and folding the diaper leaves more time for him to pee on us and himself and/or shoot his poop directly on to mom and dad, forcing us to start the process all over again.

 Ted made himself an apron from fear of projectile pee/poop

for Me

i had an unplanned c-section, which means that my postpartum care is now more involved than had i had a vaginal delivery. i thought that i was going to go home and only have to hope that my vagina wasn't going to feel like it was assaulted by a little baby and change a pad every so often from normal bleeding. but with a c-section i have to change more things around considering it's a major surgery. i thought i was going to be able to come home and use my abs again but nope. with incisions on my external abdomen and uterus, i have to be cautious when getting up from bed or sitting. i have to be careful about how active i am and not carry more than like 10lbs. wtf? what kind of weak ass person can't carry  more than 10lbs? oh, and when i was pregnant, i wanted nothing more than to be able to sleep on my back. now that i've got this incision that's healing, it's best to sleep on my back to reduce pressure to the area and i can't wait to sleep on my sides again. catch 22, man! you know what else is crazy? after coming home, i realized the area from my bellybutton down to my incision feels numb and nobody told me about that! supposedly the feeling comes back when your nerves form together again but some chicks on google searches say they've never gotten the feeling back. [i've now started to get some feeling back though, thank god!] on top of that, i came home the same weight as when i was pregnant with Cam. you'd think you'd lose at. the. very. LEAST the amount of weight your baby is along with the weight of your placenta but nah, not necessarily. they put so much IV fluid in me and who knows why else, but with c-sections you can swell more a couple of days after. so i was walking around with my legs and belly flopping about, weighing the same as i did at the end of pregnancy. discouraging to say the least. but over the course of three or four days and a lot of super high pressure and volumed pee sessions, the swelling as gone down and i'm 15lbs down. whew! on top of all of this  i've got to take medications to ward off the pain from surgery. but tell you the truth, there isn't that much actual pain. i'm not sure i was ever on the heavy medications that usually come with c-section. to my knowledge, from the second day at the hospital i was only on a cycle of tylenol and motrin for pain and i was able to get up and walk around the same day as the surgery (granted i had the c-section at 1am, which gave me 23 hrs to rid the effects of epidural, anesthesia, and get the feeling back in my legs). but keeping track of taking my own medications on time while scheduling feeding sessions with the kiddo is a lot to keep track of. waking up in the middle of the night to feed and then waking up again to take medications is a pain in the ass.

for Ted

honestly, there isn't thaaaaat much that i've had to be concerned about or adjust for Ted except for the night schedule. he's been kick ass as a father except in the middle of the night the guy just wants to sleep and his patience runs thin sometimes but still, he steps up and does his fair share.

now on to the keeping-the-kid-fed thing...this shit is rough! 

when you come home from the hospital you're left to yourself to just figure it out. but you're flushed with all of these hormones and have no idea what you're doing. as far as feeding goes, they only really push nursing while in the hospital. nobody really comes by and is like...hey, are you going to nurse, bottle feed or formula feed? they pretty much set you up as if you're going to nurse on your boob and let me tell you again, that shit is rough! there is a lot of pressure put on you to nurse your baby on the boob. so i tried. and i tried and i tried. they say you should wake your child every 2-3 hrs to feed until he gets back to his birth weight. but this kid was sleepy as f*ck! he was a boss at latching so i thought all was good. i'd nurse on each boob for like 15 active minutes and hope that he was getting the nutrients he needed. but keeping the guy awake enough to be active was posing to be difficult. he would latch and then just kind of hang out or half ass suck. what was supposed to be 15 minutes on each side turned into an hour or more trying to keep him awake. i felt like i was trying to nurse him for 15 hours of the day. and it's really not fun to be topless for that long (well, for me. some people love being naked. not me). and when we went to our five day checkup at the pediatrician, Cameron had lost 10% of his body weight, which is borderline for taking different measures. during this time my hormones were crazy and i couldn't help but to feel like i was starving my child. was he extra sleepy because he was malnourished? am i not producing enough milk for him or is he not sucking the way he is supposed to? all i could think was that i was failing as a mom. i can't tell you how much i cried in the first few days. i felt like a piece of shit mother. it was intense and i felt bad for Ted. he had to console a crying mom and a crying, unfed baby. but he's a champ and was there for both of us when we needed it. i'm so lucky he's an amazing husband and dad.

for three days in a row we went to a lactation nurse who was very pro-boob. over the sessions she would shove her hands and arms in my face and tell me how to nurse Cameron. she would have Ted massage a boob while i held him in place and she did some other shit. so that's like 4-5 arms in my face and on my child. it was claustrophobic and impossible to take home. how is one or even two people supposed to take over the motions of five hands? she would manually express milk from my boob and tell me that i was producing a good amount of milk. that maybe Cameron had an issue latching. her solutions? try using a nipple shield so that he feels the correct shape far enough in his mouth to enable his natural suction when it touches his hard palate. if that doesn't work, tape a feeding tube to your nipple and have him nurse while Ted pushes the milk through a syringe. this will let him know that milk comes from the nipple and he'll latch better. if that doesn't work, use a syringe to feed him but use your pinky finger to mimic the nipple. but always, always nurse on the boob first. so we go home and try. and like i said, the kid is sleepy. we try all the things she says and i'm not confident he's getting enough food because he's not latching well enough. that's what this lactation expert is telling me, right? so it must be true. wrong! after a few days of trying to nurse Cam on my boobs because for some reason logic has gone out the window and hormones, lack of sleep, and a crazy learning curve put you in a weird headspace where you just nod your head and listen to whatever you're being told. i cried and cried and cried at home. Ted was probably taken aback because this is not me. i was anxious, scared and concerned for my little bundle of happiness.

finally on our last visit to the lactation nurse, after she did all the same things and he still wasn't taking in a lot of milk, i broke down. i cried, said this was fucking rough and that i didn't actually care how the fuck my kid eats so long as he eats! sure, i want him to receive the benefits of breast milk and i know that nursing is the best for bonding and production and blah blah blah. but how am i supposed to know if he's getting any food? dude is dropping weight, so how long can i try nursing before he hates me for not fulfilling my job of feeding him? for some reason i felt such pressure to nurse and at no point did the lactation nurse ever introduce the option of formula to supplement or get his weight headed in the right direction. she assumed i was producing enough milk and i wasn't!

after talking to my mom and a few friends who said that they pump milk and supplement with formula, i felt more at ease. why didn't i think to ask them first? who knows. i feel like i was just in a big daze. the logical side of me has always known that there's nothing wrong with a baby who is being fed formula. my brother and i were formula babies from day 1, have never received the antibodies from a mother's milk and are healthy as can be. i never get sick, so i can't attribute that to nursing on my mom's boob. i was stuck in a such a weird place where i was just listening to the one person i had contact with who is an expert in lactation and it turns out the whole time it wasn't about his latch. this kid latches like a champ. i just wasn't producing enough milk. why she didn't think that was the case or worth mentioning is beyond me.

Ted and i decided to pump whatever milk i can get and bottle feed, supplementing with formula. once we decided to make that decision all my anxieties about keeping this kiddo alive and fed went out the window. because we bottle feed and he takes to the bottle easily, we are able to measure how much food he's actually getting and now i know he's eating. there is also a lot of weight off my shoulders now that Ted is able to help feed and the burden of producing and feeding isn't 100% on me. and just to ease my anxiety, we bought a scale to make sure he was headed in the right direction and gaining weight. i'm happy to report his little cheeks are getting chubbier, he's pooping and peeing all the time and is awake a lot more now that he's actually receiving nutrients!

bottle feeding is what's up at the Lin house. that, and my swollen fingers [insert shifty eyes emoji]

so that's what the first 10 days of life looked like over at the Lin house. now that we aren't concerned about him eating, Cameron has been able to take Wags to the dog park, go to the mall and to a baby shower (granted all of these things happened no more than a mile or two away from home and for no more than two hours at a time. but still, it's something). we're adjusting better now and able to sleep more. his little faces and sounds are so fascinating and when he's awake it's hard not to want to stare at him endlessly, but man, what a friggin whirlwind it is to have a newborn!