Thursday, September 22, 2016

Getting My Shit Together

Ayooooo. Look at me, writing in the middle of the afternoon while my child sleeps in his Rock and Play!

Please note the unused pacifier on the table. Damn kid still won't take it for any longer than 2 minutes, if that.
Oh shit, he just woke up. Be riiiiight back...

Alright. Got him back down. I know he's a newborn and just needs what he needs, and I do comfort him and hold him, but I can't hold him LITERALLY all day. I just can't. So I am trying really hard to get him to nap swaddled in the Rock and Play, so that he associates it with sleep. This is the first week Eric has been at work all day every day, and I have been very UNproductive, due to Atlas being a clingy little grumpypants who can't eat properly and has a full diaper every two seconds.

His doctor appointment went well. He has gained a ton of weight, and we are working on the eating/GI issues. No medication for the reflux since he's gaining, and the stomach pain is tied to the feeding issues, so we need to focus on managing that, and hopefully, it will resolve within a couple months. We tried using gas drops at night the past few nights. He is still uncomfortable, but he has been going to back to sleep more easily and giving me (and him) about 2.5 hours of consecutive sleep. Progress!

It is very upsetting to me that I haven't been able to get the housework done, or even shower sometimes. Since this is my job now, I want to do it well. 1. I'm a perfectionist, and 2. I NEED to feel like I am accomplishing something other than being a milk machine. I never planned on being a stay-at-home mom. I mean, I never planned on being a mom, ever. But when we changed our minds about that, we decided that I would stay home, at least until our child went to school. We didn't have a kid until we were in a financial situation where we wouldn't need to send our kid to daycare. Honestly, it isn't worth the money to us. We wouldn't be earning anything extra. All I earn at work would just go toward daycare (because it's so ridiculously expensive, but that's another rant...), so I would rather stay home with him myself. My mom stayed home to raise my sister and I, and I have always thought it is admirable for a mom to do that, even when I was so career-oriented. Being a stay-at-home mom is HARD work, and my mom somehow always had the house clean, helped us with projects, took care of pets, babysat on the side, drove us to all our extracurriculars, AND had a delicious dinner prepared every night.

But right now, I am feeling kind of like a failure, because I haven't even been able to wipe the fucking countertops off or fold the laundry.

I'm a frazzled mess.

I know, I know. I'm a new mom. Those things will all come in time. This is just how I'm feeling right now, and I wanted to share it. I just thought by the time he was a month old, I would have my shit a liiiittle bit more together than I do right now.

I did manage to get some things done today: laundry, organizing some things in the nursery, and decorating for Fall (this was obviously a priority over showering or cleaning the kitchen and floors). ;) I'll post some pictures soon of my Fall decor.

One of Atlas's first real smiles! He hasn't smiled a ton since this, probably because he's usually in pain, but I can't wait to see more of these!

Watching the Eagles game... the pre-game show obviously bored him to sleep.

Visiting the doctor for our one-month checkup.

He loves to snuggle on Dad.

And he loves to lay on the couch with Mom, too.

And he loves to sleep while he listens to music, too. He just LOVES to sleep, as long as he's on someone!

Pulling Mom's hair.

Famsquad walk time! Look at that squishy baby!


Sunday, September 18, 2016

Atlas is One Month Old!

I sit here writing this post from my bed, unshowered, teeth not brushed, hair not brushed, no makeup, no shirt on, baby on my chest, at almost 2pm.

Check out my wonky eyebrows!
Just keeping it real, people.

Atlas is one month old today! I KEPT A HUMAN ALIVE FOR AN ENTIRE MONTH! Isn't that ridiculous? I still feel like the days pass slowly and the overall time passes quickly. Atlas has changed so much in just one month. He's bigger, more alert, has more going on (we'll get to that later)... he's not my scrawny newborn anymore. Now, he's a little chunk. His crispy bacon ears have inflated and are no longer crispy. They are like uncooked bacon, as Kristin said.

Every single day, I find myself looking at pictures from his first days of life. I want time to stop now.

But it hasn't been an easy month, that's for sure.

Atlas is like most newborns. He sleeps a lot and poops even more. He's always hungry. He's up all night. But he started being extra fussy during his second week. I wish he was just awake at night, wanting to look around, but the poor kid is clearly in pain. He definitely has some combination of reflux and BAD gas pains going on. It's gotten worse every day. Needless to say, I've been up literally all night every night. The worst part is that I'm pretty sure it's my fault. Well, not MY fault. We don't need to go on a whole tangent about my boobs (sorry, I know you would all LOVE that), but long story short, breastfeeding issues are causing him to have gas, which is causing him to be weird with eating, which is causing the feeding issues to continue... it's just a bad cycle. And the reflux is just a thing some babies deal with, some worse than others. There is really no worse feeling than knowing your kid is in pain and not being able to help, and knowing you might even be causing it. I think I'm finally starting to figure it out thanks to my awesome support system, and hopefully we'll get more answers at the doctor this week, so fingers crossed little Atlas Bean and I get sorted out soon. I'm sure he is continuing to gain weight and grow, which is the most important thing.

As upsetting as this all is, I still love him very much and want to spend every waking moment with him (which is good, because I'm ALWAYS awake!).

Over the past month, our families have been here visiting. It has been difficult to get into any kind of routine with people here, but it's been worth it to see everyone interact with Atlas. I almost cried when my dad met him. Linny and Alex have the magic touch and can always calm him down. Even Aunt Kelly (aka Bertha) sang him to sleep. The PopPops and MomMoms can't stop bragging about him to everyone. When everyone left, it was the hardest goodbye we've ever had to say.

The good news is that I'm pretty sure everyone is moving to Florida now. ;)

Anyway, we have been up to a couple fun things this month. We went to the Food Truck Invasion in Abacoa and Loggerhead Marinelife Center to see the turtles. We also went to our first New Moms group, which was amazing! Everyone there was super cool, welcoming, and supportive (hi if you're reading this!). Once he is vaccinated and his feeding issues are resolved, I'll be able to get out more often with him. I've been on a couple quick Starbucks runs without him, which was both nervewracking and liberating at the same time. Being out by myself felt normal, almost like the past few weeks were a dream. No, that does not make me a bad mom. I think it's pretty normal to miss what life was like BC (Before Child!), and I don't think I've had Atlas for long enough yet for it to feel more normal to be with him than without him. But if Eric hadn't been home when I was out, I think I would have definitely been freaking out way more about leaving Atlas. Once I get to the point where I can pump, we will see how much of a basketcase I am about leaving him with anyone for more than 10 minutes (hint: 100% off my rocker).

Morning cuddles

Dad meeting Atlas

MomMom and PopPop Deeg. Atlas holding my dad's finger.

Aunt Linny

Back when Atlas actually slept in his Mamaroo, lollllllz



Yes, this is cute, but the best part about it is his onesie. Look at the double decker buses! SO BRITISH! We are going to go to England and drink tea and ride the red buses some day.



"I only have eyes for Mom" <3

Atlas meeting MomMom and PopPop Mazz

"The cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon..." Lololllll

Aunt Terri meeting Atlas


Seeing sea turtles. He started screaming after 20 minutes there, hehe.




Standard pose. Pissed about having a pacifier in his mouth, I'm sure.




"Handsome like Daddy" <3

Hanging out with Uncle Alex

Toasting to Atlas with some Bourbon County, which ended up being sour >:( Wahhh


Uncle Ben and Aunt Kristin brought coffee and Chloe in exchange for some Atlas time :)

Attempted this setup last night: Laying flat in the pack n play against the bed. This was at daybreak, when he decided he could maybe finally doze off for 5 minutes :-P

Monday, September 5, 2016

Overwhelmed

If I had to choose one word to describe parenthood, it would be overwhelming. Overwhelmed with joy and love, which I wasn't sure if I would be, so I'm grateful for that. But also overwhelmed with anxiety, frustration, exhaustion, and confusion.

I'm overwhelmed with being overwhelmed.

Atlas is two weeks and some days old. When I look back on it, it seems like time has flown by, but each day itself goes by SO. SLOWLY. I am trying my best to take in and appreciate every second with him, but it's hard to do that when I'm running on basically no sleep and trying to navigate the treacherous waters of parenthood. Yes, treacherous. I feel like I am going to fall overboard at any moment.

I love the little dude more than I have ever loved anything, and I want him to stay this little forever, but at the same time, I find myself wishing for the next stage. Selfishly, I just want things to be easier for me. "If he could only take a bottle. If he could go more than three hours between feedings. If he could comfort himself back to sleep." Wishing time away is a flaw of mine, and a flaw of many people who struggle with anxiety. We just want the hard times to be over. We want to get to a place of comfort. But if you live like that, your entire life will pass you by.

I am struggling with this right now.

Breastfeeding has been our main difficulty. Atlas has been a hungry boy from the minute he was born, but he had a bad latch at first, which made it EXTREMELY painful to feed him. I firmly believe that the most important thing is to make sure your baby is fed and loved, whether you breastfeed or formula feed, but I really want to try to make breastfeeding work. Besides all the health benefits of breastmilk, it's free! So... yeah. Luckily, I've been doing research on it for the past nine months. If I hadn't, I probably would have given up by now. I wouldn't know to ask about tongue and lip ties, or about letdowns, foremilk, hindmilk, hunger cues, and so many more things that NO ONE teaches women about breastfeeding, which is ridiculous. We have a great support system in place, too. The hospital offered a great breastfeeding class and has lactation consultants on call six days a week. They stopped in numerous times during our stay there to help me fix Atlas' latch and learn different positions for nursing, AND they are available for free calls and outpatient appointments for everyone who delivered there. Plus, my doula came for my postpartum visit the day after I had a massive meltdown about it, and she fixed us right up again. I'll be attending a New Moms group for all her doula clients as well, which I'm sure will feel like therapy to me and help me make new mom friends.

Besides all that, the hardest part about it has been no sleep. I find myself thinking that I literally do not know when the next time I will get more than two consecutive hours of sleep will be. Atlas will only go three hours max between feedings if I'm lucky, which leaves me maybe two hours between to eat, sleep, shower, pee, write this fucking blog, whatever. Many times, he'll only go one hour between feedings, which leaves me like NO TIME at all between feedings, because I need to change him and hold him upright for awhile after he eats. We think he might be having some reflux/gas issues, so he's uncomfortable as soon as we lay him down. :(

A lot of people feel overwhelmed and drained by having too many visitors during the first couple weeks, and I thought I'd be the same, being an introvert and all, but having visitors and getting out of the house has kept me sane. So far, I've gotten to see Kristin and Ben and their families, Charity, Sarah and Rob, Katie and Leo (who just had Baby Leo!), Heather who came back just in time from St. Kitts, and Dave and Rachel! I've been to Starbucks a couple times, Publix, Target, and Jupiter Donut Factory just this morning for me and Eric's anniversary outing. It's all we feel comfortable enough to manage right now, but it was perfect, and I got doughnuts out of it (apparently it wasn't just a pregnancy craving...).

Oh, speaking of cravings, let's talk about postpartum body things. Here are some interesting facts:
- I'm hungrier and thirstier now than I was when I was pregnant. Breastfeeding really does make you ravenous.
- I am breaking out like crazy all over my face, chest, and back. It's like the first trimester of pregnancy all over again. Hormones are weird.
- The most difficult thing about my body has not been my belly. It's my boobs. I did not expect to feel this way at all. My belly shrunk down very quickly, although I'm not flat yet, the skin is still loose, and my belly button is stretched out. The Belly Bandit wrap definitely helps a lot. But my boobs... they are huge. Sometimes they look noticeably uneven. I have no clue how to handle them, and I don't like them at all right now.
- My body feels like I ran a marathon. It feels like my muscles are tired, I am off balance sometimes, and my joints feel loose and wobbly.
- I feel comfortable advocating for placenta encapsulation. Throughout all of the craziness, I have not felt a twinge of postpartum depression. My milk supply has been wonderful, and despite no sleep, I am surprisingly energetic, feeling well, and healing rather quickly. I guess it could be a coincidence, but I find it hard to believe that I am lucky enough to have literally everything going my way.

So, we are getting the hang of this parenting thing. It's all trial and error, but we're managing. I dread the day when my mom leaves, but we will be okay. The rest of our family gets here this week, and we can't wait to see everyone.

Here are some random phone pictures!



These were from Charity and they were DELICIOUS. I will be ordering cookies for future special occasions.

Little tree frog! He already looks older than this now. :(
Turtle butt
Monster butt. Can you tell I like little creatures on his butt?
Trying to sleep...
Early mornings
Jungle time


Baby model
He's bored with Daddy's gaming :P
Beautiful peridot earrings from Eric. Atlas' birthstone, my favorite color. <3
Maybe my favorite picture of him so far. He thinks flipping the bird is hilarious.
First walk!
Kid loves his carseat.
Pirate bear!


Trying to master the wrap. I adjusted him a little after this, but I'm getting the hang of it. He's in it right now as I write this, which is the ONLY reason I have the time to write. Hope he starts loving to be in this thing, because it'll make my life a LOT easier!