Thursday, May 14, 2015

Jack: One Month

Me: One Month

I would say I am doing better since my last post. Granted, I'm a week late since Jack is actually 5 weeks old today but things don't feel quite so hard and overwhelming at the moment. (Thankfully.)

My parents left this past Sunday. They were a HUGE help during a time when I really needed it but I'm actually kind of glad they're gone now because now this is "real life". THIS is now our life - mine and Hubs - and we're figuring out how to navigate it. It was impossible to start to do that until they left.  Over the past few weeks though I was having a hard time adjusting to all the changes and lack of sleep and lack of schedule, plus I was having excruciating back pain which made it very difficult to do much of anything so we really needed them. But my back pain has gotten much better (again: Thankfully) and little man has now started sleeping at night! I cannot tell you what a relief that is.  We've been able to get on somewhat of a schedule now and it has been so helpful for my mental state.  A couple weeks ago I also created a daily spreadsheet so I could track what Jack did every half hour of the day (whether he was awake, asleep, fussy, crying, etc.) plus when he ate and how much, when he had dirty diapers, when we gave him meds, etc.  Call me crazy but it has been SO HELPFUL.  There are seriously times I can barely remember my own name let alone the last time he ate or how much it was, and when my parents were here there were four adults participating in his care (seriously - FOUR for one little baby and I still felt overwhelmed - that goes to show what a mindfuck PP hormones are), and so I never really had a handle on if he was developing some sort of natural schedule or not. Turns out - he was! I was able to discover some relatively reliable times for naps, etc. and using the charts we were able to better "plan" his meals and sleep to work better during the days and nights (as much as you can plan with a newborn that is). Things feel so much more manageable in that regard now and it has helped me so much mentally.

Breastfeeding is still... a topic I don't like talking or thinking about.  I do feel like I failed there. 
I have been exclusively pumping for the last couple weeks. I hate it.  I hate the way it feels, I hate being hooked up to a machine milking myself like a cow, I hate the cracked and painful state of my nipples, I hate that I still have almost no supply to speak of...  I stopped actually nursing him a couple weeks ago for multiple reasons:
-Whenever Jack would nurse it would take him almost an hour - to the point where I didn't really know if he was still getting anything or just using me as a human pacifier - and then he'd still be hungry and we'd have to give him formula anyway. We never knew how much milk he was actually getting, and when he nursed sometimes he'd be really fussy and extra gassy. After 1 hr of nursing plus feeding formula, by the time he was all burped it was already almost time for him to eat again! It was like around-the-clock feedings.
-He seems to be a very gassy baby in general. We haven't been able to tell if it's due to my breastmilk or to the kind of formula we're feeding him so I started exclusively pumping and giving a bottle of BM for one feeding during the day to see if he got gassier after that vs. formula.  But honestly, we still haven't figured it out.
-I am barely producing milk.  At this point it seems most women produce at least 60ml (2 oz) per breast during each pumping for a total of 4oz each time - some women much much more. I produce 15-25ml from one breast and <5ml from the other each time I pump (why, I don't know.). That's less than 1oz combined each time (and that's with a hospital-grade pump that I ended up renting since I wasn't sure if the problem was that the Medela PISA I have wasn't strong enough). But Jack eats up to 3.5oz during each feeding so it takes me FOUR pumping sessions just to create enough for one feeding. Doing this has proven to me that even if I were to try every trick in the book to up my supply, it would never be enough to really BF him.  That makes me sad but I am also cutting myself some slack. I am unwilling to drive myself crazy trying to make this happen. Currently I still pump enough to give him 1 bottle a day so I am continuing to do that so he gets the antibodies, etc. that formula can't give him. Honestly though, it is really hard. It's almost impossible to find time to pump since I'm the only one here with Jack during the day and choosing pumping over sleeping in the middle of the night makes me so resentful since it's so hard to get sleep as it is. For now though, I'm continuing to do it. I don't know how long I'll keep it up. I really don't think I can for too much longer. I don't know if this means I'm not a good mom since I'm unwilling to do anything and everything possible to make this happen. Logically I know it's not true but emotionally, it's hard. I just try to remind myself that Jack is happy, healthy, and growing and that is what is important.

Other stuff:
I have just about mastered the art of doing EVERYTHING with one hand.  Preparing food, grooming myself, eating, laundry, cleaning, peeing... everything.  And my left arm is gonna be jacked soon since it is constantly holding the equivalent of a wiggly 10 pound dumbbell.

We have another appointment with the geneticist this afternoon for more tests regarding Jack's dwarfism.  There has been no real progress in that department yet.  As he's growing a bit I'm starting to see more signs of the dwarfism. His forehead is getting larger and slightly more prominent. I'm hoping it won't turn into hydrocephalus ("water on the brain") but that's a common complication with Achon kiddos. We'll see.  Hubs and I (and the doctors) do still think he has Achon, or maybe even Hypochondroplasia, which is very similar to Achondroplasia but is a bit more mild than Achon, but we'll have to see.

As mentioned in the picture write-up, Jack is starting to be able to focus his eyes on things now. Sometimes, that is my face. Those are my absolute favorite times. He'll study my face and I can see him looking at my mouth or nose or hair... It gives me hope that better times are right around the corner (as many of you awesome readers mentioned in comments in my last post - THANK YOU!!). I am feeling so much relief about that. I need to often remind myself during the really hard times that things will NOT always be like this and change for-the-better will be coming soon.

He slept the whole time.
Jack and I went on our first "outings" yesterday besides dr appts! I'm finally feeling well enough to do more things and walk some. We went to Kohl's and Walmart and then for a walk on a path around a nearby lake.
It was nice to go out in the world and just be a mom. Finally.  It was so different. I had to think about things I've never though about before: The order in which I would take the baby in and out of the car, when and where to put my purse and bags in the car vs. cart, figuring out how to fold up the stroller and fit it in the trunk, parking near the cart return so I could transfer him in his carseat right into the cart... These things seem like minutiae but they're all new to me!
Unfortunately, I did end up overdoing it yesterday and my abdomen/incision area was very sore last night. I was also exhausted by about 8pm (but had to do the night stretch with Jack) so I learned my lesson. Even though I don't want to, I really DO need to force myself to rest more during the day and try to fit in a nap at some point when he's napping so that I can make it through the night shift in one piece.

My 6 week PP checkup with the OB is already next week!  When we scheduled it I was still in the hospital and it felt SO far away. It's crazy that it's already almost here.  This time since Jack's birth has gone so quick but has also felt so long at the same time. It's hard to explain.

Okay, little man will be waking up soon for another feeding so I should wrap up. I just want to say a HUGE thanks to everyone who commented on my last post.  I think you all know me well enough to know that I try to be as frank as possible on this blog and talking about all of that stuff was difficult so I really REALLY appreciate the support. The comments that others have been in this place too was so so helpful to me. THANK YOU <3


  1. I get giddy when I see your updates and I am glad to hear that you got some out of the house time and go to go out into the world and be a mom! Do be sure to take care of yourself (as much as you can) so that you are able to heal, though (I know it's easier said that done). It sounds like you are doing great, sweetie and you are absolutely NOT a bad mom for not being able to BF Jack all the time. You are doing an awesome job getting him as much breast milk as you can and that is amazing, most people in your shoes would have given up by now!

  2. Love love love that his monthly picture has him with a giraffe friend :)

    I am glad you can start to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Some days may not feel that way but gradually you will get more and more days of brightness! (and sleep!)

  3. Jack is adorable!

    I'm glad things are getting better. The newborn stage is so hard and such a huge adjustment. Mentally, physically, emotionally, so hard. You're doing great!

    Your post made me thing of two things you may find helpful. One is an app called Total Baby. I used it to track feedings and sleep until A was about 7 months. It's a great visual way to see baby's patterns and when changes to the routine are happening. The other thing is babywearing. I'm not sure what the restrictions are for c-sections but if you are able to use a wrap or sling or something for Jack, you both might find it more comfortable. Wearing A was the only way I got anything done around the house for the first few months!

    I hope things keep getting better!

  4. Glad things are starting to fall into a more comfortable pattern!! I promise, it does keep getting better. Even though there are still hard things, once they can show you how much they love you and start smiling more and learning more, it is so, so worth it. You are doing a great job and as hard as it is, don't beat yourself up over the breastfeeding. Having never done it, I can't totally relate, but I know how hard it is. And it sucks when it doesn't work out. But I promise that formula is a good alternative and will keep Jack healthy and growing.

    I second the baby wearing recommendation. Some days it was the only way I could get L to nap and have my hands free. It's also a life saver when we're out in public and she's overtired.

    You're doing a great job! And Jack is adorable. I hope your appointments go well. And I really hope you guys don't have to deal with hydrocephalus or the other more worrisome aspects of Achon.

  5. Thanks ladies!! SP and Packer: I agree in theory with the baby wearing but unfortunately, it's not recommended for babies with Achon since it can exacerbate their spinal issues. (That's also why we returned the swing, bouncer, original carseat we had bought, etc. and had to find new items that keep his back/neck/head as straight as possible.)

    1. Ah, that's right, I remember you writing about that. I'm sorry!