19 Weeks

19 Weeks

I think I’m going to move to monthly updates next. Life is speeding up and my free time is becoming increasingly precious. Case in point, I really should be working on this training instead of updating, but I keep getting distracted by photos of Lady Jr, so I figured I might as well distract you, too.

 

I’m also weighing a decision about whether or not to expand daycare to four days a week. To recap, I work three days from home and Lady Jr goes to daycare for those three days. The other two days of the work week I spend with her, trying to get as much writing done as possible during her naps. But that is quickly becoming untenable.

Right now, if the stars align and everything goes right, I write from 6am to 7.30am, then again from 7pm to 8pm every day. On non-daycare days, I also write during her first nap. Unfortunately, the stars very rarely align and not only is my writing time in the morning increasingly interrupted by a baby who wants to get up (way too) early and then needs to be held back to sleep, my attention is divided between my work and the baby monitor. Same in the evening, except my evening sessions have gone out the door with the lack of sleep. The only way for me to function is if I go to sleep when baby does.

Basically, there’s time to be mined, but half the time I can’t properly concentrate and I feel rushed and anxious. :/

But, on the other hand, I don’t know how long Lady Jr’s current not-sleeping-more-than-2-hour-stretches thing is going to last. If she ever settles down, I’ll have two, three extra hours every day. Also, unlike with with my day job, an increase in hours doesn’t mean an increase in money (at least, not obviously), so daycare wouldn’t pay for itself like it does. We’d still come out ahead overall than if I didn’t work, but still… not by much.

Third, another day of daycare means another day pumping and I hate pumping with my entire soul. It’s uncomfortable and time-consuming and lends itself to its own anxieties and worries when I have to pump 4-5 times to keep up with 3 feeds at daycare. Fourth, it would be less time with Lady Jr. Less walks, less giggles, less rolling around together on the floor. Fifth, I can see how, if I wasn’t careful, that extra day at daycare would turn into a Day to Get Errands Run and Other Things Done and Not Writing.

I think I need to just sit and make a list of pros and cons, but also, in my gut, I already know my decision. And I know that having time set aside to write will make it easier for me to spend more quality time with Lady Jr. So really, it’s all about getting past the guilt that comes with an extra day of daycare. It never gets easy, does it?

 

Okay, I promised more pics.

Cats, man. This one is enjoying the unseasonably warm weather we’re getting in Michigan.

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Lady Jr and Dr Lady:
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Lady Jr vs. her nemesis:

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And quite possibly my fave pic yet:

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Giving Myself Some Slack

Holy fuck motherhood is tough. I have to admit, I was once of those asshats who looked at frazzled, exhausted, at wit’s end mothers and honestly couldn’t comprehend how it could be that bad. I was one of those people who rolled their eyes when mothers compared themselves to superheroes. Rolled them all the way ’round when a mother would highjack a conversation about work-life balance or some-such with a “you think that’s hard! try raising kids!”

Granted, most of this was before I really started down the path of TTC and began reading so many others’ experiences. And then I sort of just… shut down and stopped thinking about kids or babies for a while. As you do.

And now, here we are. Here I am. Frazzled. Exhausted. At wit’s end. Yet somehow keeping everything from completely spinning out of control, if only through sheer spite. And any time someone who isn’t a parent mentions how tired they are, how overwhelmed, I have to bite my tongue. Remind myself that, cliche as it is, no one can really understand what it’s like until they, too, Have Been There. But yes, I chuckle, somewhat hysterically, at any recommendation that I get more sleep or I do This One Thing to organize my life!! or that finding the time to exercise isn’t that hard!! hahahahaha

But. Yet. I’m keeping it together. I’m doing okay.

No.

Fuck it.

I’m doing AMAZING.

I haven’t slept more than 1.5 hours at a stretch in almost five weeks and both baby and wife have been constantly afflicted with colds and yet, I’ve:

– Kept up with the dishes
– Made enough food that *something* is available every day
– Acquired food every weekend
– Stuck to my stupidly restricted diet (no dairy, no gluten, no nightshades [see: no pizza, not ever])
– Vacuumed regularly
– Showered… less regularly
– Made it in to work on time every day (granted, I work from home and it’s 3 days a week, but still)
– Pumped 3 times a day for those work days even though I hate pumping with the very core of my being
– Woken up early enough to fit in another pumping session
– Paid the bills. On time.
– Fed & watered cats
– Gone on a walk or for a run or lifted every day most days
– Kept up with doing laundry (folding and putting away, not so much – what do you expect, miracles?)
– Worked 38 hour weeks
– While being the sole caregiver for Lady Jr two days a week
– Kept up with wordcount goals
– Gotten up at 5.30am every day to hit said goals
– Not wholly succumbed to eating just pints of (dairy free) ice cream
– Actually gone to a park or two with the baby

I’m sure there’s some I’m missing. Oh yes:

– Taken care of and played with the best, happiest, most cute 4 month old (evah!!)

The lows are low, but the highs are so high. Her giggles, her laughs, her smiles, her wiggles, her annoyed chirps – she gets me through all of the hard bits. She is worth all of it.

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Sleeping Through the Night… or Not

Almost everything I read, almost every post I see, even the advice from the pediatrician, indicates that Lady Jr should be able to sleep through the night (i.e. 5 or more hours) by now. That she shouldn’t be waking up every 1 to 2 to 3 hours and have to eat 2, 3, 4 times at night.

We hit the 4 month sleep regression early and then there was daycare and then there was sickness after sickness and now we have a healthy, happy baby who will fall asleep on her own for naps and bedtime but won’t. stay. asleep. I’d say I’m at my wit’s end, but I haven’t cracked yet, I just cry every time I see that someone else’s baby has slept for 4+ hours.

We room share and we’ve all been sick, so trying to do any sort of sleep training for those night wakings has been pushed off and pushed off. I worry that we’ve created a habit that needs to be broken, but I also worry that she’s legit waking because she’s hungry and needs food. I touched on this in the last post, but she’s a string-bean and I can’t say for sure she doesn’t need the extra calories at night.

Then I read something else that says she should be able to go 4-6 hours without a feed at night and I question myself all over again.

Then I read something else that says it can also be normal for her to keep waking like this all the way up to 8, 10, 12 months and I wonder just how long I can keep doing this. It’s not just that I’m tired. It’s that I spend 10, 11 hours in bed just to get enough sleep to function and I’m still tired and then I have less time to do anything else. I have precious little time to myself to begin with, and lately it’s been verging on nonexistent.

I just. I don’t know. I have no idea. I would sleep teach, but I don’t know where to start. I would try to wean her off of one of those feedings, but I lack the conviction that that’s the right thing. I’m just too damn tired to make a decision, but making a decision is the only way I’ll be less tired.

Blrgh. I want advice, but I also know that every baby and situation is unique. So maybe I just want to know I’m not alone.

Also if I read one more thread on this reddit board where somebody’s baby is sleeping 8+ hours at 4 months I’m going to scream.

(not really)

(maybe)

ā¤

Edited to add: Our current schedule looks like this –
6-7pm go to sleep
8-9pm wake up crying, nurse back to sleep
11pm-12am wake up crying, try to hold/shush/pat back to sleep, end up nursing
1-2am repeat
3-4am repeat
5-6am wide eyes and happy smile as if ready to start the day, hold until she goes back to sleep
7-8am wake up for the day for real

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18 Weeks aka 4 Months

18 Weeks - 4 Months

We have a four month old. She is most definitely no longer a newborn. She is adorable and full of smiles and likes to eat her hands. She still will not sleep longer than 2 hours at a time. But then, she recovered from her first cold just to come down with a second this weekend, so.

She also had her Four Month appointment on Monday, which means we’ve got stats!
– She weighs 12 pounds, 5oz which is the 12th percentile
– She’s 25 inches long, which is the 70th percentile
– And I don’t remember the exact measurement, but her head is smack dab in the middle at 56%.

So basically, she’s a string bean. Which explains how the 6mo clothes can be both too short and yet too loose. Oh, baby. Apparently my brother was also a string bean as a baby (and even now), so I’m not too worried, but it’s hard not to look at her dropping in the weight percentiles and not wonder if something is wrong. She looks healthy, she’s hitting her milestones, she’s wiggly and active, she’s eating – man, I hate weight. Will the number on a scale never cease to cause anxiety of one sort or another??

She rolled over again, twice, this week and her tummy time is becoming pretty rad. She’s reaching for more and more things and becoming pretty vicious about grabbing hair/clothes/boobs. She smiles more often now and almost always in response to a smile. Her smile is this big, open-mouthed grin too which is just ridiculously adorable. The daycare ladies say she’s pretty serious compared to the other kids, which just convinces me more that she must be an introvert because at home she’s such a ham. She’s bringing more and more things to her mouth – especially her hands – but otherwise no signs of teething.

But oh – the sleep. Oh dear god, the sleep. Like I said, she’s now on her second cold and we have had no progress with Sleep. I haven’t slept more than 2 hours at any stretch for almost a month now and the only way I’m surviving is by going to bed when she does and (apparently) being really good at falling back asleep almost right away. But it’s frustrating to essentially be in bed for 10 hours a night but only end up with a really fractured 6 or 7.

I’d started nursing her back to sleep each time she woke for her first cold, but now I think I’ve created a habit. šŸ˜¦ I honestly don’t know what else to do. She’s obviously uncomfortable from coughing (we think she’s got a sore throat) and no amount of shushing, patting, holding, rocking helps her go back to sleep, but the boob? Instant conk out. We have a humidifier, we’ve given her infant tylenol (in case the throat hurts [and also after her shots this time because last time the tetanus made her leg sore]), we’ve tried irrigation and sucking out her snot, but it’s way up in her sinuses and/or in her throat.

I’m so, so tired and I don’t know what we’re going to do if she comes down with another cold right away. I don’t see any end to the 5-6 wake ups each night in sight. On the plus side, we side-car so at least soothing and feeding her requires minimal effort, but oof.

Still, I’m holding out hope that she’ll be better soon and we can work on sleep. Sleep. Sleeeeeeep…

zzzz

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9 vs 17 weeks, a study in monkeys

I can’t believe I missed this. Since Lady Jr has clearly almost outgrown the monkey onesie, it’s probably a good time to look back at the first time she wore it, at 9 weeks, vs now:

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Crazy how much she’s changed! Those cheeks, zomg.

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17 Weeks

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Lady Jr will be officially Four Months Old this coming Saturday. I both can’t even and can even. It is a strange feeling

Let’s see… what’s new this week:

1. She is increasingly fighting any and all sleep. We were able to hold her until her eyes started to flutter, then put her down and leave. Now, if we do that, she immediately starts fussing. I have to hold her for 20min before I can put her down without any crying, but then she’s up again 10min later and we have to do it again.

While I don’t mind holding her for the occasional nap during the day, this has begun happening at night, too. We have had several nights where she wakes, I feed her, I put her down – and then, even with her eyes closed, she starts crying. Pick her up, hold her, quiet her, put her down – same thing. It’s not gas, it’s not hunger, it’s not a diaper, there are no symptoms of teething. If we let her fuss, it just gets worse. So we soothe and settle and cry and repeat until she finally stays down without a peep. Only for her to wake again 20, 30min later.

But it’s sporadic, too. Sometimes she’ll go 3 hours just fine, which is the only reason I haven’t gone mad with sleep dep yet. I can’t figure out what’s different. She gets her naps during the day, we avoid letting her stay awake too long, we have a bedtime routine and time we follow religiously. But her sleep has been shit for over three weeks and now it’s getting worse instead of better.

We’re trying to be stubborn about putting her down drowsy, even when it means constantly having to go in and soothe her, but it doesn’t seem to be helping. Everything I read is contradictory, too. She doesn’t seem ready for CIO, and neither am I, so it looks like we’ll just keep doing what we’re doing until one of us breaks. As long as I get the occasional 3 hour chunk of sleep, I can function. And coffee. Lots of coffee.

 

2) She’s gotten so good at grasping things! She now grabs and pulls things to her when they’re within reach, which means we gotta start being more careful about what’s in reach. This includes hair, hats, toys, diapers – anything.

 

3) Tummy time is slowly becoming less excruciating for everyone involved. They must be working on it at daycare because early last week I got her to lay on her tummy for 2min without fussing, but not really lifting her head, but on Friday I put her on her tummy and she immediately pushed to her elbows and lifted her head. She still doesn’t particularly care for it, but there’s progress.

 

4) She’s getting more and more responsive to facial expressions. She has started smiling when we smile at her, which is one of the best feelings.

 

All in all, she’s getting stronger and becoming more and more of her own, tiny person. I love her and her cuddles and her smiles and sometimes it’s still really hard (see: when she won’t sleep more than 20min at a time) but I know this, too, shall pass.

 

As for me, I really need to figure out a way to exercise while exhausted and taking care of a baby. My diet has steadily improved now that my parents are gone (no more pumpkin pie on the counter or daily KFC makes a big difference). I can run or lift weights on Wed/Thurs/Fri when baby is at daycare, but I really need to be doing something every day. I know my body will never be what it was, but I’ll feel better about myself if I’m at least a little stronger, a little healthier, and – yes – able to fit into most of my skirts come summer.

The problem, so far, is that whatever free time I have – i.e. when baby’s sleeping – I spend writing. I have a book due July 1st and knowing my writing process, fourĀ and a half months, while doable, is also not much time at all. I have to hit word count every. single. day. otherwise I risk missing my deadline. It’s a little stressful. And it also means that instead of using my free time to lift or run or otherwise do self care, I’m working. But what else can I do?

This, too, shall pass.

So I’ll just keep looking forward to spring and warmer weather and being able to take baby out to the garage with me or go for a run with her. In the meantime, the aching solitude of being stuck at home alone with a baby will just have to be, and I’ll just have to deal with it by embracing this time devoid of distractions in which I can justĀ beĀ with my baby.

 

More pics because the world is dark and scary and it needs more cute baby photos:

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Edited to add:Ā Lady Jr just rolled from belly to back! Twice!! Woo!

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16 Weeks

16 Weeks

A typical day for me starts between 5.30 and 6am. I pump, feed the cats, then try to write with one eye on the monitor. Lady Jr wakes up between 7 and 8am. As soon as I see her eyes pop open, I hurry in and greet her with a song and a smile.

If it’s Monday or Tuesday, we take our time and play a bit. I make breakfast while Lady Jr sits in her high chair in the kitchen, explaining everything I do – this is an egg! – or listening to NPR. She usually watches quietly with big eyes. Then we wake up Dr Lady. I feed Lady Jr while Dr Lady gets ready, sometimes we play on the floor for a bit.

By 9am it’s time for her first nap, so I read her the Nap Book, swaddle her/put her in the magic sleep suit, put on white noise, and hold her until her eyes start to flutter. Sometimes she fights. Not usually the first nap, though. I put her down before she’s completely asleep and watch her until I’m sure she’s going to stay that way. Sometimes I have to pick her up again or hold her hand or re-apply the pacifier. Sometimes not. Then I tiptoe out and write with one eye on the monitor.

If I’m lucky, she sleeps past 10am. I’ll try to settle her back to sleep if she wakes before that. Then it’s naked time on the playmat while I do some sort of household chore in the same room. Eventually she fusses and it’s food time. Or she poops all over her playmat (like today) and it’s Run Up and Down the Basement Stairs time. No matter what, after an hour and a half it’s naptime again.

This time (12ish), we go for a walk. Around the nearby lake, which takes almost exactly an hour. She stays awake for a while and I point out the trees and the birds, but inevitably by the time we actually make it to the park, she’s completely out.

When we get home, I usually leave Lady Jr in the carrier until she fusses. Then it’s back on the playmat, but she’s fed up with that quickly. We try tummy time and then lap time and then sit-up time and then we tickle and read and make faces at each other until it’s nap time again (2.30, 3pm). We repeat the book-swaddle-white noise-put down naptime routine, usually with a little more fussing. I try to write with one eye on the monitor, but this late in the day she’s wiggly and fussy and I’m back in there settling her down before I know it. This time I hold her for 20, 25min while reading news on my phone.

She’s up again by 4, 4.30pm and then it’s the last leg of the day. At this point she’s only happy doing something for a few minutes, so I have to switch it up constantly. Around 6pm we start the bedtime routine. This involves wiping her off with a warm washcloth and playing with her toes (which she tries to eat). She gets fresh clothes and a diaper, then I feed her one last time, we read her a book, and then we take her into the bedroom for one last swaddle-white noise-hold-put down. Screaming is most likely at this point, but it only lasts a few minutes. We just pick her up again if she fusses until her eyes start fluttering.

And then it’s quiet time for the parents. I like to try to write or watch something stupid, but I need to start reading again. Until 8ish, when Lady Jr usually wakes up enough that she needs some help getting back to sleep. But then I just usually go to bed at 8. Especially lately, as Lady Jr likes waking up every 1.5, 2 hours at night. Thankfully, she goes right back to sleep with a pacifier and someone holding her hand, but I miss the 4, 5 hour stretches she used to do.

That’s life with a 16 week old. Not so shabby.

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