Friday, July 31, 2009

Luke at home

Ryan and I (mostly Ryan) took some pictures of Luke last weekend that turned out really cute... check 'em out!

Napping in the big bed

I've been staying up way too late at night lately, mostly because after Ryan gets home from work it's the only time I get to hang out with a fellow grown-up after being alone with Luke all day. He gets home around 11:30pm most nights, so lately we've been going to bed around 1:30 or 2am. It caught up with me this afternoon, and I couldn't get Luke to fall asleep in the bassinet. He kept spitting out his pacifier, and even though he was dry and full and swaddled and drowsy, he just couldn't make the transition to actual sleep.

I picked him up and laid him next to me in the big bed, and laid down with my body pillow watching him, and within about two minutes he was perfectly asleep, pacifier dangling out of his mouth. I let myself drift off, and we slept for a good hour and a half before I woke up and watched as he slowly fidgeted himself into a happy state of wakefulness, and we got on with the rest of the day.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The sling's the thing

Before I was pregnant, I don't know if I ever could have seen myself as a sling-toting, baby-wearing kind of mama. But I have really enjoyed wearing Luke in the sling! It really calms him down if he's being fussy, and it makes getting things done hands-free so much easier.

I have a Moby Wrap that we bought locally at Austin Baby. It's taken a little practice to get the wrapping part down, and I still can't wrap it as pretty as the people on the Moby website, but I can do it in just a couple of minutes and get Luke in it nice and snug. I've used it every evening to take the dogs out for their PM potty break, and wear it for a little while after that to load up the dishwasher, fold some laundry, or just "hold" Luke hands-free while I catch up on my friends on Facebook. Luke mostly sleeps in it, and when he starts wiggling and making noise it's usually because he needs a diaper change or he's hungry. He seems to be very comfortable with hanging out in the sling.

Today I needed to go to HEB for a few things (including formula, which means no more getting out of HEB for under $20) and decided that instead of bringing the car seat into the store and having to finagle it into the shopping cart, I would just wear Luke in the Moby Wrap. It was a little tricky crawling into the back seat of my little Kia to get him out of the car seat, but he enjoyed being in the wrap and spent the first half of the shopping trip looking all around at the produce, deli and bakery. He was asleep by the time we left the store, but I think that he probably enjoyed being in the wrap and actually being able to look around more than he can in the car seat (when he gets a stunning view of the upper shelves and the fluorescent lights in the store). We got a few "oh, he's so cute" comments as well.

I did feel a little self-conscious wearing the wrap, but this is Austin and people wear much weirder things at the grocery store. I'm feeling more comfortable with it every day, and I think it will be a great investment as long as my shoulders and back can handle the weight of this growing boy!

(Apologies for the terrible picture - I was sort of shooting and running through the produce department!)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Just when I think Luke is getting on a regular schedule, he decides to break up his feedings into a million mini-meals and throw things off. But overall, things are starting to even out a little...

6:30 or 7am - wake up, diaper change, eatLuke in the sling
8am - go back to bed
10:30am - wake up, diaper change, eat
11:30am - hang out in a lap while we watch the news
1 or 1:30pm - diaper change, eat
2:30pm - take a nap, if I'm lucky
4 or 4:30pm - wake up, diaper change, eat
5:30pm - get in the sling to walk the dogs
6pm - sleep in the sling while I make/eat something for dinner
7pm - wake up, diaper change, eat
8pm - hang out in my lap or nap for a while
10pm - wake up, diaper change, eat
11:30pm - bath/daddy time
12:30am - eat
1am - sleep for the longest stretch of the night!
6:30 or 7am - start all over again

I guess things are pretty regular for the most part, but I'm still getting used to his little peculiarities. Today he's just been a little off... I'll change his diaper and he'll want to eat, but then he'll only eat an ounce or two and then nod off and not want to eat anymore. Then an hour later, he'll wake up fussy and hungry, and finish the bottle, and then wake up an hour later wanting to eat again. So I feel like I've had a bottle in my hand all day, and not the nice, relaxing grown-up kind.

Feeding frenzy

I made the decision to breastfeed very early on in my pregnancy. I was really excited about all the money we would save not buying formula, about the prospect of bonding well with the baby, about all of the health benefits I would be able to pass on to Luke without spending any money. It was something I felt really strongly about, and my mind was absolutely made up.

Luke did great in the hospital, and took to breastfeeding like a fish to water. He seemed to have a good latch, especially whenever the nurses or lactation consultants were in the room. I dutifully woke up every two or three hours to feed him, which took up to an hour at a time, and occasionally even longer. He didn't even lose much weight in the hospital, and I felt really confident in our feeding relationship when we went home.

But after a few days, we had to make a day trip that ended up being pretty strenuous, especially considering that I'd had a C-section and had only been out of the hospital for three or four days. The next night, I had a fever and chills, and by the next morning (Sunday) I was running a 104 degree fever. We put a call in to the OB nurse, and they advised us to go to the emergency room, where I was diagnosed with a painful case of mastitis, given IV antibiotics and a prescription for 10 more days of medication, and advised to rest.

We went to Luke's second appointment with the pediatrician the following Thursday, and he hadn't gained any weight since his first appointment eight days earlier. I cried all the way through the rest of the appointment, which really irritated me because the nurse kept asking if I was all right... but I was just frustrated and felt totally inadequate, which was only reinforced when the doctor advised us to supplement Luke's feedings with formula, visit a lactation consultant, and buy a $300 breast pump.

The next day, Friday, I went to my OB office to have my C-section incision checked, and the nurse practitioner also checked on my mastitis and prescribed a (pricey) compound prescription to help heal things up. She also recommended a lactation consultant, and the expensive breast pump, and to keep trying...

My parents were in town during this time, and so they watched Luke while I went to the pharmacy to pick up the expensive prescription. On the way home from the pharmacy, I kept thinking about how I was having such a hard time with breastfeeding, how I was sleep-deprived and losing my mind, how what was supposed to be the "free" and natural way to feed our baby was turning into an expensive, overthought, overwrought process that I was still going to have to supplement because I wasn't able to feed our baby as much as his growing body needed.

So I made the decision on the drive home to quit breastfeeding. I got home, pulled out the bottles that we had and sanitized them, pulled out the canister of formula we'd gotten at the hospital, and made the switch right away. I had a couple of days of discomfort, but the harder part was that for that whole weekend, every time I sat down to feed Luke a bottle I would feel like crying. It took me a few days to mourn the decision, but I kept trying to remind myself that it was what Luke needed to grow into a healthy boy, and my body was just not keeping up - in fact, it was worn out and losing steam.

By the end of the weekend, I felt much better - my mastitis was nearly healed, I had caught up on some lost sleep by having the luxury of handing some feedings off to Ryan, and I was starting to feel like myself again. On Monday, Luke and I both had follow-up appointments. Luke had gained 11 ounces in just five days, and the pediatrician was so pleased with his weight gain that she gave us the okay to let him sleep as long as he wanted at night, instead of having to wake him up every two or three hours to eat. In the afternoon, the nurse practitioner told me to just finish out my antibiotics and let them know if the mastitis returned.

I still have occasional pangs of guilt that I gave breastfeeding up, but it has been great for our family. I am not a sleep-deprived, crying mess of a woman, and can even enjoy a beer or a glass of wine every now and then (I'm still a lightweight from 9 months of tee-totaling). Ryan can feed the baby while I sleep sometimes, although I'm still taking on the early morning feeding out of habit. But most of all, I am able to care for myself and for my son because I have the mental strength to do it, which I was losing very quickly. I'm glad that at least I was able to feed Luke for the first two weeks of his life, and we will just take the rest as it comes.

Birth announcement

My mom made an online birth announcement for Luke when he was born... click to check it out!

A month of learning

I've been off work for the past month, and have two more weeks to go before I am back at the daily grind (and Luke goes to day care). It's been a month of on the job learning, and some of the things I've learned are things that they either don't write about in the baby books, or don't underscore heavily enough.
  • For the first week or two after going home from the hospital, you will forget to eat. Remind yourself, or you will turn into a monster very quickly.
  • When they say that if you don't rest enough, you'll get mastitis and be miserable, THEY MEAN IT. They should put this in giant, bold letters in the What to Expect book. It should have its own chapter, because it's that miserable and should not be a footnote.
  • We are cloth diapering at home, and the biggest thing I've discovered about this is that the poopiest diaper in the load will be the first new one after you've put a load in the washing machine.
  • Also, cloth diapering is not as hard as everyone says it is, even with the washing and stuff, because it would take just as long to take out a full trash bag as it does to take the diapers out of the dryer and stack them up.
  • The thing that you want the most about being a mom will probably be the thing that goes the most wrong. In my case, breastfeeding... more about that later.
I'm sure there are much more things to learn as we go along, but that's what's jumped out at me so far. It's only been a month... we have years of tidbits to pick up.

Monday, July 27, 2009

How we got started...

We're a family of three now! Our son, Luke, is a month old now and I'm already behind in documenting his progress as a person (at least in this info-on-demand world). I do tweet pretty frequently about how things are going, though, so if you want to go back and read all about Luke's first month of life outside the womb (and even some before), feel free to go back and read my Twitter page.

However, I did tweet my way through part of labor, beginning the night before Luke arrived when my labor induction was begun, and after Luke's arrival (not the part where I was having the C-section, of course):
Been at the hospital for about 2 hours now. Apparently I'm actually having contractions and just didn't know it. Plans may change! #fbBy the way, I hate having an IV. Never had one before and it sucks, big time. #fb

I've been dosed w/Cervidil (instead of Cytotec) and the nurse just told me I'm "contracting right along." Ambien + sleep soon. #fb - Baby's heartbeat on top; contractions on the bottom. #fb

Kind of awake... slept pretty well, considering. Mom and Jake got in about 2 hrs ago. Ryan is sawing logs after a restless night. #fb - Breakfast of champions! #fbTook a shower, 2 laps around the L&D ward and now I'm watching Golden Girls with my new frenemy, Pitocin. #fb@ryanloyd - Ryan is an awesome coach!!Epidurals really do rock. I think I'll go back to sleep for a while. Wake me up when it's time to push... #fbAt last check, dilated 4. Baby's head seems to be moving down. Ryan is catching some well-deserved ZZZs and I'm going to do the same! #fb5 cm/80% effaced. Made 1 cm progress in an hour, so that's good news! Let's go, cervix! #fb
Still hanging out, hoping my cervix gets down to business. If I haven't progressed next time they check me, they're talking C-section. #fbRT @ryanloyd: - Introducing Luke Isaac Loyd!!!!! 7 lb 3 oz 21 in 8:21 pm #fb