Sunday, September 25, 2011

11 Weeks

This week started out a bit rough again - after starting antibiotics last Friday for her ear infection, the pediatrician said that Josie should be noticeably better within 24-36 hours. She started getting back to her usual happy, chatty self over the weekend, but then started getting fussy again Monday, and then Monday and Tuesday night she barely slept at all. It's amazing how much harder it is to handle sleeping in 30-minute to 2-hour increments when we hadn't really done so in a couple of months, and Ryan and I were both struggling to get any of us to sleep at all those nights. She seemed gassier than normal, so we gave her some gripe water to try to clear that up, but beyond that, there was lots of bouncing her, walking, nursing, trying to sleep propped up on the bed or couch with her in the carrier, etc., and while she barely slept at night, she was still sleeping okay during the day (on me, which meant no naps for me either) so at least she wasn't an overtired mess during the day. And then as suddenly as that started, it ended, with her sleeping 11.5 hours straight Wednesday night (and that's without even waking up after the first half hour to nurse again like she normally does).

I was a bit shaken by those sleepless nights, though - although I know they can happen at any time and that that may be our new normal for a while or it may be a fluke, it still made me very nervous since I was convinced she would never sleep again and I would somehow have to go back to work and function on 2 hours of interrupted sleep a night. But then I think we may have an explanation for this crazy behavior.... given how fussy she had been and since she had a slightly elevated temperature, I ended up bringing her back to the pediatrician on Thursday in case her ear infection hadn't cleared up. Her ears were "perfect", so she was cleared to stop taking her medication two days early, and she apparently gained a pound in a week and a half and is now up to 15lbs 8oz. So I'm thinking she probably hit her 3-month growth spurt a bit early, since that seems like a lot of weight to gain that quickly, and she had the same pattern of fussiness and then sleeping a ton (although not the sleepless nights) during her 6-week growth spurt as well. Since then, she's been a different baby again - I hadn't realized just how unlike herself she was acting over the last week and a half until she got more back to normal. Now she's smiling all the time again and cooing and chatting, which is wonderful. She has a funny lilt to her voice now, so she'll be chatting and then suddenly end in a squeal, which just kills me. Too cute. And the other night she woke me up with a very enunciated, yelled "AH-GOO", which makes me think she's taking her cooing more seriously now ;)

[A bit of cooing]

Her firsts for this week include her first poetry reading and being baby-sat for the first time. The wife of one of Ryan's coworkers runs a publishing company, and they had a poetry reading/housewarming at their new house last Saturday. I had Josie in the wrap at first, where she rather suddenly fell asleep (literally - she had been wide awake and alert, taking everything in, and then I looked down less than a minute later and she was completely passed out), and she made it through part of the reading before she woke up, likely realized she had no idea where she was, and then started crying. So I took her to one of the bedrooms and laid with her for the rest of the reading, but she still did so well there, especially since it ended up being a bit of a late night getting her back home and to bed.

Then on Sunday, a friend of ours watched Josie for us for a couple of hours so we could go work on painting the other house. It was really nice for both of us to be able to work on it for a while, since Ryan has been working on it nearly every day, either on his own or with my brother or our friends, but I haven't really been able to help since I'm in charge of taking care of Josie then. So it was nice to be able to provide a little more support in this whole endeavor by doing some painting, although it was a little funny that our first time having Josie baby-sat was so that we could go paint a house. And then Ryan's parents also watched her for us Friday night, and so we went to Lowes and Chick-Fil-A... we really need to work on our definition of "date nights", I think ;) But she was fine both times, which helps me feel better about easing into being separated from her for a while - she took a bottle no problem, and she had been having a super sleepy day when Christy watched her so she slept on her almost the whole time, and for Ryan's parents she was awake and chatting with them most of the time, although she got tired and hungry (and therefore fussy) towards the end, which is understandable since it was about her bed-time.

We've noticed that Josie seems to follow voices much more quickly now. Ryan and I were sitting on either side of her in bed the other day, and it seemed like she was watching a tennis match with how quickly she was moving her head from side to side depending on which of us were talking :) She also has been much more alert and seems to be handling noises, lights, etc., without getting as easily overstimulated - which also means that her walks are no longer an easy way to get her to take a nap, since lately she's been awake for most of the walk and then finally falls asleep right before we get home. She usually wakes up as soon as we walk back into the house, although we've had some success with getting her back to sleep again by bouncing on the fitness ball. My mom and I took her for a walk at the mall too, and it was funny to see the trance Josie got into as we walked around - eyes wide open, hardly ever blinking or moving, until she suddenly decided it was nap-time and was zonked out for the rest of the walk. She is also grabbing and kicking at her toys more often, and I think she even touched my face with intention for the first time (which was very different from the flailing and scratching she normally bestows upon me).
[Punching and kicking her giraffe - and maybe it's just the angle, but oh my gosh, when did she get so deliciously chubby?]

Miss Josie also desperately wants to be forward-facing in the carrier, and while her head and neck control is quite good now, it's not that good yet. So instead she always turns herself as much as she can to the front, and ends up essentially facing to her right, hooks a hand over my shirt and then hooks her upper gum over the side of the carrier and proceeds to drool/spit up all down the side of the carrier. Her cheeks have seemingly also gotten chubbier this week, and between pudgy cheeks wedged between the carrier and head support canopy and her gums hooked on the side of the carrier, this apparently anchors her well enough to take a nap. She just looks ridiculous/overwhelmingly cute doing so.
[My view during our walks]

I also took Josie by daycare Friday, since last time we visited a month ago the woman who normally takes care of the babies was out of the country. So they oohed and aahed over her a bit, she gave a few adorable smiles, and then decided she was still tired and hungry, since I had woken her from a nap in order to bring her there. It's hard to believe that she'll be starting daycare next week, though, and visiting with them again really made it feel much more real. I ended up coming back home afterwards and nursing her down for a nap in bed, thinking how much I'm going to miss not being around her all day with the luxury of laying in bed with her for hours with her nestled up next to me (although I keep reminding myself that we could still do that on the weekends). I expect it will be very hard emotionally, although I am looking forward to being able to eat and go to the bathroom whenever I feel like it again :) So in anticipation of me being a crying mess her first day at daycare, she's actually going to start on Thursday, and then I go back to work on Friday (the 30th). That way I can put in a solid day of work on the other house, get a dry run in of her going to daycare and me pumping for her next day's meals, and I can still go visit her that day if it gets to be too much.
[Not quite successful at waking her up to visit her daycare]

We're still trying to capture as much of this time of her life as we can with pictures and videos, but there are a few shortcomings there - one, it's hard to catch all of the sounds that I want to remember forever, since either they're in the middle of the night (like her little self-satisfied baby yawns or the sound she makes when she's nursing and sleepy, which sounds like the jumping sound effect from Super Mario Brothers), or she's not cooperative with making the sounds or faces as soon as the camera comes out (like her high-pitched cooing or her open-mouthed grins when I pretend to eat her neck or belly), and two, pictures and videos aren't able to record the incredible softness of her skin or the smell of her hair (for the brief moments it's actually clean) or the feel of her fingers gripping onto us. But in the meantime, we'll just keep taking as many pictures and videos as we can, and eventually I'll even post more of the videos here :)

[Happy, kicking baby]

[A gurgling baby burrito]

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

10 Weeks

This week's big firsts were not of the fun developmental variety: Josie received her first vaccines and also got her first ear infection :(

The vaccines themselves went well enough - she got an oral vaccine and a shot in her leg (and a jaunty band-aid to go with it), and only cried for a minute or two until Ryan put on the crickets sound app on his phone that she inexplicably likes so much. She seemed fine when we got home, but she woke up later that afternoon with a fever, so we gave her some acetaminophen over the next couple of days to keep her fever down. I was expecting her to be a little more fussy or sleepy (and was definitely hoping for the latter!), but she was just a little bit more needy than normal, and ended up taking more naps than usual on me, and in more unusual circumstances (e.g., bouncing on a fitness ball while she was in her carrier, sitting on the couch with home renovations - including power tools - going on around us).
[Said jaunty band-aid, which we kept on for a couple days as a helpful reminder of where not to squeeze on her]

However, as I was giving her her acetaminophen dose the first evening, she seemed to choke on it and then vomited. And then kept vomiting. I had been told that we would know the difference between spit up and vomiting, and while I wasn't sure how at the time, I understand now. It shook me up to see just how much she could throw up, and then her eyes were red and she looked upset afterwards, and since she can spit up a good amount and then still be happy as a clam after (and during, for that matter), I think it was safe to assume this was vomiting. The vaccine handouts said that vomiting could be a side effect of the vaccines, so I didn't call the pediatrician until a few days later, since she seemed to be getting more fussy and was vomiting once each night. It turns out she had a middle ear infection in her right ear, so now she's on amoxicillin (the pink stuff) for the next 10 days, and I was told she would be noticeably better within 24-36 hours.
[A bit blurry, but her chubby cheeks were too adorable in this one, and this swaddler is the perfect color to mask any of the amoxicillin that spills onto it]

We also have her new stats, and she is now in the 98% percentile for weight, length, and head circumference. She's now up to 14lbs 8oz (from 10lbs 3oz at her 2-week appointment), 24.5" long (from 21.5"), and 16.5" around her head. I was happy that she so clearly seems to be thriving, although the pediatrician was a little concerned about how rapidly her head grew, since she had been in the 50th percentile at her 2-week appointment and now jumped to the 98th. So we are going back in to get her head measured again in two weeks (when we'll get the other half of her 2-month shots too), and if it's increased a significant amount again, then we'll likely be having an ultrasound done on her head to make sure there isn't any fluid building up. Hopefully it's mother's intuition, but I'm not too worried about this and I think her head is fine - and who knows, maybe the 2-week measurement was off anyway. It also helps since the different doctor we saw when she was diagnosed with an ear infection said that her head looked fine, and showed me how to check her fontanel (soft spot), since it would be bulging if fluid was building up and it wasn't.

This week was not a great one for cute baby smiles and cooing since Josie wasn't feeling that great, but hopefully next week she'll be doing better again, because I really look forward to her goofy smiles :) She has started to relax her hands more from their usual state of "fists of rage" (as I like to call them), and her legs and arms are starting to stretch out more too, rather than being tucked up against her body in more of the fetal position. She's definitely grabbing things more intentionally, and has batted at her toys more and grabbed the burp cloth I had tucked around her.
[Josie laughs at my futile attempts to catch all the spit up with mere burp cloths]

She's nowhere near rolling over yet (except for lifting one leg slightly higher than the other when she's kicking around during tummy time), but she is starting to rotate herself around on her back. Which was cute on her activity mat, but not in her crib. We had taken the front rail off the crib and pushed it up next to the bed with the intention of putting the rail back on as soon as she started moving, since this setup was inherently unsafe as our bedframe extends beyond the mattress so there is a gap of a few inches between the mattress and crib. This was a tolerable risk with an immobile baby, but not with one who likes to rotate around in the middle of the night and end up with her head closer than I feel comfortable with to the edge of the mattress. So on went the front rail, which I'm a little sad about since I really liked having an unobstructed view of her at night, but I also feel more relieved to have that rail back on. So now she's safer, and I just have to work on strengthening my arm muscles, since I already pulled my shoulder once having to lift her over the side :)

[Random cuteness.]

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ode to Side-Lying Position

I had started this post a few weeks ago, but never got around to editing and posting it. Thought I might as well do so now :)


As mentioned in the 7-week update post, I had thought I was feeling a bit ambivalent about breastfeeding. While that was disproven given how put out I was when we began bottle-feeding Josie, a turning point also occurred when we started nursing in side-lying position. We had normally nursed with her perched on a couple of pillows, but I'm thinking that nursing with props takes away some of the connection that can be forged while nursing. However, if I don't use the pillows (like when we're not at home), I'm usually so uncomfortable holding up this giant baby without the best head control yet, and then she usually ends up fussing, and then we usually end up ending the session earlier than we do at home since we're both a little frustrated.

Enter... side-lying position. I first tried this when we were at the lake since she wasn't sleeping well and I was so tired, so I figured lying down to nurse her would be safer than me falling asleep while she's lying on top of some pillows. So it originally was for a functional reason again, but then I quickly realized that I love side-lying position, and I suspect Josie rather likes it too :) There's something very humanizing about being perfectly comfortable and not having any props, and having our bellies touching and her little feet resting on my legs (although I don't enjoy it quite as much when those little feet start kicking my belly or pushing off my legs!). I no longer feel like just a food source (which is fairly easy to do, given that I can usually only hold her without her rooting if I've just fed her... otherwise, she sees me and her mouth immediately starts working), and it's so much easier to rub her back, stroke her hair, etc., in that position too. And then when she decides she's done, she'll usually pull off, lift her sweet little moonface up to face me, and then puts her hands under her chin. Commence the swooning, and then I usually end up just watching her sleep until life catches up to me again and I remember that I have sleeping/showering/eating/cleaning to do.

Monday, September 12, 2011

9 Weeks

This week brought home how important it is for Josie and me to get out of the house. Last week we only went out once during the week and then on the weekend, but I think with it being the first week I was on my own and then not having much outside interaction, it got to my head a bit, since I was exhausted and frustrated by the end and afraid I wouldn't be able to handle the next 4 weeks on my own. Then this week, I'm already panicking that I only have another 3 weeks left with her before I go back to work, so maybe it's all just a matter of perspective ;)

But this week, we took her to a barbecue on Monday for Labor Day, then over to the rental house a couple nights after Ryan got off work so we could work on fixing it up to try to sell it in the next couple of months, La Leche League meeting on Friday, and out to lunch/Lowes/Ryan's parents' on Saturday for dinner. She usually is very good when we take her out, although she's decided that she actually won't take a pacifier anymore, thank you very much, so I usually just end up nursing her for a bit, and then one of us holds her, walks her around, or puts her in the carrier, and she gets a nice little nap in. I think all her development in the last few weeks has really helped now that she's able to see and focus on much more, so she's awake and alert (but quiet), and while she still gets tired out by being away from home, she doesn't seem to be getting as easily overstimulated and overtired.

I've nearly reached acceptance of the napping situation. I still miss the days when she would fairly reliably take a 3-hour nap in the afternoon, but since I've figured out a few ways to at least make sure she seemingly gets enough sleep (albeit in 30-minute increments), I'm not as worried about her being an overtired mess in the evenings. The key is apparently to just be around to nurse her as she moves between sleep cycles, so now she usually sleeps on me for an hour or so in the mornings, and then we've also spent a good 2-3 hours in bed the last few afternoons, with me nursing her back to sleep every half hour. This is obviously not the best long-term solution, since I won't be around to devote most of an afternoon to getting her to take a nap once I'm back at work, but I suspect daycare will be such a different environment for her that she may surprise me with how she copes - and if that's that she sleeps well for them during the week but still sleeps like crap for us on the weekends, then so be it ;) Because really, I'd rather take her night sleeping pattern lately over good napping anyway.

Hopefully this will be a continuing trend, but besides a few rough times a week trying to get her down to sleep (i.e., an hour of nursing/comfort sucking and then a half hour asleep before she wakes up for another hour-long session), she's been going down easier at night, then sleeping a good 6+ hours before waking to nurse, and usually then another couple hours before waking to eat again, and then peters out with a half hour of sleep before she's up for the day around 10-11am. Except for Saturday night, where she was asleep 10:30pm-10:15am, with only a 15-minute nursing session at 7:30. Which was awesome.

Going back to my solution for the napping situation, while I do feel like it's a little ridiculous to spend all afternoon in bed with Josie just to eke out a couple hours of sleep for her, there's also something about the whole experience that I really like. She's usually swaddled for night-time sleeping, but if I plan to stay with her anyway, I'll leave her unswaddled since chances are I'll be close enough to her to block at least one of her arms to cut down on the flailing that wakes her up. There's something very sweet and personal about nursing my daughter in bed, and her having her hands free to hold onto my shirt or poke at me or stretch up her arm over her head and rest it on my chest while she's asleep. I will definitely miss these sweet moments and lazy afternoons curled up in bed with her. But actually feeling this way surprised me a bit, given how overwhelmed I felt last week when I was on my own with her for the first time.

I think I'm very slow to adapt to changes anyway, and motherhood has been no exception. I'm still crying almost every day, which is annoying but ok, I guess, since it's usually not out of frustration, but I'm still dealing with accepting that there are certain things about my life that are different and that I may not get to do again, at least in the near future (like enjoying a leisurely meal and reading). Obviously, we made a very conscious decision to have a baby, so I was well aware of these changes and I was ready to move into that new phase of our lives, but then I was still taken by surprise by how tiring it is to always be "on" when it comes to the baby. I know she won't always be so dependent on us though, and I'm sure years down the road I'll look back at this time in her life and will miss it sorely. Until then, I console myself when I'm out on a walk with her by noticing all the little kids going by on their bikes with their (relatively) calm-looking parents, and realize that that will be us all too soon :)

In terms of Josie's development for the week, she's really been working on her repertoire of cute sounds and faces. She laughed a couple of times this week, which was awesome, and she's cooing up a storm now (mainly to the corner of the nursery, the ceiling fan, or her friends on the change table, although she saves an "aahh-goo" for Ryan and me on occasion). She's also smiling much more, although sometimes at goofy times, like when she's nursing. There's been a couple of times this week that I've looked down to see how she was doing just to see her smiling back at me rather than being focused on her food. She did the same to Ryan as he was giving her her weekly bottle yesterday morning, which makes me think food makes her happy :)
[Favorite picture of the week!]

Getting her arms back after being swaddled also continues to be an exciting event for her. She broke both arms out of her swaddle for the first time this week, and while I thought she'd be able to sleep through having one arm out, once the second one came out, it was all over as she had a wriggling, flailing dance party in her crib at 4 o'clock in the morning (which was hilarious, except for the fact that it was 4am). She also has been much more deliberate with controlling her arms and hands, and within the last couple of days, has been getting more consistent with getting her hand in her mouth to suck on.
[Swaddle fail - second one in a row]

Also this week, she apparently grew out of the Gerber brand 0-3 month onesies (Carter's seems to run a bit bigger, so those will last a few more weeks probably), and her small diapers - or, at least, she has had a leaky diaper just about every day this week, so I think the size 1 disposables are too small for her now, but I think we may have an absorbency problem with the cloth diapers, since not only the small size ones are leaking but the one-size as well (which should fit her up to 35lbs). So we have some research ahead of us to try to figure out if we've been using too much detergent and it's built up on the diapers, in which case we'll have to strip them - and quickly, since leaky diapers are not too fun.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

8 Weeks

This was the first week I was on my own with Josie since Ryan went back to work last Friday, and it ended up being slightly easier in some respects than what I was expecting, but also more difficult in other ways. Naps have continued to be a struggle, since she's still only sleeping for less than an hour for the most part, so the afternoons have become a repeated cycle of feeding her, trying to get her to have a decent nap, and then her waking up early, playing for a little bit, and then trying again, and all the while both of our moods are deteriorating as I get more frustrated and she gets more overtired. Newborn sleep cycles are apparently only about 30-50 minutes long, so she seems to be having troubles transitioning between sleep cycles because she usually wakes up right between that 30-50 minute mark, but hopefully this is just a (short-lived!) phase.

She still sleeps really well during the night once she's asleep, but it was a bit more difficult to put her down for the night this week too. There were a couple of nights that she went down really easily (before 11pm too!), but then woke up within half an hour and then took another hour+ to fall back asleep. Of course, as I type this, she's currently on the second hour of her afternoon nap - one of maybe only three naps she's taken in the last two weeks that has been longer than an hour long, so I'm excited about that but don't even dare to hope that it will be three hours long like she had been doing for her afternoon naps before. We also took her out to eat and run errands earlier this afternoon, so I wonder if there's some correlation with that and her sleeping better now, since she was pretty tired and slept on me for close to an hour while we were out. Then again, she's been sleepy all day, so maybe I should just stop looking for patterns since she'll change it all up again soon enough anyway :)

Besides that, though, the week went pretty well - one of the highlights of my day is still her first diaper change. For whatever reason, her change table seems to be one of her favorite places, and she's especially happy when she's first up for the day, and so there's lot of smiles, goofy faces, hand waving and feet kicking that goes on after she gets changed and I'm singing silly songs to her. I think she had been smiling mostly reactively before, but this week, I've caught her a few times smiling at me when I wasn't even looking at her, which is awesome to see her looking right at me with a big silly smile on her face.

She also is doing a lot better in her bouncer and on the activity mat, which is good, since I ended up sticking her in the bouncer so she had somewhere comfortable to hang out while I did other things around the house. She's starting to hit her toys more, although it's still not entirely clear whether she's doing that on purpose or not, and she's also chatting a lot more... although she'll coo a bit to Ryan and me, she saves most of her talking for the corner of her nursery or the ceiling fan :)

I've started diligently working on building up my freezer stash so I have some frozen breastmilk to send along with Josie to daycare. I maybe waited longer than I should have to get started though, since I've heard 200oz is a good amount, and I will likely only have just over half that by the end of the month, so I may end up having to add another pumping session on top of the one I already added at 2am. We're continuing to give her a bottle or two each week, and she did better with the bottle this week than the last one before that that she wasn't too interested in and didn't even finish. So hopefully she'll do ok tomorrow when Ryan does the first bottle feeding without me being around for backup, since I'm going to try to start going to yoga on Sundays again.

Also, Josie's hair has increased in its specialness lately - not just because it's crazy thick and long (and super blonde), but because it sticks up in an amusing way in the back. :)