Saturday, December 29, 2007

Talkin' Bout My Generation

Four Generations, originally uploaded by allthingssara.

Yesterday we drove up to Sacramento to visit my Great Aunt Roxie. Hank is her first Great Great Nephew (no such neices yet, either), and she was tickled to spend time with the baby. Aunt Roxie is my mother's mother's (Sophia) sister.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Post Xmas Haze

We are in a post-xmas haze around here. Henry's family has come and gone, we had a great time with them, and are still so glad they were able to make the trip again so soon after thanksgiving. We're feeling a bit zonked, though, but things are still really wonderful. Almost two weeks has passed since my last entry, and I didn't want much more time to go by before posting again, but I'm not feeling all that eloquent these days, so I'll just list some highlights.

Hank has become really smiley in the last few days. On xmas morning Henry and I were hovering over him at his changing table and he really and truly SMILED at us both -- real, full, giant, genuine, happy smiles! This was the best christmas gift. Hank has sort of smiled here and there, but this was the first 'hey! I know you and I LIKE you!' smile we've seen. Melted my heart.

On the flip side, today Hank had his first super sad face. He was bundled into his baby bucket ready to go out to breakfast, and he was so unhappy. His lower lip was pushed out over his upper lip, and he just looked soooo sad to be in his bucket. This face just broke my heart! Henry said to me "He's playing you like a two dollar fiddle!"

Another first in the last couple of weeks was rolling from front to back during tummy time! That's been pretty exciting. Especially when he realizes what he's done and wants to do it again and somehow has communicated to us that he wants us to put him back on his tummy so he do it again.

And of course it was Hank's first xmas. He made out like a bandit, the little devil. Everyone likes to give presents to babies.

In other news, breastfeeding is still causing me woes. I decided to stop taking the reglan, because I think it was causing me to feel somewhat depressed. I've been off it for 24 hours now, and I really do feel better already. I'm using fenugreek still (and smell like pancakes as a result), and have added blessed thistle and a mother's milk tincture to the routine. Those things seem to be helping and making a difference. However, I'm still finding breastfeeds really stressful. Hank pulls off a lot, has been having trouble getting a good latch lately, cries out while trying to eat, feeds very frantically, and pulls and chews at my nipples. It really leaves me feeling flustered. I find that when I give him a bottle I enjoy the time and the feeding so much more than I do when he's on the boob. As a result, I've rented a hospital grade breast pump and I am going to start doing some feeds with bottles of expressed breast milk instead of the boob at each feeding. I'm hoping that as a result I'll be able to relax a little about the breastfeeding, but at the same time I'm also sort of wishing that I could just make the decision to wean and use formula exclusively. Would that really be so wrong? There's a lot of guilt just in thinking that thought, but it is honestly what I've been thinking these days. There's a lot of pressure to breastfeed exclusively and to keep trying even when it can be so difficult. And the actually goal -- FEED THE BABY -- seems to get lost in some of that. I'm still grateful for the one lactation consultant who told me that my only requirement is that I feed the baby. Just feed the baby. So I just feed the baby. Some days he gets more formula, some days he gets more booby. Somedays it will be pumped, somedays it won't. And someday I'll just be able to make a decision about how he's fed.

In better news, a few days ago I realized just how head over heels in love I am with Hank. It is a totally different kind of love than I have ever experienced before, and it is so so neat. I really feel these days that I would do anything in the world for him.

Well look at that. I was feeling more eloquent that I thought I was.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Santa and Hank

Santa and Hank, originally uploaded by hjw3001.

Just wanted to add Hank's first picture with Santa. "Firsts" are coming fast and furious these days, and keeping track of them is fun. Another first this week was the first real bath. I had reall worked myself up into a lather over what this was going to be like. I was really anxious about how it would go -- would he hate it? would he get hurt or burned? Turns out he was just kind of amused by the whole thing, and very mellow. I don't know what I was woking myself up about because in the end it was nothing remarkable. It was fun however to watch Hank encounter the water. He seemed a little puzzled, but also somewhat familiar with it -- maybe he was remembering what it was like to float around in his amniotic sac?

Another first this week was Hank grabbing my hair and tugging it. He's done this a few days in a row now, so I am convinced it was not a fluke.

One Month Old!

Hank turned one month old yesterday. He celebrated by entering a growth spurt, which means nearly non-stop eating, sleeping when he is not eating, and generally just being pretty upset when not doing either. It makes me so sad to not be able to calm him, and I can't imagine what it must be like to have a baby who is colicky, as this is hard enough! I hope the spurt only lasts a day or two more, because it is starting to wear me out (which I feel sad saying, but it is the truth). I think we are probably in the home stretch as he did have one brief period this evening where he was his friendly, mellow self, and I was like "my sweet little baby boy, you are back!!" and then he got hungry and upset again. :( so we are just trying to keep him fed, calm, and clean, and hoping that he'll get through this all with flying colors. He's certainly gotten bigger in the last few days...

We also celebrated by picking up Grandma and Grandpa and going to meet Santa! It was so much fun! Hank was a champ -- he actually slept right through the whole thing. The Santa was really good with him, and held him really gently and carefully, and we got great pictures.

I also spent a lot of time yesterday thinking about the birth again. I re-read Hank's birth story and kind of marveled at all that happened on that single day, and all that has happened since then. On one hand it feels like time has flown by in the last month, on the other hand it feels like it was a reall, reeeeaallly long looooonnngg month... But life is good, and we really don't have anything to be complaining about.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Four Weeks Old!

"Holy cow, I'm four weeks old!!"

Not technically a month old yet, but we are celebrating already anyhow. I really can't believe we've gotten through four weeks. Those first couple of weeks were really so hard and so exhausting, but Henry and I are both feeling like we've gotten through it relatively unscathed. We both still have days where one or both of us is just exhausted, but for the most part we are functioning at a fairly high level and doing pretty well. I think we are a good team!

Hank's started to get a little fussy and keep wondering what's happened to my mellow little boy? We've been trying to master the Happiest Baby On The Block techniques, for the most part they work. He also like bouncing with one of us on the yoga ball, rocking in the glider, and (when he's already feeling calm) his swing. We still break out the ocean sounds CD from time to time, and sometimes he just really wants to be cuddled -- so I'll wrap him up in a meitai or a pouch/sling and wear him around the house until he conks out.

Earlier this week we took him to see an ear nose and throat specialist on the recommendation of the lactation consultant, who thought Hank might have a slight tongue tie which would contribute to some of the breastfeeding problems we've been having. The ENT, however, didn't think there was a problem, so was unable to help us. If there had been a tongue tie, we would have had Hank's frenulum clipped. The doctor offered to clip it anyway, but absent a problem, we couldn't see any reason to have Hank undergo surgery (albeit minor surgery). So the next day it was back to the lactation consultant who really has been quite helpful. I'm now holding him differently when he's at the breast and he seems to be getting more to eat that way. We still have to supplement, but I think I am finally OK with that.

Let's see, what else has been going on... On Monday night Hank went to his first concert! He went with us to the UC Choral Ensembles' Holiday Concert. He got to hear Grandma and Grandpa sing. Henry wore him in a meitai, and he stayed asleep and quiet for most of the concert. He really did so well, we were so proud. Also, Hank and I have started taking morning walks together. Usually we use our walk as an excuse to run an errand or two, and I am really coming to cherish the time we spend out and about. It really is fun for me, and I hope it is fun for him.

He's so cute... he's hanging out in his swing right now looking all around and totally mellow. Uh oh... I spoke too soon... the baby went off! gotta go...

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Three Weeks and Four Days

Well, over here we can't believe we've made it through the first few weeks. We got through the first two weeks, which so many people had warned us would really be the worst, and things did start to get easier and more predictable. I'm still having trouble finding time for myself (hence me sitting here posting to the blog at 4 in the morning while the baby is sleeping --- and I should be sleeping too!!), but the trade off has been worth it for now and I am sure I'll be able to strike a balance one of these days. I've been feeling guilty because I haven't managed to make time to write and send thank you notes to all those wonderful people who have given us things for Hank, and have done so much to help us get through these first few weeks. Hopefully in the next couple of days I can manage to get started on that. Hank still sleeps a lot, and I'm getting more comfortable wearing him in a sling/pouch contraption, which frees my hands up for other things -- like writing thank you notes!

I've truly been overwhelmed by people's generosity and their desire to help and support us these days. It has actually really touched me deeply and I've been so grateful. This can be a really difficult time, sometimes feeling lonely, and it has helped so much to have people drop by with meals or just to say hello. I really don't know what we would do without my parents these days. Last weekend I actually spent a night in the emergency room, and Hank spent the night with my parents. We were really lucky to have them here, and although it was so sad for me to spend a night away from my baby, I knew he was safe and in good hands with my mom and dad. We've spent a couple more nights at their house since then, and those nights have been really restorative and restful for me and for Henry. Hank sleeps in the Pack N Play in my parents' room, and my mom brings him to me for night feedings, and helps out with the bottle and changing him. It has been good for me to spend the time there, and Hank has been having fun with his Grandma and Grandpa.

The emergency room, you say? Why yes... Last weekend I was experiencing excruciating back and abdominal pain, and when I started vomiting we decided something was really amiss. So Henry took me to the emergency room where they kept me all night long as they did some ultrasounds which ultimately revealed gallstones. I was much more upset about having to leave Hank for a night than I was about having gall stones! It actually really broke my heart. I knew he was in good hands, but I certainly had never imagined that my son would spend his first night away from me at only 2 1/2 weeks old. He did beautifully, though, and as for me, no surgery is necessary at this time. I'm modifying my diet a bit, and doing some investigation into whether the gall bladder problem played any role in how sick I was during the pregnancy. If I find out there is any link, I will schedule the surgery and make sure it is done before we try to have another child.

In Hank's world, he's just been getting bigger and bigger. The initial problems he had with losing weight have been reversed -- this week at his check up he had gained all the weight he'd lost back, and then some. I am sure by now he is over ten pounds. He's just getting bigger and bigger. I look at him often and think to myself, 'soak this in, Sara, because he's never going to be this tiny again.' I noticed in the last couple of days that his nose and his chin have both grown and are no longer the teeny tiny nose and chin I gave birth to. He's also starting to develop and show signs of becoming a full fledged human being someday. Two days ago he started to figure out that his hands are in fact HIS HANDS and that he can use them -- for example he actually pressed a pacifier against his mouth to keep it from falling out, and he grabs on to things (mostly our fingers) and holds on as if for dear life. He also follows things with his eyes from one place to another now -- things like his little toy elephant that jingles when you shake it, and a set of big plastic keys. My very favorite thing he's done lately though was to smile at me when I came to get him yesterday morning. He actually, truly, looked happy to see me. It just warmed my heart.

Breastfeeding remains a big challenge, but we are doing the best we can. I'm taking fenugreek and reglan and drinking mother's milk tea and pumping a few times a day. It seems that I'm making more milk, but Hank is still a sort of lazy sucker. He latches on like a champ (and actually reminds me of a little prizefighter entering the ring when he gets ready to latch on), but he gives up sucking after only a few minutes, so we are still having to supplement him. We are seeing an ear/nose/throat doctor on monday to evaluate his tongue tie. What we've been told so far is that he is borderline, and this could be impacting both his ability to feed off the breast efficiently, as well as my supply. Clipping his frenullum would go a long way towards solving the problem for both of us, and apparently is really easy on the baby. So we'll see.

I've got to start taking more pictures and video of Hank. Henry takes a lot of photos, so we do have the beginnings of a pretty good archive. He just changes so much, so quickly, every day --sometimes even within the same day he's changed and grown. It is amazing to watch this happen right in front of my eyes. We are so lucky.