Saturday, September 27, 2008

pink is the new black

Pink is a lovely colour. It is great for donut frosting, cake boxes, ballet slippers, easter eggs and of course, little baby girl stuff. I once coveted a pair of bright pink Converse high tops. Yes indeed, pink is one great colour. Except of course, when it's in your eye. Yup, I'm referring to pink eye.

I awoke this morning to discover that I have pink eye in my right eye. No explanation as to where I could have picked it up. This sucks, not only for the obvious reasons - it itches, it's sore, it's crusty, it looks just awful - but what I'm really worried about is giving it to Maya. All I can do is wash my hands frequently and try not to touch her face too much if it can be helped. The nurse I spoke with said if the cause is viral then she is somewhat protected because my breast milk will make antibodies for her. However, if the cause is bacterial then there is a decent chance she could get it. And as everyone knows, pink eye is pretty contagious. So there's that.

Additionally, in my LEFT eye, I have a big old sty. I freakin' nasty sty just hanging out on my upper eyelid. The sty appeared earlier this week and was almost completely gone until this morning, when it reappeared. Folks, I'm in rough shape. And yet another thing I need to worry about giving to my poor sweet innocent daughter. Great.

Rough times.

In happier news, we finally have the first part of the routine that I'm so desperate to establish down pat. Hopefully the rest will follow slowly but surely. It goes a little something like this:

7:00pm - bath time
7:20pm - a nice long feed
7:45pm - bedtime

I know it's only the beginning, but now that we have the end of baby Maya's day good to go, I'm hoping the rest of the day will sort of fall into place.

Everyone has different opinions about setting a routine for kids. Some say you can't do start one until they are at least 3 months old. Some say 6 months. Some say you can start a routine right at birth. Some say you shouldn't have a routine at all. There are many schools of thought on this.

I am a firm believer in routines. I think having one makes kids feel more confident, because they know what is expected in a day. I also think having a routine promotes calm and peace in a baby's life, not to mention the parents' lives. Of course, you can't be too rigid; situations will naturally come up from time to time that throw a wrench into the day. That is to be expected. But keeping a general semblance of routine, even on the crazy days, makes a lot of sense, at least to my mind.

So yay for the first part of our routine being established!

Speaking of, it's 8:25pm right now, and as per the above, Maya is fast asleep and D is demanding some of my attention. But before I go, I just wanted to add that my poor baby has a horrible case of baby acne. It hit at about 3 weeks and is still going strong. Boo hoo. So in case you were wondering why I haven't been posting any photos lately....

Friday, September 19, 2008

oy vey

Wow, two posts in one week...I am on fire! I have no idea where the time goes these days.

Maya will be one month old on Sunday. Can you believe it? These last four weeks have felt like a blink. While things are going quite well, despite some minor issues (spitting up, gas, etc.), I am struggling with some serious personal inadequacies.

As anxious as I was during the pregnancy, I am plagued that much with insecurities in new motherhood. I am always thinking that I could be doing so much better. I am constantly wondering if I am holding Maya the wrong way, being too rough with her, not engaging her enough, not being patient enough, not giving her enough. I worry when she doesn't sleep enough. I worry when she sleeps too much. Moreover, I am plagued with guilt. As I sat feeding her in the rocking chair this morning the thought ran through my brain that I wished she would go to sleep so that I could get the laundry done and take a shower. Immediately I felt awful for even entertaining that notion, because clearly my priorities are second right now. I shouldn't be wishing my baby would sleep so that I could get my own selfish needs met.

And she really is such a good baby. She barely ever fusses, and anything that she does complain about is generally fixable (hungry, gassy, poopy, tired, etc.). Maya deserves a really great mummy and I spend a lot of the time feeling like I just don't fit the bill. My husband hates it when I say that - he thinks I'm fishing for compliments. But I'm not, really. I just wish I could be a better mum...somehow. I just feel like such a novice.

Every night before I go to sleep, I look over at my beautiful sleeping princess sacked out in the co-sleeper next to me and wish I'd given her a better day. I just want her to be so happy and feel so perfect all the time. She is my whole world. Four weeks along and I'm already wracked with guilt.

I am really getting to be such a jewish mother. My ancestors would be so proud.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

gag me with a spoon

I think I have the most spitty-uppy baby in the world. She really has a tough time keeping down her meals. After Maya projectile vomited product of the last three feedings all over the place, I went on the internet and found this article.

I think my baby has a touch of reflux. For the most part, she is a "happy spitter", gaining weight appropriately and not overly bothered by the frequent barfing. I have heard it once said that spitting up is a laundry problem, not a medical problem, and for the most part I agree with this sentiment. But it is discouraging watching the product of my hard-earned breastmilk go flying out of my baby.

The fact that I make tons and tons of milk accompanied by a pretty forceful milk let-down is likely not helping much. I am going to try the suggestions outlined in the article and see if it helps. Either way, I will bring it up with Maya's doctor on Monday and see what she says.

In other news, I went out this morning and officially registered Maya for a birth certificate. Hooray! On my way there, I stopped at Starbucks and got a little something (I was STARVING - I really must start keeping food upstairs). A nice man sitting outside asked how old Maya was. When I told him that she was about three and a half weeks, he said, "Wow! Wheeling around your baby with your coffee make it look so easy!" I had to thank him and correct him: It was nearly noon and I had been trying to leave the house since 8:30am. Nothing is easy - or quick - with a newborn. But I'm glad I give that impression anyway!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

our little valosa raptor

I cannot believe how busy I am.

I was in my pajamas until 1pm today. Not because I'm lazy and slept in, oh no. I was stuck in my pajamas because I didn't have even one spare second to put on real clothes this morning. Baby girl keeps me so busy, I am finding it a real challenge to do regular day-to-day things (like shower, eat, blink) let alone keep up with my blogging properly. I have been experiencing so many things that I've wanted to write about - milestones, breast feeding developments, baby acne, etc. - but have had nary a second to check my email let alone update my blog.

However, since Maya is currently sleeping right next to me I actually have a minute to check in here. I am reading other blogs but not commenting as much as I would like. As for updating my own blog, rather than try to backtrack and cover all the developments that I've missed documenting over the past week or so, I think I'm just gonna start fresh and talk about what's going on today, now, this minute. Here goes:

D has gone back to work as of Monday. It's been hard without him, I miss him tons. And I know he misses us too because he's CONSTANTLY calling to check in on his "girls". We've been managing but I must admit it is a lot more challenging to keep up with baby girl without those extra set of hands.

Maya is a really LOUD baby. She grunts, growls and snorts like a 65 year old man. It really is the cutest thing. When she stretches, it sounds like a valosa raptor laying an egg. We love it. She is such a vocal little monster.

My daughter absolutely loves her feet massaged. Just like her mummy. Not too hard, not too soft, and she likes it when I play with her toes. She'll flex, clench and stretch her feet in response to the rubbing. It's soooooo cute.

Maya's room is finally finished! I'm going to take some pictures and post them asap. She's currently sleeping between D and I at night in her co-sleeper and I can't bear to put her in her crib just yet. We set her down in there yesterday while we were finishing up her room and she looked SO small in there. Such a tiny girl swimming in sea of crib and bedding. We'll get there. But for now, I like to hear her grunts and growls while she sleeps right next to me.

I know it's far too early to establish a routine quite yet - Maya is only barely three weeks old after all - but I am planting the seeds. Starting yesterday, unless we're out, feedings always take place in the rocking chair in her room. Followed by a burp and a diaper change and a few minutes rocking in the chair...and maybe a story. We started out giving her a bath once a week, and then twice a week, and now we're up to every other night. Starting tonight, we're going to start bathing her every night as part of her bedtime routine. I am convinced that babies enjoy routine. I know that I am excited to have one.

We had a doctor's appointment last week and everything went great. The doctor was happy with Maya's weight gain (up about a pound to 8lbs 8oz). We go back for another weight check on Monday. I think (and hope) she'll be up again by quite a bit. She feels heavier to me. And she seems bigger. She's already outgrown a handful of outfits.

My biggest challenge thus far has been *trying* to accept that she's not as fragile as she seems. Every time I pick her up, I wonder if I've wrenched her neck or pressed a fontanelle. Everyone says it's much harder to hurt a baby than I think it is, but I am so totally consumed with worry about accidently hurting her. She's just so tiny. And I love her so very much. And I think part of it is that we've worked so hard and waited so long to have her, I'm nervous about breaking her. Am I the only one who worries about this?

I am so in love with my daughter. She is really and truly the love of my life. Barely three weeks old and she's already got such a personality. She totally cracks D and I up on a regular basis. This parenting thing is really hard work, no doubt, but I can barely remember my life before she came along. Every fiber of my being just wants to provide for her and take care of her and protect her and make her happy. When she's crying, it makes me crazy, I can't concentrate on anything else. I don't know how else to explain it other than to say that right now - I am Maya's mum first, Hilary second.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

we're off to see the wizard

Or rather, the amazing doctor that got us pregnant. We named Maya's middle name after our wonderful fertility doctor who helped us to finally have this baby, so we felt it was really important that Dr. T gets to meet her little namesake! The whole clinic is very excited to have us visit. And I am excited to show off their beautiful handiwork. I have been dreaming of this day for 11 months now.

I was told once in jest that IVF babies are cuter than other babies, and I'm starting to think maybe that's true...

Monday, September 8, 2008

they grow up so fast

Wow. I have been meaning to post for the past few days, but my kiddo has kept me so busy I haven't even had time to shower or eat (D has literally had to spoon food in my mouth whilst I am nursing Maya) let alone even think about getting on the computer. I just can't believe how the days are already flying by. But, after a late night with a gassy baby, she is passed out next to me now, giving me a few minutes to finally update.

One of the reasons Maya has kept her mummy running is because this little girl wants to eat ALL THE TIME. We are exclusively breastfeeding her so she is constantly on my boob. At this point, she eats almost every hour. And when you factor in changing diapers, cleaning up spit up, trying to keep up with the laundry, and everything else baby-related, I am quite literally busy morning, noon and night.

But all this feeding is certainly not in vain; baby girl is already about 9 pounds (based on daddy weighing himself on our home scale and then weighing himself again holding Maya and doing the subtraction - so this is not an exact measurement) and is officially in the size 1 diapers. Size 1 is the next size up from newborn (the smallest size). Which means only one thing: Baby's got back. Also notable is the fact that Maya's cheeks are getting chubby and she's got a double chin now. Cute cute cute. I loves me a chubby baby.

Maya is also smiling now, which I personally think means she's super advanced for her age. Sure, most of her smiles are sleep-smiles or gas-smiles, but I can confidently count THREE separate smiling incidences where either D or I were able to elicit a sweet baby smile IN RESPONSE to our smiles. Taking into account that Maya is only 2 weeks old, doubters and naysayers are understandably plenty. But I know my baby and I know what I saw. I was even able to catch one such smile on film:

In our two weeks of trial-by-fire parenting, D and I have come to discover that we both excel at different parenting skills. I find it interesting that with no prior training, both of us have naturally come into our own with certain aspects of parenting.
For example: D is REALLY good at changing her clothes, getting her to fall asleep and distracting and soothing her when she's upset. I am REALLY good at knowing instinctively what she wants, reading to her (we like Goodnight Moon) and getting her to smile. D and I have become such a team when it comes to managing the care of this baby, it makes me wonder how things will be when D goes back to work after this week. Honestly, I am a bit scared. Thank goodness my mum and dad are coming back to town.

This is getting to be a bit of a long and rambling post, mostly due to the fact that I have been wanting to post every day for the past several days and am now just getting a chance to empty my brain here. I should wrap it up. But before I go, I want to leave you with the lessons I've learned from Week Two of being Maya's mummy:

1. There is a thin layer of dried breastmilk/spit up covering nearly every surface of my house at this point. I have learned to accept it.
2. NEVER remove the dirty diaper from under baby's bum before there is a new one unwrapped and ready to go.
3. Meals just don't happen, at least for the first few weeks. It is imperative to have cupboards well stocked with snacks that can be eaten quickly with one hand and no utensils. Even cereal is too much to manage for the most part.
4. Take lots of pictures. Every day if possible. Babies really do change every day.
5. Keep trying on those baby outfits that are a bit too big. By the end of the week, they just might fit.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

milk machine has feelings too

I am lucky; Maya seems to be a very good eater, despite her constant spitting up my hard-earned breast milk. As of yesterday, she officially surpassed her birth weight which was cause for celebration all around.

I'm not sure if Maya knows I'm her mummy yet, but she has certainly figured out that I am the one with the milk. And milk she loves. Milk she demands. If I'm too slow on the draw, she will wave her ams and kick her legs in protest. And curse at me loudly in baby-ease. Just like her mum, Maya does not like to be made to wait.

When I am finally able to still her punching arms and get her to latch on to my breast, she'll immediately start voraciously hoovering up the milk like a wild animal who has gone all winter with nary a snack. She growl, grunt and gulp while she eats and sometimes she'll suck so very hard that it really does hurt. When she gets like that, I admit it: I am afraid of my baby.

The trick is to get her eating before she gets too frantic. That's not to say that she'll feed calmly, but at least my poor nips have a fighting chance. If she wakes from sleep only to discover a nice milky nipple in front of her, she tends to be a little bit more gentle. A little bit.

Maya also enjoys ripping farts while she eats. The more frantic the feeding fest, the more exuberant the farts. Sometimes she will fart so forcefully that she will shake one leg like a dog who is getting it's belly scratched. And there is always the delicious baby sigh that follows after the fart has been let loose, signifying the sweet relief she is experiencing. Breast milk is gassy and laxative by nature, and my baby is proof of that. Baby girl loves to fart. Her daddy is so proud.

The last step in feeding is the aftermath. Inevitably, after 30-45 minutes on the breast, Maya will usually spit up 30-45 times. I have actually wondered if she keeps any milk in her tummy at all. I don't see how there could be anything left after she's done spitting up. Last night, I fed her in bed and after she was finished, I cuddled her close to me and we enjoyed a sweet moment of mother-daughter bonding. It was pure poetry, her warm breath on my neck while I drank in her sweet smell with eyes closed. And then she farted. And after the fart, she then proceeded to projectile vomit what seemed like at least a half cup of milk all over my face and chest.

I am learning it's all par for the course when it comes to new motherhood. I am here solely to give, serve, dote on and attend to this little girl. And honestly, I love her so much I wouldn't have it any other way.

Ah...I hear the creature stirring now. Milk Machine to the rescue...

Monday, September 1, 2008

very rude awakening - or - why beans are off the menu

Maya was a fussy little thing yesterday. She fed at around 2:00pm and I couldn't get her to calm down much after that. I don't think we finally got her to sleep until 8:00pm or so, which is unusual; for the most part she will sleep on and off every couple of hours.

I didn't make the connection until later that night - when she started ripping major farts - that she was probably gassy and uncomfortable. Another connection I failed to make was the fact that the bean and rice burrito I ate for lunch was likely what did her in. After carefully monitoring my diet to an insane degree during pregnancy, it never occurred to me that I'd have to watch what I ate after Maya was born. It was a lesson learned and I realize now I'd better think hard before I eat anything gas-producing for fear of what it will do to my baby.

In the middle of the night, around 4:00am, I heard Maya make a really big poo. I got up to change her, and just as I had removed her dirty diaper and started unwrapping a new diaper, she pooped again - but this time with so much force that it squirted ALL OVER ME AND THE BED. I am seriously lucky it didn't go in my mouth, it was that powerful. It was an incredible blast of poo. I had to yell at D to wake him up to help me get everything cleaned up. What a mess. And now, all our bedding is currently in the washer. You have to ask yourself how a sweet little week-old baby girl could do what she did. Again, I blame the bean and rice burrito. Never again!


Yesterday, Maya and I ventured out for the second time. We went to the natural foods market to pick up some Baby Vitamin D drops as instructed by the pediatrician at the hospital. I couldn't help but just gaze at my little baby snuggled in her stroller as I pushed her around. In that moment, like a ton of bricks, it hit me how deliriously and deliciously happy I am. All my dreams have come true in this little girl. I've been so busy during this first week, it hadn't really hit me that wow - I am finally a mother after all these years of waiting and wishing. I have everything I've ever wanted and I just can't imagine being any happier than I am right now. The love and devotion I feel for my daughter is like nothing I've ever known. This must be what heaven feels like.

I really am the luckiest girl in the world, even with the 4:00am poo shower.